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Molag Bal

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Fool! Did you think Molag Bal, the Lord of Domination, would so easily reward you?
~ Molag Bal

Molag Bal is an evil Daedric Prince in the Elder Scrolls series whose sphere of influence is domination and enslavement of mortals. He serves as the main antagonist of The Elder Scrolls Online. While Mehrunes Dagon is a more active threat, Molag Bal is by far the more malevolent. He is known as the “King of Rape” and his purpose is to collect mortal souls and bring them under his power, and to create suffering in the mortal realm. This would make him quite literally a Satan figure, or at least one of such figures along with Sithis the entity of The Void (primordial nothingness) and Mephala, Daedrric Prince of corruption, strife and betrayal. Molag Bal’s plane of Oblivion is called “Coldharbour”, and it is a warped copy of the mortal realm Nirn but in a more hell-like form.

Vampirism

It is said that Molag Bal created the first vampire. Molag Bal has a strong hatred of the Divine of death, Arkay, who controls the flow of mortal souls, diverting the pure and righteous from Molag's grasp. To subvert Arkay's hold on mortal souls Molag Bal made the first vampire, Lamae Beolfag. Molag Bal converted Lamae Beolfag to a vampire by raping her, Lamae was pure in both heart and body and when defiled by the cruel Daedra, Lamae's purity seemed to completely invert. Once Lamae was reborn a vampire she turned from a pure hearted, shy young lady into a blood and pain obsessed monster. After the massacre of a nomad, clan who had found her body and attempted to give her a proper funeral, she strolled off to kill, feed and sire more of her kind.

Molag Bal was very pleased with Lamae's turning and the creature he had unleashed upon the world, for Lamae would convert others and they still others, corrupting the mortal races. Though most infected with vampirism become instinct governed savages, not all vampires are evil and many can resist their blood lust, either through sheer willpower (as feeding is not essential for vampires to live) or by finding alternate means of food; such as using bandits and outlaws as a food source instead of hapless civilians, a few vampires have even found willing volunteers to allow them to feed off of every few days, without draining all their blood. But even conscientious vampires are subject to Molag Bal and the Lord of Domination still holds title to their souls upon their deaths. Molag Bal had created vampires as a means to rob otherwise good and pure souls from Arkay, in effect being able to claim souls via a spreadable disease that rendered the otherwise all powerful and benevolent Arkay a non-sequitur.

Morrowind

In Morrowind, Molag Bal is the only one who can cure the player if they become a vampire and will only do this for them if they first kill his daughter, a demon called Molag Grunda, who he hates because she is in love with a Frost Atronach named Nomeg Gwai. When they are killed they are both banished to Molag Bal’s realm to be punished for eternity.

Oblivion

In Oblivion, his quest involves Melus Petilius, a man who disgusts Molag Bal because he is such a good person. Petilius was a local hero who gave up violence forever when his wife died, and Molag Bal wants the player to provoke him into killing them (he “saves” you when this happens so you don’t actually die) with a cursed mace by attacking Petilius while he is praying at his wife’s grave, thereby damning his soul.

Skyrim

His quest in Skyrim involves an abandoned building which was built over his shrine. First, his voice takes hold of both the player and another man, a Vigilant of Stendarr who is venturing into the house with them, forcing the player to kill him. Then, has the player kidnap a priest of Boethiah, a rival Daedric Prince, and force him to restore the Mace of Molag Bal, which he desecrated, before killing him. Twice.

Elder Scrolls Online

Molag Bal ESO

Molag Bal as he appears in Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online, the prequel to the entire series, features Molag Bal as the main antagonist. In the game Molag Bal, acting through his supplicant, Mannimarco, conspires to con the rulers of Cyrodiil into destroying the Amulet of Kings, thus breaking their compact with the Divines to keep Oblivion and Nirn separate and allowing Molag Bal to begin formal conquest of the world, theft and domination of the souls of men.
Soul Shrivens

Soul Shrivens

While Mannimarco plays at manipulating the Imperial Empire from behind the scenes Molag Bal is far less concerned with physical rule and far more concerned with sending souls from Nirn to Coldharbour. At the behest of his lord and as part of his basic necromantic practices, Mannimarco frequently rounds up citizens to be sacrificed, removes their souls from their bodies and pledges them to Molag Bal, sending them to Coldharbour. Once in Coldharbour the spirits of those sacrficed languish for as long as they need to until their wills are broken and eventually become Soul Shrivens, emotionless shadows of their former selves, governed either by feral madness or by the direct will of Molag Bal himself. The Elder Scrolls Online starts off on the premiss that the player characters have been sacrificed and are imprisoned in Coldharbour, but will escape thanks to a Prophet, a Nord warrior named Lyris Titanborn and their own determination. While Coldharbour is soon escaped as a mere tutorial stage, the player will spend the rest of the game trying to defeat Molag Bal and reclaim possession of their soul, which while intact is still in Molag Bal's collection in Coldharbour.

Trivia

  • Molag Bal has had three different actors provide his voice over the span of three games. In Oblivion, he was voiced by Jonathan Bryce. In Skyrim, he was voiced by Christopher Corey Smith. In Online, he was voiced by veteran actor Malcolm McDowell, who had previously voiced President John Henry Eden in Fallout 3, another video game published by Bethesda.

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