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The Hidden Story Line You Missed In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Watching different characters organically interact with each other is a joy in any video game, but Bethesda titles take the cake. Whether it's overhearing a group of scavengers chit-chat in "Fallout 4" or eavesdropping within the Jarl's court in "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim," there's always something to glean from the world if a player looks or listens long enough. Sometimes it takes more than simple observation to uncover the best character interactions in these titles. Perhaps there is no better example of this than "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" tale of City-Swimmer, a humble Argonian thief from Bravil.

"The Elder Scrolls" series may be famous for its massive open world and expansive narrative, but it's the interactions between lesser characters and NPCs that sell players on the living, breathing nature of the world they inhabit. Though these NPC squabbles and adventures often happen right in front of players, they're typically inundated by any of the near-infinite quests or tasks available. Out of all the games, this hidden story in "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" is worth players taking some time to track down. It's easy to miss, but any interested players will be treated with some impromptu theatre.

Who Is City Swimmer?

In the squalid settlement of Bravil, home to the Lucky Old Lady statue hiding a dark secret, there's a tale of haves and have nots just waiting to play out. An Argonian pickpocket by the name of City-Swimmer is the main star of this drama. To those looking to get to know the peculiar Argonian a little better, City-Swimmer will introduce herself with bombast as a master of stealth. In her own words, she's "creeping 'round a corner, hugging a wall, silent as a shadow in the dark." Still, any player investigating her day-to-day will see her out and about in plain view, crouching around, looking like a waddling duck, believing herself near-invisible. City-Swimmer is not very stealthy, and she has no idea.

If players stick around to follow City-Swimmer long enough, they'll eventually see her in the act of her masterful burglary, like a painter taking to canvas. Sometimes it's only for a piece of bread, other times, it's for a handful of Septims, but things really get interesting when she gets caught. Despite City-Swimmer's foolproof methodology of attempting to pickpocket townsfolk on the streets in broad daylight, the city guard will often catch on to her actions. Without a warning, they'll draw their weapons and attack with everything they have, sending City-Swimmer scrambling to escape a swift death at the scene of her crime.

What Happens To City Swimmer?

What follows is a heated pursuit that can last quite a few minutes. City-Swimmer will attempt to flee, dodging arrows and sword swings to the best of her ability, trying to find cover. Ultimately, she's trying to make her way back home to wait for everything to blow over, but she's been known to pop into the chapel or other unoccupied locations to try and let things cool down. When she does eventually make it back to her tiny third-floor apartment, the guards will fall in after her. Cornered and without any means to defend herself, City-Swimmer will be cut down by the guards invading her home.

While the guards' immediate use of violence is abhorrent, City-Swimmer's tale didn't have to end this way. Had she not turned to a career in crime, perhaps she'd still be around to train adventurers passing through Bravil to sneak a little more as she does. That said, she was a destitute Argonian just trying to make ends meet any way she could in an uncaring world; thievery just happened to be the role City-Swimmer was born to do — even if she wasn't very good at it.