Dark Anchors, also known as Dolmens, are enormous inter-planar hooks sent to Tamriel by Molag Bal from his realm of Coldharbour. The hooks are immense magical constructs, designed to break the boundaries between Oblivion and Mundus; they hook into the ground and the great chains attempt to pull Nirn into Coldharbour. The Anchors are visible from large distances and they affect the environment around them, displacing local weather for a portion of Coldharbour's dark and violent weather.
Anchors can be found anywhere on Tamriel. Unlike the Alliance War, they are not confined to Cyrodiil. Dark Anchors pseudo-randomly spawn and are protected by Daedric and undead guardians. High-level players may be able to defeat the guardian single-handedly, but it is recommended to attack in groups. Each Anchor is different each time it spawns, with different enemies and bosses, perhaps including the rare generals if you are lucky.
Summoning the Dark Anchor
When a player approaches a dolmen, six Worm Cultists of various kinds will appear at the base of the dolmen and perform a ritual with a sacrifice. Dark Anchors in the same zone are set to spawn in a way that there will always be one new one within 10 seconds of the last one being destroyed. Once the ritual is complete, a Dark Anchor appears and hooks into the ground. If the player interrupts the ritual by attacking the cultists, the Anchor will be summoned early.
Once the Anchor is open, it will randomly suck up and kill some of the cultists below. New cultists will then spawn to replace them. Regardless, when all the cultists are defeated, only then will the Daedra and undead start spawning.
Defeating the Daedra
Four pinions will appear around the base of the anchor, and enemies will drop down from the sky. Enemies will do moderate to minor damage in the area where they land (this damage shows up as Drop Anchor in the death recap). When an enemy is defeated, its body disintegrates and its animus is captured within the nearest closed pinion. When the pinion is full, it opens. A nearby player can then interact with the pinion to destroy it. Having a low number of players at a dolmen reduces the number of enemies needed to open each pinion, while higher numbers increases it.
Whenever a pinion is destroyed, all players nearby will have their health, stamina and magicka restored to full. A player that destroys a pinion will gain a buff for 30 seconds called Power of the Daedra, which makes their hands glow blue just past their elbow. The process continues until the last pinion is destroyed. When that happens, all remaining Daedra and undead will immediately die.
The Final Wave
Molag Bal will then taunt you, and send some slightly stronger creatures to face you. Occasionally, a spark of lightning called a Static Charge is released from the portal above, which deals moderate shock damage. Once all enemies are defeated, Molag Bal taunts you again, and the final pinion opens, at the base of the anchor itself. Activating it will release the chains and destroy the Anchor. As the Anchor disappears, some Daedra will fall down and disintegrate on impact.
Dark Anchors are direct portals to Molag Bal's realm of Coldharbour, and thus the creatures that emerge are all Daedra and undead. These enemies come in various difficulties as listed below.
- Worm Cultists
- Dark Seducers
- Cold Flame Atronachs
- Flesh Atronachs
- Various skeletons:
- Various kinds of vampires:
- Winged Twilights
- Various zombies:
Sometimes more powerful creatures can be seen emerging from Dark Anchors. The animi of these elite creatures are larger than those of normal creatures and will fill pinions twice as fast.
- Frost Atronachs
- Flesh Colossus
- Grievous Twilight
- Spider Daedra
- Storm Atronachs
- Xivkyn Banelord
- Xivkyn Cauterizer
- Xivkyn Chillfiend
- Xivkyn Dreadweaver
- Xivkyn Soulbrander
- Xivkyn Voidstalker
These enemies are only summoned during the final wave accompanied by other reinforcements. They can be challenging to kill alone.
- Draugr Deathlord
- Dread Bone Colossus
- Dread Clannfear
- Dread Daedroth
- Dread Flesh Atronach
- Dread Flesh Colossus
- Dread Frost Atronach
- Dread Grievous Twilight
- Dread Harvester
- Dread Lich
- Dread Ogrim
- Dread Storm Atronach
- Dread Watcher
- Dread Xivilai
- Dread Xivkyn Banelord
- Dread Xivkyn Cauterizer
- Dread Xivkyn Chillfiend
- Dread Xivkyn Dreadweaver
- Dread Xivkyn Soulbrander
- Dread Xivkyn Voidstalker
These rare enemies occasionally replace the normal boss wave enemies, and will grant an achievement when they are defeated. Each general has two unique introduction lines associated with it. Molag Bal will use either line when announcing their arrival. Generals also have a small chance of dropping unique loot.
|Generals||Molag Bal's Commentaries|
|Amkaos, Kathutet and Ranyu||Now you face my chosen soldiers. Kathutet, Amkaos, Ranyu! Destroy these worms!|
|Kathutet, Amkaos, Ranyu! Time to torture some mortals!|
|Anaxes and Medrike||The Xivilai make excellent torturers and guards. Let's test them against you.|
|Xivilai know no honor. Anaxes and Medrike will test their strength, not yours.|
|Dregas Volar||Lord of Magas Volar, Bearer of the Daedric Crescent, serve me and destroy the mortals!|
|From your sanctuary on Vvardenfell, I summon you, Lord Dregas Volar.|
|Dylora, Jansa and Vika||Loyalties are fickle among the Dark Seducers. Face now the least loyal but most deadly.|
|The Seducers are known for their subtlety, but I find they have many strengths.|
|Fangaril, King Styriche of Verkarth and Zayzahad||From deep beneath Cyrodiil, I summon Fangaril! Consume them, each one!|
|Your flesh is nothing but mort meat to Fangaril.|
|Gedna Relvel||From deep beneath Morrowind, I summon the lich Gedna Relvel!|
|Let's see if you can withstand the might of Gedna Relvel, crimson witch of Mournhold.|
|Glut, Hogshead and Stumble||Amusing. Let's see how you fare against these Ogrim.|
|Think you're strong? Have some Ogrim! Three of them!|
|Hrelvesuu||Deep in dark Nchurdamz, I found Hrelvesuu. Come forth and destroy!|
|Some of my pets are fascinated by the toys of mortals. Hrelvesuu, show them!|
|Menta Na||You will now be a gift to my most favoured pet, Menta Na.|
|The daedroth Menta Na has served me well. He will destroy you.|
|Methats, Sumeer and Vonshala||Most Dremora serve Dagon, but these serve me.|
|The Dremora know no fear, and admit no defeat.|
|Nomeg Haga||Forged from ice at the heart of Coldharbour, Nomeg Haga will destroy you.|
|Now you face my personal slave. Nomeg Haga, come forth and stop these worms!|
|Ozzozachar||My son, my child! Ozzozachar, destroy them!|
|Ozzozachar, my son! I summon you from the skies!|
|Rhagothan||You've done well. Now it ends. Come, Rhagothan! Feast!|
|A mortal for you to feast upon, Rhagothan. You may feed now.|
|Velehk||Blood on the water, Velehk this way comes. Your doom is upon you.|
|He'll tear you open and eat your heart raw. His eyes gleam red, his heart will never thaw.|
|Yggmanei||Some prefer knowledge to strength. Yggmanei gives me both.|
|For your final test, meet Yggmanei. Even the Lord of Domination needs spies.|
|Zymel Hriz||Can you withstand Zymel Hriz, an atronach of lightning and rock?|
|Most atronachs are weak. Some are strong. Zymel Hriz, I summon you!|
Dark Anchors Dialogue
When a Dark Anchor is about to be activated, a group of Worm Cultists will appear and they will start the sacrificial rite, in which a Soul Shriven is seen floating inside the dolmen before burning up as the anchor arrives. There are a few variations of the ritual:
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "Summon the blood sacrifice."
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "Let Coldharbour remake Nirn in its own image!"
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "Lord of Domination and Brutality, we sacrifice this innocent in your name!"
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "Through the spilled blood of an innocent, we call forth your anchor to join our worlds!"
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "We submit to your will and call forth the chains of Coldharbour!"
- <The ritual is completed and chains connect to the dolmen.>
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "Bring forth the blood offering."
- Worm Cult Battlemage: "When Coldharbour calls, Nirn obeys!"
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "God of Schemes, we offer this victim to honor you!"
- Worm Cult Battlemage: "Through the spilled blood of an innocent, we call forth your anchor to join our worlds!"
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "Bind this world with your chains! Draw it ever closer to your realm!"
- <The ritual is completed and chains connect to the dolmen.>
Molag Bal's Dialogue
The below generic lines of dialogue are used by Molag Bal to address the player during various stages of attacking a Dark Anchor.
- Boss is summoned (When the four outer pinions are closed)
- "Puny mortals, you think you've won? Come, my slaves! Destroy them!"
- "Weakling. Pathetic piece of filth. Leave while yet you can." (to characters that haven't completed the main quest)
- "Yes. Sacrifice those servants in my name. Let's give you something worthy to sacrifice!"'
- "You do not yet know fear? I shall make you afraid!"
- "You've only destroyed my whelps. These minions will not be so easily defeated!"
- "You think this is over, wretch? Tell yourself another lie."
- "Wretches! All my servants are wretches! Perhaps these will do the job!"
- "The Planemeld will go on as planned. You cannot stop it!"
- "They serve by choice. They serve the strong. They serve me."
- "We sometimes admire our prey, and secretly applaud when it cheats our snares."
- "When oath-bonds are weak, there is pain, and shame, and darkness."
- "You must bow to me or die. Minions, destroy them!"
- "I give you one chance to surrender … surrender to your death!"
- "The end of Nirn is at hand. Come forth and destroy!"
- "Wretched things, mortals. May a storm wash you into Coldharbour."
- "While the prey was distracted, the predator prepared to strike."
- "You again? Cease splashing blood upon my chains!"
- "Your White-Gold Tower will serve as an anchor point for my dark machines!"
- "Your corpse will make a fine addition to my collection. Minions, destroy them!"
- "How many have you killed to defeat me? Each death is like a prayer to me!"
- "Unexpected. I will call forth someone more worthy of your strength."
- "Your death will mean nothing to me. You are but a minor distraction."
- "This exercise becomes amusing, mortal. Give my minions more practice!"
- "You are unworthy to kiss my feet. Begone with you!"
- "Kneel before me and submit to the power of Molag Bal!"
- "The armies of Coldharbour are upon you! Submit to their rule!"
- "Fool! Did you think Molag Bal, the Lord of Domination, would be defeated so easily?"
- "Your pathetic attempts to save this world amuse me."
- "To challenge me is to die. To flee is to become prey."
- "Submit, and become mine! Fight, and be destroyed!"
- "You entertain me, mortal. Well done. Now, entertain me more!"
- "When Nirn and Coldharbour are one, all will serve my will!"
- "Thrashing you thoroughly will please me, mortal."
- "When you are destroyed, the flies will pick your bones clean."
- "My minions will gnaw the flesh from your corpse."
- "What will it be this time? Daedroth? More Dremora? How about this?"
- Anchor is destroyed (When the final pinion is closed)
- "Drink in your victory. It won't last long."
- "I don't want revenge. I want your submission."
- "Destroy this anchor and scores more will take its place!"
- "Pointless. Ten anchors drop for each that is destroyed!"
- "When you destroy the next, this one will have returned."
- "Nothing you can do will end this."
- "My subjects failed me. They deserve to be destroyed."
- "This will not finish me!"
- "I am patient. This world will one day be mine."
- "Dogs! Filth! You anger a powerful enemy."
- "May your soul burn."
- "Like all worldly things, you will in time wear and be used up."
- "The effort was not for naught. Until next time …."
- "I will ensure no tales are told of your valor."
- "Sometimes the prey turns and nips us. It's a small thing."
- "The Daedra. The anchors. You destroy them in vain."
- "Destroy the body, and the animus is cast into darkness. But the animus returns."
- "You've done nothing, mortal."
- "You must defeat me every time. I need defeat you only once."
- "Fool! Every drop of blood you spill to defeat me only gives me more strength."
- "I admire your tenacity, mortals."
- "The skins of those you love will fly as my banners."
- "Kill my minions and you only remove the weaklings from my service."
- "Man is mortal, and doomed to death and failure and loss."
- "Wretched mortals. Worms."
- "I will dominate this world and all others in time. The strong should always command the weak."
- "May your enemies be broken and bloody."
- "Yes. Wash the stones in blood. Good."
- "I am patient. But not that patient, fool."
- "These stones will wear down in time. As you will, mortal."
- "You and I know how this ends."
- "I've made you an offer, mortal."
- "I await you at the next anchor."
- "The plan is in place. You are but an inconvenience."
- "Your efforts are futile. The Planemeld is nearly complete."
- "That's right. Grind them into the dirt."
- "You are useful little worms."
- "If I cannot control your world, I will destroy it."
- "You think me brutish? How do you imagine I view you?"
- "These mortals are strong, but not strong enough."
Molag Bal has dialogue that has a chance to occur if the player has completed some or all parts of the Main Quest.
- Boss is summoned
- "Ah, it's my unwitting tool. Return to my realm and serve me."
- "Destroy more. Destroy more. Destroy more in my name, pawn!"
- "The strong will cleanse the world of the weak. Cleanse, my pawn, cleanse."
- "I forged you in the soulfire of Coldharbour to be my tool. Prove your worth."
- "Bend your knee to me, I'll give you a minion for each enemy you've slain. You will have an army."
- "My plan comes to fruition, mortal. You serve me now as a vessel of destruction."
- "Your soul is mine. I own you! Come. Let us play."
- "Your strength is mine. Come. Serve me."
- "You have killed many. But I have killed more. Fool, you are outclassed."
- "The Prophet is a fool, and you are a greater one for following him."
- "Varen's gambit nearly handed the empire to Mannimarco—and Nirn to me."
- "Lyris Titanborn. She was the best slave at the Black Forge. Whatever happened to her?"
- "Where has the giantess gone? Back to milk some mammoths?"
- "You and Sai Sahan have much in common … except you're not a complete failure."
- "Where is that failed Sword-Saint now? Brooding in some sandy cave on the edges of Oblivion?"
- "Where has little Abnur Tharn run off to? Where does he hide?"
- "The Tharns and their trinkets. It is weakness to rely on toys for strength."
- "The Battlemage has the amulet, but you have true power. Fight for me."
- "Mannimarco was a pawn. You are another. Come. Let's play."
- "The King of Worms served me poorly. Perhaps you will do better."
- "Mannimarco's failures are your opportunities. You both shall serve me well."
- "Are you still working for the dim one?"
- "Your time in my realm made you strong, as expected. Let's see how you fare against these."
- Anchor is destroyed
- "The time remaining when you can still refuse me is dwindling."
- "You insist on wasting your time with these trifles?"
- "Good. I grant you permission to strengthen yourself with my minions."
- "Your strength will be rewarded. One day."
- "The plan shall go on, with or without you."
- "We go through the motions again, I see."
- "The ends and the means are one. And you are both."
- "Throw aside the pawns, my knight. Until one day you are taken unawares."
- "The sacrifices you make are all done in my name. You are and will always be my servant."
- "We shall see each other again."
- "It is you who will strike the final blow at our enemies. You are almost ready."
- "The soulless one thinks I can be defeated. Not so, fool."
- "You've proven your strength. Again."