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An Ayleid lich (Legends)

Liches are undead necromancers which have embraced the power of lichdom, placing their soul in an object called a 'Phylactery', which is usually a jar or a chest. They are selfish and power-hungry, destroying all in their searches for souls to repair the Phylactery. Extremely intelligent and powerful, a commonly held myth is that if the Phylactery is destroyed the lich will also be destroyed; however, the Phylactery simply serves as a vessel during the transference, and once the necromancer has fully metamorphosed the Phylactery is of no consequence.[1] A weaker variant of lich is the nether lich, which appear as spectral in comparison to a normal lich.[2]

Only mages with the utmost mastery of necromancy turn inward in their studies and attempt to manipulate their own souls. The reason for achieving lichdom is to divest one's soul and mortal form, removing the boundaries placed on mortal will by one's soul. By accomplishing this, the mage gains access to the tremendous power contained in their soul. Of course, the process exacts a heavy toll, as passing through the Phylactery can tear a lich's psyche apart, resulting in madness. Long separation from one's soul can lead to apathy and megalomania, as well. In almost all cases, lichdom becomes a curse in very short order for those who succeed.[3]

Lichdom is very hard to accomplish, taking large amounts of time and sacrifices.[1] As the souls of innocents are needed to achieve lichdom, higher amounts of pain from the unwilling victims produce a purer and stronger form of lich.[4] It also requires a powerful magical relic, as it acts as a casting focus for 'Urelu's Loathsome Coercion', the spell used to take the souls from the victims; the higher a relic's power is, the more painful the soul tearing will be.[4] Due to the amount of effort to accomplish lichdom, it's very rare for a traveller to encounter one, as most will stay in tombs studying obsessively.[5] Liches have been known to disguise their true form using Illusion magic to lower the defenses of unwary travellers.[6][3]

Mannimarco is said to be the first lich,[7] and he is known to reveal the secrets of lichdom to his followers through direct communion so that they may serve him in undeath as Worm Eremites.[1] One lich, the powerful dro-m'Athra Arum-Khal, managed to create an entire realm of existence to use as his Phylactery.[8]

Notable Liches[edit]


See Also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Path of TranscendenceCeledaen
  2. ^ Nether Liches in Oblivion
  3. ^ a b Vastarie's dialogue in ESO
  4. ^ a b Ascendancy: Pathway to LichdomGullveig the Ascendant
  5. ^ Unhallowed LegionsPhrastus of Elinhir
  6. ^ Civility and Etiquette V. 5: UndeadCoristir
  7. ^ Mannimarco, King of WormsHoricles
  8. ^ The Moonlight Blade quest in ESO