Elder Scrolls Lore Report: Vanus Galerion

Vanus Galerion. His name pops up many times throughout the entirety of the continuity of the Elder Scrolls. Known as the Great Mage, he is most famous for the founding of the Mage’s Guild and the defeat of Mannimarco, the King of Worms. But, just who was Vanus Galerion? What is his origin?


Vanus Glaerion was born as a slave in the Summerset Isles, during the early years of the Second Era. His given name at birth was Trechtus. His family were in service to Lord Gyrnasse of Sollicich-on-Ker. Against the laws of Lord Gyrnasse, his father had secretly taught both himself and Trechtus to read, relying on the black market to get around the restrictions and attain a steady supply of books and scrolls. However, by Trechtus’s eighth birthday, the smugglers were found and imprisoned. There was a rumor that his mother, a fearful and ignorant woman with a radical belief in superstition, was the one who led Lord Gyrnasse’s guards to the smugglers. There was no trial. His father’s body swayed for weeks on the gallows during the hottest summer Sollicich-on-Ker had seen in centuries.


Fearing he’d be caught and executed as well, Trechtus managed to flee three months later, making it as far as Alinor, half-way across the Summerset Isles. A band of troubadours found him, near death and curled in a ditch on the side of the road. They took him in and nursed him back to health, employing him as an errand boy in return for food and shelter. One of them was a soothsayer named Heliand, who had once trained as a Mystic on Artaeum. He divined Trechtus’s potential for magic. Trechtus, now eleven, was taken to Artaeum after the band performed in the village of Potansa on the far eastern end of Summerset, where the Magister, Iachesis, also recognized his potential and took him on as a pupil. Thus, Trechtus shed his serf name and was henceforth known as Vanus Galerion.


Vanus would spend many years training as a mystic – the exact length of time he spent on Artaeum is unconfirmed – and he would become good friends with another new recruit: Mannimarco. Over time, Galerion used his talents wisely and honorably, being described as having a “light and warm heart”. Mannimarco, however, turned to dark arts and was slowly corrupted by them, turning his heart “dark and cold”. Galerion was attuned to this transformation and confronted Mannimarco about it, but he scoffed at Galerion’s threats and continued to study the dark arts. When the Psijic Order sent Mannimarco to mainland Tamriel for an errand, Galerion realized that he would use this opportunity to amass a following as a necromancer. However, the elder Psijics ignored Galerion’s pleas about the terror they were unwittingly unleashing upon the world, a mistake the Galerion would never forget. Eventually Galerion confronted Mannimarco at the Ceporah Tower, demanding he would end his ways, but to no avail. As result of this and because of many disagreements with the Psijics – despite being united in hatred of Necromancy – Galerion left Artaeum to pursue his dream: bringing the wondrous benefits of magic to the public.



(Artaeum as seen through the Ceporah Tower)

When Galerion began gathering magic-users from across the Summerset Isles, he attracted the animosity of all mages in the Summerset Isles. Operating out of the urban center of Firsthold, he employed a common – and not entirely unfounded – attitude that magical experiments should be conducted only in unpopulated areas. Even more provocatively, Galerion proposed to make magical items, potions, and even spells available to any member of the general public, assuming they could afford it. As far as Galerion was concerned, magic should no longer be limited to aristocracy or intelligentsia. This ideology would be labeled “Galerion’s Folly”.


In year 230 of the Second Era, less than a year after leaving Artaeum, Galerion appeared before Iachesis, Rilis XII the King of Firsthold, and various nobles and members of the Order in the Charter Conclave to state the intentions of the fraternity he was forming. His speech was not recorded, but his charter was approved. It grew to be widely successful and Galerion was often praised for his wisdom. His magical theories and ideas are still practiced today, such as the trafficking with daedra and the current schools of magic. He even outlawed Necromancy entirely within the Guild and set laws for soul trapping, separating it into two distinct groups: legal “white” souls, such as those from beasts, and illegal “black” souls, such as those from sentient creatures. He believed such illegal trapping was a plot by Mannimarco to grow sympathizers for Necromancers. He also formed the Order of the Lamp to act as protectors of the Guild.


Not long after the formation of the Guild, it is said Galerion angrily departed, calling the Guild a “…morass of political infighting” and left Tamriel entirely. However, he still held the title of Archmagister Emeritus and continued to influence the affairs of the Guild, including many accounts that attested he continued to lead Mages Guild forces against Mannimarco’s Worm Cult throughout his life.


Following the Soulburst, Galerion became increasingly concerned about the activities of the Worm Cult and the looming threat of Molag Bal’s Planemeld. In 2E582, he and the Vestige attempted to negotiate a cease-fire in the alliance war, so the three alliances could commit their full resources into assaulting Coldharbour. Though the negotiations were ultimately unsuccessful, they did agree to send a smaller force comprised of Mages Guild and Fighters Guild members to invade Coldharbour and stop the Planemeld.



During the invasion, Galerion was teleported outside the Black Forge of Coldharbour and he attempted to disable it to help stop the Planemeld. However, he was quickly captured by the daedra running it and was utilized as a power source, where his essences were split from him. The Vestige managed to free him and restore his essence, and they journeyed together to destroy the Great Shackle that would bind Coldharbour to Nirn. Valerian returned to his command in Hollow City, guiding the Guilds across the Chasm, but they were intercepted by the forces of the Vampires of Orchard, though Galerion managed to wrench away Molag Bal’s control from them, allowing the Guilds access to the Reaver Citadel, which they then captured. From there, they were able to reach the Endless Stair. Alongside the Vestige, Darien Gautier, Lalorian Dynar, and Meridian, Galerion entered and disrupted a planar vortex that connected the two realms, ending the threat of the Planemeld. A few weeks later, he enlisted the Vestige to help him rescue Oracle Marieve from Mephala.


Some time following the Planemeld, Galerion headed north with an army of mages and Lamp Knights to a cursed mountain to settle his business with Mannimarco. Galerion and his army were met by an equally powerful army of necromancers on the mountainside, both sides willing and ready to do battle. As these two armies clashed, hordes of undead and daedric creatures were summoned by the Necromancers, only to be swallowed by “…endless streams of light” from the battlemage


s. Before the end of the battle, Galerion noticed that Mannimarco was no longer living: he had successfully turned himself into a lich and thus gained immortality. This would be Vanus Galerion’s final confrontation with Mannimarco, for just before the battle’s end, Galerion himself was killed. Mannimarco, originally thought to have also perished, clung to his state of undeath and continued to practice Necromancy. Despite Galerion’s death and Mannimarco’s survival, the Worm Cult was almost entirely destroyed by the Mages and Lamp Knights, securing the legacy of Galerion and the Mages Guild.


In a never-ending lust for power, the undead Mannimarco began a tradition of killing, soul-trapping, and collecting the bodies of powerful wizards, often Arch-Mages of the Guild, whom he would then resurrect as Worm Thralls for study. Galerion would become one such Worm Thrall, and he became Mannimarco’s favorite Thrall, developing a fondness for it. Even when Mannimarco disappeared, Galerion remained in a state of undeath, and would continue this abominable existence through third era year 433 when Mannimarco once again returned to the affairs of mortals.


Thus, the history and legacy of Vanus Galerion is known. Most famous for his defeating Mannimarco, the founding of the Mages Guild, and the theory of magical principles that came to be adopted by most institutions as the major Schools of Magic.


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Fimvul is the current master of the Skyforge Library. Interested in the Elder Scrolls from a young age, he has been diving headfirst into the richer aspects of the lore of the series for over a decade. With years of experience and research under his belt, he hopes to enlighten his readers with the wondrous mystery that surrounds the Elder Scrolls universe.

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