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Daedra Dossier: Molag Bal

  • Member
    December 15, 2013

    Let me preface this article by explaining that I by no means wish to step on the toes of Vix who intended to do a weekly series exploring each of the Daedric Princes in turn. Nor do I wish to pass myself off as any sort of expert on TES lore and as such any and all criticisms are welcomed. My aim here is to simply give a reader new to The Elder Scrolls series a basic introduction to the topic and provide a reference point for the more experienced adventurer of Tamriel on the subject of Molag Bal, Daedric Lord of Domination.

    Who is Molag Bal?

    Depicted in statues as a hideous mutant hybrid with the legs of a goat, tail of a snake and the head of a crocodile-creature, Molag Bal is almost unanimously deemed one of the more demonic of the Daedric Princes, second only to his brother Mehrunes Dagon as an inveterate foe of all mortal races. Imperial Cencus of Daedra Lords

    Known as The God of Schemes, Molag Bal desires to harvest the souls of men by sewing seeds of strife and discord in the mortal realms and employing lesser daedra to enact his plans. On Oblivion andThe Book of Daedra

    In Morrowind he is known as the King of Rape and is one of the four corners of the House of Troubles along with Malacath, Sheograth and Mehrunes Dagon. According to Dunmeri belief, these four Daedra alone among the ancient ancestral spirits who accompanied Veloth and the Chimer into Morrowind rebelled against the councel of the Tribunal.

    Being one of the corners of the House of Troubles, Molag Bal is considered holy by the Dunmer for his role as an obstacle during the apotheosis of the Tribunal but is hated for diluting the purity of the Dunmeri bloodlines. The worship of Bal, Malacath, Sheogarath amd Mehrunes Dagon was outlawed by the Temple and Imperial garrisons joined the Ordinators and Buoyant Armigers in tracking down and destroying worshippers of these daedra. The House of Troubles

    According to the teachings of Vivec, Molag Bal seduced the God-King and together sired a race of monsters who 

    still inhabit the Molag Amur region in Morrowind. The sons and daughters of these two beings are said to number in the thousands. 36 Lessons of Vivec

    A recurring theme in Molag Bal myths is his wanton oppression and entrapment of mortal souls and his delight in crushing the spirit of mortals in order to harvest their souls and live up to another of his titles as The Prince of Domination. Indeed, in 3E 433 the Champion of Cyrodiil was said to have gained Bal's favour by causing the honourable paladin Melus Petilius to renounce his oath of non-violence.

    In 4E 201 Molag Bal tasked a new Champion with breaking the spirit of Logrolf the Willful, a priest of Bal's hated enemy Boethia.

    According to the book Invocation of Azura, the Prince's worshippers use blackmail, extortion and bribery as well as dark magic to achieve their objectives in keeping with their deities' sphere. The summoning day used by these cultists falls on the 20th Evening Star except during stormy weather.








    Yep, that's Molag as depicted in Oblivion

    Where is Molag Bal?

    'The sky is on fire,' I heard him say as he moved on to the next realm. 'The ground is sludge, but traversable. I see blackened ruins all around me, like a war was fought here in the distant past. The air is freezing. I cast blooms of warmth all around me, but it still feels like daggers of ice stabbing me in all directions.'

    This was Coldharbour, where Molag Bal was Prince. It appeared to Zenas as if it were a future Nirn, under the King of Rape, desolate and barren, filled with suffering. I could hear Morian Zenas weep at the images he saw, and shiver at the sight of the Imperial Palace, spattered with blood and excrement. The Doors of Oblivion

    Coldharbour, a freezing nightmarish and twisted version of Tamriel in which well known landmarks lay desecrated and blackened as if by endless war is the realm of Oblivion where Molag Bal rules, building up his army of enslaved souls. From here the God of Schemes tries to spread his influence through sinister allies such as Mannimarco, King of Worms. In 2E 578, during a period where the Dragonfires were unlit a grand scheme of Bal was put into motion that would have merged Nirn and Coldharbour into a single frightful domain. It can only be assumed that the nameless "Souless One" was sucessful in thwarting the Prince.

    The Legacy of Molag Bal

    Of all the terrible stories accredited to Bal, perhaps the most shocking is the legend of how Vampirism came into being.

    Jealous of Arkay's dominion of the death of mortals, Molag Bal walked the world in the from of a man and raped a Nedic virgin called Lamae Beolfag. After shedding a drop of blood onto her forehead, Bal left Nirn after having sown his seed. After a fortnight, the violated and comatose Lamae died and was prepared upon a funeral pyre. Yet instead of her spirit passing on, it remained within her corpse which rose while still aflame to visit death upon those who had cared for her. Opusculus Lamae Bal ta Mezzamortie and Manifesto Cyrodiil Vampyrum

    The events of TES V Skyrim and conversations with Serana and her mother Valerica reveal that women who take part in a ceremony to become a vampire directly from Molag Bal are called Daughters of Coldharbour. Little is known about this ceremony aside from Serana describing it as "degrading", but we know from Harkon's Dialogue as the patron of the Volkihar clan and father to Serana that the gift of vampirism was given to him and his family after sacrificing "thousands of innocents" in Bal's name.

    Another legend associating Vampirism with Molag Bal says the Father of Monsters spawned the first vampire upon the corpse of a defeated foe. Several different versions of this story exist, with the foe variously identified as a Daedra Lord, a Temple Saint, or a powerful beast creature. This account of the origin of vampirism is peculiar to Morrowind. Vampires of Vvardenfell


    The Mace of Molag Bal

    Questing heroes of all stripes seek after the fabled Daedric artifacts for their potent combat and magical benefits. Modern Heretics

    Also known as the Vampire's Mace, the Mace of Molag Bal drains its victims of magicka and gives it to the bearer. It also has the ability to transfer an enemy's strength to its wielder. Molag Bal has been quite free with his artifact. There are many legends about the Mace. It seems to be a favorite for vanquishing wizards. Tamrielic Lore

    "No.. Get that accursed mace away from me..."

    That mace... Get it away from me. Get it away..."  Skyrim Guards.

    Although it has different properties and varies in appearance each time it manifests, Molag Bal's token's basic form always resembles a wickedly flanged and hideously carved mace, capable of absorbing or draining the life forces of it's victims.For the Nerevarine the Mace had the power to absorb the Magicka and Strength from those struck by it. The Champion of Cyrodiil's version of the Mace was similar in properties but different in appearance. The Mace awarded to The Last Dragonborn had the power to damage the Magicka and Stamina of the victim as well as casting short Soul Trap spell. It could also be strengthened by a wielder skilled in Fire Magic.Myths and Legends

    As recorded in the Book 1E 2920, under the summons King Dro'Zel of Senchal, Molag Bal destroyed the city of Gilverdale and killed all it's inhabitants in a bright red mist. This massacre forced Sotha Sil to journey to Coldharbour in order to make a pact with eight of the Daedric Princes to only use certain intermediaries such as witches or sorcerers to attack mortals rather than manifesting directly. 2920 Last Year of the First Era

    What Sotha Sil promised in return is unknown. Sil only disclosed "The deals we make with Daedra should not be discussed with the innocent."

    Dipping into Pseudo-Lore territory yields a surprising insight into the motivations of Molag Bal. In the story The Seven Fights of TheAldudagga Book Three "The Snow Whale and the Dirtbird", the titular characters travel to Coldharbour in order to make Molag Bal persuade his brother Mehrunes Dagon to cease his machinations.

    The Snow Whale threatened to leave the world with all his kin and thus remove all the joy they bring mortals unless Molag Bal could stop Dagon, to which Bal replied "and what would that matter to me?"

    The Snow Whale replied "It matters to you, Mighty Lion of Evening, Vulgar and Low, Keeper of Coldharbour since the fall of Lyg, Destroyer of the Hearts of Men... it matters to you because my kin bring joy to the upper world, who have not yet given up such a thing for the betterment of their rage, and who welcome love and happiness and good cheer… as much as they fear the coming of ruin, or the color of betrayal, or the visitations of demons. These last are the tools of [the oblivion], and your lifeblood, and it is only through joy that the devices of your dubious employ are the more sweeter to you, yet which are nothing if visited upon those who know nothing but despair in the first place. It matters to you, Lord Bal, for how can you destroy the hearts of men when those hearts are already empty?"

    Upon returning to Tamriel, The Snow Whale and The Dirt Bird discovered that everything had gone back to normal thanks to the intervention of the Prince of Domination.

    Questions and discussion

    There is still a great deal to be learned about this daedric prince and I hope a lot will be revealed in TES Online. In the meantime, what is your opinion on the relationship between Mannimarco King of Worms and Molag Bal Lord of Misrule? Is it an equal partnership, or is Molag somehow responsible for the power Mannimarco wields?

    On the subject of Vampirism, which of the myths associated with it's genesis do you favour? Is Lamae Beolfag the progenitor of all vampires, or just simply the first?

    Thank you for reading.

  • Member
    December 15, 2013


    Great discussion Phil!

  • December 16, 2013

    Excellent contribution to the lore group, Phil!  Extremely well-researched, and I do appreciate the inclusion of some of the non-canon/pseudo lore, as when it comes to Daedra, we can use all the help we can get in understanding their nature, and perhaps the concepts the developers and writers utilized when creating this aspect of lore.  Thank you for including all of your sources, too.  This is fantastic work.

    I particularly appreciate your comparison of the vampire "creation" stories.  I find it interesting to note that the race that overtly worships Daedra would look at the vampiric creation a bit differently, as perhaps the final act of conquest over one's foes.  Molag Bal possesses their body and soul utterly.  After all your research, do you lean towards one theory over another personally?

    As often as I have read these books, I did not notice the potential of Molag Bal being jealous of Arkay's dominion over souls, so thank you for bringing that out.  I am also glad that you mentioned his inclusion in TESO, which should also prove enlightening as far as this Prince is concerned.  

    Being considered one of the more powerful of the Daedra, and a member of the Dunmeri House of Troubles, do you feel he is the most dangerous of Princes, especially if he can defeat Dagon?  

  • Member
    December 16, 2013

    "According to the teachings of Vivec, Molag Bal seduced the God-King and together sired a race of monsters who still inhabit the Molag Amur region in Morrowind"

    Now I can't sleep anymore, Thanks Phil! 

  • December 16, 2013

    I wonder how powerful they are. 

  • Member
    December 16, 2013

    I can't prove it and am probably wrong, but I rather suspect this individual is one such creature

  • Member
    December 16, 2013

    Thank you Kynareth  It reads too textbook-y for my liking as I struggled to inject the same warmth Vix put into his Boethiah dossier. I think I may add a discussion topic to further open the subject up, possibly starting with TESO speculation and maybe Vazgen's topic on the nature of vampirism. Any suggestions here?

    I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that I can't wait to see what TESO has in store for us lore-wise. I'm really excited at the prospect of The King of Worms and The Father of Monsters working together as surely they must have respect for one another. How much of the power Mannimarco possesses came from Molag Bal? Is it a master/apprentice relationship or more equal, seeing as how Mannimarco himself appears to have ascended. Do you have any insight on this?

    As to the vampire creation myths, I think they could both be true. Of all the breeds and bloodlines that exist it is possible that each had a different genesis. I think, though, that the poor Lamae was the prototype but not necessarily the progenitor. Honestly though, the subject of vampirism was too big and my knowledge too small to cover in any greater detail in this topic. What is your opinion?

    Do I think he is the most dangerous? Hard one! I think it's funny that Mehrunes and Molag seem to get along so well - like two naughty brothers  I wonder if there is a sort of rivalry between the two? I think that Molag Bal displays the typical daedric curiosity to Mundus and desires to dominate it - as is his nature. However it isn't as personal to him as it is to Dagon. Like Bal wants whereas Dagon needs.

  • Member
    December 16, 2013

    Lozhar I appreciate your support, thank you for reading  Did you notice anything you would have liked me to elaborate on? The problem I found is that when providing source material I didn't want to go too in depth and deprive the reader of the treat of discovery, yet nor did I want to give too little info and be boring. 

  • Member
    December 16, 2013

    This is a wonderful addition to both the lore group and the whole site! You presented the information available on Daedric Prince of rape and domination very entertainingly and fully. I didn't know that he is so powerful to influence Mehrunes Dagon! On his realm - Coldharbour, I think it's rivaled only by Vaermina's Quagmire realm in horror and suffering "contest". And, of course, the vampires... I think the different creation myths are simply related to different strains of vampirism and each has it's merit. I personally prefer the Lamae version only because Serana described similar experience for her conversion. I'm also fearful of what Sotha Sil have promised to Daedra that they agreed on such terms... 

  • Member
    December 17, 2013

    Thank you Vazgen, you're very kind  I think you're right in that Coldharbour could be a little more fleshed out. I'll work on adding something in there...