The Daedric alphabet is a symbolic typeface used in replacement of the standard English alphabet. The alphabet was designed by Mark Jackson for Battlespire and was called "Daedric" because of its use by the invading Daedric forces. The release of Morrowind revealed that both the Dunmer and the Daedra use the Daedric alphabet extensively. Most scholars agree that the Dunmeri use of the Daedric alphabet is a remnant of when they worshipped Daedra before the Battle of Red Mountain.
The inscription of Daedric letters often serves an arcane purpose, such as in the creation of Sigils.
- 1 Daedric Alphabet
- 2 Xayah and Yahkem
- 3 Alternate forms
- 4 Clustering
- 5 Examples of use
- 6 Resources
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
Xayah and Yahkem
The Daedric letters Xayah (X) and Yahkem (Y) are often omitted from the Daedric alphabet in scrolls and books, but sometimes one of these letters makes an appearance in signs and banners. The most well known appearance of one of these two letters is of the Daedric letter Yahkem, which appears on the banner for Tel Fyr as seen in the picture on the right where the larger letter on the upper right is the letter Yahkem. The letter Xayah can be seen inscribed on a Daedric Battle Axe in Morrowind.nb 1
- In Oblivion, the blue Daedric letters on the Gray Cowl spell out the phrase "SHADOW HIDE (Y)OU", but the letter Yahkem is missing. Fig.1 In The Gray Cowl Returns! Creation for Skyrim Special Edition, the Yahkem is present on the Cowl.
- A different version of the letter Yahkem can be found on the propylon for the Dunmer fortresses of Falasmaryon, Indoranyon, and Valenvaryon. Fig.2
- In Oblivion, the Mages Guild seal found on the floors of their guild halls includes the first three letters of five out of the six schools of magic, including the Yahkem in "MYS" for Mysticism. The School of Restoration was for some reason omitted from the seal. Fig.3
- Although the book the Mysterium Xarxes has two instances of the letter "X" in its title, the content of the book does not contain the letter Xayah and is missing the letter Yahkem in words where it should be used.
- Both appear as guild heraldry options in ESO.
- The Core Card Back in Legends includes the letter Yahkem.
- The sigil on the main menu of Legends features the three phrases "LADY OF MERCY MORROWIND A PROTECTOR OF THE POOR AND WEAK S PATRON OF TEACHERS AND HEALERS V", including two Yahkems.
- The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind logo features very tiny Daedric text which includes Xayah and the alternate Yahkem.
- The Binding Circles used by Worm Cultists have Daedric lettering that spells out, "HAIL KING OF WORMS".
- The letter Yahkem appears on the Almsivi card backs in Legends.
- The Dark Anchors in ESO read "MOLAG BAL IS YOUR MASTER", including the letter Yahkem.
These are examples of letter Yahkem found (or not) on different items and surfaces.
Aside from the Xayah and Yahkem, five other letters have alternate forms, as seen in the chart. The Doht (D) and Jeb (J) characters are often mirror-imaged from their default orientations, and the Hekem (H) and Yoodt (U) characters also have noticeably differing variants, Hekem's alternate form lacking a prominent vertical stroke, and Yoodt's being shown with a rounded bottom instead of flat. Ayem (A) can also be seen in mirrored form at the end of the Arena canton banners and signs in Vivec.
Another irregularity with Daedric text is that it does not have to be written from left-to-right. For decorative purposes, each word in a phrase is often clustered together with the first letter being significantly larger and colored differently than the rest. The following is an example of a sign hanging over an archway in Gnisis, a city in Morrowind, as well as an annotated version of the banner with the words separated:
Notice how each of the major words in the phrase above has its first letter much larger than the rest and in a different color. It is common for the larger letter to be colored similarly to the backdrop, as with the two letter Sehts (S) in this example.
The clusters in the example above can be arranged in the left-to-right format as follows:
- The Thrice Sealed House Withstands the Storm
Thus, when the Daedric letters are transliterated into English letters, the message reads:
- THE THRICE SEALED HOUSE WITHSTANDS THE STORM
Examples of use
An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire
The daedra and their alphabet are a constant theme throughout Battlespire.
Every level features the following three:
- Sigil Wards: A blue floating Daedric letter which damages the player on touch.
- Sigils of Entry: Letter allowing the player to pass the matching Sigil Ward.
- Sigils: Badges of military rank used by the Daedric invaders. On use, allows the player to become ethereal for a short time.
- Protonymic of Mehrunes Dagon: Lehkelogah : LKLG
- Neonymic of Mehrunes Dagon: Djehkeleho-dehbe-effehezepeh : JKLO-DB-FEZP
- Neonymic of Xivilai Molath: Wegerohseh-chehkohieu : WGRS-CKU
- Neonymic of Faydra Shardai: Nepehkweh-kodo : NPK-KD
- Roht = Rishaal = Peytifar
- Meht = Gatanas = Memasgiat
- Zyr = Zenaide = Berkul
- The loincloths of Daedra Count, Daedra Lord, Dremora, Sumeer Jabran, and Clarentavious Valisious all appear to read ABMNOPI.
- The sacred code DUSK must be entered in Daedric letters to restore the flow of Nocturnal mana in Shade Perilous.
- A gate in Shade Perilous opens to Djemekweh : JMK (BK4_030)
- In the unpacked Sigils.txt, the Daedric alphabet is numbered 51-76 rather than 1-26.
- X and Y did not exist. Q was not yet labeled Quam.
Usage of the alphabet is largely limited to N'Gasta and Clavicus Vile.
- N'Gasta's Spellbook is written in the alphabet.
- The Oht sigil is used for the doors behind the Guardians.
Morrowind made extensive use of the Daedric alphabet.
- All magical scrolls have an inscription written in Daedric (Most often "WOE UPON (Y)OU", but some have more interesting messages).
- The spell icons make use of the characters, though only as design elements, not readable text. To see examples of this, see Spell Icon Letters.
- Many of the cities in Morrowind feature banners displaying the city name in Daedric.
- The city of Vivec has various religious platitudes written in Daedric on banners throughout the city.
- The letters are used as textural elements of various items, such as Bonemold armor.
- The box art for Morrowind and both expansions has the names of the six Dunmer Great Houses inscribed around the sides. The game launcher incorporates this feature as well.
- Certain clothing items bear Daedric text, an example being one type of expensive robe, where the messages "LEARN B(Y) SERVING" and "FAITH IS ONL(Y) LAW " can be read on the yellow sash. (image 1, image 2)
- The belt buckle worn by Bonelords reads "UOS".
- The blue Paper Lantern has the message "FORGE DARKNESS INTO LIGHT" on its panels.
- Small chests have "ASV", an abbreviation for "Almsivi", repeated on their lids. In Mournhold, Almalexia gets top billing - there are many tiles with the letters "SAV" with the "A" much larger than the other letters.
- The opening to Morrowind is almost entirely Daedric, save for the end which changes into English, saying "Many fall, but one remains."
- Outside of many of the towns in Vvardenfell are obelisks which read "WELCOME" in Daedric lettering.
The key image used in Shadowkey has the text "DOUBT IS THE KE(Y) TO KNOWLEDGE" along its stem, and "JONES" right at the bottom, the surname of the artist who drew the image (Mark Jones). This can only be seen on large versions of the image, however.
Oblivion used the alphabet in text far less often than in Morrowind, but it does appear on textures, mostly in the realm of Oblivion itself or other locations associated with the Daedra. For example, these three inscriptions are in Mehrunes Dagon's plane: "HERE IS NO, THERE IS NO", "OBLIVION AWAITS", "MEHRUNES DAGON BECKONS" (last one is in every Sigillum Sanguis). Every Oblivion Gate is in the shape of an Oht. You can also find this text in some books. For example, the Bible of the Deep Ones (found in the Hackdirt chapel in Oblivion) contains almost all Daedric lettering. In addition, the border of the Oblivion box contains the phrase "FOR LORD DAGON FOREVER REBORN IN BLOOD AND FIRE FROM THE WATERS OF OBLIVION" repeated several times in Daedric text; a phrase that also appears in the Mysterium Xarxes. Similarly, the Shivering Isles box cover reads "THERE IS NO GENIUS WITHOUT A TOUCH OF MADNESS", a phrase taken from the Epistles of Seneca the Younger.
In Skyrim, Daedric appears in several places, including:
- the fire, frost, lightning, ash, frenzy, poison, and paralysis runes,
- on the ground, spiralling around the pillar at the Sacellum of Boethiah,
- a short inscription on the tomb of Jurgen Windcaller, which is simply "WINDCALLER".
- various documents contain recipes written in Daedric for items that can be created at the Atronach Forge.
- on the base of altars in Apocrypha in the Dragonborn add-on, that reads "AS FOR THE REST THE WEAK SHALL BE WINNOWED THE TIMID SHALL BE CAST DOWN THE MIGHTY SHALL TREMBLE AT MY FEET AND PRAY FOR PARDON". This text is also featured in the Mysterium Xarxes.
- the steel plate helmet has "Nord Plate Nord Plate" written on the brow.
The Daedric alphabet appears in a number of locations in The Elder Scrolls Online as well. The format here is less uniform than in previous games, as letters, words, or complete phrases may be written backwards, upside down, or mirrored. In addition to specific instances, oftentimes singular letters are used within circles.
Combat Abilities & Runes
- The Sorcerer ability Daedric Curse reads "CONJURE", "SHOCK" and "ALTER"
- The Fire Rune ability reads "FIRESONG"
- Rune circles read "PRAISE AZURA"
- Summoned Storm Atronachs bear shackles reading "BOUND IN SERVITUDE"
- Necromancer ritual circles read "HAIL KING OF WORMS"
- Coldharbour rune circles read "MOLAG BAL RULES COLD HARBOR". Note the alternate spelling of Coldharbour.
- The effect of the Fighters Guild skill Circle of Protection reads "FOR GLORY"
- Rune circles in the Wailing Prison read "DEATH" and "FEAR"
- Daedric walls say "LOVE THE GAUNTLET"
- Daedric altars say "THE HUNGER"
- Daedric coffins and bookcases say "DEEP IS THE CUT"
- Some doors have part of the phrase "DAWN AND DUSK"
- "SLAVERY", "TORTURE", "OBLIVION", "MOLAG BAL", "COLDHARBOUR RULES" are frequently found in Coldharbour
- Dolmens contain the text "THE SLAVE MUST OBEY", "FALL THRALL TO BAL", and "MOLAG BAL IS YOUR MASTER"
- Werewolf altars say "KILL", "HATE", "PAIN", and "DISCONTENT"
- Coldharbour Wayshrines say "DEATHWEAVER"
- Dunmer pillars say "SAND ONCE MORE"
- Portalgates say "VIA GATE LIMINAL VOID GAP", "AETHEG PORTAL" and "SUMMON VOID"
- Treasure vaults in the Imperial City say "ENTER AND BE REWARDED" or "DAEDRA WER EB DNA RETNE". Note that this is "ENTER AND BE REW ARDEAD" written backwards.
- The full Daedric alphabet is written on the Proving Grounds Dolmen and on the Unfinished Dolmen. Interestingly the letter Zyr (Z) is omitted, but not Yahkem (Y) or Xayah (X)
- Coldharbour pillars say "CHAOS IS LIFE", "OBEY" and "MOONSHADOW"
- Coldharbour fountains repeat words like "DEATH", "LIFE", "LOST IT", "LOVE" and "ROT"
- The letters Ayem (A) Seht (S) and Vehk (V) are found on Tribunal obelisks and banners, as well as on Wayshrines on Vvardenfell.
- Sacrificial urn holders read "TASK MASTER"
- Daedric Wayshrines read "FAITHFUL"
- Obelisks in the Spiral Shadows stage in the Maelstrom Arena read "VIVEC"
- Daedric letters written in cluster form can be found on rocks around the Unfinished Dolmen. One of these can simply be transliterated as "AL(L) HAIL MOLAG BAL" due to the first and last letter of each word being bigger than the rest. The others are much harder to transliterate, as only the first letter of each word is bigger than the rest. "MOLAG IS THE MASTER" can be transliterated by putting together the letters around the big Mehts (M), Iya (I) and Tayem (T). "WALLED", "WALL" or "WELL" can also be transliterated the same way. This leaves the small letters Ayem (A) and Tayem (T), as well as potentially Doht (D) and Ekem (E) unused, however.
- Pillars in the Banished Cells read "ALL HAIL" and "MOLAG BAL".
- Daedric text appears on a wall in The Banished Cells. The text is written in a very small font, which makes it difficult to read. The fragments clearly readable are "WITHIN THESE WALLS THE ***** ** HIGH KINLORD RILIS", "THE U** WAS UNLAWFULLY AND MEFOLLY ET*ZPE*", "*W *C* READ *IES***CI** THAT *CORS**", "...NEVER BE LOVED FOR EVER", "THE BANISHED WILL RISE AGAIN", "RILIS* WILL ONCE MORE RULE ALL *** ***AS OF", "GREEN AND GOLD", "...THE NAME OF OUR MIGHTY LORD MOLAG BAL" Inexplicably, the same text appears on an easel in The Vile Manse.
- A rock in the Igneous Cistern stage of the Maelstrom Arena reads "POWER"
- Banners in Ashlander camps on Vvardenfell read "VELOTH"
- Banners bearing Nerevar's image in Dunmeri ancestral tombs read "NEREVAR"
- Banners bearing Veloth's image in Dunmeri ancestral tombs read "VELOTH"
- The name of the family buried there is spelled out on a stone outside many Dunmeri ancestral tombs.
- The letters on the tiles outside of the Wakener's Hall in the Forgotten Wastes spell out "DREAMS"
- The letters Meht (M), Ayem (A) and Bedt (B) are seen in and around Ald'ruhn, standing for Mephala, Azura and Boethiah.
- Text on a tapestry inside Skar in Ald'ruhn reads "TO SEEK ONLY WAR TO FIND ONLY DEATH", and text on another one reads "THE FOOL ONLY HEARS HIS OWN POOR ADVICE"
- Writing on pinions in the Spiral Skein read "TRUTH IS LIES", "MORT LUST", "WEBSPINNER" and "EBONY SPIDER"
- Carvings on rocks in Archon's Grove read "HIRCINE BLESS MY WEAPONS AND GUIDE THEM TRUE", "FIVE ARE THE ASPECTS OF HIRCINE" and "DIE"
- Tree trunks in the Deadlands and other locations such as the The Silent Halls, and Doomvaults say "TASTE THE FRUITS OF CATACLYSM", "HIS NAME IS CHANGE", "OF THE OLD MAKE ASH", "BORN WHAT WAS, BIRTH WHAT WILL BE", "BLOOD", "REVOLT", "DAGON", "OVERTHROW", "FOUR ARE THE KEYS", and "FOUR ARE THE WAYS"
- The platforms in The Ashen Forest read: "CATACL(Y)SM BIRTHED FROM CHILDS FIRST SHRIEK", "BY THE WILL OF DAGON BLOOD TURNS TO FIRE ", and "ONL(Y) THE CHOSEN SHALL ENDURE THE FLOOD"
- Daedric letters are often used as decoration on armors and weapons, such as the Barbaric Swords. These rarely actually say anything; for example the Barbaric Greatsword reads "XSCFGHJKLNM".
- Gold pieces say "GOLD"
- Engravings on the Daedric Death Mask read "FEAR ABIDES"
- The sides of Tapestry of a Failed Incarnate, The Warseeker read as follows. Starting from the top of the left side and continuing at the top of the right side: "TO SEEK ONLY WAR IS TO FIND ONLY DEATH"
- The sides of Tapestry of A Failed Incarnate, the Fool read as follows. Starting from the top of the left side and continuing at the top of the right side: "THE FOOL HEARS ONLY HIS OWN POOR ADVICE"
- The Sixth House Ritual Table reads "DAGOTH" clockwise.
- "COLDHARBOUR CALLS NIRN OBEYS", from Exiled from Exile, is repeated frequently
- The letters Oht (O) and Doht (D) are commonly found on book covers and runestones.
- Daedric writing appears on The Aurbis map in the circles surrounding Tamriel, Coldharbour and the Clockwork City. The circle around Tamriel reads "THE EMPIRE OF TAMRIEL ENCOMPASSES THE NINE IMPERIAL PROVINCES SK(Y)RIM HIGH ROCK HAMMERFELL SUMMERSET ISLE VALENWOOD ELSWE(Y)R BLACK MARSH MORROWIND AND THE ANCIENT IMPERIAL PROVINCE C(Y)RODIIL", the circle around Coldharbour reads "THE DREAD OBLIVION REALM OF MOLAG BAL COLDHARBOUR", and the one around the Clockwork City reads "THE CLOCKWORK CIT(Y) OF SOTHA SIL HOL(Y) TRIBUNE OF THE THREE".
- The Inventory icon for some books reads "BOOK"
- The logo of Morrowind contains Daedric font; however, it is extremely small, making it difficult to read. The text is from the 36 Lessons of Vivec (with what appears to be a few typos and omitted words), and is read counter-clockwise, starting from the thumb:
- Thumb: "I AM VECGK YOUR PROTECTOR OF RED MOUNTAIN"
- Bottom left, from biggest to smallest: "UNTIL THE END OF DAYS WHICH ARE NUMBERED 3333 BELOW ME" (The 3333 appears to be the actual number 3 and not a new Daedric character), "IS THE SAVAGE WHICH WE NEEDED TO REMOVE", "OURSELVES FROM"
- Bottom right, from biggest to smallest: "THE ALTMER ABOVE ME IS A CHALLENGE WHICH", "BATHES ITSELF IN FIRE AND", "THE"
- Far right of palm: "ESSENSE OF"
- Pinky finger: "GOD THROUGH ME YOU ARE DESIRED UNLIKE THE PROPHETS"
- Ring finger: "THAT HAVE BORNE YOUR NAME BEFORE SIX ARE THE WALKING WAYS FROM ENIGM ENEMY TO TEACHER"
- Middle finger: "BOETHIAH AND AZURA ARE THE PRINCIPLES OF THE UNIVERSAL PLOT WHICH IS BEGETTING WHICH IS"
- Pointer finger: "CREATION AND MEPHALA MAKES OF IT AN ART FORM FOR THE SWORD MEAN THE FIRST NIGHT"
- Middle section, top to bottom: "FOR BY THE ****", "I MEAN THE DEAD"
- The tomb markers at the Ancestral tombs scattered across Vvardenfell have their family names written in Daedric script. For example, Sarano Ancestral Tomb's plaque says "SARANO"
- Several instances of Daedric writing appear in The Improved Emperor's Guide to Tamriel. The fifth-to-last page of the chapter on Valenwood has the word "BRUTALITY" scrawled between concept art of a mounted deer skull and a Dominion siege on a fort. "STONEFIRE" is scrawled beneath concept art depicting Gil-Var-Delle on the last page of Valenwood. The second page of Coldharbour has "GHARTOK MOLAG" scrawled beneath concept art depicting the realm. On the chapter's fourth page, "LORMANT_A" is scrawled beneath a painting of Coldharbour's jagged boulders. "DAEDRA DAEDRA" is written in the middle of the seventj page. "CORRUPTION COMES" is written beneath a painting on page ten. Page 14 of the section on Coldharbour has "UNDEATH IS LIFE" scrawled beneath concept art of a Xivilai. "STEEL SCEPTRE" is written next to a sketch of Daedric armor on page 16 of the chapter, and is repeated on page 22 next to a sketch of Molag Bal's head. "COLDHARBOUR" is written among sketches of Dark Anchors on the chapter's 24th page. "THE BLOOD LOST" is scrawled beneath concept art of Molag Bal on page 30.
- The circle for The Deadlands on the Aurbis map says "THE DEADLANDS FIER(Y) DOMAIN OF THE PUISSANT LORD DAGON"
- The circle for Fargrave on the Aurbis map says "THE CELESTIAL PALANQUIN FARGRAVE" (repeated twice)
- The edges of the card backs read "INTO BATTLE STRIDES THE DAEDRIC PRINCE BLADE AT THE READY TO CLEAVE THE UNWORTHY"
- The magical walls on the art of the card Illusory Defenses read "doubt is the key to certainty bars tpe koor". The last two words probably mean "the door".
- The outer circles on the Almsivi card backs read "INTERPRET THE HARMONY". This is yet another appearance of Yahkem.
- Blades saw the return of Sigils, a currency item marked with the Daedric letter "S".
This font set was created by Dongle, and includes the "official" X and Y. This is the font used by all articles using Daedric characters on this site, so you should install it in order to view these pages correctly.
- Obliviontt.zip 135 kb
- For Windows: Unzip and copy the Oblivion.ttf file into the WINDOWS\FONTS (95, 98/ME, XP, Vista and 7) or WINNT\FONTS (NT, 2000) directory.
- For Mac: Unzip (Stuffit Expander should work), and copy the Oblivion.TTF file into your /Library/Fonts folder.
- For Linux: Open the TTF files and click on "Install Font".
If using the Daedric font above, text can be translated by simply pasting into Notepad or any text-editing software and changing to a regular English font.
If translating from an image or anything not written using a proper font, the Daedric characters can be typed individually into this Daedric Translator.
- "Here's an interesting tidbit: speaking with Todd [Howard - Executive Producer at Bethesda], he wanted to emphasize that officially there is no X or Y in the Daedric Alphabet, although a few may have accidentally shown up in Morrowind."[UOL 1]
- Mark Jones — The Dragon's Eyrie News, December 6th, 2003
- Gray Cowl of Nocturnal from The Gray Cowl Returns! Creation for Skyrim Special Edition
Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.