- Hail to Sithis, blood's drop on blade's edge.
- Before you, nothing. Behind you, the Void.
- Catalyst, agitator, many-fanged maw.
- Whisper your need to the Scales.
- — Inscription found on an Argonian blade
The Shadowscales are an order of Argonian assassins originating in Black Marsh. Argonians born under the sign of the Shadow are taken at birth and offered to the Dark Brotherhood where they are trained in the arts of stealth and assassination. Any Shadowscale who lives to come of age is accepted into the Dark Brotherhood as a full member of the family. They may also leave the Brotherhood to serve the Argonian people in Black Marsh. They act with impunity there, and some are said to serve as personal assassins to a King of Black Marsh; but no such king is thought to have ruled since the height of Argonian civilization in ages past—if at all—and the monarch's role as commander of the Shadowscales is said to be overstated.[OOG 1]
Shadowscales follow the same five tenets traditionally followed by members of the Brotherhood, although they are a distinct set of rules. For example, a Shadowscale cannot kill a fellow Shadowscale even if they are not members of the Brotherhood. However, breaking a tenet of the Brotherhood invokes the Wrath of Sithis, and forgiveness is possible if the family member survives the encounter. If a Shadowscale breaks a tenet, it is viewed as treason and the perpetrator will be put to death. This is usually carried out by the Argonian Royal Court, who will send an unaffiliated assassin to carry out the execution.
Many Shadowscales were opposed to the formation of the Ebonheart Pact in the Second Era, with some even turning traitor and fleeing Black Marsh. However, some Shadowscales fought on the Pact's side during the Aldmeri Dominion invasion of Shadowfen in 2E 582 by liberating the town of Murkwater.
- Beware the Shadowscales
- Teinaava's dialogue in Oblivion
- Events of ESO
- Veezara's dialogue in Skyrim.
- Skyrim's Rule — Abdul-Mujib Ababneh
- Scar-Tail's dialogue
- The Gray Mire in ESO
- Murkwater in ESO
- Events of Skyrim
- Cicero's Journal - Volume 1 — Cicero
Note: the following references are not found in-game. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.