The Elder Scrolls

My Theory on Titus Mede II’s Assassination (Long)

Spoilers naturally

This'll be kinda long but I've wanted to talk about this for some time and I believe this is probably the best place to do it. Throw this out there. See what people think of it and naturally, see what holes people poke in it. But this is my personal theory on both who ordered the assassination of Emperor Titus Mede II and why they wanted him dead. And I believe it to be the Elder Council themselves in preparation for the 2nd Great War with the Thalmor. Let me go into why.

1st: Can we connect the Elder Council to Amaund Motierre? Yes. Remember he gives us an Elder Council amulet as initial payment for the Dark Brotherhood. But he could've stolen it right? Yes that's possible but there are a few things that I think go against the idea that it was stolen. We are expressly told (By Delvin I believe) that each amulet is made custom for each member of the EC. And the thing about an EC amulet, is that alone carries a lot of weight throughout the Empire. Present that amulet to the right people and an EC member can open all kinds of doors. Alternatively, if the member is unable to do it themselves, give it to an assistant and get them to open some doors. Surely if an EC amulet had been stolen that would be reported throughout the Empire so that the thief can't use it to gain special access, thereby making the amulet effectively worthless? Furthermore, I do believe that the Thieves' Guild, even in their limited capacity in Skyrim, would be well aware if something as valuable as an EC amulet had been stolen, if that had been reported. For those reasons, I believe an EC member willinging gave Amaund his amulet to use as payment. Why Amaund? Well his family has some history with the DB and so would likely know how to get in touch with them. Furthermore, his family is no doubt quite wealthy and well connected. Wouldn't surprise me if he had some connection to the EC and, since he himself is not a member, he could order to hit with the DB without arousing too much suspicion like an EC member would.

2nd: Why? As I stated at the top of this post. The 2nd Great War with the Thalmor. The Empire is gearing up for round 2. That is pretty much confirmed by multiple Imperial members in Skyrim, including General Tulius himself at the end of the civil war questline. And we know the Thalmor wanted the civil war to continue to keep the Empire in a weakened state. Its obvious the two nations are racing to be ready for the next war first to gain an early advantage. So a 2nd Great War is coming. But what does that have to do with Titus? Well he is the Emperor. The Emperor that surrendered to the Thalmor at the end of the first war. Not only is he the figurehead of the Empire, he is also technically its supreme military commander. He commands the military. It fights when he orders it. And who is going to follow the Coward Emperor into battle? Starting off a 2nd Great War with the guy who lost the first is not a good way to get early support for the war effort. Sure Titus could prove himself to be a competent leader and win back respect, but that's a big risk. The Empire got pretty well thrashed in the first GW. They know they need every advantage possible to ensure victory against the Thalmor. Including, the support of the public for the war's leader. The Emperor. I believe that the EC wants the 2nd GW but they know they can't have the war with Titus still as Emperor. He has to go so that the Empire has a better chance. But wouldn't the lack of an Emperor leave the Empire even weaker? I don't believe so.

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3rd: I think the EC already has a replacement for Titus lined up and ready to go. We know from Oblivion that when an Emperor dies and leaves no heir, the EC will temporarily run the Empire until a new Emperor can be selected. Now does Titus have an heir? No clue. As far as I know, there is no information on whether Titus has any children. But I don't think it'd be too far fetched to say that he doesn't. Or if he does, those children have no claim to the throne for whatever reason. Likely political. Titus seems like a pretty calm and smart guy. I wouldn't put it past him to recognise his own unpopularity and decide not the have any children, essentially hitting the reset button on the throne so it can be passed to a more popular ruler. So while that is speculation, I don't think its too far fetched to say that Titus has no heir's and therefore, when he dies, there will be no one to take the throne and the EC will run the Empire. But I don't think the EC themselves are planning on running the Empire. Trying to wage a war without a clear military leader is a bad idea. The EC know that. I think they would already have selected a replacement for who they want the next Emperor to be. This new Emperor can come into power without the stigma of being associated to Titus. He is not the son of the coward nor the chosen successor of the coward. He is new. He is fresh. He is a clean slate to help draw in additional support for the war from the Imperial public.

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4th: Why use the DB to do the job? Accountability along with a little surprise. Whoever killed the Emperor had to be disconnected from the Empire itself. Otherwise that would raise doubts about who ordered the hit. But the DB? They are independent. Anyone can hire them. You just gotta know how to contact them. There is no paper trail to lead you back to the EC. And why use a slowly fading guild of assassins that seems to have disappeared from most of the Empire? Because they are fading. What better way to gain infamy, and deflect blame, than for a dying guild of assassins to kill the Emperor out of the blue. Need to get word of mouth spreading about your organisation? Do something big. Something that people won't forget. And it offers a nice excuse for why the DB would assassinate the Emperor that the EC can use. Hell, maybe they used a dying organisation cause they planned on putting the final nail in its coffin afterwards? But that's just pure speculation on my part. And as for the surprise part, you don't want your soon to be enemy to have any advanced notice that the head of state was going to die. That gives a window to attack. Hence why you use an disconnected organisation that makes it seem like random chance the Emperor died. That way your enemies cannot be prepared to take advantage of the situation.

So the sequence of events go something like this. The Empire is gearing up for a second GW with the Thalmor. The armies are preparing. Weapons and armor are being made. Treaties are being signed and support is growing. But there is one problem. The leader. The EC knows they can't wage another war with Titus as Emperor. Its too risky. So they need him to go. But not step down and hand the throne to another. That'd simply pass on the stigma to the chosen successor. The Emperor must die unexpectedly. So the EC use Amaund Motierre, whom already has some connection to the DB, to plot his assassination. Amaund enlists the DB and begins making preparations for the Emperor's arrival. They kill the Emperor's cousin, helping to make it look like a Stormcloak assassination. Amaund knows at that point, the EC can pressure the Emperor to travel to Skyrim as a show of unity or strength. Either way, the EC convince the Emperor to travel to Skyrim, right to the jaws of the beast. The Emperor dies as expected and with no heir, the EC are able to select whomever they want to be the next Emperor. Wiping the slate clean for the 2nd GW.

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But to finish this off, I believe the Emperor knew about this the whole time. Titus comes off as being a rather intelligent man. I think he knew what was going on the whole time. He knew the EC wanted him dead so they could select a new Emperor. He knew that going to Skyrim would be his death as the DB would be waiting for him. But he wasn't worried. Because he agreed with it all. He'd been preparing the Empire for the next war, but he knew he could never lead it. He knew how unpopular he was amongst the public. He knew that if the Empire was to win the next war, he had to go. So he accepted his fate and travelled to Skyrim, prepared to die. And although Commander Maro and Astrid nearly foiled the whole plan, things ultimately panned out the way it was meant to. The only loose end was Amaund himself. He was the only loose thread in the plan. Amaund would never kill himself. The EC knew that and so did the Emperor. So rather than risk Imperial assassins killing him or him being arrested, all potentially revealing the truth of what happened, Titus decided to tie off that knot himself by asking us to kill Amaund. And with that, my theory is done.

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