When summoning a Daedric Prince certain “offerings” are sometimes required. In this case; Orc’s blood, Hist Sap, the horn of a Unicorn, ectoplasm, and the heart of the Daedra. Some say gold works just as well. Perform the summoning correctly, and just maybe an Oblivion gate appears. Step through, and Tamriel is left behind, but this Daedric realm isn’t like the others. It isn’t dark and ominous. Its skies aren’t filled with ash, and its ground isn’t covered in hellfire. Here there is soft grass, green pastures and a leafy countryside. This is his domain and all at once he’s there, lounging by a tree stump, with his shape-shifting dog Barbas by his side.
His name is Clavicus Vile, and he is the Daedric Prince of granted wishes who barters souls by way of dark rituals. While not considered evil in the way of Daedric Lords like Sheogorath or Molag Bal, Clavicus Vile still revels in mischief and meddles in the affairs of mortals to keep himself amused.
Cyrus the Redguard had carved his way to Clavicus Vile’s realm of Oblivion to challenge Vile for the soul of his sister. Ultimately, Cyrus engaged the Daedric Prince not in physical combat but in a battle of wits and cunning. Clavicus Vile smirked as he lost; realizing the person in front of him hadn’t been just a sword swinging hero. Vile had been outsmarted…but at least he wasn’t bored… he hates being bored.
In the past, Clavicus Vile has worked through mortal representatives to achieve his own ends. It has been rumored that it was he who taught the Cyrodiil Vampyrum Order to control their bloodlust, and live quietly amongst their mortal prey.
The Hound often seen with Clavicus Vile is a shape-shifting Daedra named Barbas. Some scholars believe Barbas holds half of all of Clavicus Vile’s power, and that without him Vile is noticeably weaker. While he appears to be obedient to Clavicus Vile, Barbas often acts of his own inclinations. He has in the past warned people of Vile’s plots, and has at times taken an active hand in stopping the plans of the Daedric Prince. At one time, Barbas’ affection for the hero Cyrus led him to assume the Redguard’s face on his canine body. Barbas has used his shape-shifting abilities in the past to appear as a scamp, or even a statue of a dog to hinder his master’s plans. It’s important to remember that this shape-shifting ability isn’t exclusive to Barbas. Every Daedric Prince is believed to change their appearance at will; Barbas just seems to exercise this ability more than most.
Clavicus Vile has bestowed upon the world of Nirn numerous artifacts, such as the obscure Bittercup and the Rueful Axe. The Rueful Axe is a Daedric weapon created as a sinister solution to a conjurer’s dilemma. As the tale goes, Sebastian Lort’s daughter had become a worshipper of the Daedric Prince Hircine, and had been afflicted with lycanthropy as a result. After praying to Clavicus Vile to cure his daughter, the Prince bestowed upon him the Rueful Axe, a battleaxe capable of slaying his werewolf child. What better “cure” is there than death?
The Umbra Sword is an artifact commissioned by Clavicus Vile for the purpose of allowing him to collect the mortal souls he craves. The sword was crafted by an ancient witch, who used part of Vile’s own power on the sword and then tricked the Daedric Prince. A portion of Clavicus Vile’s power didn’t return to him once the Umbra Sword was complete. Vile had wanted the sword in order to create chaos along with its enchantment to trap souls, and that was precisely what he got. The piece of Daedric power that had been confined within the sword became sentient, calling itself “Umbra”. The witch who crafted this deadly blade was executed but not before hiding Umbra. When found, the weapon would slowly take control of the wielder, driving them to a bloodthirsty frenzy. In time, and despite Barbas’ best efforts, Umbra found its way back to Clavicus Vile’s nameless realm, a woodland island that holds horrific yellow Daedra.
Clavicus Vile trapped Umbra within the walls of his realm. Still, the sword and its incarnation would ultimately hurl itself back to Mundus, to once again drive mortals to madness. Clavicus Vile may suffer the weakness of having part of his power separated from him, but still he laughs as he gleefully collects his souls, delighted in the mayhem his artifact creates.
Though this Prince boasts many artifacts, his most notable is an enchanted helm known as the Masque of Clavicus Vile. The Masque’s power lies in its ability to enhance the personality of any who wears it regardless of other factors.
Like so many other Daedric artifacts, it is fickle, and given to abandoning those who use it. It is said that Vile’s vanity played a large part in the creation of Masque, and that it suits his personality well. The most popular story regarding the Masque of Clavicus Vile is that of the noblewoman Avalea. Scarred terribly as a child, she made a dark pact with Vile in return for the Masque. While her face remained disfigured, her allure and appeal compelled all those around her. She had been married but a year and a day to a wealthy baron before Clavicus Vile reclaimed his Masque. Her wealthy husband cast her out, even as she was with child. After twenty one years and a day, the baron was dead, slain by the daughter he had conceived with the spurned Avalea. Such is the dark fate that awaits nearly all those who deal with Clavicus Vile.
The very nature of Clavicus Vile means he shares a connection with another Daedric Prince. Vile grants wishes and Sanguine represents the dark place in the heart of mortals from which those desires spring forth.
Sanguine is the Daedric Prince of hedonism, debauchery and vice. He is typically depicted as a short, horned man, often seen holding wine or beer and is considered to be the patron saint of sinners. A prankster at heart, Sanguine revels in uproar and confusion, such as when he arranged to have a spell delivered to a dinner party hosted by the Countess of Leyawiin. The Daedric Prince had a spell cast on the Countess, rendering her and all her guests quite naked. Sanguine was beside himself with glee and rewarded his operative with the Sanguine Rose.
His artifact, the Sanguine Rose has taken many forms over the years, but mostly it is seen as a wooden staff carved like a rose. While its power is undeniable, few care to use the weapon. The staff summons a lesser Daedra who will attack all but the holder of the Sanguine Rose. The creature is uncontrollable and will kill with recklessness, but like all conjured Daedra it will ultimately return to Oblivion. It is said, each time the Rose is used, one of its petals falls off, and once all of the petals have fallen away the staff’s power is depleted.
Once finished, a new Sanguine Rose blooms somewhere in Oblivion, presumably in one of the many realms governed by Sanguine. Most of these realms are apparently used as pleasure pockets by the Daedric Lord of decadence and vice, but very little is actually known about them. Scholars say the Rose was once given to, and possessed by Martin Septim himself. The same Martin Septim who stood against the onslaught of the Oblivion Crisis. A crisis brought on by yet another Daedric Prince, who has no desire to toy with silly mortals. His only desire is reign and ruin. He is change incarnate, and the embodiment of destruction and bloodshed. This Prince brought about the end of an Era, and almost claimed all of Nirn as his own dominion.
But that- is a story for another day…