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Daedra are fictional divine creatures from The Elder Scrolls universe. Daedra are physically and mentally diverse, with some being humanoid in form while others are distinctly beastlike. They are worshipped by some as gods throughout Tamriel. Daedra inhabit the realm of Oblivion, a separate dimension of Nirn. All daedra, mighty and meek alike, can suffer destruction of their bodies, but will eventually be resurrected in Oblivion; In essence, they are immortal.
The term "Daedra" is of Elvish origin, its literal translation being "not our ancestors" as opposed to Aedra - "(our) ancestors". Daedroth is the singular form, though over centuries it has become common for Daedra to be used as both singular and plural instead. Daedra creatures are frequently (though mistakenly) thought to be demonic in form. This is untrue however, with most Daedric Princes and most of the creatures being non-demonic (at least, in the Christianised sense, they are sometimes called demons, as Christianised demons do not exist in The Elder Scrolls, the word has a distinctly non-Christian meaning and should be considered as such). Daedra are capable however of huge acts of destruction, and will happily engage in such acts repeatedly should they prove enjoyable, however.
A Daedroth's physical form can be destroyed, but they cannot be truly killed; the soul or Animus of a slain Daedroth returns to the void of Oblivion until it chooses to return to the mortal realm.
Daedra are not easily defined within the ordinary bounds of good or evil, however due to the destructive acts of some Daedric princes they have come to be regarded by most as evil beings. Amongst the majority of Tamriel's populace, the Daedra are seen as naturally evil, as many concepts of evil are directly relative to the mortal world (i.e. destruction is evil, and chaos is evil), though the Daedra are simply different in and of themselves, being entities of energy and chaos. As such, their evilness is not borne out of malice as such, but out of genuinely conflicting natures (consider alien beings attempting to terraform the earth by burning off its atmosphere and raising the temperature thousands of degrees). Similarly, humans who evince Daedric behaviour are commonly thought evil, as that sort of behaviour often directly controverts (most of the time) eco-social homeostasis (the natural order).
Daedric forms, appearances and character
Daedra appear in many different forms. The most important are the Daedric Princes, powerful spirits who are believed to have created Oblivion and all the other Daedra. There are also "lesser Daedra" beings known to be in league with these greater powers. Whether all of these constitute actual Daedra or if some are simply equivalents of the mortal realm's tame animals is as yet unstated in the game series.
Daedra generally seem to view men and elves as little more than minor amusements, giving some applause whenever a mortal being exceeds certain expectations. They do however take interest in their worshippers, sometimes considering them foolish, but with some Daedra thinking of them as valued servants. The Daedra see themselves as a superior form of life and feel generally no need for any alliance or truce with any of the mortal races of Tamriel. Some Daedra may be summoned however. There is a popular notion that the summoned Daedra will then give the summoner a quest or task to fulfill and that the quest's completion will see its participant richly rewarded. Mostly these tasks are merely for the entertainment of the Daedra. This is not always so, as Morian Zenas, author of On Oblivion, claims that he was able to successfully summon and speak with Daedra without ever being asked to complete a task or a quest.
Daedric Princes (sometimes "Daedra Lords") are the most powerful of the Daedra, and thus most commonly worshipped as gods. Each has a particular sphere, which it is said to govern. Although Daedric Princes may assume the form of a female, they have no inherent gender, and are all referred to as princes. In all, there are sixteen princes. Each Daedric Prince has one plane of Oblivion, which total sixteen in all. The most commonly known princes are Azura and Mehrunes Dagon, while Hircine made an appearance in Bloodmoon, the expansion set for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
There are many types of lesser Daedra, creatures believed to be created by the Princes as warriors, servants, playthings and worshippers. It should be noted that the descriptions of appearances given here are not necessarily always accurate, as to many Daedra appearance is a matter of choice. Belonging to a particular grouping is however said to shape their bodies and minds, and thus common traits are established.
Some Daedra prefer a humanoid shape and appearance. The Daedric Princes and the highly intelligent Dremora are usually among them, as are Golden Saints. Dremora are servants of Mehrunes Dagon, while Golden Saints, usually appearing as golden-skinned women in golden armour, serve Sheogorath.
Daedra have amongst their ranks some reptilian creatures, most of which serve Mehrunes Dagon or Molag Bal. The Daedroth is somewhat humanoid in its appearance, it walks on two legs and possesses two arms, each with deadly claws in place of hands. Its skin is almost entirely scaled and its head is similar to that of a large crocodile's. The teeth of the Daedroth can also be used in potions, and are worth a fair amount to merchants. These Daedra breathe heavily, and are capable of inflicting much damage in combat. Another reptilian Daedra is the Clannfear, perhaps one of the smaller lizards in the Daedra realm, Clannfear resemble a cross between a triceratops and a Velociraptor - representing the upper & lower body respectively, however it is very much smaller than either of these creatures. Clannfear have small arms, each with extremely sharp claws that it uses to attack in combat. Their skin is heavily scaled, with small spikes cresting their face and forehead. If slain, a Clannfear's claws can be sold for a fair price in stores. There is also a weaker version of the Clannfear; Clannfear Runts. They are visibly smaller, with a much lower attack strength than their larger brethren.
Atronach are Daedra attached to one particular magical element. There are several variaties of atronach, and they vary greatly in terms of strength and physical appearance. All atronachs are humanoid in appearance. Flame atronachs are roughly human in size, and are coloured black, red and orange. Flame atronachs use fire magic to attack their foes. Frost Atronachs are larger in build; in The Elder Scrolls IV they dwarf humans at around 8 feet in height - their bodies are light blue in hue, they are jaggedly shaped as if hewed from huge blocks of ice. They reflect sunlight very heavily. This in itself can be a deterrant during daylight hours, as a combatant dazzled by reflecting light can have difficulty fighting in combat. Storm Atronachs appear to be nothing more than collections of rocks, loosely held together in a humanoid shape by surging arcs of electricity. Their tactics consist of hurling lightning bolts at their foes and crushing them with their rocky bodies when in close combat. Atronach have no strong connection to any Prince, serving one or another at will.
A Winged Twilight as it appears in Morrowind.Winged Twilights are the only Daedric creatures capable of flight, they bear some resemblance to imps, their skin is a blue colour with their skulls being about the same size as a human's, they also possess large tails. They share features with human females, feminine facial features and hair in a ponytail. They are servants of Azura.
Spider Daedra appear as a kind of spider-centaur, a large spider with a human torso in place of a head. They are associated with Mephala, and are so unruly and irrational that not even Mephala's worshippers will often summon them, for fear that they will disobey her orders.
Ogrim are enormous Daedra with very little intellect, but which are chiefly sent into the mortal world to menace living things for the amusement of Daedra Princes. Ogrim are associated with Malacath.
Hungers are powerful and violent warriors with some magic ability, associated with Boethiah.
Daedra are widely worshipped in the realms of Tamriel with many shrines located throughout the Empire. Those who worship Daedra see them as gods, their conceptions of their respective Daedric gods varying widely. Mainstream religious authorities such as the Church of the Nine Divines disapprove of the practice. Thus, worshippers are often driven away from various localities in processes resemblant of witchhunts, though during the process many participants are often surprised at the sane, down to earth nature many of the Daedric worshippers possess, which contrasts greatly with the common perception of blood-drinking baby-eaters reminiscent of real-world notions of Satanic Panic. Historicly Orcs and dark elves were common daedra worshipers, but that has changed recently.
Towards the end of the Third Era Daedra worship became increasingly more prevalent across Tamriel, with several new shrines being established in Cyrodiil and beyond. The popularity of such worship has created some speculation and rumor amongst citizens of Cyrodiil, some expressing alarm and fear, others curiousity. It is possible for one curious of the practice of worship to visit several Daedra shrines in Cyrodiil (or any other province of Tamriel).
Daedra worshippers often relate that they felt "called" to worship the Daedra, and thus worship by choice. Most times, a worshipper follows a Daedra that most closely parallels their own conscience. For example, a follower of Nocturne, the Daedric Prince of night, might feel a kinship with the darkness, whereas followers of Mehrunes Dagon have a great hunger for power.
Worshippers may bind other Daedric servants to this plane through rituals and pacts. Such arrangements result in the Daedric servant remaining on this plane indefinitely - or at least until their bodily manifestations on this plane are destroyed, precipitating their supernatural essences back to Oblivion. Whenever Daedra are encountered at Daedric ruins or in tombs, they are almost invariably long-term visitors to the mortal plane.
Most Daedric servants can be summoned by sorcerers only for very brief periods, within relatively fragile frameworks of command and binding. Another way daedra are summoned is by pacts made, often the daedric artifacts are lesser daedra bound to our realm by such pacts.
Entering the realm of Oblivion
The Worshippers of Daedra have also tried to use their conjuring skills to enter their master daedra's realms but this is extremely dangerous even for high level summoners and warlocks. Deep within the Cyrodillic wilderness worshippers of the Daedra Peryite tried to enter his realm of Oblivion only to have it backfire and almost trap them into an eternal purgatory. The Worshippers had their souls trapped on Oblivion and their bodies bound to Nirn. This results in a quest given to the player by Peryite to retrieve their souls from Oblivion. The souls could be found wandering in an eternal void without thought spouting out philisophical quotes as they wandered Oblivion.
The only safe mode of travel for worshippers of Daedra and travelers otherwise to enter Oblivion is through the stable portal of an Oblivion gate. These portals were constantly seen at the end of the third age of Tamriel as the daerda, Mehrunes Dagon and his followers planned an invasion of Tamriel. The Portals ranged in size to allow for small placement of troops within the deep forests of Cyrodil to the large Great Gates which allowed the siege crawlers, huge Daedric war machines, to annihilate the ancient city of Kvatch in but one day and almost decimate Bruma as well. These portals are held open by a sigil stone at the top of a large tower inside of Oblivion. If the said sigil stone is taken then the portal will collapse spewing out the people in Oblivion to their separate planes of existence. Example: If a being from Tamriel was to enter a a gate and then the gate were to collpase the Tamrielians would return to Nirn and the Daerda would stay in Oblivion. However these particular gates were opened by Mehrunes Dagon leading into his hostile territory. It is currently unknown how to enter other realms of Daedric Princes but it is assumed that the warlock must consult with the Prince whose realm they want to enter and have them fuel the resources to open a gate to Tamriel. It is extremely difficult to impossible to open a gate to Oblivion from Tamriel or any part of Nirn for that matter but it can easily be done from Oblivion. Sigil Stones harvested from Oblivion currently can't be used for opening gates to other dimensions but with future projects being planned by the Mage's Guild to recreate the conditions featured in an Oblivion Tower the dimensions may soon be open for new exploration. Since Sigil Stones are in extremely limited supply, these items are almost priceless to collectors or wizards.
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