Deceiver. Devourer. Queen. Goddess.
Boethiah is the Daedric Prince of deceit, treachery, insurrection and rebellion against lawful authority. Considered one of the most violent of the Princes, she demands blood, combat and very often outright murder to appease her appetites and gain her favor. Her followers believe a mortal hasn’t proven themselves worthy of her attention until they’ve taken a life. This sinister reputation has marked her as one of the “evil” Daedra, save for the Dunmer, who revere her. Indeed, much like her supposed rival, the intensely malevolent Molag Bal, Boethiah delights in the agony and deaths of those on the mortal plane. Those who follow her do so expressly aware that they are no more than playthings for the amusement of the Daedric Prince and that at any time Boethiah may demand their blood, or that of another at their hands.
Gender means nothing to the Princes, “male” and “female” are mortal concepts. Boethiah has been portrayed as both genders at her various shrines. In Cyrodiil and Morrowind, shrines dedicated to Boethiah portray her as a strong caped warrior wielding a giant battleaxe. In Skyrim, her shrine resembles a rather sinister looking woman brandishing a blade. Her followers come from many corners of Tamriel to worship at these shrines, but as mentioned before, the Dark Elves are counted among her most devout cultists.
Scholars agree that Boethiah, in conjunction with Azura and Mephala, is responsible for the emergence of the Dunmer as a distinct race. The ancestors of these Dark Elves were known the Chimer, who themselves were descended from the ancient High Elven Aldmer. As the preamble to the Dark Elves, the Chimer had been chosen to abandon the laws and customs of the Summerset Isles at the behest of Boethiah. We can be certain this insurrection and rebellion of the Chimer pleased the Daedric mistress.
The exodus of the Chimer is shrouded in mystery. Some historians say Boethiah had battled and defeated the Aldmer god Trinimac and in the end, devoured him. Then, speaking with Trinimac’s own voice, she convinced these upstarts to leave their home and follow the prophet Veloth, finally settling in Resdayn, which would come to be known as Morrowind. Whether this legend of ages past is true, Boethiah is acknowledged by the world at large to be responsible for most aspects of Dunmer philosophy, magic and architecture.
Despite Boethiah’s contempt for the lives of mortals, she came to be considered one of the “good” Daedra, along with Mephala and Azura. Later, when the Dark Elves submitted themselves to the rule and authority of the Tribunal, these Princes were all but cast aside; their shrines falling into disrepair. Following the later fall of the Tribunal, Boethiah was again elevated to primary worship in the land of Morrowind.
The realm of Boethiah in Oblivion is known alternately as Atrribution’s Share or Snake Mount. It has been depicted as a place of labyrinths, maze gardens and twisted towers. It is where Boethiah’s contest, The Tournament of Ten Bloods has been carried out for millenia.
A one on one battle to the death, The Tournament of Ten Bloods is an arena-style contest fought between the ten major races of Tamriel. Bretons, Imperials, Nords, Redguards, Altmer, Bosmer, Dunmer, Orcs, Argonians, Khajiit. One representative from each race battles to the death to win the favor of Boethiah and the prize is one of her sought after artifacts such as Goldbrand, which has been awarded to a Hero of Cyrodil in the Third Era and was offered to a Hero in Morrowind at an earlier time in exchange for the erection of a new shrine in Vvardenfell.
Goldbrand takes the form of a golden katana, which is said to have been created by dragons, and empowered by Boethiah. It is rumored that Goldbrand played a key part in the Battle of the Red Ring against the Aldmeri Dominion. In this battle, the Empire launched an assault to retaken the Imperial City, which had fallen to the Thalmor. Reports from the battle indicate that Goldbrand was wielded by Emperor Titus Mede II, and with it, he and his Imperials drove the Elven menace from their city… Only rumor though; unverified by the Imperial Government, who probably doesn’t want their citizens thinking their Emperor is a secret Daedra worshipper.
There is another legend of an artifact of Boethiah known as Fearstruck that took the form of a shield which belonged to the hero Lyrisius who is known for having fought against Akaviri slavers. Sadly, for artifact collectors everywhere, the shield was thought to be destroyed by the breath of a wyrm Lyrisius encountered in his journeys. Aside from the legend of Lyrisius, no account of this artifact exists.
The most notable of Boethiah’s artifacts is without doubt the Ebony Mail. It may well be among the most powerful artifacts in existence according to some experts. At one time, the Eternal Champion possessed the mail, having retrieved it from the Black Marsh after Boethiah lost favor with Helath Stormbinder, the previous owner of the powerful magical armor.
Anecdotes indicate the Ebony Mail’s enchantments have changed over time. When Tholer Saryoni, Archcanon of the Temple of the Tribunal, sent a hero on a pilgrimage to Mount Assarnibibi, the hero was rewarded with the Ebony Mail. At the time, the artifact featured a constant shielding as well as a resistance to both fire and magicka. Yet when the artifact reappeared during the time of the Last Dragonborn, the Ebony Mail carried different enchantments that nullified most magic based attacks, muffled noise, and exuded a poison that injured anyone within a certain radius of the wearer.
The reasons behind the variations in the armor’s enchantments over time have never been explained.
Boethiah and her devotees function according to a simple edict. It is actions and the will to make them that are deserving of merit. Words, be they sermons, titles, platitudes or pleas are hollow and worthy only of contempt. Indeed, pleas for mercy often incite the Daedric goddess of sedition to even greater acts of cruelty. She cares not at all for her worshippers other than to enjoy their suffering and destruction as evidenced by her actions. Her Tournament, intended for her amusement, always reveals the strongest warriors of the period, setting them apart with her favor and her artifacts, until her interest wanes again. Ultimately she turns upon her champions, in anticipation of another, stronger mortal to serve her own nefarious ends.
The limits of Boethiah’s cruelty has known no boundaries. She continues to be a source of anguish and suffering amongst the lands of mortals. Many would assume Boethiah’s deeds have no greater purpose outside of her own amusement, and while there is some truth to this, she has clearly taken steps to reshape Nirn in here own image. Her actions not only helped give birth to the Dark Elves, but the Orcs owe their plight to Boethiah’s hand as well. It was from the remains of Trinimac that another Prince would come into existence; a Daedric Prince who would be seen as an outcast among his own kind. The Orcs revere him as the god of the spurned and the ostracized. Keeper of the Sworn Oath, and Bloody Curse.
But that- is a story for another day…