| It had been months since the Stormcloak Rebellion was put down, and weeks since Alduin was finally killed. Ovictus Kostneir, the dragon born, was out on escapade throughout Skyrim. A shadow passes overhead, and in front of him, lands Alduin. Rather than attacking, he spoke of something to Ovictus in the Thu'um, Dragon tongue, before incinerating him with a single word. Hardly able to breathe, sitting upright in a cold sweat, Ovictus looked down to see his wife, Brelyna Maryon, sleeping peacefully, her gray skin shown brightly in the moon's wake. When he became relaxed, and able to breathe easier, he laid his head down, and slowly fell back asleep. He had another dream, if more vague, that caused him to feel nothing but death and destruction, a thought which inflicted a great deal of stress on Ovictus's mind. In the dream following up that one, which was just as vague, all he felt was regret, as everything in front of him vanished. The last dream was different from the dreams that came before. He was surrounded by everyone he knew, and there was an everlasting light, its source unknown.
When morning arrived, Ovictus woke to the smell of an omelet being fried to a crisp golden-brown. The crisp mixture of chopped bell pepper, basil leaf and pearl onion slivers, shredded cheeses, and other flavorful ingredients produced an odor quite pleasing to the pallet and soothing to the mind after a hard night of nightmares and dreams, which Ovictus hoped weren't forecasting another return of Alduin, as he had witnessed both the destruction Alduin created, and the destruction of the dragon itself. After waking himself up thoroughly, he dressed in his Nightingale Armor, and grabbed an Ebony Bow, twin Ebony Swords, and several kinds of arrows. As he was heading down the stairs opposite the master bedroom, their was a rapping at the door. When Brelyna opened it and stepped outside, braving the sharp wind, and sleet, which flew through the air like little knives, she was greeted by a small, but furious group of drunken Nords. As her crimson gaze met their glares, one of them tried to throw a bottle at her head, but missed horribly, smashing it against the door frame, causing glass shards and slowly freezing beer to fly in every direction. Some of the others were rambling utter nonsense, while one was yelling at her, ranting about how she should be in the Gray Quarter, and not next to the Palace of Kings, running a small shop. The threat of a mob had Ovictus gently lay his hand on his wife's shoulder and beckon her inside.
"I'll handle this," Ovictus assured her. Another bottle was thrown as he attempted to reason with the hostile crowd, but was cut in half faster than most people could blink with one of the Ebony Swords. "Alright, if that's how you want to play," he paused before inhaling. "FAAS RU MAAR!" Not long after Shouting, and the crowd scrambling in fear, a guard approached him.
"Will you stop that... Shouting! It's making people nervous!"
"Ironic considering that was a Shout intended to make them flee, no? Besides, had I intended harm, there would be a smoldering pile of ash right where you're standing," Ovictus replied, nonchalantly. The guard, however, was speechless, and stormed off without another word. Afterwords, Ovictus went back inside his home, waiting for breakfast to be served before heading out again.
"Sometimes I wish you wouldn't use the Thu'um on those drunkards," Brelyna sighed.
"As far as I'm concerned, I had every right to," Ovictus said.
"How so?" Brelyna asked.
"Though they may only gather in front of the door, it's only a matter of time until one of them tries to break in and attempt to seriously harm you. Who knows, they may even try to burn the house down; but I think in their drunken state, they'd only end up setting themselves on fire," Ovictus answered, slightly chuckling at the last fragment of his sentence.
Immediately after breakfast, there was another knock at the door. When Ovictus answered, expecting to see the drunken mob throwing beer at his house again, he instead saw an Imperial courier who handed him a sealed note. As he opened and read it, he was astonished as to who had sent for him.
"Huh, now what would General Tullius want to see me for?" Ovictus pondered.
As he left, he and his wife saying their goodbyes, Brelyna spontaneously said to Ovictus, "Don't forget to give those Thalmor a sword in the back." "You know me," Ovictus replied, though he kept hidden that it was a slight shock for him to hear her say that. As he was headed to the Windhelm Stables, his armor, black as midnight and tougher than steel, yet more flexible than hide protected him from the sleet which relentlessly pummeled his wife not twenty minutes ago. Not long after arriving at the stables, he mounted Shadowmere, a dark brown horse with red, glowing eyes, and made for Solitude.
When he arrived at Solitude, he made his way to the Blue Palace, to meet with General Tullius. Many of the soldiers and guards stationed in the city cleared a path for him as soon as he arrived, allowing him to make quickly for the Blue Palace, and it wasn't too long before he arrived.
"You summoned me?" he asked Tullius.
"Oh, yes. It would seem the Thalmor are trying to break the Empire again by trying to take Skyrim so they can push us back, and destroy Cyrodiil, which we think is them retaliating to you bloodying them so badly time and time again. According to our scouts, they're starting with Falkreath and will work their way North. You are to stop their advance at all costs. If you can summon anything- Deadra, Dragons, anything, I would prefer you use them over playing the hero," Tullius said.
"I understand. I will head to Falkreath as swiftly as possible," Ovictus said, a fiery determination burning in his soul, mostly due to his pure hatred of the Thalmor.
"A word of warning, though. I've neglected to mention that they have a force much larger than all of Skyrim combined. So, it seems this will be a thirty-to-one battle, and the Thalmor aren't going to give up easily. Fight well, die well," Tullius said.
"Understood," Ovictus replied.
On his way out, he spotted a courier to give a couple notes to, "Send this note to my wife in Windhelm, and this one to Jarl Free-Winter. I scribbled them out on my way here- and don't just stand there, get moving!"
On approach to the camp in Falkreath, he noticed the force stationed there was smaller than what he had previously anticipated. It was essentially just a rag-tag group composed of mercenaries, mages, and only a handful of Imperial soldiers; a force only about forty or fifty men strong. As he rode Shadowmere up to the camp, he overheard a conversation between two soldiers, and one seemed relatively new.
"So, tell me again how we'll know he's the right guy?" The newer soldier asked.
"Just look for someone riding a horse, or walking, wearing armor that can best be described as 'forged midnight'," the more experienced soldier answered. When they saw the armor, the two knew who he was, and let him in immediately.
"I'll tie up your horse, sir. Wouldn't want him running away, now!" a mercenary exclaimed, rather nervous about making a mistake in front of the most powerful man in Tamriel.
"Don't worry too much", Ovictus said. "He won't run off." Ovictus then approached the base's Legate to ask why the force wasn't any larger.
"We have to station guards in the towns to keep order," was her simple response.
"Right, do we have any numbers on the enemy?" Ovictus asked.
"No. We've sent scouts, but they either got lost, caught or were too scared to head back," the Legate said.
"And you want to give me the job of finding them, correct?" Ovictus sighed.
"Exactly, and you may want to head out on foot, so as not to create too much noise," the Legate said.
When he reached where the scouts were supposed to be, all he found were their bodies, which had been sacked, sprawled across the autumn soil, and snacked on by scavengers. As he laid eyes on the enemy camp, he was astonished at the sheer size of the enemy forces, and there appeared to be about a thousand troops. He took the opportunity to thin their numbers by just a little bit by drawing his bow, loading in a steel arrow, and scoring a head-shot on a soldier with his back against him, then disappeared into the shadows, leaving the enemy wondering what had just happened. When he returned to camp, he was immediately approached by the Legate, who asked him what he had found. Ovictus told her what he saw, but not what he had done while he was there.
"It's time to formulate a plan," the Legate said.
"You mean to tell me you didn't already have one thought up!?" Ovictus scoffed.
"We had no numbers, so no," the Legate responded.
"Gather 'round, everyone!" When everyone crowded around a large planning table showing only the enemy's camp in high detail, which was a wonder how they'd managed to pull that off, the Legate told everyone of the plan, which was to charge in and hope everything went alright.
"Are you kidding me!?" Ovictus scowled. "That's the best plan you've got!?"
"Alright, if you've got a better plan, I'm sure we'd all love to hear it," the Legate said sarcastically.
"Alright, here it is: We surround the camp, and pick out a target on our near side; make sure you have a decent bow. When you see a red dragon appear- no, when you hear a Shout, release your arrows onto your target. If you somehow get two in one shot, such as two soldiers flirting, then all the better", Ovictus explained.
"I don't see how that plan's going to work", the Legate sighed.
"I like it," someone piped up. There was some murmuring going on between the troops, most of which liked the plan.
"There's no guarantee the dragon's going to show, so make sure you're well hidden in the bushes so they can't tell where the attack came from, and when they settle down, thinking we've left, we hit them again. Just make sure to keep moving, and move silently. But if he does show, charge into the camp and surround them before they can figure out what's happening," Ovictus explained.
Creeping along silently, keeping low as they approached the enemy camp, they saw the Thalmor soldiers leisurely chatting with each other, perhaps arrogantly thinking they couldn't possibly be beat.
"They'll never know what hit 'em," a mercenary muttered gleefully.
"Precisely," Ovictus muttered. "OD AH VIING!" As soon as the Shout was heard, many arrows found their targets, and everyone waited for the enemy to settle down before hitting them again. Not a moment too soon, a dragon appeared out of the sky, and killed dozens of the Thalmor soldiers in one pass, even grabbing one in his mouth! Odahviing made a few more passes, then flew off, evening the odds by a fair amount. Ovictus then used a Conjuration spell to summon a legend of the Dark Brotherhood, and a scroll to summon a Storm Atronach.
"Alright, only about four hundred left. Wanna finish this up, Legate?" Ovictus asked his stunned officer, who was too speechless to say anything. "Whatever. HUUN KAAL ZOOR!" In an instant, four great Nords of legend appeared, and ran into the camp, slaughtering any Thalmor that got in their way.
"Attack!" The Legate shouted. Everyone rushed out of the woods, quickly surrounding the enemy, who was confused, disoriented, and weakened. In the end, only the base commander remained, and the Thalmor had lost almost all their men, many of which were too wounded to move. The Imperials, on the other hand, had only suffered a small handful of casualties. As they approached the Thalmor commanding officer, he tried to fight in his wounded form, but quickly fell back to the muddy, blood-stained ground.
"Any last words before I send you to Oblivion?" Ovictus asked.
"We are gods," the officer proclaimed pridefully.
"A god would've seen such a brazen strategy coming," Ovictus sighed before beheading the officer.
"Take the wounded enemy as prisoners, and our wounded back for treatment," Ovictus ordered as he began to leave.
"Just where do you think you're going!?" The Legate called after him.
"Back to the Blue Palace for new orders," Ovictus told her.
As he arrived back in Solitude, everyone was impressed that he had managed to hold Falkreath against such odds. When he approached General Tullius for new orders, Tullius was almost shocked to see him return alive.
"What? Did you think I was going to let you down?" Ovictus asked.
"Oh, right!" Tullius started. "We would like you to wipe out the remaining enemy forces that are scattered across Skyrim. As far as we're aware, there's nine scouting camps throughout each of the holds", Tullius explained further, but some of the details became fuzzy. "Oh, and after you destroy all the camps, you can return home to your family."
"Yes, sir," Ovictus said. He then walked out the door to give the Thalmor remnants the boot out of Skyrim. Back in Windhelm, however, things weren't the same.
"And then he tells me to stand in front of him as he tries to shoot an apple off my head! Does he really think I'm gonna do that when he's drunk!?" An Orc laughed. His friends, a Wood Elf, and a Breton, both roared with laughter at his tale. "So, anyone else got anything to share?".
"Well, there is this one Dunmer woman who I've seen at the market a time or two. I've heard her husband's gone to fight against the Thalmor, so he probably won't be returning alive," the Breton said.
"Yeah, and I've seen a different man in that house ever since he's left. It's only been, what, a week? But I think he's already dead. So, basically, I think she's turned into a harlot to get by," the Orc said.
"Unlikely,"said the Breton. "I hear she's a descendant of the Tenvanni family; who has a long history of powerful, loyal mages."
"Well, perhaps she's different," said the Orc. It was then that a High Elf joined them.
"Hey, what kind of card game you guys playing?" He asked, curious.
"Five Card Poker," responded the Wood Elf. There were stacks of gold scattered across the table, and they had placed their cards down to talk without risking anyone else at the table seeing them through body language. They all picked up their cards and continued playing, and it wasn't long before someone became excited.
"Straight flush! Time to collect!" The Orc said excitedly, as he wrapped his arms around the mound of gold.
"Hold on," said the Breton. "Royal flush! And that's game!" The Breton then proceeded to pile his winnings into a massive coin purse, which he had trouble lifting afterword because of the erroneous amount of gold.
As they walked out of Candlehearth Hall, the High Elf laid eyes on Brelyna, the woman the three poker buddies were chatting about. She was having a friendly conversation with Aval Atheron, who worked the produce stand.
"See? She has turned into a harlot. Look at how she's flirting with him!" The Orc said to the Breton.
"We don't know if she's flirting or chatting, because we can't hear the conversation, you oaf!" The Breton scoffed.
"Maybe I'll invite her for a drink, then for some strip poker," the Orc snickered.
"Good luck with that. Odds are, she still believes her husband, whoever he is, hasn't died yet, and she'd probably be insulted for you to even suggest a thing like that!" The Wood Elf scorned.
"Why do you two always have to ruin my fun?" the Orc asked, slightly irritated.
"Because you don't always think things through. Now, can I get a hand with this!?" The Breton scowled, tugging at the mouth of the sac, which refused to budge any further.
Blood was being shed into razor-thin sheets as Ovictus finished slitting the throats of the last of the Thalmor in their Eastmarch camp, and he thought it only fitting that he take one of their swords as a trophy.
"Now, there's nothing to do but return home. I was just starting to have fun, too", Ovictus said to himself as he mounted Shadowmere. When Windhelm came in sight, he was staggered at what he saw. Plumes of smoke leeching out from buildings, and the city's most iconic structure, the Palace of Kings, damaged. Rage, sorrow, and pity began flooding into his heart and soul. Mostly, he was infuriated with himself for not being there to protect Windhelm, even though the city was full of bigots. As soon as he gathered himself, he rode toward Windhelm, uncertain as to the extend of the damage. He stopped for nothing; bears, wolves, bandits, none of it mattered to him anymore. All he wanted was to find out who ordered the attack on Windhelm, and make them pay.
When he arrived, he found nothing but guards, dead, dying and assisting citizens in trying to put out fires, which weren't spreading very fast. He made his way through the rubble, looking for any sign of anyone he knew. There were some he knew out putting out fires, Orcs using small barrels in place of buckets, Elves using ice magic instead of water to contain the blazes. He then laid eyes on his home, Hjerim, which was mysteriously unharmed. He hurried through the rubble, embers the size of gold coins falling to the ground, and before he realized it, he was already inside, where he found several Thalmor soldiers waiting for him, with Calder, his housecarl, lying on the floor, bleeding. The moment he saw what they had done, his heart was flooded with rage, and like a black whirlwind, cut down all the Thalmor who stood before him. When he was done painting the walls with Altmer blood, his sword as his brush, he approached Calder, and knelt beside him.
"Hey, buddy. Still alive?" Ovictus asked. Calder started to wake from being unconscious.
All he could say through broken gasps of breath was, "I'm sorry, my Thane. She's gone. I... tried." After he said those words, he passed on.
"I'm sorry. I'll see you in Sovngarde, friend," Ovictus muttered as he brought over a nearby blanket and used it to cover Calder's body. Ovictus was stricken by an overwhelming amount of grief and guilt. He kept asking himself why he couldn't get to Windhelm sooner as he wept. He wondered what had become of his wife. If she was buried under rubble, murdered, taken prisoner, or even raped during the chaos, then any of the former. At any rate, the Thalmor had finally found the one way to bring the most dangerous man in the world to his knees.
He heard the city guard rush in, almost busting the door open, and the first thing they saw were the bodies of Thalmor soldiers scattered throughout the home, without an ounce of honor to them. They found Ovictus drinking mead in the kitchen, shamed and in shambles, due to the fact that he wasn't there to protect the city, or even his family.
"Thane!" One of the guards called to get Ovictus's attention. They noticed several empty bottles on the floor, and one in his hand. Yet, surprisingly, he wasn't drunk at all.
"Put that down! Do you want to get revenge on those bastards or not!?" The lead guard scowled.
"There's nothing left. Everything that matters to me is gone, now", Ovictus sighed. It was only after the Windhelm attack that he realized just how little material possessions meant to him. The guards noticed he was trying to drink away his pain.
"Just because they took your wife and killed your housecarl doesn't mean you should give up! If you could get any information on where they took some civilians, we would be forever in your debt. And we will make sure Calder gets a proper Nord burial," the guard said. Something in those words restarted the fire in Ovictus's heart, which had been doused by guilt.
"Where are you going?" a guard asked.
"Riften. I'm going to recruit some help. And thank you for helping me see clearly", Ovictus said as he put on his Nightingale Hood and walked out the door, but not before grabbing an Ebony Warhammer, and the bow and sword Karliah gave him when they were tracking down Mercer Frey.
When he reached Riften, he was thankful that he didn't find any Thalmor there. Figuring he'd check up on the Guild, he headed down to the Ratway. When he went down there, there was not a soul to be found, except a dying Niruin.
"Heya, boss!" Niruin exclaimed feebly.
"Niruin, what happened here?" Ovictus asked.
"The Thalmor. They came here, and captured or killed everyone. Only Brynjolf, Vex and Delvin were taken alive, that I know of," Niruin explained.
"They'll pay for this!" Ovictus exclaimed under his breath.
"Would you happen to have any healing potions on you?" Niruin asked through dry, heaving gasps. Ovictus nodded and attempted to hand him the most potent one he had, but he was already too late, as Niruin died before Ovictus even had a chance to present the potion to him. He dragged Niruin's limp body to a bed and used it as Niruin's temporary resting place. As he headed to Nightingale Hall, he thought he caught wind of some people chatting about what had happened in the Ratway, and how it was a good thing the Thalmor came in and cleared them out. In Ovictus' mind, however, the Thalmor were nothing but corrupt shades hiding behind a mask and some fancy armor.
When he entered Nightingale Hall, and found the main room, where he found Karliah lounging around, enjoying all that she had stolen; food, gold, and a bunch of other things.
"Oh, hi. Feel free to share the fruits of my labor. I couldn't possibly... hmm, you're not here to share profit, are you?" Karliah said. She suspected something different about Ovictus, and though neither of them could see each others eyes, Karliah suspected something different about Ovictus' usual attitude. He took her bow off his back, and the sword out of its sheathe, and gave them to her.
"I would like you to accompany me. Windhelm was just attacked by the Thalmor, and I need their plans and the status of everyone they've taken hostage. But it won't be like we could just walk in the front door", Ovictus said.
"And why would you want my help? I'm a thief, not an assassin", Karliah said.
"I know, and this is personal, Barenziah. You let me paint the walls with Thalmor blood, and I'll let you take anything you want from their strongholds as your reward. From my experience, they have a pretty pile of valuables at even a small camp", Ovictus told her.
"Barenziah? Why I- never mind, where do we start?" Karliah asked, interested.
"I have a good idea. We could bust down the door to their Embassy building, here in Skyrim. It's over in Haafingar, so get a horse, we need to get there quickly," Ovictus told her.
As they arrived, it was almost midnight, and abnormally dark.
"Alright, now what?" Karliah asked.
"I'll pick the lock, and you watch my back," Ovictus said as he drank an invisibility potion. It only took him a few seconds to get the lock open. He crawled out of the way, and opened the gate, so it appeared as if it had somehow opened on its own.
"Pick your target," he whispered to her. When they released their bows, two Thalmor mages fell at once, and the other guards were on alert, to which Ovictus ran in, running up to the guards, and cutting them down where they stood before they could even make a move. When he was finished slaughtering the last one, he equipped his warhammer and proceeded to bust down the door, hacking away at it until a good sized hole was in it.
"Come on!" Ovictus shouted to Karliah. Their cover was blown, anyway, and Ovictus realized it, but didn't care. All he wanted was that list of names and where they were taken. "Even if Elenwen isn't here, she may have left a note saying where she went. If she is here, we force her to tell us where those people were taken."
"Nobody's here. Let's check upstairs", Karliah suggested. It wasn't long before she noticed something on a dresser. "Hmm? What do we have here? It's a list of people they've taken to some cave in the Whiterun Hold." She was hiding the fact that she was shocked to find that some of those names were from the Thieves Guild, and people she had stolen from in the past, including the Cruel-Seas.
"Let me see," Ovictus said, taking the note from Karliah. "Bloated-Man's Grotto. I'm familiar with it, but we'll have to watch for Spriggans." As they made their way toward the stairs, it wasn't long before they both heard someone shouting outside, and it sounded like Elenwen.
"Who in the names of The Eight would be so brazen as to break in here!?" Elenwen shouted, infuriated with the trespass.
"Oh, wow. She's pissed!" Ovictus chuckled.
"You enjoy seeing others suffer?" Karliah asked.
"Only the Thalmor," Ovictus responded. "Elenwen, how long has it been? Five months? Six since I crashed that party?"
"You!" Elenwen exclaimed. "You'll pay for what you did to my mansion!"
"How much do I owe you?" Ovictus snickered, obviously not intimidated.
"Your blood!" Elenwen shouted. She lunged at Ovictus with a dagger, only to get an arrow in the chest as she moved only a few feet. Apparently Karliah had taken the opportunity to make herself invisible and take aim at Elenwen.
"That wasn't entirely necessary, you know", Ovictus told her, smiling.
"Couldn't let you have all the fun, now could I?" Karliah asked as they headed out to their horses, leaving Elenwen to drown in her own blood. There was something Ovictus was trying to conceal away from Karliah, but knew he wouldn't be able to hide his decision for but a few more hours.
When they reached Bloated-Man's Grotto, they found the entrance unguarded with a few dead Spriggans, and corpses of Thalmor soldiers.
"Wait here. I must go in alone," Ovictus told Karliah, as he was unwilling to put any more of his friends in danger. He entered Bloated-Man's Grotto, unsure of what he'd find. When he arrived in the grotto, near the cave mouth, he was turned into a pincushion for arrows only a few steps in, and collapsed, but not before seeing a dark figure on a small cliff in front of him, and his vision faded. As he recovered and stood up, the scenery was different. A red sky, and floating structures which he had seen before, including ancient ruins, and several species of plant, including the Crimson Nirnroot. When he turned around, he came face-to-face with a dragon he had slain in the past.
"Dovahkiin, are you just going to give up on yourself like this, and disgrace the Dov?" The dragon asked.
"Where am I? Am I... dead?" Ovictus asked.
"No, Dovahkiin. This is your sil- your soul, where the sille and knowledge of other Dov, and your memories of your past are kept", the dragon spoke. "Look around you, at all my fron- my kin." Ovictus observed his surroundings, and saw at least a hundred dragons. "You know the words to awaken your sil, and all you have to do, is seek out that knowledge", the dragon said before fading. Ovictus was lying on the ground, feeling excruciating pain from the numerous arrows that have penetrated his armor. He pondered what the dragon had meant, and remembered the dream with Alduin. It wasn't a sentence, but a Shout. He then stood up, every muscle burning from the punishment they took moments ago, and heard someone shouting.
"Why isn't he dead!?" It was someone in the Thalmor.
He looked up at the figure on the cliff face in front of him, and Shouted, "SILLE HOKORON DU ALOK SIL!" There was a golden shimmer, then a blast of light, with streams of light flooding out of the Thalmor soldiers, leaving only their leader standing as the others dropped dead where they were standing, leaving the captured civilians unharmed. The next thing everybody saw was a golden dragon rising from Ovictus, eventually enveloping him, but a form could be seen through it, and they didn't know who it was, but the voice sounded vaguely familiar to them. The dragon then spoke to the Thalmor leader, who wanted to be there to witness the execution of those who he considered traitors.
Ovictus, the dragon, then spoke, "Tahrodiis tafiir. Vokul, nivahriin Fahliil."
"Who, no, what are you!?" The frightened Thalmor head executive exclaimed.
"Arrogant Elf, you don't even know this tongue, do you? Yet you claim to be gods!" The dragon spat.
"That doesn't answer my question! Who or what are you!?" The Thalmor executive demanded.
"Krosis. Zu'u Dovahkiin", the dragon spoke.
"Will you allow me to live? What do you want me to do?" The Thalmor executive asked, now truly frightened.
"Ag, aus, dir," the dragon spoke. "YOL!" It Shouted, as it let out a long stream of fire, which turned the executive into nothing more than a smoldering pile of ash. Not long afterword, the light and Ovictus' vision faded, and everything went black.
Ovictus woke in daylight, surrounded by everyone he had just saved. He could feel himself slowly fading as he observed the expressions of those around him. Some were exhibiting shock, others displayed fear or uncertainty of Ovictus' true origin. When Ovictus tried to get up, he found he could hardly move.
"I've never seen the boss like this!" someone said just loud enough to hear. When Ovictus looked toward the source of the noise, he saw Delvin chatting with Brynjolf, but everything else after what he had heard became inaudible. It wasn't too long after Ovictus started struggling to get on his feet, that he noticed an arm hooking onto his body across his back. When he looked over, he saw Karliah helping him up, and couldn't help admitting in his mind that she's stronger than she looks.
"Are you a Nightingale, or a crippled beggar?" Karliah asked, urging Ovictus to continue his life's work.
"I'm not sure, anymore, but I think I'm dying," Ovictus replied, slightly gasping through the pain. As he slowly limped past everyone into a small, open field in the center of the grotto, Karliah supporting him, he caught sight of Brelyna, who was in stunned silence. As he looked forward for a moment, and looked back, she was at his side, hooking her arm around Ovictus' back the same way Karliah was.
"Karliah, as my final wish as Guild Master, I would like you to take my place, if you so choose," Ovictus muttered as he fell to his knees, no longer wishing to be supported.
"Why would you want me to have the title?" Karliah asked, shocked. "You were the best Guild Master we've had in ages!"
Ovictus merely chuckled and said, "Are you the granddaughter of Queen Barenziah, or just some simple thief? If you aren't just some thief, make the guild proud." Karliah was taken aback by the words Ovictus uttered. He then turned to Brelyna and muttered, "If there is to be a child, treat him well, and let him follow his own path in life. I have also left enough in every one of my homes to last you more than one lifetime. You may even use the Daedric artifacts, if you- so... choose." Ovictus choked, before he fell onto his face, limp and unmoving, with Azura's Star, his parting gift for Brelyna, in his right hand. As Brelyna clutched the star, rolled Ovictus onto his back, and removed his mask, she saw tears, and a slight grin. She couldn't help but cry desperately, feeling for a breath, listening for a heartbeat, only wishing he could have stayed to see his family.
Several months after Ovictus' passing into Sovngarde, Brelyna bore a child, and little more than a month afterword, visited Ovictus' grave-site in Whiterun Hold, just outside the city itself. On the headstone were the words, Here lies Ovictus Kostneir, Companion, assassin, thief, loving husband, and Dragonborn. He gave his life defending what he truly believed in, and dearly loved, taking with him an entire High-Elven totalitarian regime, which plagued Skyrim during and after the Great War. Every time Brelyna visited, it felt like it was just the other day she watched him die in Bloated-Man's Grotto. So ends one life, and so begins another one's journey, which is as it has always been.
After eighteen years had passed, it became apparent that Brelyna's child had inherited the abilities of his father, and had joined the Companions in Whiterun. The Thieve's Guild was long past having issues coping with the loss of their leader and top thief, and the Dark Brotherhood was still trying to find a Listener, while the Daedra were left without a Champion. After all the turmoil the people had been through, the eruption of Vvardenfell, the Oblivion Crisis, and the return of the dragons. They also witnessed several incidental heroes, who saved Tamriel, such as The Nerevarine, the Gray Fox, and more recently, Dragonborn. After all the turmoil, despair, and destruction, Tamriel was no longer in need of a hero, and perhaps that's what the people wanted all this time.