Wyrd Covens (also known as Wyresses, Wyrd Women, Wyrd Sisters, the Wyrd, Ward-Sisters, Name-Daughters, and nature-witches) are female-only, animistic witch covens that serve as wardens of the Green. They draw their power from the Earthbones, and revere nature and the elements. The leader of a coven is referred to as a "beldam".
The Wyrd originated from the ancient people that dwelled in High Rock who are referred to by retroactive nomenclature as the Druids of Galen. A religious schism brought about the Wyrd's separation from their druid brethren. The Wyrd abandoned civilization in favor of living in the wilds, and believe that they are nature itself: the forest, the plants and beasts within it, and even the weather. In contrast, while ancient druids revered nature, they were not keen to isolate themselves and worship the untamed wilds. The druids accepted what they interpreted as their "proper place" as people, and embraced the idea that civilization can coexist alongside nature.
Wyrd witches are primarily Breton, though membership also extends to outsiders, even those from other races. Once a singular entity, the Wyrd split into subgroups by the time of the last Druid King's voyage to the Systres. These sisterhoods remained behind on the mainland to safeguard the forests of High Rock, with some of the dozen or so covens even spreading throughout Tamriel.
The Wyress covens face persecution by those who live in urbanized societies. The various Wyrd covens are regarded by outsiders as dangerous and a force to be placated, with contributing factors such as (but not limited to) their reclusiveness, the nature of their moral codes, and the lack of men to replenish their ranks. In remote regions of High Rock, such as Glenpoint and the Wrothgarian Mountains, witches and medicine men are held in high regard by the superstitious country-folk because of their impressive magical feats.
The Wyrd tend to gather around megaliths, and their architecture is similar on a surface level to that of modern Systrean druids in that both dwell in stone huts. Wyrd patterns of symbology are distinct from those of druids: different patterns or colors on stones are intended for different purposes.
According to a myth, during Jephre's Naming (which gave all creatures of Nirn their shape) in the Dawn Era, Jephre entrusted the Earthbones with the task to designate those worthy of becoming Wyrd, who were the wards of nature. In the modern day, beliefs among the various Wyrd Covens vary. The Beldama Coven for example still reveres Jephre and believe they are descendants of the Ehlnofey, while the various branches of the Glenmoril Wyrd lean more towards Daedra worship.
The Wyrd and the druids have teachings and practices that share common roots, for the history of the druids and the Wyrd is the same up to a certain point. Some sources indicate that the Nedic ancestors of the druids and the wyrd were already following a Druid King figure when the Aldmer arrived to High Rock, but "druid" as a distinct identity was not introduced until shortly after the Breton race first came into existence. This was further warranted when the Wyrd diverged from Y'ffre's True Way (what is now known as Druidism), ultimately driven away by the "excesses of the Elves".
In druidic belief, Bretons (and others) were not meant to separate themselves from nature, as through it, one can rejuvenate and enjoy Y'ffre's bounty. However, this does not mean they simply retreat into isolation and worship wild, unmarred nature: the Druids of Galen embraced civilization, believing it should coexist alongside nature. They found the Wyrd's abandonment of civilization "unsavory", while the Wyrd in turn saw the ancient druids as "barons in ivy robes" who were just as bad as city-dwellers. However, modern druids share similarities to the Wyrd in that they practice self-isolation to varying degrees.
Believing that civilization should live alongside nature and not tame it, eventually the Druids of Galen's tolerance for their Elven overlords would wane, and they would find themselves fighting for the soul of High Rock, a battle they would lose. Before the exiled Druids of Galen set forth to the Systres circa 1E 330, Druid King Kasorayn foresaw a coming disaster to his people in a prophecy now known as the Dream of Kasorayn. Kasorayn visited both the Beldama and Glenmoril Wyrd Covens in preparation. Together, they nurtured the nature spirit known as Frii from the dream of the Green. Frii was the Sower, the entity that was to create sacred seeds which were to contain the regalia of the Druid King, royal symbols to be passed onto the future druidic circles.
Circa 2E 582, the Firesong Circle assaulted both the Beldama and Glenmoril Wyrd, seeking the location of Frii. They abducted elders of both covens, needing them to open the way to the spirit. This led them to the Sunken Road in Bangkorai, where Archdruid Michiel of the Firesong located Frii's sapling. The archdruid was slain, and Frii was taken to the island of Galen to be among the Stonelore Circle.
The kingdom of Shornhelm is known for its descrimination against the Wyrd. They initiated the Purge of the Wyrd-Hags, which saw local Wyresses imprisoned and slain. Prompted to action by the event known as Sun's Death, they believed this slaughter restored Magnus to the sky. In the Fourth Era, due to a misunderstanding, purges were carried out by Shornhelm's Order of the Crypt against the Beldama Wyrd, their wrath extending beyond their borders.
The two major Wyrd Covens include:
- Beldama Wyrd: The all-female Beldama Wyrd live beneath the Wyrd Tree in the dense forests of Daenia, in the least-populated region in High Rock. The Beldama Wyrd believe they are descendants of the Ehlnofey, and see themselves as wardens of the forest. They worship Jephre, the God of the Forest.
- Glenmoril Wyrd: The Glenmoril Wyrd operate out in the wilderness of the Ilessan Hills, and in Bangkorai's Viridian Woods. They also revere the natural world, though unlike the Beldama, the Glenmoril Wyrd have ties to Hircine.
Other witch covens of unknown origins exist in High Rock:
- The Daggerfall Witches: The Daggerfall Witches were active in Shalgora circa 3E 405.
- The Daughters of Wroth: The Daughters of Wroth were active in the Wrothgarian Mountains circa 3E 405.
- The Sisters of The Bluff: The Sisters of The Bluff were active in the kingdom of Daggerfall circa 3E 405.
- Skeffington Coven:
The Skeffington Coven is a notable group of witches that live in the Barony of Phrygias, within the province of High Rock. The Skeffington Coven has been active as far as the late First Era, all the way into 3E 417. The Skeffington operates at Old Barbyn's Farm, deep in the wilderness of Phrygias, somewhere near the Wrothgarian Mountains.
- Witch Cults of Northern High Rock — Wafimeles Masteret (Lorekeeper)
- Wyresses: The Name-Daughters — Glargargil the Speaking Oak
- Opusculus Lamae Bal ta Mezzamortie — Mabei Aywenil, Scribe
- The Glenmoril Wyrd — Lady Cinnabar of Taneth
- Druid Ryvana's dialogue in ESO
- Dhulef's dialogue in ESO
- Archdruid Michiel's Orders — Archdruid Orlaith
- Lionne Ondre's dialogue in ESO
- Draoife Storystone in ESO
- Vanus Galerion's dialogue in ESO
- Information on covens in Daggerfall
- Loremaster's Archive - Bretons & High Isle — Lady Arabelle
- Wyrd and Druid
- Loremaster's Archive - Tamriel's Dungeons — Dhulef
- Wyress Demara and Wyress Linnae's dialogue in ESO
- Wyress Matilde's dialogue in ESO
- Wyress Gwen's dialogue in ESO
- Wyress Rafelen's dialogue in ESO
- Initiate Lamur's dialogue in ESO
- Sojourn of the Druid King quest in ESO
- Wyrd Root Tattoos Body Marking description in ESO
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: High Rock — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- Appearance of Wyrd and Druidic architecture in ESO
- Stonelore Circle Effigy in ESO
- Wyrdstone and Glenmoril Wyrd Stone in ESO
- Wild Hunt Crown Crate season description in ESO
- Modern Day Bretons: Man or Mer? — Vastyr Historian Filibert Beauchamp
- Legacy of the Bretons — Stefan Mornard
- Meet the Character - Sir Stefan Mornard — Knight Commander Jourvel
- Druid Farel's dialogue in ESO
- Druid Peeska's dialogue in ESO
- Sir Stefan Mornard's dialogue in ESO
- Druid Laurel's dialogue in ESO
- Logbook of Druid Anwas — Druid Anwas
- Frii's dialogue in ESO
- Lorkrata Hills's loading screen in ESO
- Shornhelm, Crown City of the North — Lord Wylon, 39th Baron Montclair
- Crypt of the Heart - Draft — Ariana Dumas
- Witch Covens in Daggerfall
Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.
- https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1604662466 Twitch Stream of ESO Live Legacy of the Bretons Autumn Event, time stamp 59:10-59:26