It is revealed in the quest the staff of Magnus that, as a student in the college, Aren led a party of 5 other students on an exploration to the ancient ruins of Labyrinthian, in the hope of finding rewards hidden in the ruins. However, they underestimated the dangers the ruins held, the exploration went awry and the students, one by one, began to die, leaving Aren the sole survivor. In the end, he vowed to not let the incident be forgotten.
During Aren’s leadership of the college, he appoints Ancano, a Thalmor agent, as his advisor. Unfortunately, this proves to be a mistake; when the player brings in The Eye of Magnus, Ancano powers himself with the artifact and turns on Aren, killing him in the process. Ancano then proceeds to take control of the college, until he is defeated by the player, who is named the new Arch Mage. But before his death, Savos Aren makes some final plans, leaving detailed instructions for Mirabelle Ervine to pass on to the player, explaining that s/he is to return to Labyrinthian to retrieve the Staff of Magnus, in hopes of containing the Eye of Magnus.