Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For the quest of the same name, see Clavicus Vile (Quest).

Clavicus Vile (in Daedric script, Daedric C.svgDaedric L.svgDaedric A.svgDaedric V.svgDaedric I.svgDaedric C.svgDaedric U.svgDaedric S.svgDaedric V.svgDaedric I.svgDaedric L.svgDaedric E.svg), also known as the child-god of the Morningstar[UL 1] and the Prince of Bargains,[1] is one of the seventeen Daedric Princes. He is best known for granting wishes and entering into pacts with mortals.[2] He is the Daedric Prince of Power, Trickery, Wishes, Serenity, and Bargains.[2][UL 1] His plane of Oblivion is known as The Fields of Regret.

By game[]


The summoning date of Clavicus Vile is 1st of Morning Star.[3] Clavicus most often takes the form of a small, impish man, with a pair of horns, though he has also manifested as a red mist.[source?]


Clavicus' dealings with Mundus are usually with individuals who wish to have something and, by summoning him, Clavicus gives it to them. However, he is known to take back his deals at inopportune times (for the summoner, not Vile). He loves toying with mortals, generally for his own entertainment rather than for any particular purpose,[4] and has been said to be fond of mortals' souls.[5]

Clavicus has been known to split off portions of himself to create sentient objects or entities. While the permanent binding of spirits into objects is the usual process of creating Daedric Artifacts and Lesser Daedra,[6][7] Vile's creations have shown more independence than that of most other Daedra's creations. These independent fragments are discussed below.


Main article: Barbas

Barbas is a shapeshifting Daedra who houses a significant proportion of Vile's power.[8] He most often takes the form of a dog, but has been known to appear as a Scamp called Creeper.[9] It is possible that Barbas has a degree of precognition, as he warned that returning the Umbra Sword to Vile would bring trouble to his realm,[9] foreshadowing Umbra's escape and the creation of the floating city Umbriel. Despite being of use to Vile, Barbas has been known to bore or annoy the Prince, driving him to abandon Barbas in the Fourth Era.[10]


Main article: Umbra

Originally created as the Umbra Sword, Umbra is either a part of Vile that gained its own sentience within the sword, by accident or design,[11] or a being that Vile somehow trapped within the sword.[5] It ultimately broke free of Vile's will, creating a body for itself but remaining trapped within Vile's Realm. In order to escape, it forged a pact with the Dunmer mage Vuhon, providing the power necessary to create the floating city Umbriel.[5]


Thanks to his penchant for deals and gifts with mortals, Vile has a large number of Daedric Artifacts associated with him. These are listed below.

Bitter Cup[]

Main article: Bitter Cup

The Bitter Cup is an artifact associated with Clavicus Vile, and is known for being highly sacred to his followers. It was believed lost in the ruins of Ald Redaynia.[5] It is possible that it was recovered by the Nerevarine in the Third Era.


Main article: Feyfolken

A piece of fiction written by Waughin Jarth which tells the story of a scribe and an enchanted quill. The scribe had been having trouble selling his stories to his employers and was not making any money; in a last-ditch effort to making things better for himself, he took his quill to some mages who offered to enchant the pen. They infused the quill with the spirit of a Daedra called Feyfolken, who was, unbeknownst to everyone there, a servant of Clavicus Vile. Since the quill had been enchanted, it gave great benefit to the Scribe, but sooner or later Feyfolken got into the Scribe's head and drove him insane, and even convinced the man to take his own life. When that finally happened, Clavicus took the enchanted quill, along with the Scribe's soul.[12][13]

The Masque of Clavicus Vile.

Masque of Clavicus Vile[]

Main article: Masque of Clavicus Vile

Originally made from a deal between Vile and a disfigured noblewoman, the Masque makes its wearer more persuasive,[14] and has been seen around Tamriel throughout the Third and Fourth Eras.

Rueful Axe[]

Main article: Rueful Axe

The Rueful Axe was allegedly given to a wizard named Sebastian Lort, who asked Vile for a way to cure his daughter's lycanthropy.[15] It later found its way into Vile's possession as a gift for his champions.

Umbra Sword[]

Main article: Umbra Sword

The Umbra Sword was created by Naenra Waerr to trap souls,[14] at Clavicus Vile's request. As part of the creation process, Vile imbued it with part of his essence. Over time, the part of Vile within the sword became a sentient being with its own will, calling itself Umbra.[11] Eventually, Umbra broke free of the sword, creating a body for itself. A fragment of Vile may remain attached to the sword, meaning it still traps souls even in Umbra's absence.[11]


Second Era[]

N'Gasta and Cyrus[]

Clavicus Vile and Barbas in Redguard.

Circa 2E 896, Clavicus is recorded dealing with N'Gasta, the Sload Necromancer of Stros M'kai. N'Gasta created "Soulsnare," which gathered lost souls. The Daedric Prince Clavicus Vile granted N'Gasta favors with every soul sent to him. Cyrus the Redguard hero, in his desperate quest to find his sister, managed to destroy N'Gasta by using the Flask of Lillandril. Using N'Gasta's necromancy book, he performed a ritual to transport himself to Clavicus' realm in Oblivion.[16]

In order to make a gate to Oblivion appear, Cyrus had to mix Orc's blood with Amber (jacinth – rising sun), mix the Unicorn's horn with Hist Sap (snow – grass), mix the Daedra's heart with Ectoplasm (night - mid-day sky) and then poured the mixtures on the symbol in the center of the N'Gasta's room, in that order. Then a gate appeared. Cyrus went through the gate and was taken to Clavicus' realm.[16]

There he dealt with Clavicus, who was the holder of his sister's soul. Expecting to get back his sister's soul, Cyrus gave the Flask of Lillandril, but instead Clavicus returned with a riddle. If Cyrus could answer it he might get back his sister's soul, but if he failed Cyrus' own soul would be Clavicus'. Cyrus answered him correctly and retrieved his sister's soul.

Third Era[]

Hero of Daggerfall[]

Clavicus Vile in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall.

The masque was owned by the Agent of Daggerfall, sometime around the year 3E 410. Vile asked the hero to slay a certain werewolf. After the deed was done, the hero was rewarded with the masque.[3]

The Hero of Kvatch and Umbra[]

Circa 3E 433, the Hero of Kvatch approached the Shrine of Clavicus Vile and managed to deal with the Prince. Clavicus asked the champion to procure Umbra.

Shrine of Clavicus Vile in Cyrodiil.

Clavicus claimed that the sword contains the soul of a hero he had been dealing with sometime before, and wanted to finish it. For procuring Umbra, Clavicus offered his Masque to the champion.[17]

The hound statue of Clavicus jumped into the champion's bag, and introduced itself as Barbas. It claimed that it would be best if Clavicus were not to receive the sword from the champion at all. Somehow returning the Umbra Sword to Clavicus would be a mistake, likely to cause great ruin to Clavicus' domain. Barbas also states that whenever Clavicus deals with Umbra, nothing good comes of it.


The Manifesto Cyrodiil Vampyrum notes that Clavicus altered the Vampire blood of the Cyrodilic vampires, enabling them to walk in daylight, and more importantly, blend into mortal society undetected, and rule it from within—if they were well fed.[18] The details of the contract forged between Vile and the Vampyrum Order is unknown.

Fourth Era[]

Umbriel Crisis[]

Sometime prior to 4E 40, Umbra stole a part of Vile and negotiated with the Dunmer mage Vuhon to create Umbriel, a floating city, out of a fragment of Vile's realm. This allowed Umbra to escape Vile's grasp.[5]

Sul and prince Attrebus retrieved Umbra sword to defeat Vuhon and save Tamriel from Umbriel's threat. However, they were trapped in Sathil castle's dungeons by Nirai Sathil. Sul sensed that he could use Umbra to open a portal to Vile's realm.[11]

Yet, they were summoned by Vile before they could try anything. They were greeted by Barbas, who guided them to Vile. Vile demanded that Sul give him the sword, but Sul offered a contract. He offered to stop Umbriel and return it back to Vile's realm. Clavicus Vile wanted a deal, so Sul offered his soul. Before Sul could end his proposal, Attrebus told Vile that there wouldn't be any conditions, Vile needed their help as much as they needed his help. Vile accepted that deal and teleported them to his shrine in Cyrodiil.[19]

Attrebus and Sul managed to enter Umbriel. Mere-Glim guided them to the ingenium, and Attrebus wielded Umbra to destroy it. Right immediately, Vile possessed Attrebus. He was in power of Umbra again. Sul prayed the Daedric Prince to let Attrebus go, but Vile demanded a sacrifice. Sul attacked Vile, but he stabbed him with Umbra. With his last breath, Sul remembered the fury that had driven him for forty years and grabbed the hilt of Umbra. He pulled himself up the blade, and with everything left in him he struck Attrebus in the jaw. Attrebus dropped the sword, and Vile was expelled from his body.[20]

The Dragon Crisis[]

Barbas was estranged from Clavicus Vile in 4E 201, and sought out the Last Dragonborn to unite him with Vile. The pair then traveled to Haemar's Shame, which was occupied by worshipers of Vile who had been plagued with vampirism. After disposing of the vampires, Vile then asks the Dragonborn to retrieve the Rueful Axe. Clavicus offers the axe to the Dragonborn in exchange for killing Barbas. If they do not, Clavicus will give his mask to them; if they do so, Clavicus claims Barbas should have "picked a better friend." Barbas will become part of the statue no matter which option the Dragonborn chooses.[8]

Popular opinion and worship[]

Despite his reputation as a trickster spirit, Vile is one of the more popular and tolerated Princes among the denizens of Tamriel. He is known for receiving veneration from merchants, traders, bankers, politicians, and bureaucrats, and while he doesn't appear in any of the Tamrielic pantheons, his worship is most prominent in High Rock, Cyrodiil, and Elsweyr. Many mortals believe it is unwise to make deals with Prince Clavicus, and while this is a fair affirmation to make, the Daedra has been known to keep his word on occasion. In the case of Cyrus the Redguard, when he traveled to the Fields of Regret, Vile gave him the opportunity to win his sister's soul back, provided he answer a riddle. During the Third Era, when Uriel VII still reigned over Tamriel as Emperor, the Elder Council were known to forge covenants with Lord Vile, although they were warned against drinking from the Bittercup.[UL 1]




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