The Gauldur Amulet was originally owned by the powerful wizard Archmage Gauldur during the First Era. His three sons Jyrik, Sigdis and Mikrul grew resentful of their father's power and murdered him in his sleep sometime during the reign of High King Harald (1E 143-1E 221). They divided his amulet between them and laid waste to the surrounding villages until the High King sent Archmage Geirmund and a company of battlemages to stop them.
After the three brothers were defeated, they were sealed away with the pieces of the amulet. The High King ordered that the whole affair be struck from the rolls of history, fearful of the terrible power of Gauldur's amulet, but the "Forbidden Legend" managed to live on through the ages.For more information, see the lore article.
The Goldbrand is an ancient artifact, which takes the form of a golden katana. It was created by the dragons of the North. According to the legends of thieves, it was given to a great knight who was sworn to protect the dragons. It contains the power of the Daedric Prince Boethiah, and burns those that it strikes. The sword is said to have a more powerful form known as Eltonbrand, which lends its wielder stamina and greater skill in battle.
In 3E 427, the Nerevarine discovered the sunken shrine to Boethiah beneath the waves, west of the small village of Hla Oad in the Bitter Coast region of Vvardenfell. The Daedra was upset that his shrine had been allowed to remain in ruins, and ordered the Nerevarine to erect a new shrine in return for the Goldbrand. The Nerevarine funded an Orc sculptor to create the shrine at Khartag Point, a landmark northwest of Gnaar Mok. When the statue was complete, Boethiah rewarded the Nerevarine with the Goldbrand, which was later rumored to have transformed into Eltonbrand. Goldbrand was sold to Torasa Aram and put on display in the Mournhold Museum of Artifacts that same year. In 3E 433, the Champion of Cyrodiil visited the Realm of Boethia and partook in the Tournament of Ten Bloods. After defeating all nine of Boethiah's Chosen in mortal combat, Boethiah declared the Champion as his Chosen One, gifting the Goldbrand as a boon.
In 4E 175, Goldbrand was wielded by a Dremora named Reive, who was in the service of Thalmor general Lord Naarifin. Reive was slain by the Forgotten Hero, who may have wielded the Goldbrand at the Battle of the Red Ring while impersonating Emperor Titus Mede II. This led to a pervasive rumor that Titus II wielded it at the battle, although this has never been officially confirmed by the Imperial government.
Gray Cowl of Nocturnal
The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal is a daedric artifact that once belonged to Nocturnal. It takes the form of a dark leather cowl, which obscures the face of the wearer. Nocturnal is revered as a god by thieves across Tamriel. Her reputation as the Mistress of Shadows has sometimes led thieves to attempt to steal an item from her to prove their greatness. As Nocturnal is usually depicted wearing a cloak and a cowl, it is around these two items that legends have arisen. The story of the theft of Nocturnal's cloak is probably fiction, as is at least one story of the theft of the cowl, but the cowl is known to have left her possession. It appears to have been stolen by a thief named Emer Dareloth, the first guildmaster of the Thieves Guild, although a curse bestowed upon the cowl by Nocturnal meant that the name of cowl's owner is lost to mortal memory. "Whosoever wears it shall be lost in the shadows. His true nature shall be unknown to all who meet him. His identity shall be struck from all records and histories. Memory will hide in the shadows, refusing to record the name of the owner to any who meet him. He shall be known by the cowl and only by the cowl." This curse was broken when history was rewritten through the use of an Elder Scroll.
The cowl is inscribed with the phrase "Shadow hide [y]ou" written in the Daedric Alphabet, though as is common in the Daedric alphabet, the letter Yahkem (Y) is omitted from the inscription. The phrase is also used as a code between thieves, either as a form of praise to Nocturnal or a literal expression of hope. The Nightingales of Nocturnal believe the true meaning of the phrase is a reference to their fate after death, when their souls journey to the Evergloam and become one with the shadow, the cloak that covers their fellow thieves. The Office of the Unseeing Eye, a section of the Cult of the Ancestor Moth, expressed a desire to find the cowl in order to see if the curse does exist, and research further on how to remove it.
After having been stolen by Emer Dareloth, the cursed cowl was handed down from one guildmaster to the next in the Cyrodiil branch of the Thieves Guild. This forced the guildmasters to work under the persona of the Gray Fox. Thought to be a myth by most members of the public, the identity of the Gray Fox came about over the course of three hundred years, as the guildmasters lost their individual identities and became known only as the bearer of the Cowl. Legends propagated around the mysterious master thief, who was thought to possess immortality and supernatural thieving abilities. He was viewed as a hero by the beggars and the lower classes of Cyrodiil, but he was hated by the nobility and the Imperial Watch. The curse was broken in 3E 433, when Count Corvus Umbranox, the contemporary Gray Fox, organised the theft of an Elder Scroll from the Imperial Library in the Imperial Palace. Umbranox used the Scroll to rewrite history and remove Nocturnal's curse. Without the curse, the past guildmasters were able to work openly, and the Thieves Guild became more prosperous. Umbranox regained his identity and his title as Count of Anvil, and the Cowl was passed on to a new guildmaster. Even without the curse, the Cowl still had the ability to cloak the true identity of the wearer, and it was still identified with the infamous Gray Fox. By 4E 201, the Gray Fox remains a revered character among thieves.
At an unknown time, the Gray Cowl made its way into Skyrim, and so did the mantle of the Gray Fox to a Nord by the name of Pjorf Ice-Blade. Instead of becoming the head of the Ice-Blade clan, he left it, pursuing his own interests out of greed, and as a result the clan declined. Scoundrels then targeted the Ice-Blade clan, attempting to steal their wealth. Erikur, the Thane of Solitude along with other conspirators plotted to kill Pjorf’s sister, leaving her son, Smaref, as easy pickings. By 4E 201, They succeeded in making her cause of death look like it was due to an illness. Smaref was left an orphan and last of the Ice-Blades, and the scoundrels began manipulating him. They obtained the boy’s consent to transfer his family’s lands over to them, and sent him to Riften. After hearing of the passing of his sister, Pjorf wanted to step into Smaref’s life and take the role of his guardian. He investigated from the sidelines, he heard of Smaref’s adoption by one of Riften’s wealthy. He saw that while his new father figure was caring, his wife considered the child nothing but a street urchin. He was let into their household for dinner one day, and saw that the wife wasn’t good for Smaref. She revealed that Bolli was asked to take in the child for adoption by Solitude’s Jarl. Pjorf investigated further into this and discovered the plot to strip the Ice-Blades of their wealth.
Pjorf decided that the person that deserved to inherit the Gray Cowl of Nocturnal was the person who was willing to help him get back at Erikur, and faked the death of the Gray Fox. A stranger investigated the grave of the Gray Fox, and discovered a note that it was a fabrication, and took up the task to gain the Cowl. Following Pjorf’s instructions, the adventurer swiped various important documents with fabrications, ruining the scoundrel’s claims to the Ice-Blade clan’s lands. Finally, the adventurer delved into the Nordic ruin of Silverdrift Lair, and took The ancestral Sword of Clan Ice–Blade, so that Pjorf could prove his ancestry. With the tasks done, the adventurer returned to the Grey Fox’s grave, and Pjorf came in-person to grant the Cowl to them, passing on the Gray Fox’s mantle.