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Vanus Galerion

From the Annals of Vanus Galerion,

I am rarely surprised. Where a less developed intellect encounters the unexpected, I find only the improbable. And yet, there have been moments during my tenure as Arch-Mage that remind me not to let my meritorious status go to my head. My encounter with the Changeling, Selene, ranks high among them. It was at a time when the Mages Guild was still young, relatively speaking, when my order had finally struck out from the Summerset Isles and began to move into continental Tamriel.

I petitioned the Silvenar to allow us entry into the Wood Elf domain. To establish a guildhall within the capitol, no less. To say that Valenwood was resistant to any more outside forces meddling in their affairs would be an understatement, but I was granted an opportunity to prove the value of the guild. Our first contract, as it were: explore the uncharted fen east of Silvenar. It was the only part of the Green that the Wood Elves knew little of, because those who entered the quagmire never returned. While it was obvious that the Silvenar meant to be rid of me, this manner of challenge was exactly what I founded the Mages Guild for.

The region had acquired the moniker “the Web,” both for its overwhelmingly dense vine growth and the belief that those who enter become irrevocably ensnared within. This analogy would prove to be more apt than they could have imagined, for within this morass my expedition became mired in more than mud. I can’t recall how long we spent wading through that lightless forest, but I can tell you now that we never spent a moment of it alone. The eyes of every creature we saw watched us intently, and there wasn’t a sound beyond our own clumsy slogging. It seemed as if everything had stopped to listen to our trespass.

Despite our best efforts navigating the overgrowth, the expedition became lost and separated at every turn until I found myself groping, alone in the dark. Then the world itself turned upside down after something tugged at my leg, ensnaring it. The blood rushed into my ears. Quickly, I conjured a light to identify what had me and was greeted by the glistening fangs of a spider four times my size a hair’s breadth from my face. I will not record the sound I made for posterity, but I admit that it was undignified. The creature bound my arms before I could conjure a spell in response and leaned in toward my neck, but instead of sinking its fangs into my throat it whispered in my ear.

Selene, as I came to know her, demanded to know why we intruded on her domain. Clarly, she was displeased by our visitation, but I noted a sense of curiosity behind her menace that I seized upon. This being was obviously as uncertain of what I was as I was of her. There was much about my expedition that she had never seen from the isolation of her woods. Eventually she let me down and took my form, or rather, that of an Altmer woman sharing my features. I believe she did this as an effort to ease tensions, yet she did not realize how unsettling a gesture it was. Still, we spoke for a long time. From the way Selene spoke of the world, it was apparent that she was a not a being for which time held much meaning.

The Wood Elves hold the belief that Mundus was a teaming mass of chaos when it was first established, and Y’ffre was the first to give order to the world, establishing the laws of nature. Others followed, and Nirn took form. I believe that Selene is not far removed from the time when the Ehlnofey formed the bones of the earth. In fact, I’ll be so bold as to claim that the Changeling was among the earliest creatures on Nirn, and I attribute her formlessness to that. My hypothesis is that she is a remnant of that original chaos taught to control her fluidity. The way that she spoke of her Goddess, Shagrath, leads me to believe that this being was responsible for showing her how to take form. Whether this entity was lost to time or still exists in some form remains a mystery, though I can think of only one being from the birth of the world who possesses an affinity for spiders and that’s concerning.

I eventually persuaded Selene to release me and my subordinates, whom she had cocooned, under the agreement that we never intrude uninvited again, and that we would bargain on her behalf with the Wood Elves who encroach on her territory. Much can be learned from a creature like Selene, and preserving her habitat and good will is paramount to both. When I returned to the capital, I brought these findings before the Silvenar and Green Lady. Both were unsettled by the presence of a Changeling in their forest. A creature that can change its form freely flies in the face of their belief that everything in the Green was given the shape Y’ffre intended, but the possibility that she might well have walked the world alongside the Divine was enough to convince them to respect the boundaries of her domain. So impressed was the Silvenar by my guild’s handling of the situation that he granted me our first charter in Valenwood. I still regard the accord between the Mages Guild, the Elves of the Green, and Selene among the greatest of my successes as Arch-Mage.

Arms and Armor of the Mages Guild

Longinus Attius

I can appreciate the exceptional gift of skill possessed by the forge masters responsible for these masterpieces of the usage at war.

Though my Colovian blood runs cold when attempting to trust those with an aptitude for magic (as many are seen as traitorous to our path—or worse, in league with the Daedra), there are many across this land that may wish to raise both a sword and a swirling fist of incantation. Casting aside the robes appropriated by many a magician of the Mages Guild in favor of slightly more restrictive armor (metal body pieces constructed with the free flowing of magic in mind), our brethren visiting us from the Mages Guild reveal a finely fluted set of golden plate.

While I favor a more solid and less windswept design when wading into bloody battle, and some feel the feathered shoulder plates and head crests lack a certain savage ferocity, I can appreciate the exceptional gift of skill possessed by the forge masters responsible for these masterpieces of the usage at war, said to be inspired by the armor and armaments of the ancient Elves. A Nord might not appear dignified when clamped into this tightly clasped outfit, but a mage can weave his magic, as well as punish his foe, with a glass weapon that may look delicate but packs a mighty wallop with the strength of steel. Studded runes and sweeping, refined forms show that spellswords allied to this guild have highly prized equipment to rival even our own blades and gauntlets.

By Order of Guildmaster Vanus Galerion


By order of the Guildmaster, be very welcome to the isle of Eyevea! All members of the guild in good standing are to view this isle as a refuge. A sanctuary for magical study and a neutral ground on Tamriel.

All members, be you warned:

- Alliance in-fighting will not be tolerated! The Three Banner's War is in Cyrodiil. Here, all Mages are at peace and in harmony.
- Accept your fellows, no matter their appearance. All the thinking races of Tamriel practice the spellcasting arts. Intolerance towards a fellow guildmember is to be reported to the Guildmaster, and will be dealt with severely!
- Pay the tithe. Members in good standing are welcome to make use of the isle's sytem of portals for trade and transportation. Any member with a standing business must, however, pay a percentage fee to the guild in tithe.

The return of Eyevea marks a new era for the Guild!

Kinlord Rilis and the Mages Guild


As a member in high standing, I feel it necessary to explain and extirpate the notion that Kinlord Rilis the XII is somehow a founder of the Mages Guild. The common folk believe that the kinlord, in the days before his cruelty and sadism became well-known, brokered a deal that reigned in "dangerous mages" and somehow put binders in place to keep the commonalty safe. This is simply not the case.

Vanus Galerion, student of Iachesis, did indeed flout prevailing thought when it came to magical experimentation in large cities. He drew together numerous students and artificers to the city of Firsthold. For the first time, he sought to prove the benefit of spellcasters working in close proximity. Not for a mighty ritual, but for study, experimentation, and a sense of camaraderie.

This simple premise so terrified the people of Firsthold that they turned to their ruler, Kinlord Rilis the XII. Now known by many less polite titles, Rilis was first and foremost a political animal. He saw in "Galerion's Folly," as it was known at the time, a chance to play the mages and common folk off against each other.

The much-speculated-upon "Charter Conclave" brought together Rilis, Iachesis, Galerion, and other notables from across the Isles and the Psijic Order. By common agreement, it is true, no records were kept of that meeting. But mark my words here, adept: Rilis allowed the meeting, allowed Galerion to do what he did, to further his own ends.

In retrospect, of course, the legacy of Artaeum is the proud heritage of the new Mages Guild. We now boldly gather together under the Guild banner, and will no doubt do so for many centuries to come. Just let it be remembered: Rilis the Twelfth was a dangerous mer. Even at the time of the Conclave, he trafficked with dark powers and made pacts with Daedra.

The proud order we all now serve is here despite his best intentions. Not because of them.

Mannimarco, King of Worms


O sacred isle Artaeum, where rosy light infuses air,
O'er towers and through flowers, gentle breezes flow,
Softly sloping green-kissed cliffs to crashing foam below,
Always springtide afternoon housed within its border,
This mystic, mist-protected home of the Psijic Order:
Those counselors of kings, cautious, wise, and fair.

Ten score years and thirty since the mighty Remans fell,
Two brilliant students studied within the Psijics' fold.
One's heart was light and warm, the other dark and cold.
The madder latter, Mannimarco, whirled in a deathly dance,
His soul in bones and worms, the way of the necromance.
Entrapping and enslaving souls, he cast a wicked spell.

The former, Galerion had magic bold and bright as day.
He confronted Mannimarco beneath gray Ceporah Tower,
Saying, 'Your wicked mysticism is no way to wield your power,
Bringing horror to the spirit world, your studies must cease.'
Mannimarco scoffed, hating well the ways of life and peace,
And returned to his dark artistry; his paints, death and decay.

O sacred isle Artaeum, how slow to perceive the threat,
When the ghastly truth revealed, how weak the punishment.
The ghoulish Mannimarco from the isle of the wise was sent
To the mainland Dawn's Beauty, more death and souls to reap.
'You have found a wolf, and sent the beast to flocks of sheep,'
Galerion told his Masters, 'A terror on Tamriel has set.'

'Speak no more of him,' the sage Cloaks of Gray did say.
'Twas not the first time Galerion thought his Masters callous,
Unconcerned for men and mer, aloof in their island palace.
'Twas not the first time Galerion thought 'twas time to build
A new Order to bring true magic to all, a mighty Mages Guild.
But 'twas the time he left, at last, fair Artaeum's azure bay.

O, but sung we have of Vanus Galerion many times before,
How cast he off the Psijics' chains, bringing magic to the land.
Throughout the years, he saw the touch of Mannimarco's hand,
Through Tamriel's deserts, forests, towns, mountains, and seas.
The dark grip stretching out, growing like some dread disease
By his dark Necromancers, collecting cursed artifacts of yore.

They brought to him these tools, mad wizards and witches,
And brought blood-tainted herbs and oils to his cave of sin,
Sweet Akaviri poison, dust from saints, sheafs of human skin,
Toadstools, roots, and much more cluttered his alchemical shelf,
Like a spider in his web, he sucked all their power into himself,
Mannimarco, Worm King, world's first of the undying liches.

Corruption on corruption, 'til the rot sunk to his very core,
Though he kept the name Mannimarco, his body and his mind
Were but a living, moving corpse as he left humanity behind.
The blood in his veins became instead a poison acid stew.
His power and his life increased as his fell collection grew.
Mightiest were these artifacts, long cursed since days of yore.

They say Galerion left the Guild, calling it 'a morass,'
But untruth is a powerful stream, polluting the river of time.
Galerion beheld Mannimarco's rise through powers sublime,
To his mages and Lamp Knights, 'Before my last breath,
Face I must the tyranny of worms, and kill at last, undeath.'
He led them north to cursed lands, to a mountain pass.

O those who survived the battle say its like was never seen.
Armored with magicka, armed with ensorcelled sword and axe,
Galerion cried, echoing, 'Worm King, surrender your artifacts,
And their power to me, and you shall live as befits the dead.'
A hollow laugh answered, 'You die first,' Mannimarco said.
The mage army then clashed with the unholy force obscene.

Imagine waves of fire and frost, and the mountain shivers,
Picture lightning arching forth, crackling in a dragon's sigh.
Like leaves, the battlemages fly to rain down from the sky,
At the Necromancers' call, corpses burst from earth to fight,
To be shattered into nothingness with a flood of holy light.
A maelstrom of energy unleashed, blood cascades in rivers.

Like a thunderburst in blue skies or a lion's sudden roar,
Like sharp razors tearing over delicate embroidered lace,
So at a touch did Galerion shake the mountain to its base.
The deathly horde fell fatally, but heeding their dying cries
From the depths, the thing they called Worm King did rise.
Nirn itself did scream in the Mages' and Necromancers' war

His eyes burning dark fire, he opened his toothless maw,
Vomiting darkness with each exhalation of his breath,
All sucking in the fetid air felt the icy touch of death.
In the skies above the mountain, darkness overcame pale,
Then Mannimarco Worm King felt his dismal powers fail:
The artifacts of death pulled from his putrid skeletal claw.

A thousand good and evil perished then, history confirms.
Among, alas, Vanus Galerion, he who showed the way,
It seemed once that Mannimarco had truly died that day.
Scattered seemed the Necromancers, wicked, ghastly fools,
Back to the Mages Guild, victors kept the accursed tools,
Of him, living still in undeath, Mannimarco, King of Worms.

Children, listen as the shadows cross your sleeping hutch,
And the village sleeps away, streets emptied of the crowds,
And the moons do balefully glare through the nightly clouds,
And the graveyard's people rest, we hope, in eternal sleep,
Listen and you'll hear the whispered tap of the footsteps creep,
Then pray you'll never feel the Worm King's awful touch.


Response to Bero's Speech


Response to Bero's Speech

Malviser, Battlemage

On the 14th of Last Seed, an illusionist by the name of Berevar Bero gave a very ignorant speech at the Chantry of Julianos in the Imperial City. As ignorant speeches are hardly uncommon, there was no reason to respond to it. Unfortunately, he has since had the speech privately printed as "Bero's Speech to the Battlemages," and it's received some small, undeserved attention in academic circles. Let us put his misconceptions to rest.

Bero began his lecture with an occasionally factual account of famous Battlemages from Zurin Arctus, Tiber Septim's Imperial Battlemage, to Jagar Tharn, Uriel Septim VII's Imperial Battlemage. His intent was to show that where it matters, the Battlemage relies on other Schools of Magicka, not the School of Destruction which is supposedly a Battlemage's particular forte. Allow me first to dispute these so-called historical facts.

Zurin Arctus did not create the golem Numidium by spells of Mysticism and Conjuration as Bero alleges. The truth is that we don't know how Numidium was created or if it was a golem or atronach in any traditional sense of those words. Uriel V's Battlemage Hethoth was not an Imperial Battlemage -- he was simply a sorcerer in the employ of the Empire, thus which spells he cast in the various battles on Akavir are irrelevant, not to mention heresay. Bero calls Empress Morihatha's Battlemage Welloc "an accomplished diplomat" but not "a powerful student of the School of Destruction." I congratulate Bero on correctly identifying an Imperial Battlemage, but there are many written examples of Welloc's skill in the School of Destruction. The sage Celarus, for example, wrote extensively about Welloc casting the Vampiric Cloud on the rebellious army of Blackrose, causing their strength and skill to pass on to their opponents. What is this, but an impressive example of the School of Destruction?

Bero rather pathetically includes Jagar Tharn in his list of underachieving Battlemages. To use an insane traitor as example of rational behavior is an untenable position. What would Bero prefer? That Tharn used the School of Destruction to destroy Tamriel by a more traditional means?

Bero uses his misrepresenta- tion of history as the basis for his argument. Even if he had found four excellent examples from history of Battlemages casting spells outside their School -- and he didn't -- he would only have anecdotal evidence, which isn't enough to support an argument. I could easily find four examples of illusionists casting healing spells, or nightblades teleporting. There is a time and a place for everything.

Bero's argument, built on this shaky ground, is that the School of Destruction is not a true school. He calls it "narrow and shallow" as an avenue of study, and its students impatient, with megalomaniac tendencies. How can one respond to this? Someone who knows nothing about casting a spell of Destruction criticizing the School for being too simple? Summarizing the School of Destruction as learning how to do the "maximum amount of damage in the minimum amount of time" is clearly absurd, and he expounds on his ignorance by listing all the complicated factors studied in his own School of Illusion.

Allow me in response to list the factors studied in the School of Destruction. The means of delivering the spell matters more in the School of Destruction than any other school, whether it is cast at a touch, at a range, in concentric circles, or cast once to be triggered later. What forces must be reigned in to cast the spell: fire, lightning, or frost? And what are the advantages and dangers of each? What are the responses from different targets from the assault of different spells of destruction? What are the possible defenses and how may they be assailed? What environmental factors must be taken into consideration? What are the advantages of a spell of delayed damage? Bero suggests that the School of Destruction cannot be subtle, yet he forgets about all the Curses that fall under the mantle of the school, sometimes affecting generation after generation in subtle yet sublime ways.

The School of Alteration is a distinct and separate entity from the School of Destruction, and Bero's argument that they should be merged into one is patently ludicrous. He insists -- again, a man who knows nothing about the Schools of Alteration and Destruction, is the one insisting this -- that "damage" is part of the changing of reality dealt with by the spells of Alteration. The implication is that Levitation, to list a spell of Alteration, is a close cousin of Shock Bolt, a spell of Destruction. It would make as much sense to say that the School of Alteration, being all about the actuality of change, should absorb the School of Illusion, being all about the appearance of change.

It certainly isn't a coincidence that a master of the School of Illusion cast this attack on the School of Destruction. Illusion is, after all, all about masking the truth.

The Mages Guild



Associate Rank

Apprentice Rank

Journeyman Rank

Evoker Rank

Conjurer Rank

Imperial Charter of the Guild of Mages


I. Purpose

The Guild of Mages provides benefits to scholars of magic and established laws regarding the proper use of magic. The Guild is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and distribution of magical knowledge with an emphasis on ensuring that all citizens of Tamriel benefit from this knowledge.

II. Authority

The Guild of Mages was established on Summerset Isle in the year 230 of the Second Era by Vanus Galerion and Rilis XII. It was later confirmed by the "Guilds Act" of Potentate Versidue-Shaie.

III. Rules and Procedures

Crimes against fellow members of the Guild are treated with the harshest discipline. Whether a member may regain their status in the Guild is determined by the Arch-Mage.

ADDENDUM: Effective 3E 431, any guild member commiting a crime against the guild is to be suspended immediately. The suspension may be lifted at the discretion of the Steward of the Council of Mages. Any guild member receiving multiple suspensions may, at the determination of the council, be summarily and permanently dismissed from the guild.

IV. Membership Requirements

The Guild of Mages only accepts candidates of keen intelligence and dominant will. Candidates must exhibit mastery in the great schools of magic: Destruction, Alteration, Illusion, and Mysticism. Candidates must also display practical knowledge of enchantments and alchemical processes.

V. Applications for Membership

Candidates must present themselves to the Steward of the Guild Hall for examination and approval.

ADDENDUM: Effective 3E 431, as per Arch-Mage Traven, all candidates for membership in the Guild of Mages must be approved by all presiding Guild Hall stewards, with said approval submitted in writing to the Council of Mages in a timely manner.

ADDENDUM: Effective 3E 431, as per Council mandate, sale of spells in the Imperial Province is to be re-distributed across guild halls. The following halls are to be responsible for each School of Magic:

Alteration: Cheydinhal
Conjuration: Chorrol
Destruction: Skingrad
Illusion: Bravil
Mysticism: Leyawiin
Restoration: Anvil

Imperial Charter of the Guild of Mages


I. Purpose

The Guild of Mages provides benefits to scholars of magic and established laws regarding the proper use of magic. The Guild is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and distribution of magical knowledge with an emphasis on ensuring that all citizens of Tamriel benefit from this knowledge.

II. Authority

The Guild of Mages was established on Summerset Isle in the year 230 of the Second Era by Vanus Galerion and Rilis XII. It was later confirmed by the "Guilds Act" of Potentate Versidue-Shaie.

III. Rules and Procedures

Crimes against fellow members of the Guild are treated with the harshest discipline. Whether a member may regain their status in the Guild is determined by the Arch-Mage.

IV. Membership Requirements

The Guild of Mages only accepts candidates of keen intelligence and dominant will. Candidates must exhibit mastery in the great schools of magic: Destruction, Alteration, Illusion, and Mysticism. Candidates must also display practical knowledge of enchantments and alchemical processes.

V. Applications for Membership

Candidates must present themselves to the Steward of the Guild Hall for examination and approval.

ATTACHMENT A: Mages Guild Chapters in Vvardenfell District, Province of Morrowind

Chapters are established in Guild-owned, free-standing guildhalls in the towns of Ald'ruhn, Balmora, and Caldera. The chapter in Sadrith Mora is established in Wolverine Hall under lease from the Telvanni Council. The chapter in Vivec is established in the Foreign Quarter under lease from the Tribunal Temple.

Origin of the Mages Guild

The Archmage Salarth

The idea of a collection of Mages, Sorcerers, and assorted Mystics pooling their resources and talents for the purpose of research and public charity was a revolutionary concept in the early years of the Second Era. The only organization then closest in aim and structure to what we know today as the Mages Guild was the Psijic Order of the Isle of Artaeum. At the time, magic was something to be learned by individuals, or at most within intimate covens. Mages were, if not actually hermits, usually quite solitary.

The Psijic Order served the rulers of Summurset Isle as counsellors, and chose its members through a complex, ritualized method not understood by outsiders. Its purposes and goals likewise went unpublished, and detractors attributed the worst evils as the source of the Order's power. Actually, the religion of the old Order could be described as ancestor worship, an increasingly unfashionable philosophy in the Second Era.

When Vanus Galerion, a Psijic of Artaeum and student of the famed Iachesis, began collecting magic-users from around Summurset Isle, he attracted the animosity of all. He was operating out of the urban center of Firsthold, and there was a common (and not entirely unfounded) attitude that magical experiments should be conducted only in unpopulated areas. Even more shocking, Galerion proposed to make magical items, potions, and even spells available to any member of the general public who could afford to pay. No longer was magic to be limited either to the aristocracy or intelligentsia.

Galerion was brought before Iachesis and the King of Firsthold, Rilis XII, and made to state the intentions of the fraternity he was forming. The fact that Galerion's speech to Rilis and Iachesis was not recorded for posterity is doubtless a tragedy, though it does afford opportunity for historians to amuse one another with speculation about the lies and persuasions Galerion might have used to found the ubiquitous organization. The charter, at any rate, was approved.

Almost immediately after the Guild was formed, the question of security had to be addressed. The Isle of Artaeum did not require force of arms to shield it from invaders -- when the Psijic Order does not wish someone to land on the Isle, it and all its inhabitants simply become insubstantial. The new Mages Guild, by contrast, had to hire guards. Galerion soon discovered what the Tamrielan nobility has known for thousands of years: Money alone does not buy loyalty. The knightly Order of the Lamp was formed the following year.

Like a tree from an acorn, the Mages Guild grew branches all over Summurset Isle and gradually the mainland of Tamriel. There are numerous records of superstitious or sensibly fearful rulers forbidding the Guild in their domains, but their heirs or heirs' heirs eventually recognized the wisdom of allowing the Guild free rein. The Mages Guild has become a powerful force in Tamriel, a dangerous foe if a somewhat disinterested ally. There have been only a few rare incidents of the Mages Guild actually becoming involved in local political struggles. On these occasions, the Guild's participation has been the ultimate decider in the conflict.

As begun by Vanus Galerion, the Mages Guild as an institution is presided over by a supreme council of six Archmagisters. Each Guildhall is run by a Guildmagister, assisted by a twofold counsel, the Master of Incunabula and the Master at Arms. The Master of Incunabula presides over an additional counsel of two mages, the Master of Academia and the Master of the Scrye. The Master at Arms also has a counsel of two, the Master of Initiates and the Palatinus, the leader of the local chapter of the Order of the Lamp.

One need not be a member of the Mages Guild to know that this carefully contrived hierarchy is often nothing more than a chimera. As Vanus Galerion himself said bitterly, leaving Tamriel to travel to other lands, “The Guild has become nothing more than an intricate morass of political infighting.”