|“||As for what you have done, it does not matter. That is not what you will be remembered for.||„|
|~ Uriel Septim VII on the future of the Hero of Kvatch.|
The Hero of Kvatch is the main character of the video-game Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Many things about the hero are left to the player's choice, including their name, age, race, and gender. However, the title "Hero of Kvatch" is their default title, since the citizens of Tamriel use it to refer to them for their first major victory over the demonic forces of Oblivion.
Like most Elder Scrolls heroes, while the hero's name, age, race, and gender are completely determinant on the player's choice, the stereotypical Hero of Kvatch is a Cyrodilic (or Imperial), male, sword-wielding Knight, Crusader or Paladin-looking warrior (at least by judging from the E3 trailers of Oblivion and by the default settings in the game plus Promotional Artwork).
The hero who would come to be known as the Hero of Kvatch first entered the annals of history as a prisoner. The crime for the sentence is unrecorded, but one day fate smiled upon the prisoner as the Emperor and his men entered the dungeon. The cell in question was supposed to be unused, but because of a mix up at the watch the prisoner had been put inside a reserved cell.
The Emperor, Uriel Septim VII, and his guards (the Blades) were fleeing an assassination attempt by a Daedra cult known as the Mythic Dawn, and needed to use a secret passage out of the city located in the prisoner's cell. Needing to make haste, the guards had no time to transfer the prisoner to another cell. Before heading through the passages, the Emperor stopped to get a better look at the Prisoner that had premonitions of the meeting.
The Emperor said he had seen that his death would occur soon after the meeting, but that the prisoner would play an important role in the fate of the empire. Though the guards did not fully believe the Emperor's predictions, they were willing to humor his request, and so, the prisoner was permitted to leave with them on the condition that the Emperor's escape was not interfered with.
The passage lead to the sewer systems, but as the group (consisting of the prisoner, the Emperor, Baurus, Glenroy, and Renault) were making their escape, some of the cultists were able to ambush them. Once the immediate ambush was dealt with, losing Renault in the process, Uriel made a more formal introduction to the prisoner, who had helped fight off the attack. The Emperor went forward, but his guards were most insistent that the prisoner part ways with them at that point, not wanting to take any chances after the attack, and the prisoner was left to make passages through a separate path infested with vermin and monsters.
At the end of the path, the prisoner arrived in a wider chamber that joined the one that the Emperor and his three bodyguards had gone down, and caught sight of the guards as they were ambushed a second time. The prisoner helped again, but once the attack was put down, Glenroy turned on the prisoner, ready to shed blood to be safe. However, Uriel ordered his guards to sheath their swords, more certain than ever of the prisoner's destiny. The group made their way to the sewer entrance, only to find themselves cornered in a far room during a third ambush. The prisoner was ordered to stay by the Emperor's side whilst Glenroy and Baurus fought off the attack.
It was there that Uriel Septim VII gave the prisoner his royal signet, the Amulet of Kings, to deliver to a monk named Jauffre outside the city of Chorrol. The Emperor knew he would not make it, and so implored the prisoner to take it to him in his stead. No sooner had the prisoner accepted the task than the Emperor was stabbed by an assassin from a secret passage.
The prisoner and the Emperor's remaining guard Baurus fought off the last of the attackers, but though they had their own lives, Emperor Uriel Septim VII had passed and the assassin had succeeded. The prisoner told Baurus of his task and Baurus told the prisoner where to go, whilst Baurus stayed to tend to the Emperor's body and inform the nation of what had occurred.
The Prisoner eventually made their way to Chorrol and met the monk Jauffre, revealed as head of the Blades, a secret order of knights loyal to the Emperor's family bloodline. Jauffre tasked the prisoner with the task of retrieving the Emperor's illegitimate son Martin, who was now the only living heir who could access the Amulet of Kings' mystical powers. Martin was in the town of Kvatch, a once-thriving city which had been recently attacked and sufficiently destroyed by the Daedra of Oblivion - the very demonic creatures that the Mythic Dawn assassins worshiped. Jauffre knew the timing of the attack on Kvatch, and the assassination of the Emperor couldn't be a coincidence, but that was of little matter since time was of the essence to save Martin.
At Kvatch, the city was in flames and a massive fiery gate was open in front of the town, with the Daedra spilling out. The guards were holding them off but the endless wave meant that they could not spare man-power to organize a rescue, so upon arrival, the prisoner was allowed to attempt to stop the Daedra at their source. In the gate the land was covered in flames, ash, and death. A lone guard was still fighting for dear life after having been swept up in the gate. Going further in, the prisoner eventually came to a tower. After fighting to the top of the tower through many of the dremora - elite daedric humanoids, the prisoner came to a fiery orb sitting at the top of a pillar at the tower's apex.
Upon removing it, the entire section of the plane of oblivion began to fade away. The world around the prisoner closed in on itself and the prisoner was left standing where the gate had once stood outside as the portal closed. The prisoner soon helped the guards retake the temple, in which Martin and the other survivors had taken refuge. Martin was safe and the prisoner escorted him back to Jauffre in Chorrol for protection. From that point on, the prisoner is referred to through-out the land and in the annals of history as the "Hero of Kvatch". However, when returning to Weynon Priory, it turns out that the Mythic Dawn have raided the Priory and taken the Amulet of Kings. Martin, Jauffre, and the Hero then travel to the fortified Cloud Ruler Temple to formulate a plan to take back the Amulet.
The Oblivion Crisis
With the Amulet of Kings in hand the Mythic Dawn can keep the gods from interfering with their plans. The cult is dedicated to the Daedric Prince of Destruction and Change, Mehrunes Dagon. Long ago the Divines and Daedric Princes made a compact to avoid all out war, neither would directly manifest their power on Nirn (the world) as long as the Amulet of Kings was held by a descendant of Talos - the man so great he ascended as a Divine after death. The Amulet is made from the blood of Akatosh - god of time. The Amulet being held in the hands of a true-king symbolizes prestige (the amulet) being vested in the apex of civilized society (the king). Divine and Daedric Princes agree not to directly affect the mortal world for as long as it has this symbol of being subject to civilization and law. With the Emperor and his legitimate sons dead, The Mythic Dawn had hoped to subvert this allowing their master, Mehrunes Dagon, free reign to walk up the mortal world. With the revelation the Emperor had a secret illegitimate son, the next best thing available to killing him, is taking the Amulet of Kings so it can never rest in the hands of a descendant of Talos. The portal in Kvatch opened the night Emperor Uriel VII was assassinated. With the Amulet of Kings still unclaimed by Martin, portals to Oblivion start opening up all over Tamriel - lesser Daedra spilling out to ravage the land.
The Hero of Kvatch goes to meet Baurus going under-cover to try to infiltrate the Mythic Dawn Cult. Whether Baurus lives or dies in the operation is entirely in the hands of the Hero of Kvatch, but either-way, the operation yields books to gaining "enlightenment" for prospective members. There are four books in total and after going to uncover each, a code within them will see reveal the secret meeting place for the members with Mankar Camoran - the mortal leader of the cult. Mankar Camoran represents himself as the chosen of Mehrunes Dagon. Camoran runs the cult with his daughter and son as his lieutenants and says that soon all of Tamriel will be plunged into Oblivion and when it does Mehrunes Dagon will walk the land and those who have pledged their souls to him will rule as his emissaries in life and live on in an eternal paradise after death. Camoran leaves his book the Mysterium Xarxes - with the secrets of Daedric magic he commands in it, and then opens a portal to his Paradise with the Amulet of Kings. Though the Amulet is out of the Hero of Kvatch's hands they manage to grab the Mysterium Xarxes, fight off the Mythic Dawn guarding it and return to Martin with the tome. Martin practiced summoning in his youth and knows enough of it to decipher the book. While Martin translates the Mysterium Xarxes the Hero of Kvatch will go across Cyrodiil closing the Oblivion Gates opening across the land.
Countess Narina Carvain of Bruma is setting up her army to make a grand stand against the Daedra. A letter between spies confirm a massive Gate, bigger than the others is headed to Bruma to do to it what it did to Kvatch as a massive war-machine is being bought there. Countess Narina Carvain agrees to stop it, but says she will need help, and so the Hero of Kvatch goes to each other county to save them from the Gate opening just outside the main cities and earn the aid of the Count/Countess of them to all put their forces behind the main invasion set up from Bruma. Martin states in addition he will need a Daedric artifact - a boon from one of the other Daedric Princes, to complete the spell to go into Mankar Camoran's Paradise to get the Amulet of Kings back if Bruma is won. Due to the Hero of Kvatch leading the charge and the vast army assembled from across Cyrodiil, Bruma will be saved. The Hero of Kvatch may work for many of the Daedric Princes, few good, many evil, but most tricksters. Bringing a Daedric Artifact to Martin will allow The Hero of Kvatch to travel to Paradise to retrieve the Amulet of Kings from Mankar Camoran.
Paradise is verdant with a rainbow-sky and fruit that grants eternal life and magic, however the Mythic Dawn are tormented daily, the eternal life only in excuse for their pain to never end. Mehrunes Dagon does not want soft entitled followers so he has them tormented daily until he has need of them on the battlefield. A member of the Mythic Dawn, Eldamil - responsible for opening the portal to Kvatch, seeks to atone for his actions. Eldamil knows he was lied to, and he helped kill numerous people and plunge the world into chaos, essentially for nothing. With Eldamil's help the Hero of Kvatch gets through to Mankar Camoran's inner-circle. If the Hero of Kvatch inquires about Eldamil, that he and the souls of the other Mythic Dawn will be wiped out, Eldamil expresses hope that any death or even non-existence would be better than what Mankar Camoran and Mehrunes Dagon subjects them to regularly. Killing Mankar Camoran and retrieving the Amulet of Kings sees Paradise collapse in on itself.
Even with the Amulet of Kings returned and in the hands of Martin The Oblivion Crisis does not end. Martin states that Mehrunes Dagon must feel he is too close to victory to adhere to The Compact with the Divines and is manifesting a physical body to destroy Tamriel. Reports come in of a massive giant Daedra in the image of Mehrunes Dagon marching through the Imperial City - destroying everything in his path. Martin knows one desperate move that could stop Dagon, but he must get to the temple of Akatosh in the Imperial City. The Hero of Kvatch will protect Martin and fight off the Daedra as the two make their way to the temple of Akatosh. Martin breaks the Amulet of Kings just as Mehrunes Dagon is about to crush him. The blood of Akatosh spelt on the steps of the Temple is enough to awaken a manifestation of the Divine around Martin. Martin becomes the avatar of Akatosh himself and smites Mehrunes Dagon outright. With the defeat of Mehrunes Dagon, the Oblivion Gates all shut. High Chancellor Ocato of the Elder Council proclaims the Hero of Kvatch "The Champion of Cyrodiil", bestows them with the Emperor's armor, approves of Countess Carvain's application to build them a statue in Bruma and gets to work sorting out a new government with the line of kings firmly ended.
Though the day is saved many changes occur in the world and the way of life is destroyed forever, some claim in this regard Mehrunes Dagon got what he wanted all along - destruction and change. Magic gains a massive stigma and the Mages Guild will be disbanded over the coming years in response to the anti-magic sentiment resulting from the Mythic Dawn's spells causing the Crisis. Oblivion portals will have opened up across the world not just Cyrodiil and the empire concentrating all their armies inward to the central province will see their grip weakened and the empire fracturing. Morrowind will suffer major eruption of Red Mountain triggered by the Oblivion Gates around it, creating a massive ash-storm that will make parts of the land uninhabitable for many years. The Thalmor of the Summerset Isles, elven supremacists will use the chaos of Oblivion Crisis to assert control of the Summerset Isles and over time renew the ancient elven empire by seizing the government of Valenwood and tricking the residents of Elyswer to think the Thalmor were the ones to end the Oblivion Crisis with their magics, thus gaining subservience from the Khajiit. A new dynasty will be formed in Cyrodiil - the Mede dynasty. Not all the changes are grim however. The Mythic Dawn will be shunned, outlawed and hunted down by members of normal society, even among other Daedra worshipers. Though Mehrunes Dagon is immortal and will just reform on the planes of Oblivion upon his defeat in the Imperial City he will be gravely weakened and remain that way even two-hundred years later. Just as the other Daedric cults will turn on the Mythic Dawn, the other Daedric Princes will turn on Dagon - partially (and optionally) if the Hero of Kvatch did all the other Daedric Prince quests and endeared themself to Dagon's rival brethren, but more importantly because Dagon broke The Compact with the Divines by manifesting on Tameriel even after Martin held the Amulet of Kings. The Compact was not merely made between Mehrunes Dagon and the Divines but between all the Daedric Princes and the Nine Divines - Dagon did not merely break his own oath, but the oath of all the other Daedric Princes, and powerful or mundane, good or evil, lawful or chaotic the other Daedric Princes are nothing if not proud, and Mehrunes Dagon sacrificed their pride for his own. Because of this, Mehrunes Dagon will have next-to-no mortal followers during the events of Skyrim, two-hundred years after the Oblivion Crisis and be left to obscurity.
Few consequences of the Oblivion Crisis would be felt immediately. With the immediate threat over the Hero of Kvatch turns to a peculiar door in the middle of the Niben Bay. Another seeming manifestation of a Daedric Prince - this one a manifestation of Sheogorath, Daedric Prince of Madness and Creativity. As Sheogorath's chamberlain, Haskill, points-out the Door is in no violation of The Compact, it is an invitation only for mortals to come inside to see what lays beyond. Other mortals returning from the door are shown crazed and lash-out violently. An Imperial guard is left just outside the door to discourage anyone from approaching or more likely mercy-killing those who come out and are rendered insane. The Champion of Cyrodiil will journey inside to investigate. Many wondrous, near-unfathomable and dangerous things lay inside, and the Hero of Kvatch engages in their final adventure. Even once resolved the consequence of the trip into the Doorway will ultimately end in the Champion of Cyrodiil retiring from the mortal world to willingly become a part of the realm of madness - The Shivering Isles.
Skills & Abilities
Unlike the Eternal Champion (a member of the royal court), the Hero of Daggerfall (who is chosen by the Emperor himself), the Nerevarine (the reincarnation of high-king Nerevar), and Dragonborn (the last in a thought-dead line of mortals with a trace of dragon blood in them), The Hero of Kvatch has no distinctive qualities whasoever.
They are not of a royal lineage, they are chosen by neither king nor god, they are not agents of Fate, they are not of a special bloodline, and they have no special powers unavailable to others (atleast while still mortal). The Hero of Kvatch is only party to meeting the Emperor, avenging his death and fighting back the forces of Oblivion because they happened to be in the right jail-cell to meet the Emperor as he escapes just before his assassination.
Though the player may see the Hero of Kvatch win great fortune, uncover mighty weapons, and learn adept spells, none of these are unreachable by the common-man. Money is just a resource, weapons can be used by any who get their hands on them, skills are the products of hard work, and spells are available to any who have a passion for learning.
While Emperor Uriel VII has a prophetic dream of the Prisoner, it was little more than acknowledgement they would be a friend, and while the mage Dagail may predict the future for the Hero of Kvatch, it is a personal future, not an ancient proclamation. The Hero of Kvatch is unique from all the other Elder Scrolls protagonists in one specific way, despite being a blank-slate for the player; there is absolutely nothing special about them other than the agency of the player themself.
As with all Elder Scrolls games, the main character is mostly left a figurative blank slate to allow the player a chance to role-play as any personality type they wish; However, there are some solid personality traits within response options.
The Grand Champion is prone to blatant responses and harsh honesty, like when announcing that the Count of Kvatch is laying dead in a pool of blood, or when arriving at a party and being asked who they are, announcing to a bemused party-goer they are an assassin sent there to kill said party-goer and all the other guests - assured the response is so absurd they won’t be believed.
When going to deal with a gang of all-female thieves, the gang will try to temp the Grand Champion to meet them for a night of passion (if male), or join them to engage in nights of passion with marks (if female). Regardless of the Grand Champion’s moral compass or gender, they will refuse, indicating an asexual nature that the player can not alter.
Canonically, the final story arc for the player is that of the Shivering Isles expansion to stop The Gray March in the realm of The Daedric Prince Of Madness, Sheogorath. Doing the quest will take a toll on the Grand Champion, who will submit to Sheogorath’s influence completely after the player stops playing the game, leaving them a mad creative, if still an altruistic one. In Skyrim, Sheogorath sates that the Dark Brotherhood, Thieves Guild and Shivering Isles quest-lines are all canonically completed by the Hero of Kvatch.
Historical records also show that the Knights of The Nine quest-line is completed also. The Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guild missions earn infamy, and starting the quest-line for the Knights of the Nine requires the player to purge all infamy with a pilgrimage seeking redemption, and the Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guild quests cannot be done at the same time as the Knights of the Nine, the blessings of the Divines being retracted if so much as six infamy point are earned.
This would indicate that the Grand Champion either has a criminal past and eventually redeems themselves as a holy crusader, or falls from grace to become a thief and assassin, depending on what order these events occur in, though the DLCs are canonically completed after the main game's quests. Whatever the player’s choices, all stations are eventually left behind when they disappear into the Shivering Isles - the player deciding to stop playing - a symbol of the Hero of Kvatch eventually abandoning the world of traditional sanity.