- "As known in the West, Mephala is the demon prince of murder, sex, and secrets. All of these themes contain subtle aspects and violent ones (assassination/genocide, courtship/orgy, tact/poetic truths); Mephala is understood paradoxically to contain and integrate these contradictory themes." — Vivec and Mephala
Mephala (also known as Mafala to the Khajiit people) is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals, also known by the names Webspinner, Spinner, Spider, Teacher of the Secret Arts, Queen of the Eight Shadows of Murder and the Anticipation of Vivec. Unlike many other Daedric Princes, who almost always appear as the same gender (e.g. Azura is always female, Sheogorath is always male), Mephala appears as either male or female depending on whom the Daedric Prince wishes to ensnare (though she's typically female). Mephala's only consistent theme seems to be interference in the affairs of mortals for amusement. Mephala's sphere seems to indicate a careful plan carried out through executions, each life a portion of a massive web. It is little wonder that Hermaeus Mora, the "Demon of Knowledge", is considered Mephala's sibling.
Mephala sees the affairs of mortals as a weave; pull but one thread and the whole thing unravels. The Dunmer associate Mephala with more simple concepts—lies, sex, and murder. Mephala directly helped to found the infamous cult/society of the Morag Tong, and they claim to murder for the daedra's glory. Some scholars also argue that when the Morag Tong was banished from the rest of Tamriel, they were allowed to continue to operate in Morrowind when they replaced their worship of Mephala with that of Vivec. As a reaction to this, the Dark Brotherhood was formed, being led by the mysterious Night Mother, who some insist is just another form of Mephala.
Mephala is known as one of the "Good Daedra" of the Tribunal faith, as well as one of the "strongest of the recognizable spirits" that emerged soon after Akatosh formed and time began. Mephala's enemies include Ebonarm, Molag Bal and Peryite; allies include Malacath. The temperamental Spider Daedra act as servants.
In Morrowind, Mephala was the ancestor that taught the Chimer the skills they would need to evade their enemies or to kill them with secret murder. Enemies were numerous in those days since the Chimer were a small faction. Mephala, along with Boethiah, organized the clan systems that eventually became the basis for the Great Houses.
To the Khajiit, she is Mafala, the Clan Mother of Dark Secrets, and the recorder of hidden guilt and eternal shame. She is considered an ancestor spirit and a teacher of the old ways. However, her worship fell out of favor after the event known as the "Sinner Suicides".
The Ebony Blade, also known as the Vampire or the Leech, is a Daedric artifact created by the Daedric Prince Mephala. It resembles an ebony katana, and is considered to be an artifact of great evil, having the ability to absorb the life essence of those that it strikes. Part of the damage inflicted flows into the wielder as raw power, draining the victim of their health and sometimes stamina. It has also been known to fortify the wielder's skill at using long blades, magically silence those that it strikes to prevent them from casting spells, and deceive victims.
The Blade has corrupted and perverted the desires of great men and women, and is infamous due to the many lives it has taken at the hands of its dark owners. It is known to drive all who wield it insane. Wielders of the blade consign their everlasting soul to Oblivion. In 2E 582, a charm was cast on it by a mage so it would not remain with any one individual for long, in an attempt to save the souls of any too infatuated by the Blade.
Some time in the early Second Era, an Altmer named Nerien'eth uncovered the Ebony Blade while scouring Tamriel for artifacts to study. He brought it to the Agea Relle for study, believing it to be an ancient Akaviri blade. Mephala's whisperings slowly began to corrupt Nerien'eth's mind, until eventually he snapped and ensnared the souls of his students and fellow researchers. He summoned Daedra to torture their souls for eternity, and shattered the soul of his wife Alanwe so that she would suffer the most. The Agea Relle became known as the Crypt of Hearts, and was avoided by the people of Rivenspire for many years. In 2E 582, a group of Undaunted entered the Crypt and cleared it of undead and Daedra, freeing the captured souls and restoring Alanwe's spirit.
Instead of departing for the afterlife, Alanwe stayed behind to protect the vault from Nerien'eth, who returned in force later that year. Using the Ebony Blade, Nerien'eth summoned minions of Mephala, powerful Daedra who aided him in recapturing the lost souls. The group of Undaunted returned, and once again aided Alanwe by investigating Nerien'eth's return. The group managed to locate the Ebony Blade, and were forced to slay Nerien'eth when he wielded it in battle. Alanwe's spirit then took the blade and communed with Mephala, the unknown whisperer. Mephala attempted to corrupt her by promising to help destroy the weapon, but Alanwe refused to listen to the Prince. Instead, she used her own soul to place a charm on it so that it would never remain with an individual for long. She then sent it far away, although the blade was fully empowered at the time and fought against her will, yearning to eventually return home. However, Alanwe's sacrifice did deny Mephala the blade's use during a great war between the forces of Oblivion.
The Ebony Blade was later uncovered during the Imperial Simulacrum by the Eternal Champion, in the province of Valenwood. In the events leading up to the Warp in the West, an agent of the Blades summoned Mephala and was tasked with assassinating a noble in the Iliac Bay area. In return, a worshipper of Mephala rewarded the agent with the Blade. In 3E 433, the Champion of Cyrodiil summoned Mephala and was tasked with starting a feud between two prominent families, the Nordic Ulfgar and Dunmeri Dalvilu, in the settlement of Bleaker's Way. The Champion murdered the leaders of the two families and planted evidence which implicated the other. The settlement descended into chaos, and the two families fought until only one remained. Mephala then rewarded the Champion with the Blade.
Some time in the Fourth Era, the Ebony Blade came into the possession of the jarl of Whiterun, who attempted to destroy it by placing it within the Skyforge. Not even the hottest fires could melt it, and in fact the sword seemed to cool the coals when it was placed within. As a last resort, the Blade was hidden away deep within Dragonsreach, with access granted only to the Jarl of Whiterun and his trusted court wizard. In 4E 201, Nelkir, the young son of Jarl Balgruuf the Greater, stumbled upon the locked door to the chamber where the Blade was kept. Mephala spoke to the child through her artifact, whispering secrets through the door. Word spread through the city of the jarl's "dark child", and the Last Dragonborn was tasked with helping the child. When questioned, Nelkir spoke of the "Whispering Lady". The Dragonborn investigated the "Whispering Door", and was contacted by Mephala. Under the guidance of Nelkir, the Dragonborn obtained a key to the door, and retrieved the Ebony Blade. However, having been locked away for so long, the weapon had lost much of its power. Mephala instructed the Dragonborn to nourish the Blade with the "blood of deceit" by murdering trusting friends.
Ring of Khajiit
The Ring of Khajiit, sometimes named the Ring of Khajiiti, is an ancient relic, hundreds of years older than Rajhin, the thief who made the Ring famous. It was Rajhin who used the Ring's powers to make himself as invisible, silent, and quick as a breath of wind. Using the Ring he became the most successful burglar in Elsweyr's history. Rajhin's eventual fate is a mystery, but according to legend, the Ring rebelled against such constant use and disappeared, leaving Rajhin helpless before his enemies.
The Obsidian Husk is a strange artifact said to be a fragment from Oblivion. Others believe it to be magical in nature, containing a trapped shred of Mephala's essence. Whatever its origin, its powers are formidable.
The Spiral Skein
It is metaphysically constructed in a similar manner to Nirn. At the center is the Tower, known only as the Pillar Palace of Mephala, since its true name is too awful to be uttered. The Spokes are called the Eight Strands of the Skein, and the spaces in between are each devoted to a different sin. The first is a cavern devoted to lies, filled with pedestals pretending to hold up the sky. The second is made up of cramped chambers representing envy, while the third is maggot-filled grottoes filled with seductive light. The fourth contains eternally dark tunnels of fear; the fifth, a place of betrayal; the sixth, an arena of murder. The seventh space is home to arcades of avarice and appetite, containing all things mortals would kill or die for, while the eighth is a flaming skein of fury, representing the death that comes to all mortals.
As seen in Daggerfall
Mephala's statue in Oblivion
Mephala as a Spider Daedra (ESO)
The Ebony Blade, as seen in Skyrim
The Ring of Khajiiti, as seen in Oblivion
- Mephala appeared in TES II: Daggerfall, TES III: Morrowind, TES IV: Oblivion, TES V: Skyrim, and The Elder Scrolls Online
- Inexplicable Patron: Mephala by Divayth Fyr — A Telvanni Lord's musings on the Daedric Prince of Secrets
- Vivec and Mephala
- Rumors of the Spiral Skein — The Derisive Necromite
- Varieties of Faith... — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Fire and Darkness — Ynir Gorming
- Darkest Darkness
- The Monomyth
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- Abode of Ignominy's Loading screen in ESO
- The Thief God's Treasures — Wafaruz the Veracious Spitter
- The Obsidian Husk