The Daedric alphabet is a symbolic typeface used in replacement of the standard English alphabet. The alphabet was first used in Battlespire in the celestial academy and was called "Daedric" because of the occupation of 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.
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.[note 1]
- The blue Daedric letters on the Gray Cowl spell out the phrase "SHADOW HIDE (Y)OU", but the letter Yahkem is missing. Fig.1
- 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.
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
Morrowind made the most 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.
- 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 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, at the Sacellum of Boethiah, the text on the ground spiraling around the Pillar of Sacrifice reads "I AM ALIVE BECAUSE THAT ONE IS DEAD I EXIST BECAUSE I HAVE THE WILL TO DO SO". Daedric text also appears on the tomb of Jurgen Windcaller where it spells out "WINDCALLER". Also, various documents contain recipes for Daedric items that can be created in the Atronach Forge. These recipes are written in Daedric.
An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire
The daedra and their alphabet are a constant theme throughout Battlespire.
Every level features the following three:
- Sigil Ward: A blue floating Daedric letter which damages the player on touch.
- Sigil of Entry: Letter allowing the player to pass the matching Sigil Ward.
- Sigil Amulet: On use, allows the player to become ethereal for a short time.
- 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
- Protonymic of Mehrunes Dagon: Lehmekweh : LMK
- 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.
It 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. Also, the A sometimes takes the shape of an H, even within the same text.
- Daedric walls say "LOVE THE GAUNTLET"
- Daedric altars say "THE HUNGER"
- Daedric coffins and bookcases say "DEEP IS THE CUT"
- "COLDHARBOUR CALLS NIRN OBEYS", from Exiled from Exile, is repeated frequently
- 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 "DEATH" and "WEAKER"
- Dunmer pillars say "SAND ONCE MORE"
- Gold peices say "GOLD"
- Portalgates say "VIA GATE LIMINAL VOID GAP", "AETHEG PORTAL" and "SUMMON VOID"
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.
- ^ The official line on Xayah and Yahkem, however, is rather different:
"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."