This is a page for listing tropes related to the various recurring characters of the The Elder Scrolls.
For other characters, see The Elder Scrolls Series Character Index.
Note: Elder Scrolls lore is generally not clear-cut. Reasons for this range from biased in-universe sources intentionally only giving you only one side of a story, to sources lacking critical information or working from false information, to the implication that All Myths Are True, despite the contradictions, or that at least all myths are Metaphorically True. Out-of-game developer supplemental texts (frequently referred to as "Obscure Texts" by the lore community) are more trustworthy, but are frequently left unofficial and sometimes later contradicted. Because of this, it is entirely possible for two contradictory statements in the below examples to both be true. (And due to frequent events in-universe that alter the timeline, both may literally be true in-universe.)
Born: ca. 2E 891-893 (Mournhold, Morrowind)
Died: ?? (She is spoken about in the past tense in Skyrim, 4E 201)
The former Queen of Morrowind and Wayrest, and later Queen Mother of Morrowind, Barenziah was one of the most influential figures of the 3rd Era. Seemingly involved in some way with nearly every major event of the Era, she was considered a loyal vassal of the Third Empire of Tamriel. Her children and grandchildren would go on to impact Tamriel well into the 4th Era.
- The Artful Dodger: Spent her youth lying and stealing, and eventually joined the Thieves Guild.
- Big Good: Though mostly behind the scenes, she played a part in the storylines for Arena, Daggerfall, and Morrowind.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Her son, Helseth, was a Manipulative Bastard with no qualms about poisoning rivals or siccing assassins on threats to his authority. Despite this, he was still highly protective of his mother and, though she publicly maintained that she backed away from politics, it is believed that she still wielded massive influence through her son.
- Friends with Benefits: With Straw, the Nord stable boy who helped her escape Darkmoor. Straw wanted it to be more, but Barenziah had no interest.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: She got pregnant while having an affair with Tiber Septim. She wanted to keep the child, but since a bastard child from a Dunmer mistress would be very inconvenient for Septim, he basically forced his healer to magically abort it against her will. This became a plot point in her story as it implied she also had trouble conceiving later in life due to the limited fertility of Dunmer and the trauma of the event.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Played with. She wanted to train in combat with the sons of the Count and Countess of Darkmoor, but was forbidden. She was given a bow to practice with instead. However, when the adults weren't around, she would spar with the boys and bested them more often than not.
- Happily Married:
- To Symmachus, despite some hiccups.
- Though their marriage started as a political alliance, she and King Eadwyre fit as well.
- The High Queen: How she is portrayed in her official biography, as well as in Imperial and Tribunal Temple propaganda. However, subverted and heavily deconstructed in her unofficial biography and other accounts, such as "The Nightingales" series.
- Immortal Procreation Clause: The races of Mer have lower fertility rates offsetting their naturally longer lifespans to begin with, and it's said that the trauma Tiber Septim's forced magical abortion lowered Barenziah's even further. She was still able to have two legitimate children later in life (Helseth and Morgiah), as well as at least one other not officially recognized as hers (Dralsi Indoril).
- Interspecies Romance: She's known to have slept with Nords, Imperials, Bretons, and even a Khajiit.
- Long-Lived: The races of Mer have naturally longer lifespans than the races of Men, but Barenziah takes it even further. She was approaching 500 during the events of Tribunal and appeared no worse for the wear than a 60 year old human, while still being as sharp and active as ever in the political sphere.
- Lost Orphaned Royalty: She was the sole survivor of the royal family of Mournhold at five years old. At the urging of his Dunmeri General, Symmachus, Tiber Septim had Barenziah secretly placed into the foster care of the Count and Countess of Darkmoor (Imperial loyalists) until she would old enough to take the throne in Morrowind as a legitimate vassal ruler for the Empire. She would, of course, escape her foster family for a time in her youth until being found and brought back by Symmachus.
- Love Makes You Dumb: She managed to use this against Jagar Tharn, taking advantage of his attraction to her in order to assist those working to bring him down by deciphering his notes in order to find the pieces of the Staff of Chaos.
- MayDecember Romance: She had an affair with Tiber Septim, who was many decades her senior. Ironically, it was also a MayflyDecember Romance in the other direction, as Barenziah would outlive Septim by several centuries.
- The Oldest Profession: Had no issue resorting to it in her youth. According to The Real Barenziah, she started doing it just for the sex and was actually startled at first when the men would offer to pay her for it.
- Puppet King: Tiber Septim and Symmachus installed her as the figurehead vassal ruler of Morrowind. She would outlive them both and go on to achieve more than either could have imagined.
- Really Gets Around: Had a reputation for promiscuity that began even as a teenager - from stable boys to thieves to lesser royalty of all sorts to Emperor Tiber Septim himself. Of course, this was nearly all covered up in the official histories.
- Rule 34 Creator Reactions: In-Universe with The Real Barenziah, a novelized biography of Barenziah that, prior to censorship at least, had a notorious case of Getting IKEA Erotica Past the Radar (namely, Barenziah having sex with a Khajiit so he'd induct her into the Thieves' Guild). In later games the Tribunal Temple had it censored, but by some reports Barenziah herself actually enjoyed the books and is friends with the author.
- Ruling Family Massacre: At age five, she was the last surviving member of her noble Dunmeri family after the rest were killed during the Imperial Legion's sack of Mournhold.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: According to The Real Barenziah series, she and Tiber Septim fit this trope. Part Six of the series claims that they were like-minded souls who genuinely fell in love with each other. Though, of course, their relationship ended badly because as much as Tiber Septim loved Barenziah, he loved power more.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: She escaped from the Count and Countess of Darkmoor with the stable boy, Straw, by dressing as a boy. She continued to pose as a boy for some time after in order to avoid detection.
- Thieves' Guild: She joined while wintered in Riften in order to avoid any unpleasantness with the Guild if she were to be caught freelancing.
- Unwitting Pawn: To the Nightingale (either Jagar Tharn in disguise or his agent, Drayven Indoril) who used her to acquire the Staff of Chaos.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: She was known to still be alive at the end of the 3rd Era, but what happened to her after that is unknown. Skyrim, set in 4E 201, has some references to her made in the past tense, implying that she died.
Born: ?? (Stated to be over 4000 years old during the events of Morrowind)
Divayth Fyr is an ancient, reclusive, and very powerful Dunmeri wizard who has spent time as both a councilor of Great House Telvanni and as a member of Psijic Order. He is also a known associate of the Tribunal deity Sotha Sil. According to one of his daughters, Fyr is one of the oldest non-divine beings in Tamriel, being over 4000 years old. Fyr aided in stopping the Daedric invasion of Sotha Sil's Clockwork City around the time of the Planemeld and played an instrumental role in helping the Nerevarine to fulfill the Nerevarine Prophecy. His status is unknown following the events of the Red Year.
- Alphabetical Theme Naming: His "daughters" are named after Greek letters: Alfe, Beyte, Delte, and Uupse
- The Collector of the Strange: He has amassed quite the collection of legendary artifacts, and has even set up a Lock and Key Puzzle for those willing to risk their lives (to either his violent Corprus victims or catching the disease themselves) to try to steal them. In particular, he has a number of Dwemer artifacts and items associated with the Imperial Battlespire event.
- Cool Old Guy: Combine him being about 4000 years old with the other tropes listed here, and this is what you get. According to one of his daughters, he's one of the oldest non-divine beings in Tamriel and still a powerful wizard. (According to the Morrowind construction set files, he's level 65 - the highest of any NPC in the game.) He's also decked out in the only complete suit of Daedric armor in the vanilla game.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Has the dark skin and red eyes typical of the Dunmer, wears a full suit of Red and Black Daedric armor, and is a former-ish member of Great House Telvanni (he has dropped out of House affairs, but this isn't really all that strange for a Telvanni master wizard), but is nothing but cordial to the Player Characters he encounters and aids them greatly in their endeavors.
- Dimensional Traveler: According to the in game book The Doors of Oblivion, Fyr is one of the few "mortals" who can freely travel between the realms of the Daedra.
- Dirty Old Man: Downplayed toward his Opposite-Sex Clone "daughters/wives." When discussing them, his love for them seems more fatherly than sexual, but it's hard to escape the implications of this arrangement. Perhaps surprisingly, it isn't seen to be all that Squicky, at least within his tower.
- Find the Cure!: He's searching for a cure for Corprus and possibly may have found one. Sort of. If he's to be believed, the Nerevarine still has Corprus and the potion he gave them just took away all the negative effects, while keeping the positive effects in-tact. It's not technically a "cure" or even reliable as a vaccine, since aside from the Nerevarine, everyone else who had taken the potion died shortly afterwards.]]
- Irony: The only owner of a full set of Daedric armor in the games is a Telvanni wizard. He's obviously anything but squishy.
- Mage Tower: As with the other high-ranking Telvanni, he lives in a magically grown mushroom tower named after himself: Tel Fyr. The Corprusarium is in the basement, referred to as the "Bowels".
- Nightmare Fetishist: Unlike most, he finds the Corprus disease highly fascinating to study despite it being highly contagious with horrifying symptoms.
- Odd Friendship: With his former Argonian slave Vistha-Kai, who refused to leave when Fyr released his other slaves and now serves as the warden of the Corprusarium. According to Fyr, Vistha-Kai isn't much for conversation, but he does his job well and makes a good sparring partner for Fyr and his "daughters". Also with Yagrum Bagarn, the last living Dwemer and one of his earliest patients. Bagarn now spends his time tinkering with and fixing up any Dwemer artifacts that Fyr acquires.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: He has an intensive understanding of matters relating to the Daedra (including the ability to freely travel between their realms), the Dwemer, the Corprus Disease, Cloning, Necromancy, various more-standard forms of sorcery, the Imperial Battlespire event, and is quite possibly the most knowledgeable mortal when it comes to the Tribunal and their means of divinity. Justified in that he has had a very long time to study.
- Opposite-Sex Clone: Has created four of these, who are variously referred to as his "daughters" or "wives".
- Really 700 Years Old: Is said to be about 4,000 years old, one of the oldest non-divine beings on Tamriel.
- Retired Badass: Former member of the Psijic Order and a former councilor of House Telvanni. He left both to run his Corprusarium.
- These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Sotha Sil's response to Fyr in Sotha Sil's Last Words when Fyr asks to study the Tools of Kagrenac:Sotha Sil: "The Tools of Kagrenac in your possession? I think not. Were you to have them, I would fear for your life. They are not tools for mortals, Fyr, as you well know."
- Truly Single Parent: His "daughters" are really his own Opposite Sex Clones.
- Wizards Live Longer: A wizard who's one of the oldest non-divine beings in Tamriel in this case. Exactly how he has lived this long isn't made explicitly clear, but it's implied to involve magic.
Saint Jiub, Eradicator of the Winged Menace
Born: 3E ?? (Morrowind)
Died: 3E 433 (Kvatch, Cyrodiil)
A former freelance assassin and skooma addict who was aboard the same Imperial prison ship as the Nerevarine, Jiub would redeem himself by driving all of the Cliff Racers from Vvardenfell. After being canonized by the Tribunal Temple for his actions, he traveled to Kvatch in Cyrodiil where he was slain and soul-trapped during the Oblivion Crisis, leaving his soul forever trapped in the Soul Cairn. Centuries later, he would be aided by the Last Dragonborn in completing his autobiography.
- And I Must Scream: He died during the Daedric invasion of Kvatch during the Oblivion Crisis. In Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC, it is revealed that he was also soul-trapped, condemning him to an eternity of bleak existence in the Soul Cairn.
- Ascended Extra: He was originally just a NPC on the same prison ship as the Nerevarine who asks for the player's name as part of the tutorial. He was popular enough with fans to generate countless Fan Fics and Game Mods for each game that added him in. Bethesda caught on and officially made him a hero in-universe as well, then brought him back in Dawnguard.
- The Atoner: Took to killing Cliff Racers in atonement for his past life as an assassin and skooma addict.
- Bald of Awesome: Completely bald and drove all of the much reviled Cliff Racers from Vvardenfell. (However, his spirit in Dawnguard is shown with a full head of long hair.)
- Bald of Evil: Earlier in his life, when he was a skooma addict and freelance assassin. Even Jiub himself calls his past "sordid" in his opus.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: All that is left of him when you find his "corpse" in Kvatch is a severed head with a large chunk of his skull missing and a look of sheer terror on his dead face. Whatever the Daedra did to him, it wasn't pretty.
- Divine Intervention: He was saved, near death, by Vivec after killing hundreds of Cliff Racers in an epic final battle.
- Fantastic Drug: Was a skooma addict, and became a freelance assassin in order to pay for it before getting caught.
- Ghostly Goals: Finishing his opus, which you can help him do in Dawnguard.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a big one going through one of his eyes. While he was a freelance assassin and skooma addict earlier in his life, he would later atone.
- Guttural Growler: His Skyrim appearance uses the same, raspy Dunmer voice from Morrowind.
- Handicapped Badass: Had a large scar down the side of his face with a damaged eye beneath. Didn't stop him from driving the Cliff Racers to extinction.
- Hero of Another Story: His story began in a dank cell on a prison boat, which he shared with the Nerevarine.
- Hunter of Monsters: He wiped out the Cliff Racers who plagued Vvardenfell. Vivec was so impressed he declared Jiub a Saint.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: While certainly not an impossible shot, his opus tells of one hunt where he hit a Cliff Racer at a great distance with his bow while being rocked back and forth atop his Silt Strider during an Ash Storm.
- It Can Think: Was surprised when a lone Cliff Racer he was hunting led him into a trap where hundreds of others laid in wait. They very nearly killed him, but he survived.
- Last Stand: What he believed his final battle with the Cliff Racers would be for him. Two days and hundreds of dead Cliff Racers later, it was Subverted when he was rescued by Vivec.
- Legendary in the Sequel: He was just an unimportant NPC in his first appearance in Morrowind with maybe ten lines of dialogue. Oblivion reveals that he went on to drive the Cliff Racers from Vvarenfell and was sainted for it. You can then help his spirit finish his opus in Dawnguard, ensuring that his legend will live on.
- Off with His Head!: He died when the Daedra attacked Kvatch during the Oblivion Crisis and you can find his mangled, severed head as a world object inside a ruined house. (Oddly, it was modeled with human-like ears.)
- Red Baron: Saint Jiub, the Eradicator Hero of Morrowind and Savior of the Dunmer - a lengthy and mostly self-proclaimed one at that.
- Small Name, Big Ego: While his accomplishment is certainly one worthy of praise, Jiub's dialogue in Dawnguard makes it sound like he believes himself to be one of the greatest heroes in the history of Nirn."Was it 'Having the adoration of thousands...' No, wait. I could make it 'the adoration of tens of thousands'."
"'Savior of Morrowind.' Hm, that's good but it sounds too narrow of scope..."
- Spear Carrier: He is only present for the first minute of Morrowind before you are separated from him. Still, he proved popular enough with the fan base that numerous mods were created centering around him. Come Oblivion, Bethesda even got in on the act by making him a Saint who drove the Cliff Racers to extinction.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: In his first appearance.
- Zerg Rush: The more-clever-than-believed Cliff Racers set a trap for him and tried to kill him in this fashion. He killed them all but nearly died in the process, surviving only because he was saved by an impressed Vivec.
M'aiq the Liar
The M'aiqs are a familial line of male Khajiit who have wandered the world since at least the 2nd Era, espousing comments and opinions regarding the developers, players, and the games themselves, often leaning on or outright breaking the "Fourth Wall".
- Artifact Title: In Morrowind, many of M'aiq's comments involve game tips that were blatantly false and hints to secrets that didn't actually exist. Since his role has shifted to making fun of the developers and/or the fanbase, the "Liar" sobriquet doesn't make much sense. Later referenced in one of his Skyrim quotes:"Some say Alduin is Akatosh. Some say M'aiq is a liar. Don't you believe either of those things."
- Author Avatar: He often directly voices the opinions of the creators of the series.
- Blatant Lies: All but two of his conversation topics in Morrowind are these, and even the two he is truthful about (the sunken shrine of Boethiah and the Mudcrab Merchant) include false information that make actually finding them difficult.
- Catch-Phrase: "M'aiq knows much, tells some. M'aiq knows many things others do not." The Ambiguous Syntax seems to be deliberate. It's been noted that this could mean that either he only tells some of what he knows, or that he only tells what he knows to some people.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: All of his incarnations to date have at least a few odd quirks and, justifiably (given his role), come off as very detached from the setting. For example, in Morrowind, he fishes alone on a remote island wearing a stylish but impractical hat. In Oblivion, he often enters ruins and caves (which has likely startled more than a few questing players) to search for calipers for 5 hours at a time, enters Valenwood along his route between Anvil and Leywiin, and has been known to occasionally chase deer. In Skyrim, he always has skooma on his person and can be encountered in a wide variety of odd situations, including him standing next to a burned cart, several dead human bodies, and the corpse of a dragon.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Every once in a while, M'aiq will have at least one nugget of truth to offer, buried under all the nonsense and Blatant Lies. In Morrowind, he informed the player of Boethiah's sunken statue (which leads you to the subsequent quest) and in Skyrim he drops hints that the Falmer's blindness has something to do with the Dwemer.
- Deadpan Snarker: His incarnations all have the tendency to be very sarcastic.
- Early Installment Weirdness: His first appearance in Morrowind had him spouting mostly Blatant Lies hints and tips about the game world. He would settle into his standard role as a Fourth-Wall Observer and dispenser of Take Thats starting with his next appearance in Oblivion.
- Easter Egg: His original appearance in Morrowind. He is on a remote island and has all sorts of Breaking the Fourth Wall dialogue options referring to many requested or anticipated features of Morrowind which are not included in the final release of the game. Later games downplay it, but still qualify.
- Fourth-Wall Observer: And Leaner and Breaker. Most of his conversation topics are very meta in nature, often regarding the features or mechanics of the games themselves.
- Generation Xerox: Apparently all of the M'aiqs (from Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, and Online) are all related (and judging by the comment, all untrustworthy)."M'aiq's father was also called M'aiq. As was M'aiq's father's father. At least, that's what his father said."
- Legacy Character: According to the M'aiq of Skyrim, M'aiq is a name passed down through his family. Based on the apperance of a M'aiq in Online, they've been at this since the mid-2nd Era.
- Noodle Incident: His dialogue mentions several that he has been involved with. According to Skyrim M'aiq, he was once soul trapped and didn't appreciate it.
- Self-Deprecation: He's not above taking jabs at Bethesda for previous games.
- Straw Fan: Much of what he says regards features that the Elder Scrolls' Unpleasable Fanbase have wanted in the series, elements from past games that were removed from later games, or is commenting on features Bethesda finally delivered after years of fan demand.
- Take That!: Exists pretty much to serve as an Author Avatar commenting on the series' Unpleasable Fanbase in the Take That, Audience! sense, but will also give some Take That, Us shots at Bethesda as well.
- Third-Person Person: As are most Khajiit. M'aiq even does it in his catch phrase.
- Walking the Earth: All but the Morrowind incarnation of M'aiq have generally run randomly around the province the game in question takes place in.
His soul in bones and worms, the way of the necromance.
Entrapping and enslaving souls, he cast a wicked spell."
Born: Sometime prior to 1E 1200 (the beginning of the "Middle Dawn", which he is known to have experienced)
Died: 3E 433 (Cyrodiil)
Mannimarco was an Altmer necromancer of immense magical talent who would go on to become the first lich. He studied with the Psijic Order alongside Galerion, eventual founder of the Mages Guild, but was exiled by the Order for practicing the dark arts. He would gather followers and found the Order of the Black Worm, becoming known as the King of Worms. Due to the events of the Warp in the West, he apparently simultaneously ascended to divinity as the God of Worms while also remaining as the "mortal" King of Worms whose cult now worships the God of Worms. (Things get a little screwy when a Time Crash is involved.) The two seem to be treated as separate entities, and the "mortal" version of Mannimarco was killed by the Champion of Cyrodiil around the time of the Oblivion Crisis.
- A God Am I: He very much seeks to become a god. As a result of the Warp in the West, it happened. Sort of. He has now seemingly been split into two different entities, the God of Worms and the King of Worms. The King worships the God, but still seeks to become a god himself.
- Appropriated Appellation: King of Worms was meant as an insult by his enemy, Galerion.
- Arch-Enemy: Vanus Galerion, founder of the Mages Guild. He also had some run-ins with the Underking and the two were said to be enemies.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: After many failed attempts to do so, he finally succeeded as a result of the Warp in the West. However, like Daggerfall's other endings, it was not to the same extent as if it had happened individually. He did ascend to a form of godhood as the God of Worms, but it is in a rather minor station. It also seems to have created another version of him which did not ascend, remaining on Tamriel as a Lich who leads a cult which worships the God of Worms, who seems to be treated as a different entity.
- Badass Long Robe: A black one is his standard attire.
- Bad Moon Rising: As the God of Worms, he is responsible for the "Necromancer's Moon," which appears when his plane eclipses that of Arkay. During this time, the light of the moon can transform standard Grand Soul Gems into Black Soul Gems, capable of trapping sapient souls.
- Big Bad: Of Oblivion's Mages Guild questline.
- The Dark Arts: His practice of necromancy is what got him kicked out of the Psijic Order and made him a mortal enemy of Galerion. His followers still practice these.
- Deceptive Disciple: Was once a member of the Psijic Order, though even before leaving, he was described as having "a dark and cold heart" and used necromancy even when studying.
- The Dragon: To Molag Bal in Online.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Also to Molag Bal in Online. He is aiding Bal in merging his realm with Mundus, but is planning to take Bal's place as a god once it is complete.
- The Dreaded: Has been one of the most feared beings on Tamriel since the 1st Era.
- Due to the Dead: Sapient "black" souls are normally under special protection from Arkay, one of the Divines and the God of Life and Death. However, when Mannimarco ascended to godhood as the God of Worms during the Warp in the West, he became a celestial body that orbits Arkay. When he eclipses Arkay, this protection is blocked, allowing grand soul gems to be converted to black soul gems which are capable of trapping sapient souls.
- Evil Chancellor: To Emperor Varen Aquilarios. He betrayed the Emperor and brought all-out war to Tamriel, all as part of his plans to become a god.
- Evil Counterpart: He and his Order of the Black Worm to the Galerion and his Mages Guild.
- Evil Sorcerer: A text book example, complete with practice of The Dark Arts, who desires to become a god.
- God of Evil: As the God of Worms. He is worshipped by necromancers and uses his power to block Arkay's protection of sapient souls.
- Immortality: Of The Undead Ageless variety. He seeks for a way to make it Complete Immortality.
- Immortality Seeker: He wants to live forever, and ideally, become a god as well. It sort of happened.
- Literal Split Personality: The Warp in the West seemingly created two entities out of Mannimarco: The God of Worms and King of Worms.
- Magic Staff: Associated with the legendary artifact, the Staff of Worms. It has the power to revive dead bodies to fight for the staff's wielder.
- Monster Progenitor: As the first lich.
- Necromancer: Of both the zombie raising and ghost summoning kind. His Cult of the Black Worm is an infamous collective of necromancers from around Tamriel.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: While wearing the Necromancer's Amulet. The Amulet grants the wearer magical protection equivalent to plate armor, as well as the ability to regenerate from injury, resist mundane weapons, and absorb magicka and life force. It also increases the wearer's intelligence and grants greater powers in the magical school of Conjuration. For a mortal wearer, this power comes at a price, as the amulet can drain the wearer's strength, endurance, health and stamina. Mannimarco, being a Lich, is not affected by these drawbacks and becomes nigh invulnerable.
- Obviously Evil: Dresses in black, leads the Order of the Black Worm, practices necromancy, is a lich...he could not be more obviously evil he tried.
- One-Winged Angel: After his mortal form is defeated by the Champion of Cyrodiil, he reveals his more powerful lich form.
- Our Liches Are Different: He was said to be the first lich, something his quest for immortality and godhood drove him to.
- Overarching Villain: A recurring villain of the The Elder Scrolls franchise. As the first lich of Tamriel, he orchestrated various major events in Tamriel, including the Dark Anchor incident, the Warp of the West, the arranged marriage for the Wolf Queen, and numerous massacres of the Mages Guild members throughout two eras.
- Really 700 Years Old: Was 1,130 years old by the beginning of the Oblivion Crisis. That's stretching the limits, even for a Long-Lived Altmer, but he was a lich by that point, so it wasn't exactly natural life any longer.
- Smug Snake: Very much so, though he seems to believe that he is a Magnificent Bastard instead. Most of his failures can be chalked up to his Pride and arrogance.
- The Starscream: Wishes to usurp Molag Bal in Online.
- Time Crash:
- He lived through the first and longest "Dragon Break", the Middle Dawn, during which he is said to have learned "his mystery" from the Marukhati Selectives who caused the event.
- The Warp in the West granted his desire of becoming a god, the God of Worms, but also seemed to split him into two entities, leaving behind the lich King of Worms who now worships the God of Worms.
- The Undead: In his lich form as the King of Worms.
- What Is Evil?: He has long defended Necromancy as an act which isn't inherently evil. He also argues that good and evil are "manifestations of the same thing".
- Your Soul Is Mine: His power as God of Worms blocks Arkay's special protection of sapient "black" souls, allowing the creation of Black Soul Gems capable of trapping them.
Died: Still alive as of 4E 201 (Tel Mithryn, Solstheim)
Neloth is a Telvanni Mage-Lord and Councillor, who originally resided in Tel Naga in Sadrith Mora in Morrowind, who then grew Tel Mithryn on Solstheim prior to Dragonborn after Tel Naga withered following the eruption of Red Mountain. Also a legendary Enchanter, Neloth is quite possibly one of the most powerful wizards still alive in the 4th Era.
- The Archmage: Comes with the territory of being a Telvanni Mage-Lord. Come Dragonborn, he's considered the most powerful Mage-Lord of House Telvanni and possibly all of Tamriel.
- Ashes to Ashes: A Dunmer conjurer who can use his magic to conjure an Ash Guardian, among other powers.
- Badass Bookworm: He's a very old, very powerful, and a very well-studied mage-lord. In Dragonborn, he's capable of casting high-level, powerful spells such as Incinerate, Thunderbolt, and Summon Storm Atronach as well as buffs such as Ebonyflesh. When you encounter the dragon Krosulhah that Miraak sent after you, Neloth is present, and at high levels, he has a good chance of being able to incapacitate the dragon without help.
- Bad Boss: Treats all of his employees horribly, often threatening to fire them (or worse) for little reason. Needless to say, few people in Raven Rock are willing to be his steward.
- The Clan: He is a Councilor of the Dunmeri Great House Telvanni.
- Collector of the Strange: He collects the staves of Azra Nightwielder.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Shows shades of this. Like noting "This won't hurt. But if it does, don't yell too loudly. I have very sensitive ears," and asking you to bring back an entertaining story of how the person he's sending you to kill died.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Even if you're a world-saving hero like the Nerevarine or Dragonborn, he won't respect you. Archmage of the College of Winterhold? Still condescending. One way the Dragonborn can impress him is to have read the Oghma Infinium before meeting him, due to having done something that Neloth himself tried to do for years without success. He'll also very grudgingly respect you if you have a very high enchanting skill, as he'll refuse to train you anymore because he doesn't want anyone to get better than him.
- Dude, Where's My Reward?:
- In Morrowind, he gives you a quest to retrieve the Robe of Drake's Pride from the servant of another House Telvanni councilor. Killing the servant is the only way to get the robe, and you'll need to taunt her into attacking you first to prevent being expelled from House Telvanni. She turns out to be a moderately powerful spell caster, and the robe gives her several advantages when fighting magic users, which your character likely is if you've advanced far enough in House Telvanni to receive the quest. After you take the robe back to Neloth, he'll reward you with... ten septims. The robe itself is worth 205, and has several enchantments a magic-using character would enjoy.
- By Dragonborn, he is decidedly better about rewarding and will eventually promise to make you a member of House Telvanni when he returns to Vvardenfell. He then makes a note that he has no intention of returning to Vvardenfell anytime soon and, if you're not one of the longer lived races, implies that this may very well be beyond your lifespan (thus making the gesture rather meaningless).
- Dummied Out: Morrowind had quests for both House Telvanni and the Morag Tong to assassinate Neloth which were removed in the final version of the game. Perhaps the developers already knew they wanted to bring him back? You can still kill him, of course, but as of Dragonborn, this seems to be non-canon.
- For Science!: Seems to be his primary motivation:""I wonder if a dragon could be captured alive? It would make a fascinating test subject."
"The ash from Red Mountain holds secrets. Secrets I mean to uncover."
"How do you like my new laboratory? I use it to dissect spriggans. I've learned so much from them."
"It was fascinating to watch those tentacles grow out of your eyes."
- Fungus Humongous: As is typical for Telvanni Mage-Lords, his tower is a giant mushroom magically tailored to the purpose. In Morrowind, he lived in Tel Naga. In Dragonborn, his new home is Tel Mithryn.
- I Have Your Wife: During Morrowind's heyday, he would kidnap the daughters of nobles of the other Great Houses in order to influence them.
- Insufferable Genius: In Dragonborn, he treats the position of Arch-Mage of the College of Winterhold as just barely qualified to be his apprentice. Similarly, his reasoning for refusing to train your Enchanting past level 90 is that he doesn't want you to potentially get better than him.
- It's All About Me: His reaction to the death of his steward is to complain about how annoying things keep happening to him and demand that the Dragonborn find him a new one. When he becomes convinced someone is out to kill him, he points out to the Dragons as one of the attempts to kill him. The Dragonborn needs to point out that the Dragons aren't just after him.
- Jerkass: To say he's unpleasant is something of an understatement.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: In Dragonborn, if you visit him after ending the main questline, he will immediately examine you to ensure you don't have any remains of Hermaeus Mora's influence. When you answer him he doesn't need to worry about you, he will immediately answer he wasn't worried, just interested.
- Mad Scientist: As magic in the Elder Scrolls series is treated as a science, he qualifies. Dragonborn even gives you the opportunity to participate in his experiments (often as the test subject).
- Really 700 Years Old: Like all Telvanni Mage-Lords, he's extended his lifespan through magic. Being a Mer helps — both in the sense that he's a member of a Long-Lived race to begin with, as well as being naturally adept at magic. By the time of Dragonborn, he has been a ranking member of House Telvanni for at least 200 years.
- Took a Level in Badass: In Dragonborn, especially when he accompanies you to some Dwemer Ruins to get one of the Black Books. He's certainly a lot more hands-on than he was 200 years prior, at any rate.
The Night Mother
Race: ?? (Various disputed accounts claim Dunmer, Imperial, or even Khajiit)
Born: ?? (Sometime prior to 1E 2920)
Died: ?? (Sometime prior to 3E 433, likely much earlier)
The Night Mother is the mysterious matron and leader of the Dark Brotherhood. Very little is known about her, but it is believed that she was once a real mortal woman who pledged herself to Sithis and continues to lead the Dark Brotherhood even after death by communicating through the Dark Brotherhood's "Listener". She is believed to have some connection with the Daedric Prince Mephala, and may even be an aspect of her.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Chooses the jester Cicero as her Keeper in Skyrim. He's clearly insane, but is quite devoted to her and eventually proves just how dangerous he is.
- But Thou Must!: When she gives orders to her followers, there is no going back. When a target is selected for assassination, the Brotherhood will kill that target, or be wiped out trying. The same holds true for in-house affairs, such as her ordering The Purge of a traitorous sanctuary. You are never given the choice of siding with the target or the sanctuary if you wish to complete the quest line.
- Candlelit Ritual: The Black Sacrament is a ritual prayer to the Night Mother to summon the Dark Brotherhood. It involves chanting the prayer within a candlelit circle while stabbing an effigy made of human body parts.
- Canon Discontinuity: In Morrowind, the "Night Mother" was Severa Magia, an Imperial assassin who brought the Dark Brotherhood to Vvardenfell in an attempt to wipe out the Morag Tong. A high-level Morag Tong quest has you assassinate her. Later games seemed to have dropped any connection between the Night Mother and Magia, and the fandom seems to view Magia as a high-ranking Brotherhood agent but not the Night Mother herself.
- Deity of Human Origin: "Deity" may be too strong of word (unless she really is an aspect of Mephala), but she is at the very least an exceptional spirit with greater than usual influence within the mortal world and it is generally believed that she was once a mortal woman.
- God Couple: She is considered to be, at the very least, an exceptional spirit and may even be an aspect of the Daedric Prince Mephala. In either case, she is said to be the "wife" of Sithis.
- Mouth of Sauron: The Listener of the Dark Brotherhood has served her in this role since her death. The Listener is the only person to whom the Night Mother speaks, informing the Listener of those who have performed the Black Sacrament so that agents can be dispatched to accept the contracts. When the Listener dies, the Night Mother selects another of her "children" in the Brotherhood to take over the role, though not always immediately. Without a Listener, the Brotherhood can't receive any contracts the normal way, which forces the Brotherhood to rely on word-of-mouth to hear if anyone has performed the Black Sacrament.
- Not So Different: Her Dark Brotherhood is considered the Psycho for Hire, Evil Counterpart to the more honorable Professional Killer Morag Tong. The Morag Tong worships the Daedric Prince Mephala, and there is some evidence that the Night Mother is connected with or may even be Mephala. In fact, one of the earliest accounts of the Night Mother from the late 1st Era has her as the leader of the Morag Tong, before the two groups split in the 2nd Era.
- Offing the Offspring: As a mortal, she is said to have sacrificed her five children to Sithis.
- One Bad Mother: The Evil Matriarch of a Murder, Inc. Brotherhood of Evil.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: She is simply known as "the Night Mother". What her real name was has apparently been lost to history.
- The Remnant: The 4th Era Skyrim chapter of the Dark Brotherhood. Without a Listener, they were cut off from the Night Mother and had to rely on word-of-mouth to find clients, as well as abandon the Five Tenets, the only rules the Brotherhood has ever had. The Night Mother is none too happy about these developments...
- Secret Test: Pulled this on the Cyrodiil branch of the Dark Brotherhood in Oblivion. She knew who the traitor was, but didn't warn her Listener, as she wanted to see if her followers were smart enough to figure it out themselves. They weren't.
- Sycophantic Servant: Most of her followers, but especially Cicero.
- Unholy Matrimony: She is said to be the "wife" of Sithis, to whom she is said to have sacrificed her five children while still a mortal woman.
- The Un-Reveal: Four appearances in four different games, as well as mentions in in-gamebooks, but we still aren't completely sure who or what she is. (There have been a few hints dropped, but so far, not enough to piece together anything close to a complete picture.)
Ocato of Firsthold (a.k.a Battlemage Ocato, High Chancellor Ocato, Potentate Ocato)
Born: ?? (He had "long held" a seat on the Imperial council as of his appointment to Imperial Battlemage in 3E 399)
Died: 4E 10
Ocato was the High Chancellor of the Elder Council and Imperial Battlemage under Emperor Uriel Septim VII. Following the deaths of Uriel VII and Martin Septim, Ocato was named Potentate (Regent) of the Empire in accordance with the Elder Council Charter. He served capably in that role until he was assassinated by the Thalmor in a successful attempt to destabilize the Empire early in the 4th Era.
- Badass Bureaucrat: His talents for running the government earned him the position of High Chancellor of the Elder Council and later, Potentate of the Empire. His other position as Imperial Battlemage, along with his actions during Mehrunes Dagon's attack on the Imperial City, show just how capable he was in combat. After being named Potentate, this made him a Badass in Charge.
- Bald of Awesome: His Daggerfall appearance shows him with a shiny bald head. All of his actions for the Empire justify the "awesome" part.
- The Creon: As his quick recognition of Martin Septim as new Emperor showed, he preferred serving the Septim Dynasty to ruling the Empire as regent. He exhausted all alternatives before reluctantly accepting the title of Potentate, and never declared himself Emperor despite his successes and the belief among a good portion of the nobility that he should do so.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Mentioned to have been assassinated by the Thalmor in Skyrim.
- The Good Chancellor: Served as one to Uriel VII and later, Martin Septim. He also did a good job of keeping the Empire together after the Septim line died out, despite the odds being heavily against him, which is why the Thalmor decided to assassinate him.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: An Altmer who utterly opposed the Aldmeri Dominion to the point where the Thalmor had him killed for his efforts.
- Number Two: To Uriel Septim VII.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He served in two high-ranking Imperial positions and was nothing but loyal toward Uriel VII. After he reluctantly took over as Potentate, he successfully held the Septim Empire together for 10 years before the Thalmor had him assassinated. In the two centuries that followed, no one else came close to matching his successes.
- Redeeming Replacement: As the next Imperial Battlemage after Jagar Tharn, Emperor Uriel's Evil Chancellor who served as the Big Bad of Arena.
- Reluctant Ruler: He reluctantly accepted the title of Potentate following the end of the Oblivion Crisis, but he repeatedly pushed for finding a new Emperor to replace him, though with no luck.
- Regent for Life: Was named Potentate of the Empire in accordance with the Elder Council Charter after exhausting all other options. He was extremely successful in this role and many nobles thought he would (or even should) declare himself Emperor. He did not, and was assassinated by the Thalmor.
- Straight for the Commander: A victim of this. Following the Oblivion Crisis, the emergent Thalmor quickly identified him as their biggest obstacle as he as the head of the Empire simply was doing too good a job of keeping the political tension resulting from the Emperor's death from boiling over, and because he as an Altmer was familiar with how they operated and could effectively counter their plans. The Thalmor eventually successfully assassinated him, causing the Empire to implode in a full-blown Succession Crisis, allowing them the opportunity and time to fully seize power in the Summerset Isles and re-establish the Aldmeri Dominion of old.
- Vestigial Empire: Though the Septim Empire he inherited following the Oblivion Crisis was in dire straits, Ocato managed to hold it together for another decade until his assassination. The Empire immediately fell apart from a Succession Crisis and never got close to the same level of glory in the centuries that followed.
- You Are in Command Now: Following the assassination of Emperor Uriel Septim with and no immediate apparent heir to the Ruby Throne, Ocato's position as the head of the Elder Council, meant he was forced to step up as the de facto head of the Empire. He was put in this position once again following Martin Septim's Heroic Sacrifice, where he had to assume the title of Potentate. Though all things considered, he did a good job of keeping the Empire to together in a time of crisis.
- You Don't Look Like You: Like Emperor Uriel VII, Ocato's looks change drastically between Daggerfall and Oblivion; from a bald, goateed man to a beardless Altmer with a full hair of head.
Emperor Uriel Septim VII
Born: 3E 346
Died: 3E 433 (Imperial City, Cyrodiil)
Uriel Septim VII was the 21st and finalnote Emperor of the Septim Dynasty, ruling for an unheralded 65 years (second only to Tiber himself). He was notably the Emperor during each game from Arena to his death at the beginning of Oblivion.
For a period of 10 years, known as the Imperial Simulacrum, he was usurped by his Imperial Battlemage, Jagar Tharn, and imprisoned in a pocket realm of Oblivion before he was rescued by the Eternal Champion. He later sent The Agent to investigate the death of King Lysandus, leading to the events of Daggerfall. In Morrowind, he has the Nerevarine freed from prison in order to manipulate a prophecy in Morrowind, leading to the events of Morrowind. He is assassinated by the Mythic Dawn to kick off the Oblivion Crisis, but not before giving the Amulet of Kings to the Champion of Cyrodiil, leading to the events of Oblivion.
Uriel is remembered as a benevolent ruler who brought order and justice to Tamriel, initially as an aggressive integrator and later as a shrewd diplomat and schemer. He fathered five sons - three legitimate heirs who were also assassinated by the Mythic Dawn, the bastard Calaxes (who was assassinated well before the Oblivion Crisis), and Martin, hero of the Oblivion Crisis.
- Apparently Powerless Puppetmaster: Downplayed in the latter portion of his reign. While he was still the Emperor of Tamriel, his Imperial Legions were nowhere near the fighting force they once were and his empire was only maintained through his elaborate schemes, shrewd diplomacy, and political maneuvering.
- Awful Wedded Life: His wife, Caula Voria, was an absolute nightmare. While beautiful and beloved by the people, she was said to have "ensnared" a young Uriel and was a deeply unpleasant and arrogant woman. Fortunately, Uriel's seeking comfort in an adulterous relationship would result in the birth of Martin Septim. Caula died sometime just before or shortly after the start of the Simulacrum.
- Badass Grandpa: During the tutorial dungeon of Oblivion, he will gladly charge into battle alongside his Blades. Wielding a silver shortsword, he will utterly wreck any Mythic Dawn assassin in his way. Mind you, he is 87 years old at the time.
- Bald of Awesome: His appearance in Daggerfall. (Ironically, he looks more like Patrick Stewart than his Oblivion appearance, where he is actually voiced by Stewart.)
- Barrier Maiden: Like all recognized Emperors of Tamriel, dating back to St. Alessia's covenant with Akatosh. This is the reason he and his heirs are targeted for assassination by the Mythic Dawn.
- Big Good: In Daggerfall and Morrowind. He is the impetus for sending the heroes of the games on their respective quests, but is otherwise hands off in his support.
- The Chessmaster: Shifted from an aggressive integrator to a very methodical politician after his time in Oblivion during the Simulacrum. For much of the rest of his reign, his schemes were the only thing holding the Empire together.
- Distressed Dude: In Arena. He's been trapped in Oblivion and usurped by his Battlemage Jagar Tharn. Defeating Tharn and rescuing the Emperor is the impetus for the plot.
- Dead Star Walking: Voiced by Patrick Stewart in Oblivion, where he assassinated just minutes into the game.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: After his rescue to end the Simulacrum, he started having prophetic dreams, presumably from his time spent in Oblivion. Included was a dream foretelling his own death which also showed him the Champion of Cyrodiil. By the time of his assassination, he had been plagued by terrible nightmares of things to come for some time.
- The Emperor: A benevolent one who ruled during the first four games in the series.
- Evil Chancellor: Jagar Tharn served as his Imperial Battlemage. Tharn trapped Uriel in Oblivion and usurped his throne, causing the Imperial Simulacrum.
- The Ghost: During Morrowind. He is frequently mentioned, but never appears in the game.
- The Good Chancellor: Ocato served him as High Chancellor of the Elder Council, and was a very wise and loyal councilor.
- The Good King: Genuinely cares for the people of Tamriel. The Third Empire during his reign was a generally benevolent force that thwarted many malevolent (and often supernatural) threats.
- Hidden Backup Prince: Martin, an illegitimate son who Uriel entrusted the head of the Blades, Jauffre, to hide away. Uriel also had a lesser-known bastard son, Calaxes, who was assassinated well before the Oblivion Crisis.
- I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: Passes the Amulet of Kings onto the Champion of Cyrodiil just before his assassination.
- King Bob the Nth: He is the seventh Emperor of the Septim Dynasty to bear the name Uriel.
- Large Ham: In his Daggerfall appearance.
- Numerological Motif: Perhaps crossing over with Meaningful Name. Uriel is one of the seven archangels in Judeo-Christian traditions, one associated with protection, healing, and redeeming. (Fitting, given his personality and actions.) He is the seventh Septim to bare the name Uriel. And Septim itself comes from "septem", Latin for seven.
- Older Than They Look: He is 87 by the time of Oblivion. It is said that he did not age in the ten years he spent trapped in Oblivion during the Simulacrum. It is also rumored that he had his mages and healers employ various methods of extending his life as well.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Nearly everything he does as Emperor is for the greater good of the people of Tamriel. Due to the lost strength of his legions and rampant unrest in the provinces, he has to rely on his wit in order to avert multiple crises for the Empire.
- You Don't Look Like You: His appearance changed quite drastically in each game. He was gray-haired and bearded in Arena, bald with no beard in Daggerfall, and had long gray hair with no beard in Oblivion.