The Daedric alphabet is found all around Nirn, mostly in ancient books like The Bible of the Deep Ones and The Tome of Unlife. Also, the Dunmer people of Morrowind seem to use Daedric symbols in some of their writings, often as names of locations written on banners.
There is no Daedric language, a common misconception; only Daedric letters substituted for their Tamrielic equivalents. Some may refer to the Daedric alphabet as a font, but most Daedric letters are too dissimilar to be associated with their English equivalents. Neither are they symbols, runes, glyphs, etc.
History and origins
The Daedric alphabet is the written form used by the Daedra and Dunmer of Tamriel. The alphabet is strongly affiliated with magicka. Daedric letters are often referred to as sigils, with various scrolls and tomes, such as the Mysterium Xarxes, written in the Daedric alphabet. The exact source of the alphabet is unknown, it is believed to be the creation of the Daedra themselves, then passed down to the mortal realm. Various symbols have Daedric glyphs, as it is the dialect of change.
In Morrowind, the Dunmer peoples often write words in a cluster form, instead of the standard left to right. Though in Oblivion, none of the Daedric writings seen in the game are written in cluster form. It would seem that the word cluster is a Dunmer custom, thus being found prominently throughout Morrowind.
The Daedra use their own calligraphy, but the underlying language is closely similar to the modern Cyrodilic language. The naming convention of the Daedric lettering strongly resembles that of the real-world Phoenician alphabet. The following is the best known Daedric character set.
Some letters have alternate forms of spelling. This is due to inconsistencies of these letters throughout the video game series.
The follow is a list of letters with alternate spellings:
- Ayem (A)
- Doht (D)
- Hekem (H)
- Jeb (J)
- Yoodt (U)
- Xayah (X)
- Yahkem (Y)
X and Y
Typically the "X" (Xayah) and "Y" (Yakhem) were often omitted in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, though there are some instances in which they were used, such as "y" in "Tel Fyr," or the "X" on the inscription "EFCPHEQX" found on the Daedric Battle Axe.
Pervasiveness of the "O" symbol
The symbol for Oblivion and Oblivion Gates, both in concept art, and on the in-game map is the Daedric letter for "O." The "O" appears again in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the hilt of Mehrunes Razor, on Spell Tomes, on Skill Books associated with the school of Conjuration and on the gauntlet in The Midden under the College of Winterhold.
On box art
- The Oblivion box cover, as well as the Mysterium Xarxes, reveals plot information about the game. Along the sides of the box, repeated along the border, it says, in Daedric, starting at the top left corner:
- "For Lord Dagon forever reborn in blood and fire from the waters of Oblivion."
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind box art has daedric writing on it. On the triangle are the daedric letters A, S, and V, representing Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec, respectively, or the Tribunal. On the borders of the box are the six great houses of Morrowind: House Redoran, House Hlaalu, House Dres, House Indoril, House Dagoth, and House Telvanni.
- The The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles box art has Daedric writing around the box, same as its base game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It reads around the cover, "There is no genius without a touch of madness," a quote from the Epistles of Seneca the Younger.
- The Box art for The Elder Scrolls Online has daedric text written on it. It reads, "Ah lormanta Molag Bal hie ghartok hoom altadoon va Nirn." The words seem to be from different Tamrielic languages like the Aldmeri Languages and Ehlnofex. It translates to something along the lines of, "With Dark Anchors Molag Bal lowers his hand upon Nirn."
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- In the Atronach Forge, there is the letter "Oht" in the middle of the circle.
- Many of Atronach Forge recipes are written with Daedric Alphabet.
The Elder Scrolls Online
- In the ESO trailers, one can see the use of Daedric script on this tablet. Regrettably, these appear to be merely random runes. Random runes are also seen on Abnur Tharn's armor. But possibly the characters have meaning on their own, like the Dragon Shout from Skyrim.
- While the textures do not always tile correctly, resulting in gibberish, some phrases are seen around the game:
- The bases of Daedric pillars and walls bear the phrase "LOVE THE GAUNTLET"
- Pedestals and bookshelf bases bear "DEEP IS THE CUT"
- Jars and chest bases bear "THE HUNGER"; as do some gem holders, though in a different font.
- Runics on the walls and floor of Coldharbor bear "MOLAG BAL RULES COLD HARBOR," "SLAVERY OBLIVION TORTURE"
- Doors bear "DAWN AND DUSK"
- A runic circle in the floor in Cheesehollow bears "PRAISE AZURA"
- The obelisk in Tribunal temples bears three runes, one on each side: V for Vivec; S for Sotha Sil; and A for Almalexia
- Book covers bear the runes D (Daedra?) and O (Oblivion?).
- Magical rocks bear the rune O (Oblivion?)
- Flame trap spells bear the rune F (Fire/Flame?), circled by runes that if read clockwise spell "FIRESONG."
- Summoned Storm Atronachs bear shackles reading "BOUND IN SERVITUDE."
- Rocks near Anchors read "COLDHARBOUR CALLS NIRN OBEYS" (note different spelling and single word "Coldharbour" rather than "Cold Harbor."
- The floors of anchors bear the strings "MULAG BAL IS YOUR MASTER," "THE SLAVE MUST OBEY," "FHLL THRALL TU BAL"
- The portal from Coldharbor to the Harborage bears the runes "LERSFHVWWTXBYUQVIDSPMWLJOQYTOALER," "LLHCKBAB," "FBD" - these have no immediately obvious significance.
To use the font on the wiki, see the DaedricScript template.
In popular culture
- The popular webcomic "Homestuck" employs aspects of the Daedric alphabet. The letters are just the same as in the alphabet used by the Daedra, but turned upside down. Coincidentally, in the comic, the alphabet is primarily used by a race that is similar in both culture and physical appearance to the Dremora.
- The script also appears in season 3 episode 16 of the 2008 Syfy television series Sanctuary inside a cave in East Africa, said to be ancient vampire script.