Disclaimer: I obviously don't own Oblivion. Bethesda Game Studios does, and as one of their loyal followers and forum members, I would never dare claim ownership of any of their works.

The City of Shadows

Prologue

After the death of Martin Septim, Chancellor Ocato, with the backing of the Elder Council, took absolute power. Cyrodiil prospered under his control, and the Empire underwent a period of regrowth after the Oblivion Crises. However, the other provinces were left to rot, and with higher taxes and puppet governments in place, talk of rebellion began to spread.

In 4E 18, a prophet dressed in robes black as night traveled to the Imperial City. He began to preach that something called the "Great Death" was approaching. Much to Ocato's surprise, the people listened to him, and treated him as if he were a saint. So Ocato, not wanting the man to amass power and start a riot, had him publicly executed. But when his head fell to the ground, a black vapor rose from his corpse, and his head began to speak.

"Fool," was all it said, and then the vapor dissipated. This greatly disturbed Ocato, but he did his best to put in out of his mind. That was, until the spirit of the prophet began to torture Ocato. According to him, the spirit was always with him, saying and doing things that only he could see and hear. A week later, Ocato snapped. He pulled a dagger and committed suicide right in the middle of a council meeting.

The members of the Council were horrified, and his successor, Chancellor Agramis, had the White-Gold Tower completely sealed off. He believed that the tower was now home to a vengeful spirit, and he hoped that he could keep it contained there. He was wrong.

Every night thereafter, a strange, blue mist descended upon the city, and every night, someone disappeared. Whether this was still the prophet's spirit, or whether it was the "Great Death," no one knew. But people began to panic. Eventually, Chancellor Agramis ordered a complete evacuation of the city by the Legion. Some were, of course, left behind. Some hid, not wishing to leave their home. Others ran for the sewers thinking they may be safer. The people languishing in the Imperial Prison were left behind, and the Mage's Guild refused to leave the Arcane University. These people's fates have been lost.

But before they lost contact with the outside world, the most powerful wizards of the Arcane University activated an ancient Ayelid artifact they had found hidden under the city. The inscriptions on it's side read: And now we use this, our last hope, so that we may suppress our unknown foe. The mages hoped that it would destroy the evil presence, but it failed. In fact, it did the opposite. When the machine activated, a great, red shield emerged from it, spreading all across the isles that the Imperial City had been built on. It seemed to stop the mist from leaving the city, but it also made it stronger. Instead of just one person disappearing, people were now going missing in groups. However, for whatever reason, the mist did not descend upon the University, nor buildings in which there was light.

Then, amid the chaos and turmoil, the Summerset Isles, Skyrim, Black Marsh, and Elsweyr rebelled. And they succeeded. The Summerset Isles cut of all contact with the world. Few came out, and none went in. The other provinces however, marched now on the remnants of the Imperial government, who had created a sprawling mess of houses and buildings along the coast of the Imperial City. Chancellor Agramis called out to any loyal to the empire for aid. The forces of Morrowind, now led by a Dunmer of Imperial blood, Valenwood, eager to have revenge on the Khajit for their years of torment, Hammerfell, staunch supporters of the Empire, as they had received the best treatment of all provinces, and High Rock, of whom the Chancellor was a native, marched for the glory of the Empire.

The two great forces met in front of the massive bridge that led to the Imperial City. A fierce battle took place, but the loyalists found themselves on the losing end. Out of desperation, Chancellor Agramis called for a retreat inside the city. Having no where else to go, the armies followed him. And the rebellious forces, not knowing what awaited them, pursued.

Another pitched battle took place inside the city, this time with the loyalists having the upper hand. The usurpers attempted to flee the city, only to find that they could not get past the red barrier. Backed into a corner, they fought on, and night soon fell. As soon as the sun fell out of sight, the mist dropped upon the clashing armies. It decimated both sides. No one knows just how many soldiers were lost that day, but according to the records of a few observers who had been watching from outside the shield, some miraculously survived. These few looked around and all of their compatriots, as well as the bodies of their fallen comrades, were gone. It was as if they had never existed, as even the blood that had covered the ground had disappeared. The remaining soldiers scattered, and no one knows what happened to them after that.

Now it is 5E 89, and the city is a desolate wasteland of crumbling buildings and overgrown streets. But some remain. Hiding away inside some of the stronger buildings, groups of survivors had formed. This is the story of one such group, and their attempts to surviveā€¦.The City of Shadows.

A/N: Ok, for the people that bothered to read all the way through that, you should know that this has absolutely nothing to do with A Cloak of Lies. If you've even read that... Anyway, this is something that I wrote about... I'd say two or three years ago, right about when Oblivion first came out. Well actually, the idea dates back to my Morrowind days, but nothing really took shape until Oblivion. I was very disappointed with the Imperial City. I expected so much more grandeur, you know? So, while I tried figuring out just how much bigger it is in lore, which I would estimate to be about three times larger, at least, the idea to write this in that setting occurred to me.

When I posted this up before on a different site, I did get a lot of praise for it, but unfortunately, due to several issues, I never got anywhere with it. Well, I finally found this written down in an old box in my closet, so I decided that I'd just go ahead and post it up here, just to see some reactions and to determine whether I've gotten better or worse with age! I'm hoping better, but reading this back... Whew, I dunno.

One last thing. Though I'm sure I'll get around to updating this, they'll probably be very sporadic, or at least until I either finish a Cloak of Lies or get more free time. Actually, those things should happen around the same time, so just give it about... Maybe two weeks, and I'll be able to update semi-regularly.