Lore:Shadowscales

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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. Shadowscales can identify other members of the order by special medallions. They are typically made of brass and inscribed with the likeness of Sithis, the Dread Father.[1] Any Shadowscale who lives to come of age is accepted into the Dark Brotherhood as a full member of the family.[2][3] They may also leave the Brotherhood to serve the Argonian people in Black Marsh.[4] They act with impunity there, and some are said to serve as personal assassins to a King of Black Marsh,[5][6] 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.[UOL 1]

Shadowscales follow the same five tenets traditionally followed by members of the Brotherhood,[2] 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.[7] During contracts, Shadowscales seek to kill their targets swiftly. Prolonged and torturous kills are generally frowned upon.[8]

Among common Argonians, especially the Black-Tongues, the Shadowscales are deeply respected.[9] While all tribes of the Murkmire participate in the Shadowscale tradition, the Black-Tongue tribe take it the most seriously and spend a large amount of effort towards producing Shadowscales.[9]

Some Shadowscales were opposed to the formation of the Ebonheart Pact in the Second Era, with some even turning traitor and fleeing Black Marsh.[10] 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.[11]

With the closure of the training facility in Archon, and the death of the last known living Shadowscale in 4E 201, it is possible that the Shadowscales have been entirely wiped out.[12][13]

Gallery[edit]

See Also[edit]

  • For game-specific information, see the ESO article.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shadowscale Medallion item description in ESO
  2. ^ a b Beware the Shadowscales
  3. ^ Teinaava's dialogue in Oblivion
  4. ^ Sulahkeesh's dialogue in ESO
  5. ^ Veezara's dialogue in Skyrim
  6. ^ Skyrim's RuleAbdul-Mujib Ababneh
  7. ^ Scar-Tail's dialogue in Oblivion
  8. ^ The Assassin of Alik'r — Anonymous
  9. ^ a b Tribes of Murkmire: Black-TonguesEmmanubeth Hurrent, the Wayfarers' Society of Wayrest
  10. ^ The Gray Mire in ESO
  11. ^ Murkwater in ESO
  12. ^ Events of Skyrim
  13. ^ Cicero's Journal - Volume 1Cicero

Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.

  1. ^ Interview with Three Argonians in Shadowfen