|Imperial Battlemage Jagar Tharn|
Imperial Battlemage Jagar Tharn as seen during cutscenes in Arena
Jagar Tharn was the Imperial Battlemage who secretly imprisoned Emperor Uriel Septim VII and used Illusion magic to masquerade as the Emperor for a decade. From 3E 389 to 3E 399, a period since known as the Imperial Simulacrum, Uriel VII was held captive in a realm of Oblivion while his battlemage reigned over the war-torn Empire. He was finally killed, and Uriel VII was freed and restored to the Ruby Throne. The Emperor dubbed the hero who accomplished this the Eternal Champion, and granted him a place by his side. It is not entirely known what Tharn's goals and personal accomplishments were during his reign.
- We Tharns have held positions of power throughout Cyrodiil since the days of the Potentate. We are prized for our loyalty to the Empire, our deft political machinations, and our ruthless subjugation or elimination of dissenters within Imperial territories. What we do is grim work, but it is necessary if the Empire is to endure. — Abnur Tharn c. 2E 582
The Tharns were a very prestigious Cyrodilic family, which may help explain how Jagar found himself Imperial Battlemage to the Emperor, one of the most coveted and powerful positions in Tamriel. However, Jagar's exact lineage is unclear. According to the historical fiction The Real Barenziah, Jagar claimed he was born in southern Valenwood to a Bosmer mother. The novel series also suggested he was part Dunmer and part Altmer, mixed with human ancestry.
When Jagar began to put his plan into action is unclear. The first known step was the theft of the Staff of Chaos, which was apparently stolen from its sanctuary beneath the city of Mournhold circa 3E 376.[nb 1] Historians recorded that it was stolen by a bard named the Nightingale, a man who Queen Barenziah of Morrowind later recognized to be Jagar Tharn himself. However, an alternative account later emerged which asserts the bard who stole the Staff was actually a master thief named Drayven Indoril, a member of the Nightingale Trinity (hence the name), and that the truth was covered up for political reasons. Nevertheless, this narrative maintains that it was Jagar who commissioned the theft and ultimately took possession of the Staff (after which he unsuccessfully tried to kill Drayven).
Uriel VII was gravely concerned by the theft. The task of tracking down the Staff and those responsible for taking it was entrusted to his then newly-appointed Imperial Battlemage.
In the decades after Emperor Uriel Septim VII took the Ruby Throne in 3E 368, he aggressively expanded Imperial influence, especially in the eastern provinces. As Uriel's close advisor, Jagar brought shrewd council to complement the Emperor's ambition and agile mind in these endeavors. They even formed a sort of master-pupil relationship. The Emperor, and the Empire, greatly benefited from Tharn's arcane powers and wisdom.
History records that Uriel eventually surpassed his teacher at balancing the skills of threat and diplomacy, and Tharn's role became less important as time went on. But it's also suggested that Tharn was just carrying on the facade of an out-paced counselor, feeding Uriel's ego and earning his complete trust while he executed plans of his own.
Jagar plotted for months to bring his plan to fruition. Finally, he requested to meet with the Emperor to discuss rumors of treachery.[nb 2] Using the Staff of Chaos, Jagar imprisoned the Emperor (and General Warhaft[nb 3]) in a realm where they experienced nothing but inexplicable and haunting nightmares. Time moved much slower in this alternate plane of existence, thus it would be centuries before the Emperor died. Jagar drained the Staff of Chaos of its power, as it was the only key to releasing the Emperor. He imbued its energy, along with his own life force, into the Jewel of Fire. Then, he divided the Staff into eight segments, which he hid in places of power throughout the Empire. By utilizing Illusion magic, he then took on the guise of the Emperor. Even if someone discovered his deception, they would have to recover the pieces and reassemble the Staff, only to discover it to be useless without the Jewel of Fire. And all the while, Tharn would be able to bring all of his considerable resources to bear against his opponents. He dismissed the Emperor's inner circle and guards and replaced them with loyal servants.[nb 4]
Several people were reportedly held captive as a result of Tharn's efforts, but one is known to have died by his hand: his own apprentice, Ria Silmane. Jagar's cover story was that he had retired from public work, and put his assistant Ria in his place. But in truth, when Ria learned of what Jagar had done to the Emperor, she attempted to tell the Elder Council. Jagar reportedly used the power of the Staff of Chaos to kill her. But death would not silence her.
- [O]ld troubles resurfaced, forgotten grudges rekindled, and wars flared throughout the land. In the east, Morrowind attacked Black Marsh in the Arnesian War; in the north, Skyrim battled High Rock and Hammerfell in the War of Bend'r-Mahk; in the south, Elsweyr took arms against Valenwood in the Five Year War; in the west, Valenwood also lost land to its old ally Summerset in the War of the Blue Divide. — A Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: All the Eras of Man
Jagar Tharn's "neglect and mismanagement of Imperial affairs" was later attributed to be the root cause of the notable decline in the Empire's economic prosperity during his ten-year reign, which was subsequently labeled the Imperial Simulacrum. However, little is known of just what Jagar sought to accomplish during this time.
Jagar apparently had associations with devotees of Mehrunes Dagon, but details of these relationships are not known. In 3E 397, he and another mage, Pergan Asuul, vied to gain control of the Umbra' Keth, a "Shadow of Conflict" which was created by the ongoing War of the Bend'r-mahk. Jagar evidently bribed many prominent Hammerfell families to support Skyrim, and sought to use the conflict to advance Imperial influence in the area. Ultimately, both mages were foiled when the Umbra' Keth was destroyed.
Jagar made a mysterious bargain with Mehrunes Dagon which allowed the Daedric Prince to invade the Battlespire. The facility was ultimately destroyed, and almost all who had been upon it were killed, although an apprentice managed to banish Dagon.
The spirit of Ria Silmane appeared in the dreams of Eadwyre, King of Wayrest, and told him of what Jagar had done to her. She also told him of a friend of hers, who was then a prisoner of Jagar's, but who had the potential to help stop him. Eadwyre enlisted the help of Queen Barenziah, and together, the monarchs worked out a plan. Barenziah charmed Jagar, and managed to not only learn the locations of the pieces of the Staff, but arranged to give the prisoner a fighting chance to escape, and to reassemble the Staff. Ria also entered the dreams of the prisoner, passing along this knowledge and what had to be done to foil Jagar's plan.
Ria's champion proved unstoppable at every turn, recovering piece after piece of the Staff despite the hordes of undead and other minions Jagar threw in the way. Using magical visions to communicate, he sent periodic threats to the champion demanding surrender. However, he grew more desperate as the champion continued to defy all his expectations. He began making offers of power, eventually even eternal life, but to no avail. That Jagar had drained the power out of the Staff proved to be a surprising obstacle, but not an insurmountable one. With the last of her energy, Ria got her champion into the Imperial Palace in search of the Jewel of Fire. Despite the extraordinary amount of defenders, including Jagar himself, the champion was able to touch the Staff to the Jewel, releasing the energy within. This both freed the Emperor, and destroyed Jagar.
Upon retaking the Ruby Throne, Uriel VII commenced the Restoration to heal the Empire, although he did so through more subtle means, no longer displaying the brashness he had before his captivity. The audacity and scope of Jagar's plot captured the public imagination, and he went down in history as one of the most infamous, insane villains ever to walk Tamriel.[nb 5] Speculation abounded on the things he had done. Decades later circa 3E 427, it was still widely rumored that the Emperor's own heirs had been replaced by Tharn's doppelgangers. Many people were killed when the Imperial Guard charged a mob which had been demanding destruction of the "false heirs". Circa 3E 432, the last of Jagar's known associates were prisoners awaiting their deaths in The Rose, the infamous dungeon in Black Marsh.
Jagar Tharn, as an enemy in Arena
- Brief History of the Empire v 4 by Stronach k'Thojj III — Part 4 of a description of events in the history of the Empire
- Brown Scroll by Jagar Tharn — An ultimatum from a patron to his charge
- A Dance in Fire, Chapter 7 by Waughin Jarth — Chapter 7 of a clerk's adventures in Valenwood
- Hallgerd's Tale by Tavi Dromio — Squabbling over the greatest warrior ever leads to a tale of heavy-armor-master Hlaalu Pasoroth
- Jagar Tharn's Letter by Jagar Tharn
- A Life of Uriel Septim VII by Rufus Hayn — A short biography of Uriel Septim VII's accomplishments
- The Light and the Dark by Irek Unterge — A man describes the Light and the Dark to his two grandchildren
- Mystery of Talara, v 4 by Mera Llykith — Part four of the story of Princess Talara
- The Real Barenziah by Plitinius Mero — Biography of the famous Queen Mother of Morrowind
- Words and Philosophy — An interview with a Bosmer master swordsman about her life
- A Life of Uriel Septim VII — Rufus Hayn
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: All the Eras of Man, A Comprehensive History of our History — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Biography of Queen Barenziah — Stern Gamboge, Imperial Scribe
- Events of Arena
- Chronicles of the Five Companions 4 — Abnur Tharn
- The Real Barenziah — Plitinius Mero
- The Nightingales — Gallus Desidenius
- Events of Morrowind
- Events of Battlespire
- Events of Shadowkey
- Mystery of Talara — Mera Llykith
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The War with the Trees: Argonia and the Black Marsh — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- The Path of Transcendence — Celedaen
- Ascendancy: Pathway to Lichdom — Gullveig the Ascendant
- Words and Philosophy