Act I - Awakening
Ten years. The majority of that time spent honoring the chosen mandate of protecting Solitude. But what does that matter, when a mere suggestion is more powerful than truth? A suggestion that requires no in depth understanding, just supposition. Due to that, I had friends turn on me. Those who I had served with, some I had even helped train. But the belief, was stronger than any friendship or camaraderie we may have had. The truth was obvious - but the lie existed to placate those who knew justice would not be served to the one responsible for some time. So in this, they went for any scapegoats they had. Such as I, who supposedly assisted in Ulfric's escape, when it was another guard whom I tried to stop, but ended up knocked cold on the battlements. Too much mead a few hours earlier, perhaps, which in the moment could not have been the mistake it eventually became. Along with Roggivr, who they knew assisted in Ulfric's escape, and knew he had knocked me out that night. But his action towards me? Ignored. Instead, all they cared about was they had someone to lead to the chopping block, and perhaps a second waiting to calm their nerves. I honestly do not know. So I spent a week in the dungeons, thinking about how much merits, truly meant. If people believed you had done something wrong, even if common sense should tell those making the decision, you did not? Nothing - for they perhaps, believed it too.
But then I was released, with a brief apology, and I have to think being bitter for what happened is justified. Though even so, I did not have the thought to take any revenge. At least, not until that night a few days later, when I...died.
The rumors existed. Even surrounding the Court Mage of Solitude, but those were ones that seemed, safe. But others, were less so. Many feared them, and rightly so. My own thoughts were not specific, and seemed less relevant when I had to stare one down that night, the thought instantly going through my head, that a veil had been lifted from my eyes. No longer rumor, no longer myth, or stories told to inspire fear in children, and grown men and women. Though it was to be more than that. No mere assault in the middle of the night, no. An attack, as I realized there were at least four of them. Vampires.
The blur I watched was taxing. Not vivid memories, just flashes of events. Drawing my sword to face down the "monster", one of them being killed by me, another guard being fed on by another one of them, two of them assaulting a woman who had been nearly stripped naked, and then one I had missed, managing to use a fallen sword to impale me through the stomach. The fall seemed, endless. Then the last, the sight of yet another, who seemed far more timid than the rest.. She leaned down, saying only "I am sorry . I tried to stop them, and they would not listen".
The last thing I remember from that night was a pain in my neck, and something being forced down my throat. The next is, cold, the stone and faint warmth of candles, the sound of creaking bones. In a rage, I felt what seemed like the snarl of a wolf come from my own throat. I had no questions as to what happened. It seemed, irrelevant. Something that may become nothing more than a past life, one I no longer live.
Stumbling to the streets of Solitude, I took the slight of a guard. The rage built again, with a flare in my veins. So be it. They believe Vampires to be a monsters creatures? They have no idea.
Act II - Vampire
The concept of Evil is hard for most to understand. They see it as something simple, perhaps branding a wolf attacking defenseless livestock as such. Forgetting the natural order of things, believing themselves so high above it, that it should never effect them. To them, it is not natural, for they have progressed past it, even if their own actions make that belief a lie. The only real progression is, that some do not have to hunt for their food - as others can be paid to do that work in their stead. Any upset in that flow, and those who are used to it, feel reason to complain.
Where exactly would I fall in that? Somehow, I feel no reason to lay claim on a name for wealth, power or anything else. While others are content with leaning on political power, though once I had no care or concern for these thoughts, now I believe that such power is, weak. For it only takes a better opinion to change everything, to make you lose that power. Or, someone who does not care about rules, only that they want something, and their actions to get it, will not be about staying in line. Yet, I still find this a bore, since it is more about discussion and debate, than actions.
About three months ago, I was sent to investigate this old structure, near a northern road in Haafingar, which itself was on a hill sloping down to meet the Sea of Ghosts. It seemed to be an old mausoleum, the architecture being of a sort I had never seen before. Though I was told the place was very old, going on perhaps a few thousand years, and yes, most were curious as to why it was still standing. Though there were similar examples of such places in Skyrim - Nordic and Dwemer ruins, for example. So most did not consider that point, too much of a surprise. But when I arrived, it was not exactly the ruin I was expecting. Surely, it had the expected trappings - a few gravestones around the seemingly small structure, their names far too faded to read, and signs of recent travel, the snow being disturbed by someone other than me. But this paled in comparison to the two lit braziers next to the entrance. Along with the fact that it was clear this place had signs of habitation. Of what sort I did not know, but at the time, I felt, perhaps, unconcerned? I am unsure as to why, but I left the place soon after, almost putting it out of my mind. Though when I left Solitude after the events which changed me, it seemed to come back, for reasons I am still unsure of.
What I found, was that the place was empty. However, it no longer seemed to be the sort of mausoleum that perhaps Solitude's Hall of the Dead is. Instead, it seemed pristine, decorated for royalty, possessing various trappings that would not be entirely out of place in Solitude. Save for perhaps the few things that suggested this place was not meant for the residence of mortals. Such as the low fog that permeated the place, the persistent cold in spite of the various lit braziers, and behind one of the doors, was a room containing an upright coffin, lined with red velvet, and made from dark wood.
I have perhaps done stranger things recently, and I have no illusions that such events will not become more frequent.
Act III - Dawnguard
What faith did I possess? What considerations did I make for what is right and wrong? Well, is it not perhaps clear? Even days of being a Vampire has not really turned my perceptions of them, since I truthfully did not have a real perception before. How can you forge a belief in, or of a creature that may be nothing more than mere myth? A story meant to scare you, meant to keep you from wandering the streets at night. As if such a story does not make you give into the fear of such a thing, giving them power over you - and yet you are meant to hate them with these stories. Meant to somehow not fear this vast unknown that seems incomprehensible to you. However, what makes it worse, would be those who have a strong belief in the Divines, to the point of being bloodthirsty themselves, wanting to snuff out any traces of Daedric Worship, which naturally included Vampires. The Vigilants of Stendarr, a group that somehow had some political sway in Skyrim, ironically enough, because they themselves were known to spread fear of Daedra, and all the entities they spawn. Perfect bait for a uncultured, unknowing province that, like others in the Emprie, had suffered through the Oblivion Crisis so long ago. True or not, the things they say are not exactly meant to make you fear Daedra - they mean to make you fear what the Vigilants will do to you, if you in any way, consort with them. Yet, I had known Haafingar and the rest of Skyrim to not like the idea of just anyone assuming the authority of the guards, and what have you. But on this, perhaps I am mistaken?
Though in truth, what seems far more important is not even the Vigilants. Rather, another group, whom I found out about when I, perhaps in a fit of nostalgia, decided to patrol around Solitude's front gate in the middle of the night. None of the other guards seemed to care, and perhaps I did not either. Though my attention soon took to an Orc, wearing armor of a make I had yet to see, and when his eyes met mine, he began walking twoards me. He explained to me that he was in Solitude recuriting those willing to join the Dawnguard, a group of mercenaries that sought to hunt down...VAMPIRES?
There was no confusion in his eyes. No hint that his reaction to me was any different from speaking with any of the other guards. I questioned to myself, how he possibly did not know. However, he explained the reason for the group's apparent reformation was to fight the growing fear of Vampire attacks in Skyrim. Something I knew about. He suggested that if I was interested, which I cheekly did show interest in, perhaps just because I was curious, that I should travel to a fort southeast of Riften, where I would find members of the Dawnguard massing, though it seemed that might not be the right word for it.
Why? At least two days later, and that means a carriage ride with my red cloak over my head during the day, I arrived to find very few people. A young man greeted me once I entered the valley, and I later found out that he was nothing more that a farm boy wanting to join the Dawnguard and fight Vampires. By the gods...he has no idea what he is in for, and does not care? The fool.
I did not talk to the others, save for one who was the leader of the group, Isran. Though on that matter I did not have a choice, since I entered to find him and a man who seemed to be a Vigilant, from what he was saying - which was interesting by itself. I had heard of a place known as the Hall of the Vigilant, home of the group in Skyrim, located southwest of Dawnstar, in the Pale. This Vigilant, Tolan, suggested that it had recently been attacked by Vampires, and that it's leader, Carcette, had been killed. But, there was more. Apparently the Vampires had a goal in mind - a cave in the mountains above the Hall had something the Vampires were after, and the task appointed to me, was to find out what this was. I found it interesting they made little mention of "go kill all the Vampires you find", but perhaps this means they have a little more sense than would be expected.
How absurd is their consideration for this task? Travel for a few days halfway across the province to obtain information? Though the only reprieve I had from this, would be that I already had knowledge of the area. I had the curiosity to pay a visit to the likely charred hulk of the Vigilant's Hall, but I did not do so. For I viewed this task as far more important, though I was not likely as concerned about it, as perhaps these Dawnguard were.
To suggest that I did not encounter Vampires, would be a lie. However, it seemed true that with my weapons, and skill in using them, they proved little trouble. Perhaps due to the fact that my knowledge of blacksmithing lead me to melt down all those silver coins I found in these Nordic ruins, into enough silver to make a fine silver blade - one that I had also previously crafted in steel. In addition, my recently gained knowledge of enchanting magic, allowed me to place such magic on this silver blade - an effect which seemed to bind the soul of a creature to a gem, if they died while under the effect of this magic. Against these Vampires, such an effect was not too important, but the silver was. It strains me to consider that it should be dangerous for me as well, but I do not feel repelled, blinded, or anything else while wielding this blade. Another point to make was my favor of the crossbow. A sight common to some guards in Solitude, and I preferred it over the much more common bow. The Dawnguard did suggest that such a weapon was effective against Vampires, and it seemed they were indeed correct.
I did note that they did seem to be after something here. Yet for the few words I eavesdropped on, they did not know exactly what. Or if they did, they seemed to be avoiding saying it outright. Perhaps they knew of my presence, even if they did not immediately attack me? Or perhaps they wished to keep the knowledge from their lessers - thralls bent on the service of these Vampires.
In what seemed like a large cavern, I took in the sight of something that I had never seen before, yet the architecture, was familiar to me. What looked like the same stone used on the Mausoleum, was also used here. But this was no undercroft, this was something else. Even the Vampires trying to unlock it's mystery had no idea what to do. Though they were more of a challenge, I still did not exert too much effort in dispatching them.
More to the point, I stood in the middle of a circle of arches, surrounding a single, waist height pillar. Scattered around this circle was also a number of silver vessels, each containing some vibrant violet powder. Perhaps I found this just as confusing as them, though one detail stood out - atop the pillar, was a silver dome, with a faint red cast. Perhaps a mistake, but I chose to place my palm on this. I quickly realized it would be a mistake, were I not a Vampire. A steel spike pierced my hand, and I watched as purple energy surrounded me, filling the channels in the floor.
Given my notice of the vessels, it now seemed a simple matter. Moving them into certain positions lit a flame, and soon the floor dropped toward the center, revealing a stone monolith beneath the center of the dais. When I put my hand on it's surface, it slid away, as a woman fell out of it, an into my arms. When she looked up, I looked into a pair of glowing, red eyes.
"Who...who are you?"
Act IV - BLOODLINE
She knew. Just as I knew the exact same truth about her - she was a Vampire, like me. Only, that seemed to not be it. I do not know how, but I could tell that there was something different about her, which I could not even begin to guess what it was. Her clothing was decidedly unique, something I had not seen before - save for something similar on some of the Vampires I had encountered in this very tomb - which I had even stripped one of the Vampires of, almost like a perverse trophy, since I had to profusely wave it around, trying to get rid of all the dust and ash. Which brings to mind an almost scary thought, that if I should die, I would leave behind the same. Not that I am really concerned about taking up space in some crypt at this point, though it is true Skyrim had traditions of burials that, in some way, involved burning a corpse, rather than the more common earthen burials in Cyrodiil, or so it seemed.
But what I took note of otherwise, would be two things - one, that she had some sort of large, golden scroll hanging from her back, and that at her waist, was a sword of, like her attire, a make I had not seen. The scroll seemed to be something of value, and while my thoughts decidedly did not focus much on that point, the question I had to ponder was if it held significance. The sword merely suggested she had some skill with one, which I could certainly appreciate, given that it seemed she was going to be a companion in my travels, if only because she had a request to make of me, and she also gave me her name - Serana.
Which was that she wanted to travel to her families home, off the northern coast of Haafingar, northwest of Solitude. Perhaps a place I had seen before? I recalled to her a castle I had seen in the distance while traveling the coast, and she confirmed that to likely be the place. I agreed to her request, and we left the ruin together. Though it seems we were not to travel for days to reach this place.
She mentioned that, if I knew where it was, she could offer to get us there quicker. I saw the slight smirk on her face as she mentioned that I should take her hand, and told me to, trust her. I shrugged, and eagerly took her hand. When I did, I first watched as her form dissipated into a swarm of bats, and it was not be only her, but myself as well. How long this took, I am unsure, but I saw flashes during this time. Sights of a small village in the swamps of Hjaalmarch, flying over Solitude, the coast of Haafingar, and when these flashes stopped, I was staring at the castle in the distance, a small dock before us, with boat that could take us there.
"Um, this is part where we get into the boat, you with me?"
Traveling in the boat, I felt somewhat, anxious. I had no idea what outcome my choices would lead to, and in a sense, I was both terrified and unconcerned. Mostly because I knew that, I had not felt the need for food in the last few days, and perhaps beyond the odd bottle of ale or mead, the only thing sustaining me was blood. Something obvious, to be sure, but it was something to consider when I thought about what would be my future. The knowledge of a Vampire's longevity, is something that most stories and legends suggest, the only fear there being that if such a detail is not at all true. If it was, that would mean that death would be far less likely of a possibility than if perhaps I had remained as one of the Solitude guards. Though that was not it, I felt it might be best to consider it all later. After all, it occurred to me that, I was about to meet Serana's family, and while my intentions of marriage might be far off, I still felt as if I was going to ask a question that I was not ready for.
Once we landed on the island, I could not help but marvel at the castle. It seemed a place which was way past it's prime, like any apparently abandoned fortress might be, but with this one, it suggested it was still in use, with the braziers lit behind a gate, which clearly lead inside. It was a thought I had to change into that leather outfit, which I did in this seemingly unused watchtower near the dock, with Serana politely waiting outside. When I emerged, I nodded to her, and I saw an expression on her face which was hard for me to read. I paid little attention to it, as I headed up the stone walkway to the castle, but eventually, she tapped me on the shoulder. When I turned, she seemed, just as anxious as I was on the boat.
She explained, perhaps vaguely, that it might not be the best situation I was getting into. That she did not know how people would react to her, much less me. I asked if she was okay, and with words of gratitude, she suggested we enter. When I turned, I witnessed an old man standing just inside the gate, who loudly proclaimed "Lady Serana's back - open the gate!"
When we entered, I first took in the short entrance hall - a pair of gargoyles sat on both sides of the room, a blue carpet with Nordic designs lead to the main hall, and from the windows on the left, a shaft of moonlight entered the room. Before us was unquestionably an Altmer, whose attire was similar to what I currently wore, only his was instead, grey. He looked at me with a certain look of disapproval, his glowing eyes not causing me the fear it may have instilled in others. "How dare you trespass here..." He then turned his eyes to Serana, who barely regarded him, but the look in his eyes changed. "...Serana? Is that truly you?"
I stepped forward, cautiously, while the Altmer move forward into the main hall, standing against a railing between two downward staircases. "My Lord, everyone - Serana has returned!".
(To be Continued...)
Note: List order is not indicative of this character's MO setup, and changes to this list are just that, not an addition to this character's profile.
FNIS - Fore's New Idles In Skyrim
OSA Poser Module
Schlongs of Skyrim
B3lisaro's SOS UNP Addon
No Schlong for Females(SOS Addon)
MRB - MJ's Realistic Body(UUNP Bodyslide Preset)
Ancient Mausoleum(Player Home)