AoG - The Gray Fox
Updated: Mar 19
If you’ve played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion you have heard the name “The Gray Fox” before. We're introduced to him by the guards who are searching for him; a notoriously sly thief. But who, or what, is the Gray Fox? Is it just a master thief? Is it an ideal for which aspiring thieves to strive for? Is it a position in the Thieves Guild itself? There are many arguments for what exactly it is, but I personally don’t think it’s any of them. I think it’s all of them.
Through Oblivion you hear about the Gray Fox all the time by the guards. He’s wanted and you should report anything you know about him. Nobody knows anything about the Gray Fox except that he’s a thief, wears a particular cowl, and has seemingly been around for several hundred years. That’s about all that goes on unless you join the Thieves Guild. Upon joining you learn that the Gray Fox is the guildmaster of the Thieves Guild. At this point the Gray Fox is a man: a singular entity, a person, your boss.
After advancing through the guild you get to meet the Fox and learn that he is the Count of Anvil, Corvus Umbranox. He reveals to you that the iconic Cowl of the Gray Fox is a Daedric artifact stole from Nocturnal herself: The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal. After it was stolen from her by a previous guildmaster of the Thieves Guild, Emer Dareloth, Nocturnal cursed the cowl so that whoever put it on was erased from the world. Not in a literal sense, but all those around said person would forget who they were, they would be metaphorically invisible. Through a series of quests the player helps Umbranox lift the curse. After the curse is lifted the count passes on the Cowl and guildmaster title to the player.
At this point The Gray Fox is still a person, you; but it’s also a position, guildmaster of the Thieves guild in Cyrodil. To the public The Gray Fox is still the mysteriously ageless thief that has been terrorizing Cyrodil for hundreds of years. To your fellow guildmates you are an ideal. The epitome of what a master thief is.
To be The Gray Fox is more than to be a thief with a hood, you’re also an ideal, and you’re the guildmaster. The title of The Gray Fox has always been something that fascinated me in Oblivion because it’s not like any other guild position. You’re not just the listener for the Dark Brotherhood, that’s a job. You’re not just the guildmaster of the fighters guild, that’s just a job; the mages guild, same thing.But The Gray Fox is more than just the job, and he’s more than just a great thief. The Gray Fox is a legend, it’s an ideal, it’s a part of history, it’s a responsibility to be the best damn thief there ever was. But most importantly he’s wanted for theft, embezzlement, forgery, pickpocketing, counterfeiting, burglary, conspiracy to commit theft, grand larceny, tax evasion, slander ,fraud, perfidy, and impertinence. Any citizen with information should contact the Imperial Watch.