The Night Mother (also known as the Blood Flower or the Lady Death) is the bride of Sithis, the Dread Father of the Dark Brotherhood. Those who wish to have someone assassinated pray to the Night Mother by performing the Black Sacrament, and she extends their requests to her Listener, who in turn passes the task on to the Speakers. It is debatable whether she was a real person or if she is the Lucky Old Lady of Bravil.
According to Dark Brotherhood beliefs, she is wife of Sithis, but was told by Sithis to kill her five young children in his name. After the deed was done, Sithis gave her the honor of being his wife and being the head of the Dark Brotherhood.[source?]
The Night Mother is likely to have lived during the Second Era, as indicated in the in-game book The Brothers of Darkness. In Oblivion, her tomb is located underneath the Lucky Old Lady statue in Bravil. There are skeletal remains of one adult and five children in her tomb. This takes into account her children in Dark Brotherhood beliefs. The Night Mother might also be the same person as the Lucky Old Lady.
One indication of this is that the Lucky Old Lady is surrounded by five children. However, the woman depicted by the statue was said to have lived in the First Era. The Night Mother has also been credited as an incarnation of Daedric Prince Mephala, whereas she is also identified as Severa Magia in Morrowind during the Third Era. Before this, in Daggerfall, the Night Mother is identified simply as an immortal spirit with the likeness of a Redguard woman.
While the Night Mother has certainly had relations to Morag Tong, it is questionable if she has even been the same person all along. The Brothers of Darkness suggests that The Night Mother is merely a title for the leaders of Morag Tong. She has most definitively made business in the first era, as suggested by 2920, vol 07 - Sun's Height, with Sotha Sil, a member of the Psijic Order. Literature of the same year, but in Evening Star, says "the Night Mother stroking her daughter's hair" the daughter being Corda, a Redguard. This suggests the Night Mother was either a Redguard herself, or has had affections with one.
At one point in history, when working with the Thieves Guild to gain popularity for the Dark Brotherhood, she has been described as "a little old lady with fluffy white hair, cheeks like wrinkled apples that still carried the flush of youth, friendly eyes, blue as the Iliac Bay." by a witness. This suggests a human race, most likely Imperial, Nord, Breton or the like.
According to Sacred Witness, she was a member of the Thieves Guild, around the time when it was just beginning. She was one of many at the time that found it easier to just strangle the occupant of the house, rather than go through the bother of sneaking the entire time.
She suggested the Guild have a special group of those who specialized in such a task, just as there were for pickpocketing, lock-picking, fencing, etc., but they decided encouraging murder would be bad for business and refused. However, realizing the possible profits from killing for hire, the Night Mother began performing assassinations, and left a calling card of two stones, one white and one black, in each eye. The following she developed did not become the Morag Tong, however. It was at this point that the Dark Brotherhood was born.
According to her supposed words, the Morag Tong existed long before her time, and she merely took on those members that split from the group after the murder of the last Potentate, as she was "the only other murder syndicate of any note." According to the editor's note at the end of the book, the book was originally published anonymously, but that anyone can recognize the familiar writing and cadence of Enric Milres. It goes on to say that shortly after the publishing of this book, Milres was found "strangled, and two stones, a black one and a white one, crushed into his eye-sockets. Very brutally."
For prospective clients to contact the Dark Brotherhood, they would carry out a ritual called the Black Sacrament. This ritual would inform the Night Mother of their intentions to have someone killed. When the Listener of the Black Hand prays to the Lucky Old Lady statue in Bravil, the Night Mother will inform the Listener about the location of those prospective clients. The Listener would then relay this information to Speakers of the Black Hand.
Role in history
During the Third Era, the Night Mother appears to the Black Hand in ethereal form after the Brotherhood was desecrated by one its Speakers. Mathieu Bellamont attempted to attack her, to no avail, during this quest. The Hero of Kvatch might have been present during the event, serving as Silencer to Lucien Lachance up until his death and being the sole agent behind the systematic murder of the other Silencers, and the Listener, Ungolim.
Although the Hero may have been responsible for the death of so many guild members, the Night Mother knew the Hero's loyalty lay with her and forgave them, allowing them to remove whatever treasures they wanted from her tomb.
In 4E188, the Bravil Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary was raided. Listener Alisanne Dupre and the Speakers were burned to death, though the Night Mother's corpse remained intact, and was taken to the Cheydinhal Sanctuary. The fate of her children's bodies is unknown.
During the Dragon Crisis, the Night Mother is delivered to the sanctuary by Cicero, the Keeper and self-made enthusiastic jester who can be helped before joining the Dark Brotherhood. Years after the death of the last Listener, Cicero brought the Night Mother to Falkreath, where Astrid's Dark Brotherhood existed.
If the Dragonborn became a member of the Brotherhood, they were spoken to by the Night Mother when eavesdropping on Cicero, thus becoming her new Listener. Although sad that he was not named as Listener, Cicero remains faithful to the Night Mother and the new Listener.
Threatened by both the Night Mother's authority and the new Listener, Astrid discourages the Dragonborn from fulfilling a contract imparted on them by the Night Mother. Later, Cicero attacked Astrid for defying the Night Mother's wishes and fled to the Dawnstar Sanctuary.
While the Dragonborn was attempting to kill the Emperor, Astrid contacted Commander Maro, to restore her order, by informing him that the Dragonborn would be attempting to kill the Emperor, where Maro set a trap to kill the Listener.
After the failed assassination, the Listener flees back to the Sanctuary, where most of the Brotherhood's members have been killed in an attack by the Penitus Oculatus. Although Nazir was saved, there was no way out of the exploding Sanctuary, so the Night Mother asks her Listener to "embrace" her, as this was the only way they would be able to survive.
After the destruction of the Falkreath Sanctuary, Nazir pulls the Night Mother's coffin from the lake in the destroyed Sanctuary, and the Night Mother tells the Listener to go find Astrid, who is still within the Sanctuary. After being found, Astrid confesses that she is the one to blame for everything that has happened, and for the Listener to kill her, as she made herself the Black Sacrament.
Afterward, the Night Mother speaks to her Listener again, telling them that the contract must still be fulfilled. As the Listener tracks down and kills the real Emperor, Nazir and Babette, who also survived the attack on the Sanctuary, move with the Night Mother to the Dawnstar Sanctuary, where the Dark Brotherhood was started anew.
- As noted in a quest for the Morag Tong in Vvardenfell, Grandmaster Eno Hlaalu refers to a target named "Severa Magia" as the "Night Mother" of the Dark Brotherhood. It is unknown if this is the same Night Mother, or whether it was simply a title given to the head of the Brotherhood family in Vvardenfell.
- The Night Mother appears in Oblivion and Skyrim. However, in Morrowind, Severa Magia is the local Night Mother of the Dark Brotherhood. Despite this, the Night Mother in Oblivion identifies herself as the only Night Mother.
- When hitting the corpse of the Night Mother in Skyrim with a weapon, blood may burst out similar to other characters.
- If the Night Mother's metal coffin (but not the corpse) is shot with a bow enchanted with Soul Trap, the coffin will give off a purple glow likewise as if you had successfully hit any other living entity with the Soul Trap spell.
- In Skyrim, the Night Mother is voiced by Lani Minella. Minella also voices Nocturnal and several female Dunmer.
- Despite her being known as a Dunmer, her preserved corpse, mostly her ears and skin color, appear completely human.
- In Skyrim, it appears that the Night Mother has a degree of control over her coffin, as both times when the player enters the coffin, the doors shut behind them, and the coffin is too small for the player to turn around to close the doors themselves.
- When inside the Night Mother's coffin during "Whispers in the Dark," the Night Mother will state that the player is sharing her "iron tomb," indicating that her coffin is made out of iron. However, Cicero writes in his journal that the Night Mother's coffin is made of stone, which contradicts the Night Mother's statement.
- It appears that the body of the Night Mother is not just a channel for her spirit to speak through; she will mention during "Whispers in the Dark" that the player character's body "warms my ancient bones," which could mean that she can perceive temperatures.
- During "Death Incarnate," the Night Mother asks the player to "embrace" her, and closes the tomb doors behind them. However, when submerged in the Sanctuary's pond, the player does not drown (regardless if Argonian or not), pointing to the Night Mother's coffin as both water-proof and air-tight.