Vaermina (also spelled Vaernima), called the Daedra Lady of Corruption and Decay, Prince of Dreams and Nightmares, the Gifter, the Mistress of Nightmares and Dark Portents,:217 the Lady of Nightmares, the Weaver of Dreams,:293 the Queen of Nightmares, Weaver of the Panoply, the Dreamweaver and the Dark Lady is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is the realm of dreams and nightmares, and from whose realm evil omens issue forth, as well as corruption and decay. All mortals come under her sway as they sleep. She is considered one of the more "demonic" Daedra in that she is destructive for the sake of causing destruction, her method being torture. She is disgusted by mortals who maintain a moral compass, instead taking delight in those who commit outrageous sins or are unafraid to kill in pursuit of power. Laymen know her for her reputation as the Daedric Prince of nightmares and evil dreams.
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 leaving them with visions of horror and despair. Every few minutes, reality shifts and becomes ever more horrifying. It is not known what Vaermina does with these memories, but it is assumed to be malevolent.
Vaermina is said to be an enemy of Ebonarm, Boethiah, Peryite, and Hermaeus Mora, but an ally of Sanguine. She is also at odds with Azura. Her summoning day coincides with the Merchants' Festival, the 10th of Sun's Height.
In Religion and Culture
—In Dreams We Awaken
Varmiina, also called the Lost Daughter, is a spirit found in Khajiit traditions predating the Riddle'Thar Epiphany. She is said to be a child of Fadomai, 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. It is believed that she tests them by playing to their fear, for she cannot directly harm the Lunar Lattice.
Vaermina often communicates to her worshipers while they sleep. Exposure to the horrors Vaermina shows them may cause her faithful to be less inclined to feel fear. Her cultists perform blood sacrifices to appease and petition Vaermina, as well as to summon Daedra from Quagmire. They are not averse to using dark magic. Some cults that venerate Vaermina do not allow the children within their ranks to socialize.
Vaermina's followers sometimes partake in rituals that involve falling asleep or forcing captives to have vivid nightmares. Some of her cultists steal memories from sleeping innocents. The priests of Vaermina who dwelled in Nightcaller Temple created a gas called the Miasma for their sleeping rituals. It lulls those it affects into a deep slumber, and was designed to slow the aging process, as the rituals in Nightcaller Temple could last for months or years. Vaermina's militant cults kidnap citizens to use as vessels for Vaermina's Daedric minions. The victim is put into an enchanted sleep and bound in front of a portal from Quagmire. A Dremora's heart is used to summon a Daedric spirit to inhabit the body.
Priests of Vaermina are reputed 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 imbiber in a state known as the "Dreamstride". Subjects are granted the ability to enter the dreams of others 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.
The Supernal Dreamers were a cult dedicated to Vaermina that was active during the Interregnum. They sought to plunge the world in Vaermina's darkness. The waking world was full of suffering, lies and starvation, and the Dreamers believed that they would create a better world. The Supernal Dreamers believed that those who refused to accept this, those who were driven mad by Vaermina's dreams, were weak, unworthy, and blind to Vaermina's truths.
There exists people known as Dreamwalkers, who can step into the dreams of another through the use of a simple spell. Some believe these Dreamwalkers must have sold their souls to Vaermina to enter her plane, but this claim cannot be verified. Their abilities are compared to that of Vaermina's priests, who can enter the Dreamstride using an alchemical concoction. The Dreamwalkers' abilities seem innate; not taught nor hereditary. Many of the Dreamwalkers acknowledged in academic works were noted to be kind and gentle, using their abilities to help others. They are capable of eliminating painful memories and curing ills that touch the mind.
A shrine to Vaermina located southwest of Cheydinhal dates back to at least the Interregnum. The devoted who worship at this shrine seek for her to grant them true visions"; they believed the nightmares she sent them allowed them to see the world as it truly is. They receive visions and portents from her in their dreams, and their Nightcaller interprets the Prince's message.
Some time during the Second Era, Azura foresaw that Vaermina would attempt to plunge Stormhaven into a nightmarish state. She called upon an Orc named Durak to travel to the region, where he founded the Spirit Wardens to protect the land from Vaermina's plague of dreams. The Spirit Wardens used an artifact called the Dream Shard to produce dreamless potions to protect themselves and others from Vaermina's influence.
In 2E 582, the plot foreseen by Azura would come to fruition when a cult known as the Supernal Dreamers sought to spread her influence across Tamriel in the wake of the Soulburst. The cult undermined the efforts of the Spirit Wardens wherever they could, and desecrated Azura's shrine in Gavaudon. With the cult's assistance, Vaermina's Omens invaded the dreams and minds of influential figures throughout 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, Vaermina would exploit the weakened barrier between Oblivion and the Mundus in the Rift by merging Skald's Retreat with her own realm. She enthralled a bard and instructed her to sing an ancient song that allowed Skald's Retreat to be swallowed by Quagmire. She also ordered her minions to destroy any tomes or artifacts mentioning her name, as Vaermina doesn't like anyone knowing about her. Vaermina's hold on the college would be broken by the Vestige once more when they woke the sleeping bards and had them sing an ancient Nord epic, breaking 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, who brought the Orb to his tower in the Nibenay Basin. Vaermina wanted it back, and tasked the Hero of Kvatch with retrieving it. Reality had become warped inside the tower, transfiguring it into a place of waking nightmares, but the Hero braved the horrors and recovered the Orb. Vaermina rewarded the Hero 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 Dragonborn would enter the Dreamstride. The priest and the Dragonborn fought their way past awakening Orcs and cultists, 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. Mortal sleepers often slip into this realm without any help at all.
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. It is inhabited by Omens, daedric servants of Vaermina, who sends them to haunt the inhabitants of Nirn.
Omens are powerful, malicious Daedra who seek to spread chaos on Nirn. They are among the most powerful minions of the Daedric Prince Vaermina, and can be found in her realm Quagmire. Omens enter people's dreams to influence them, driving them to make decisions they would otherwise consider poor or objectable. Their influence persists in the waking world, and an Omen may whisper to its victim or torment them by showing them horrible visions or forcing them to relive their worst memories. An Omen's victim may be driven to murder those they love, incite bloody conflict, or betray those close to them. They dwell in dreams, and must be slain in their victim's dream in order to eject them from Nirn forever.
The exact nature of Omens is unknown. They can assume various shapes such as Watchers, Dremora, Wispmothers, as well as disguise themselves as mortals. Vaermina named her mortal lover Galthis the Omen of a Hundred Prophecies. Although he was originally a Breton, he assumed the form of a monstrosity resembling the Bone Colossus. Despite being an Omen, his nature was different from those who are proper Daedra.
Among the most elusive of these Omens is the Omen of Deception, whose true name is Ykal. He seeks to wreak havoc by spreading lies and driving Nirn's inhabitants to distrust and betrayal. Ykal can be summoned by cultists who perform a specific ritual. It involves lighting four braziers, slaying a human sacrifice, and speaking his true name; the caveat is that the sacrifice must be dead when Ykal arrives, or he will be summoned in a weakened state. He was slain by the Vestige in 2E 582 after the Supernal Dreamers called him to Tamriel. The Omen of Betrayal has been encountered by mortals across Tamriel during the First and Second Eras. The inhabitants of Summerset knew it as "The Gray Sleep", the Argonians referred to it as "the Egg-Terror", and the Orcs called it "The Visiting Breton". It was also responsible for the obsessions plaguing Gavaudon and desecration of the Azura's Shrine.
- 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.
- 16 Accords of Madness, v. IX — Vaermina's Tale
- Crow's Spell of Binding — A Daedric incantation
- The Book of Daedra — Excerpts from a lengthy tome describing the nature of each of the Daedra
- Dark Ministrations — Notes on the construction of a temple dedicated to Vaermina
- 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
- NPC dialogue about Vaermina in Daggerfall
- A Fitting Tribute
- A Game at Dinner — An Anonymous Spy
- Our Calling, Our Pledge — Abbot Durak
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Official Game Guide — Peter Olafson
- Dark Ministrations
- The Improved Emperor's Guide to Tamriel: High Rock — Flaccus Terentius, 2E 581
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Prima Official Game Guide — David Hodgson
- Sage Odana's dialogue during Song of Awakening in ESO
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Invocation — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- 16 Accords of Madness, v. IX
- The Infernal City — Greg Keyes
- The Book of Daedra
- Myths of Sheogorath — Mymophonus
- Caledonia Lentinus's dialogue in ESO
- On Oblivion — Morian Zenas
- Events of Vaernima's quest in Daggerfall
- Captain Jerick's dialogue during A Dangerous Dream in ESO
- The Doors of Oblivion — Seif-ij Hidja
- Erandur's dialogue in Skyrim
- Factions in Daggerfall
- Azura's Winged Twilight's dialogue during Azura's Aid in ESO
- Holidays in Daggerfall
- The Dark Spirits — Amun-dro, the Silent Priest
- The Omen of Deception
- Aviera Nirol's dialogue in Oblivion
- Tenville's dialogue in Oblivion
- A Promise Made — Gasparien
- Erandur's Follower Dialogue in Skyrim
- Letter to Sentulus — Nightcaller Chartrand
- Brother Perry's dialogue during The Slumbering Farmer in ESO
- The Dreamstride — The Mysterious Alchemists of Vaermina
- Dreamwalkers — Raynard, Academic of Mournhold
- In Dreams We Awaken
- Dreamers Our Time Has Come
- Dreamwalkers — Raynard, Academic of Mournhold
- Aymar Douar's dialogue in Oblivion
- Molacar's dialogue in ESO
- Hears-the-Wind's dialogue in ESO
- Founding of the Spirit Wardens — Janise Muric, Third Warden of the Faithful Circle
- Abbot Durak's dialogue during Azura's Guardian in ESO
- Events of Azura's Guardian in ESO
- Abbot Durak's dialogue during Another Omen in ESO
- Events of Godrun's Dream in ESO
- To Dream Beyond Dreams — the Omen of a Hundred Prophecies
- Events of Vaermina's Gambit in ESO
- Engling's dialogue during Song of Awakening in ESO
- Loremaster Bragur's dialogue during and after Guard the Knowledge in ESO
- Events of Song of Awakening in ESO
- Opusculus Lamae Bal ta Mezzamortie — Mabei Aywenil, Scribe
- Events of A Cure for Vampirism in Morrowind
- Molag Bal's dialogue in Morrowind
- Events of Vaermina's quest in Oblivion
- Events of Waking Nightmare in Skyrim
- The Omen of Deception