There are many factions in Skyrim for the player to join, but the darkest and most mysterious one is definitely the cult-like Dark Brotherhood. Known as the elite assassins and worshippers of the deity of dread himself, Sithis, they are feared and infamous all across Tamriel.
However, little is truly known about the inner workings of the Brotherhood. Due to its exclusive nature, only those who swear their allegiance and have proven their capability to kill without remorse are accepted into its ranks. If you're looking to join the Dark Brotherhood, you might want to know these 10 less well-known facts about the group's background and inner workings.
10 Relations To Morag Tong
The Dark Brotherhood was born as a small group that detached itself from the Morag Tong, a faction of professional assassins in Morrowind. The Morag Tong were highly trained and skilled killers, and they were so infamous that their assassination orders were respected by lawmakers themselves.
Nowadays, the Dark Brotherhood and the Morag Tong are sworn rivals with a very different outlook on the profession of assassination. While Morag Tong worships Mephala, the Brotherhood is loyal to the Night Mother and Sithis, making them disloyal in the eyes of the Morag Tong.
9 The Five Tenets
A long time ago the Dark Brotherhood was founded upon the idea of the Five Tenets, which are guidelines that rule over the members of the Brotherhood. A member is to never dishonor the Night Mother, never betray the Brotherhood or its secrets, never refuse an order from a superior, never steal from a fellow member, and never kill a fellow member. If any of these rules were to be broken, the Brotherhood believes it would enrage Sithis and bring disfavor upon the perpetrator and possibly the sanctuary itself.
8 The First Listener
Initially, the Night Mother was not a corpse, but a living entity that supposedly ruled over and guided the Dark Brotherhood. However, when the last of her died, the Brotherhood's mode of operation changed.
Rather than being directly under her command, the Brotherhood would now appoint Listeners. These people have the ability to hear the Night Mother speak in their minds and tell them who needs to be killed next. The First Listener is an unknown man who claimed to hear the voice of the Night Mother in his head almost thirty years after the last of her passed away.
7 They Were Nearly Destroyed
In Skyrim, it's very apparent that the Brotherhood is long past its heydays and is suffering in ruins. Cicero especially claims that the Brotherhood has abandoned its old ways and strayed too far from what it was meant to be, relying on rumors rather than a Listener to find out who had performed the Black Sacrament.
This is because, during the Oblivion Crisis, many of the Brotherhood's Cyrodiil sanctuaries were destroyed and ransacked, weakening the faction's forces. In Skyrim, Cicero even states that he witnessed the fall of a previous sanctuary that became the victim of raiding corsairs. However, with the help of the Dragonborn, the Brotherhood is once more restored.
Sithis, the deity that the Brotherhood worships, is a being shrouded in great mystery. It's said that he's the birthed incarnate of Padomay, which represents the forces of chaos and darkness in the Elder Scrolls series, constantly in balance and equal with the opposite force of Anu. Sithis is a deity of dread and death, often associated with evil and darkness. His worship is often looked down upon across Tamriel, but he still holds place in the Brotherhood's beliefs, as well as in some vampire groups and parts of Argonian culture.
5 The Night Mother's Identity
It is unclear who the original Night Mother was, but theories state that she was an assassin working for the Morag Tong, who then established her own cult, the Dark Brotherhood. How she became the Night Mother is unclear. However, what is known is that a woman once birthed five children and was then offered to be the wife of Sithis if she killed all of them in sacrifice to him. The woman agreed, and she became his wife. Yet, her cruelty resulted in her neighbors shunning her and her house was burned down as punishment, hence her remains.
4 Details Of The Black Sacrament
When a person wishes to commission an assassination from the Brotherhood, they must perform a ritual known as the Black Sacrament. This ritual requires contact with the Night Mother, who will then speak directly to the Brotherhood's Listener to inform them of a new contract. In order to perform the Sacrament, human remains must be used to build the skeletal structure of the victim, surrounded by candles. Nightshade must be rubbed on the blade of a dagger and a certain chant must be performed to invoke the Night Mother.
3 What The Black Hand Means
Visible everywhere in the sanctuaries of the Dark Brotherhood is the black hand symbol the faction has adopted for itself. This symbol has a very specific meaning behind it. The thumb of the hand represents the Listener of the Brotherhood, able to communicate with the Night Mother and find out what the next contract is. The four fingers represent the assassins that will execute the word of the Night Mother after the Listener has spoken her will.
2 Lucien Lachance In Skyrim
During your Dark Brotherhood quest, you'll be given the chance to take a spectral assassin as your companion during your adventures. This man is actually believed to be the ghost of a character from Oblivion, known as Lucien Lachance. It's also he in Oblivion who happens to recruit the Hero Of Kvatch into the ranks of the Dark Brotherhood should they prove their worth in a test. Unfortunately, Lachance met a gruesome and unfortunate fate, his body mutilated and put on display after the Black Hand believed he was a traitor in their ranks.
1 Falkreath Sanctuary's Destruction
The Falkreath Sanctuary in Skyrim is one of the last beacons of the Dark Brotherhood. However, as the player joins the ranks of assassins, he will soon be given plenty of clues about its imminent destruction. For one, Gabriella can be heard stating in a conversation that she has already foreseen her own death, and, due to this, she doesn't mind engaging in risky contracts. For two, if the player receives a reading from Olava the Feeble in Whiterun, they will be foretold of great destruction occurring within the Sanctuary.