Elder Scrolls Lore » Discussions

The Dread Father and His Legacy

  • November 22, 2012


         Sithis. The utterance of this name brings thoughts of murder, assassins, and nothingness, but who -or what- is Sithis? You would think that there would be a literal TON of literature on him, but there isn’t. There is one true description and two stories (both are variations of the creation myth.) Sithis is neither an Aedra or Daedra, due to the fact he predates both. He is described as the embodiment of evil, yet at the same time, he is thought to be pure nothingness: a void. He is appeased by death, but he is not a god of death. In this Dossier, I will attempt to explain and show the reader (that‘s you) the legacy created by…well, nothingness.

    The Dark Brotherhood’s creation Myth

         In this beginning, There was Sithis. Nothing was before him, but the Aldmer have a couple names and revere the nothingness. One day (if you want to give a sense of time to this nothingness, you can call it so, but there was nothing during this phase, including time) Sithis torn into the nothingness and shred it to bits. He took the bits and mutated them into ideas, ‘out of a myriad of possibilities.’ The ideas grew and shrank and died, and everything was fine. Suddenly, an idea became jealous and wanted to last. This idea was the ‘demon’ Anui-El. Anui-El made friends, and they called themselves the Aedra. They started enslave all the other ideas and created realms of imperfection. Sithis created Lorkhan and sent him to destroy this universe that Anui-El and his friends had created. Lorkhan found the Aedric weakness: Each rebel was immeasurable, but through jealously and vanity they were separate. They were unwilling to go back to the nothing of before. So Lorkhan flooded The Void with his ideas, making himself look like them. (Sithis) His created ideas were Nirn, and the races of man believe him to be the one who created them, not the Aedra. Lorkhan infiltrated Anui-El and the Eight Givers, and deceived them into giving up their ideas’ divinity. When they found of his treachery, they killed him and hid his heart, since they could not destroy it for it was the heart of the world.


         In this rendering of the creation myth, Sithis is painted like a darker version of the Judeo-Christian God. He creates the universe out of nothing and everything was like it should be. When one of his creations broke the pattern, he changes things in order to punish them. Through this telling, readers can hear how much Sithis affected the creation. There wasn’t two brothers in the beginning (Sithis and Anu) like the generally accepted creation myth, there was just Sithis, and Anu was a rebellious creation. This telling piles on the emphasis that Sithis was the one who created all.

    Generally Accepted Creation Myth

         In the beginning there was nothing. Two Brothers -Sithis and Anu, Padamoy and Anui-El, It and Not It- were all that existed in this Void. After an eternity of nothingness, the brothers grew to dislike each other up to the point of violence. Through interplay, Nir was created. Sithis, jealous of his brother’s love to Nir, killed Nir and sundered Creation. Enraged, Anu gathered the remaining pieces of his life and fought against Sithis. Each drop of Sithis’ blood mutated and became a Daedra, while every drop of mixed blood became an aedra. After a prolonged scuffle, Anu forced Sithis and himself out of Time itself, so their fighting could continue without destroying any more.


         In this telling, Sithis is not alone in the beginning, he has a brother. Sithis is painted to be the chaotic, evil side of all life -his blood so chaotic it turns into the Aedra and Daedra!- while Anu represents the peaceful, good side of life. This version shows that instead of Lorkhan, ‘son’ of Sithis, creating the world, the world was created through interplay and violence. In this rendering, it seems to fit an altered tale that would spawn from one of the beginning races due to the violent nature of it. This version was probably created to intrigue the younger members of a tribe/race to the tale, and less to preserve the true.

         We have talked of his past, now let us delve into his future, The Legacy of The Dread Father.

    The Void

         Not much is known about The Void, Sithis’ fabled home. It is a cosmic realm of utter nothingness. In The Void, the Daedra of the realms of Oblivion spawn and where souls are sent when the body dies. As the first creation myth listed states, Sithis and the Void were here before all things. The Dark Brotherhood believe that every soul they kill is sent into The Void, and when they die, they will continue to serve in The Void. Even the sentient Hist trees, which are said to basically ‘recycle’ an Argonian’s soul to be used in another body, acknowledge and respect The Void. They offer up Argonians born under the Shadow to serve as Shadowscales to aid in filling The Void… Coincidence?

    The Night Mother

    The Blood Flower, Lady Death, The Unholy Matron, The Night Mother. Many names for one figure, but, yet again, one figure with many pasts. The Night Mother has many tales that surround who she is and her connection to the assassin guilds. Some say it is a title that is passed down from one woman, and occasionally man, to another. Others believe her to be Mephala, one of the first Daedra created. Through my research I have found two origin stories for this woman, and it is up to you, the reader, to decide what is true.

         The Thief Origin

         When the thieves’ guild was just beginning, a young thief of note proposed an idea. The thieves would sometimes strangle their sleeping marks so they are able to steal from the house freely. This lady suggested that they should have a sect for murder, since they already had groups of experts for everything else that they do. When the guild shut down this idea, she struck out on her own. She slowly went from thievery into the art of murder. To get her name out, she would crush two stones, one black one white, into her victim’s eyes. As she gained fame, she slowly started to pick up members of the Morang Tong after they started to fall, since she was the only other assassin’s guild of note. And thus is the tale of The Night Mother, thought to come from the Unholy Matron herself. (Sacred Witness)

         The Morang Tong Origin

         Once, there was a young dark elf girl. She was a prominent member of the Morag Tong, and skilled enough to receive the title of Night Mother: a title saved for the best female assassins. After the assassination of the last Potentate, the young woman claimed she heard a voice calling out to her. She said the voice was Sithis, and he was displeased. ‘The Void was hungry for more souls’ she claimed he said. To sate himself and the Void, Sithis visited the dark elf in her chamber and together, she begat five children. Two years later, this dark elf lady murdered the children, sending them to their father. The townspeople of Bravil heard of this and were outraged. They killed the woman and burned her house. And everyone thought she was gone forever… Thirty years later, an unnamed man started to hear a voice in his head. The voice called itself The Night Mother, and named him listener, the first of many. And thus is the tale of The Night Mother, supposedly passed down for the last 200 years within the ranks of the listeners. (The Night Mother‘s Truth)



    Through this Dossier, we have looked over Sithis, Lord of The Void. He can be seen as alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. He has inspired groups such as the Morang Tong, the Shadowscales, and the Dark Brotherhood. He had brought a single woman to serve as the bridge between the Void and Nirn, the Night Mother, who is in herself is a mystery. Though I have covered all I can here, there are many questions regarding the Dread Father and his Legacy: Since he was the only one in the beginning, did he create the Elder Scrolls? Is he just the only one of the Elder Scrolls gods - which Vix mentioned in her Elder Scrolls article- that is left? Why is he mentioned to have a twin in one myth, while in the other he is alone? What origin story concerning the Night Mother is true? All of these questions may always be left unanswered…(at least until Bethesda decides whether or not to elaborate more on the subject.)