"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."

The Order of the Black Worm,[1] also known as the Cult of the Black Worm,[2] the Worm Cult,[3], or the Fellowship of Anchorites,[4] is a magical organization consisting largely of necromancers. They follow the teachings of Mannimarco, their "King of Worms".[5] They are traditionally rivals of the Mages Guild,[6] as well as Arkay and his priesthood. The latter are usually humiliated by members of the Worm Cult, who are given guidance by followers of the Cult in Cyrodiil.[7]

By game[edit | edit source]

Notable members[edit | edit source]

Equipment[edit | edit source]

The Worm Cult has had various kinds of gear. During the Alliance War, the cult had styles for armor and weapons in order to defend themselves while advancing the goals of Molag Bal.[8] In later time periods, their equipment became more basic,[9] until eventually being replaced by simple robes during the Oblivion Crisis.[10] The robes worn by members of the cult are typically black.[11]

Magic[edit | edit source]

The necromancers of the Worm Cult use both regular magic, as well as spells to summon beings such as skeletons, ghosts, or zombies.[12][13] In rituals, the necromancers mark their undead, or living, minions.[1] Other magic used by the worm cult is the ability to reanimate the dead,[12] a feature which they sometimes use at graveyards.[14] Rumors also exist that the Worm Cult knows rituals which enable sacrificed souls to go to a Daedric Prince, rather than Aetherius.[15] Magic for binding spirits is also known by the Worm Cult, and requires a ritual,[16] where as Animus Geodes are used to hold the souls of multiple people. The Geodes are fragile, meaning they can easily be smashed and the souls kept in them be set free.[17] During the Alliance War, the members of the Worm Cult also knew how to summon Dark Anchors.[18]

The Revenant, also known as the Necromancer's Moon.

Another art of the necromancers is the creation of black soul gems, which became possible following the Warp in the West.[19] This art enabled them to capture the souls of the sentient races of Tamriel; man, elf, and beast.[20] In order to make the soul gems, a grand soul gem had to be placed in an altar, after which the necromancer had to pray for Mannimarco's blessing, while striking the altar with soul trap magic. This allowed Mannimarco's power to change the soul gem from grand to black.[21]

Ranking[edit | edit source]

Locations where the members of the Order are located are informally known as "Worm Nests", and are led by Worm Anchorites, who are the highest ranking members below Mannimarco.[6] Sometimes, these Anchorites are undead. When they are undead, they are known as Worm Eremites.[22] These Anchorites report directly to the King of Worms through an unknown means of communication. Beneath the Ancorites are the Necromancer Adepts, Worm Warriors, and Worm Thralls. New members of the Order are attracted by its promises of power, and are sworn to secrecy under the threat of undeath.[6] Those who join have to cut ties with their former lives, as distractions are not permitted within the cult.[23]

History[edit | edit source]

Second Era[edit | edit source]

The Worm Cult would find its origins around the same time the Mages Guild was founded. Mannimarco, upon being discovered as a necromancer by the Psijic Order was exiled to mainland Tamriel, and Vanus Galerion saw this punishment as too lightly. He left the Psijics to form the Mages Guild. While Galerion was establishing the Mages Guild, Mannimarco was spreading the art of necromancy across Tamriel, and recruiting necromancers to gather artifacts to increase his power, and would eventually use this power to turn himself into a Lich.[5] In doing this, he learned the ways the Dragon Priests used to enthrall their draugr, as well as the Ayleid magics regarding the summoning of their spirits. He also aboutained the Crimson Book of Skulls, a book which Arch-Mage Shalidor himself thought was destroyed.[6]

In 2E 437, the presence of the Order of the Black Worm in Kvatch was discovered, and beaten by the Order of the Hour. Rusio Olo defeated eight of the cultists single-handedly, including their leader.[24]

Alliance War[edit | edit source]

During the Alliance War, the Mages Guild lost the Arcane University in Cyrodiil to the Worm Cult, who made it their home.[25][4] The Soulburst had also enable the Necromancers to summon undead on a scale which was previously impossible.[26] The Worm Cult was in general active throughout Tamriel, as they were responsible for calling down the Dark Anchors.[27]

Hammerfell[edit | edit source]

Within Hammerfell, the Worm Cult used their arts to create armies of undead, as the Redguards are culturally not permitted to slay the undead. However, their attempts were foiled by the Ash'abah.[2] Within Elinhir, the Mages Guild provided continued resistance against the Worm Cult, preventing Molag Bal from gaining a hold there,[28] though the city would later be lost to the Scaled Court.[29]

Morrowind[edit | edit source]

Within the ruins of Ashalmawia on Vvardenfell, the Worm Cult was practicing rituals, which were disrupted by the Vestige.[30]

Valenwood[edit | edit source]

Within Valenwood's region of Malabal Tor, the Worm Cult was resurrecting mammoths to do their bidding,[31] and took over the Treehenge from the Bosmer, resulting in the local spriggans becoming aggressive to their keepers. The Worm Cult was attempting to gain the soul of Finoriell, the Green Lady, seeking to use it in order to create an abomination.[32] Through tormenting the spriggans, the Worm Cult hoped to prevent the soul of Finoriell from becoming one with the treehenge. In a desperate attempt, a Worm Cult Warlock tried to absorb her soul, but was stopped by the Vestige.[33] They also aided Molag Bal in keeping a hold over Gil-Var-Delle, until being beaten back by the Vestige.[34]

At the ruins of Abamath, the Worm Cult intended to sacrifice a number of Bosmer to Molag Bal. The ruins were said to house the "blood of Mauloch", which the Cult aimed to use in order to summon Mauloch onto Tamriel, which would devastate Valenwood. Mauloch would serve as an unwitting puppet of Molag Bal in doing so, as the Worm Cult could resurrect the Bosmer killed by Mauloch.[35] They were also trying to resurrect a long-dead Ayleid Lord known as Ceyran from his resting place in Rulanyil's Fall, in order to use his power to wreak havoc in Greenshade.[36]

At the Bone Orchard the necromancers were assembling new skeletons to do their bidding. Using these skeletons, the worm cult started digging at the orchard, trying to dig up the bigger bones of dragons, mammoths, and other large creatures deep underneath the soil and roots. While their progress was going well, the Vestige stopped their attempts by defeating the cultists.[37]

Wrothgar[edit | edit source]

In Wrothgar, the Worm Cult sought to unleash the Daedra Zandadunoz the Reborn, which would provide them with the means to sweep over Wrothgar. Their plans were stopped, however, when Zandadunoz was defeated by the Vestige.[38]

Black Marsh[edit | edit source]

While less active in Black Marsh than in the other provinces, in Stillrise Village the Worm Cult had learned of the secrets of its inhabitants,[39] as they were undead. The Vestige had to aid the local Kothringi undead in stopping the Worm Cult from taking over their bodies.[40]

Cyrodiil[edit | edit source]

The most activity of the Worm Cult in Cyrodiil was found in the Imperial City, where they thought they would be in charge of the city. In reality, their duties largely consisted of doing tasks for the Dremora under the command of Molag Bal.[41] The undead in the Imperial Capital would be used by the Drake of Blades and the Vestige to uncover the secrets of the Worm Cult,[42] which was centered in the Memorial district of the city.[43] Through using the undead minions of the Worm Cult, information was also slowly gathered regarding their plans.[44]

Skyrim[edit | edit source]

Inside Skyrim's Hold of the Rift, the Worm Cult held an active presence.[45] At the ruins of Taarengrav, the Worm Cult tried to obtain a powerful ally through binding the souls of the 500 Companions to the giant Sinmur,[46] with similar attempts being made at Pinepeak Cavern,[47] but their plans were stopped by the Vestige. The necromancers also killed giants so they could resurrect them to fight on their side, to provide Sinmur with an army.[48] Within the rest of the Rift, members of the Worm Cult were frequently spotted, doing rituals,[49][50] capturing travelers,[51] attacking farms for souls,[52] or making gateways for the Daedra to cross over to Tamriel.[53] At Forelhost, the Worm Cult held a piece of Wuuthrad and was trying to obtain powerful artifacts, but the group which was tasked to do so was killed by Sabre Cats.[54] Pact Soldiers would also be ambushed by the Worm Cult at Lost Prospect, with their souls being taken by the leader of the group, who wielded a shard of Wuuthrad.[55] In Nimalten, the Worm Cult was trying to establish an outpost to help in the search for spirits to power Sinmur. These spirits would turn out to be spirits of the Companions, and were hidden in a crypt beneath Nimalten, but these plans would be thwarted by the Vestige.[56]

Through collaboration with the Reachmen, the giant Sinmur was set free on the land, with the Worm Cult channeling the power of Molag Bal to the Reachmen in return,[57] the remaining members of the Cult and the Reachmen at the Vaults of Vernim would be beaten by the Vestige before they could do more damage than they had already done.[58] At the ruins of Trolhetta, the Worm Cult was gathered and defended Sinmur with the help of giants,[59] but Sinmur was eventually slain.[60]

Third Era[edit | edit source]

Warp in the West[edit | edit source]

Princess Morgiah would make a deal with Mannimarco and his Worm Cult in 3E 405. Hidden in Scourg Barrow, the Agent was tasked with delivering the message. With the deal being made, Mannimarco was able to expand his influence in Firsthold on Summerset.[61] Mannimarco would later again ask the Agent for help, this time in learning the magical skills of the ghost of Prince Karolis of Sentinel. After doing so, the necromancer provided the Agent with some information regarding the identity of the Underking.[62] As part of the Warp in the West, Mannimarco uses the Mantella to turn himself into a God of Oblivion.[63] Following this, the God of Worms used his new power to create the Revenant, also known as the Necromancer's Moon. During this time, Grand Soul Gems were able to be turned into Black Soul Gems, as Mannimarco held power over during the Revenant.[19]

Oblivion Crisis[edit | edit source]

"Some say that Traven is mis-using the power of the Arch-Mage's position to further his personal agendas."
Generic Dialogue[src]

Just before the Oblivion Crisis, the practice of necromancy was officially outlawed in the Mages Guild.[64] Hannibal Traven was considered the first to take such a hard stance on necromancy, refusing to even do business with those involved with the art, and made many enemies in doing so. With the ban in place, many people chose to leave the Mages Guild, alongside half the council of mages.[65]

During the crisis itself, the ban would see the Mages Guild suffer to the Worm Cult. The head of the Cheydinhal chapter of the Mages Guild, known as Falcar, was a member of the Worm Cult, and tried to sabotage the guild by sending new members on a near-impossible task.[66] Within the province of Cyrodiil, the necromancers had many hidden outposts, with some having Necromancer Altars, which they used for the creation of Black Soul Gems.[67][68] The Cult also killed the Mages at the grove where the Mages Staves were created, near Wellspring Cave,[69] and held a presence in the city of Skingrad until its agents there were killed.[70] Not long after, Mannimarco himself had come to Cyrodiil, making his base in Echo Cave.[71] The news of Mannimarco's return shook the Council of Mages, and while they were in disarray on how to continue, the Worm Cult had attack the Bruma Guild Hall, destroying it and setting it on fire.[72] With the news of the destruction of the Bruma Guild Hall, the Council of Mages shattered and dissolved.[65] A member of the Council, known as Irlav Jarol, took the Bloodworm Helm with him to study it in order to use its power against Mannimarco, but was killed while doing so.[73] Another member of the Council, Caranya, took the Necromancer's Amulet with her. But rather than study it to fight Mannimarco, she wanted to give the Amulet to the King of Worms.[74] After these artifacts were returned to the Guild, the Worm Cult was already working on creating another powerful item. The Colossal Black Soul Gem was being crafted in Silorn, which had to be taken from the cult.[75] The soul gem was designed to house the soul of Hannibal Traven, and was meant to give Mannimarco his power.[76] Traven would sacrifice himself so the new Arch-Mage could face Mannimarco in battle without being enthralled. Fighting their way through Echo Cave's necromancers, Traven's pupil faced Mannimarco and killed him, destroying the Worm Cult in the process.[77]

Fourth Era[edit | edit source]

By the time of the Fourth Era the Order was practically extinct. Because of this, a coven of necromancers in Hob's Fall Cave pleaded to the Revenant in an attempt to restore the Order in 4E 201.[78]

Artifacts[edit | edit source]

Necromancer's Amulet[edit | edit source]

The Necromancer's Amulet is an artifact said to have been created by Mannimarco himself. Its wearer is able to regenerate from injuries, as well as absorb magicka. Another power of the artifact is making the bearer incredibly wise. However, the Amulet is unstable, as it constantly fades in and out of existence.[79]

Bloodworm Helm[edit | edit source]

The Bloodworm Helm is, much like the Necromancer's Amulet, an artifact which used to belong to Mannimarco himself. It is constructed of magically formed bone, and allows the user to summon skeletons and control the undead.[80]

Staff of Worms[edit | edit source]

The personal Staff of Mannimarco, which was lost to him after he was killed during the Oblivion Crisis.[77]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 The (Improved) Emperor's Guide to Tamriel: Northern Bangkorai and the Mountains
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sacrilege and Mayhem in the Alik'r
  3. Ongoing Journal of Galur Rithari
  4. 4.0 4.1 Loremaster's Archive: Politics and the Imperial City
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mannimarco, King of Worms
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 The Order of the Black Worm
  7. Arkay the Enemy
  8. Crafting Motif 60: Worm Cult Style
  9. Necromancers' appearance in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
  10. Necromancers' gear in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  11. Worm Saga
  12. 12.0 12.1 Spells used by members of the Worm Cult in The Elder Scrolls Online
  13. Spells used by necromancers in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  14. The (Improved) Emperor's Guide to Tamriel: Hammerfell
  15. Loremaster's Archive: The Interpreted Soul
  16. Practical Necromancy
  17. Events of "Captive Souls"
  18. Events of The Elder Scrolls Online
  19. 19.0 19.1 Necromancer's Moon
  20. Souls, Black and White
  21. Handwritten Note
  22. Necromancy in Modern Tamriel
  23. There Is No Going Back
  24. Description of the Statue of Rusio Olo
  25. Introduction to the Elder Scrolls Online
  26. Loremaster's Archive: Effects of the Daedric Invasion
  27. Events of "The Elder Scrolls Online"
  28. Alvada's Journal
  29. Events of "The Seeker's Archive"
  30. Events of "Daedric Disruptions"
  31. Aniaste's Journal
  32. Events of "Awakening"
  33. Events of "The Dark Night of the Soul"
  34. Events of "The Wakening Dark"
  35. Events of "Arithiel"
  36. Events of "The Dead King"
  37. Events of "Keeper of Bones"
  38. Events of "Heresy of Ignorance"
  39. The Treasure of Stillrise Village
  40. Events of "The Thin Ones"
  41. Loremaster's Archive: Resistance in the Imperial City
  42. Events of "Of Brands and Bones"
  43. Events of The Elder Scrolls Online: Imperial City
  44. Events of "Speaking for the Dead"
  45. Delver Notes
  46. Events of "The Shackled Guardian"
  47. Events of "Tomb Beneath the Mountain"
  48. Thallik's Orders
  49. Events of "A Ritual in Smokefrost Peaks"
  50. Events of "A Ritual in the Ragged Hills"
  51. Events of "Research Subject"
  52. Events of "Soul Harvest"
  53. Events of "Shattered Hopes"
  54. Events of "A Walk Above the Clouds"
  55. Events of "Those She Devours"
  56. Events of "Concealed Weapons"
  57. Events of "Dangerous Union"
  58. Events of "Through the Shroud"
  59. Events of "Securing the Pass"
  60. Events of "Stomping Sinmur"
  61. Events of "Morgiah's Wedding"
  62. Events of "Lich's Soul"
  63. Events of "Totem, Totem, Who Gets the Totem?"
  64. The Black Arts On Trial
  65. 65.0 65.1 Generic Dialogue in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  66. Events of "Cheydinhal Recommendation"
  67. Events of "Necromancer's Moon"
  68. Hastily Scrawled Note
  69. Events of "A Mage's Staff"
  70. Events of "Ulterior Motives"
  71. Events of "Information at a Price"
  72. Events of "A Plot Revealed"
  73. Events of "The Bloodworm Helm"
  74. Events of "The Necromancer's Amulet"
  75. Events of "Ambush"
  76. Dialogue with Hannibal Traven during "Confront the King"
  77. 77.0 77.1 Events of "Confront the King"
  78. Overheard conversations of necromancers in Hob's Fall Cave
  79. Description of the Necromancer's Amulet in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
  80. Tamrielic Lore
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