5. J'zhar and J'darr

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The Khajit have it rough - they're constantly being called racial slurs (although usually adorable ones like "milk-drinker"), most are regarded as thieves, and lots have crippling Skooma addictions - one of whom was named J'darr. His brother J'zhar was desperately trying to help J'darr break his habit, and had signed the two up for an expedition - the goal was to get J'Darr active and busy to help him get clean. Knowing going cold turkey would be too much for him, J'zhar brought along a small supply of Skooma.

His attempts to ween his brother off the stuff hit a roadblock - the group they were traveling with got trapped atop a glacier during a particlarly bad snowstorm, and J'zhar quickly ran out of the small amount of Skooma he brought along. J'darr did not deal with the withdrawal symptoms well, hallucinating and shaking constantly. When one member of the group went missing, most assumed it was J'darr who killed her.

When you run across J'darr in the game, he's the only member of the party still alive - and he's still mad from Skooma withdrawal. J'zhar's wounded corpse lies near him - although there's no way to know for sure if J'darr killed his own brother. There are a group of Falmer in the ruins as well, who are revealed to be the ones behind the rest of the group's disappearance and probably helped contribute to what the J'zhar was chalking up as J'darr's hallucinations.

Poor J'zhar just wanted to help his brother get clean - and ended up losing his life while his brother went insane.

 

6. Meeko

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Meeko is essentially the Dogmeat of Skyrim, except with a much sadder story.

You find Meeko in the vicinity of Morthal - where he'll lead you back to his owner's shack. However, his owner is dead. Luckily, instead of simply leaving the poor ownerless dog to his fate, you can recruit him as a companion...but not before Meeko spends some time whining over his poor, deceased owner, as though he still expected him to wake up.

There's a journal that sheds some light on the situation - Meeko's owner died of rockjoint, and left behind the only loved one he had in the world: Meeko. The happy ending to this is that you can bring Meeko along with you. The sad ending is that your life is nothing but fighting dragons and Falmer for the rest of eternity.

 

7. Salvianus

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In the sewers of Riften, there sits a former Imperial who's clearly dealing with some stress - he references being a veteran of the Great War, even witnessing (and likely participating in) the slaughter in the Imperial City against the Thalmor. His experiences in battle have seemingly left him with PTSD, haunted by the memories of the people he killed and the bloodshed he saw.

As if this weren't a sad enough situation, the reason you run into him is because you're searching for Esbern - someone wanted dead by Thalmor agents. When they burst in, Salvianus is convinced he's going mad, screaming "No, you can't be here! I've already killed you over and over again!"

 

8. Trius' Camp

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Trius set up camp near the entrance to the ship Pilgrim's Trench, waiting for his beloved Shelly to arrive on ship. She never did - it's unknown what happened to her ship, although given the Trius is waiting near the Pilgrim's Trench entrance, it would seem likely she was returning on that ship - which now sits at the bottom of the sea, having sunk long ago. Trius waited and waited still - eventually dying himself, sitting there and waiting for his love to arrive.

Trius left a note behind, should Shelly arrive with him not there:

Shelly,

Your ship should have arrived weeks ago and I fear the worst has happened. I've set up camp on this rock as your ship should pass by here and hopefully one of these days we'll be together again. If you're reading this I'm probably out hunting or bringing in some supplies. I'll be waiting here until I see your face again.

Faithfully yours,

Trius