|Imperial Battlemage Zurin Arctus|
|Imperial Battlemage Zurin Arctus as the Underking|
|Resided in||High Rock|
Zurin Arctus (also called Arnand the Fox and the Underking) was a spellcaster in the late Second Era, and the Imperial Battlemage of Tamriel under Emperor Tiber Septim. By some accounts Arctus was the most powerful mage who ever lived. He was responsible for activating Numidium, a powerful construct used by the Emperor in his conquest of Tamriel, by placing his "heart" (life force) in a soul gem. Arctus later regretted his actions and destroyed the automaton, but was killed in the process before being able to reclaim his heart. He reappeared later as an undead entity known as the Underking, though The Arcturian Heresy instead attributed the title to Ysmir Kingmaker.
Zurin Arctus was a battlemage and master tactician who served General Talos in the forces of King Cuhlecain during the Tiber Wars. He is said to have crowned the general as Emperor Tiber Septim after the assassination of Cuhlecain and was instrumental in their victory at the Battle of Five Bridges. Arctus became the first to hold the title of Imperial Battlemage under Tiber Septim, and was one of the Emperor's trusted advisors; it was popularly rumored that Arctus had helped broker the Armistice with Morrowind, in which the Empire received Numidium.
Numidium was a colossal Dwemer automaton, designed to be powered by the Heart of Lorkhan. This was not available, but Arctus was able to devise an alternative power source, the Mantella—a gigantic gem infused with the battlemage's own "heart" (life force). Arctus also crafted the Totem of Tiber Septim, a magical artifact that allowed a bearer of royal lineage to control the golem. At the close of the Second Era, Tiber Septim used Numidium to conquer all of Tamriel.
With the conquest of Tamriel complete, Tiber Septim began using Numidium to crush neutral royal families within the Empire, aiming to enthrone Imperial loyalists in their place. Zurin Arctus was horrified at this abuse of power, and attempted to put a stop to it by reclaiming his heart. However, both Arctus and Numidium were destroyed in the attempt. The Mantella was blown into Aetherius, his heart still trapped within it. Without his heart, the battlemage couldn't truly die. He was left in a semi-slumber in a subterranean vault waiting for an opportunity to reclaim his heart. In this undead incarnation, Zurin Arctus became known as the Underking, and from time to time sent out his forces to search for the Mantella.
- For more information about the Underking in the late Third Era, see his Lore Page.
- An alternate version of events is given in The Arcturian Heresy. This account claims that the Underking was really High King Wulfharth of Skyrim, a powerful undead being from the First Era. He was tricked by Tiber Septim and Zurin Arctus, and it was his heart that was trapped within the Mantella. Zurin Arctus was killed in the process, and to prevent political unrest the Emperor claimed that his Battlemage tried to assassinate him.
- The Art of War Magic by Zurin Arctus, with Commentary By Other Learned Masters — Mastering the art of winning
- On Morrowind by Erramanwe of Sunhold — A historical synopsis of the Imperial conquest of Morrowind
- Response to Bero's Speech by Malviser, Battlemage — Commentaries of "Bero's Speech to the Battlemages" book
- Zurin Arctus is said to have enchanted the famous Dragonbone cuirass in the early Third Era, to repay a debt owed to a traveling warrior.
- In Where Were You When the Dragon Broke?, Mannimarco, the King of Worms, claims that Zurin Arctus existed during the Middle Dawn of the First Era under the moniker of Arnand the Fox.
- One of Lawrence Schick's plans for Abnur Tharn was to have him eventually become Zurin Arctus, but it did not come to pass.
- Michael Kirkbride once drew concept art of Zurin during development of Morrowind.
Underking appeared on the Box Cover of Daggerfall
Underking pictured in the book in the end of Daggerfall
- Where Were You ... Dragon Broke — Various
- Generic Dialogue in Daggerfall
- Events of Daggerfall
- Response to Bero's Speech — Malviser, Battlemage
- Mannimarco's dialogue in Daggerfall
- The Arcturian Heresy — The Underking, Ysmir Kingmaker
- The Art of War Magic — Zurin Arctus, with Commentary By Other Learned Masters
- Brief History of the Empire, v 4 — Stronach k'Thojj III
- On Morrowind — Erramanwe of Sunhold
- Baladas Demnevanni's dialogue in Morrowind
- Tamrielic Lore — Yagrum Bagarn
Note: The following references are deemed to be unofficial sources. They are referenced to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.