If you recognize the individual in the picture above, then you are like me. We are part of a secret society. The guards forever chase us. Society forever shuns us. But, we are not alone…
Readers and listeners of ESOTR no doubt know of my love affair with Oblivion. True, I’ve said Skyrim is the best game I’ve ever played. BUT – there is something about Oblivion. Rather than retread old ground, I’ll just come to the point.
Oblivion’s Thieves Guild is the greatest guild that I have ever played. Ever.
What’s that I hear? Pitchforks and torches being taken up as people riot outside my house? Before everyone tars and feathers me, please allow me to make my case.
One of the very first things I did in Oblivion (apart from wandering my way into Skingrad where I met a certain sociopathic Bosmer) was try to find the guilds. I had heard from reviewers and Elder Scrolls veterans that the guilds in this franchise are simply amazing. I figured I’d take their word and join up with one. Little did I know that my efforts would pay off in a huge way.
Upon arriving at the Imperial City, one of the very first things I saw were these ‘Gray Fox Wanted’ posters. Curiously, I read the poster and came to the conclusion that he was some thief mastermind. *Gasp* Could this lead to a guild? I approached a guard, and he yelled at me saying that the Gray Fox was “that thief everyone keeps talking about.” Naturally, this simply intrigued me more. I might be onto something here. Following my instincts, I wandered my way over to to the Waterfront District and found my soon-to-be pal, Puny Ancus.
At first, like all beggars, he flat out denied the existence of the Thieves Guild and Gray Fox. Then, after my coin purse was considerably lighter, he informed me about the meeting at the Garden of Dareloth in the Waterfront District held at midnight. Ok, this has to be the Thieves Guild. What else could it be?
After many more hours of wandering all over Imperial Isle trying to find this garden (which isn’t labelled on the map guys, trust me), I came across these dudes. The Redguard with the torch introduced himself as Armand Christophe, one of the doyens to the guild. I was told that I would be competing with two other initiates for a coveted position in the guild. I looked at my competition. The Bosmer, Methredel, looked capable. She had some sweet garb and looked like she knew what she was doing. The Argonion, Amusei, was less than human. He stood no chance.
We were assigned to steal a journal and bring it back to Armand. First one to do so gets the job. Methredel immediately tore off. Man, she was fast! I cunningly pulled up my map and simply fast-traveled to the location of the journal, retrieved it, and got the job. Baller.
Soon after, I was informed how I would need to fence a certain amount of stolen goods in order to get more and more special jobs. And so, many stolen items and special jobs later, I finally met him. The Gray Fox.
I was stunned. I honestly didn’t think that he was even real. The game had done such a brilliant job creating this mythical aura surrounding the Gray Fox that when I was finally introduced to him, I was completely floored. Wait, so you’re telling me the Gray Fox is real?! And that he wants to see me?! Sign me up! What followed was the greatest third act I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
My first assignment: steal a stone. Not just any stone, mind you, but Savilla’s Stone. Ok cool, where would I commit this theft? I was told to go the Temple of the Ancestor Moths, far in the northeastern reaches of Cyrodiil, close to the borders of Skyrim and Vvardenfell.
Needless to say, sneaking past the monks who are sworn to guard and study the legendary elder scrolls was incredible. When I finally emerged victorious and presented my master with his prize, I was given another assignment: steal the Arrow of Extrication from Fathis Aren’s tower. And so, dutifully, I stole the object and returned where I was told to go steal the Boots of Springheel Jack. Done and done.
Finally, my last assignment. The Gray Fox, my mentor, looked at me with his tired eyes. I got the sense that he didn’t want this life. He was doing it out of necessity. And so, looking up at me, he gave me my final assignment.
Steal an elder scroll.
Yeah, um…what?! You want me to steal an elder scroll? An item so powerful that it could render me blind and mad?! Oh yeah, and nobody can see me or know that I was even there. Um…ok, I guess.
First things first. I had to sneak into the Imperial Palace. The only way to do that was through the basement. I stocked up on all my equipment. Bow? Check. Healing potions? Check. Lockpicks? Check.
I descended into the sewers and was immedately met with various undead creatures including skeletons, vampires, ghosts, and wraiths. Sneaking past was no easy task, mind you, but if the Gray Fox wanted it, it had to be done. I picked the lock (my buddy did this with 4 lockpicks and me yelling in his ear to fail) and found myself in the Palace Basement and activated the Glass of Time.
Ok cool, next? Get to the Hall of Epochs. I carefully made my way there, wading through undead monsters and guards, and came across two large statues flanking the Keyhole Pillar. How can I activate this? Oh wait, I know! I cocked the Arrow of Extrication in my bow, aimed for the keyhole, and fired. Magically, the way was opened.
Finally, I emerged in the Imperial Guard Quarters. Man, I need to be really careful here. I snuck past the heavily guarded halls and carefully wound my up the the stairs where a blind monk was waiting for me. Sneaking by, I pulled a lever to the final room where I found my prize waiting for me.
This is it. I need to get out of here. The way back was blocked. What do I do? Only way out is up. I snuck up the winding stairs and came out onto a balcony. I had to jump. Would I survive the fall? Ah ha! I have the Boots of Springheel Jack! And so I jumped and escaped.
I returned to my mentor and presented him with the scroll. He thanked me and gave me a reward, perhaps the greatest quest reward I have ever received. He gave me the Gray Cowl, an object, when worn, renders the wearer completely invisible.
I am not worthy. source: UESP
And so, here I sit, dear reader, as I recount my epic adventure with the Thieves Guild. I have made my case. You may not agree, and that is ok. But, to me, the Oblivion Thieves Guild is, unquestionably, the Greatest Guild of All Time.
Shadow hide you.
Some or all of the photos on this post was taken from UESP and used with permission by the site owner.