Lore:Nocturnal

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This article is about the Daedric Prince. For the Daedric race, see Nocturnals.

Nocturnal (Skyrim)
"The singing remains, but the song is gone. No tune, no music, but whispers set to rhythm. Serve Her, be shadow, be whispers. Creeping, crawling, but I can't escape. I'm caught in the darkness, tar which clings to my clothes. I speak but am silent. I see but am blind. Blind, so blind, to nothing but Her will."
Romien Garvette

Nocturnal is a Daedric Prince, or "Daedric Princess",[1] whose sphere is the night and darkness.[2][3] She is also known as the Mistress of Shadows,[4] the Unfathomable Mistress of Shadows,[5] the The Shadow Thief,[6] the Unfathomable,[7] the Empress of Murk,[8] the Shadow Queen,[9] the Lady of the Twilight[10] the Daughter of Twilight,[8] the Lady of Shadows,[11] the Mistress of Mystery,[12] the Mother of Shadows,[11] Lady Luck,[12] the Night Mistress,[2][3][7] and the Saint of Suspicion.[13] She is also referred to as an Ur-dra,[5] a term which is also used to describe both Azura and Namiira.[14] Hermaeus Mora is similarly called an Ur-Daedra.[15]

Nocturnal is associated with, and often depicted alongside, jet-black ravens and crows, which are said to possess the ability to speak.[16] Nocturnal's summoning day is the 3rd of Hearth Fire,[7] although she may be summoned at any time at a shrine dedicated to her.[7][17] Her enemies are Ebonarm[18], Meridia[19] and Azura[18]

Religion and Culture[edit]

Khajiit[edit]

A deity known as Noctra exists in ancient Khajiiti mythos.[20] She is said to have been "born from the black blood of Lorkhaj at the steps of the Void Gate".[6] Boethra battled the spirit until it knew it was not Namiira, and when the fighting subsided, Noctra was brought before Azurah to be judged.[6] Azurah allowed Noctra to live so long as she served Azurah and her chosen people, the Khajiit.[6] However, Noctra is rebellious by nature, so she fled to the Void with a key she stole from Azurah.[6] Noctra is said to aid the Khajiit when called, and the tribes ask her for luck, darkness to hide them and the gift of silent movement.[6] She also protects those who walk in the shadows.[20] Summoning Noctra is dangerous, as she brings the Dark with her, and exposure can inadvertently turn a True Cat into a dro-m'Athra.[6] Noctra is still acknowledged by some Khajiit following the Riddle'Thar Epiphany.[20]

Worship[edit]

One of Nocturnal's devoted followers, transformed into a Gloam Knight

Nocturnal's servants come in a variety of flavors. Some worship her as thieves, and see her as the patron of all thieves.[8] Some such groups include the Nightingales, a trio of mortals bound to protect the Ebonmere within the Twilight Sepulcher.[8]

Some worshipers find Nocturnal mystifying. Though they strive to understand her, Nocturnal's true purpose eludes them, and attempting to understand the Daedric Prince is a futile task.[7] To understand Nocturnal is to negate her, and the Daedric Prince is not simply going to pull back her shroud of darkness to reveal her intentions to anyone.[7] Others are drawn into her service through subtle, but not wholly unkind manipulation. Lonely individuals who are within proximity of Nocturnal's adherents may begin to dream about Evergloam and hear her voice in their head if she notices them.[11] Nocturnal's Earl from the time of the Daedric Triad came to serve her this way.[11] Nocturnal uses mortal emotion to her advantage, using kindness and empathy to draw in the vulnerable.[11] She speaks to select mortals in their dreams, listening to them when they speak and comforting them when they're upset.[11] In the case of Earl Tundilwen in 2E 582, Nocturnal inserted herself into her servant's life as a surrogate mother figure, and granted her power in the Court of Bedlam.[21]

One particularly fervent cultist's accounts of her invasion of the Clockwork City are poetic and obsessive.[22] The account speaks of singing shrikes and grotesque imagery.[22] The author, Romien Garvette, often repeats phrases and claims that they are unable to think of anything but "Her" will.[22] Romien Garvette describes Nocturnal as all-encompassing.[22][23] Whether or not this experience is universal is unclear. It is obvious that this particular case became very attached to their mistress, but the account gives outsiders some insight to how Nocturnal's influence may affect those who give themselves to her.

Shadow magic is pervasive throughout Evergloam, and is utilized by her worshipers and her Daedric minions.[24] Portals of pure shadow called Gloaming Gates are used to transport cultists and Daedra from Evergloam to select locations on Nirn. Gloaming Gates channel Nocturnal's power, and transport through the Evergloam allows her cultists travel great distance without fear of being detected.[25] Barriers of fluid shadow can be used to prevent access to areas, but these barriers can be negated by shining bright light on them,[26] or by casting spells designed to banish shadows.[27][28] Nocturnal may transform her followers into Gloam Knights upon their death.[29]

History[edit]

A Wraith-of-Crows, a Daedra which serves Nocturnal

In 2E 582, a cult dedicated to Nocturnal attempted to establish a shrine to the Daedric Prince at Faldar's Tooth, a decrepit fort located in the Rift.[10]

Nocturnal was a part of a Daedric Triad consisting of herself, Mephala and Clavicus Vile up until 2E 582. Nocturnal's forces invaded the Clockwork City that year. Using the Skeleton Key, Nocturnal stole a secret from Sotha Sil.[30] The Clockwork God developed a technique for using life energy as a source of power, which Nocturnal coveted.[31] She drained Meridia of her power to keep her from interfering, and betrayed the other members of the Triad by taking the Heart of Transparent Law for herself.[19] Using the technique she stole from Sotha Sil, Nocturnal planned to use the life energy of Nirn, and then the energy of the other Daedric Princes afterwards, to restore the Heart of Transparent Law, sow her influence within it and make herself master of the Crystal Tower.[31] Her ultimate goal was to rewrite reality and become an infinite being.[31] Nocturnal was stopped at the Crystal Tower's apex by the Vestige.[32]

Nocturnal may have had some minor involvement in the Sea Sload sorceress Z'Maja's conquest of Cloudrest that occurred in 2E 582.[33] Z'Maja possessed an amulet that granted her powerful shadow magic, which allowed her to kill countless citizens and make shadowy clones of Summerset's protectors, the gryphon-riding Welkynars.[34]

Artifacts[edit]

The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal[edit]

The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal (Oblivion)

The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal is a daedric artifact that once belonged to Nocturnal. It takes the form of a dark leather cowl, which obscures the face of the wearer. Nocturnal is revered as a god by thieves across Tamriel. Her reputation as the Mistress of Shadows has sometimes led thieves to attempt to steal an item from her to prove their greatness. As Nocturnal is usually depicted wearing a cloak and a cowl, it is around these two items that legends have arisen. The story of the theft of Nocturnal's cloak is probably fiction, as is at least one story of the theft of the cowl, but the cowl is known to have left her possession. It appears to have been stolen by a thief named Emer Dareloth, the first guildmaster of the Thieves Guild, although a curse bestowed upon the cowl by Nocturnal meant that the name of cowl's owner is lost to mortal memory. "Whosoever wears it shall be lost in the shadows. His true nature shall be unknown to all who meet him. His identity shall be struck from all records and histories. Memory will hide in the shadows, refusing to record the name of the owner to any who meet him. He shall be known by the cowl and only by the cowl." This curse was broken when history was rewritten through the use of an Elder Scroll.

The Skeleton Key[edit]

The Skeleton Key (Skyrim)

The Skeleton Key (also called the Skeleton's Key) is a Daedric artifact created by the Daedric Prince Nocturnal. In Khajiiti myths, it is attributed to being originally Azura's. After Boethiah defeated Nocturnal, she was brought forth to be judged by Azura. She was spared as long as she promised to serve Azura and the ja-Kha'jay. Instead, when the opportunity was right, she stole the Skeleton Key from Azura and fled into the void. In appearance, it doesn't always take the form of a key, and sometimes manifests as a lockpick instead. In its key form, it can be used to unlock any lock. As a lockpick, it is nigh unbreakable and can get past even the toughest locks. The two limitations placed on the Key by wizards who sought to protect their storehouses were that the Key could only be used once a day and it would never be the property of one thief for too long, eventually disappearing.

The artifact functions as a tool for "unlocking" all things, including portals, hidden potential, and other unknown possibilities. Its ultimate function, however, is to unlock and hold open the Ebonmere, a portal to Nocturnal's realm, Evergloam, located in the Twilight Sepulcher of Skyrim. The Nightingales are tasked with guarding the Sepulcher and retrieving the Key should it be stolen. Unfortunately, the Prince is said to allow the Skeleton Key to be stolen or lost periodically, whether by purpose or apathy.

The first supposed wielder of the Key was the thief Arrovan. After disappearing, the Key always chose inaccessible places to hide, and for the benefit of historians Arrovan made a list of the various resting places.

The Bow of Shadows[edit]

The Bow of Shadows is a Daedric artifact that, according to legend, was forged by the Daedric Prince Nocturnal. The legendary ranger, Raerlas Ghile, was granted the Bow for a secret mission that failed. The Bow was lost, though Raerlas is said to have used it to take scores of his foes down with him. The Bow is said to grant the user invisibility and increased speed.

The Eye of Nocturnal[edit]

Another item of note which is associated with Nocturnal is the Eye of Nocturnal. Little is known of the item’s origin or abilities other than it was stolen by two bandits in 3E 433 and subsequently returned to the Prince in exchange for the Skeleton Key. Nocturnal described herself as being able to "see" from the Eye, stating that the thieves who stole it were "seen" by the artifact.[35]

Evergloam[edit]

Evergloam

The Evergloam is a realm of Oblivion, created and ruled over by Nocturnal, the Daedric Prince of Shadow. It is a realm of perpetual twilight, and the "cradle of shadow". The Evergloam consists of a primary plane and several pocket realms, including the Shade Perilous and the Crow's Wood. These realms are thought to be constantly shifting, and perceived differently by different mortals.

The Ebonmere is a portal linked to the Evergloam, which acts as Nocturnal's conduit on Tamriel. It is located in the Twilight Sepulcher, an ancient temple in Skyrim. The Ebonmere is held open by the Skeleton Key, although the artifact has often been stolen from the Sepulcher by mortals. The Nightingales are a secretive subgroup of the Thieves Guild, who pledge their souls to Nocturnal and guard both the Ebonmere and the Skeleton Key. When a Nightingale dies, it is believed that their soul becomes one with the shadows. As long as the Ebonmere remains open, the souls of dead Nightingales can "walk with the shadows" and bring luck to thieves. As Agents of Nocturnal, Nightingales are permitted to "drink" from the Ebonmere and obtain powerful abilities.

Servants[edit]

Daedra that are known to serve Nocturnal include Shrikes,[36] Grievous Twilights,[37] Gloam Knights,[29] Wraiths-of-Crows[38][39] creatures made of shadow[40] and Crow Daedra.[41]

Intelligent shadow creatures such as Gloam Hags can corroborate with Shrikes cast scrying spells to spy on other Daedric cults and Nocturnal's enemies.[42] When they see a journal or a document of interest, they may cast a Duplication spell to create a copy.[42]

See Also[edit]

Books[edit]

Notes[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Purloined ShadowsWaughin Jarth
  2. ^ a b The Book of Daedra
  3. ^ a b The Requisite Book of Daedra
  4. ^ Hiding with the Shadow
  5. ^ a b Aios's dialogue in ESO: Clockwork City
  6. ^ a b c d e f g The Dark SpiritsAmun-dro, the Silent Priest
  7. ^ a b c d e f Invocation of AzuraSigillah Parate
  8. ^ a b c d The Nightingales Vol. 1Gallus Desidenius
  9. ^ Sotha Sil's dialogue during Where Shadows Lie in ESO: Clockwork City
  10. ^ a b Speech Notes
  11. ^ a b c d e f Veya's Private Thoughts, Part 3Veya Releth
  12. ^ a b Gallus Desidenius' dialogue in Skyrim
  13. ^ Armand Christophe's dialogue in Oblivion
  14. ^ The Favored Daughter of FadomaiAmun-dro, the Silent Priest
  15. ^ Secrets Overheard in ApocryphaMorian Zenas
  16. ^ A Child's Tamriel BestiaryShane gro-Orath (Clever, no? Ha, ha!)
  17. ^ The Gray Fox's dialogue during the Oblivion Crisis
  18. ^ a b Oblivion Faction data in Daggerfall
  19. ^ a b Events of The Dreaming Cave in ESO: Summerset
  20. ^ a b c J'darji's dialogue in ESO: Elsweyr
  21. ^ Veya's Private Thoughts, Part 4Veya Releth
  22. ^ a b c d Shadows and WhispersRomien Garvette of the Whispering Shadows
  23. ^ Crafting Motif 57, EbonshadowRomien Garvette of the Whispering Shadows
  24. ^ The Shadow of Sotha Sil's abilities in ESO: Clockwork City
  25. ^ Chancellor Gascone Dusant's dialogue during Unto the Dark in ESO: Clockwork City (if you killed him during Deepening Shadows)
  26. ^ Proctor Luciana Pullo's dialogue during Where Shadows Lie in ESO: Clockwork City
  27. ^ Proctor Luciana Pullo's dialogue during Unto the Dark in ESO: Clockwork City
  28. ^ Proctor Luciana Pullo dispelling the shadow barrier with light during Unto the Dark in ESO: Clockwork City
  29. ^ a b Veya's transformation into a Gloam Knight during The Crystal Tower in ESO: Summerset
  30. ^ in ESO: Clockwork City
  31. ^ a b c Sotha Sil's dialogue during A Necessary Alliance in ESO: Summerset
  32. ^ Events of The Crystal Tower in ESO: Summerset
  33. ^ Z'Maja's dialogue and abilities in ESO: Summerset
  34. ^ Events of Woe of the Welkynars in ESO: Summerset
  35. ^ Nocturnal’s Quest from Oblivion
  36. ^ The Shrikes' allegiance in ESO: Clockwork City
  37. ^ Grievous Twilight Lord allegiance and appearance in ESO: Clockwork City
  38. ^ Wraith-of-Crows allegiance in ESO: Clockwork City
  39. ^ Eyes of NothingRomien Garvette of the Whispering Shadows
  40. ^ Gloam Wolf and Gloam Hags serving Nocturnal in the Shadow Cleft in ESO: Clockwork City
  41. ^ The Blackfeather Court and the Exarchs of Dross's appearance and allegiance in ESO: Clockwork City
  42. ^ a b Razum-dar's Journal, Chapter 5Razum-dar
  43. ^ Ghraewaj