Staunch allies of the Empire and loyal friends to our Revered Father and Glorious Emperor, His Majesty Uriel Septim VII, the Bretons of Daggerfall have for long centuries revered their own particular pantheon of divines and spirits - an invaluable window into the many cultural imports and influences that define the Iliac Bay. This volume endeavours to record only the most important of local deities; a thousand saints and sainted housefathers are venerated by the native clans, and countless druidic cults and hedge-philosophies besides, but they cannot be meaningfully discussed within the confines of a general survey, and thus will not be covered here. Instead, what follows is an overview of the greatest and most popular of the Daggerfallian divines, and a brief introduction to their worship.
Central to Daggerfallian belief is the alchemagical construct of the Wheel. Crafted by Y'ffre from his own cut bones, it captures and defines all that is, and sets it apart from that which is not, giving the world shape and form. Its turning, the sacred duty of Arkay, is the turn of time and seasons - of nature, of history, and of mortal life.
It comes from this that the Bretons of Daggerfall are obsessed with the cyclic currents in all things. Many of their most eminent thinkers have spent long years ascertaining and proving the recurring patterns of history past and future, and the greatest western festivals and rituals are all landmarks to divide the Forever Turn. Death itself is merely a return to the original starting point, whereupon the soul is returned to the mortal coil, and the circle continues unbroken - except in a few rare cases, where enlightenment (or a pact with one of the Powers of Oblivion) allows an escape.
Typically depicted with the Adamantine Tower at its centre, the Wheel is broken up by its spokes into several segments. Some are the domain of the present-gods and their celestial court, and of the house-ancestors and sainted spirits allowed to serve there; others are the preserve of mortals, of various castes, orders and communes, divided by creed and purpose.
- Arkay (Turn the Wheel): the youngest of the ruling pantheon - formed only after Y'ffre cut the Bone-Wheel - Arkay is the God of Cycles and the Turning Wheel. A deity of crucial importance, his duties are over the flow of time, and over the natural order in general. Occasionally, Arkay is also celebrated as the Children's God, and he is thought to have particular sympathy for the stillborn and the young-dead.
- Auri-El (Glory Past): the King of Gods, little remains of Auri-El in Daggerfall but the barest echoes of Aldmeri myth and legend. Like Magnus and Sheor, he is absent from the reigning pantheon - ascended to the heavens in full view of his followers, so they may know how. It is worth noting that Daggerfallians sometimes make reference to a cryptic fraction-god, "Aka"; part of the God-King's whole and shed (or lost) during his ascent, Aka surfaces only in the oldest idioms, and in the works of his secretive Dragon-Jills.
- Dibella (Muse): as fickle and changeable as Beauty itself, in Daggerfall the Goddess Dibella is celebrated chiefly in her aspect as Divine Muse. Here for a moment and gone the next, she is passion and drive given celestial form, the least reliable of all gods - but also, the one with most love for mortals. Time and again, legends tell of her growing tired of the proceedings of the Celestial Court, and slipping away into the twilight streets of Daggerfall to haunt artists and thinkers; and more than one house of nobility claims descent from such a divine midnight adventure.
- Julianos (Wizard): known variously as "the Mechanist", "the Wizard", or "the Divine Alchemist", Julianos is the God of High Wisdom, Knowledge, Teaching, and the Noble Crafts. In the thaumaturgic hierarchy of the Bretons, Julianos has largely replaced Zenithar as the patron of petty nobility and the high artisans, and many enchanters, alchemists and mages - and countless specialists besides - often appeal to him for divine protection and inspiration.
- Kynereth (Hierarch): the Divine Hierarch, Kynereth is the Ruling Goddess and the head of the Daggerfallian pantheon. She is the only daughter of the God-King Auri-El, left to sit his throne within the Bone-Wheel and rule in his stead - and she takes to it with all the fury of the Nords' Kyne. Once betrothed to Sheor, Kynereth smote his body - heartless and lifeless - upon the northernmost mountains of High Rock when Thagore unveiled the Bad Man's treachery, and she has remained the Maiden Goddess since. Many believe she still roams the plains and woodlands of High Rock on her winds - alone or with her squire, Mara.
- Magnus (Hierarchitect): the World Architect, first vassal and High Arcanist of Auri-El's court, and one of the absent divines, Magnus is light and magic-as-energy. Though he is subordinate to the God-King in all but the innermost workings of the world, many of the local Bretons associate with Magnus a particular and particularly Bretic spirit and ingenuity - as opposed to Auri-El in his sphere of Good Foreign Rule. When Sheor tricked Auri-El into creating the mortal world, it was Magnus who drafted the plans, and his many children, clients and apprentices who put them in motion; and when the God-King left, he took Magnus with him - who, in turn, took all his house and retainers, leaving only Y'ffre and the stray Meridia in the Bone-Wheel.
- Mara (Love the Hierarch): the Divine Squire to Kynereth, the Daggerfallian Mara represents fulfilment and strength through attachment to another. The Hierarch's loving aide and handmaiden, she is popularly seen as a kind and compassionate counterweight to the militancy of her mistress, and plays a crucial part in upholding the Hierarchy; Mara is its heart, and its beneficence. Among the commonry, she is something of a patron of conventional wisdom and 'common sense', acting as the clever foil to Kynereth's high-minded and straightforward decisions.
- Mauloch (Goblinking): a minor challenge deity, Mauloch is the God-King of the Orcs, who rules over the Wrothgarians in a twisted mockery of the Celestial Court. He is often encountered in local myth as an enemy god - testing Daggerfall's strength and teaching its heroes the importance of wit and magic over brute force.
- Meridia (Stray Daughter): the lost daughter of Magnus, Meridia is associated with her father's spheres of light and arcane energy. Most typically, she is depicted scheming to claim the works of Magnus for her own - High Rock first among them. In this, she is a popular witch-goddess, and represents a primeval Betony, ordered by ethereal forces rather than the Hierarch of Daggerfall.
- Sheor (Bad Man): the "King on the Rock", Sheor is the dead-god of Bad Foreign Rule. He is attributed with the original trickery of beguiling Auri-El and Magnus into crafting the mortal plane, and with the false-pact of promising Kynereth his heart in marriage - despite having already bargained it away elsewhere (though Daggerfallian myth never endeavours to explain how Sheor lost it, being far too young to remember). The Chant of Thagore Sheorbane maintains he was slain sometime after the fall of the Direnni, losing his high rock-throne to Meridia - who, in her turn, lost it to Kynereth.
- Stendarr (Merciful Knight): the God of Ransom and Chivalry, Stendarr was the merciful knight who first showed Kynereth how to take prisoners; an obvious mythological link to the Nordic Stuhn. Most legends hold that he was of the first vassals of Auri-El, and had long been enamoured with his daughter, the Divine Hierarch. Wounded by the heartache of Sheor's trickeries, however, Kynereth never returns Stendarr's affections - forever remaining the Maiden Goddess.
- Y'ffre (Wheel-Bone): the God of Is, Y'ffre holds a peculiar place in the ruling pantheon - neither its subject nor part of it; at least, no more than he is part of all that exists. When Magnus drafted the plans for the mortal plane, it was Y'ffre who was charged with constructing its frame - and, since there was not yet any matter from which to do so, he cut it from his own bones. Thus, the Bone-Wheel was made, giving form and substance to all that followed. It is said that it will remain until the very last soul flees its confines; then, the Wheel shall uncoil, and Y'ffre will walk free once again.
- Z'enithar (Outsider): a mid-Second Era Nibenese import, it is commonly said that the Daggerfallian Z'enithar is not so much worshipped as he is "kept an eye on." He is the Outsider, who fed Z'en's bones to the earth and wore his dead skins to court, and who bargained for nine days and nine nights with Kynereth - before the Divine Hierarch finally lost her patience, and shattered his garbs in fury. To this day, he remains an outlying god, more often associated with gamblers, peddlers and dock-labourers than with the honoured crafts of his Cyrodiilic counterpart.
-Penbrother Filaxes Arvernus of the Scrivial Orders