Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Varen Aquilarios was the Emperor of Cyrodiil from 2E 577 to 2E 579. He became Emperor when he overthrew Leovic during an uprising after Leovic made Daedra worship legal in Cyrodiil. After becoming Emperor, he married Leovic's wife, Clivia Tharn.

By game[]


Varen was born in 2E 536[UL 1] as the son of a Colovian Duke, and later became the Duke of Chorrol.[1] He had an unknown sibling whose son, Carolus Aquilarios, in turn being Varen's nephew, viewed him as a role model.[2] When Leovic, third of the short-lived Reachman dynasty known as the Longhouse Emperors, assumed the Ruby Throne, he legalized Daedra worship across the Empire. This outraged much of the population, and prompted Varen to spark a rebellion.[3]

He left his homefront, the Gold Coast, in the hands of his nephew Carolus. Using large amounts of stone, Varen constructed a wall spanning around the Gold Coast, later dubbed "Varen's Wall", in order to protect the region should Leovic's forces arrive.[4][5]

The Colovian Revolt[]

Varen seeking council from Mannimarco.

Varen summoned the military forces of the Colovian Highlands. Secretly, he also contacted Abnur Tharn, who would later become one of his Five Companions, for assistance to "depose those foul strangers from the north". Varen based his rebellion out of the city of Bruma, and subsequently won many victories across Cyrodiil.[3]

In 2E 576, Varen and his army stormed the Imperial City, before breaking into the White-Gold Tower and driving his sword into Leovic's heart at the foot of the Ruby Throne, thus instantly killing him, and immediately declaring himself Emperor. For Abnur's loyalty and assistance in the rebellion, Varen agreed to take Leovic's widow, Clivia Tharn, as his bride.[3] Due to the mass amount of casualties during the uprising, Varen converted the Market District of the Imperial City into the Memorial District, filling it with mass graves.[6]


The Five Companions[]

"By the lighting of the Dragonfires, I claim my rightful lineage! By the fires of creation, let me be reborn! By the will of Akatosh, I proclaim myself… Dragonborn!"
―Varen Aquilarios[src]

Varen's rule went mostly without problems, but he was constantly worrying about him being an illegitimate ruler as he was not Dragonborn.

Varen and Abnur attempt to light the Dragonfires.

Believing that only a Dragonborn can rightfully take the Ruby Throne, in 2E 577, he formed the Five Companions to find the Amulet of Kings after the Altmer sorcerer Mannimarco convinced him that he knew a ritual that would allow Varen to become Dragonborn. After hearing of this, he set out on a two-year quest to find the Amulet with his Five Companions: Varen himself, the half-giant warrior Lyris Titanborn, the sorcerer Mannimarco, Sai Sahan, a Redguard blademaster and the captain of his personal Dragonguard, and Elder Chancellor Abnur Tharn.

The Soulburst[]

"Varen Aquilarios, you are no heir to Alessia! You will pay for your sacrilege! The veil between Tamriel and Oblivion tears and splits asunder! ...My master, Molag Bal, is free to claim Tamriel for his own."

Mannimarco immobilizes the Five Companions and causes the Soulburst

The Five were able to recover the Amulet and begin the ritual in 2E 579. They gathered at the Temple of the One in the Imperial City and began to perform the ritual. While Tharn held the Amulet, Varen asked Akatosh to rightfully grant his claim as emperor by making him a Dragonborn. At that moment, Mannimarco immobilized everyone present and revealed his true intentions; he was an agent of Molag Bal, and the ritual did not reignite the Dragonfires, but in fact did the exact opposite, destroying the ancient barriers shielding Mundus from the forces of Oblivion and thus allowing Molag Bal to begin the Planemeld, a forceful attempt to drag Nirn out of Mundus and into his own realm of Coldharbour. This event was known as the Soulburst, and it shook every corner of Tamriel.[7]

Subsequently, Lyris was captured and brought into Coldharbour. Sai Sahan fled with the Amulet and managed to hide it in Sancre Tor before also being captured later on. Mannimarco summoned his Worm Cult and turned the Temple of the One into a sacrificial ground where dozens of souls were harvested and brought to Coldharbour, and Abnur joined him in order to gain his trust and spy on him. Varen, however, disappeared.[7]

Studying the Elder Scrolls[]

"The Scrolls allowed me to glimpse the very fabric of reality, but each profound insight dimmed my vision and eventually left me permanently blinded to the light of the world."
―Varen Aquilarios[src]

After the Soulburst, Varen woke up weak and near death at the Abbey of the Moth Priests, with no memory of his past life as Emperor. The Moth priests took pity on him, assuming he was a lost vagabond, and gave him shelter within their establishment.

It was there where he set his eyes on the Elder Scrolls, mysterious artifacts of immense knowledge and power. He began to study and read the scrolls in order to learn the events of Tamriel which have happened and have yet to happen, including his life as Emperor and his destiny with the Vestige. The priests were shocked to discover how quickly he managed to read the scrolls, believing it to be a prophetic sign from the Eight Divines. As a result of continuously reading the scrolls, Varen gradually lost his eyesight. He carved himself a staff which he also used as a walking stick. Blinded, Varen still continued to study the scrolls in his mind's eye, and foresaw the events to come in Tamriel's future.


Word of Varen's prophecies began spreading across the land, eventually reaching the Imperial City. When Mannimarco discovered this, he arrested the Prophet under the grounds of rumor-mongering and treason. The King of Worms had the abbey and its contents burned to the ground, and transferred Varen into the custody of Molag Bal. Bal then initiated the Planemeld upon Nirn, and had Varen imprisoned in The Wailing Prison.

The Vestige[]

Main article: Vestige

In 2E 582, a mortal was captured and sacrificed by Mannimarco. Their soul was brought to the Wailing Prison in Coldharbour. After being transported to Coldharbour, a projection of Varen, using the pseudonym "The Prophet", appeared before them, giving the mortal the name of Vestige and telling them to find Lyris Titanborn. At the time, Lyris was unaware that The Prophet was her fellow Five Companions member Varen.

The Vestige journeyed through the prison with Lyris after she freed them. They struck down several of Molag Bal's minions before arriving at the courtyard and destroying a Sentinel, a minion made to stop prisoners from escaping. They find that Varen's cell is warded off, so they seek Cadwell for help, whom directed the two to the Undercroft.

Once Lyris and the Vestige reach Varen's cell, Lyris tells the Vestige that the only way to free Varen is for Lyris to take his place. Lyris then chants for her to take Varen's place in the cell, freeing Varen but imprisoning Lyris. Varen, still concealing his identity, and the Vestige journey to a portal out of Coldharbour. They strike down the Guardian of the portal, and Varen restores the Vestige's corporeal form before they both return to Tamriel in different locations.



Notice: The following are unlicensed references. They are not copyrighted by a ZeniMax Media company, but can still be considered part of The Elder Scrolls lore and are included for completeness.
Emperor of Cyrodiil
Leovic 2E 5762E 579 Clivia Tharn