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, or a being that Vile somehow trapped within the sword. 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.
As the Umbra Sword
The Umbra Sword was created by Naenra Waerr to trap souls, at Clavicus Vile's request. As part of the creation process, Vile embued it with part of his essence. This essence would ultimately overtake the wielders and become the driving force in their lives. Several wielders noted that their lives became nothing other than a quest to use the sword in constant battle. Some even named themselves after the sword, possibly foreshadowing its eventual independence.
Over time, either through the process of trapping so many souls or by the design of Vile or Waerr, the sword gained its own sentience. Umbra somehow managed to cut a piece from Clavicus Vile himself. He injured the daedric prince so badly that Umbra became almost as strong as Vile. Vile circumscribed his plane against Umbra, so that it could not escape from his influence.
As an independent spirit
Shortly Vile received the Umbra Sword from the Hero of Kvatch, Umbra escaped the sword and stole some of Vile's power, greatly weakening the Daedric Prince. The Umbra spirit fled with the sword to one of the cities in Vile's realm to avoid being trapped again. After the Ingenium that kept the Ministry of Truth exploded, it was catapulted into Oblivion. It ended up in Vile's realm, probably because of the Prince's joy for souls. Umbra took advantage of the situation, and he tossed the sword through the rift the ingenium came through. The sword fell to Vivec City, and it was recovered by Elhul Sathil, who went mad as soon as he touched the blade.
Umbra took Sul and Vuhon captive. Vuhon promised him that if he spared his life, he would build a new ingenium, capable of escaping even Vile’s circumscription. Umbra agreed, so Vuhon built a second ingenium that allowed Umbra's city, Umbriel, to escape into Tamriel. They merged into one being, Vuhon/Umbra could control Umbriel, while the energies Umbra had stolen from Vile powered the Ingenium. They drifted through many realms and places beyond even Oblivion.
Vuhon made a pact with Hierem to summon Umbriel into Tamriel. However, they could not leave the city because of Vile’s circumscription. Umbra and Vuhon tried to get the city to the White-Gold Tower to complete its separation from Vile. However, he decided to take the city north into Morrowind to find the Umbra Sword, as it could be used to destroy both Umbra and the Ingenium.
Ultimately, Sul and Attrebus were able to find the Umbra Sword, and use it to destroy the Ingenium. Vuhon's body twisted, deformed, grew blacker. Umbra, who was now in full control of Vuhon's body, strangulated Sul. Yet, after some time Umbra (the sword) finished destroying the Ingenium, and Umbra (the spirit) was trapped in the blade. Clavicus Vile possessed Attrebus, and he wielded Umbra against Sul. With his last breath, Sul grabbed the hilt of Umbra and pulled himself up the blade, and with everything left in him he struck Attrebus in the jaw. Attrebus released the sword, and Umbra and Sul seemed to melt together with the Ingenium into a dark smoke with a heart of lightning.
- "Umbriel. Why?"
- "I can cleanse myself of him. I can make you powerful, more powerful than we were. We can still escape Vile."
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City (mentioned only)
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls, Part 2 Chapter 13
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City, Part 3 Chapter 3
- Tamrielic Lore
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - dialogue with Umbra
- Events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City, Part 3 Chapter 10
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls, Part 3 Chapter 9