Lore:Shadow Magic

The UESPWiki – Your source for The Elder Scrolls since 1995
Jump to: navigation, search
Azra Nightwielder, the original Shadowmage

Shadow Magic is an obscure but powerful form of magic. It was first harnessed by Azra Nightwielder, who was the first to discover that shadow was not simply an absence of light, but a reflection of possible worlds created by forces in conflict. Shadows can be produced by mundane forces such as light hitting a rock, or by more powerful forces such as nations at war. Shadow Magic involves the manipulation of shadows to affect the forces creating it.[1] In this way, Shadow Magic rivals even the power of the Elder Scrolls themselves, having the power to potentially change the past, present, and future through the manipulation of shadow. At its strongest, it even has the capabilities of reaching into and affecting the multiverse.[2] Shadow magic has the potential to carry a high price for its usage, for its nature is to turn on their casters, and shadowmages are often distrusted because of this.[3][4] Shadow Magic is common around the Western Reach area, but is only occasionally used elsewhere.[5] It is often harnessed by "Nightblades".[6][7]


A Nightblade's shade

Shadows can be coalesced into shadow-equipment such as the Shadow Stabber blade, armor such as Shadow Gloves or even jewelry like Shadowrings.[8][9][10][11] They can also be absorbed to strengthen and empower the mind, although this can have physical and mental side-effects, such as out-of-body experiences, distortion of ones senses and the shriveling of skin.[12] In the same vein, shadows can be infused into the body as well, magically improving one's strength, speed or endurance.[13] In both cases, it is possible to feel consciousnesses fade away as a shadow merges with the shadowmage's own.[9] Despite these boons, Shadow Magic can distort and corrupt living beings, making them into "an echo of what's right".[14] Another usage of Shadow Magic is the creation of decorative objects, such as statues.[15] It is possible to link the shadows of beings together, allowing for communication over distance, although the process of such is painful. Azra Nightwielder referred to this as an "umbric connection".[16] Nightblades used Shadow Magic to "step through shadows", teleport short distances, or drain other people's life force.[6][7][17].

Shadow Magic can be used in the creation of Shadow Gates. These are magical barriers often used to protect treasure, and can only be bypassed through the use of arcane relics known as Shadowkeys. Circa 3E 397, only eleven Shadowkeys were known to be in existence. Shadow Gates can have a variety of appearances, from portal-like or door-like to outright invisible.[18] Shadowkeys also have other unique uses, such as one which was used to resurrect Volstok Violet, restoring him to life from a zombified state.[19] Shadowkeys can also be used to "unlock possibilities in the shadows", calling upon shadows to bolster the wielder's mind or body.[12][13]

Shadowmages can use Shadow Magic to visit shadow realms, alternate versions of the world, to aid a different version of themselves. Similarly, shadowmages can summon different versions of themselves to their own world. Death in a shadow realm will break the connection, although it is also possible to escape with light-based magic.[6][20][21] The Sea Sload Z'Maja summoned shadowy reinforcements from shadow realms during her fight with the Undaunted[21]

Azra Nightwielder's usage of Shadow Magic[edit]

Azra attempted to manipulate his own shadow to such an extent that he would meld all possible versions of himself, crossing over from a singular existence to all the existences in shadow. He disappeared after a battle with Redguard soldiers, so his experiment never came to fruition. During his absence, other shadowmages strove to take his place and continue researching the science of shadow, including Pergan Asuul and Skelos Undriel.[4]

Shadow Magic played a central part of the War of the Bend'r-mahk. The large amount of conflict caused by the war manifested itself as a powerful entity known as the Umbra' Keth, or "Shadow of Conflict". Jagar Tharn and Pergan Asuul competed to gain control of the monster for their own use. The Soul of Conflict, a questing hero under the guidance of Skelos Undriel and a returned Azra Nightwielder, used the power of the Star Teeth to destroy the creature.[5]

Nocturnal's usage of Shadow Magic[edit]

Nocturnal takes over the Crystal Tower

In 2E 582, the Daedric Prince Nocturnal tried to take control of the Clockwork City. Using her shadow magic, she gave Sotha Sil's Shadow sentience, which then replaced him as ruler of the Clockwork City. Meanwhile, one of the Clockwork Apostles, Chancellor Gascone Dusant, sought to deliver the Skeleton Key, which had been accidentally found by a Factotum beneath the Brass Fortress, to Clavicus Vile, only for the Key to be stolen by the Blackfeather Court. The Vestige, assisted by Divayth Fyr and the Clockwork Apostles, unveiled the plot, but were unable to reclaim the Skeleton Key before it was taken by Sotha Sil's Shadow. Using the key, Nocturnal and the Shadow attempted to seize control of the Clockwork City, but were stopped by the Vestige, Divayth Fyr, and Proctor Luciana Pullo, who rescued Sotha Sil by defeating his Shadow. Sotha Sil then gave the Skeleton Key to Divayth Fyr for safekeeping.[22]

Nocturnal subsequently took control of the Crystal Tower. With a technique she stole from Sotha Sil involving utilizing life energy as a power source, she planned to use the life energy of Nirn, and then the energy of the other Daedric Princes afterwards, to amplify the Crystal tower and make her shadows limitless. If she succeeded, she would have spread her influence across the multiverse, and would have been unstoppable. Nocturnal's plan was foiled by the Psijiic Order and the Vestige, with the assistance of the two betrayed Princes (Mephala and Clavicus Vile) and the champion of Meridia known as the Golden Knight. The divine power of Meridia's Dawnbreaker was then used to restore the tower's stone, Transparent Law. Sotha Sil then made negotiations with both Mephala and Clavicus Vile and the two have agreed to a compact to put an end to their direct meddling.[2]

Sea Sload usage of Shadow Magic[edit]

The Sea Sload sorceress, Z'Maja

In 2E 582, the Welkynars, under the command of Relequen captured a Sea Sload named Z'Maja—a necromancer who was a member of a group called the Abyssal Cabal, consisting of several Sea Sload that sought to sink all of Summerset. The Welkynar took Z'Maja to the Cloudrest Aerie, much to the dismay of the city's inhabitants. This proved to be their downfall when Z'Maja utilized dark magic to trap all of Cloudrest in a dense shroud of mist. The mist drained the life of the people, leaving the lower district completely intoxicated. The Divine Prosecution was forced to barricade the city until Z'Maja was dealt with, while Olorime of the Welkynar was able to keep all of the people safe in the upper district. Olorime enlisted the help of the Undaunted to defeat Z'Maja. Each of the Welkynars that had been corrupted by Z'Maja's shadow magic was defeated, and the Sea Sload was slain. According to some reports, Olorime was the sole surviving Welkynar and was forced to recruit new initiates into the order. Other accounts mention that the Welkynars escaped the corruption of Z'Maja's shadow magic and survived.[21]

The Veiled Heritance's usage of Shadow Magic[edit]

The Shadow Wood

Circa 2E 582, the Veiled Heritance returned Prince Naemon from the dead as the Shade of Naemon. The Shade began the process of creating the Shadow Wood, a mirror realm of Valenwood inhabited by shades and corrupted spirits.[23][24] Naemon intended to corrupt and replace Valenwood with his shadowy realm, but was killed by the Vestige and their allies, destroying the Shadow Wood in the process.[25]

The Spider Cult's usage of Shadow Magic[edit]

Defender Two-Blades with the Obsidian Husk

Circa 2E 582, the Spider Cult took over Fungal Grotto in western Stonefalls. Here, the worshipers of Mephala enthralled travelers with shadows, turning them into beings of darkness loyal only to the Cult. This was possible via the usage of an artifact of Mephala known as the Obsidian Husk. With the aid of the Undaunted, Defender Two-Blades of the Fighters Guild destroyed the Husk and ended the Cult.[26]


See Also[edit]




  1. ^ First Scroll of Shadow
  2. ^ a b Events of ESO: Summerset
  3. ^ Brown ScrollJagar Tharn
  4. ^ a b Second Scroll of Shadow
  5. ^ a b Events of Shadowkey
  6. ^ a b c Nightblades in ESO
  7. ^ a b Shadow Draining: A Hypothesisthe Glimmering Foxbat
  8. ^ Shadow Stabber in Shadowkey
  9. ^ a b Loth' Na Caverns Shadowgate in Shadowkey
  10. ^ Shadow Gloves in Shadowkey
  11. ^ Shadowring in Shadowkey
  12. ^ a b Dragonstar East Shadowgate in Shadowkey
  13. ^ a b Dragonstar West Shadowgate in Shadowkey
  14. ^ Delfran's Hideout Shadowgate in Shadowkey
  15. ^ Twilight Temple Shadowgate in Shadowkey
  16. ^ Azra Nightwielder's dialogue in Shadowkey
  17. ^ Stepping through Shadowsthe Glimmering Foxbat
  18. ^ Shadow Gates in Shadowkey
  19. ^ Events of Volstok Violet Resurrection in Shadowkey
  20. ^ Shadowkey multiplayer
  21. ^ a b c Events of Woe of the Welkynars in ESO
  22. ^ Events of ESO: Clockwork City
  23. ^ Indaenir's dialogue in ESO
  24. ^ Retaking the Pass quest in ESO
  25. ^ Striking at the Heart quest in ESO
  26. ^ Events of Lighting the Shadows in ESO