Cicero is an eccentric jester and the Keeper of the Night Mother's coffin. He is found on the road north of Whiterun, near Loreius Farm, transporting the coffin of his "mother." After confrontation, he may be found within the Falkreath Sanctuary or the Dawnstar Sanctuary, depending on the Dragonborn's progress through the Dark Brotherhood questline. He is the secondary antagonist of the Dark Brotherhood questline.
Widely regarded as bothersome, obnoxious, strange, and insane, Cicero sports flamboyant attire and often speaks with a high-pitched voice. Cicero speaks to both himself and the Night Mother's remains often, and as such, he is considered mad. As Keeper of the Night Mother, Cicero takes his vocation very seriously, willing to wound or kill anyone who questions or ignores the Night Mother's authority, although he was not always like this; as evident from his first two journals, before becoming Keeper, Cicero was quite sane, comparatively speaking. His final contract involved killing a jester, and slowly, while most of his fellow assassins were being killed in Cyrodiil, Cicero descended into madness, obsessing over the jester, and adopting aspects of the jester's persona.
While traveling north of Whiterun, the Dragonborn may encounter a peculiar man in a jester's outfit with a broken-down cart. It turns out his name is Cicero and he will beseech them to aid him, stating he needs repairs for his wagon wheel to move his mother's (The Night Mother's) corpse to a new burial site.
Cicero is suspected of treason against the Dark Brotherhood when he continuously locks himself in a room with the Night Mother. He can be heard mumbling, but no one can hear what he is saying. Suspecting that Cicero and another member of the brotherhood are conspiring to betray the other members, Astrid sends the Dragonborn to investigate. The Dragonborn hides in the Night Mother's coffin, eavesdropping on Cicero and his conspirator. While hiding, the Dragonborn learns that Cicero is, in fact, speaking to the Night Mother's remains, although she does not speak back; his private sessions with her were his attempts to verify himself as being the Listener, the one person who can hear the Night Mother speak. Shortly after this discovery, the Dragonborn hears the Night Mother's voice, becoming the Listener. Exiting the coffin, Cicero at first suspects the Dragonborn of defiling the Night Mother's remains, but soon realizes that she has selected the Dragonborn as the Listener. Bitter that he was not made Listener, he still congratulates the Dragonborn.
Astrid barges into the room, accusing Cicero of conspiring against the Brotherhood. Cicero explains that the Dragonborn is the new Listener; however, despite this Astrid gets ready to attack him. Violence is averted when the Dragonborn explains that the Night Mother spoke to them. Astrid sends the Dragonborn on several contracts, until she can sort out the mess.
After killing Gaius Maro on his inspection route, the Dragonborn returns to the Falkreath Sanctuary, finding Veezara wounded, Arnbjorn missing, and Astrid quite disgruntled. In a fit of defiance, Cicero attacked Astrid for challenging the Night Mother's authority, but was intercepted by Veezara. Surviving the skirmish, Cicero fled to the Dawnstar Sanctuary, Arnbjorn following close behind. Arriving at the sanctuary, the Dragonborn finds Arnbjorn bleeding heavily and searches the sanctuary for Cicero. Battling through several Spectral Assassins, the Dragonborn finds Cicero, wounded and babbling. The Dragonborn has the option to kill Cicero, but if they decide not to, Cicero remains at the Dawnstar Sanctuary, even after the Penitus Oculatus destroys the Falkreath Sanctuary.
Cicero has five journals that are scattered throughout his room at the Falkreath Sanctuary, telling the story of his slow descent into madness.
As is detailed by his journals, Cicero was once a member of the Bruma Sanctuary before it was destroyed and later a member of the Cheydinhal Sanctuary, and was renowned for his cloak-and-dagger killing style. He mentions riots in Bravil leading to the death of Alisanne Dupre, the Night Mother's previous Listener, and the desecration of the Night Mother's crypt beneath The Lucky Old Lady. Voted Keeper of the Night Mother by the remaining Brotherhood members, Cicero fulfilled one last contract before starting his new duties; he was scheduled to kill a jester, with whom he slowly became obsessed. His attire and flamboyant manner mimic this jester.
He ordered Garnag, a fellow Brotherhood assassin, to murder Rasha, a member of the Black Hand, who had falsely claimed to be the next Listener. Eventually, through the months after the last Listener's death, the remaining Brotherhood members left the Sanctuary to look for contracts or food and never returned, leaving Cicero trapped alone in the Cheydinal Sanctuary. Eventually, he grew more and more insane from obsessing over his last kill, isolation, and due to trying to talk to the Night Mother and become her Listener. Eight years later, he wrote letters to Astrid in Skyrim to appeal for sanctuary, fleeing from Cheydinhal to Skyrim with the Night Mother's coffin.
|Show: Delayed Burial|
|Near the Loreius Farm:
"Agh! Bother and befuddle! Stuck here! Stuck! My mother, my poor mother. Unmoving. At rest, but too still!"
"The farmer is at his farm! Where else would he be? Loreius is his name. Talk to him. Convince him to help poor Cicero."
"I will wait for Loreius! Oh yes, mother and I will wait right here, right here until he fixes our wheel."
|Show: Arriving in the Sanctuary|
|In the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary:
"Wait, oh wait. I know you! Yes, yes. From the road! Cicero never forgets a face."
If approached again:
"Cicero can talk for a moment. Just a moment. Then Mother must be... tended to."
|Show: Whispers In The Dark:|
|In the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary:
"What? What treachery! Defiler! Debaser and defiler! You have violated the sanctity of the Night Mother's coffin! Explain yourself! Speak, worm!"
After becoming the Listener:
"You are the Listener! You are the Listener! I have served mother well, I have!"
|Show: The Cure for Madness|
|Inside the Dawnstar Sanctuary:
"Litener! Is that you? Oh, I knew you'd come. Send the best to defeat the best. Astrid knew her stupid wolf couldn't slay sly Cicero."
When encountering the first Sanctuary Guardian:
"Oh, but this isn't at all what Mother would want. You kill the Keeper or I kill the Listener? Now that's madness."
At the spike trap:
"Ouch! Pointy pointy! My home is well defended. I always have been a stickler for details. Get it? "Stick-ler." Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh, I slay me!"
After passing through the firepot room:
"You're... still alive. Cicero respects the Listener's abilities, of course, but could you at least slow down a bit? I'm not what I used to be. Heh."
Near the Udefrykte:
"Brrr! Chilly! You'll enjoy this. Not an original part of the Sanctuary, per se. Let's call it a "forced addition." Forced by what? Oh, come and see!"
At the Udefrykte:
"All right, so Cicero attacked that harlot, Astrid! But what's a fool to do, when his mother is slandered and mocked? Surely the Listener understands!"
In the burial rooms:
"Cicero admits, he thought the Listener would be dead by now. Heh. Maybe we could just forget all this? Hmm? Let bygones be bygones? What do you say?"
While exiting the burail rooms:
"If it's any comfort, I do feel slightly bad about Veezara. Stupid lizard got in the way! But please tell me that hulking sheepdog has bled to death."
In front of Cicero's room:
"And now we come to the end of our play. The grand finale."
When approaching Cicero:
"You caught me! I surrender! Ha ha ha ha."
If approached again:
"Do what you will. Cicero has no fight left. In the end, Sithis will judge us both."
"Ha ha! Behold the final trick of the Fool of Hearts! You think me near death? Think again!"
"Stab you, stab you, stab you!"
While being hit:
"Is that the best the Listener can do?"
|Show: Cicero's return:|
|Outside the Dawnstar Sanctuary:
Guard: "You there! Fool! Hold fast. You've been accused of a crime against the laws of this land. What say you in your defense?"
Cicero: "Wh... What? A crime? Me? Preposterous! Poor Cicero is just standing here! Cicero loves order. Oh yes! He would never disrespect the law!"
Guard: "You look like a crazy man to me. And what's in that coffin, hmm? Maybe some time in a cell will help loosen that lying tongue."
Cicero: "Damn that Loreius. Oh, how he will pay for this treachery..."
Guard: "You just keep quiet and stay where you are. Soon as my relief arrives, we'll all take a nice little trip."
Arriving in the Sanctuary
Cicero: "But the Night Mother is mother to all! It is her voice we follow! Her will! Would you dare risk disobedience? And surely... punishment?"
Arnbjorn: "Keep talking, little man, and we'll see who gets "punished.""
Festus Krex: "Oh, be quiet you great lumbering lapdog. The man has had a long journey. You can at least be civil. Mister Cicero, I for one am delighted you and the Night Mother have arrived. Your presence here signals a welcome return to tradition."
Cicero: "Oh, what a kind and wise wizard you are. Sure to earn our Lady's favor."
Astrid: "You and the Night Mother are of course welcome here, Cicero. And you will be afforded the respect deserving of your position as Keeper. Understood... husband?"
Cicero: "Oh, yes yes yes! Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Astrid: "But make no mistake. I am the leader of this Sanctuary. My word is law. Are we clear on that point?"
Cicero: "Oh yes, mistress. Perfectly! You're the boss."
Cicero: "Are we alone? Yes... yes... alone. Sweet solitude. No one will hear us, disturb us. Everything is going according to plan. The others... I've spoken to them. And they're coming around, I know it. The wizard, Festus Krex... perhaps even the Argonian, and the un-child... What about you? Have you... spoken to anyone? No.... No, of course not. I do the talking, the stalking, the seeing and saying! And what do you do? Nothing! Not... not that I'm angry! No, never! Cicero understands. Heh. Cicero always understands! And obeys! You will talk when you're ready, won't you? Won't you... ...sweet Night Mother."
: "Poor Cicero. Dear Cicero. Such a humble servant. But he will never hear my voice. For he is not the Listener."
Cicero: "Oh, but how can I defend you? How can I exert your will? If you will not speak? To anyone!"
: "Oh, but I will speak. I will speak to you. For you are the one. Yes, you. You, who shares my iron tomb, who warms my ancient bones. I give you this task - journey to Volunruud. Speak with Amaund Motierre."
Cicero: "Poor Cicero has failed you. Poor Cicero is sorry, sweet mother. I've tried, so very hard. But I just can't find the Listener."
: "Tell Cicero the time has come. Tell him the words he has been waiting for, all these years: "Darkness rises when silence dies.""
Astrid: "By Sithis, this ends now! Back away, fool! Whatever you've been planning is over! Are you all right? I heard the commotion. Who was Cicero talking to? Where's the accomplice? Reveal yourself, traitor!"
Cicero: "I spoke only to the Night Mother! I spoke to the Night Mother, but she didn't speak to me. Oh no. She spoke only to him! To the listener!"
Astrid: "What? The Listener? What are you going on about? What is this lunacy?"
Cicero: "It's true, it's true! The Night Mother has spoken! The silence has been broken! The Listener has been chosen!"
As a Follower
|Stats at level 50|
If the Dragonborn chose to spare his life, Cicero is found upon exiting the Dawnstar Sanctuary after "Hail Sithis!," where he becomes a possible follower. Cicero is flagged as essential before "The Cure for Madness." If he is spared, he becomes essential again, making him unable to be killed.
While following the Dragonborn, he makes several off-beat jokes and humorous observations about the current location or quest. While not following the Dragonborn, he lurks around the sanctuary near the Night Mother's sarcophagus, talking to himself and tending her.
Cicero is a unique follower in the fact that he will often, for no reason, start to dance if he is a follower. This can happen at any time, anywhere, regardless of what outfit Cicero is wearing.
Cicero is also unique in that he is the only named follower, other than Serana, who cannot be recruited into the Blades. The only other followers who cannot join the Blades are the Dark Brotherhood Initiates.
His default outfit has no defense, and as such he will wear any armor given to him.
It is still possible to get Cicero's clothes after sparing him. Although it is not possible to take his clothing while he has it equipped, even with the Perfect Touch perk, by telling him to follow and then giving him any armor. He equips it, making it possible to pickpocket his clothing if he is relieved as a follower, but in this case the inventory tells that the chance to pickpocket the hat, the shoes, and the clothes is 0%. Having him follow the Dragonborn once more allows for their armor to be retrieved. This can be used to get multiple sets of Cicero's clothes since each time armor is removed from him, his original clothes return.
A copy of Cicero's default equipment, called the Jester's Outfit, lies on a table in the Dawnstar Sanctuary, meaning it is not necessary to kill, pickpocket, or use console commands to obtain his outfit. However, the enchantments on this equipment are weaker and its value is less.
|"...ho ho ho, and hee hee hee, break that lute across my knee... and if the bard, should choose to fight, why then I'll set his clothes alight..."|
|"Riften. Cicero likes Riften. Cheats and ruffians and cutthroats abound. Finally, some fun."|
|"...Cicero never understood thieves, really... take someone's things before you kill them? And they call me crazy..."|
|"Oohhh... Cicero's heard about the Butcher. Interesting knifework. Just... Stab, stab, stab, stab, stab! And then... Stab, stab, stab, stab, stab!"|
|"Hmph. 'Solitude.' Lonely Cicero could tell you a thing or two about solitude..."|
|"...the High King's court needs a jester... But not me. No, not Cicero. The Fool of Hearts is busy enough, thank you very much..."|
|"...I saw a dwarf! I did! I did! Cicero saw a dwarf! There... Oh. No, sorry. No dwarf..."|
|"...Forsworn think they're so scary... Cicero will show you who's scary... Stupid Forsworn..."|
|"...Oooh... Cicero wants some Skyforge Steel! Sharp sharp, for easy stabbing..."|
|"Oh! Oh! Maybe Cicero will go to Jorrvaskr and dance for the Companions! They'll... Um... On second thought... maybe not."|
|"He he he he he he he he he he."|
|"He he he... Crazy? Cicero? He he he he... That's madness..."|
|"...and if I spy a singing bird, I'll snap its neck before it's heard..."|
|"...and I said to the baker, 'You're not dead! You're a faker!' But if that's your wish, I'll oblige..."|
|"...oh if I chance to see a cat, I'll feed its corpse to my pet rat... "|
|"...and he says to the man, 'That's not a horker! That's my wife!' Ha ha ha ha ha... Ah... I love that one... "|
|"...when I next meet, that fair maid Nelly, I'll plunge my knife into her belly..."|
|"...tra la la, tra la lee, da da dum dum, dee dee..."|
|"...madness is merry, and merriment's might, when the jester comes calling with his knife in the night..."|
|"...What? Mother? Is that your voice I hear? Hmm... No, no... Just my head playing tricks... Foolish Cicero..."|
|"Our sweet Lady is maiden, mother... and crone..."|
|"...need to sharpen my blade... make it shiny, gleamy, and oh so deadly..."|
|"...dear Cicero will keep you from harm, sweet Mother. Forever and always..."|
|"...Cicero is hungry... ...need a sweetroll... or a carrot..."|
|"...need to get Mother some flowers... pretty, pretty flowers..."|
|"...must oil Mother soon... ...get all the hard to reach places..."|
|"Cicero is at your service, oh great and powerful Listener!"|
|"Let's kill someone."|
|"Cicero can talk for a moment. Just a moment. Then Mother must be... tended to."|
|"Oh, I do wish to get to know you better. But I must tend to mother. Maybe we can talk for just a moment..."|
|"Yes, Listener? How can Cicero be of service?"|
|"Humble Cicero lives to serve."|
|"Home again, home again! I'll return to the Night Mother straightaway!"|
|"Oh, of course. Mother needs me, after all."|
- His name may be a reference to Cicero, a Roman politician, writer, and philosopher known for his linguistics.
- During the quest "Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!" Cicero and Babette are the only members of the Dark Brotherhood to not be killed by the player.
- The Specter of Lucien Lachance warns against killing Cicero, because the "Keeper" is a sacred position in the Dark Brotherhood and, in another quote, that Sithis does not want him dead. After completing the questline for the Dark Brotherhood, Cicero becomes a Follower if left alive. If Cicero is slain, his unique clothing can be looted.
- In one of his journals, Cicero states that he posed as a "Starstruck fan" to the Grand Champion during "the Arena contract," and then later killed said Champion. This is a reference to the Adoring Fan of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
- If the Dragonborn returns to the Loreius Farm after joining the Dark Brotherhood and reports Cicero to a Hold Guard in the quest "Delayed Burial," the inhabitants can be found dead -- likely from Cicero murdering them.
- If Cicero is resurrected as a Dead Thrall, his mannerisms stay intact. Unlike other undead, he continues to dance and comment as he would if he were a follower.
- If one manages to get Cicero up to his feet during "The Cure for Madness," he is considerably smaller than he was previously. Often this makes the player character have gargantuan properties.
- Like most named Imperials in Skyrim, the name Cicero derives from Latin. The meaning of Cicero is "Farming Peas."
- Like Anska and Barbas, Cicero has a tendency to bump into and subsequently push the player forward. This can be dangerous around traps or deep precipices, so care should be taken.
- When speaking, Cicero almost always refers to himself in third person.
- Unlike most followers, Cicero has no dialogue for finding Dwemer Ruins, caves, or Nordic Tombs. He also has no dialogue when being healed or when Illusion spells are cast on him.
- Cicero does not have a default bow and arrows. If one wishes him to enter ranged combat, a bow and arrows must be given to him. However, unlike other followers, Cicero uses up arrows given to him, so his supply of arrows should be checked occasionally. This also applies to any enchanted weapon given to him. Over time, the weapon's charge will deplete.
- Although he accepts that the Dragonborn is named the Listener, Cicero still has delusions that he is hearing the Night Mother's voice, as evidenced by one of his quotes.
- During the Dragonborn's trek in the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary during "The Cure for Madness," Cicero shouts to the Dragonborn that "Oh, but this isn't at all what Mother would want," that "You kill the Keeper or I kill the Listener. Now that's madness!" This is similar to Lucien Lachance's comments about Sithis not wanting Cicero to be killed.
- If Astrid is asked during the beginning of "The Cure for Madness" why the dilemma can't just be "worked out" she will reply that The Dark Brotherhood has always taken "rejects of society" and that she had no problem with Cicero's madness, just his adherence to "outmoded" ways.
- Although Cicero states in one of his journals that the Keeper of the Night Mother can not carry out contracts or otherwise kill again, this does not prevent him from fighting if he is a follower.
- When told to return home, he actually runs back to the Sanctuary, unlike other followers, who when dismissed merely walk back to their homes.
- When Cicero is told to "wait here," but then moves away from his original spot (such as when detecting a nearby enemy), afterwards he will walk back to the place he was told to wait originally, unlike other followers, who will continue to wait in another spot if they moved away from the place where they were originally told to wait.
- When max level, (50) Cicero has 132 Magicka and 61 Alteration. This is odd, considering that he does not cast any spells whatsoever.
- When exiting the Dawnstar Sanctuary during Where You Hang Your Enemy's Head, Cicero will run up and say that he is going to kill the player character for all the trouble they caused, before dissolving in laughter and saying that it was a joke, and saying that he and the Dragonborn are "best friends forever."
- Unlike the Dark Brotherhood Initiates, who will reply with "You shouldn't be here," if trying to speak to them whilst trespassing in someone's house, Cicero can be spoken to anywhere, trespassing or not.
- There are three versions of Cicero. The version of Cicero who appears in the Dawnstar Sanctuary (the one who you have the choice to kill or leave in The Cure for Madness quest), also Cicero as met in the Falkreath Sanctuary has base ID
0001BDB1, ref ID
0001E64A. This Cicero is level 40, aggressive, has morality of "No Crime," and belongs to the DarkBrotherhoodFaction, Dawnstar Guardian Faction, and FavorExcludedFaction factions. The version who can become your follower has IDs as stated on this page. This version is taller than the other two (other two have a scale factor of 0.9). The third version is Cicero as met during the quest Delayed Burial, his base ID
000550F0, ref ID
000550F1. This Cicero is level 6, unaggressive, has morality of "Property Crimes Only," and belongs to the CrimeFactionPale and FavorExcludedFaction factions.
- If asked about Cicero plotting with a conspirator during "Whispers in the Dark," Babette will admit that she finds him "quite charming."
This section contains bugs related to Cicero. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- When told to stop moving, Cicero continues to follow the Dragonborn only if his "waiting" dialogue is disrupted.
- Alchemy Station or sitting in a chair, but as soon as the player presses B or talks to him, he stops what he is doing and approaches the player character, instead of continuing to wait or do what he was told to, like other followers. The only command unaffected by this bug is when told to attack someone/something: he performs the task and the crosshairs return to normal. Cicero does not follow commands properly. He will do what he is told, such as using an
- If Cicero is a follower, and is attacked while Shadowmere is nearby, Shadowmere will attack the Dragonborn.
- Contract: Kill Maluril," (if it hasn't been completed before the Dark Brotherhood main questline) if asked "I need you to do something," and ordered to kill Maluril, Cicero will refuse, regardless if Maluril is sitting or standing, or the distance from the player. In the quest "
- Cicero will occasionally refuse to enter water, regardless of depth. He will stand at the edge of the water and watch the player from the shore. This can result in him getting lost in the environment. Waiting an hour or two when far enough away from him will teleport him to the player's location.