The Wages of Daedra Worship
A Parable by Velus Perus
Scholar of the Imperial University
“Be strong, little ones,” a Dunmer mother whispered conspiratorially to her three children, tucking them gingerly into their shared bedroll, “For the strong are richly rewarded by our Prince.”
“And how do we show our strength?” asked the boy through a yawn, eyes lidded by the pull of sleep.
“By showing no weakness,” the mother replied.
“And what is weakness?” the youngest daughter asked with eyes all aglow, ever eager to learn more of their dark god.
“The answer is simple enough, my dear. Any act that is not in accordance with Boethiah’s teachings; mercy, kindness, honesty, compassion for the destitute, and obeisance to the unworthy rulers of Men and Mer, the list goes on. Such folly is unnatural, and incites the displeasure of our Prince.”
“I see,” whispered her youngest, as the others drifted into slumber, “Then is love not also a weakness?”
The mother nodded idly, her mind elsewhere, “Anything may be a weakness, such that it does not serve to glorify the Prince of Deceit.”
Some years later, when her youngest child was just of age, the mother gathered her children and ventured to Boethiah’s shrine.
“Now, children, I will show you how best to honor our Prince,” the mother declared, lining her two daughters and son before her. They gazed at her earnestly, having dreamt of this day for years. The youngest, in particular, was enamored with the dark powers bestowed through servitude to the Prince.
“One of you shall die,” their mother continued, her face a mask of stoicism, though pride tinged her blood-red eyes, “In the name of our Prince, one of our blood shall perish, so that it’s purity may be preserved— sent writhing, prematurely, to dwell in eternal servitude of our Lord, amidst the tumultuous strife of Attribution’s Share –to ensure our name remains in high esteem. This is the sacrifice I have chosen: our homage, our penance. I will leave the decision to you— whosoever amongst you is declared weakest shall be put to the sword.” As she spoke, she handed a blade to each child and shooed them away, to consult amongst each other while she rested herself upon a large stone.
Minutes whirled by as the children mumbled animatedly, grandiose gestures punctuating their constant discussion, when at last they presented themselves before their mother, blades glimmering in their still-smooth hands.
“It is decided,” piped the youngest, beaming with pride.
“Excellent! Who among you is to be slain for the glory of our Prince?”
“None,” the girl answered, her head tilted inquisitively to the side.
“What?!” her mother roared, sneering, and drew menacingly close.
“None among us are to die,” her daughter lilted with natural ease, an impish laugh flitting smoothly off her tongue, its delicate notes echoing softly through the mountainside, “for the taint of weakness does not spoil our blood. No, that ruin of frailty does not lie with us. It is you, mother, who is weakest. You must die.”
Their mother’s lips had barely time to curl in fearful disdain as they set upon her, blades drawn. There, before the shrine of their cursed Prince, was a mother slain by her own young children in the name of darkness. And as the blood of his unjustly-slain servant seeped deeply into the thirsty soil, staining it a mournful hue of crimson, the cruel Prince Boethiah was well pleased.
Children of the Nine.
Deny the Divines, and
you, too, shall be denied.