- "We meet again, mortal, for we have met before, whether you know it or not. When you mutter in your sleep, you speak to me. When you waken wet with sweat, you've just left my house. I dwell in your dreams; I savor your nightmares. Now, you will serve me." — Vaermina
Vaermina (also spelled Vaernima), called the Prince of Dreams and Nightmares, the Gifter, Lady of Nightmares,, Weaver of the Panoply, and the Dark Lady and known to the Khajiit as Varmiina, is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is the realm of dreams and nightmares, and from whose realm evil omens issue forth. She is considered one of the more "demonic" Daedra, in that she is destructive for the sake of causing destruction; her method being "torture". The Prince is served by various Daedra including scamps, clannfear, Dremora, and the powerful "Omens".
Vaermina's plane of Oblivion is Quagmire, described by observers as a "nightmarish land". It is said Vaermina hungers for the memories of mortals, collecting them from her citadel at the center of the realm, and leaves behind "visions of horror and despair". Every few minutes, reality shifts and becomes ever more horrifying: "[a] dark castle one moment, a den of ravening beasts the next, a moonlit swamp, a coffin where he was buried alive." It is not known what Vaermina does with these memories, but it is assumed to be malevolent.
Priests of Vaermina are said to be master alchemists, their highly-prized potions fetching handsome prices on the black market. Notable among these is a concoction known as "Vaermina's Torpor", which places the drinker in a state known as the "Dreamstride". Subjects are granted the ability to enter the dreams of others ("The Dreamstride" is also used to refer to Vaermina's realm) and travel distances in the real world. One seems to vanish when entering the Dreamstride, only to reappear in the location their dream-self was in when the effect wears off; subjects have been known to reappear thousands of miles away in minutes. However, the Dreamstride is not without risks, and death or disappearance remain very real possibilities.
Varmiina, also called the Queen of Nightmares and the Lost Daughter, is a spirit found in Khajiiti traditions. She is said to be a child of Fadomai, but born out of her mother's fear of losing her children. Azurah killed Varmiina in the Underworld, and now she can only haunt the dreams of the Khajiit. This is seen as a way to test the Khajiit via fear, for she cannot directly harm the Lunar Lattice.
In 2E 582, the Supernal Dreamers, a cult dedicated to Vaermina, sought to spread her influence across Tamriel in the wake of the Soulburst. With the cult's assistance, Vaermina's subjects invaded the dreams and minds of influential figures throughout the Daggerfall Covenant. This conspiracy culminated with her consort Galthis, the first Nightcaller, taking over the mind and body of High King Emeric in Wayrest. Luckily, the Daedric Prince Azura intervened, and the plot was ultimately foiled when the Vestige entered Emeric's dream and defeated Galthis the Night Terror, ending Vaermina's control of the Covenant.
Later that same year, the Supernal Dreamers would exploit the weakened barrier between Oblivion and the Mundus in the Rift by merging Skald's Retreat with her own realm of Quagmire. Vaermina's hold on the college would be broken by the Vestige once more when they woke the sleeping bards and broke the spell placed on the isle.
The Nerevarine was afflicted with vampirism while exploring Vvardenfell in 3E 426, and sought out Molag Bal for a cure. Curiously, though he is known for creating vampires and to whom contrite ones turn to for relief from their curse, the Prince of Pain claimed he had to retrieve the cure from Vaermina after some difficult "discussion".
In 3E 433, the Orb of Vaermina was stolen from the dreamworld and brought into reality by the wizard Arkved. He brought the Orb to his tower in the Nibenay Basin, Vaermina wanted it back, and tasked the Champion of Cyrodiil with retrieving it. Reality had become warped inside the tower, transfiguring it into a place of waking nightmares, but the Champion braved the horrors and recovered the Orb. Vaermina rewarded the Champion with the Skull of Corruption, and promised Arkved would never again escape his nightmares.
In 4E 201, the city of Dawnstar in Skyrim was being plagued by continuous nightmares. While in town, the Last Dragonborn met Erandur, a priest of Mara (and former priest of Vaermina) who explained the disturbances were originating from the nearby Nightcaller Temple. Years before, the temple had been invaded by a band of Orcs, and as a last resort Vaermina's priests released "the Miasma", a gas which placed everyone within into a never-ending, ageless sleep. The pair entered the temple ruin and soon found the source of Dawnstar's nightmares—the Skull of Corruption, which had begun feeding off the memories of those nearby.
The path to Vaermina's artifact was blocked by a magical barrier, but Erandur had an idea—the Dreamstride. The priest and the Dragonborn fought their way past awakening Orcs and Vaerminain priests, and located a vial of Vaermina's Torpor. The Dragonborn imbibed the concoction, and entered a dreamlike memory of the temple under attack, from the point of view of the one who released the Miasma—Erandur. When the vision ended, the Dragonborn reappeared inside the barrier, disabling it.
The duo pressed on toward the Skull of Corruption, battling their way past Erandur's former friends. The priest then prepared to banish the artifact back to Oblivion, but Vaermina tried to intervene. The prince pleaded with the Dragonborn to kill Erandur before he could complete his ritual, and offered the Skull as a reward for this service. What choice the Last Dragonborn made remains unknown.
The Skull of Corruption
The Skull of Corruption is Vaermina's signature artifact. It is an incredible staff that creates a duplicate, or "clone", of whomever it is cast upon. This clone then attacks the original at the behest of the caster. Legends say that the staff has a mind of its own, and can feed on the memories of those around it.
There is a story about a Thieves Guild Master and the Skull that is probably fiction, but highly amusing. The Master used the Skull on her enemy, creating a clone of him to fight. After defeating the original, the clever duplicate snatched the Skull from the Master and used it on her. Although the cloned enemy could not directly attack the Master, it could use the Skull to create a duplicate Master. The two clones jointly ruled the Thieves Guild for years.
The Orb of Vaermina
The Orb of Vaermina, named for its patron, was an orb apparently used for scrying. At some point before 3E 433, it was in the possession of a wizard named Arkved, by whom it was apparently "snatched from the dreams of [Vaermina's] followers".. It was recovered by Vaermina's champion, who received the Skull of Corruption in return.
According to the Moth Priest Kellen, the Orb was used by Lord Naarifin—then in the service of Boethiah—to spy on Titus Mede II and his armies. It was recovered by the Forgotten Hero from the Emperor's chambers, who either destroyed or kept it.
Quagmire, or the Dreamstride, is a realm of Oblivion, created and ruled over by the Daedric Prince of Nightmare, Vaermina. It is a realm of horrors, where reality shifts upon itself in seemingly impossible ways. Every few minutes, lightning flashes and the realm morphs into a terrifying scene, each one more frightening than the last.
It is the realm most often visited by mortals. From her citadel in the center of the realm, Vaermina reaches out into Mundus and collects the memories of sleeping mortals, leaving nothing but visions of horror and despair. These experiences, known as nightmares, involve the mind of a mortal traveling to Quagmire. Through magical teleportation, it is possible for a mortal to enter Quagmire while awake, as was done by the mage Morian Zenas.
- 16 Accords of Madness, v. IX — Vaermina's Tale
- The Book of Daedra — Excerpts from a lengthy tome describing the nature of each of the Daedra
- The Doors of Oblivion by Seif-ij Hidja — The chronicles of Morian Zenas' journey through the realms of Oblivion, penned by his apprentice
- Dream of a Thousand Dreamers — A poem dedicated to Vaermina
- Dreamers Our Time Has Come — A rallying cry to the followers of Vaermina
- The Dreamstride by The Mysterious Alchemists of Vaermina — A description of the nature and effect of Vaermina's Torpor
- In Dreams We Awaken — Evangelism for Vaermina
- To Dream Beyond Dreams by the Omen of a Hundred Prophecies — The autobiography of the First Nightcaller
- One tale in the Sixteen Accords of Madness involves the Lady of Nightmares learning about the importance of madness for dreams from the Mad God Sheogorath.
Vaermina as seen in Daggerfall
Vaermina's shrine in Oblivion
The Skull of Corruption, as seen in Oblivion
- Events of Vaermina's quest in Oblivion
- A Fitting Tribute
- A Game at Dinner — An Anonymous Spy
- Dark Ministrations
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Invocation — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- The Infernal City — Gregory Keyes
- The Book of Daedra
- On Oblivion — Morian Zenas
- Letter to Sentulus — Nightcaller Chartrand
- The Omen of Deception
- The Doors of Oblivion — Seif-ij Hidja
- Erandur's dialogue in Skyrim
- The Dreamstride — The Mysterious Alchemists of Vaermina
- Dreamwalkers — Raynard, Academic of Mournhold
- Factions in Daggerfall
- Holidays in Daggerfall
- The Dark Spirits — Amun-dro, the Silent Priest
- Events of Vaermina's Gambit in ESO
- Events of Song of Awakening in ESO
- Events of Vaernima's quest in Daggerfall
- Opusculus Lamae Bal ta Mezzamortie — Mabei Aywenil, Scribe
- Events of A Cure for Vampirism in Morrowind
- Molag Bal's dialogue in Morrowind
- Events of Waking Nightmare in Skyrim