Folklore: Brothers Blood

  • Long, long ago in the ancient days of Second Empire of Men where Tamriel was not yet one and where snake men walked the lands – a princess gave birth to two brothers. Twinborn, the elder was called, Regulus and the younger, Arcturus. Leaving their mother’s womb with their hands clutched together, this was seen as a good omen. It was a sign from the Gods that no matter rain or shine, thick or thin, good times and the bad; the brothers of shared blood and water have an unbreakable bond that not even the Gods themselves may shatter.

     

    When the princess revealed the brothers to the Empire, many cheered and welcomed the birth of their Empire’s heirs. Their celebrations however were interrupted when the prophets, sages, and astrologers bursts into the court. They brought grim tidings: the very day of the brother’s birth was the day of a partial eclipse; of Masser swallowing the sun. The prophets, sages, and astrologers foretold of a tragedy – that in the future one twin will kill the other. A future all but destined happen. In her wrath, the princess set the hounds on the unfortunate prophets, sages, and astrologers and forbade the court to speak of this prophecy ever again.

     

    The brothers of shared blood and water grew up as all brothers did. They fought and played, they laughed and cried, bruised and bled together. For most of their boyhood, Regulus and Arcturus was more than inseparable; Nay, they were not of two brothers but of one. The Empire looked on with warmth and pride of their growth all but promising a golden age for Tamriel and the Age of Men.

     

    All changed when the brothers reached their coming of age where their paths diverged. Regulus, the elder and thus heir grew skinny and bookish. Gone were the days where he spent many an afternoon in the training yard mastering the art of the sword. Now came the long hours where he buried himself neck deep with books and scrolls in the library. Arcturus, the younger and thus heir after Regulus grew to be a true warrior. Tall, strong, and handsome, Arcturus was a prodigy in the sword, spear, lance, and mace. Whilst Regulus locked himself in the Imperial archives, young Arcturus personally crushed won his first battle at the age of nineteen!

     

    The years go by and the Emperor, their father grew ill and death was upon him. Like the man himself, the Empire too was sickly, barely fending off incursions from Morrowind, Black Marsh, and the Summer Isles. Rebellion brewed within their borders as well with their perpetrators ranging from overambitious generals and opportunistic magistrates seeking to carve an empire of their own. It would seem that the Empire of Reman, the Second Empire of Men has seen its last days. On the Emperor’s deathbed, the court boldly and brazenly demanded that the Empire needed a warrior at its head, not a scholar. They demanded that mighty Arcturus be made Emperor and not bookish Regulus.

     

    ‘No,’ cried the Emperor. ‘It is only right that Regulus be Emperor for the Gods had made him the elder while they made Arcturus the younger. He is destined, in ways we cannot understand to bear the burden of my legacy and I shall hear of this no more!’ His last words spent, the Emperor died that very day and Regulus prepared for his coronation that very night.

     

    Before the ceremony, a group of courtiers approached Arcturus in private, some of them his closest friends. ‘Please, Arcturus,’ they begged. ‘Please! Seize the throne, take the reigns and save our Empire from ruin! We live in a time of axe and sword, of strife and conflict! We live not in a time of peace and wine, of art and scholarship. Please, assume the throne and save us all before this age of dark consumes us all!’

     

    Arcturus looked at the courtiers; respected men and women of the court and some his closest friends and spat. ‘You speak of treason!’ he said. ‘You speak of lies and worrymongering! Regulus is the elder and I am the younger. The Gods have saw fit to make it so and you dare question the very wisdom of the Gods? How dare you! You rascals, you disloyal swine! I denounce you with spit and bile! And how dare you demand that I betray my brother? We who share a bond of blood and water? We who are bound on the day we were born? We who destiny binds us? I shall spare you this day for I know your intentions mean well if misguided but I warn you – none of you shall harm but hair on my brother!’

     

    The conspirators looked to one another and spoke. ‘You speak of destiny? You speak of the will of the Gods? Very well for now we must reveal that destiny cuts both ways and that on the day of your births, two prophecies were made. One that you share a bond unbreakable by even the Gods. The second…. The second was of the eclipse, of Masser, the mightier moon swallowing the sun. The prophets, sages, and astrologers foretold of the day where one brother will – must kill the other. Aye, we shall not harm your brother for it is not in our destiny but yours!’

     

    Before Arcturus drew his sword to punish such traitors, he was summoned by his brother. Arcturus left; his mind heavy with their words. His heart torn with guilt for he on some level believed them to be true. The Empire needed not a scholar but a warrior. They needed not bookish Regulus but mighty Arcturus. Arcturus entered the throne room, the crown yet on his brother’s head.

     

    ‘Brother!’ Arcturus said. ‘I bring dark tidings. The enemy is in court! They whisper of lies and treachery! They seek to betray the wishes of father and the Gods: they wish to make me Emperor and not you. I say punish these traitors, punish them and be done with it!’

     

    Regulus leaned back and, in his eyes, Arcturus saw a well of wisdom behind them. Of a man who has heard these words many times before and has given them thought. ‘They are right brother, I agree,’ Regulus said. ‘The Empire needs not a scholar but a warrior. The Empire needs not bookish Regulus but mighty Arcturus. However, for as long as I shall live, you cannot be Emperor. For as long as I shall live, the Empire cannot have what it needs. I cannot abdicate for that is not our way but there is another…’

     

    Regulus drew his sword and as he did, the conspirators entered the room. ‘I know the truth brother,’ Regulus said. ‘I know of the omen, of Masser, the mightier moon swallowing the sun. I know of the prophecy, that we are destined to kill one another.’ He pointed his sword at his own heart. ‘Make it quick brother, do what must be done!’

     

    The conspirators knelt, heads touching the floor and wept. ‘It must be done, Arcturus!’ they chanted. ‘For the good of the Empire, it must be done!’

     

    Arcturus looked to the conspirators, intentions well but misguided and to Regulus. ‘Brother of shared blood and water,’ he said. ‘It is etched into the word of law that the younger cannot succeed before the elder. That if you live, I cannot assume the throne. I agree what must be done, that one must kill the other but I also believe we have been mistaken. That we have misunderstood the signs! Masser may of have been the mightier of the moons but it is also the elder. You have always have been destined to rule, destined to take my life. Brother… will you be my second?’

     

    Regulus with great sorrow agreed.

     

    ‘Listen all!’ Arcturus said, dropping to his knees. ‘Listen! Gods of the Eight and the Seventeen, listen!’ He readied his knife. ‘For the good of the Empire and for my brother, I, Arcturus offer you a sacrifice of my life and my blood! In exchange, I demand that you grant my brother my strength. That you grant my brother my prowess and my will to save the Empire!’

     

    With that, Arcturus tore open his own throat in the noblest of manners in accordance to Secare. Soon, Regulus held onto his brother’s neck and drove his sword in from collarbone to heart, granting his twin a dignified death. Cradling Arcturus to the ground, Regulus then stood up, back straighter and more regal. ‘The sacrifice has been made and we shall hear no more of this!’ he said, voice as firm and sure as his brother was. He pointed his bloodied sword at the conspirators. ‘I am Emperor now and there is no other. No other pretenders to my throne and as Emperor I promise you this: we may live in dark times and this is true but I shall lead you all to the dawn! Under my reign, we shall see the start of a golden age that will last ten generations but first I will hear you chant my name, Emperor Regulus!’

     

    The conspirators chanted and soon after, many were ordered to commit Secare, intentions well but treason was treason. The conspirators died honourably and their passing was wept with the same fervour as Arcturus was. In his reign, Regulus would send envoys to Morrowind, Black Marsh and the Summer Isles, establishing treaties that not only ended the incursions but also richen the Empire with new trade routes. In his reign, Regulus personally led his armies and crushed the rebels, sending overambitious generals and opportunistic magistrates to die a death of a thousand cuts – a punishment only fit for the worst of traitors. In his reign, Regulus would bear issue to many sons – the eldest, he named Arcturus.

     

    - From Regulus & Arcturus in Folk Tales and Heroes of Cyrodiil collected by the Storyteller's Guild of Cyrodiil

     

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Comments

1 Comment   |   Hasir and 1 other like this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  February 22
    Really enjoyed this. Like the prophesy although tragic...  Also liked ho the younger brother honoured his brother with his firstborn.