The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion’s Plot Explained In 1,000 Words
- Mehrunes Dagon & The Mythic Dawn
- The Assassination Of Uriel Septim VII
- The Oblivion Crisis
- Confronting The Enemy
Oblivion takes place six years after the events of Morrowind, in the province of Cyrodiil – the heart of the empire. The current Emperor is Uriel Septim VII of the Septim Dynasty, which has ruled the empire for over 400 years.
The story of Oblivion will take you all over Cyrodiil – from the swamps of Leyawiin to the snowy peaks of Bruma. With such an expansive game, there's a lot to learn and remember. Let this be your cheat sheet to the complex plot of The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion.
Mehrunes Dagon & The Mythic Dawn
The plot of Oblivion deals heavily with Mehrunes Dagon and his followers. They are the ones who kick off the game's plot and serve as the central villains of the narrative.
Mehrunes Dagon is the Daedric Prince of destruction and ambition, and the Deadlands of Oblivion are where he rules and where you'll journey to in order to close Oblivion Gates during the game. As far as the Princes go, Dagon is one of the more directly evil Daedra and constantly plots to invade and conquer Cyrodiil and the rest of the world. It is one of these plots that Oblivion is centered around.
Dagon's plot works through the enigmatic Order of the Mythic Dawn, a cult of Mehrunes Dagon worshippers led by an individual called Mankar Camoran. Camoran had the belief that the Nine Divines were traitorous beings who sought to usurp Tamriel, believing it to be yet another plane of Oblivion. Mehrunes Dagon sensed this and gifted Camoran the Mysterium Xarxes, a magical book of evil connected to the Prince (Commentaries on the Mysterium Xarxes Book Two by Mankar Camoran).
The Mysterium Xarxes became the subject of Camoran's magnum opus, the Mythic Dawn Commentaries. Thusly the Order of the Mythic Dawn was born, with Camoran and his two children, Raven and Ruma, made its leaders and the Mysterium Xarxes its holy book.
Through the power of the Mysterium Xarxes and his magical strength, Mankar Camoran was able to open a portal to Gaiar Alata, a place within Oblivion where members of the Mythic Dawn were promised eternal life. While he followed through on the eternal life aspect of the deal, the cultists imprisoned in Gaiar Alata were tortured ceaselessly by Daedra for their deeds.
Through the Mythic Dawn and the influence Mehrunes Dagon held over them, the Oblivion Crisis began, and they did this in two ways.
The Assassination Of Uriel Septim VII
The beginning of Oblivion sees some panicked Blades escorting Emperor Uriel Septim VII out of the Imperial City through the sewers. While it may seem coincidental that the player character is imprisoned in the very cell that serves as their escape route, Septim recognizes you and states, "You are the one from my dreams… Then the stars were right, and this is the day." This gift of prophecy seems to stem from Uriel being a Dragonborn.
At the end of the sequence in the sewers beneath the Imperial City, you witness Septim's assassination at the hands of a Mythic Dawn cultist. Baurus, one of the Blades, will give you the Amulet of Kings and demand that you deliver it to a man named Jauffre at the Weynon Priory.
As you travel, listening to the rumors and news spread by others will reveal that the Emperor's sons were also murdered, and we can be sure that it was the Mythic Dawn's doing. They did this to disrupt the Dragonfires, powerful and mystical barriers that prevent large-scale invasion from the planes of Oblivion. The ritual lighting of these Dragonfires could only be carried out by a Dragonborn, as it required the use of the Amulet of Kings – an artifact that only Dragonborn could wear and utilize.
With Uriel's assassination, the Dragonfires were disrupted, and with the pruning of his family tree, there was no one left to relight them. Or so the Mythic Dawn thought. The Emperor had an illegitimate son named Martin, who, at the beginning of the game, is working as a priest in the city of Kvatch.
The Oblivion Crisis
Shortly after the assassination of Uriel Septim VII, Oblivion Gates are opened throughout Cyrodiil and the rest of Tamriel. These were likely opened by members of the Mythic Dawn, eager for the invasion of Tamriel by Mehrunes Dagon's forces. They did this by communicating with Daedra Lords through the use of sigil stones, using their power to erect the massive gates through which the Daedric forces could pour (Liminal Bridges by Camilonwe of Alinor).
The first Oblivion Gate witnessed in-game is the one opened in Kvatch, where Martin Septim conveniently resides. In this journey, the player character delivers Martin the news of his lineage and discovers how to close the Oblivion Gates by retrieving the sigil stones used to create them.
The game's quests will then take you back to Weynon Priory and the Imperial City before you're able to establish a base at Cloud Ruler Temple, a Blades-occupied fortress. From here, you work with the Blades to investigate the Mythic Dawn for yourself, learn more about Mehrunes Dagon, and formulate a plan of retaliation against the Daedric Prince's machinations.
Confronting The Enemy
The plan of attack is centered around opening a portal to Gaiar Alata, Mankar Camoran's "paradise," and retrieving the Amulet of Kings. The artifact was stolen from Weynon Priory shortly after the Mythic Dawn put their Oblivion Gate-opening plans into action to prevent any pesky heirs from relighting the Dragonfires.
After collecting the four necessary items – a Daedric artifact, the Armor of Tiber Septim, a Great Ayleid Welkynd Stone, and a Great Sigil Stone – the ritual is ready, and the player character enters Gaiar Alata. There is where they witness the final fates of the damned cultists and confront Camoran and his children once and for all, retrieving the Amulet of Kings.
With the Amulet in hand, the only thing left to do is escort Martin to the Imperial City where he can relight the Dragonfires. While the loss of their leader fractures the Order of the Mythic Dawn, Mehrunes Dagon is still determined to take advantage of the situation.
With the taste of victory barely on your tongue, Mehrunes Dagon shows up himself, in the flesh, to snatch it away. With this, the barrier between the world and the planes of Oblivion is shattered, and all seems lost. There is no way to kill an immortal being such as Mehrunes Dagon – at least it seems.
Martin reveals his last-ditch plan to save the world – he smashes the Amulet of Kings and uses the blood of Akatosh to become an Avatar of the Divine that takes the form of a gigantic dragon. As the Avatar of Akatosh, Martin defeats Mehrunes Dagon, though sacrificing himself in the process.
With Mehrunes Dagon repelled and Martin missing, both the Third Era and the Septim dynasty come to an end. The barrier between planes is permanently weakened thanks to the loss of the Amulet of Kings, and the player character is named the Champion of Cyrodiil.
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