I still remember my first X-Box 360. I remember I would spend countless hours playing the few games I had, my favorite one being The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. I was only eight at the time, and i had gotten the game about a month after it came out. I had beaten the game in early 2008, near when I learned that Skyrim was in production. I stopped playing the game after that, when I got addicted to Team Fortress 2 on Steam.
It's been ten years since then, and my skills as a hacker were getting amazing. I could now get pretty much any game I wanted in about an hour with no trouble. I remember hearing about the new version of the Oblivion Construction Kit that had just been released, and decided I would try to get a copy of Oblivion for my PC, so I could start modding the game. When I searched for a link to get the files I needed, I couldn't find any websites that worked. My internet connection was horrible at the time, and the pages would freeze because of lag.
I did find one link that worked, however. The page loaded up after a few seconds of waiting, and the website looked very strange. The background was completely black, with a single red line of text saying, "Download 0bl1v10n.exe." I was curious as to why the name of Oblivion was so strangely spelled. But I decided it didn't matter, as I could still run the game, so I clicked the download link. After the download started, the page changed to a new tab, but I could have sworn that before the page changed, there was a little white line of text in the bottom right corner saying, "sorry."
The download notifications told me that a folder called "-" was downloading. The download finished after about a half an hour, and I looked to see what was in the folder. The only thing I found inside was an RAR file titled "0bl1v10n.exe." When I opened it up, I found the ISO disc image, the launcher, titled 0bl1v10n.exe, and everything else that would be needed to run the game.
I was ready to get started on modding the game. However, I had never had the Addons as a kid, and wanted to see what they were and if they affected the game-play, and I also wanted to see if this third-party version of the game was different from the original version, so I decided to start playing instead of downloading the Construction Kit. I mounted the ISO disc image using DAEMON tools, like normal, and clicked the Oblivion Launcher. When I started up the game, The normal Oblivion Launcher Window started up like normal. I clicked Play, and the game began to load.
As usual, the Bethesda Softworks logo came up, and I couldn't believe that I was actually playing the game again, ready to relive my childhood memories. When the title screen came up, I was excited to hear the title music again. I changed the control settings to my liking, so that I would be able to play the game easier, and I clicked the button that said, "New Game."
The game started like normal, with Emperor Uriel Septim telling us about how he senses the coming of Oblivion in the year of Akatosh, along with his own death. To my surprise, the Character Creation screen never came up, but instead it started me out in the cell at the beginning. I was confused. It normally allows me to create my own character. I looked in the menu to see what my character was.
It turns out my character was, for some reason, a high elf named "..." He had 91 health, 121 fatigue, and, oddly enough, 450 magicka. He, to my surprise, had all of his attributes and skills selected. He had the Mage birthsign, and his major skills were Conjuration, Destruction, Mysticism, Illusion, Restoration, Athletics, and Sneak. He started out with the spells Lightning Blast, Silence, Disintegrate Armor, Summon Daedroth, Superior Spell Reflection, Superior Spell Absorption, Heal Major Wound, and Cure Poison.
I couldn't wait to get started. Sure, it was weird starting out as this overpowered character, but at the same time, it felt awesome, and I couldn't wait to try some of these new badass spells out on some creatures. When the Emperor came in with his blades, they let me out through the secret passage like normal, but this time, the Emperor seemed more unnerved than gratified to see me. I was curious as to why this was, but I continued to play the game like normal.
When the first battle with the cult members came around and Captain Renault got killed, Glenroy and Baurus, instead of attacking the cult members, would try to attack me, for some reason. When I killed all of the cult members without help, they stopped trying to kill me, and left into the prison like normal.
I paused the game quickly to try and work my brain around what just happened. Not only was I an unknown character with huge magical abilities, but I was also targeted by the blades whenever the Mythic Dawn Cult members were in the room. I began to nervously start thinking that the reason that I was in the prison had something to do with the Mythic Dawn Cult, but passed it off as my imagination, and continued to play the game.
I escaped the sewers like normal, (without choosing my attributes and birthsign, of course) and decided to sell some of the junk i found in the sewers in the Imperial City. I ran up to the city like normal, jumping to level up my acrobatics, and came to the market district. I was surprised when I entered the market district to find that it was empty of all the townspeople that usually wandered around, and all of the Imperial Legion Guards were missing as well, except for one, who stood at the entrance of the arena district.
I decided to talk to this guard to see what he had to say, but when I talked to him, I saw his mouth move, but the only thing I heard was an odd, quiet murmuring sound, almost like somebody whispering in somebody's ear. I had to leave the talk quickly to turn on subtitles before talking to him a second time.
The text that appeared when he spoke said, "They are looking for him. They say he opened the gates, and he must die, but I don't think it will stop." I didn't understand what he meant by that. I assumed that by "them," he meant the other Legion Guards that normally patrol the Imperial City, and that "the gates" were the hellish gates to the Oblivion Realm. As for "him," I didn't know who or what that meant.
I was met by a few text options detailing what I could say. My options were, "Where is everyone?", "What's wrong?", "Who are you?" And finally, "Who am I?" The last one kind of creeped me out, because of the mystery of the character I was playing. I still had no idea what my character’s name was, so I asked the guard, "Who am I?" The text at the bottom was unreadable, as it was a mix of gibberish, many random letters and numbers connected together. The most unnerving thing about this was the sound in the background. It sounded like static mixed in with a woman screaming in pain.
Thoroughly disturbed at this point, I stopped talking to the guard and decided to go and sell my unwanted items. I decided to go to Slash n' Smash first, because I can sell weapons there, and since I'm mainly a hand to hand user, I never carry weapons. When I talked to Urbul, I noticed his disposition with me was at 0, indicating he hated me. I ignored this and checked his shop, which, to my surprise, had nothing in stock. There was no armor, weapons, pelts, not even repair hammers. I sold him my items and left, confused at this point.
When I went to the next store, the Mystic Emporium, Calindil and Aurelinwae both hated me too, and had no items to sell. This unnerved me, and I didn't know why it was happening. I went to every store in the district, and got the same response from every merchant, except for one, Rindir the Magic Staff Merchant. He had a disposition of 46, which is pretty good, and he had one staff in his store, as well as an enchanted robe and ring. The staff had 10 points of Disintegrate Armor and 7 points of Shock Damage, the robe had 25 Shield points, and the ring had 50 Fortify Intelligence points. Every one of the items was AMAZING for only one gold piece each, so naturally, I decided to buy them. I paid Rindir my three gold pieces and left the store. I almost wish I hadn't.
When I came out of the shop and into the market district, I was met with a gruesome sight. I saw the people who were usually in the town, along with the guards, lying on the ground dead. By dead, I mean that they were killed in the most gruesome and horrible ways possible. I saw one of the guards with his head and his legs lying about five feet from his torso, and the next one I saw was a villager skinned and hanging from a signpost. It was more graphic than anything I knew the game to be, and I thought to myself, “That's not possible.”
I saw a man standing near the entrance to the city isle, and I was glad to see somebody who wasn't dead. I ran towards the man as fast as the game would let me, but I saw him leave out of the gate. I ran past the bodies of the townspeople to the gate, hoping I would be able to catch up with him in the open world. I saw him leaving across the bridge very quickly, and I let myself believe that I couldn't afford to miss him. Since everyone was dead, I decided that nobody would mind if I stole a horse from the city stables to catch up to him.
With the horse, I was now fast enough to catch up to him, and when I was close enough, I decided to talk to him to see if maybe he had any answers for me. When I looked more closely at him, though, the man was a high elf who looked very much like my character, almost identical, in fact. When I talked to him, I was shocked to see what his name was: Mankar Camoran. In case you didn't know, Mankar Camoran is the prime antagonist of the game, so I was surprised to see him this early in the game.
He had absolutely nothing to say to my character, and when I clicked to leave the conversation, he just vanished into thin air, like he was never there. I was very nervous and confused at this point, and I wanted to see if something had changed. I opened the menu, switched to the information section, and looked at the name of my character. In the place of the original name, “...” the name had been changed to, “Mankar Camoran.”
I exited the menu with a look of confusion on my face. I was the Antagonist? I was the one who targeted the emperor for assassination? I then knew what the guard in the city was talking about. About him. About me. I understood what he meant when he said he didn't think it would stop. He meant all of the deaths, the murders, the gates constantly opening, the daedra pouring out of the gates, all because of me. At this point, I just wanted this whole thing to be over, and went to shut off the game. But when I pressed quit in the pause menu, the game said, “You can't escape your fate.”
When I came back to the main game, I was surprised to find myself in a completely different location. Instead of the bridge outside of the Imperial City, I found myself in the very dungeon I started out in, except the gate leading out of the prison cell was open. Curious as to why I was there again, I decided to just go the way I left at the beginning of the game. But before I turned my back to the open gate, a shadow rushed past on the wall behind the gate. From what I saw, it looked like the silhouette of a tall, menacing creature with very long fingers and an abnormally long neck, which resembled a spinal cord to some extent.
Not wanting at all to find out what that thing was, I decided to just run as fast as I could through the dungeon. Out of the corner of my eye, even as I was running, I saw the shadow gaining on me. I prayed for Camoran to run faster, for once in my life, but the shadow was catching up fast, and there was nothing I could do about that. And then I remembered. I had some of the most overpowered spells in the entire game, plus my new staff, robe, and ring. I decided to wait for whatever that thing was to come to face me, and that I would be able to fight it off. I was wrong.
No amount of money, or happiness, or anything will make me willing to see what I saw again. Nothing prepared me for what the creature was. It was Emperor Uriel Septim, his robes bloodied and torn, with little chunks of flesh hanging off the many seams and furs. His fingers were so long because they had been torn out whole, with only a few tendons and nerves left holding them to the rotting hands. His spinal cord had been ripped out to the point of protruding his head about three feet above his shoulders, and his lower jaw and eyes had been cut out, and were replaced by bloody pits and cavities.
I had to struggle to keep myself from upchucking on my computer screen, because I knew that if I gave him the opportunity, Septim would kill me. I cast my Lightning Blast spell at the deformed emperor, but he just shrugged it off, taking only a measly sliver of damage to his health bar. I decided to Summon a Daedroth to help me fight, but the moment I did, the emperor turned to my Daedroth and lunged at it, killing it in one hit.
I decided my best bet was to run as fast as I could to the exit of the sewers, so that's what I tried to do. I entered the main underground caverns, and passed into the corridor leading to the room where the emperor was assassinated. The emperor began running a bit faster towards me, and I knew I had to get out of there as fast as I could, but no matter how fast I ran, the mutilated emperor would be one step closer and closer. And the closer he got, I could hear static faintly rising in the background.
I ran into the room where the emperor was killed, and I was glad to finally escape this nightmare. But as soon as I entered the room, I saw that my only way out had turned into a dead end. The small corridor through which I escaped to the sewers had been blocked off, and I knew that I was a sitting duck for the dead Septim. The static was now deafening, and I knew that Camoran was about to die.
The moment that the emperor was about to touch me, the moment when he was just one hair away from ripping my heart out, the static stopped, and my computer screen was now occupied with a blue screen of death, meaning that the game had planted a serious virus in my computer. I was relieved and terrified that the blue screen had come when it did, and I let out a long, harsh breath when I realized: “This is over.”
Oh, how wrong I was about that...
The next day, I took my laptop to the Geek Squad to see if it could be saved. After about two weeks of waiting and playing on my PlayStation 3, I got a phone call from the Geek Squad telling me that the computer was now running smoothly, and that I could come by to pick it up. When I booted the computer up, everything was normal, except for one thing: The file, 0bl1v10n.exe, and everything else having to do with the game, was gone.
A few weeks had passed since then, and I had spent most of my time playing games like Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, and Diablo III, and pretty much anything that had nothing to do with Elder Scrolls. One day in the last week, my computer had been acting strangely. Every time I logged on to the laptop, I found a single notepad window open to the desktop, asking me things like, “How are you?” and, “What now?”
On the last day, which was a Thursday, the notepad file showed an HTML link. When I copied and pasted the link into Firefox, I was shocked to see the same, plain black website where I had gotten the horrible game. The red letters showed the download link like before, but unlike before, I knew when to say no, so I closed Firefox and decided to connect to Steam and play some Counter-Strike. However, when I opened up my Steam program and tried to put in my account information, it said, “We're sorry, but the account you specified has been disconnected. Please log in with valid Steam log-in information and try again.”
That night, I had a nightmare about the game. That god-awful Uriel Septim was chasing me through my house, and all of the doors and windows had been sealed off with wet cement. My only choice was to stand still and wait for the thing to come. When it finally arrived, I saw it lunge at me, knocking me to the ground, and I saw it eating my limbs off from my position on the floor. After he was done with my left arm, he moved his face closer to mine. The last thing I heard was Uriel whispering into my ear in a demonic tone, “You're mine now.” Uriel lunged at my throat in a flash of a second, and I awoke screaming.
I couldn't sleep for the rest of the night. The image of that thing ripping my flesh off kept flashing through my mind. And I had no idea what he meant by, “You're mine now.” I had no idea why this was happening so long after I played the game, but I couldn’t keep my mind off it, so I decided to play on my PlayStation 3. When I loaded up the system, I attempted to log in, but there were no user profiles to choose from on the system. I was getting really freaked out at this point. Why were all of my internet connections being shut down? First my Steam account, now my PSN profile?
I had enough of video-games that day, so I went over to my friend's house to see if he was available for a movie with our old high school buddies later that evening. I was surprised to see that he was right outside his house, as if he was waiting for something.
I walked up to him and asked, “How have you been, bro?”
“I got your message...” He responded glumly.
“That message you sent to me on Steam. How could you say those things to your best friend?!” Seeing as he seemed not to know, I told him what had happened. “Um, bro, my Steam account was disconnected yesterday. I couldn't have sent any messages, good or bad...” “Well you did! Because I got a message to my Steam account from you telling me that I would know what it's like to have my bones crushed!” “What the fuck?! I never sent those messages!” I yelled in shock. “Well who sent them then?!” “I don't know. But I think I'm being stalked by a hacker anyways. My PSN profile was shut down as well.” “Weird...” He said, shrugging his shoulders. “Well, if you're right about this, and you better be right, then let me help. I know a thing or two about putting up defenses against hackers.”
“Thanks, bro,” I gratefully replied. I was glad that I could finally tell somebody about all of this crazy shit that was happening, and that maybe he could help. When we got to my house, we went into my bedroom and booted up the laptop. When I had put my password in and opened Windows, Deafening static sounded, and I almost got a heart attack from what I saw. My desktop photo had been replaced by a screen-shot of the undead, mangled Uriel Septim, rushing at the screen in a rage. Under the image was the text, “LEAVE NOW! HE'S MINE AND MINE ALONE!” My friend screamed, jumping up out of his seat extremely fast, and flew up against the wall.
It didn't take too long to understand what had happened. When I looked away from the screen to my friend, I saw blood streaming down the wall behind his head on the wall, and his eyes were starting to glaze over. I was too terrified to do anything but start crying. I couldn't even get off the bed I was sitting on. I knew that my friend had met his end, and I couldn't have felt worse. After about two minutes of just sitting there crying, I finally brought up the courage to pick up my cellphone and dial 911. While the dial tone was ringing, I noticed that notepad was open, and the text said, “Finally. I can have you all to myself. Wouldn't you agree?”
When the police arrived, I was too scared to do anything while they examined for evidence. They said that the cause of death was a skull fracture that pierced shards of bone deep into his brain, as well as severe internal bleeding. The police took me to the station to ask me a few questions, and provided a hotel room for me to spend my nights in temporarily while they moved the body.
The drive to the hotel felt like it was one of the longest drives of my life. I just couldn't stop thinking that it was my fault, that if I hadn't asked for his help, hadn't brought him into this, then he would have been okay. But I had to be selfish. I had to worry about what would happen to me if this went unchecked, rather than worry about what would happen to him.
When I eventually got to the hotel, all I wanted to do is go to sleep, so I just dumped my luggage at the foot of my room's bed, and passed out the moment I hit the covers. I shouldn't have.
I had the same nightmare as before, except that instead of me, my friend was the one being eaten alive, and I was just lying on the ground watching the whole thing. I felt like that was the last time I would ever see him again. I woke up shivering and crying. This was too much for me to handle. I knew that I couldn't just live my life like this, and let Uriel torture me like this. I had to find a way to end this. So I decided to do one of the things that I would normally regret to the fullest.
I slid my laptop out of the computer case and held it in my hands for one last time. Then, without regret, I threw the computer against the wall. Hard. I picked up the remaining pieces of the computer, piled them together on a desk, and used my pocket knife's corkscrew function to destroy every last circuit board. I carried the pile of junk and cables and threw the whole lot of it off of the balcony. It was ten floors down, so I began hoping that I had nothing to worry about. To test whether it was over or not, I tried to sleep once more.
This dream wasn't a nightmare, to my surprise, but a fairly happy dream. I was in my old house, which was spotless, well lit, and had a merry aura around it. And my family was there, along with my friend: All of the people in my life that I cared about who passed away, and they were all there, smiling at me. I noticed there was a Christmas spread on the dining room table, and that the radio had turned on to one of my mother's favorite songs: Hey Jude.
I woke up at about seven thirty in the morning feeling the best I had felt in months. I couldn't believe it. It was over! It was all over! I was so happy, I woke up one of the guests next door with my laughing. But I didn't care who was mad. I was having the best feeling of my life.
Later on in the next couple of years, I got a new computer, graduated college, got married, got a job as a computer designer at Microsoft, and started a family. But then, I remembered. There was still something I had to do. I opened up Firefox, looked for the website with the black background and red text, and I used my knowledge as a hacker to destroy the website, so it could never hurt anyone again. And that's where I am now. I'm having the best life I could ever dream of. And to this day, I have never touched a copy of Oblivion ever again, and because of the events of two years ago, I never will. And I can rest easy now that I know that nobody will ever find that game again.