Ever play a brutal, murder-hobo character within the Elder Scrolls games? From Skyrim to Oblivion and now Elder Scrolls online, we all join the Dark Brotherhood. This group of highly trained assassins help take part in bringing justice and / or pain to those who are unlucky to have the Black Sacrament performed upon them.
Once performed, the Dark Brotherhood will send wave after wave of assassins until the target is eliminated, or they are themselves for they believe in Sithis, the Dread Father and deity of emptiness and the void will grant mercy on them by submitting to his will.
The Dark Brotherhood require total loyalty from their members, meaning swearing of fealty to the ‘Night Mother’, Sithis’s representative on the mortal plane and through her, Sithis itself. Initiates must display the ability to kill mercilessly and without regret or sorrow.
Another requirement of the old Dark Brotherhood that has long since been forgotten in the time of Skyrim, was following the ‘Five Tenets’. The five tenets were rules designed to keep the ‘children of Sithis’ or the members under control within the sanctuary. Despite being killers, they were also meant to be a family under the all-seeing eye of the ‘Night Mother’.
The tenets were were as follows:
- Never dishonour the Night Mother. To do so is to invoke the Wrath of Sithis
- Never betray the Dark Brotherhood or its secrets. To do so is to invoke the Wrath of Sithis.
- Never disobey or refuse to carry out an order from a Dark Brotherhood Superior. To do so is to invoke the Wrath of Sithis.
- Never steal the possessions of a Dark Brother or Dark Sister. To do so is to invoke the Wrath of Sithis.
- Never kill a Dark Brother or Dark Sister. To do so is to invoke the Wrath of Sithis.
The Dark Brotherhood spanned over Tamriel for many centuries, and they had an effective way to make sure contracts were carried out.
Those who wish someone murdered by the ‘Children of Sithis’ were required to perform the Black Sacrament, a ghastly ritual where the person creates an effigy of the person with actual body parts including “heart, skull, bones and flesh”, and encircle the effigy with candles.
The effigy must be stabbed repeatedly by a Dagger rubbed with petals of a Nightshade plant while whispering, “Sweet Mother, Sweet mother, send your child unto me, for the sins of the unworthy must be baptized in blood and fear.”
This would be heard by the mother, who passed the information down through the leader of the Black Hand, dubbed “The listener”, the only person able to hear her will, who informs the black hand and therefore the nearest sanctuary of assassins of the contract.
The Dark Brotherhood are legends throughout Tamriel, and those who fund and support them are the secret puppet masters in almost all forms of life. They have the power to reshape political power on a continental scale, and yet only kill when paid to do so. They’ve gotten passed thousands of guards and killed just as many targets during the life time of the organisation. From peasants and to Emperors, and usually their protection.