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Daedra Dossier: Mehrunes Dagon

  • Member
    August 16, 2015

    This particular Daedric Prince has a huge amount of lore written about him, more than I could possibly do justice to in one article. With that in mind this dossier is intended to be a reference tool containing many potentially helpful links as well as a brief introduction to the topic. I hope that both new adventurers in Tamriel as well as more seasoned acolytes will find something of interest below.

    Art by Izzy, Nexus Mods

    Who Is Mehrunes Dagon?

    Like his brother Molag Bal, Mehrunes Dagon is consistently one of the most demonic of the Lords of Misrule. The other Daedra can, of course, be equally dangerous, but seldom purely for the sake of destruction like Dagon who revels in causing havoc on a huge scale and brashly displaying any influence he can exert over Nirn. (On Oblivion), (Thwarting the Daedra: Mehrunes Dagon)

    Depicted in statues as a monstrous, four-armed giant wielding a mighty battleaxe, Mehrunes Dagon is the Daedric Prince of Destruction, Change, Revolution, Energy and Ambition. (The Book of Daedra)  In some cultures though, Dagon is merely a god of bloodshed and betrayal. (Varieties of Faith in the Empire

    Like Molag Bal, Sheogorath and Malacath, Mehrunes Dagon is especially important in the Dunmer homeland of Morrowind where he is seen as one of the Four Corners of the House of Troubles. According to Dunmeri belief, these four Daedra alone among the ancient ancestral spirits who accompanied Veloth and the Chimer into Morrowind rebelled against the council of the Tribunal.

    To the dark elves of that inhospitable place, Dagon is often seen as the embodiment of the harsh and unforgiving environment of their homeland, acting as a testing-god against the willpower of the people. As such he is considered holy to the Dunmer, although the outright worship of The Four Corners was banned by the former Tribunal Temple, that law enforced by the Buoyant Armigers(The House of Troubles), (Varieties of Faith)

    In the Empire, The Lord of Razors has proven himself time and again an enemy of all mortal races. His attempts at causing strife, sowing the seeds of rebellion and even outright invasion made him one of the most closely monitored of all the Principalities. (Imperial Census of Daedra Lords [oog])

    To the Kahjiit, Mehrunes Dagon is known as Merrunz, and viewed as Ja'Khajiit - a kitten (literally young desert dweller (Interview with Three Booksellers [oog])) - "for what is more destructive than a kitten?" (Words of the Clan Mother)

    Art by MagusVerus






    Yep, that's Dagon as depicted in Morrowind

    Where is Mehrunes Dagon?

    I am in a storm,' he told me as he entered the next realm. He described the landscape of dark twisted trees, howling spirits, and billowing mist, and I thought he might have entered the Deadlands of Mehrunes Dagon (The Doors of Oblivion)

    The Deadlands is the name of Mehrunes Dagon's Realm of Oblivion, a hellish place of volcanoes, lava flows and overwhelming heat. The structures, inhabited by the Kyn, bear names with destructive themes such as The Portals of Natural Disaster, World Breaker, The Brooding Fortress and The Blood Feast.

    Very little flora and fauna inhabit this blasted and desolate pit, but some tenacious grasses like Bloodgrass;the Harrada which will attack any who get close; and the poisonous Spiddal Stick eek out an existence in Dagon's dry world.

    Dagon's chief servants, the Dremora, were like him in pride, fixed purpose, and lack of subtlety, with the addition of the peculiar traits of honor and loyalty, both within their class and within their relationship to Lord Dagon. (Varieties of Daedra)

    Among the daedra who call The Deadlands home, from the Xivilai, Clanfears and Scamps to the Ogrim and Golden Saints, the Dremora alone are the most strongly associated with Mehrunes Dagon. Made up of clans and further subdivided into castes, the Kyn as they call themselves, follow a code of honour and have sworn oaths in the service of Lord Dagon.

    The lowest rank in this structure are the Churls, the rabble. They are followed in rank by the Caitiffs who act as undisciplined berserkers. Next are the Kynvals, the knights of Dagon. Above them are the officer caste, starting with the Kynreeve who act as an administrators or sheriffs of the clan. Next, the Kynmarchers who are territorial bosses. Above them are the Markynaz, or 'grand dukes' who make up part of Dagon's council of lords. The highest rank of Dremora is the Valkynaz, or 'prince', members of the Valkyn, Mehrunes Dagon's personal guard. The Valkynaz are rarely encountered on Tamriel; normally they remain by Mehrunes Dagon's side, or serve as commanders of operations of particular importance or interest to Dagon. (Varieties of Daedra)

    Dagon's Factions

    Stare into the flame, and you will see the Master's truth.

    See his smile in the curling of paper as it blackens and burns. Hear his cackles of joy at the screams of those who die beneath our knives.

    We devote ourselves to you, Mehrunes Dagon, Prince of Destruction, Lord of Blood and Flames. Your servants give you this tribute: the death of a thousand thousand creatures of flesh and tears. (The Master's Truth)

    Due to his love of overt displays of power, Dagon has one of the largest cult followings of any of the Daedric Princes. Cultists of this demon are known for their attempts to incite natural disasters; the influencing of weather patterns or even attempts at creating earthquakes. Often pyromaniacs feel the call of Dagon, their sick fascination with starting fires is welcomed in cult circles which often bear the symbol of a fiery, rising sun. (Thwarting the Daedra: Mehrunes Dagon)

    Art from Steam Community

    The Mythic Dawn (Art by psiipilehto)

    The Mythic Dawn were perhaps the most influential deadric cult in the entire Third Era. They believed  Mankar Camoran, their leader, to be a prophet of the end times and followed the teachings of his Commentaries on the Mysterium Xarxes

    In the year 4E 433, the Mythic Dawn successfully carried out multiple assassinations against the Emperor's sons before finally killing Emperor Uriel Septim VII deep below the dungeons of the Imperial City. With no emperor sitting on the Ruby Throne and no heirs to relight the Dragonfires in the Temple of the One, the Covenant was broken and the barrier separating Tamriel from Oblivion weakened, allowing Dagon's hordes of Oblivion to invade. (The Black Horse Courrier),(The Amulet of Kings)

    The Order of the Mythic Dawn had four ranks, Novitiate, Questing Knight, Chaplain, and Master.

    Mankar Camoran - Bosmer or Altmer? (Art by Faasnu)

    Why do you think your world has always been contested ground, the arena of powers and immortals? It is Tamriel, the realm of Change, brother to Madness, sister to Deceit. Your false gods could not entirely rewrite history. Thus you remember tales of Lorkhan, vilified, a dead trickster, whose heart came to Tamriel. But if a god can die, how does his heart survive? He is daedroth! TAMRIEL AE DAEDROTH! "This Heart is the heart of the world, for one was made to satisfy the other." You all remember this. It is in every legend. Daedra cannot die, so your so-called gods cannot erase him from your minds completely.

    Leader of the Mythic Dawn cult, Mankar Cameron is in all likelihood the heir to the legendary Camoran Dynasty of Valenwood. (The Refugees) To be fair, that's just my blatant author bias. There are actually two theories on Mankar's ancestry, one is more mundane while the other is slightly more esoteric.

    The first theory uses Notes on Racial Phylogeny to assert that Mankar Camaron cannot be the the descendent of The Usurper and just coincidently shares the same name due to the fact the character we see in TES IV is an Altmer, yet according to The Refugees his mother was a Bosmer:

    "The mistress of the Camoran Usurper was pregnant."

    ... He had heard about Kaalys, and he imagined a desperate woman fleeing with her newborn baby in her arms into the wilderness. Kaalys would have nowhere to go, no one to protect them. She and her baby would be a refugee, like Miak-I and him had been. Reflecting back, he remembered her words.

    He is coming. He is coming, and he will bring death. He will destroy all. Who was this "He" who was coming if the Camoran Usurper was dead?

    "Did she say nothing else?" asked Orben.

    "She told me the baby's name," Rosayna replied. "Mankar"

    As he has a Bosmer mother the Altmer Mankar Camoran we see in-game goes against established lore...

    After much analysis of living specimens, the Council long ago determined that all "races" of elves and humans may mate with each other and bear fertile offspring. Generally the offspring bear the racial traits of the mother, though some traces of the father's race may also be present. (Notes on Racial Phylogeny)

    ...Unless we factor in theory number Two. This idea holds that the Mankar of the game and the Mankar in lore are one and the same, the differences of race being down to Camoran using Mehrunes Razor to literally cut himself a new identity. For who really wants to be a male Bosmer? This, according to Camoran's Commentaries, is the true use of Dagon's dagger. We should save that train of thought for the comments, but I urge those novitiates to check out this videoThus shall you return to your first primal wail and yet come out different. It shall this time be neonymbiosis, master akin to Master, whose Mother is miasma.

    Mankar was the father of two "children", Raven and Ruma Camoran who would both become leading members of the Mythic Dawn in their own right. However, according to the Commentaries on the Mysterium Xarxes which Mankar wrote after studying the Mysterium Xarxes, Ruma Cameron was killed or remade by Mankar because she turned from the Dagonite road. Because of the way the Commentaries are written, it is unclear whether Raven and Ruma are literal children or copies of himself which Mankar carved into existence with the Razor. I think I like that latter idea better...

    To skip to the end, Mankar reveals the root of his beliefs in the mind-blowing revelation towards the final act of TES IV which holds the possibility that Tamriel is actually Lorkhan's plane of Oblivion, that the Aedra were the ticksters who stole his plane.

    The Red Wives of Dagon (Art by Mirric Farseer)

    We can make more money if we stop at Noormoc and sell it to the Red Wives of Dagon, who pay well for the wonders made by the Deep Folk.'

    But another Chimer, who was wise in the ways of prophecy, looked on the simulacrum with disquietude. 'Was I not hired on to help you seek the best of fortunes? I say you should listen to your warrior, then, and take this thing to Ayem, for though manufactured by our enemies there is something in it that will become sacred, or has been already.'

    The merchant captain took pause then and looked on the simulacrum of the netchiman's wife and, though he heeded always the advice of his seers, could do no more than think of the profits to be made at Noormoc. He thought mainly of the Red Wives' form of recompense, which was four-cornered and good wounded, a belly-magic known nowhere else under the moons. His lust made him deny Ayem his mother. He gave order to change course for Noormoc. (The 36 Lessons of Vivec, Semon Five)

    The Red Wives of Dagon, although only mentioned briefly in the 36 Lessons, are a great example of TES Lore getting sexy. We can only speculate as to what these woman are, but they remind me very much of paganism's High Priestesses, practicing sex magic akin to the Great Rite in Lord Dagon's name.

    References to Belly-Magic in the Lessons are clearly a euphemism for sexual practices in the same way we have seen the term Dibellan Arts used in that context. The lust the merchant captain displays at the prospect of bartering with these woman is revealing, the text making it clear that the form of sex on offer is rare - four-cornered and good wounded, a belly-magic known nowhere else under the moons. Four cornered is probably relates to the House of Troubles which would indicate some mad, dominating and disturbing practices, while good wounded could be a metaphor for vagina in the same way us Brits use the word gash. It also carries heavy Razor overtones as we shall see when we discuss Mehrunes Razor.

    So I like to view the Red Wives of Dagon as priestesses, painted or tattooed red like the Prince himself, the colour carrying with it connotations of blood, danger and death. They are Dagon's spiritual wives, married to him in body and soul who will trade sex in exchange for power.










    The Legacy of Dagon

    The Daedric Crescent (Art by Mason from his Artifacts of Tamriel Series)

    Probably the most rare and even outlawed item of all the great prizes is the Daedric Crescent Blade. The Blade was used by Mehrunes Dagon's Daedric forces in the capture of the Imperial Battlespire.

    These extremely unique Blades were gathered up and destroyed after the Battlespire was recaptured by the Empire. All but one it seems. Though the Empire believes them all to be destroyed, it is rumored that one still remains in existence, somewhere in Tamriel, though none have ever seen it. The Blade lends it's weilder the ability to do great damage on an enemy and allows him to paralyze and put heavy wear on his enemy's armor. Quite the prize for any mighty warrior, if it does indeed exist. (Tamrielic Lore)








    Mehrunes' Razor (Art by Ljuton)

    Also called the Dagger of the Final Wounds, the Bane of the Righteous and the Kingslayer, Mehrunes' Razor is an Ebony dagger which has the power to instantly kill whoever it cuts. 

    Along with the Mask of Clavicus Vile, Mehrunes' Razor is an example of a long-term binding. This means that unlike some lesser daedra bound by their Daedra Lords into weapons and armour which may only be summoned for brief periods, Dagon's dagger can manifest for far, far longer. (Darkest Darkness)

    It rarely stays in one place for too long, indeed it has changed hands many times over the centuries as it ever seeks a worthy wielder. However, the Razor's bloodlust was temporarily stalled when, after the Oblivion Crisis of  3E 433, a militia group dedicated to exterminating the Mythic Dawn agents found the artifact and scattered it for safe keeping. These Keepers of the Razor - as they subsequently called themselves - recorded their lineage so that after two centuries of rest the Razor was recovered in 4E 201. (The Keepers of the Razor)

    The Dark Brotherhood has coveted this ebony dagger for generations. This mythical artifact is capable of slaying any creature instantly. History does not record any bearers of Mehrune's Razor. However, the Dark Brotherhood was once decimated by a vicious internal power struggle. It is suspected that the Razor was involved. (Tamrielic Lore)








    The true nature of Mehrunes' Razor is slightly more complicated. Without bogging this dossier down with terms such as protonymic, neonymic or even Aldudagga- we'll save them for the discussion if anyone is interested in talking about those ideas further.

    However, I will mention those sources and quotes which appear in-game that form the entrance to the rabbit-hole interested readers can dive down. My intention here is not one of controversy, rather I believe speculation such as this could become the basis of other projects on this site as it opens Mehrunes Dagon to a much wider interpretation than his traditional role.

    We saw earlier when we discussed the theories about Mankar Camoran that he used Mehrunes' Razor to slice himself a new identity using knowledge gained from the Mysterium Xarxes. Of course there may be other interpretations based on the reader's point of view, but in the Commentaries it is hinted that Mehrunes' Razor is literally Dagon himself:

    I give my soul to the Magna Ge, sayeth the joyous in Paradise, for they created Mehrunes the Razor in secret, in the very bowels of Lyg, the domain of the Upstart who vanishes. Though they came from diverse waters, each Get shared sole purpose: to artifice a prince of good, spinning his likeness in random swath, and imbuing him with Oblivion's most precious and scarce asset: hope. (Mythic Dawn Commentaries)

    Magna Ge? Lyg? MK nonsense? Not so, here's ESO's  The Exegesis of Meridnunda written by Phrastus of Elindir, aka Lawrence Schick:

    "… were known as the Nine Coruscations, who followed the parabolas that led away from Magnus. Merid-Nunda was of these Sisters, as was Mnemo-Li, as was Xero-Lyg, as was …." (Exegesis of Merid-Nunda)

    So that could make Xero-Lyg the Upstart Who Vanishes - Lorkhan. So, Mankar believes that Mehrunes was created by the Magna Ge in the bowels of Lyg (Lorkhan). He also believes that Tamriel is Lorkhan's Plane of Oblivion. We know that the planes of Oblivion are extensions of the principalities, that when you enter the Shivering Isles you are literally walking through Sheogorath. With that in mind, it is an easy step to conclude that the bowels of Lyg is Tamriel. Dagon was made in Tamriel! At least if you follow Mankar's reasoning...

    The Mysterium Xarxes

    "In my first arm, a storm. My second, the rush of plagued rain. The third, all the tinder of Anu. The fourth, the very eyes of Padhome." (Translating the Mysterium Xarxes)

    Xarxes, scribe of Auriel and, according to the Golden Orb himself, a servant of Hermaeus Mora. Odd that a book bearing his name would be written by Lord Dagon in the deserts of rusts and wounds. Of that particular rabbit hole I will speak no more. What we do know is that the Mysterium Xarxes is a tome of immense and evil power.

    The Mysterium Xarxes was used by Mankar Camoran to learn many secrets, including the way to open a portal to Gaiar Alata, Mankar's Paradise, likely an extension or pocket realm of the Deadlands. Or from Mankar's point of view, a pocket realm of Tamriel (possibly?)

    In that realm the souls of deceased Mythic Dawn cultists found themselves in a place where they would face perpetual torture. Like the process Mankar went through to cut himself a new identity, the cultists would undergo savage torture in order to eventually ascend in some sick version of a Walking Way.

    "Behold the Savage Garden, where my disciples are tempered for a higher destiny, to rule over Tamriel Reborn. If you are truly the hero of destiny, as I hope, the Garden will not hold you for long. Lift your eyes to Carac Agaialor, my seat at the pinnacle of paradise. I shall await you there." Manky C.

    From the Deadlands by Tiviur


    Conclusion and Discussion Points

    This was an absolute beast to write and I daresay I missed many things out, but I like to think I've included most of the useful sources and achieved the goal of making this dossier a useful referrence tool for all things Dagon.

    We've covered a lot, from what Dagon's spheres are and where he lives, to his legacy artifacts and deeper lore. I think for those brave enough to delve there is more to Dagon than just a god of destruction. I think there may be room in the old guy for more interpretations to be squeezed.

    As for discussion points, as always comments and criticisms are welcome. I'm also keen to hear your thoughts on some of the more esoteric stuff: Was Mankar a descendant of the much-feared Haymon Hart-King, The Usurper? Did he use the Razor to cut himself a new identity? Also, what about Mankar's claims that Tamriel is Lorkhan's plane of Oblivion? Believe it or not?

    Thank you to Golden Fool for proofreading and catching my mistakes. Also, thanks to Mirric for the Lady Dagon art and Mason for the Daedric Cresent art. 

    Thank you for reading.

    Inspired by Mehrunes? Check out these fantastic builds from the Mythic Dawn Character Building Contest.

  • Member
    August 16, 2015

    I do like the inclusion of the gif 

  • August 16, 2015

    Nice Work Phil. I meant to comment on this in the Workshop earlier today but I got held up...Anyway I'll basically repeat what I said (But shorter). Nice Work, Merhunes seems way more interesting now, there's a lot of stuff I had no idea about reagarding this guy, especially some of the stuff on Mankar Cameron, stuff I can't believe I missed when playing Oblivion, 7 times. 

  • Member
    August 16, 2015

    You only played it 7 times? Not good Dragonborn, just not good enough 

  • Member
    August 16, 2015

    The gif is cool, found it here

  • Member
    August 16, 2015

    Thanks DB that's decent of you to say - makes me feel like I was helpful What was it about Manky C you missed, surely not the big Lorkhan revelation? And why only 7 times?

  • Member
    August 16, 2015

    Love it 

  • August 16, 2015

    Forgot the 0  should've been 70, still might be an understatement...Though the Main Quest, that seems like a fair number, 70 completions in 9 years.

    I honestly never paid much attention to the Main Quest, I played the game the year it came out so I was...8 when I first played. No 8 year old reads in-game books and after playing it through a good many times I never bothered to read any lore about him. I was bored of the Main Quest by the time I started enjoying ES Lore so just a lot of rushing through it.

    I missed a lot of the stuff about the Razor and it's connection with him and I never considered what exactly Paradise was (other then a kind of dull level to get through with a boss fight that was pretty sweet). Maybe I just missed some of the fan-theories about him.

  • Member
    August 16, 2015

    Thanks Mirric That sexy Dagon picture works beautifully I think!

  • Member
    August 16, 2015

    70 is a btter number...but 8 years old? Dagon's dick! That explains why the Dark Brotherhood was so damn popular if you represent the average age of Oblivion players at that time

    Mankar as a boss battle was well done, I agree. Terrance Stamp's voice acting was class too. I really miss not being able to carry staves on my character's back in TES V, a look Manky pulled off nicely.