Oblivion:Confront the King

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OB-qico-MagesGuild.png Find the King of Worms and end the Necromancers' attacks on the Mages Guild.
Quest Giver: Arch-Mage Traven at the Arcane University
Location(s): Arcane University, Echo Cave
Prerequisite Quest: Ambush
Next Quest: Alchemy Acquisitions
Reward: Promotion to Arch-Mage and Staff of Worms
Fame/Infamy: Fame +3
ID: MG18KingofWorms

Quick Walkthrough

  1. Traven promotes you to Arch-Mage and then soul traps himself into the Colossal Black Soul Gem.
  2. Take the gem and travel to Echo Cave.
  3. Make your way through the cave until you reach Mannimarco.
  4. Talk with him for a while, then kill him.
  5. Return to the University triumphant. The Arch-Mage's quarters are yours!

Detailed Walkthrough

Traven's Sacrifice

This task starts off unlike any other mission that Traven has given you. He explains that Mannimarco intended the Colossal Black Soul Gem for Traven's own soul and that you will grant his wish; by carrying the filled soul gem, you will be immune to Mannimarco's attempts to turn you into a Worm Thrall. Traven then promotes you to Arch-Mage - leader of the Mages Guild - and commits suicide, soul trapping himself into the Colossal Black Soul Gem.

Echo Cave

Take the soul gem from Traven's corpse and head to Echo Cave far north of the Imperial City, just west of Bruma. At the entrance to the cave you'll be greeted by a necromancer, a Dunmer named Bolor Savel, who says that he has the key to the cave and that he will relinquish it only in death. Prove him right and take the key from his body. Make your way through the caverns, encountering quite a few necromancers. The cave is fairly linear - just follow the compass.

The King of Worms

Mannimarco, the King of Worms, can be found in the large room in the Necromancer's Chamber. A finger-bone style railing will pop up and surround the island. Mannimarco then "paralyzes" you and approaches to talk. He explains his fascination with the souls of powerful individuals and expresses disappointment that Traven did not come personally. Eventually he'll try to claim your soul and turn you into a Worm Thrall. When that doesn't work, the battle will begin.

Despite Mannimarco being a powerful Necromancer, he will often forget about his magic and simply attack you with his dagger. He has a fairly typical array of necromancer spells, however he can conjure very powerful undead minions to aid him. You might want to summon something of your own to serve as a distraction. Kill him any way you like - this may take a while as he's essentially immune to most normal attacks or the attacks of summoned creatures. As an Altmer he is vulnerable to magical attacks so - fittingly - the most appropriate way to finish him may be a magical duel.

If you have trouble with this fight, jump into the water and he will not be able to attack you. This will give you time to recover and think of a new strategy.

Return Victorious

Return to the Arcane University and speak with Raminus Polus with the news of Mannimarco's defeat to ascend to the head of the guild as the Arch-Mage.

Benefits of Being the Arch-Mage

  • As Arch-Mage, you now have a few benefits that go with your position. This includes the Arch-Mage's quarters in the Arch-Mage's Tower. The quarters include their own spell making and enchanting apparatus.
  • Caution: The drawers at the end of the Arch-Mage's bed reset themselves periodically, so storing items here is not advised. The nightstand next to the bed does not respawn but still has scripts on it so again it is not sensible to store items in it.
  • After speaking with Raminus Polus about an ingredient collection, you will receive a mini-quest known as "Alchemy Acquisitions" that gives you access to an enchanted chest for duplicating alchemical ingredients.
  • As Arch-Mage, you can ask any of the Mage Apprentices at the Arcane University to follow you. Talk to any of them and they will ask you if they can help. You can ask them to follow you or tell them to go back to their lessons. There will be up to five apprentices willing to follow you; however, only one can follow you at a time. If you ask another, he will state that he's "busy right now".
  • If you have already completed Misdirection, Hrormir's Icestaff will be sitting at the foot of the bed when you enter the Arch-Mage's Quarters; picking it up at this point is not a crime. You can also find the note from the Gray Fox in the night stand. Activating the night stand again will remove the note from your inventory.
  • As Arch-Mage, it is impossible to be expelled permanently from the Mages' Guild. You only receive a normal bounty for the crime you committed.
  • Notes

    • The King of Worms' Robes are unlike standard Necromancer's Robes. Mages will still talk to you when you wear the King of Worms' Robes.
    • During Mannimarco's speech, he implies that he has reanimated the body of Vanus Galerion - the founder of the Mages Guild - and studies it frequently.
    • Xbox360.png An achievement will be unlocked upon reporting back to Raminus.


    • It is possible for Bolor Savel to never appear in front of the cave. Reloading old saves will fix the problem, but they need to be very old saves - possibly from the early Mages Guild quests or before beginning them altogether. One cause may be approaching Echo Cave from a direction other than the proper road. Reload from a saved game and approach by the road. ?
    • Killing Bolor Savel without speaking to him first may result in his death being considered a murder.
    • Mannimarco sometimes cannot be hit even after completing his speech. Not even NPCs allied with you (or at least hostile to Mannimarco) will be able to hurt him. To fix this:
      • PC Only This bug is fixed by the Unofficial Oblivion Patch.
      • Exit the dungeon and wait 3 days, allowing for the cell to reset.[verification needed — see talk page]
      • Reload an old save.
      • Pc22.png You can use the Console commands: prid 16488 followed by setghost 0
      • If no amount of re-loading fixes the problem, one workable solution is to engage Mannimarco in dialogue and then when he starts attacking you, run to the edge along the water and push him into it. Jump in after him, enable some type of Water Breathing effect, and then force him (or let him follow you if he does) into the underwater tunnel. In the tunnel, block all his attacks until he drowns. You will then get confirmation that you have killed him and you can finally progress with the quest.
      • Another way if no amount of re-loading fixes the problem is to engage Mannimarco in dialogue and then when he starts attacking you, run to Echo Passages then out to The Jerall Mountains and run up a hill and run down Mannimarco will receive fall damage although you can also, so make sure to bring healing potions and spells you do this till he dies. You will then get confirmation that you have killed Mannimarco and you progress with the quest.
      • Although you cannot physically hit Mannimarco, he is not immune to damage (see the drowning and fall damage options above). He can still cause damage to you, which means Reflect Damage and/or Reflect Spell will still cause damage to him (Reflect Spell is usually best, since he is a mage). He will have one random Restoration spell, but if you are lucky it will not be a Restore Health spell, or he will not have enough sense to stop attacking and heal himself. After the completion of this method, the bone claws remain raised; however, a high skill level in Acrobatics can overcome this.
      • This bug may be linked to the chameleon effect. Load a save prior to speaking with Bolor Savel and remove all chameleon effects. You may re-equip, re-cast, etc. any chameleon effects after Mannimarco becomes hostile.
    • It is possible that the bone railings will not rise after Mannimarco's speech.
    • If you don't kill Mannimarco yourself (e.g. he is killed by a summoned creature or by reflected magic) the bone railings surrounding his island don't always go down again, and you could be stuck inside. Some solutions are to: ?
      • Lure Mannimarco back over the bridge you came on. Then, when the bone fingers come up, you will be on the right side.
      • Go behind the curtain. By doing this, you can actually squeeze around the end of the bone fingers at the left of the altar as you face it. Then jump over onto the land. If you fell in the water, you'll need to swim out of the tunnel at the opposite end of the room.
    • It is possible that the bone railings will rise with you outside of them before Mannimarco's speech. If this happens, jump on top of the cauldron filled with skulls and you can jump over the railings.
    • Sometimes Hannibal Traven does not sacrifice himself. If reloading an earlier save results in the same, pickpocket Traven for the Filled Colossal Black Soul Gem (be sure not to get caught, or you will be kicked out of the Mages Guild), or proceed without the gem, as technically you don't need it. Continue with the quest as normal. When you return to the Mages Guild, Traven will be gone and you will be Arch-Mage.
    • The Colossal Black Soul Gem given to you by Traven sometimes will not disappear or let you drop it after the quest is completed. Technically you don't need the gem. You can just leave it on Traven's corpse, so it doesn't get stuck in your inventory. You will not be able to drop the Echo Cave Key either.
    • If Mannimarco misses you with his ranged-bolt paralyze spell for whatever reason (dodging, jumping, etc) he will return to where he was standing without being aggressive, sometimes passing comments about the player's presence. You can then pickpocket (or reverse-pickpocket) him, stealing his Staff of Worms. Directly activating/speaking with him resumes the plot as normal. If he should then miss the second spell (Enthrall) the same behavior as above will result. Speaking with him resets his dialogue, as before.
    • If you kill Mannimarco before he talks to you, you could get stuck as though the game is waiting for his speech to begin. You can fix this by reloading a previous save.

    Journal Entries

    Confront the King (MG18KingofWorms)
    Stage Finishes Quest Journal Entry
    10 Hannibal Traven has promoted me to Arch-Mage, and has tasked me with stopping the King of Worms. I need to take the Black Soul Gem to Echo Cave and confront him.
    20 I've arrived at Echo Cave, and have gained access to Mannimarco's lair. I need to find him inside, and put an end to him.
    30 I have killed the King of Worms. I should return to the Arcane University to announce his defeat.
    100 Finishes quest Raminus Polus thanked me for putting an end to the King of Worms, and has recognized me as Arch-Mage of the Mages' Guild.
    • Not all Journal Entries may appear in your journal; which entries appear and which entries do not depends on the manner in which the quest is done.
    • Stages are not always in order of progress. This is usually the case with quests that have multiple possible outcomes or quests where certain tasks may be done in random order.
    • If an entry is marked as "Finishes Quest" it means the quest disappears from the Active Quest list, but you may still receive new entries for that quest.
    • Pc22.png It is possible to use the console to advance through the quest by entering setstage MG18KingofWorms stage, where stage is the number of the stage you wish to complete. It is not possible to un-complete (i.e. go back) quest stages. See SetStage for more information.
    Prev: Ambush Up: Mages Guild Next: Alchemy Acquisitions