Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For other uses, see A Brush With Death.
"Rythe Lythandas is one of the greatest painters in all Cyrodiil. Sadly, he's gone missing. His wife, Tivela, is beside herself with grief."
―Citizens of Cheydinhal[src]

A Brush With Death is a quest in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Rumors around Cheydinhal tell of the disappearance of Rythe Lythandas, a famous painter, his grieving wife Tivela, and her search for help with finding her husband.


Head over to Rythe Lythandas's House and talk to Tivela Lythandas to start the quest. It turns out that Rythe often locks himself up in his studio, but this time he hasn't been seen for several days. Deciding to further investigate, Tivela used the spare key she swore to use only in special emergencies to get inside the studio. Rythe Lythandas, she says, was nowhere to be found. She gives the Hero the spare key to unravel the mysterious disappearance of Rythe Lythandas.

Inside painting.

Head into the studio using the door to the right when entering the house. Upon close inspection of the painting, the Hero will be whisked away to a strange forest that seems to be painted; all bright colors and broad brushstrokes. Rythe will be standing not far away.

Talk to him and upon investigation the Hero will find out that his paintbrush is magical, its hairs said to be from the head of Dibella, and he uses it to enter paintings and create them from the inside, directly from his imagination. This brush was given to Rythe by its first owner, his father. It was stolen by a Bosmer thief who disappeared into the painting and created some Painted Trolls to protect him. Instead, they killed him, and now lurk inside the painting.

The only way back to Tamriel is to retrieve the brush from the thief's body. If they choose to ask Rythe about the trolls, he will give them six bottles of turpentine, which inflict extra damage to painted trolls. There are six trolls in the forest.

Painted troll guarding the dead thief.

The path to the thief's body is a linear one in a horseshoe shape; Most of the trolls can be avoided altogether by jumping over the rocks between Rythe and the thief's body.

Once the Brush of True Paint is retrieved, return to Rythe and he will paint a door back to Tamriel.

Once Rythe returns home, Rythe will go to his wife to let Tivela know he is safe. Rythe, finished speaking with his wife, will award the Hero the Apron of Adroitness, a light armor cuirass with a leveled Intelligence and Agility boost, as thanks for saving him.


A Brush With Death – MS14
ID Journal Entry
  • Update: Upon hearing the rumor about Rythe's disappearance:

I've heard that a famous painter named Rythe Lythandas has gone missing. Apparently, his wife Tivela has been frantically searching for him. Perhaps I should visit their home here in Cheydinhal to see if I can assist with the search.

  • Update: After speaking to Tivela:

I've met a kindly Dunmer named Tivela Lythandas. It seems that her husband, Rythe, has gone missing. She seems extremely distraught, so perhaps I should talk to her to find out more information.

  • Update: After inquiring further:

Tivela told me that Rythe had been locked in his studio to work on his latest painting. He usually comes out to eat and sleep, but hadn't done so for more than a day. When she went in to investigate, he was gone. The odd thing was that the study door was still locked. Tivela gave me the key to Rythe's study. If I intend to find him, that's where I should start.

  • Update: If declining to help:

I've declined to help Tivela locate her husband, but she said she'd be here if I change my mind.

  • Update: If deciding to help after declining to help:

I've reconsidered and decided to help Tivela locate Rythe. She gave me the key to his studio. If I intend to find her husband, that would be the best place to start.

  • Update: After entering Rythe's studio and investigating:

After touching the painting Rythe had been working on, I suddenly found myself standing in a strange forest. It looks familiar, like the Great Forest in the heart of Cyrodiil, but something is different about it.

  • Update: Upon finding Rythe:

I've located Rythe Lythandas. He was standing in this strange forest, seemingly waiting for someone to rescue him. He blames his predicament on a thief. I should continue speaking with Rythe to find out more.

  • Update: After speaking Rythe further:

I've learned that a thief broke into Rythe's studio and stole his Brush of Truepaint. Using the artifact, he escaped into the painting. He then painted trolls to protect himself, but they turned on their creator and killed him. Now the Brush is on the thief's body, and we can't leave without it. I should take my leave of Rythe for now and begin exploring this surreal forest.

  • Update: After finding the thief's body:

I've located the thief's corpse. I should now search it for the Brush of Truepaint.

  • Update: After finding the thief's body and the Brush:

I've retrieved the Brush of Truepaint. I should go back and return it to Rythe, so together we can leave this strange landscape.

  • Update: Upon returning the Brush to Rythe:

I've given the Brush of Truepaint to Rythe. He said he could paint an exit and beckoned me to follow him. I should do so.

  • Update: When an exit has been painted:

Rythe used the Brush of Truepaint to paint a door back to his studio. I should now step through and return back to Tamriel.

  • Update: After entering the newly painted door:

We've arrived back in Rythe's home. The painting is now sealed, and Rythe is safe. I should speak to him when I have a moment.

  • Update: When given the reward:

As a reward for getting him home safely with the Brush of Truepaint, Rythe presented me with a fitting reward; his Apron of Adroitness.

  • Quest complete



  • The title and the contents of this quest may have slightly been inspired by the episode of Darkwing Duck called A Brush With Oblivion, which involved a villain with a magic paint brush.
  • This quest is the only possible place to acquire Turpentine and painted troll fat.
  • After the quest is completed, the Black Horse Courier will release a special issue, Greatest Painter Safe!.


This section contains bugs related to A Brush With Death (Oblivion). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  PC   Some people have encountered a game-stopping script bug in this quest, wherein the return portal fails to spawn when returning the brush to Lythandas. To simply remove this bug, make sure to use all the Turpentine before talking with Lythandas.
    •  PC (Fix)   If this bug does occur, however, it is possible to use the console on the PC to teleport out of the painting using the command player.coc DestinationName, for instance player.coc CheydinhalRythesHouse will teleport the Hero into Rythe's house in Cheydinhal. It is uncertain whether, if one performs this action after the portal fails to appear, Lythandas will also teleport to his house, enabling the quest to be finished, but the Hero at least will be able to escape the painting. If using the console command to teleport out, one should click on Lythandas prior to, once teleported out, use moveto player to teleport him out as well. This might allow completion of the quest.
  • If the Hero has not yet returned the brush to Lythandas, the bug can possibly be bypassed by first teleporting him to an open area. To achieve this, open the console and select Lythandas, then type moveto player and the quest should progress as normal. This solution is not guaranteed, and out of twelve attempts for this author, it did not work once. This author used the wait command to wait for an hour as soon as Lythandas started to paint the portal home. This worked twice in a row, so this author suggests this workaround for the PC and possibly both console versions.
  • For those on the console versions, there are several ways of getting the portal created:
    • Attack Lythandas before talking to him, and have him chase the Hero down the hill. Yield to him and he should walk up the hill and make the portal.
  •  PS3   Another method is to kill all six Painted Trolls using the Turpentine they've been given before searching the bandit's body to reclaim the paintbrush. Avoiding the trolls and jumping over rocks to reach the body may cause the glitch.
    • Reloading a save and trying to hand in the paintbrush again also can occasionally work. (Only tested on PS3) Wait an hour. As stated above, this should be done as soon as Lythandas attempts to paint the portal home.
  •  PS3   In the PS3 version of Oblivion, when walking into Rythe's room, one will notice that the jar with the paintbrushes is wobbling on the floor and will not stop. If it isn't wobbling, lightly touch it and it will not stop.
  •  360   There is another bug where Rythe gives them the turpentine, but it does not appear in the Hero's inventory.