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The Black Hand, symbol of the Dark Brotherhood

The Black Hand is the ruling body within the Dark Brotherhood. It is a council made up of four Speakers and one Listener, representing four fingers and a thumb.[1] The Listener is an individual chosen by the Night Mother to guide the Dark Brotherhood. Only the Listener can hear the Night Mother's voice, believed by the Brotherhood to represent the will of Sithis.[2] The Black Hand is responsible for overseeing the Brotherhood's sanctuaries, among other duties.[3] Members of the Black Hand are identified by their distinct black robes.[4]

Although unknown to most members of the Dark Brotherhood, the Black Hand does employ additional members. Each Speaker possesses their own Silencer, personal assassins who represent the nail of each finger and act in accordance with their Speaker's orders.[1] The Black Hand may also on occasion appoint a Keeper, a guardian whose sole duty is to safeguard the Night Mother.[5]


Circa 3E 433, the Speaker Mathieu Bellamont betrayed the Dark Brotherhood by manipulating Lucien Lachance's Silencer into eliminating half the other members of the Black Hand. Lucien was killed for his supposed treachery, and the Black Hand carried out the ritual of awakening to consult directly with the Night Mother. Bellamont's betrayal was revealed in the Night Mother's crypt in Bravil, resulting in his death.[6]

Following Uther Nere's attack on the Dark Brotherhood in 4E 188,[7] the guild in Cyrodiil went into decline until it was down to one member, namely the Keeper Cicero.[8] Cicero transported the Night Mother to the final active sanctuary—the Falkreath Sanctuary in Skyrim—circa 4E 201, allowing for a new Listener to be chosen.[8][9]



  • Mephala is described by the Morag Tong as having black hands, even sometimes being referred to as "Black Hands Mephala".[10]
  • The Black Hand symbol bears a resemblance to the Hand of Death symbol used by the Assassins League.[11][12]

See AlsoEdit