The Order of the Black Worm, also known as the Worm Cult, was a powerful Necromancers cult that existed at some point around 2E 230. The Order of the Black Worm, or some form of it, dates back to the Second Era, when the Mages Guild was also created. Mannimarco, a member of the Psijic Order, was cast out for his practice of Necromancy and dark magic. Leaving the Isle of Artaeum, Mannimarco traveled to the mainland of Tamriel, where he continued his evil research. He began to draw followers to his side, dedicated witches and wizards that wished to study at his feet and learn the black art of Necromancy. These first Necromancers brought Mannimarco wicked and cursed artifacts for him to study—and indeed to draw power from. Using these artifacts, Mannimarco became the King of Worms, the world's first undying lich.
Elsewhere in Tamriel, Vanus Galerion, another former member of the Psijics and long time enemy of Mannimarco, formed the Mages Guild as a way for Mages to learn and practice their art without having to acquiesce to the ways of the Psijic Order. But Galerion knew that Mannimarco was growing stronger by the day and would soon strike out against Tamriel, and so the Mages acted. Gathering thousands of mages, as well as his own Knights of the Lamp, Galerion sought out Mannimarco on a cursed mountain pass, and there the Mages Guild and the Order of the Black Worm first clashed. A great battle took place that cost the lives of a thousand on both sides, including Galerion. But the Mages were victorious; Mannimarco was defeated when his artifacts were taken from him, draining his power and leaving him for dead. But Mannimarco lived, and in secret he fled to the Dragontail Mountains of Hammerfell and began to regain his power.
Ascension of the Worm KingEdit
Mannimarco hid in Scourg Barrow for the rest of the Second Era and most of the Third. Once again, he drew Necromancers to him, and the Order of the Black Worm was rebuilt. It was not until the late Third Era that the cult truly became known again. During the events of the Warp in the West, Mannimarco once again made a grab for power. Tempting the mysterious Agent of Uriel Septim VII, the King of Worms sought to gain the Totem of Tiber Septim, which would allow him to control the heart of Numidium, the Mantella, and become a god. The events surrounding the Warp are confusing, but Mannimarco's plan succeeded. Due to the all-encompassing effects of the Warp, he gained control of the Mantella, and with it ascended to become the God of Worms. However, a mortal incarnation of Mannimarco remained on Nirn, whether by the power of the Warp or the Worm God is subject to debate. But having finally achieved ultimate power, Mannimarco prepared to enact his grand plan—and exterminate the Mages Guild once and for all.
The Order of the Black Worm was known for its collection of artifacts. Indeed, artifacts were used in the creation of the Order during the days of Vanus Galerion. Though most of these have been lost to history, many are still known, all of them associated with Mannimarco:
- Bloodworm Helm: A helm created from the bones of an unknown creature. It gives the wearer an enhanced ability to summon undead servants.
- Necromancer's Amulet: An amulet that increases the user's mental and magical abilities.
- Staff of Worms: Mannimarco's personal staff. It can be used to immediate reanimate a corpse.
- Black soul gems: Dark perversions of regular Soul Gems that allow for the trapping of mortal souls, as well as those of creatures. Colossal black soul gems trap the souls of powerful mages, in particular arch-mages.
- The Order was seen in Daggerfall, Oblivion, and Online, being a political power in the former and an enemy in the latter games.
- The Order was given its names in Oblivion, but it is unknown exactly how widespread the cult was. All the Necromancers in Cyrodiil seemed to be members, but those in Morrowind seemed detached, save for the necromantic book Arkay the Enemy.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in the location Hob's Fall Cave, one can find necromancers performing a ritual over a dead body hoping to restore the Order of the Black Worm.
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls Online