Mannimarco is an Altmer necromancer, and head of the Order of the Black Worm. He is the primary antagonist of the Mages Guild questline in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. He was originally a member of the Psijic Order and a fellow student of Vanus Galerion. At some point Mannimarco abandoned the Psijic Order to further practice the dark arts of necromancy. Between this point in time and Mannimarco's last battle with Galerion, he transformed himself into the first Lich ever, gaining immortality. After this battle, he went into hiding, most likely staying at Scourg Barrow, a large, well-fortified center of operations in the Dragontail Mountains. Since then, he has cleverly played all the political games and powers for millennia. His influences have even reached back to the Summerset Isles, the homeland of the Altmer. The Sload, whose domain is the Thrassian Coral Kingdom, worship him as a "King of Worms."
Mannimarco was born around 2E 210, most likely in the Summerset Isles. He was of royal blood, but from which line he descends is unknown. When he became a member of the Psijic Order, he quickly gained a reputation as being one of the most brilliant students that ever trained to become a member of the Order. The only one who could match this success was a mage named Vanus Galerion.
At one point, Mannimarco began to make a study of the school of necromancy. Time passed, and he became fascinated by the secrets of necromancers, and was seduced into the practice of entrapping and enslaving souls. When Mannimarco experimented with a dark spell, he drew the attention of Galerion. Vanus confronted his fellow student beneath the Ceporah Tower, saying "Your wicked mysticism is no way to wield your power. Your studies must cease, because you only bring horror to the spirit world." Corrupted by his experiences, Mannimarco laughed; he had come to hate the ways of life and peace. He returned to his studies, and continued his experiments on death and decay.
After Mannimarco established a base of operations, he stretched his dark grip throughout Tamriel's deserts, forests, towns, mountains, and seas. While Mannimarco dabbled deeper and deeper into secrets long forgotten, the rot of necromancy sunk to his very core. He gathered many followers and servants. Corrupted wizards and witches from all over Tamriel came to him with cursed artifacts and gifts. The Order of the Black Worm was born.
Mages who joined him brought him tomes, enchanted weapons and armor, blood-tainted herbs and oils, Akaviri poison, bonemeal of dead saints, and human skin, toadstools, roots and other alchemical ingredients. Mannimarco absorbed the dark energy out of these objects, and as a result, life-energy was sucked out of him. His body became that of a corpse with blood poison and acid. His power and the duration of his life grew along with his arsenal.
The Great BattleEdit
Vanus Galerion had never forgotten his nemesis, Mannimarco. He had always searched for clues of the necromancer's presence, but did not find him. When Mannimarco resurfaced, Galerion amassed an army of his most loyal mages and Lampknights and traveled north to a cursed mountain path to settle his business with Mannimarco. "Before my last breath, I must face the tyranny of worms, and kill the undeath at last," he vowed.
Mannimarco left his lair with an army of necromancers and undead, and met Galerion's force on the mountain path, both sides ready to do battle. Galerion cried for Mannimarco, "Worm King, surrender your artifacts and their power to me, and you shall live as befits the dead." Mannimarco answered with a hollow laugh, "You die first." It was since then, that Mannimarco carried the name King of Worms.
The two armies then clashed, lightning and frost cascading around them. The necromancers summoned various undead creatures to their sides which were slain by streams of light forged by the battlemages. Before the end of the battle Galerion discovered that Mannimarco was no longer alive, but had turned himself into the first lich ever and thus gained immortality. Galerion's army won the battle and managed to crush the remaining necromancers. Mannimarco disappeared from the scene and was not seen again until ages beyond.
Unfortunately, Galerion died in the great battle along with a thousand other battlemages and necromancers, though his legacy lived on in Tamriel's history and literature.
After the defeat of the Order of the Black Worm, Mannimarco went into hiding at Scourg Barrow. Whether this was his lair from before the battle is not known, but wizards and witches still found their way to him to learn the school of necromancy. One of these apprentices was the Breton battlemage Arielle Jurard, who would later turn Lord Kain of Lainlyn into a Skeleton Hero after attempting to restore him back to life.
Mannimarco used the Order to influence political events through the ages in order to gain more power. He resurfaced between 3E 405 and 3E 417 in the regions of Iliac Bay. He became in league with Princess Morgiah of Wayrest, because she needed his influence on the dead to gain influence over her future husband, the king of Firsthold. In return she promised him her first born son.
Hero of DaggerfallEdit
At some point, Mannimarco met the Hero of Daggerfall, who was sent to Scourge Barrow by Princess Morgiah. Due to his age and dark magic, Mannimarco had knowledge of things that very few mortals know of. He knew for example, that Prince Karolis, the great grandfather of the late King Camaron of Sentinel, roamed the deeps of Castle Sentinel as a lich. This was one of numerous secrets of the royal dynasty of Sentinel. The Hero was ordered to trap the soul of Karolis in order to get some useful information about the Underking, an old enemy of Mannimarco, for his investigation. After this mission, the Hero frequently sought out Mannimarco and fulfilled quests for him.
Warp in the WestEdit
When the Hero later obtained the Totem of Tiber Septim, he was warned by the artifact that only someone of royal blood could wield it. Almost all major political factions in the Iliac Bay sent letters to the Hero including Mannimarco, promising him vast fortunes if he would give them the Totem. This resulted in the mysterious event called the Warp of the West, when Queen Akorithi of Sentinel, King Eadwyre of Wayrest, Lord Gortwog of Orsinium, the Underking and Mannimarco each used the Totem to achieve their own goals. Mannimarco used the divine power of the artifact to achieve godhood and disappeared once again. The Order of the Black Worm now worshipped their master as the deity called the Revenant Moon or God of Worms.
Mages Guild First SchismEdit
In 3E 431 Hannibal Traven became Arch-Mage of the Mages Guild, by a narrow margin, mainly because of his strict stance against necromancy. He implemented new restrictions against necromancy which were strongly supported by some members, but also strongly opposed by others. Half of the council resigned in protest after which only Traven, Raminus Polus, Irlav Jarol, Tar-Meena and Caranya remained. Traven also implemented new regulations governing guild membership, which made it more difficult to join the guild. The Mages Guild was weakened by these events and Mannimarco saw time fit to settle the score with his old enemies.
A person called Mannimarco, apparently a mortal part of him that was separated from the God of Worms part during the Warp in the West, resurfaced in Cyrodiil and moved his base of operations to Echo Cave in the Jerall Mountains. Working in the shadows, he began placing his servants all over Cyrodiil and also secretly recruited new servants, who fulfilled important positions in Cyrodiliic society and could work as spies and informants. The most important of these secret agents were Mercator Hosidus, Falcar and Caranya.
Falcar in particular received a very important task. He was ordered to research the creation of Black Soul Gems, in order to capture and wield the power of the souls of all those who would oppose the King of Worms. Falcar succeeded in this task.
Hero of KvatchEdit
Whether it was coincidence or fate, the Hero of Kvatch became a member of the Mages Guild at the same time of Mannimarco's return. While the Hero completed tasks to earn free passage to the Arcane University, they discovered Falcar, head of the Cheydinhal Mages Guild, to be a necromancer. This proved to be unimportant because now Falcar was free from the eyes of the Mages Guild and could continue his research on Black Soul Gems. Mannimarco sent him to Silorn to search for further possibilities.
Mannimarco ordered his servant Noveni Othran and five others to invade Wellspring Cave. They murdered Zahrasha and Eletta, two apprentices, when the Hero arrived. The Hero killed all six necromancers and reported back to Raminus Polus. The Mages Guild became aware of the offense that necromancers had launched but didn't know who was behind it.
After the massacre at Wellspring Grove, the Mages Guild sent the Hero to Skingrad to spy on Count Janus Hassildor, a vampire, to see what connections he had with the necromancers. However, Mercator Hosidus, a liaison of the court of Skingrad, fooled the Hero into a false appointment at the hills of Skingrad and tried to kill him with his allies Arterion and Mondrar Henim, probably an order given by Mannimarco himself. The Hero escaped the trap and met Hassildor, who told the Hero to explain to Raminus that he had no connections with the necromancers and that they should not send anyone else under false pretenses.
Later on, Count Hassildor discovered Mannimarco's part in the necromancer threat. He sent a message to the Mages Guild and asked for the Hero, whom he had come to trust. Although before giving the vital information to the hero, Janus asked him to deal with some vampire hunters who had come to Skingrad. After completing the task, Hassildor informed the Hero of Mannimarco's return.
Attack on BrumaEdit
The Hero's actions caused quite a few setbacks in Mannimarco's plans and it forced the King of Worms to advance the start of the actual attack. Enraged by the incompetence of his servants, Mannimarco himself led the attack on the Bruma Mages Guild chapter, the town nearest to Echo Cave. After a period of basically doing nothing, he took great delight in slaughtering everyone and draining their souls into Black Soul Gems. When the attack was over, Mannimarco ordered his lieutenant Camilla Lollia to stay behind because he sensed the Hero would come. He told her to return to Echo Cave after dealing with the Hero, and that they then would proceed to destroy the entire Mages Guild. During this conversation Mannimarco became aware of the fact that the survivor J'skar eavesdropped the conversation while being invisible. He looked directly at J'skar and smiled. The King of Worms left J'skar alive in order to tell the Council of Mages about what had transpired and the location of Echo Cave. This was a scheme to eventually lure Arch-Mage Traven to his doom.
After a period of not receiving messages from Bruma, Traven sent the Hero to Bruma. The Hero dealt with Mannimarco's lingering wraiths and eventually killed Camilla. It was then that J'skar revealed himself to the Hero, recognizing him from their time in the Guild. After being informed by his fellow mage, the Hero returned to the Arcane University.
Mages Guild Second SchismEdit
After hearing word of the attack on Bruma, the Mages Guild was in chaos. The Council of Mages debated about what had to be done to stop Mannimarco but could not find a solution. The King of Worms instructed his servant Caranya to carefully manipulate the Council into heavy disputes, in order to weaken them further. Caranya succeeded and her schemes resulted in Irlav Jarol and Caranya leaving the Guild, each taking with them many followers.[source?]
Mannimarco's plan to cripple the Guild worked but he also had a second goal. Caranya was ordered to steal the Bloodworm Helm and the Necromancer's Amulet, but she only came in possession of the latter because Irlav Jarol took the Helm with him to Fort Teleman. While Caranya traveled to Fort Ontus, Mannimarco sent various necromancers and Daedra to Fort Teleman in order to kill Irlav and obtain the Helm.
However Traven sent the Hero to both Fort Teleman and Fort Ontus. The Hero retrieved the Bloodworm Helm before the necromancers could but failed to save Irlav in time. At Fort Ontus he asked Caranya to return to the Guild but she revealed herself to be Mannimarco's servant and attacked the Hero. She was killed and as a result the Amulet too was lost to Mannimarco.
Colossal Black Soul GemEdit
Even when his plans failed, Mannimarco didn't view the battle with the Mage's Guild a lost cause. Word came from Silorn that Falcar had succeeded in creating a Colossal Black Soul Gem. Mannimarco's intention was to use this artifact to capture the soul of Hannibal Traven.
Traven also received word of Falcar's creation and sent the Hero and contingent of battlemages to storm Silorn. Falcar was killed and the Hero obtained the unique gem. Back in the Imperial City Traven explains that he knew that Mannimarco intended the gem for Traven's own soul. He orders the Hero to capture his soul in the gem, because by carrying the filled soul gem the Hero would be immune to Mannimarco's attempts to turn the Hero into a Worm Thrall. Traven then gives his life and captures his soul into the Colossal Black Soul Gem on his own - an act Mannimarco had not foreseen.
Death of Mannimarco, King of WormsEdit
Mannimarco didn't know Traven was dead and expected the deceased Arch-Mage to confront him in Echo Cave. But it was the Hero of Kvatch who came to his lair. The Hero killed Bolor Savel, Mannimarco's last lieutenant and doorkeeper of Echo Cave and entered the domain of Mannimarco.
The Hero fought his way to the Necromancer's Chamber and confronted Mannimarco on a little island. Mannimarco summoned a finger-bone railing from the ground and, for all intents and purposes, trapped the Hero on the island. He then paralyzed the Hero. For some unknown reason Mannimarco was charmed by the Hero and started a monologue about his goals and his views on necromancy, something the King of Worms hadn't done since the days of Galerion. "Power, my dear friend. I seek power, and so I acquire and study those who have some degree of it. We are after the same things, your guild and I. Yet you worry about 'good' and 'evil' and do not accept they are manifestations of the same thing. So you brand me a villain, and make vain attempts to destroy me. I watch, and I wait, and I collect you when you come for me. Instead of drawing Traven out, I have received you instead. Perhaps I shall personally go and collect him when we are done here."
After the conversation Mannimarco tried to transform the Hero into a Worm Thrall. His magic was however rendered useless by the energy stored in the Colossal Black Soul Gem. Mannimarco didn't know what was happening and attacked the Hero with dagger, spell and minion. This all proved to be futile because the Hero was protected by the Black Soul Gem. Eventually Mannimarco, King of Worms, was slain by the Hero.
"I see Bolor was unsuccessful in delaying you. Very well; I shall reanimate him once we are done here. Perhaps we shall chat for a while, since you really have no other options? I must say, I expected Arch-Mage Traven, rather than his star pupil. I am disappointed to see that he could not face me himself. I have met so many of his predecessors over the years. I developed a particular fondness for Galerion, ill-preserved though he may be. But here you are instead. Skilled enough to make it this far, which speaks volumes about you. Perhaps you'll be as useful to me as Traven would."
- I'll never help you! "Oh, my dear. I didn't mean to imply that you have a choice. I will make you another in a long tradition of Worm Thralls, and take my time in studying you. Your very soul will be forfeit to me."
- I'll serve you if you spare me. "I'm afraid you misunderstand. I already have more servants than I need. Your body will be preserved as a Worm Thrall. Your soul is mine; I intend to study both to learn more about the source of your power."
- What?! "Power, my dear friend. I seek power, and so I acquire and study those who have some degree of it. We are after the same things, your guild and I. Yet you worry about 'good' and 'evil' and do not accept they are manifestations of the same thing. So you brand me a villain, and make vain attempts to destroy me. I watch, and I wait, and I collect you when you come for me. Instead of drawing Traven out, I have received you instead. Perhaps I shall personally go and collect him when we are done here."
Despite Mannimarco's great age, only a few artifacts have been identified by scholars as belonging to him:
Apprentices and followersEdit