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"And the Scrolls have foretold, of black wings in the cold, That when brothers wage war come unfurled! Alduin, Bane of Kings, ancient shadow unbound, With a hunger to swallow the world!"

"Indiscriminate death. Set upon by the gnawing and the rabid. Cyrodiil's candle flickers and is snuffed. Servants and superiors — no one is spared the sharp tooth, ridged blade, or diseased hook, barb, or beak. And Molag Bal will watch from his palace in Coldharbour where everything stares back at him with his own face, and he will gloat, and mock, and gorge on the souls of mortals."
Flaccus Terentius, dreaming of Molag Bal's invasion, The Improved Emperor's Guide to Tamriel ("Dreams of Cyrodiil")

Live another life, in another world. Just watch out for these villains, who aim to make that world a living hell.

All spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

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  • Molag Bal, the "King of Rape", is the Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption who spreads strife and discord on Nirn so that he can harvest every mortal soul and torture them for eternity in his realm of Coldharbour. The first vampire was created when Molag Bal committed the first rape in history, and creates more by gifting vampirism to servants who survive getting raped to death by him. Desiring mortal souls, Molag Bal instigates the Planemeld by trying to drag all of Tamriel into his realm and has captured innocents' flesh sculpted into decaying biological weapons against his enemies. On a smaller scale, Molag Bal is petty enough to corrupt a good and righteous man into breaking his oath of pacifism by sending a servant to defile his wife's grave, and dominates the defenseless priest of his rival Boethiah by having the old man beaten to death and revived to repeat the process until he swears fealty. Even his own servants are not safe from his wrath, as he has his favorite murdered for not spreading enough destruction and arranges the death of his own daughter for falling in love with a lesser Daedra. Disgusting even his fellow Daedric Princes, Molag Bal is by far the vilest and most depraved being in existence.
  • Mannimarco, the King of Worms, is the leader of the Order of the Black Worm, one of the most powerful necromancers to ever live, and the world's first lich. In his first chronological appearance in Online, Mannimarco instigated the Planemeld, an event intended to merge Nirn with Coldharbour, the hellish realm of his master, the Daedric Prince Molag Bal. This would kill most people on the planet and leave the few survivors as eternal slaves. Mannimarco has his followers sacrifice countless people to summon Dark Anchors to pull Nirn into Coldharbour. His ultimate plan was to betray his master and steal his power, becoming the new Daedric Prince of Schemes and ruling over both worlds as a god. Though slain, Mannimarco appears in Daggerfall, where he continued his pursuit of power and performed favors in exchange for things like souls and firstborn children. Succeeding in achieving godhood by the game's end, in Oblivion, in the Mages Guild quest, a mortal part of Mannimarco resurfaced and decided to settle a petty grudge with his long-dead nemesis by destroying the Mages Guild said enemy founded. During the war with the guild, Mannimarco created black soul gems to steal the souls of those who opposed him, tortured to death then resurrected a mage that infiltrated his cult, and personally led the slaughter of the Bruma Mages Guild chapter, leaving only one survivor.
  • Potema Septim, the Wolf Queen of Solitude, has the dubious honor of being one of the few "unambiguously evil" figures in the history of Tamriel. Potema was responsible for the War of the Red Diamond, alleging her niece—and rightful Empress—to be a bastard, then having her executed to install her son Uriel Septim III as Emperor in her place, plunging the country into a war so brutal it nearly tore the Empire to pieces. Dabbling in necromancy and daedra-summoning toward the end of her life to the point the city of Solitude has become a "land of death" from how bloated it is with resurrected corpses of her enemies and her own servants alike, Potema's evil was powerful enough to live on into the Fourth Age as a hateful spectre. Unspeakably petty as well, Potema once condemned a servant to the eternal torment of the Soul Cairn for an unintentional insult. Suspected to have even been responsible for the fall of her grand-nephew Pelagius the Mad into irrecoverable insanity, Potema is one of the few characters in Tamriel's inconsistent lore to be exactly as evil as she's claimed to be.

    Video Games 
  • Oblivion: Mankar Camoran, the leader of the the Mythic Dawn and a worshipper of Mehrunes Dagon, aims to summon his master into Tamriel so Dagon may destroy the world and create a new one in its place, one that coheres with Camoran's beliefs. Not only does Mankar assist Dagon's Daedra in attacking the mortal world, he also orchestrates the assassination of Emperor Uriel Septim, as well as his grown children. He even had the city of Kvatch completely destroyed in a failed attempt to kill Uriel's bastard son, Martin. While Mankar lures in his followers with promises of a paradise for their faithful service, this turns out to be a lie. Seemingly idyllic on the surface, Mankar's "paradise" is really a hell where his followers are constantly killed by monsters, only to be resurrected and killed over and over again. His promise to allow any follower who loses faith to leave his paradise also proves false, as the grotto, which is said to be an exit from the afterlife, really leads to a torture chamber where the unfaithful are made immortal, locked into gibbets, and then dumped into lava. One follower who lost faith was forced by Camoran into inflicting this punishment on his friends over and over again. Paradise is said to be Mankar's vision of how he believes the world will be once Dagon takes over.
  • Skyrim:
    • Alduin is the World-Eater and the firstborn of Akatosh. Responsible for the corruption of the Leaper King into the Daedric Prince of Destruction, Mehrunes Dagon, Alduin ultimately decides to conquer Nirn instead of destroying it as he is meant to. Alduin erects a tyrannical reign among him and his dragon brethren, dividing up power among the Dragon Priests, human zealots who exercised wanton cruelty. After accidentally being cast forward into the fourth era by an Elder Scroll, Alduin, out of spite, decides to destroy Nirn before his allotted time, razing the town of Helgen and resurrecting other dragons to cause further havoc across Skyrim. After being defeated once by the Last Dragonborn, Alduin cowardly deserts the battle, fleeing into Sovngarde to consume the souls of fallen warriors to empower himself. Deliberately forsaking his divine duty as Eater of Worlds to instead indulge in his own limitless megalomania, Alduin is ultimately little more than an arrogant, cowardly sadist of a god in the skin of a jet-black dragon.
    • Hevnoraak is a Dragon Priest who obsessively sought immortality through lichdom. Hevnoraak amassed an army by mentally dominating his followers and placing his will upon their own, permanently twisting their minds into evil. Hevnoraak subjected his servants to torture and humiliation for his own amusement, with countless victims still littering the tomb of Valthume. Hevnoraak had a special fascination with feeding many of them to his pet Giant Spiders in the process, with a fondness for paralyzing them to be Eaten Alive.
    • Arondil is a reclusive Altmer hiding in Yngvild who was chased out of Dawnstar for his lustful behavior and his unspeakable necromancy. Finding his mind constantly chasing back to the subject of the milkmaids he used to pursue, Arondil uses his magic to resurrect Yngvild's buried women as his enslaved draugr harem to satisfy his wants. Arondil eventually graduates to murdering one of the old milkmaids he used to lust after, resurrecting her spirit as his servile slave and repeating the process with many more innocent women from Dawnstar, keeping their souls enslaved to his every whim and pleasure.
    • Sild the Warlock is a sadistic mage defined by his love of torture. Hiding out in the ruins of Rannveig's Fast, Sild lures adventurers into his clutches with tales of treasure within the crypt, before dumping them down a long pit into his clutches, whereupon Sild proceeds to torture them to death. Not content with merely killing them, Sild enslaves the souls of his victims and forces them to kill anyone who stumbles upon the ruins, leaving them conscious and begging for forgiveness as they do so. Dissatisfied with the number of people who simply die from the fall, Sild is always experimenting with new ways to torture his victims to death, with a passion eclipsing most other evil sorcerers in Skyrim, even casually murdering his own assistant for a chuckle.
    • Dawnguard DLC: Lord Harkon is the Vampire Monarch ruling over Clan Volkihar, and the father of Serana. Harkon is a pure-blooded vampire, a distinction he gained through a zealous devotion to Molag Bal, which included turning over his own daughter to be violated by the Daedric Prince in a ritual to make her a vampire. Harkon even thinks nothing later of sacrificing Serana's life to fulfill a dark prophecy to blot out Nirn's sun, allowing vampirekind to overwhelm the mortal races. His arrogant lunacy turning away even his wife, who takes Serana far away from Harkon's clutches, Harkon satiates himself for centuries afterward feeding on the blood of innocents as he works to fulfill the prophecy, allowing his vampires to feed on a menagerie of suffering, still-living slaves and even ordering the culling of other "lesser" vampires should the Dragonborn elect to join him.
  • Online:
    • The deceitful, silver-tongued High Kinlady Estre is secretly the Veiled Queen, the leader of an Altmeri terrorist group, the Veiled Heritance, intending to assassinate Estre's sister-in-law and expand Estre's xenophobic rule across Tamriel. Estre orders villages massacred, corrupts the souls of her own ancestors, tries to goad a promising recruit into killing a captured innocent Bosmer, and uses the Maormer to wreak swathes of bloody havoc, promising them a place in her ideal Tamriel while secretly planning for their extermination or exile. Estre even deals with Mehrunes Dagon, having the Daedra kill hundreds of innocent people merely as a diversion to her true plan to arrive at Firsthold and have her Daedra burn the entire city to the ground in revenge for being exposed.
    • Ruuvitar, who leads the Dominion forces in Shadowfen, engages in skin-stealing, deals with Daedra, and cruelly experiments on Argonian prisoners to learn how a powerful artifact can be used to sever the Argonians' connection to the Hist. With the artifact, he attacks the Hatching Pools, where Argonian young are born. As the babies require the Hist to hatch, Ruuvitar's experiment causes the hatchlings to die en masse in their shells, bursting apart in bloody chunks. As if that were not enough of an atrocity, Ruuvitar plans to do the same thing to all future generations of Argonians, dooming their entire race to extinction. While the game has numerous quests in which the player character must fend off villainous schemes by one of the other alliances, Ruuvitar stands out for literally murdering babies onscreen, and for having the only plot that is explicitly and unrepentantly genocidal in nature.
    • Dutheil, the "Mad Architect" of Oblivion, was a Breton architect in life who turned to the Daedra after his career was ruined by his rival Gasteau. Dutheil goes above and beyond in exacting his revenge; to trap Gasteau and his friends, the Mad Architect designs a prison known as the Vaults of Madness made purely for the purpose of torturing their souls. With whatever sympathies he had as a mortal man long gone, Dutheil now constructs horrific devices of torture for multiple Daedric Princes, from Molag Bal to Mephala, and fills the Vaults of Madness with countless souls who never had anything to do with his grudge. Dutheil even lends his services to Nerien'eth, a fellow psychotic necromancer with a fancy for torturing souls; Dutheil considers him utterly insignificant except in terms of his sadism.
    • "Plans of Pestilence": Plague Concocter Nathien Mortieu, a fervent dedicant of the Daedric Prince Peryite, took Scalecaller Peak as his base of operations and exposed the otherwise-peaceful monsters to his agonizing diseases, driving them to kill everything that ventured onto the mountain, including some of his own cultists. Mortieu accidentally unearthed a Dragon Priest named Zaan the Scalecaller and worked with her endorsement to unleash a plague of his making upon all of Tamriel and possibly beyond in an effort to "bury the world in corpses", eagerly planning to use a nearby village as his first testing pool. Though working in conjunction with Zaan, Mortieu scoffs at the Dragon Priest's lingering dedication for her former dragon master.
    • Greymoor Expansion Pack: High King Svargrim, ruler of Skyrim, turns out to be in league with the terrifying Grey Host. Playing the part of a grieving husband after his wife is murdered by the Grey Host, Svargrim in fact arranged for her murder and has no qualms trying to slay his horrified daughter after. For the prospect of immortality, Svargrim has sold out his people to the slaughterous reign of the Grey Host, and personally attempts to wipe out thousands of innocent lives by bringing down a harrowstorm upon his own hold, Solitude.
  • Legends' Return to Clockwork City: Mecinar was once one of the Clockwork Apostles of the "tinkerer god" Sotha Sil, and his ambitious intellect brought him to intellectual depths that horrified even Sotha. Mecinar turned many unwilling innocents into abominations, fused by steel and flesh, causing Sotha to exile Mecinar. Biding his time until after Sotha had died, Mecinar manipulates a wandering party into letting him regain access to the Clockwork City, before seizing the New Heart of Lorkhan that powered the city to make himself into a god. Mecinar attempts to reduce the entire population of the Clockwork City into mindless grotesqueries to serve him forevermore, and resurrects one of the hero's fallen companions to force them to fight their former friend out of nothing but spite and dark scientific curiosity.

  • The Infernal City & Lord of Souls:
    • Vuhon, better known as Lord Umbriel, was a Dunmer scientist who invented the Ingenium to keep the floating meteorite known as the Ministry of Truth above Vivec City, using the souls of living beings as fuel. Vuhon, jealous over having his affections spurned years ago, tried to use his rival Sul's beloved as fuel for the Ingenium, and refused to own up to any of the subsequent destruction when Morrowind was devastated as the Ministry of Truth fell from their confrontation, torturing Sul for years when they were trapped in Oblivion. Finally escaping upon making a pledge with the Daedric entity Umbra, Vuhon became lord of the flying city of Umbriel, burning countless more souls to fuel the Ingenium that let the city fly and allowing countless Umbrielians known as "skraws" to live short, agonized lives as slaves tending to the city's sump. Vuhon destroys the city of Lilmoth upon being summoned into Tamriel and has his undead armies raze their way across the country, willing to annihilate the Imperial City if they give him trouble and saying all the lives spent to power Umbriel are worth it to emancipate himself from Oblivion and rule Umbriel forever.
    • Minister Hierem is a backstabbing, influential noble in the Imperial Empire and the second-most powerful man in the nation. Seeking even more power, Hierem attempts to overthrow the Emperor and kill any and all rivals, trying to have Prince Attrebus Mede assassinated alongside over fifty of his own men and later torturing Attrebus with Mind Rape, a violation severe enough to leave Attrebus near broken despair. Hierem orchestrates Umbriel's passage into Tamriel by ensuring the city comes through and destroys Lilmoth, actively undermining efforts to stop its path of slaughter while intending to betray Vuhon and become a god by siphoning off all the souls Vuhon has collected for himself.
  • "The Horror at Castle Xyr" In-Game Novel (link): The Horror at Castle Xyr: Sedura Iachilla Xyr, wife of the preeminent lord of Castle Xyr and seemingly The Ghost at first, turns out to be a Torture Technician with a scientific interest in Destruction magic. In correspondence with a fellow necromancer, Iachilla purchases innocent slaves and magically tortures them to death in every way imaginable. Castle Xyr's cellar is bloated with victims melted, frozen, electrocuted, torn apart and sewn back together, and among her victims is her own maid Anaram whom Iachilla slowly poisoned to death so she could impersonate her.