The Order of Mages, later known as the Old Mage Order and referred to as the Holy Order of the Mages, was an ancient monastic peacekeeping organization unified by its use of magic, excluding Necromancy. The Mages were the guardians of the Empire, and became the most famous of the various groups that relied on magic for their power. Led by a series of Mage Councils, the Order grew over the millennia despite facing many trials, most often threats from the Order of Necromancers, who practiced Necromancy.
During several Great Schisms, Necromancers broke away from the order. These schisms led to several wars including the Great Darkness after which the Necromancers fled and founded the Order of Necromancers. The Necromancers were eventually found by the Empire and their discovery led to the Great Magicka War, and a Necromancer invasion of the Imperial City. The Mages in the city, led by the Council, successfully defended the city and defeated the Necromancers. But their dark brethren wouldn't stay defeated for long and during the next several thousand years many wars would be fought. A thousand years later, after The Great Necromancer War, the Akaviri saw their chance and attacked the weakened Empire. After the war, the Mages that had led the Imperial military disappeared. When they returned it became clear they had turned to Necromancy, and during the war that followed many Mages died. During the aftermath the Order was left numbering less than one-hundred Mages, until it was rebuilt by Redav Htrad and other survivors.
Many years later the Empire was again engulfed in a war between the Empire and the Necromancers. Led by Hamilcar Traven, the Mages were able to regroup and push back the Necromancers, who eventually withdrew to the Jerall Mountains. After seven long battles in the mountains the Necromancers were defeated and presumed wiped out. One of them managed to survive and reorganize the Order of Necromancers. Though Mannimarco and the Necromancers that followed in his footsteps remained hidden, they were patient. Millennia later they revealed themselves, determined to have their revenge. After a crisis, the Empire was split in two and a war once again engulfed Tamriel. During the Imperial Civil War, the Imperial armies were once again led by the Mages. During the first battle of the war, nearly two hundred Mages died before the Grand Master and an Imperial army arrived to assist them. However, nobody expected that the Emperor was in fact a Necromancer. The Mages eventually learned the truth, but it was already too late. The Order was virtually annihilated by the Necromancers and betrayed by the Empire they had served for millennia. Only a few survived the Great Mage Purge. However, the Mage Frilco Jux eventually defeated the Necromancers and reformed the Order of Mages during the time of the New Empire.
History of the OrderEdit
Main Article: History of the Order of Mages
"You must remember that there are over a hundred thousand inhabited settlements in the Empire, and there are now only a few thousand of us. Billions of beings have never seen a Mage. Millions have never even heard of our Order. Or of Magicka. When we do appear, we can be killers, but also healers." -Hannibal Traven to Caradus Manna
Founding of the Order and early MagesEdit
Many ancient and semi-legendary organizations were proposed to be the forerunners of the Order of Mages, including the Order of Di Trin, the Followers of Azura, and the Summerset Academy. No conclusive links have ever been demonstrated, though. It is purported that early Mages learned morality from the ods themselves.
The earliest documentation of the existence of the Order of Mages indicates that the organization was formally founded in the city of Vlindrel several hundred years before the birth of Tiber Septim. The world's best philosophers, priests, scientists, and warriors had come together here millennia before to discuss their discoveries involving the enigmatic and mystical Magicka. Unfortunately, many became seduced by what was called the Brenim, and sought to seize power. The resulting Magicka Wars devastated Vlindrel for over a decade.
From the ashes of these wars arose the early Mages, and their Mage Forge initiation ceremony, which led to the eventual invention of staffs after they faced threats from beyond Vlindrel. Through the use of advanced foreign technology, the Mages were able to instill the power of Magicka into almost any object, resulting in the birth of the staff. A proactive group left Vlindrel to liberate other cities from the collpasing Ayleid Empire, becoming the Battle Mages. They founded a philosophical school in Vahtacen, defining the light side and dark side of Magicka (equivalent, respectively, to the ancient Magicka and Brenim) as well as the Essence of Magicka and Unifying Magicka.
Around five hundred years later, Tiber Septim conquered much of the old Ayleid Empire. Within a century, the Mages swore fealty to the young government. The Empire mapped the Vahtacen Trade Route, which linked the Imperial City with Vahtacen, and the Mages fortified themselves there to defend the Empire from external threats.
In the event historians knew as the First Great Schism, dissidents who used the Brenim eventually arose again. The Necromancer Xarko and his Legions of Fire allied with a master of the school of Destruction, Aron Drys, and her Followers of from Miscarcand. In a climactic battle, Xarko was slain, Mago Traven stopped Drys's heart with Magicka, and the Necromancers disbanded.
The Second Great Schism, the first Dark Jedi and the Hundred Year DarknessEdit
The Empire and Mages fortified Vahtacen, Miscarcand, and the-then border town of Skingrad to protect the Vahtacen Trade Route from the Dunmer and the Argonians.
At the close of the Second Era, thousands of years later, the Mages suffered the Second Great Schism, resulting in the Great Darkness. This conflict ended with the Battle of Skingrad. The surviving Necromancers fled beyond the Empire's borders and founded the Necromancer Empire.
The Great Magicka WarEdit
"The Empire has grown and expanded for many generations, encountering no worse than a few interplanetary squabbles and civil wars…but if we should confront the fabled Necromancer Empire, we will experience a war so great, so devastating…it can cross the lines we call broders, a conflagration spanning the enitre world…" ―An unknown Mage
Two hundred years after the Second Great Schism, the Empire discovered the Necromancers and the Great Magicka War began. Though the war ended with Dark Lord Niman Carde in exile and his great armies destroyed, the Necromancer Empire survived.
In Hammerfell, a Mage named Eda Ress had a nightmarish vision of the death of Necromancer Lord Marcus Daralla, and the war against the Empire that it would cause. He traveled to the Imperial City with fellow Mages Trinn Eram and Ingra Tharn, to voice his concerns in front of the Elder Councils, though they did not take him seriously, and took no action. Some time later back in Hammerfell, Eda, Ogran gro-Markok and Fagelin Jusis were present when a young convict named Jori Yitt burst into Tharn's chambers, telling the Mages that she had seen the great Necromancer Empire, and that they were on their way to attack the Empire. Ress learned as much as he could about the Necromancer Empire, then travelled to the Imperial City to rally the support of the Mages.
The new Dark Lord of the Necromancers, Niman Carde, deployed his armies to invade numerous Imperial cities simultaneously while he left his eye-shaped meditation sphere in High Rock and used dark magic to create thousands of illusory soldiers, which made the Necromancer army seem far larger than it actually was. The Order of Mages played a huge role in the defense of the Imperial City, with Fagelin Jusis leading a team Battle Mages. Another battle was raging in the city of Vvardenfell, where Eda Ress and Ogran gro-Markok were stationed. However, when Niman Carde's concentration was broken, much of the Necromancer forces disappeared. In the Imperial City, the Mages realized what had happened and launched a massive counterattack, easily defeating the Necromancers. The Empire also emerged victorious in Vvardenfell, however only at the expense of the death of Fagelin Jusis, who sacrificed his life in defeating a large force of Necromancer warriors.
Theta Nyne's reignEdit
In six hundred years after the Great Magicka War, the ambitious Mage Conjourer Theta Nyne was denied advancement by the Council of Mages. In an attempt to find out why this had happened, Theta went to Matta Tremayne, who challenged him to prove to her that he was indeed a true Mage. Theta saw this as a threat and decided to attack and kill Tremayne. Furious at the Council for making him kill Matta, Nyne went looking for the Necromancers, because he felt that they were the only ones who would readily accept his apprenticeship and teach him about Magicka.
Theta Nyne discovered Dark Lord Niman Carde. Carde trained Theta Nyne in the ways of Necromancy. When his training was complete, Nyne killed his Necromancer Master and went to the nation of Daggerfall, located outside the Empire, with hopes of rebuilding a stronger Necromancer Empire. After Theta Nyne had made himself the king of Daggerfall he began to exile all criminals from the city. Some of the exiles survived and organized. Not even Theta Nyne could stop them. The war continued even after his death.
The Third Great SchismEdit
Three-hundred-and-fifty years after the death of Theta Nyne the Mages experienced the Third Great Schism. After a Mage civil war in the Imperial City, a group of Necromancers retreated to Akavir. The Necromancers could not control the Akaviri and annihilated themselves and the entire land.
The Old Necromancer WarsEdit
The Theta Nyne UprisingEdit
Daggerfall suffered through the legacy of Theta Nyne as a cult devoted to his memory, known as the Nynists, wreaked havoc on the people of Daggerfall. When a Mage Councillor attempted to move Freedon Nyne's remains to Cyrodiil, the Nynists attacked and managed to capture Nyne's remains as well as the Councillor. The king then fled to the city of Mannar. The Imperial army converged on the city and attacked, but was too strong and devastated the city. After the battle, Theta Nyne's remains where taken to Cyrodiil and sealed in an armoured tomb.
The Great Necromancer WarEdit
"Xavier was a Mage who was corrupted by ghosts of the old Necromancers, or so they say. He attempted to conquer the Empire and create a new Golden Age of Necromancy." ―Hannibal Traven
One thousand years after the defeat of Niman Carde, the talented and curious Mage Xavier Bremm, having learned about the Golden Age of the Necromancers, travelled from Morrowind to Cyrodiil. There he found the tomb of Theta Nyne. The spirit of Theta Nyne corrupted Bremm and the young Mage surrendered to Necromancy. After first travelling to Daggerfall, Bremm then found the place where Niman Carde had hidden in exile and took over his ancient fortresses. Destroying Nyne's spirit for the last time, Xavier Bremm staked his claim as the true heir to the ancient Necromancer legacy, which was thought to have been destroyed. The Mages called a meeting to discuss the growing foothold of the Necromancers. During the meeting, the Mages were attacked by the Necromancers. Ulan Traven died while saving the life of Ulysses Bonda. Ulysses then infiltrated the Necromancers in an attempt to destroy them from within. The Necromancers, suspecting he was a spy, injected him with a poison and eventually Ulysses fell to Necromancy and became a Necromancer general.
Xavier Bremm travelled to Skingrad to find and destroy Ulysses Bonda. However, their duel was interrupted by the spirit of Marcus Daralla, who commanded them to stop fighting each other and form an alliance. United, they waged war on the Empire, kidnapping young Mages and subverting them to Necromancy. Xavier Bremm stole a Necromacner spell book and killed the now legendary Mage Jisco Traven. Bonda defeated the Count of Anvil and with their leader defeated the Nights of the Nine agreed to join the Necromancers.
Ulysses's Necromancer and Crusader forces laid siege to the Imperial City, but the Mages managed to defeat the invaders and capture Ulysses. When Bremm heard of his comrade's capture, he traveled to the Imperial City to rescue Bonda. Ulysses was facing trial before the Elder Council when Xavier arrived. Visk Tyne attempted to stop his former pupil, but Bremm killed him as well as the Emperor. Xavier then ordered every Necromancer to find and assassinate Mages. Most of them succeeded. The Necromancers then made several go supernova. The shock wave from the exploding stars would destroy Valenwood. The Mages desperately tried to save as many of the artifacts stored at Valenwood library.