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Lore:Imperial Guard

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Imperial Guard

The Imperial Guard, also referred to as the shadow legion,[1] were charged with the sole task of ensuring the personal safety and defense of the Tamrielic Emperors and various of their direct representatives across the provinces.[2] The Guard were known as the greatest warrior-mages in Tamriel,[UOL 1] and existed as elite unit under the Imperial Legion umbrella.[2] There was a traditional rivalry set between the Imperial Guard their counterparts in the regular Legions.[2]

They kept their quarters and training hall within the Imperial Palace.[3][4][5]

The Imperial Guard seemingly utilized tamed creatures to help in their duties, such as Dragons,[6][UOL 2] and Bears.[UOL 3]

A common Imperial Guardsman is not to be confused with a member of the Blades Guard, who served under the Imperial Guard umbrella in a more ceremonial role as the honor guard of Dragonborn Emperors.[7][8]


The InterregnumEdit

Senan of the Ghostsong Clan, member of Emperor Moricar's Imperial Guard

When the Imperial Guard came into existence is unknown, but their prominence can be traced back to the Interregnum. Consistent with more contemporary times, they protected the Emperors as bodyguards.[9][10] During the reign of the Longhouse Emperor Moricar, the Imperial Guard consisted of mostly Reachfolk. Moricar's Guard had werewolves among its ranks.[11] Following the fall of the dynasty, some the guard returned to the Reach.[12][13][14]

The ProvingEdit

The Battlespire was utilized for centuries as a Testing Facility and Proving Ground for those who wished to join the Imperial Guard. Recruits of this Imperial Battle College were known as Potentials and were usually identified as preteens. These Potentials learn about magic, the art of magical and martial warfare, as well as contemporary studies. Every year there was a Potentials Battle Tourney, where the first and second place winners are allowed to enter the Battlespire Proving Ground.[15][16][UOL 1] Only those who could prove themselves by successfully mastering the challenges of Battlespire were chosen for the Emperor's Imperial Guard.[UOL 1][16]

Tiber WarEdit

Circa 2E 864, the Imperial Guard were actively serving Emperor Tiber Septim.[17]


Circa 3E 3, General Symmachus of the Imperial Army and Imperial Guards under his command, rode to Skyrim to collect a ward of the Septim Empire: Princess Barenziah of Clan Ra'athim and install her as the provincial Queen of Morrowind, to rule from the seat of Mournhold in Almalexia City. As ordered by his Emperor, General Symmachus would set aside his Imperial General and Governor titles to serve as Barenziah's Prime Minister, and even went on to marry her.[18][nb 1]

Imperial Guard remained stationed within Mournhold for several centuries.[18][nb 1]

In the time following the theft of the Staff of Chaos from Mournhold, Circa 3E 376, the relationship between the Morrowind Queendom and the Septim Empire slowly deteriorated. Imperial taxes were raised and quotas were increased with each passing year. Prime Minister Symmachus believed the Emperor had some suspicions that the Prime Minister had some role in the Staff's theft; in order to prove his loyalty to the Dragon Throne he made every effort to comply with the with the escalating demands. He lengthened working hours and raised tariffs, and even made up some of the difference from both the royal exchequer and the family's own private holdings. But the levies multiplied, and commoners and nobles alike began to complain. Symmachus sent his lady wife Barenziah to plead with the Emperor, and even said that she could tell the Emperor that: without his aid, the Empire would have never begun, and that he can bring about its fall if need be. Eventually, a rebel revolt ensued in the city, with the Imperial Guard allegedly joining the rebels, somehow resulting in Symmachus's death Circa 3E 391.[18][nb 1]

Imperial SimulacrumEdit

Circa 3E 389, General Talin Warhaft was leader of Imperial Guard. Warhaft and others of the Emperor's Imperial Guard were banished into Oblivion by the Imperial Battlemage of Tamriel, Jagar Tharn, and physically replaced by doppelgangers.[3][4] Tharn used these faux Guards as puppets serving his own machinations. When General Warhaft was saved by the Eternal Champion and returned to Tamriel, he seemingly resumed his duties.[3]

The Battlespire was partially destroyed by the forces of Mehrunes Dagon during the Imperial Simulacrum.[6] However, upon Restoration, Emperor Uriel chose to retake the destroyed facility,[19] despite advice from his treasury to not.[16] However it remained inactive as an Imperial Proving Ground.[20]

The DeclineEdit

In the later Third Era,[nb 2] Lady Allena Benoch became head of the Emperor's Imperial Guard under Uriel VII. She neither confirms nor denies her role in the removal of Calaxes Septim as Archbishop of The One while serving in the Guard.[21]

Circa 3E 427, Vedam Dren, Duke of Vvardenfell, had Imperial Guard' assigned to his service.[22]

When Emperor Uriel Septim VII was assassinated by the Mythic Dawn,[5] the Imperial Guard joined the regicide investigation alongside the: Elder Council, Imperial Legions, Arcane University, and Imperial Battle College.[23]

Circa 4E 48, the Imperial Guard was still in operation. They worked with the Penitus Oculatus, giving them recruitment recommendations.[24]

Notable MembersEdit

General Talin Warhaft

Known RanksEdit

The exact hierarchy of ranks, the nuances between them, and the trajectory of advancement, has not been spelled out, but can generally be understood as categorized below.


  • Given the broad usability of the term: Imperial Guard, the elite unit of royal protectors are quite easily confused with the more common local guards serving the Empire.
  • ^1 
    Circa 3E 405, propagandas historical fiction entitled The Real Barenziah was anonymously penned by Plitinius Mero under the influence of Lady Barenziah herself. Copies upon copies of the novel were purposefully leaked with the express purpose of protecting Barenziah's reputation following her 'role' in the Imperial Simulacrum. The author(s) of this fiction played it fast and loose with exactly what happened when, conflating, inventing, or twisting events when it suited them.[27][28][29]
  • 2.  Lady Benoch's biography gives the date of the assassination as the 29th of Sun's Dusk in 3E 498.[21] Since the Third Era ended long before that date, this must be a typo.