Hey all :) It has been a wild ride, and I for one loved every minute of it, but now this story has come to close. I thank all of you wonderful readers, lurkers, and reviewers for sticking by it until the very last word :)
Also, I fixed the end of the last chapter, so if it didn't make sense to ya, it may help to reread.
We know: I did not, but that's brilliant! And yes, go to lolcatz will make you feel better :)
Lyriel: as was my intent :) very nice! You can do it! :D
Insertusername: thank you :D I'm glad you enjoy my work. Chh, reverse psychology.
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the Riften Faction, I've something that demands your attention—me! Ha, there is a story you lot need to hear. It is my biggest Scar and greatest Story. And I promised her, a great many years ago, that I'd tell it.
"Aye lads and lasses it has been… sweet Sheogorath, how long have I been in this Guild? … Fifty years. Talos, I'm old. Fifty years I have called the Ratway home, fifty years I have worn this armor, and called the others who do so Guildbrother or Guildsister.
"I am older now than Mercer Frey, the old bastard, was when the Dragonborn tore out his black heart. I am older now than Delvin Mallory was when he finally passed on—gods rest his soul. I am much, much older now than my older brother ever grew to be. And I am older now than the Dovahkiin herself ever was, for all her elven blood.
"Fifty years I have served the Thieves Guild like my mother and father before me, and my brother as well. I have served as Guildmaster for thirty-six of those fifty years, the longest reign in Guild history. The second longest clocked out at twenty-five years, and was held by none other than Mercer Frey—the killer, the betrayer, the Nightingale.
"But longevity does not always coincide with excellence. We all know Mercer Frey was a lying, cheating git and Gallus Desidenius served five years before him with nary a complaint. Ask the lovely Karliah Indoril about either of those men, and she'll tell you better than I can.
"So if longevity isn't a measure of excellence—what is? Is it the coin you bring in? Hardly. Some of our worst thieves have been our greatest leaders. Is it the legacy you shoulder? No. Half of you are rescued from Honorhall. So what is it, then? I tell you—it is the legacy you leave behind. It is the how your Guildsiblings speak of you when you're gone. It is the legend you leave in this tavern.
"My mother, for instance, Juri of Solitude—that's a name you all know. But it isn't because of me that you know it, it is from everyone else. From Delvin and Mercer, dead all these years. From Niruin and Karliah. From Cynric Endell, dead these thirty years. Her legend lives on through them and through you.
"So who has the greatest legend of us all? It isn't me, or Delvin Mallory, or Vex, or Karliah, or even Mercer Frey. No, it is that of Guildmaster Tiberia Morwyn—Stormblade, Harbinger, Arch-Mage, Dragonborn to some; just Ty to us. It is her legacy that will last a thousand years. It's her knucklebone over there on the wall, you know. She left it to us to create a ghostfence. Dunmeri tradition holds that without a full skeleton, your soul will never truly rest. But she left it to us anyway, to be sure that she could always defend her Guildsiblings. Her spirit has been called upon, once or twice over the years, to defend our home. And she comes willingly, without complaint, even though I know Sovngarde has to be better than this dingy place. But that is sacrifice, that is love… that is Tiberia.
"You know her stories—the Hero of the Dragon Crisis, the Guildmaster who saved us from the brink of destruction—but do you know the woman?
"She was roughly yea tall, and had a habit of standing on tables or sitting on the shoulders of either Farkas or Vilkas of the Companions to give speeches. She had an ever-burning fire behind crimson eyes, and skin this beautifully peculiar shade of blue. She had a voice to rock the rafters, even if she wasn't capital-S Shouting. She was a warrior of the highest order, a masterful Spellsword. Her Ebony Sword of the Blaze now hangs in Jorrvaskr, the Mead Hall of the Companions, and coupled with another knucklebone, serves as their ghostfence. Her other sword, Dawnbreaker, Meridia's gift to her Champion, is now borne by our little Vex—the only swordswoman with the steel in her. Her dagger, Mehrunes' Razor, was bequeathed to me so that her Lord Dagon would watch over me in her absence. She was, after all, a fervent Daedra Worshipper, even after eleven years out of Morrowind.
"Tiberia Morwyn came to us a shell—and she freely admitted it. No purpose without the Dragon Crisis, no goals in life anymore, just another throw-away war hero under Ulfric Stormcloak's command—her own unwitting father. Irony, eh? Gets me every time. But what else happens to a war hero? After you've killed the World-Eater, what do you do?
"Clean up the Thieves Guild and fall in love, I guess.
"But what makes her legacy so great? She brought us back from the depths of Oblivion—fitting, no? She killed Mercer Frey. She defended us at the Battle of Riften. She served as Guildmaster. She was a Nightingale, the Agent of Strife. All in under a year. No lads and lasses, it is my belief that the Guild would not still exist if not for that woman, gods rest her soul.
"The greatest honor one can bestow upon a Dunmer is to speak their name after their death, and make them live again. Thirty-six years I've lived without the lass, but her name has not died—for I tell her story.
"I'm old now, my friends, not long for this world. I can hear Sovngarde calling to me. I have no doubt where I'm going, and if, but some twist of fate, I end up in the Evergloam instead, I have no doubt Tiberia would drag me to Sovngarde by the scruff of my neck, Shouting at Nocturnal all the while. Every day, it gets a little harder to raise my war axe, to drop to a crouch, to get out of bed without her. But I do it, because I have a job to do and people who depend on me. As Tiberia always said, what I do, I do for the Guild.
"What is this job, you ask? It's Tiberia's last legacy, last testament—the Stormblade Rebellion and our war on the Thalmor. I could not tell you how many First Emissaries that our lovely friend, Listener Avalon Morwyn, has assassinated. I could not tell you how many supply trains the Guild has robbed blind and important scrolls we've stolen. I could not tell you how many justiciars have simply have thrown up their hands and left the bloody country because of the hit-and-run, Ty-style tactics of acclaimed Stormblade General and Harbinger Vilkas of the Companions, dead these last few years, Talos rest his soul. I could not tellyou how many times one of his men would have died if not for the aid of a College Mage. And I could not tell you how bloody proud I am to be a part of this army.
"I get asked all the time—do you regret courting the Dragonborn? The answer is no. Always no. I would not trade one moment I spent with the lass for all the gold Mercer Frey stole from us. …Truly, I wouldn't. Because if I was even a small part of what made that woman strong enough to lay down her life for a country full of people that tended to spit on her when she passed by… then her legend was not in vain. The time we shared was not in vain. And I get asked all the time, do you regret not starting your own family? I tell them no. I've got Faldil, got Regan and Aisling and their ankle-biters, and I've got you lot—how much responsibility does a man really need?
"Dark Elves do not fear death—it isn't and end to them, but a beginning. Life is beautiful, they teach, cherish every moment of it. But death comes for us all, in the end. You can't hide, but it isn't always such a terrible thing. It's a release, a long-awaited sleep.
"This is the legacy of Tiberia Morwyn, of the woman that I loved—love. And there is no greater show of devotion than a ghostfence. And she left it to us, her extended family. For what are we down here, but a mucked-up family? Do we not call each other Guildbrother, Guildsister? Is there not honor among thieves?
"But you know, Dovah never really die—they are only lost to time. So when the next Dovahkiin is called out of the woodwork, part of Wulfarth, of Talos, of Tiberia will be a part of him. And I hope to the Nine Divines and every last one of the Daedra that he never has to make Ty's choice—herself, or her country?
"You know, sometimes I think the Daedra are more fair than the Aedra. Aedra say, 'you will do this because you must.' Daedra know, you do it for something. You need something worth dying for to be a Daedra Worshipper. And Tiberia found something in me, in us, in the Guild. In Vilkas, in Farkas, in the Companions. In Avalon, in Ondolemar, in the Dark Brotherhood. In Tolfdir, in Faralda, in the College of Winterhold.
"So how do you honor the memory of a woman like that? How do you honor someone with that much power? You pick up where they left off. You make their fights yours. You tell their stories, you sing their songs. And you never forget what she did for you; you never forget that sacrifice.
"We have been making Skyrim so costly for the Aldmeri Dominion, they are pulling out Thalmor by the battalion. This is how we honor our Guildsister through time! We will never drive the Dominion out in open, bloody battle. We will drive them out through their pockets! Her fight has become ours. And I'm a lot like Ty in the sense that war is in my blood—I'm a Clansman of Falkreath Hold, for Talos' sake! But I'll take what I can get.
"…Ah, forgive me. Ty always said I talk too much. So lads and lasses, raise your glasses, and raise them high. And drink to the Dragonborn, drink to the fact that this Guild has done what no army ever could, and drink to forget, even for a moment, the sorrows of this life.
"And may Shadows hide you, and Talos guide you."
-Guildmaster Brynjolf of Falkreath, Great House Redoran
As told to the Riften Thieves Guild
25 of Evening Star, 5E 36