Please read this first.

Welcome! This blog is devoted to considerations of morality in the The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Bethesda. Rather than a fansite, review, or walkthrough, it is a serious attempt to examine the game through a moral lens. Please note that the purpose of this blog is to discuss morality within the context of the game, not to determine whether playing the game is immoral in and of itself; the latter type of "discussion" tends toward tedium and inhibits, rather than promotes, a meaningful conversation.

If you have not visited this blog before, it might be helpful to read the posts labeled "Orientation," most of which are the first few entries in the blog archive (see right). These posts include a short introduction to this project, a content-specific author bio, and a few other pieces that explain key concepts relevant to this study. These posts are of particular use to those readers less familiar with Skyrim (or video games in general).


If you have visited this blog before, thanks and welcome back!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Dark Brotherhood, Part 2 (The First Contracts) (Katnys)

Joining the Dark Brotherhood marked a significant turning point for Katnys; although she felt a deep sisterhood with Jenassa, she hadn’t experienced a real family since the Empire abandoned the Evyrdenes to the Thalmor’s tender mercies.  The presence of a Dunmer and a Redguard in their ranks didn’t hurt, either.  While her interest in the Brotherhood started with daydreams of assassinating Imperial officials, she quickly realized that this family was going to help her heal one of her deepest wounds.

Therefore, when Nazir offered Katnys her first contracts, she was genuinely conflicted.  Until now, she had not killed anyone in whom she wasn't personally "invested." Slaughtering legionaries and Thalmor was a joy, and killing bandits was an act of self-preservation; even at Pinewatch, her preemptive strike, while brutal, was born out of fear.  Sticking Grelod while she was as helpless as the kids she tormented -- well, that just plain felt good.  And Vasha...if half of what he said was true, then he deserved his end. 

But if Katnys was being honest with herself, she had to admit that there was something...liberating about killing on Astrid's orders.  Ever since her parents died, Katnys had shouldered the burden of taking care of herself and her sister.  She made every decision -- leaving the orphanage, finding the Alik'r, going back to Windhelm.  It was that last decision that led to Prym's death.  She was ready to let someone else make the decisions for a while.  And now that the "someone else" was a Redguard who dressed and behaved just enough like an Alik'r, she could find a way to do anything that he asked.

Still, the first three contracts Nazir gave her were hard to stomach. True, these targets were nothing to her, but killing a random mine boss, a paranoid ex-miller, and a grief-deranged beggar without knowing the reason was going to be tough.  It was clear that she wasn't going to get explanations; she was going to have to trust her new family and do as they asked.

Katnys decided to start with the hardest one: Narfi.  Though she didn't encounter him when she passed through Ivarstead on her way to High Hrothgar, she had heard a few rumors about the simpleton who was searching for his sister, who had either abandoned him, died, or both.  With her gone, he was probably better off dead anyway.  Katnys decided that a quick bowshot from a distance would be the most humane exit for this poor bastard.

After Narfi, Ennodius Papius was not as difficult.  While not as pathetic as Narfi, Papius was just as miserable, endlessly jumping at shadows.  Killing him seemed almost merciful.

Beitild came last, and was the easiest target.  The business between her and her husband seemed like it was going to end in bloodshed anyway.  Killing her probably prevented innocent people from getting caught in the crossfire.

After she returned to the Sanctuary, Katnys collected her reward from the sardonic Redguard, then took some time to think.  Murder was becoming easier to justify with each contract, and she needed to decide if this was a good thing.