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You are not a Battlemage

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Lady N's picture
Joined: 06/26/2010

Author - Alex Pecha


You are not a Battlemage
By Publios Taciti

An Imperial Scholar takes issue with terminology and speculates circa 2E 582

For those familiar with the battlefields and warfronts that currently dot the landscape you may notice that among the shield walls and cavalry charges there are casters throwing fireballs at the enemy and calling themselves “Battlemages”.

This is, of course, an unfunny joke. It has becoming an annoyingly common mistake however. With the breaking down of the beloved Empire and the loss of advanced knowledge throughout Tamriel words can easily be confused, and their true meanings muddled.

The term “Battlemage” has an especially confusing history, being both a profession and a political title in my native Cyrodiil. Some readers might be aware of the current snake using the political title, Abnur Tharn, who wields the title “Imperial Battlemage” as aptly as a bear wields the title “architect”. This term has its roots dating back to the Alessian Empire, when combining martial and magical might was not as common place, thus making anyone who did it more noteworthy. Though it is used now to add more legitimacy to a regime with none.

However I am not here to discuss the politics of the title, instead I am here to speak of those who are truly Battlemages, and why the word has special meaning. 

Unlike the brighter-than-average (admittedly it’s a low average) soldiers who have learned to throw a lightning bolt at someone before hacking them to bits, true Battlemages of the Shadow Legion are true masters of both the blade and the use of magic. Could they throw a fireball? Of course. They can also summon a storm to blow an entire fleet into a series of rocks, communicate telepathically over hundreds of miles, project entire enemy divisions where none exist to confuse the enemy, and more besides.

Ultimately, Battlemages are a breed unto themselves. A warrior often thinks of little beyond stabbing his enemy until they stop moving, and a mage is often more interested in reading an ancient tome than participating in a battle. Battlemages, by comparison, harness their martial prowess and magical intelligence to the task of winning wars in creative and sometimes seemingly-insane ways. Not as one dimensional as a warrior, and not as soft as a scholar.

So where are these Battlemages? You may ask. If they’re so powerful why are they not on the battlefield?

To answer this question we must ask another question: where do Battlemages come from and who do they work for? The answer? The Shadow Legion.

While it has changed names over the generations The Shadow Legion has existed for quite some time. It certainly existed in the days of the Reman Empire, and I posit may have existed well before that even. This group traditionally serves the Empire, and as the name implies they are a separate Legion of their own and are not part of another normal Legion’s command structure.

These are the true Battlemages, ones who have truly earned that title. Trained in the mysterious, dangerous, and indestructible Battlespire the Shadow Legion are an invaluable resource to any Imperial Emperor. Their number may be small, but to underestimate them is folly.

So, if the Shadow Legion is as powerful and able as I make them out to be, the obvious question is why have they not be seen on the battlefield?

Looking over some public correspondence from Abnur Tharn (May Oblivion take him) he refers to his own political position of Imperial Battlemage, and implies that other Battlemages are simply casters attached to the Legion and are therefore not missing from this war. He knows this is a lie, how could he not? He has access to some of the Empires most well-hidden and darkest secrets, of course he knows the true nature of the Shadow Legion.

He lies because the truth is worse for his family’s regime: The Shadow Legion has abandoned the Empire.

With this period of chaos upon us, the Battlemages of the Shadow Legion have retreated into their training grounds in the Battlespire. They have closed or hidden the Weir Gate that grants them access to Tamriel. They are, in short, sick of our petty disputes.

There’s precedent for this. We have seen many members of the Imperial Legion and the Imperial Province abandon their accursed homeland, this author included. They now fight in the armies of the Daggerfall Covenant, the Ebonheart Pact, and even the Aldmeri Dominion; if they’ve lost enough of their sanity.

While I suspect the Shadow Legion is just as ashamed of the current “Empire” as many of my people are, they won’t act as directly against the regime that currently corrupts our fair province. Instead they will watch, and wait, for a true inheritor of the Ruby Throne to show themselves.

Whenever that day is, whether it be next week or 300 years from now, I believe the Shadow Legion will re-emerge and take up their rightful spot as the true masters of arcane warfare.

In the meantime, us scholars will have to deal with every Orc who can cast a basic ward calling himself a “Battlemage”. 

Lady N's picture
Joined: 06/26/2010

This piece was written for our 20th anniversary fan art contest! It is strictly property of its original creator - you may not modify, publish, or redistribute it without explicit permission from the artist.