Dawnbreaker is a Daedric artifact created by the Daedric Prince Meridia. It was forged "in a holy light that breaks upon" the Prince's foes. In appearance it is an ebony longsword containing a distinctive light emitting crystal in its cross-guard known as the Dawnstar gem. It was created with the intention of "burning away corruption and false life". As such, it is particularly effective against Meridia's "foes": this primarily applies to the undead, although its powers can also be used on Daedra and werewolves. Dawnbreaker is known to deal magical or fire damage to those it strikes, along with additional damage to the Prince's foes, sometimes knocking them to the ground. When an undead creature is killed by the weapon, there is a chance that it will cause a fiery explosion, burning all other undead in its radius and causing them to flee. This explosion can prove dangerous if the wielder is also undead, such as a vampire. Those who possess Dawnbreaker are sometimes known to do more damage with mundane weapons.
During the time of the Planemeld, the Fighters Guild was commissioned to destroy Dark Anchors sent to Tamriel by Molag Bal. The highest ranking members were given the power to summon Dawnbreaker in the midst of battle to aid them in fulfilling this contract.
Dawnbreaker was subsequently given to Darien Gautier, the Vessel of Meridia, to be used in his fight against the Court of Bedlam during the cult's assault on Summerset Isle circa 2E 583. Darien was repeatedly thwarted by the triad of Daedric Princes leading the cult, and was eventually captured by Mephala and hidden deep within the Spiral Skein. His connection to Meridia was severed when the triad invaded the Colored Rooms, but not before Meridia managed to alert the Soulless One of Darien's location within the Spiral Skein. Darien was rescued by the Psijic Order and brought to Artaeum, where he aided the Order in entering the Evergloam in search of the Heart of Transparent Law. The group succeeded in locating the Heart—within the chest of Ritemaster Iachesis—but in doing so alerted the triad of Princes. Darien used the power of the Dawnbreaker to hold back the forces of Mephala and Clavicus Vile while the two fought for possession of the Heart, but both Princes were banished from the realm when Nocturnal herself arrived to claim the Heart. When Darien attempted to use the Dawnbreaker against Nocturnal in her own realm, she claimed the sword as well and corrupted it with shadow, now calling it Duskbringer. It was later given to Veya Releth, Nocturnal's earl and mortal champion who aided her in taking control of the Crystal Tower.
Veya used Duskbringer to carry out Nocturnal's will on Summerset. She used its dark power within the Cathedral of Webs to evade capture, freezing Earl Leythen in shadow when he attempted to confront her. Veya also wielded the sword in a final battle within the Crystal Tower, where she was slain by Darien Gautier and the Soulless One. After her defeat, Nocturnal attempted to intervene to stop the advancing heroes, but Darien was able to repel her darkness by using Meridia's power. As the last Light of Meridia, Darien then sacrificed himself to remove Nocturnal's corruption and restore Dawnbreaker. The Soulless One was able to use the Dawnbreaker to ascend to the top of the Tower and hold back Nocturnal's forces long enough to plunge the sword into Transparent Law, using its divine energy to repair the crystal. Once repaired, the Crystal Tower's innate defences were enough to banish Nocturnal, ending her plot to achieve infinite power.
At some point, Dawnbreaker was brought to Meridia's temple at Mount Kilkreath in Skyrim. In 4E 201, a Breton necromancer named Malkoran defiled the temple, and began trapping the souls of dead soldiers in the ongoing Stormcloak Rebellion. He used Dawnbreaker's power to fuel his profane magic, which greatly offended the Prince. In response, Meridia summoned the Last Dragonborn to Mount Kilkreath to cleanse the temple ruins and claim Dawnbreaker.
- Though they have similar names, the sword has no relation to the town of Dawnbreak and the gem has no relation to the town of Dawnstar.
- Another sword is referred to as Dawnfang and Duskfang, which shares a similar naming scheme.
- The Golden Knight's dialogue in ESO: Summerset
- Meridia's dialogue in Skyrim.
- Fighters Guild skill line in ESO
- The Dreaming Cave quest in ESO: Summerset
- Lost in Translation quest in ESO: Summerset
- Name of Earl Tundilwen's attacks
- The Crystal Tower quest in ESO: Summerset
- A Necessary Alliance quest in ESO: Summerset
- The Break of Dawn quest in Skyrim