I had seen him a couple of times -the man known to me only as 'A Stranger'. I wandered into the abandoned house in Anvil he'd made his own and caught him just as he was rising for the day. Little did I know at the time how rare it was to catch him 'at home'. He wasn't particularly aggressive, but he did mention he was a bad man to cross. I later found him sitting in the audience room in the Anvil Castle, apparently waiting to speak to the Countess, as I was. But he never spoke to her. Every time I went to the Anvil audience chamber I would see him there, assuming the Countess was there. I found it rather odd. And sad, instead of creepy, but I didn't really know why. Maybe it was the look on the man's face.
Later, I started doing odd jobs for the Thieves Guild. At first, it was mostly just messing with an up-tight Legionary Captain with a bee in his bonnet about the Grey Fox (purported to be the head of the purportedly non-existent Thieves Guild - also purported to be at least 300 years old!) Good times. Then the final stroke - get him reassigned to Anvil.
This required a few things to come together. First, I had to acquire the list of recommendations that had been sent to the Countess of Anvil by the head of the Legions, but intercepted by the Countess' assistant, who had ideas of her own about who should be head of the troops in Anvil. No real problem there. Then I had to find a forger who could and would right the list in such a way that the Countess was sure to pick Lex -problem. After that it wasn't too tough - just nick the Legion Commander's seal long enough to stamp the list (no need to even remove it from the building) and hand it to the Countess in person (since the assistant was likely to just 'lose' it again, after all).
But a forger... where the hell was I to find a forger?! Thankfully, the all-knowing beggers had a good lead for me - the man known as A Stranger. So I spoke to him, but it was in public and he ignored my interest (actually, he didn't even have the subject in dialog. darn it). So I camped out in his 'house'.
When spoken to in private, he was more than willing to forge the letter for me..... for a price. Oh, yes! For a price! I was starting to get a little suspicious there, that A Stranger was actually Mr. Altruistic for some reason. Sure, a price. I can cover it. No worries.
24 hours later, I had the letter in hand. Not long after that it was duly stamped and I was standing in the Anvil audience hall. And look! there was A Stranger, just like alway. Didn't have any thing interesting to say to me, though. Baiting the assistant was fun, however. LOL. And THEN the Countess made her pay me a tip for being the messenger. Too fun!
Anyway, this got me the attention of the Gray Fox himself - wearing the Gray Cowl and everything. I did ask him why he wanted Lex in Anvil and the reply was somewhat evasive. Something about Lex being good at his job, if he weren't obsessed with the Gray Fox and wanting him taking care of Anvil. (hmmm, why the interest in Anvil.....)
The Gray Fox sent me on some odd heists, however, that let me learn a few interesting facts about the Gray Fox, the Gray Cowl (or, more correctly, Nocturnal's Gray Cowl.) and the Elder Scrolls themselves. A) the Gray Fox is not immortal, but the Cowl is cursed with anonymity and gets passed down from one head of the TG to the next. B) the wearer of the cowl's name is lost to history, including the name of the audacious thief that first stole the Cowl from Nocturnal herself (who may just have INTENDED it to be stolen) and no one recognizes them anymore. (hmmmmm, A man in a Cowl who's identity is lost and a man in Anvil known only as A Stranger.... AND there's all that talk about the Countess of Anvil's husband just up and going missing 10 or so years ago..... *eyebrow quirk*) C) the Elder Scrolls contain all the events of time. There are two "kinds": those that talk of the past (contents of which are 'set' by actually coming to pass) are safe enough for anyone to read... (IF you can decipher them) and those that still speak of the future. The Scrolls that speak of the future have the curious property of making the reader go blind. It's only for a little time the FIRST time you read. But every subsequent reading makes the blindness progressively longer, until it's essentially permanent. And two people can read the exact same Elder Scroll and get totally different takes on what's going to happen.
ANYWAY, these odd heists lead up to a rather audacious one of my own - the Gray Fox sends me to steal an Elder Scroll. Holy...... Yeah, the would pretty much make my name as famous as thief of the Gray Cowl's would have been, if it weren't for the curse.
It was a marathon run, but I did it. Brought the Elder Scroll back to the Gray Fox without ANYONE being the wiser and without killing anything but animals and undead. Go me.
Do you know what he did? He sent me off to deliver a ring to the Countess of Anvil. A Wedding Ring, as it turns out. And he wanted me to report her reaction, be it anger or tears (Dude, you're gonna make ME cry!). I just sort of ignored the fact that Mr. No Fixed Address didn't tell me WHERE to meet him to make this report....
For a wonder, I arrived at the Anvil audience chamber during open hours and Lo! There was A Stranger, sitting in his accustomed place - unnoticed, unknown, unremembered. I spoke to him and he said the EXACT SAME THING the Gray Fox said to me last. Right, guess this is why I don't know where to make that report, huh?
Speaking to the Countess didn't result in anger. It might just have resulted in tears, but about the time she started cycling out, A Stranger walked up and named the name of the true thief of Nocturnal's Cowl, thus breaking the curse. (and you wondered why he wanted an Elder Scroll - they contain EVERYTHING, regardless of curse, it seems!)
Long story short, I am now the owner of the Gray Cowl, the head of the Theive's Guild and Corvus is once again sitting next to the woman he obviously never stopped loving.
I just can't stop thinking about him... sitting there, every day... unnoticed, unknown, unremembered Ow.