- Mannimarco's First Appearance
- Mannimarco's Time In The Psijic Order
- The Worm Cult
- Mannimarco In Oblivion
- How Does Mannimarco Survive ESO?
- What Is The Necromancer's Moon?
Mannimarco, the King of Worms, is a scorned villain through Daggerfall, Oblivion, and even The Elder Scrolls Online—he's an intriguing figure, particularly with his ties to necromancy, and one of the more powerful TES characters. Due to Daggerfall's Dragon Break, which, to put it simply, made every single possible ending canon to the story, there are two Mannimarco's by the time of Oblivion. But long before that, he helped the Daedric Prince Molag Bal invade Tamriel. And by Oblivion, he himself had become a god.
There's a lot of history tied to this one character, an Altmer who has been around since the first era, joining the Psijic Order and earning a reputation as one of the best students it ever produced. Fast forward, though, and he'd become a blight on Tamriel, a plague in its history.
Mannimarco's First Appearance
Mannimarco first appeared in Daggerfall, where we're tasked with delivering a message to him. He's a lich-like figure with an obscured face, glowing blue eyes, and a red cloak. But despite appearing villainous, we can work for him, getting him the soul of Prince Karolis and helping him get his hands on the Totem of Tiber Septim. He uses this Totem to ascend to godhood, becoming the god of necromancy, but he also doesn't.
Daggerfall's Dragon Break means that every ending of the game happens simultaneously. In all but one of those endings, Mannimarco doesn't ascend to godhood. This means that he becomes the god of necromancy and leaves his mortal self behind, hence his appearance as the villain in Oblivion's Mage's Guild questline.
The Totem! At last it is within my grasp. You have done well. I shall remember this when I have transformed. Search now for the Mantella. Without it, the Totem is worthless. In the meantime, enjoy the adoration of the world.
While this is our first interaction with Mannimarco in terms of release date, it's not the earliest knowledge we have of him. Through in-game books and our meeting with him in The Elder Scrolls Online, there is a much clearer history of this god's sordid past.
Mannimarco's Time In The Psijic Order
Mannimarco is said to be of royal blood, although there's little known about what royal family. However, we know that he joined the Psijic Order in his youth and quickly became a powerful and capable mage.
The only one to rival his skills was Mages Guild founder Vanus Galerion, another character we meet in ESO. The two constantly butted heads because of Mannimarco's unconscionable study of necromancy, but it finally boiled over when it was discovered that Mannimarco was trapping souls in his experiments. Finding this out, Galerion reported Mannimarco to the Ritemaster.
So Mannimarco was banished from the order. They exiled him, relinquishing themselves of all responsibility. Without their watchful eye keeping tabs on him, Mannimarco began to grow in power and immorality, eventually forming the Worm Cult.
The Worm Cult
Split off from the Psijic Order and left to his own devices, Mannimarco built up a reputation for his power and devotion to necromancy, attracting the attention of dark mages and corrupt wizards across Tamriel. They flocked to him, offering him artifacts until, eventually, he gained enough power to become a living corpse—a lich—essentially rendering him undying.
The Temples of Arkay will be torn stone from stone. The blood of his priests will sate our thirst; their bones will rise as our servants. The name Arkay will be struck from the records. Only I shall hold sway over life and death. Only one name shall be whispered in fear. The name of your lord and master.
Around the time that the Mages Guild was created, Mannimarco had gained enough of a following to form the Worm Cult. It had one goal in mind—spreading necromancy and gaining power. He would discover the Crimson Book of Skulls, learn how Dragon Priests controlled Draugr, and unearth forgotten Ayleid summoning magic.
Mannimarco then joined the service of Molag Bal and the Five Companions, the latter of whom he tricked into a ritual that would break the barrier between Nirn and Oblivion, allowing Molag Bal to invade Tamriel with their anchors. He did this with the full backing of his Worm Cult, using them as soldiers in this invasion, but when the invaders were defeated and Molag Bal was pushed back, the Worm Cult did not crumble with them. It wasn't until the fourth era and the time of Skyrim that it fell into ruin.
Mannimarco In Oblivion
In Oblivion, we meet an Altmer claiming to be Mannimarco. This makes sense given the aforementioned Dragon Break—two Mannimarcos can coexist. But he's visibly aged, less lich-like, and looks to be a normal elf mage, not the immortal and undying walking corpse that we met in Daggerfall.
His motives even line up with Mannimarco's troubled history. Centuries on from the founding of the Mages Guild and his exile from the Psijic Order, Mannimarco has resurfaced to take down the Mages Guild once and for all. He and his Worm Cult are growing in influence and strength all thanks to guild arch-mage Hannibal Traven outlawing necromancy.
He was even said to have resurrected Galerion as a thrall, adding insult to injury with his master plan. But we, the Hero of Kvatch, thwart his efforts and kill him, leaving only the god of necromancy version of Mannimarco 'alive.'
How Does Mannimarco Survive ESO?
in ESO, we 'kill' Mannimarco, but his spirit escapes. Molag Bal quickly rips his soul back to Coldharbour where we find him being tortured later in the main quest.
We're able to release him, but Mannimarco promises to unleash his wrath on Tamriel for generations to come.
That's exactly what happens, as we see in Daggerfall and Oblivion. Mannimarco continues his treachery, deceiving and manipulating those around him to gain power as he always has done.
What Is The Necromancer's Moon?
We actually do meet the god of necromancy version of Mannimarco in Oblivion as well through the Necromancer's Moon, otherwise known as The Revenant. This is a newly formed celestial body that orbits Nirn, the manifestation of Mannimarco's godhood. As quoted earlier, Mannimarco's goal was always to forsake the god Arkay and to take control of death and life himself. Rather poetically, he passes in front of Arkay's planet every eight days, blocking Arkay's light.
Now the Worm Cult worships more than just a powerful necromancer—they have a god, one who formed in the third era. These followers use altars dedicated to him to harness his power and create black soul gems.
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