- "Many scholars and loremasters have been ensnared by the lure of learning the secrets that only Hermaeus Mora possesses." — Neloth, Mage Lord of House Telvanni
Apocrypha is a realm of Oblivion created and ruled over by Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge and Fate. It is an endless library consisting of untitled books with black covers, where all forbidden knowledge can be found. The realm is haunted by the ghosts of mortals forever searching for knowledge. Stacks of books form mazes and spiraling pillars that can reach as high as the illuminating green sky. Intricate ruins and monstrous carvings can be found among the stacks. The plane is covered in a sea of ink and roiling tentacles, while Hermaeus Mora is omnipresent over all. Some areas of the realm are consumed by darkness which can kill any who enter it. Discarded pages and floating tomes fill the air.
Apocrypha is inhabited by the frightening Daedric servants of Mora. Seekers guard forbidden knowledge, banishing foes with sound attacks. Lurkers dwell within the inky tide, arising from the depths to attack invaders. Disembodied tentacles hide in the waters and hang from the sky, whipping at any who pass.
Apart from magical teleportation, Apocrypha is most easily entered by mortals through the reading of Black Books, tomes of forbidden knowledge displaced from time and scattered across Tamriel. An apparition of the reader's body remains in Mundus, tethering their life force. Most mortals who gain access to the secrets within Apocrypha are driven insane by unending revelations. Such was the fate of the mage Morian Zenas, who famously disappeared in Apocrypha during his voyages through Oblivion. However those who successfully journey through Apocrypha are known to discover powerful knowledge.
The Dragon Priest Miraak sought the knowledge of Apocrypha in the Merethic Era, and used what he learned of the Thu'um to revolt against his dragon masters. Although he slew many, their retaliation was swift and furious, and Miraak's temple was destroyed. He retreated to Apocrypha with his dragon servants, where he dwelled for many eras. By 4E 201, Miraak had in motion a plan to harness the power of the All-Maker Stones of Solstheim to enable his return to Tamriel. Seeing his corrupting influence on the lands and people of Solstheim, the Last Dragonborn entered Apocrypha through the reading of Black Books, and confronted Miraak. The two Dragonborns battled, and, when Miraak was close to defeat, he was killed by Mora, who then accepted the Last Dragonborn as his new champion.
- 'Apocrypha' is an English word meaning "Something, as a writing, that is of doubtful authorship or authority". It derives from the medieval Latin adjective 'apocryphus' meaning "secret, or non-canonical", which is in turn derived from the Greek adjective 'ἀπόκρυφος' ('apokryphos'), meaning "obscure".
- For game-specific information, see the Dragonborn article.