It all makes perfect sense now. Those playing Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim since its debut in November of 2011 may find a minor gameplay mystery solved with the arrival of today’s announced third DLC expansion, titled Dragonborn.
A quick refresher: Prior to DLC availability, throughout a player’s questing initiatives in Skyrim, a courier would randomly and not-infrequently deliver a short “Letter from a Friend” to the player, praising the Dragonborn’s mastery of the Thu’um (Dragon Shout) and pointing him or her to a new Word Wall. The letter read:
“<Name of Player>,
You caused a bit of stir in <Location> when you demonstrated the power of your Thu’um. Not everyone is anxious for the return of the Dragonborn.
I for one desire to see you grow and develop your talents. Skyrim needs a true hero these days.
You should turn your attention to <Location>. I understand it holds a mysterious source of power that can only be unlocked by the Dragonborn.
Though considered by many gamers to be an insignificant curiosity, some turned to Skyrim message boards in an effort to deduce the identity of the “Letter from a Friend” author. The most frequently fan-suggested characters behind the letters are high-king claimant and Windhelm Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak and Blades member Delphine, who guides the Dragonborn through the main quest.
There are a few inconsistencies with both suggestions. First, these letters continue to arrive if the Dragonborn sides with the Empire in Skyrim’s civil war, which culminates in Ulfric’s death. Delphine is unlikely as well, because the courier who delivers the letters always states that the author doesn’t reveal a name, “just that he is a friend of yours.”
What’s more, there isn’t a single character in the game who addresses these letters while the Dragonborn continues to receive them.
So who is the author?
The key to the secret lies in another Bethesda property – Fallout: New Vegas. In this game, the main storyline is rife with hints and rumors regarding a competing “courier” to the player character. This rival curiously seems to shadow every step taken by the player, and his presence is felt throughout subsequent DLC releases until the final chapter, Lonesome Road, pits the two couriers against each other. Here it is revealed that the rival courier, named Ulysses, has been secretly plotting the player character’s demise throughout the course of the main game due to a long-held grudge.
At the time, developer Chris Avellone talked about his motives behind foreshadowing the Ulysses character: ” I also have a lot of love for Ulysses in Fallout, only because I like the idea of someone hunting my player for reasons of his own, and then hearing the reasons why… and realizing how important even the smallest of my actions are for the people of the wasteland – living or dead.”
Now obviously, Fallout and Elder Scrolls are worked on by different teams within Bethesda. But could the Skyrim team be so fond of the Ulysses element in Fallout that they adjust and implement it for their own purposes?
Such seems to be the case with the upcoming Skyrim: Dragonborn DLC, announced today by Kotaku. In the stunning trailer (posted below) the narrator tells of another Dragonborn: A former Dragon Priest and rival to the player’s own Dragonborn who uses the Thu’um power for his own nefarious ends.
From the trailer, we see that this nemesis is male, a character with knowledge of the Thu’um, and is himself a Dragonborn.
I present to you the author of the “Letter from a Friend.” Evil Dragonborn.
Here’s the Skyrim: Dragonborn DLC trailer. What do you think, gamers? Is my theory right or wrong?