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Daedra Dossier: Clavicus Vile

  • October 15, 2016

    *Disclaimer: This article was posted by Malign, before the site move. Because Malign isn´t around anymore, I am merely reposting this, all credit goes to Malign.

    Oh, if I had my full power that would be trivial. I’d simply snap my fingers, and everyone in Skyrim would die. War resolved.




    Clavicus Vile, the politician of Oblivion. The Daedric Prince of Wishes, Oath-Breaking and Mockery, the mischievous imp with the loyal dog, that twist and warp deals to ensnare the wisher.


    Clavicus Vile is a Daedric Prince, a deity that did not partake in the creation of Mundus. His sphere is the sphere of granting power by wishes, and deals that he takes great pleasure  in turning them into ingenious snares, designed to result in the wisher's downfall and his amusement.


    His enemy is the Yokudan God of war, Ebonarm, and his allies are unknown, the only large number of worshipers I can name are the Cyrodilic Vampirum Order, who he gifted with guile and an appearance similar to mortals..  He takes the form of a man with horns, as depicted in the drawing to the left. Another form he delights in is an almost childlike imp, one with a vicious sense of humour.

    As previously mentioned, Vile takes great pleasure in the suffering of others, and enjoys toying with mortals, and is reviled, being known as an evil Daedra. When questioned by Cyrus, more on him later, he replied with "A follower of my brother, Hermaeus Mora, once said: "the ultimate purpose of the Daedra Lords is to instruct and improve the generally deplorable character of mortals." Lovely sentiment. But, in fact, I watch mortals, and meddle now and then, purely for entertainment."

    Most Daedra do not care for mortal life, as shown in Spirit of the Daedra. If Dremora view mortals as prey, akin to the simple rabbit,  how would this almost omnipotent dremora think of a lowly farmer, begging for a good rain? The Daedra are different, not evil or good, and can only act through their spheres. Therefore, it is in Vile's nature to send down a flood to washout the said farmers's field, and send him into poverty. The one thing Vile cannot have is to be bored, and he would much rather riddle with a hero, then crush him as some of his peer's would. His life is an endless need for entertainment, gained through his cycle. It is his purpose to trick, slander and lie, his very nature. He is not the lord of Oath breaking, he is Oath breaking. Calling him evil for his deeds is akin calling a rabbit evil for running from the menacing wolf. 


    And now, onto the metaphysical. The world of Mundus is a dream, a dream dreamed by the GodHead, which follows a song, a series of stanzas that mostly end with the falling of a Tower. Now, all the entities in the TES universe are parts of the GodHead, and all the deities are his aspects. When added together, they create the GodHead's mind, and Vile is his aspect of mockery, wishes and oath-breaking, a part of his oversoul. He is nothing but that aspect of him, given consciousness, so he acts through his sphere, unaware that he doesn't exist.

    Sources: Spirit of the Daedra

    Barbas is Vile's loyal hound. We do not know much about this Daedra, yet here is what we do know. Barbas has the gift of shapeshifting, as seen when he imprints Cyrus' features upon his canine body, that is his preferred from, upon sunny days as Vile tells us. He remains loyal to Vile, yet has a will of his own, as is shown when Vile casts him out, or when he warns a hero to not return Umbriel, against his master's wishes. I have a theory, that is rudimentary, yet possible. We are not given the type of power Vile has control over, and no other Daedra has half his power split. Although... We could compare his tale to the curse laid upon Jyggalag's, a feared Daedric Prince. The other Princes joined and cursed Jyygalag, turning him into the MadGod, a deity representing what he hates most.  So, could Barbas be a restraint, a leash of sort, upon Vile, to keep him behaved, and not as powerful as the others. Could Vile be a powerful Prince, doomed to be kept from his full potential, by Barbas?

    Karver rises another interesting theory, is Barbas an affect of multiple personality disorder? Is he Vile's other personality, that can literally manifest, due to Vile's scale of power, did Vile wish his other personality, a voice into his head, into a literal Daedra? Is Clavicus the Prince, or does Clavicus andBarbas make up the Daedric Prince of Wishes, two different personalities in an over-soul?

    Sources: TES (Games)

    Unlike others, the realm of Clavicus Vile is not a far cry from Mundus, unlike the hellish areas of Coldharbour, or the fantastical realm of the MadGod, the Shivering Isles or Asylum. No, the realm of Vile is like Nirn, yet superior to it's sibling, With picturesque, idyllic land, and beautiful cities, with no mortal rivals.  The realm represents Vile's spheres, a serene landscape, that most probably has a few ugly secrets.

    Vile himself seems to live in a humble cottage, next to a chair he sat in when meeting Cyrus, a redguard hero, in 2E 864. Cyrus had demanded his sister to be released, yet Vile wasn't going to be intimidated by a violent fool, or heroes as some call them. Instead of engaging with a duel, as Molag Bal did to the Vestige, he instead challenged Cyrus with a different battle, a riddle. I will leave the link here to a more indepth retelling, for I will not go into more detail, this is not Cyrus's dossier.

     Sources; Redguard (game), 






    Now, onto more complicated matters. Umbra is part of the history and lore of Vile, and omitting it would be like omitting Barbas, or even Vile himself. The tale of Umbra started before it's smithing, Vile was searching for a blacksmith to create him a weapon to cause mischief, and as a source for more entertainment for the Prince.

    He searched and found his target, a witch named Naenra Waerr. Yet the sword, (it could shapeshift into any bladed weapon, but we will call it a sword for convenience)  had to be imbued with Vile's power, or at least that was what the witch told Vile was necessary Umbra, and whether by the witch's design (a theory even holds she was Sheogorath himself) or not, the soul stealing sword gained sentience, and would slowly take control of it's wielder and possess them, driving them insane when it was no longer containing Umbra. This being named itself Umbra. The witch hid the weapon, and was later executed. 

    The sword was then possessed by an orc, who wished for death yet none were able to best him. This remained until the Nerevarine granted their wish of a Good Death. Later, Umbra came into the hands of the bosmer named Lenwin, who was driven mad.  Vile instructed the Champion of Cyrodil to defeat her, and return the sword to Vile. Barbas confronted the CoC , and warned him against trading it to Vile. Yet, the CoC did so, and Vile would soon regret that the Barbas had persuaded him.

    Umbra escaped the sword and hid in one of Vile's city, with no wish to return to his imprisonment inside the blade. He was drawn to the ingenium, a rift into Vile's realm that was used to keep Baar Du airborne. Souls were traded for energies, which Vile craved. Umbra remained by the breach, waiting for it to grow. Finally, it was destroyed, and Umbra tossed his namesake (the entity throwing the weapon, not the other way round) to Mundus. Two dunmer  were transported into Vile's realm, Sul and Vuhon, mer responsible for the ingenium. Umbra, who had stolen power from Vile and was nearly the equivalent of the Prince, exchanged their lives for Vuhon building another ingenium, to tear away a section of Vile's realm and free Umbra. They did so, and Umbriel, a floating city, was created. Vuhon merged with Umbra, and put their soul into the ingenium, and ruled Umbriel under the name of Umbriel.


    For fear of Umbra being trapped in the weapon once again, Umbriel searched for it. Yet, the house of Sathil had recovered it, and it's new wielder had gone mad, without Umbra to control him. Two companions named Attrebus Mede and Sul (who was mentioned in the previous paragraph) tracked down the dungeon that contained the wielder, and were unfortunately thrown in it. They defeated Ethul Sathil, the wielder, and were transported to Vile's realm. They struck a deal with Vile, and attacked Umbriel with Umbra,. Unfortunately, this had no effect, and a desperate Sul plunged the blade of Umbra into the ingenium, trapping Umbra (entity) and killing Vuhon. 

    All seemed to be going well for the two, yet Vile couldn't resist. Backstabbing was what he did, and he possessed Atrrebus and stabbed Sul, his champion. Sul knocked Mede out of the Prince's control by punching him, then leaped into ingenium, where he and Umbra (weapon) dissolved into smoke. 

     Sources: Infernal City and Lord of Souls (Novels)



    Now, in this section I will give you summaries of a selection of Vile's deals and his stores, I will give links to the full story if there is  one.  We will not go into Cyrus' tale of his time with Vile, for that has already been covered in Realm. 



    Feyfolken, a tale of a Daedra in the service of Vile. Or more accurately, the quill enchanted with it's soul. 

    In the second era Thaurbard, was the writer of the Chantry of Auri-El's bulletin. He was coming to the end of his working life, and had enough money for a comfortable retirement stashed away, yet his only reason for life was the bulletin. He came in every working day, wrote the bulletin, and returned home, it was his raison d'être. This elf suffered form the crimson plague, and had no voice box, he was bereft of the gift of speech. 

    One day his errand runner came up to him with the news that the Mages Guild had reached Alinor, and he listened to tales of their enchanting and alchemy equipment, the most impressive any has seen. His errand runner was told to enchant a quill, and given a pouch of money. The runner enchanted the said quill with a soul named Feyfolken, a soul that the mages did not know what enchantment it bestowed on the quill. 


    He began to write the bulletin, yet this time he created something that could be called art. It was poetic, illustrated to perfection, and the obituaries brought tears. Thaurbard nearly fainted of exhaustion, then sent this bulletin to his despised secretary. 

    And on and on this went, with each bulletin improving, and yet this was not his work. When he drew the most ugly of slashes, or the most simple of words, it turned it into awe-inspiring prose, or a emboldening phrase that could rally armies. This quill brought him fame and wealth, yet the quill was the ture artist. In a rage, the scribe snapped the quill, then turned to find it untouched. This quill, like Umbra, had developed a mind of it's own.

    He sent the quill to be unenchanted, yet apparently there was no enchantment on it. He replaced the quill, and yet his plain, usual bulletin was replaced by a picturesque one. Some time later, Thaurbard was found dead with some lovely written death notes.

    Sources:Feyfolken (Ingame Book)




    Artifacts of Clavicus Vile

    Like all Princes, Vile has a number of Daedric artifacts that can bring great benefit, or in Vile's case misfortune, to the owner. We have already mentioned the weapon Umbra, and it's sorry tale, so we shall only cover two other artifacts, the Masque of Clavicus Vile and the Bittercup.

    The Masque was a gift presented to Avalea, a noblewoman whose face bore the hideous marks of a cruel servant. This Masque, shaped like the face of Vile, brings great respect to the wearer, although it does not effect their looks. Claviucs reclaimed the masque during Avalea's marriage to a baron, and she was consequently exiled from the Baron's abode. Her daughter claimed revenge, by slaying the baron some twenty years later. This masque was later claimed by the Hero of Daggerfall, after slaying a werewolf, and the Neverarine took it from the lifeless Sorkvild the Raven, a nord skilled in the arcane. It was also worn by the Last Dragonborn, who was offered it in exchange for the Rueful Axe.

    The Bittercup was an elaborate cup, that was part of a deal between Eydis Fire-Eye and the Thieves Guild. Eydis was a follower of Vile, and loyal to the Cammona Tong, and a member of the Fighter's Guild. The deal was ], in exchange for the artifact, Eydis would side against the Tong, and stand with the Thieves Guild. When one drinks the Bittercup's nectar, it improves the attribute they are most capable at, and damage the one they are least capable at. It is unknown if the Neverarine, who carried out this task for the Guild, drank from the cup or offered it to Eydis,


    Sources: Morrowind



    I believe there is still a lot more lore to come out on this Prince that has remained in the shadows in the major TES games. With the games to follow I hope we can see more of the prince, or maybe even have him in the limelight for a change. If you have any theories or interesting sections of lore to add, I will happily add it to this dossier. I hope this Daedra Dossier helped you develop a better understanding of Vile, and give you better knowledge for deals with him. The knowledge mainly being, never make a deal with Vile, Daedric Prince of Wishes, Granting Power, Mockery and Oath-Breaking.



    The artists of  the content used,

    Karver, Albino, Phil and more who made contributions to the Dossier in the Workshop

    Warlord for the titles.

    Thank you for reading.