“Pull up a stool, for this tale will keep you listening for... well, quite a time,” said the guard to the Dragonborn.
The Dragonborn pulled up a stool and began to listen, meanwhile, the light of the hearth struck the guard's face in a manner that made his features appear sharper. “It begins many years ago, before. I was the fastest runner in my Rorikstead, but life was too boring, just catching sheep that left the pens. I decided to seek fortune and adventure the way that most young'ns do, by taking up a sword and going out to find the evil in the world. I fought not but trolls and bears, yet even they were too powerful a foe for me, I knew that I'd need training to handle great evils like in the old tales, but I could never find a mentor who would take me, 'Too brash and arrogant!' they'd always say. Needless to say, I was broken, felt foolish, and on the road back to my hometown. Just then, it began to rain, which only deepened the already large hole in my heart, and then the thunder came.“
The Dragonborn appeared to be only half-listening to the guard's story. The Dragonborn's attention was diverted to something else.
“Up ahead, I saw the true source; this was no normal thunderstorm, there was a wizard wearing the darkest robes I'd ever seen, right on the road to Rorikstead! This sorcerer was summoning something, and in spite of my lack of training, I charged at him with my sword and shield in hand. His concentration broke when he heard my battle cry, and he began running. He clearly didn't know me, or he wouldn't have tried to run! I was too quick for him and impaled him on my blade. Behind me, however, was a horrific abomination from the realm of Oblivion. Just as I was going to turn around, it struck me and I fell unconscious. When I awoke, I was greeted by a Vigilant of Stendarr. He had told me that I did well in stopping the wizard, but there was more work to be done. We had traveled the width and breadth of the land together, fighting strange creatures from Oblivion, brought to this world by the most vile of sorcerers.”
The bard began playing a mournful song, which only served to further set the mood for the guard's story.
“However, all good things come to an end, and soon I would end my career as an adventurer. One day, I was out collecting wood for a fire, and when I had returned, the Vigilant who I had befriended was dead. Above my friend's corpse, stood a thin, tall, clawed, demon. It had four clawed fingers, and it was thin in a way that looked as if it was starving, ribs visible, and skin stretched over bone. This creature had an elongated leech-like mouth, and sharp points protruding from it's spine. At the end of it's body lie a tail, covered in sharp points, and two thin, two-toed legs, that looked like they shouldn't have been able to hold the creature's body. It.. it picked up the bow lying on the ground, and shot me in kneecap.”
The guard look down and sighed “That being said, I used to be an adventurer like you. The-”
“Quiet, old man.” the guard had been rudely interrupted by the Dragonborn. The Dragonborn listened in on the silence intently before a dragon's Thu'um shook the tavern.
“Dragon!” the people outside yelled. The guard went out to fight, but was quickly eaten.
That very same guard now haunts Skyrim, possessing other guards to convey his last message to the Dragonborn. You may mock him, you may refuse to heed his call, you may even kill him, but there is one thing you must never do. Even if you are on the brink of madness, I beg of you!
Never repeat that damned phrase.