This is a sigil I created within my practice for the purpose of convoking and conducting the influence of the Elder Tree Mother.
The Elder Mother is an arboreal guardian figure in British, Germanic, and Scandinavian folklore, known by various names, such as the Danish Hyldemoer (“Elder Mother”) and the Lincolnshire names Old Lady or Old Girl. She is known as the protector of the Elder Trees, as well as the one who guards the door to the Otherworld—realm of the Faerie and/or the Dead. As such, she is associated with some of the darker mysteries and magics, especially in relation to the cycles of life, death and rebirth.
The Sylvan Gate, Sign of the Elder Mother, channels the primordial power of the Elder Tree Mother and ratifies it on Earth. I use this sigil when working with the genius of The Elders, for one purpose or another, but I also use it any time I see fit to work with the Elder Mother herself. As such, it is appropriate and useful when in it comes to any magic planted firmly in communion with the Otherworld, the Faerie, and/or the Dead. Self-enchantments for the second-sight, calling upon the Mighty Dead, and pacts with the Nefolion (Faeries, Spirits, etc.) are several examples of spellweaving that might benefit from the potency of the Elder Mother.
Mara is considered the mother-goddess and goddess of love. Some consider her as a universal goddess. Her origins started in mythic times as a fertility goddess. In Skyrim, Mara is a handmaiden of Kyne. In the Empire, she is Mother-Goddess. She is sometimes associated with Nir of the “Anuad,” the female principle of the cosmos that gave birth to creation. Depending on the religion, she is either married to Akatosh, or Lorkhan, or the concubine of both. She appears in nearly every culture’s pantheon in Tamriel.
Astrid: Listen, I don’t know what’s going on here, but you take your orders from me. Are we clear on that? The Night Mother may have spoken to you, but I am still the leader of this Family. I will not have my authority so easily dismissed.
This was a little thing that absolutely got away from me.
Aerys was pretty young when she was basically dragged into The Dark Brotherhood and being someone who grew up without a family she definitely latched onto Astrid’s “family” and got waaaay too attached, so when Astrid basically told her she preferred when Aerys didn’t exist to her it fucked her up really, really badly.
For as long as I can remember myself, it has rained in Armenia for April 24th. This year isn’t an exception.
Rest in Peace 1.5 million innocent men, women, kids, elders, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends, lovers. You did not deserve to die in anguish, and for your sacrifice you will
It’s the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
Why Oblivion’s Dark Brotherhood was way better than Skyrim’s
Dark Brotherhood was arguably one of the most memorial parts
of The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion. And as for
Skyrim’s, well, I’m convinced that if you took out the pure awesome idea of
killing the emperor, it suddenly falls very flat.
been obsessed with these two games lately. On my latest assassin play-through of
Oblivion, I downloaded Deepscorn Hollow, took the weapons of all my fallen
comrades after purifying the Cheydinhal Sanctuary and placed them in spots of honour
within my new home. Vicente’s claymore, whom I considered my mentor and closest friend after Lucien,
was in the pedestal of my bedchamber. I would’ve put Lucien’s there, but I
couldn’t find it after he was made into a meat hanging (thanks Mathieu, you fuck).
The Overall Organisation
to accept the idea of Skyrim’s guild being weaker. In fact, I think it’s a
great idea and even gives it more substance. But without the old ways, I’m
honestly not sure why the Dark Brotherhood exists at all. I’m not only talking
about the Black Sacrament going unheard, because the idea behind the Night
Mother goes a little deeper than that.
at Oblivion, and how Skyrim’s Dark Brotherhood failed to emulate it.
ways were a lot more than just a bunch of rules; the attitude that came with
them is what bound an unlikely collection of psychopaths together into what
they called a “family”. They’re the reason the assassins had such a fondness
for each other.
Let me give
you a quote from Lucien Lechance:
“Have you not heard of the Dark Brotherhood? Of
the remorseless guild of paid assassins and homicidal cutthroats? Join us, and
you’ll find the Dark Brotherhood to be all that, and so much more. We are, more
than anything, a union of like-minded individuals.”
that Lucien wants you to know that the Dark Brotherhood is a union. It’s kind
of like a “we’re all in this together” kind of way. And it’s not just tough love,
because the mythos of the Night Mother and the assassins being her children is
the reason for this family-like bond. Even as you join the brotherhood for the
first time in Oblivion, everyone (except Dar) welcomes you with open arms and overwhelming
support, because they know that you are now their brother, someone who has come
forward to adopt their strict ways of life. Like family, merely by being apart
of the brotherhood, you are already deserving of respect and affection, unless
you outright prove unworthy.
whole bond came from the old ways and the attitude it put into its subordinates.
Without this way of life (which Astrid refers to as ‘outdated’) why exactly is
everyone in Skyrim’s Dark Brotherhood apparently so close with one another? Why
do they consider themselves a family if they’ve apparently abandoned this life-style
and instead live as they see fit?
for example. He says “-the dark brotherhood saved me from myself.”
How? They’re just a bunch of cutthroats with a truce against each other. There’s
nothing binding these people together except for the fact that they’re all crazy and homicidal. You can describe them the same way you describe bandits.
Why do you, and the rest of these people, apparently have an unbreakable bond, if
you’ve abandoned the old way?
I get that
Skyrim’s Dark Brotherhood is different, and has purposely abandoned the old
ways, but without them it makes no sense that they would even have a reason to
call each other a “family”, which they do anyway. It almost downplays how Oblivion’s Dark Brotherhood
was so special. The game is saying that any bunch of jokers could become a
family as long as they didn’t kill each other and lived together in some place.
scalds you for not meeting the standard set by the original heros, I feel the
same way meeting Skyrim’s Assassins. Aside from Babette and Cicero, I don’t
really like any of them. I’ll explain each character, next to the character I
think they’re closest to in Oblivion.
By the way, I won’t cover Babette and Cicero, but I’ll quickly say this: Babette had
some questionable moments herself, but I forgave them because she was colourful.
And Cicero, well, it’s hard to dislike him after you read his journals, and see
the way he went to hell and back because of his devotion to his duty.
Now, I know
Astrid was a traitor, which makes a lot of people dislike her, but I’m going to
say that even before the quest Death Incarnate, or even before the quest The
Cure for Madness, she’s still kind of awful.
compare these two leaders by describing them without talking about their
appearance, abilities or roles.
simplest terms, Astrid was weak. But I’m not going to dwell on this any longer,
because in her case, it was intentional, and this is more salt than criticism.
Nazir. But there’s an issue here.
Vicinte’s role in the story was so genius relates back to what I said earlier,
about the old ways being essential to the dark brotherhood’s identity as a
family. Vicinte is your first quest-giver, and he tells you not to worry about him feeding on you, because the
needs of the dark brotherhood are too great. His role is a great way to
introduce to you the mentality behind the merry band of murderers.
time you met Nazir, well, he’s an asshole. I know he got better toward the end, but if truth be
told, respecting someone after they kill the emperor isn’t exactly a big thing
did grow on me, I’ll admit, but the role of these two characters kind of
represent my problem with the Skyrim Dark Brotherhood as a whole.
himself as the kranky old uncle that everyone should avoid. I mean, isn’t it a
contradiction to introduce yourself like this? It’s like going up to a random
stranger on the street and telling them to not talk to you, because you hate talking to
people you don’t know.
downright ignored you the entire time, but you could still seamlessly talk to
Festus about whatever you wanted. There wasn’t really any reason for him to be a
grumpy outsider and it never fit into the story.
on me about the same time that I grew on him, but his character is rather
uninspired. He’s just a grumpy man who likes being known as the grumpy man.
that family love right about now.
Veezara/Teinaava + Ocheeva
bad, but he wasn’t nearly as interesting as Teinaava or Ocheeva, who set a hard
bar to compete with.
are clearly well-connected, as Ocheeva has been trusted with leadership, and
Teinaava is tuned in enough with Argonia to know when and where to send you to
kill Scar-Tail. And you get the idea that they’re intelligent and well-travelled.
For example, Teinaava knows how to exploit Fort Sutch’s defences and how to
escape from Gaston Tussaud’s ship. Ocheeva even mentions completing a contract
on a ship at sea near Vvardenfel.
being a shadowscale, which was cool, Veezara didn’t have much going for him.
Ocheeva and Teinaava were very colourful. Most of Veezara’s conversations were
Tell me about yourself.
Well, I am a
shadowscale, and I was trained to kill.
How do you feel about Cicero and
I don’t know.
All I know is, I am a shadowscale, and I was trained to kill.
pretty much it.
You know it’s
cooler if you don’t go flaunting it around in everyone’s face.
Basically, make Veezara an Imperial or a Nord, and he will be far
really know what to say about Gabrielle, because I don’t know anything about
her. (I have the official game guide for Skyrim, and it has bios for every
character in the Dark Brotherhood. It doesn’t say much about Gabrielle.)
characters aren’t even that similar, except for the fact that they’re both Mer
had personality. She was eager to please and lusted after the chance to
advance in the guild, as seen by her disappointment by not being given the “special
assignment”. She also tried telling Gogron about the virtues of stealth, and in
doing so she was showing her loyalty to the old ways. However she also let her
guard down around Gogron because she had a soft-spot for him (and a wet spot too,
or so Gogron claims). It made her seem well connected and apart of the family,
and not just a shoe-in to have an archer in the assassin’s guild.
even know she was an archer until I destroyed the Dark Brotherhood in another profile.
I killed Gabrielle’s pet spider and used its venom to poison her, and then I
cut her head off of and threw it in the pond.
characters both fit in the role of “ignorant warrior who just likes to kill”.
Gogron likes you from the start, Arnbjorn is an asshole but becomes nicer (am I noticing a pattern here?).
ignorance made him charming, because he was just in the Dark Brotherhood doing
what he loved, and he was happy to talk to you even if he wasn’t completely clear
on what he was doing.
about the night mother: “All I know is, she pays me to kill people. My own
mother should’ve loved me so.”
Arnbjorn is ridiculed about disrespecting the night mother: “Keep talking little
man, and we’ll see who gets punished.”
One of them
isn’t aware of his ignorance, and it makes him likeable. One of them embraces
what little he knows, which makes him annoying.
mention, why exactly did Arnbjorn dislike you, only to end up respecting you
towards the end of the questline? Apparently it’s because you “proved yourself
time and time again” but if he was just distrusting of your competence, why
wasn’t his wife’s testimony enough? Or, killing Alain and his gang, or
Each time I
do The Purification, it’s completely heartbreaking. For Death Incarnate, I don’t
Arnbjorn! I hope you skip the Hunting Grounds and go straight to BURNING IN HELL!
me I won’t need to try hard to prove this point.
assassinations were all very basic. You had a bunch of side missions, where you
killed targets who weren’t going anyway. And, you also had the main quests. There were no unique ways to kill any of your targets, and no extra effort
required for any of them, except for thinking about an escape.
assassinations were all so incredible and memorable. Even the most basic one
involved smuggling yourself onto a ship to kill the captain and escaping
through the back.
also the quest where you became a sleuth and tracked down an Altmer skooma addict, or another where
you were invited to a party and had to murder each guest (or turn them against
each other), or there was infiltrating an occupied military fort, and the prison
you started the game in.
purification, which broke everyone’s hearts, I will speak no more about.
favourite part, defeating the members of the Black Hand. Replaying the quest
knowing who these targets REALLY are makes each of them seem like a legend in
their own right.
the Khajiit martial artist who could kill with his enemies without being armed.
Shaleez, the Argonian huntress (who is probably also a shadowscale) who made her
lair in an abandoned flooded mine. Alval Uvani, the travelling Dunmer wizard who is a
master of destruction. Havilstein Hoar-Blood, the Nord barbarian residing in
the mountains, who is probably strong enough to send you down the mountain in a
single swing of his axe (or was it a hammer?). And finally, we come to the
listener, Ungolim. The Bosmer archer who has by now been anticipating you, and whose hunter-like instincts make him detect you before you strike.
as it was to learn that you killed even more of your comrades, you learned that each of them was a formidably
killer with deadly prowess, not only making them worthy targets of a
highly-trained assassin, but the perfect leaders for the shadowy organisation.
anything that memorable in Skyrim’s Dark Brotherhood?
You fought against some
Imperial agents, I guess. You fought Alain.
The end :/
I know most
people probably already agreed with me on these points, but I just wanted to
get them settled. Hopefully in the next Elder Scrolls game, the brotherhood is
strong with the old ways again, and not everyone dies.