Of all the exciting and powerful characters spread throughout The Elder Scrolls, some of the most interesting and popular are the Daedric Princes.
The Daedric Princes frequently pop up in games throughout the series, whether because of their assistance toward the player or their sinister machinations being the focal point of the game’s entire storyline. Each Prince comes with their spheres of influence, a realm within the hellish dimension of Oblivion crafted in their own image, and plenty of personality to remember them by.
Key Info Up Front
- Sphere of Influence: Secrecy, Lying, Sex, and Obfuscation
- Titles: Webspinner, Androgyne, and Plot-Weaver
- Game Appearances: Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, Elder Scrolls Online
- Artifacts: Ebony Blade, Ring of Khajiit
- Realm of Oblivion: Spiral Skein
The Creation of the Daedric Princes
Like all Daedric Princes, Mephala‘s story begins before the mortal realm even existed. At the beginning of time, two opposing forces went by many names depending on which culture’s creation myth was examined.
However, the two are consistently referred to as a force of chaotic darkness and one of orderly light. The two forces were in constant conflict, which led to a surge of energy that gave birth to original beings known as the et’Ada.
One of the et’Ada, Lorkhan, convinced many others to help him create a new mortal realm known as Mundus. Doing so required an incredible amount of power from each of the et’Ada, meaning that Lorkhan had to trick them into doing so, as they were left permanently weakened afterward. But not all of the et’Ada were fooled by Lorkhan, and they instead created their dimension, Oblivion.
Within that dimension, they took a corner, known as a realm, that they made and cultivated however they saw fit. The et’Ada of Oblivion became known as the Daedric Princes, with their offspring becoming the Daedra, while those that helped Lorkhan became known as the Aedra.
While the Aedra were significantly weakened by the creation of Mundus, also known as Nirn, both species are regarded as deities by mortals for their still incredible abilities.
Mephala’s Influence and Interactions on Nirn
While the Daedric Princes were not interested in helping create Nirn, that has not stopped them from frequently getting involved in the moral dimension. This has led to them each boasting sizable cults of worship while they also use champions and artifacts to influence mortals into carrying out their wishes for them.
Many Daedric Princes even consider Nirn to be another realm of Oblivion, leading to them wishing to merge it with their realm to grow in power and influence over their peers.
Mephala’s influence on Nirn begins in the early Merethic Era. During that time, the Chimer people were persuaded by the Daedric Prince Boethiah to cut ties with the Aedra-worshipping Aldmer, causing them to found their Daedra-worshipping land now known as Morrowind. The Chimer various lessons and skills from the Daedric Princes, with Mephala teaching them how to evade enemies and secretly kill them with murder.
This was a critical skill for the Chimer to learn, as they were a relatively small faction among the many groups active on Tamriel at the time. Mephala also worked with Boethiah to institute the clan system in Morrowind that led to the Great Houses of the Dunmer and the founding of the Morag Tong.
The Morag Tong became Mephala’s primary way of interacting with the mortals of Nirn for some time. The Morag Tong is a guild of assassins native to Morrowind that devoted themselves to worshipping Mephala and killing in her name. For hundreds of years, the guild was legal in Morrowind, and it became mighty thanks to its ties to the influential noble class and the government.
They often killed without consequence and steadily grew in size and influence throughout the province. However, some guild members eventually wished to build a fortune with their skills, and they broke off to found the Dark Brotherhood, becoming the mortal enemies of the Morag Tong. Morrowind’s government’s official stance is that the Morag Tong was killed off and made extinct, but many say that they still operate in the shadows.
There are also rumors that the Dark Brotherhood is merely the modern incarnation of the Morag Tong, as some scholars believe that their commanding Night Mother is just another form of Mephala. After the Morag Tong fell in influence and power on the realm, Mephala began focusing on influencing various mortals to have her will carried out. She uses promises of power and her two artifacts to control them and seems to revel in causing suffering and chaos wherever she can.
Mephala is also attributed to the creation of the Spider Daedra. Mephala, while having both masculine and feminine features, is often depicted and seen as a woman with large spider legs extending from her back. She is thought to be the queen of spiders, and the Spider Daedra reflects that.
They are centaur-like creatures with the naked torso of a woman attached to the body of a massive spider, complete with an armored carapace. The Spider Daedra are said to be some of the most ferocious and blindly violent in all of Oblivion, so much so that they have been known to disregard often the orders and demands of Mephala in pursuit of satisfying their craving for violence and bloodshed.
Mephala, alongside Boethiah and Azura, saw a rise in power, especially in Morrowind. After the Oblivion Crisis led to the eruption of the Red Mountain in the province, many of the people there called for an end to the rule of the Tribunal, a group of three powerful mortals that ascended to godhood.
With the Tribunal being denounced, those same people called for a restitution of the Anticipations that see the three Daedric Princes returning as the primary rulers and subjects of worship across the province.
Mephala’s realm of Oblivion is known as Spiral Skein. It is defined as a sprawling web of her influence that mortals are easily lost for eternity within. It is constructed around a central tower known as the Pillar Palace of Mephala. Eight spokes divide the realm up off that tower, known as the Eight Strands of the Skein. Each is associated with a different one of Mephala’s many sins. The first is devoted to lies and has a landscape dominated by pillars that reach the sky.
Another is devoted to envy, represented by twisting claustrophobic chambers, while a third is filled with seductive light that illuminates endless fields filled with masses of writhing maggots. Then, a fourth is nothing but impossible dark tunnels that no living creature can see through. A fifth is dedicated to betrayal, where the souls that live there are constantly killing one another for scraps from the hideaways and holes scattered throughout it.
A sixth is a massive arena where Mephala entertains herself with deadly combats, while a seventh is for avarice and is said to be filled with all things mortals would kill and die for. Finally, the eight is constantly aflame to represent the inevitable death of mortals.
While the Spiral Skein is Mephala’s primary realm in Oblivion, it is said that she has power over an infinite number of smaller realms as well. These realms are connected through a ghostly web that allows her to travel quickly between them, and many scholars have found evidence to suggest that her webs reach every known dimension of existence.
This means that Mephala can travel between the realms through backdoors and hidden entrances, extending her reach and power far further than any other Daedric Prince or Aedra.
Related Daedric Artifacts
The Ebony Blade
The Ebony Blade is a powerful dark katana that has also gone by the names of Black Edge, the Leech, the killing word, and the Vampire throughout history. It absorbs the energy of the lives it ends, allowing it to grow in power over time. This effect is even more significant when used to kill those close to the wielder whose mind slowly corrupts through use.
In Arena, the Ebony Blade can be found in random locations in the provinces of Skyrim and Valenwood.
The Ebony Blade then appeared again in Daggerfall, where it is earned by summoning Mephala on the 13th of Frostfall by performing a quest for her.
Enchantments: Far Silence, Vampire Touch, Energy Leech, and +15 to Long Blade.
The Ebony Blade was absent in Morrowind but could be obtained again in Oblivion by the Hero of Kvatch. To do so, the player has to commune with Mephala at her shrine, upon which she gives them a quest to sow discord between two families, causing them to go to war with one another and all die.
Base Value: 6,512
Enchantments: Absorb Health 8 points, Silence 10 points
The Ebony Blade again appeared in Skyrim. To find it, the Dragonborn had to speak with the son of Jarl Balgruuf Nelkir. Nelkir claims to be hearing voices coming from a wall in the basement of the hold, which turns out to be Mephala manipulating him and driving him insane. The Dragonborn can then open a secret door in the basement to reach the Ebony Blade and take it for themself so that it no longer will influence Nelkir or anyone else unlucky enough to stumble on it.
Base Damage: 11
Base Value: 2,000
Enchantments: Absorb Health 10 points. However, this enchantment can be improved up to 30 points by slaying companions and any characters with a positive disposition toward the Dragonborn by completing their quests.
Elder Scrolls Online
The Ebony Blade is found in the MMO Elder Scrolls Online in the Crypt of Hearts II dungeon in Rivenspire. The player can interact with it to summon the lich Nerien’eth to fight them. However, it can not be earned or equipped by the player as an actual weapon.
Ring of Khajiit
The Ring of Khajiit is a powerful artifact from Mephala that only appears in Morrowind. It is thought to be an invaluable tool for a thief and is found by finding Mephala’s shrine in a hidden area within the Arena Canalworks of Vivec City. There, the Nerevarine is tasked with killing Balyn Omavel as punishment for performing assassinations without orders under the name of the Morag Tong.
The ring is also referenced in Arena as the Ring of Khajiit but is called the Ring of Khajiiti in Oblivion and Daggerfall. The Ring of Khajiiti is also an artifact of the Daedric Prince Meridia, so it is unclear if the ring’s origins are contested or if there are two separate but strikingly similar rings.
Base Value: 18,000
Enchantments: Fortify Speed 10-20 points, Invisibility
Mephala’s only quest in Morrowind tasks the Nerevarine with killing Balyn Omavel. Mephala is punishing Omavel for assassinating mortals and claiming that they were done by the Morag Tong despite Mephala never having ordered their assassinations. For completing the quest, the Nerevarine is rewarded with the powerful Ring of Khajiit.
In Oblivion, the Hero of Kvatch can approach Mephala’s shrine at night and make an offering of nightshade. When this is done, Mephala will talk to them and request that they travel to the nearby town of Bleaker’s Way. The city is run by two prominent families who have made a pact.
The Hero of Kvatch is told to kill each leading member of the houses and leave evidence implicating the opposing house in the murder. This causes the two families to go to war, ensuring their mutual destruction. The Hero of Kvatch is rewarded with the Ebony Blade for their trouble.
The Whispering Door
When the Dragonborn talks to the tavernkeeper at the Bannered Mare in Whiterun, they hear a rumor that Jarl Balgruuf has strange children. This leads them to investigate the child Nelkir, who claims to be talking to the Whispering Lady, who tells him secrets in the basement of the hold.
When the Dragonborn approaches the Whispering Lady, she is revealed to be Mephala herself, and she tasks them with finding a secret key to open the door and claim the Ebony Blade for themself. Once the Dragonborn takes the blade, Mephala informs them that it is weaker now from years of being disregarded. She instructs them to return it to its proper form by killing those close to them.
The Elder Scrolls Online
A Marriage in Ruins
In this quest, the hero has to help the sisters Adeena and Izzara, who are manipulated by Mephala’s influence into wanting to kill one another. The hero can try to save them through other means but eventually has to decide which of the two lives and which dies.
The Arbordawn Cult
This quest sees the hero again helping mortals escape the influence of Mephala. This time, they have to destroy corruption stones within an underground tunnel. They then agree to help an artificer Telenger defend him from Spider Daedra while he dispels the larger corruption stones at the center of Mephala’s influence in the area.
Edge of Darkness
This quest is part of the Crypt of Hearts II dungeon. In it, the hero works to remove Mephala’s hold on the Crypt of Hearts. To do so, they have to fight through the dungeon and defeat the lich Nerien’eth to remove the Ebony Blade implanted there, corrupting all mortals near it.
Lost in Translation
Mephala also plays a key role in the main storyline of the DLC Summerset. In it, she is working with Clavicus Vile and Nocturnal. The hero tries to prevent their plan to conquer Summerset throughout the DLC, and the sixth quest in the storyline, Lost in Translation, sees them confronting all three of the Deadric Princes at once.
However, Calvicus Vile and Mephala are betrayed by Nocturnal, who seizes control of a powerful artifact known as the Heart of Transparent Law and intends to use it to take Summerset for herself.
A Necessary Alliance
In this quest, the hero then agrees with Clavicus Viel and Mephala to stop Nocturnal’s plans. So, the hero has to talk to Mephala to convince her to help them reach Nocturnal and face her in the Crystal Tower.
The Crystal Tower
Mephala then appears in the next quest to help the hero reach the Crystal Tower and stop Nocturnal’s plans to conquer Summerset.
“Nothing like an empty mind, waiting, yearning for purpose. The lost city, the lost Faithful, the great Artificer, all tremble in the web of Mephala.” –The Elder Scrolls Online.
“Take this ring, mortal. It will carry you with speed and stealth through the brightest day.” –Morrowind.
“Well done, little webspinner. Is there a prettier sight than friends at war? Take pleasure in the strife you have caused, mortal.” –Oblivion.
“The boy is good at sussing out secrets, but the corruptibility of children is ultimately too limited for my purposes. You, though, I expect will prove far more malleable.” –Skyrim.
Question: What is Mephala the Daedric Prince of?
Answer: Mephala is widely referred to as the Daedric Prince of Secrets. However, this also includes the spheres of murder, lies, sex, and obfuscation.
Question: Is Mephala considered a good Daedra?
Answer: While Daedric Princes don’t adhere to binary morality like mortals are used to, she is widely considered evil because of her influence over the Morag Tong and the Dark Brotherhood. However, her role in founding Morrowind and assisting the Chimer have her worshipped as a good Daedric Prince in the province.
Question: What does Mephala look like?
Answer: All Daedric Princes can alter their appearance, but Mephala seems to prefer being portrayed as a woman. She often appears wearing a very low-cut robe with a raised hood and sometimes has armored spider legs sprouting from her back.
Mephala Guide: Conclusion
Mephala has never played as significant a role in the Elder Scrolls series as Daedric Princes like Mehrunes Dagon or Molag Bal. However, she is still incredibly interesting and has a lot to offer both the series’ lore and players through unique interactions. With how far-reaching her influence over the realms of Oblivion is, players will undoubtedly see more of Mephala in the series’ future.