Elder Scrolls Lore Report - Luciens Last Chance


I do so love Riften. I journeyed here in my youth. A thief took my purse, so I took his eyes. A fair exchange.


We’ve all heard tell of the stories of the Spectral Assassin, the ghastly rogue summoned by the Listener of the Dark Brotherhood in game, but did you know who he was before his death? If you listen to his idle chattering, he reveals small tidbits about his life, but, even without, Astrid tells us he was a Dark Brotherhood legend, who served the Dread Father as faithfully in life as he professed unto his death. Pray tell, however, who exactly Lucien Lachance was? Afore we can answer this question, we have to dive deep into the heart of the Dark Brotherhood itself.


Before the Dark Brotherhood came to be, there was a sect of fanatical religious zealots who committed murder in the name of their god – and for Dunmer nobility. Sanctioned by the government, bound by contract known as writs, the Morag Tong was unique in its ability and freedom. The Tribunal believed Mephala founded the Morag Tong to teach the Chimer how to better defend themselves from adversaries. Hermaeus Mora is also tangentially related to the origins of this shadow guild, though the nature of his participation is unknown beyond his relation to Mephala. Peryite is sometimes, quite interestingly, thought to be a “Figuring Father” of the Morag Tong due to the nature of his similarities to Mephala, despite the fact he and Mephala are bitter enemies. Others still attest that Mephala worshipped the Dread Father Sithis and he instructed her to commit black acts as his hand – hence her epithet, the Black-Handed Mother. Irrespective of the truth of their origin, the Morag Tong quickly established their usefulness in hashing out the houses’ bloody conflicts, crafting the system of writs as contracts and garnering their reputation as peerless killers. By the end of the First Era, they had already assassinated an Emperor – Reman III. This allowed the Akaviri Potentate to rule Tamriel during the early Second Era and the Tong began to spread its influence across the continent. Then, it reached a climax – in Second Era 234, the Morag Tong assassinated  Versidue-Shaie, the Tsaeci who served as the Akaviri Potentate. The guild, however, had grown too reckless – it is said they scrawled “MORAG TONG” across the palace walls in the Potentate’s own blood.


12364613696?profile=RESIZE_710x(retreat of the Akaviri Potentate, as seen in The Elder Scrolls Online) 


This high-profile assassination gone public initiated a frenzy that soon spiraled among the nobles who realized the Morag Tong had far too much gumption. Every sovereign gave the cult’s elimination their highest priority. As each independent began to suppress the Morag Tong, they slowly sunk out of public view and went back into hiding, maintaining the barest of presences only in Morrowind. It was then, it is agreed, the Dark Brotherhood arose from the silence of the Morag Tong.


More attuned to assassination as a business and operating entirely beyond the law, the Dark Brotherhood settled outside Morrowind, desperately trying to avoid the failures of the Morag Tong. The popular theory was a religious dispute – the Morag Tong supposedly served Mephala, but as she was the Anticipation of Vivec, it is said they abandoned her worship in exchange for worshipping Vivec so they could continue to exist, and those that split off objected against that change. Whatever the case, the earliest record of the Dark Brotherhood is in Second Era 358, when a note was found in the Nordic village of Jallenheim, with the word “Brother” hastily scrawled upon it and depicted the war between two shadow guilds – the earliest notice of the conflict between the Morag Tong and the Dark Brotherhood. Scant over fifty years later, in Second Era 412, Blood Queen Arlimahera of Hegathe wrote in her journal that she had enlisted the services of the Dark Brotherhood. This places the foundation of the Dark Brotherhood sometime around Second Era 358, but possibly as late as Second Era 400.


12364614075?profile=RESIZE_710x(the tomb of Reman Cyrodiil III, as seen in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion)


12364614094?profile=RESIZE_584xIn any event, the Dark Brotherhood would grow in infamy and thrive unto the throes of the Third Era. At the climax of the Oblivion Crisis, the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary in Cheydinhal came under attack from within. One of the Speakers of the Black Hand was a traitor from the beginning – Mathieu Bellamont, whose mother had been slain by the Dark Brotherhood, had infiltrated the Dark Brotherhood, joined its ruling case – the Black Hand – and became a Speaker before enacting his revenge. As more and more assassins wound up dead, another Black Hand Speaker and leader of the Cheydinhal Sanctuary ordered a Purification – a rout in which all inklings of mistrust or treason are destroyed – to be carried out by their newest assassin, none other than the Hero of Kvatch himself. Unfortunately for the Speaker, he did not know of Bellamont’s true allegiance and the killings continued. Eventually, this Speaker counted himself among those killed by Bellamont’s betrayal, alongside most of the other members of the Black Hand. Bellamont was eventually discovered and he was slain.


Who was this Speaker of the Black Hand that ordered the Hero of Kvatch to become a Silencer? Lucien Lachance.


12364615267?profile=RESIZE_710xAn Imperial assassin and a Speaker for the Black Hand, Lucien was one of the most prominent assassins of the Third Era, and he has added many prolific feats to his name. Sometime in his youth, he found the Blade of Woe – the very dagger it is said the Night Mother herself slew her own children as a protestation of her faith to Sithis. During his travels, he visited Riften and carved out the eyes of one of the Thieves’ Guild Guildmasters. He took command of the Cheydinhal Sanctuary as its Speaker at a young age, further testament to his abilities as an assassin. He personally trained two Shadowscales from hatchlings. All of these things provided him the notoriety he needed to become a most infamous and influential assassin. So much, so, that it wasn’t long before he was recruited into the Black Hand.


The Black Hand is the body within the Dark Brotherhood that outlines its rules and governs the various Sanctuaries from a singular location. The symbol of the Black Hand represents four Speakers and one Listener. Each Speaker also employs their own Silencer – a personal assassin and bodyguard. The Listener is the thumb of the hand while each Speaker takes a finger – and the Silencers serve as the fingernails. The Black Hand also employs a Keeper, whose sole duty is the protection and safekeeping of the Night Mother’s Coffin. Lucien Lachance, despite his tender age, became a Speaker from the volition he had to prove himself the best assassin Tamriel had ever known. However, it wouldn’t last long.


Most famously, Lachance ordered the Purification of the Cheydinhal Sanctuary in Third Era 433 when he discovered a traitor in their midst. He named the player character of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion as Silencer to carry out the Purification. Unfortunately, it seemed the Purification was to be his undoing. Before we dive into that, however, we need to talk about Matthieu Bellamont.


12364615868?profile=RESIZE_584xMatthieu Bellamont was Breton who was a Speaker for the Black Hand. However, before he was part of the Black Hand, he served the Sanctuary in Cheydinhal, thus how he was familiar with the Sanctuary itself and its inhabitants, particularly Lachance and his successor, Arquen. Before his time in the Dark Brotherhood, his father contacted the Dark Brotherhood and put out a contract on his wife – Matthieu’s mother. This would begin Matthieu’s drive to enter the Dark Brotherhood as an assassin all so he could destroy it from within and assert his vengeance.


During the procession of the Purification, Matthieu manipulated the Dead Drops that the Hero of Kvatch received his orders from, pushing the Silencer to other members of the Black Hand rather than those Lachance thought were betraying the guild. Eventually, Matthieu procured enough false evidence to lay the tragedy that had stricken the Brotherhood at the feet of Lucien Lachance. Upon the Hero of Kvatch’s return to Cheydinhal, supposedly with proof that Lachance was innocent, the player character discovered Lachance had been tried and sentenced to death by hanging. It is said that Arquen feasted upon Lucien’s entrails.


12364615689?profile=RESIZE_710x(Lucien's hanging body at the conclusion of the quest Following a Lead in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion)


Upon Lachance’s death, it was believed the killings would stop, but as Matthieu was the true traitor, the killings persisted. The Night Mother herself intervened, named the Hero of Kvatch as Listener and helped to uncover Matthieu’s true desires. Matthieu was slain by the Hero of Kvatch as the Cheydinhal Sanctuary lay smoldering in a blaze of unholy fury. Arquen would eventually rebuild Cheydinhal Sanctuary and carry on Lucien Lachance’s legacy.




As proof of his loyalty and a testament to his skill, the Dread Father Sithis himself made Lachance’s ghost serve him in undeath, allowing future Black Hand Speakers the ability to call upon his spectral aid. Even in death, Lachance would have the last laugh.

12364616871?profile=RESIZE_710x(Many believe Mephala is the Night Mother and that the Daedric Lord is the Queen of the Void, the wife of the Dread Father himself!)

Fimvul is the current master of the Skyforge Library. Interested in the Elder Scrolls from a young age, he has been diving headfirst into the richer aspects of the lore of the series for over a decade. With years of experience and research under his belt, he hopes to enlighten his readers with the wondrous mystery that surrounds the Elder Scrolls universe.

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