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The Mantella is a massive green gem created from the soul of Tiber Septim's Imperial Battlemage, Zurin Arctus. It serves as the power source of Numidium, a gigantic golem used by Tiber Septim during his conquest of Tamriel. The Mantella was one of two artifacts created by Arctus that allowed the Emperor to use Numidium (along with the Totem of Tiber Septim). He placed his "heart", or life force, into the Mantella in order to power the golem.
It is said that after conquering Tamriel, Septim began using Numidium against neutral royal families, in order to place Imperial loyalists in power. Arctus became infuriated that his stolen heart was being used in such a manner, and fought to reclaim his heart. The battle Ended with the destruction of both the Battlemage and Numidium, and the Mantella was blasted into Aetherius. Zurin Arctus was unable to truly die without his heart, and became the Underking. Tiber Septim sent out agents to recover the scattered pieces of his golem, while the Underking sent his forces to recover the Mantella.