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Daedra Dossier: Meridia

Tags: #Daedra Dossier  #Meridia  #Phil 
  • Member
    September 11, 2016

    Meridia is a Daedric Prince close to everyone's hearts. She gave us the mighty Dawnbreaker and perhaps sparked our imaginations in a way no other Prince has. We all know her, what she stands for and whether we love her for her light or hate her for her darkness, it is my hope that this dossier provides a home for the many different sources we have and hopefully give Merid the showcase she deserves.


    Who is Meridia?

    Unlike almost all the other Daedric Princes, Meridia still retains much of her mystery. We are familiar with her as a goddess (or demon) of light and life's energy but her sphere has ever been obscure to mortals (Book of Daedra). We know the many names she has been called, Meridia, Merid, Merid-Nunda and the less respectful, The Glister Witch (LMA: Ranks and Hierarchy of the Daedra)

    Yet despite knowing these things, who is she really? Can she truly be said to be a Daedric Prince? As with so much of TES lore, the answer to those is largely down to interpretation. The best place to start in order to address these questions is the out of game book, Imperial Census of Daedra Lords:

    Another Prince whose origins may not entirely be outside of the aetherial, Meridia has at several times been linked to Magnus the Sun. The most famous account of this association is the Tract of Merid-nunda, which overtly casts Meridia in the role of a wayward solar daughter, cast from the heavens for consorting with illicit spectra.

    Kicking this dossier off with an oog source may seem strange but hopefully you will come to view this book in the same way I do as we continue. It makes a bold claim, that the Lady of Infinite Energies is a "wayward solar daughter" kicked out of Aetherius for "consorting with illicit spectra." At once we might identify with her as a fairly tragic figure, a fallen angel and an outcast for doing something we cannot comprehend but seems immoral in the context presented. 

    The book also mentions another source, The Tract of Merid-Nunda. For a long time that reference was obscure until Elder Scrolls Online added Exegesis of Merid-Nunda to the setting which elaborates further on the Tract:

    "… 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 …."

    This appears to identify the "Daedric Prince" Meridia with the so-called Star-Orphans, those Anuic ur-entities that separated from Magnus when that Divine withdrew from the creation of the Aurbis.

    Now we can see where Imperial Census was coming from when it associates Meridia with Magnus: She was one of those spirits we call the Magna Ge who didn't take part in creation like the Aedra but unlike the Daedra decided not to stick around and watch. Their exit created the tears in Oblivion we know as the stars. The two sources do seem to contradict one another slightly, as in the first she was "cast from the heavens" while in the second she was one of a group who followed the curve that "led away from Magnus." Yet neither need to be mutually exclusive and whichever source we lean towards, her origins are firmly part of the Magna Ge - neither Aedric spirit nor Daedric.

    Without going too far off topic and into a discussion about the Magna-Ge, there are a couple of interesting things to note about this family of spirits. Mankar Camoran asserts in his Commentaries that they "created Mehrunes the Razor in secret, in the very bowels of Lyg, the domain of the Upstart who vanishes." If we compare that to how Dawnbreaker was forged, or how Meridia created warriors to stand against Magnus, we may see a possible link between the two.

    Merid is special. Before the Breaking, her teeth, claws, and benevolent whimsy reached into every quarter of the Magne-Ge. Her present aspect is regularly depicted in Brush form-- a creature associated Triple-wise with the Mountain, Y, and M-- a trick of the Chrome Device that has snared Her real role in history into a faint remembrance. It was Merid that foretold the Breaking and attempted to prevent it; who tried to stymie the War of C and M; who desperately fashioned warriors to stand against the Y Blur. Of all of the Greater Spirits, it is Merid that we should most revere. For what if she forsakes us? (Magne-Ge Pantheon) 

    The Magne-Ge Pantheon qouted from above is another oog source which sheds more light on the star children and Meridia in particular. The book details a war amongst the Magna-Ge, possibly their take on the Ehlnofey Wars, and Meridia's brave stand against Magnus. She is described as being heroic, kind and a sort of queen among the stars. Yet a war was waged against the Chrome Device (Magnus) and despite her best efforts Merid lost and her role in these events erased. Passionate, whimsical, benevolent and wise, the tragedy of Meridia and Magnus' betrayal is highlighted perfectly in this source.

    Meridia is most often associated with the Heartland High Elves, The Ayleids, who called her the Lady of Light and revered her as representing their most sacred element. (Magic from the Sky, The Withering of Delodiil). The Ayleids viewed fire as a weak and corrupt form of light and so their temples and sanctuaries were lit by lamps, globes, pools, and fountains of purest magic (Glories and Laments). 

    In The Withering of Delodiil we can see another aspect of her personality - loyalty. The Ayleids of Delodiil were peaceful and worshipped Meridia's light and beauty above all and were proud of their city of culture, art and enlightenment. Yet the Elves of Abagarlas were dark and war-like, worshipping not the light but the darkness of Mola Gbal. They erected a shrine to the Lord of Domination in the hopes of intimidating and dismaying the Delodiilians but the folk of that bright city were unconcerned for they had Meridia's protection:

    And the King of Abagarlas mustered all his soldiers, and on a night in which the skies were lit by a furious racing aurora, he marched them across the valley to Delodiil. But when the King and his army arrived they found the land empty, for the city of Delodiil was gone, unto every brick!
    And the King thought he heard laughter in the lights in the skies, mirth that turned to shrieks of fear that came, not from above, but from back across the valley. In haste the King marched his soldiers back to his city, but when they arrived at Abagarlas, they found it utterly destroyed as if by scorching light. And of the families of the soldiers and the King, nothing could be found but their shadows burnt into the walls of the city.

    I think this source does more to explain Meridia than any other and with the evocative words of that book in mind, perhaps we can see why she gave Umaril her protection and continued to support the Ayleid cause thousands of years after their decline.

    Knights of the Gleaming Blade

    The Ayleid story of Delodiil is featured in the ESO quest The Dangerous Past. What is most interesting about that quest is the knightly order dedicated to Meridia, with it's own ranks and forms of address.
    Taken from the book, Knights of the Gleaming Blade, below are the names, ranks of knights and priestesses who we meet in that quest:

    — Lanath, the Former Exarch of Dark Abagarlas and Newborn in Her Service
    — Endarre, Primarch and Brightblade in Her Lady's Service
    — Valasha, High Priestess and Sunwalker in Her Lady's Service
    — Ostarand, Paladric Blade and Beholden in Her Lady's Service
    It is noteworthy mainly for inspiration it may provide roleplayers, builders and storytellers here.


    Look What by KnightChan


    So much for the constancy of mortals, their crafts and their hearts. If they love me not, how can my love reach them?

    Where is Meridia?

    "The Lords of the Chaos-Realms chided Merid-Nunda for her trespass and bade her return to Aurbis, claiming all existing spheres as their own. But Merid-Nunda formed of her substance a great drag-lens, and the light of Magnus was bent thereby. The rays [carved? focused?] a new sphere from the chaos, which Merid-Nunda, [laughing? sparkling?], did claim for her own." Exegesis of Merid-Nunda

    Meridia's plane of Oblivion is known as the Coloured Rooms, a place she created by using light and refraction. This is interesting, especially when we consider what light is in today's Ensteinian world and how that would be described in a society to which physics is an unknown science. The Exegesis says it best:

    "… thus does Merid-Nunda [ride? slide?] across the rainbow road from end to end, at one end stretching the dragon, at the other end compressing him …."
    A curious passage indeed. The "dragon," of course, traditionally refers to the Divine we know as Akatosh, the God of Time. This seems to suggest that by traveling the "rainbow road" (a reference to the prismatic refraction of light?), Meridia can in some sense alter the rate at which time flows forward.
    Altering the "speed" of time? Is this merely an absurd conceit of the late Ayleid sorcerer-priests, or a genuine insight into the nature of one of the least-understood Daedric Princes?

    In terms of representing Meridia in a fresh and different light, one could do a lot worse than looking at her association with time as presented here.
    Of the Daedra associated with Meridia, The Aurorans are the most well known. In the year 433 of the Third Era the ancient enemy of Pelinal Whitestrake, Umaril the Unfeathered, returned to take his revenge on the gods and man along with his army of Aurorans. Umaril was a sorcerer-king of the Ayleids, believed to be the son of a God from the previous kalpa (The Song of Pelinal). This half elf champion of Meridia was Pelinal's ultimate foe thousands of years ago during Alessia's Slave Rebellion but even as he defeated Umaril, Pelinal knew his enemy would one day return.

    Then Pelinal spoke again for the last time: "Beware, Morihaus, beware! With the foresight of death I know now that my foe yet lives, bitter knowledge to take to my grave. Better that I had died believing myself the victor. Although cast beyond the doors of night, he will return. Be vigilant! I can no longer shield the host of Men from Umaril's retribution."

    The Champion of Cyrodiil finally defeated The Unfeathered after mantling the Divine Crusdaer and receiving the blessings of The Nine Divines. Interestingly, it was the blessing of Talos which tipped the scales in Pelinal-reborn's favour.
    Daedra Seducers are also associated with Meridia and The Coloured Rooms, which explains the choice of art below and serves to keep the fallen angel theme going. For it should now be apparent that feathers and wings play a prominent part in Meridian lore, not least because of their importance in Ayleid culture.

    Succubus by Mlappas

    The Legacy of Meridia

    Dawnbreaker. Perhaps no other weapon in Skyrim has inspired us quite as much as this sword. It is the quintessential paladin's blade, forged of holy light with the intent of burning away corruption and false life. Like nothing else, this sword represents Meridia and her purpose. As a goddess of light and purity, a fallen angel of Aetherius, Dawnbreaker is Meridia in weapon form committed to purging darkness wherever it can be found.

    The undead are foul, unnatural things. Some of my rivals take pleasure in these abominations. Not Meridia. I wish these creatures destroyed. Hidden behind a door, deep in Howling Cave are necromancers. They rob graves for the materials to raise their undead armies. Find these necromancers. Destroy them and their abominations. Do this, and earn the gratitude of Meridia.

    The Ring of Khajiiti. This is a fascinating artefact to be associated with Meridia. It was originally owned by Mephala until the Khajiiti God of Thieves, Rajhin, stole it from the Spider Queen. According to Yaggy Baggy, it was Rajhin who used the Ring's powers to make himself invisible and as quick as the breath of wind. Using the Ring, he became the most successful burglar in Elseweyr's history. Rajhin's eventual fate is a mystery, but according to legend, the Ring rebelled against such constant use and disappeared, leaving Rajhin helpless before his enemies (Tamrielic Lore). How Merid came to possess the ring is unknown, but there seems to be a tacit understanding that she cares not how undead are destroyed and has no qualms about the subtler methods of achieving that goal.


    Guardian Angel by Michael-C-Hayes

    The Admixture of Light and Sound

    One of my favourite topics whenever Meridia is discussed is her possible connection to Kyne. This connection became apparent in an oog post by Michael Kirkbride:

    "What no one has ever seen is the connection between Meridia and Kyne. Let that sink in. What do they-- when connected-- both govern? Think about KotN. One made the Knight, one opposed the Knight. One rained forever because he was gone. One said, no I will wait until he comes back."

    Aside from the delicious fact that this passage overtly states that Pelinal was Shor returned, proving for all that The Whitestrake was a Shezarrine, it also states that there is less of a distinction between the gods and demons as we suppose. In the post/AMA he talks about emotions such as hope, bittersweet regret and longing for a message from people you hold dear. Like turning on the laptop in anticipation of that PM and how you feel at that moment, or that sense of loss when it isn't there. He attempts to ascribe colour to those emotions to convey where and why the two beings, Kyne and Meridia, become indistinguishable. Ultimately, the last paragraph says it better:

    Can you see the admixture of color and sound yet? You sense it. If even you can only taste the one that's gone. That's your only Memory and touchstone. Otherwise, why would you wait? Hope has a color and a sound and a taste and a touch and 11 more sense you don't know you have yet. And this is why you worship them. The gods and demons beyond your control. They went through it before you. They are your ancestors, and this is in the blood. They are your Aedra/Daedra. And sometimes their names get mixed up.

    Again it is interpretation but it sort of adds to the tragedy of Meridia for she misses Magnus and even though he banished her she still waits for his return. To further drive this connection between these goddesses home in a more solid way, it is important to remember that light and souls are basically the same thing. If Meridia is a goddess/demon of light, and light comes from Aetherius the realm of souls, then Merid is a goddess of souls as much as Kyne is a goddess of souls. Their two spheres overlap to the degree where it becomes hard to say when one ends and the other begins. It also might help explain why Meridia detests undead so much - she is a goddess of light and souls, associated with the energies of living things.


    Valkyrie by Edli


    Meridia, whose sphere is said to be obscured to mortals, may not seem so enigmatic when we think of what she has done, what she has been through. She is a tragic figure, cast from the heavens for fighting for what she believed in. She is vilified for her role in the Alessian Rebellions yet all she really did is keep her promise to protect a culture who revered her as the holiest of holiest.  She always seems to back the wrong horse yet never loses hope, and above all she longs for Magnus' approval and waits for his return. Of all the Principalities, one could say her emotions shine the brightest of all.

    However, that is my interpretation. What do you think? Has this dossier shed any light on this Lady of Light? Is there anything new that can be used in projects around the site? More importantly, when talking about emotions and how you view her, what resonates in you when you think of Meridia?

    Bathe in her light by checking out these Meridian Builds: The Twilight of Meridia by Noodles, The Last Sorceror Queen by Elysium and The Paladin by Ponty.

    Thank you for reading.


  • September 26, 2016

    Poor Merid :( I hope we see more of her in future games. Or in the Daedric Civil War in ESO.

  • Member
    September 26, 2016

    Favorite Daedric Prince! :D

  • Member
    September 26, 2016

    Noodles said:

    Favorite Daedric Prince! :D

    It ought to be... your Twilight of Meridia build is on my top 10 faves list ;D

    Great write-up, Phil. I'm with Noodles on this... favorite Daedric Prince. The ends-justifies-the-means vibe I get from her makes for some great witch-hunter gameplay--a righteous ruthlessness. I love it :D

    I also never picked up on the possible connection between Meridia and Kyne... cool stuff!

  • Member
    September 27, 2016

    Thanks guys :) Hard not to like Merid, she's so.. flawed and human it seems.

    Sorry the pictures were broken. Added the eyecandy back.

    Edit: Link me to the Twilight of Meridia -  when I did the Dagon dossier I linked to all Mehrunes-related builds and would like to do the same here if that's ok.

  • Member
    September 27, 2016

    Phil said:

    Thanks guys :) Hard not to like Merid, she's so.. flawed and human it seems.

    Sorry the pictures were broken. Added the eyecandy back.

    Edit: Link me to the Twilight of Meridia -  when I did the Dagon dossier I linked to all Mehrunes-related builds and would like to do the same here if that's ok.

    Here's The Twilight of Meridia and here's The Last Sorcerer Queen.

  • Member
    September 27, 2016

    Dat' arse... Phil :)... Tsk, tsk, tsk...

  • Member
    September 27, 2016

    Damn, that was fast. Thanks Noodles, will add them both in upon awakening :)

  • Member
    September 27, 2016

    I'm working on reformatting all my builds today, so I'm close by. :P

  • Member
    September 27, 2016

    I've just remembered. Ponty's Paladin is also a follower of Meridia.