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Hey, it's Destana again. Last time, I got ready to call Odaviing and fight him and find out where Alduin is hiding, but decided I would take care of the vampire problem first. With both Elder Scrolls, I headed back into Castle Volkihar and found the Moth Priest, Dexion Evicus. And I noticed he has a blindfold on. He said, "I'm sorry, I won't be able to read another Elder Scroll for you. I'm afraid in my haste to read the first scroll, I neglected the time I needed to prepare. The failure is purely mine to bear. As you can see from my bandages, I am physically unable. Oh please, milady, forgive me!" "I don't suppose there's a cure for permanent blindness?" "If only such a miracle existed..." He said. "Then I have no further need of you..." I said, about to tell him to go home, but I considered what accommodations he would need. "Although I would gladly die by our hand, perhaps I could offer an alternative way to read the scrolls?" He said quickly. "Dexion, I wasn't going to kill you. But, go on." "Thank you for letting me continue to serve, m'lady! There's an Ancestor Glade in Skyrim, in the pine forest. Someone could use the ancestor moths within to read the scroll. You remove the bark from a canticle tree, which attracts the moths. Once enough moths are gathered, they'll provide you with second sight needed to decipher the scrolls." "I assume this is the 'proper' way to do this, that moth priests usually go through?" "Yes, m'lady. There should be a draw knife available at the glade to cut the bark," he said, "Not even every moth priest ever gets to do this! You should count yourself blessed if it works." I gathered up blood potions from the table and set back out to the Ancestor Glade with my group. Looking down, I saw a lowered clearing with many waterfalls, moths gathering at the trees. A stream of light cast on the center, which is where I found the draw knife. "This is beautiful. I doubt there's any other place like it in Skyrim," Serana commented. I cut a bunch of bark and rubbed it on myself and ran around. When I'd gathered a shitton of moths, I started to glow. When I stepped under the shaft of light, I knew this was the place. I opened the Elder Scroll, just like I'd done a couple days ago in the Time Wound. When I did, an image was burned into my vision. I felt faint, and when I knocked the cobwebs out of my brain, Serana was helping me up. "Are you ok? Almost thought I lost you there... you went white as the snow," she said. "I doubt that," I commented on my dark skin, "But I do know where we need to go." It was burned in my brain. I pulled out my map and marked it, "Darkfall Cave." Just then, I heard a noise. Dawnguard! I hid behind one of the rocks while the group dealt with them, I adding an arrow or two. My vision still wasn't fully recovered. Maybe I should stop reading these things. When we got to Darkfall Cave (it was very dark) we walked past a wooded clearing in the cave, up a path to a rickety bridge. As I neared the middle, only Sofia and Serana had stepped onto it when the bridge broke apart. We were all dunked into a rushing river, swept downstream. When we got to the end, I casted a Perpetual Light and we were immediately beset by Cave Spiders. The three of us cut them down. I summoned Shirley and Inigo and we ventured on. We reached a camp covered in blood and Serana said, "Why would anybody set up camp here?" Then, realizing I was being dumb, I activated Night Eye, because I was a vampire. Venturing on, we encountered a couple of Cave Trolls, then in the distance I saw what looked like a Falmer. I got out my bow and took aim. "You have nothing to fear from me," the figure said, and I put my bow away. "Who are you?" I said as I approached. And I realized he was an elf, but white as the snow. "I am Knight-Paladin Gelebor. Welcome to the Great Chantry of Auri-El." "This cave is a temple?" "Auriel, Auri-El, Alkosh, Akatosh... so many different names for the sovereign of the Snow Elves." Pretty sure Auriel is not Akatosh, but ok. I said, "You don't look Falmer." "I prefer Snow Elf. Falmer is what we call the Betrayed." "I imagine you know why we're here," I said. "Of course. You're here for Auriel's Bow. I can help you get it, but I need your assistance," Gelebor said. "What do you need?" I folded my arms. I'd already been down a dank Falmer hole recently. Guess it was already time for another. "I need you to kill Arch-Curate Vyrthur, my brother." "Okay, but why?" "I don't understand what's happened to him. It was the Betrayed. They did something to him. I just don't understand how Auriel would allow this to happen. They swept into the Chantry without warning and began killing everyone without pause. It is a peaceful place of worship. My small group of paladins were no match for their sheer numbers. He's alive, but he's changed. And it doesn't seem like he's under duress." "I have a group here. I don't suppose you want to help us?" I asked. "Leaving the wayshrines unguarded would be violating my sacred duty as a Knight-Paladin." "Wow, that's some devotion. Even after everyone and everything you knew is dead (which Auriel could've probably done something about) you still cling to this faith," I said, "Just tell me what to do." "Let me show you how these shrines work," he casted a spell, and the shrine behind him opened up. "Initiates completed their mantras, then they dip a ceremonial ewer in the basin at each wayshrine." Serana said, "So we have to lug around a heavy pitcher of water. Marvelous." "And to enter the Inner Sanctum, you pour the pitcher into the basin there." "Seems like a waste," Serana said. "It's symbolic. I don't expect you to understand," he said, "There are five wayshrines in total." "Doesn't matter. Are they all in caves?" "Oh, no. The Chantry encompasses far more than a few caves. There will be a spectral prelate at each wayshrine," Gelebor said. I grabbed the ewer from Gelebor, and dipped it in the shrine. A portal opened up in one of the archways in the wayshrine, with several blank walls that I assumed would open up later. "Alright, team," I said, diving in. Another dark cave, I continued on with the group following. We fought through Falmer, walked through a waterfall, then I pulled a chain that opened up a large cave that reminded me of Blackreach. This one was rock paths over a large body of water, but the strange lights and mushrooms were the same. We fought our way past several strangely-patterned Saber Cats, then found the first shrine. I dipped the ewer and went through the portal. This one opened up to a misty clearing with more strange saber cats, green deer, and colorful flora. Most of them were in this field, but miles away, so we trekked. "It's ironic that we're 'helping' these priests," I said. "Honestly, I don't think they care what a bunch of vampires would do with Auriel's Bow. They're pretty focused on the past," Serana replied. "Yeah I don't get the sense that they care much about the sun, or even the actual god himself anymore. It's pretty sad," I said. After a little bit of running, we reached the second, and the third. I had to do a little mountain climbing to get to the fourth, and I lost most of my group. Sofia kept up with me though. It seemed she was intent on proving she was useful. I looked down at a frozen lake and spied something on the horizon. Aiming my bow, I figured it was too far away. Sofia came up behind me and nudged me a little. I lost my footing and fell. My cushioned boots protected me from harm, but I turned to see a Frost Giant right behind me. He slammed his greatclub onto the ice and I fell backward. This one attack, even missing me, left me quite injured! I backed up, dodging the next attack. Knowing type matchups, I casted a double-handed Elemental Bolt to catch him on fire. Sofia engaged and I took him down with a bow. Whew. I stepped out onto the ice, as the shrine was nearby. My group was just coming around the mountain when two ice dragons burst out of the frozen river. Not dealing with this alone. "DUR - NEH - VIIR!" I shouted, and the undead dragon appeared. Immediately hungry for battle, he engaged the far away dragon while we engaged the nearby one. This time, through ranged attacks of the whole group and me using Dragonrend, we were able to fell them both. Another Frost Giant (who I'd been initially aiming at) was at the far end of the lake, but I started shooting at the edge of my range and he was dead before he got to us. I collected the fourth shrine, and turned toward the last one. This one led us into an icy crevasse in a mountain spiderwebbed with Falmer construction. We fought our way up icy cliffs for a couple hours, me primarily sniping them with my bow (and if they ever got close, I gave them an Unrelenting Force to send them into the pit). I spied a beautiful elven bridge high above us. When we ran out of falmer homes and places to climb, I scratched my head. You remember waaaaay back when I was infiltrating cities and using rope arrows? Well, I got out a bundle of them, dusted them off, and shot about ten of them across the rocks above me. It was still a hard climb, and my jumping abilities certainly helped, but eventually I reached the bridge. The only one to tail me properly: Sofia. "How the heck are you so good at keeping up with me? Not even a powerful vampire can do that." "I'm good at being on your ass you say?" She chuckled. She knew exactly what she was doing. I walked over to the last shrine and dipped the ewer, and noted that the Inner Sanctum was across the bridge. I summoned the others who were having trouble climbing, we took a short break (them for food and me and Serana for a blood potion) then poured the ewer in the final basin and headed inside. "My friend, you never stop do you?" Inigo smirked. "Haven't considered it, no," I said, "Maybe when I'm old. But if I stay a vampire, I guess that's not going to happen." We laughed. Inside were numerous ice statues. Some of them holding pretty good-looking weapons and items. "Nobody touch anything," I said, "I know enough to know if you touch these, they'll probably come to life and try to kill you." I placed the ewer on a pedestal that looked like it belonged to, which opened a side door. We ventured forward, only to find a trapped Frost Giant and some treasure, both of which we dealt with. "Sometimes I wonder if we could make peace with the monsters too. The Forsworn seem to have done so," I said. Then we walked back in the main chamber and I took the ewer back. We walked forward, not disturbing anything, until we found a room filled with the statues and another Snow Elf sitting on a throne. He looked bored. "Did you really come here expecting to claim Auriel's Bow?" He asked. I assumed this was Vythur. "You've done exactly as I predicted and brought your fetching companion to me." "Oh, you mean me?" Serana asked. "I'm sorry, but your usefulness is at an end," Vythur said to me. Knowing exactly what was coming, I started my transformation as he was talking. The group got the hint and started to draw their weapons as the ice sculptures burst forth, waves of Falmer rushing us. After a few waves and me drinking my fill of Falmer with blood storm, he cast a spell at the ceiling, bringing it down above us. Another wave of Falmer with an Ancient Frost Atronach, then he brought the rest of the roof down, and I was knocked out from a stone hitting me on the head. The next thing I knew, I was waking up in my human form, Serana slapping me gently on the face. "C'mon," she said, "He's retreating!" We rushed forward to a balcony overlooking the valley and Serana grappled with Vythur, "You're going to give us that bow!" "How dare you!" He struggled, and it seemed their strength was nearly matched, "I was the Arch-Curate of Auriel. I had the ear of a god!" "Until the betrayed corrupted you. We heard," she replied. "Look in my eyes! What am I?" Vythur shouted, raging against his god. "You're... a vampire?" Serana asked, "But Auriel should have protected you." "Daddy Auriel seems like he doesn't give a shit about the elves," I added. "I was infected by one of my own initiates, and Auriel turned his back on me. He may have been beyond my reach for revenge, but his influence on our world wasn't. All I needed was the blood of a vampire and his own weapon to cut off his influence in Nirn," Vythur said. "Can't say I blame Vythur," I muttered. "I created the prophecy that led you here," Vythur continued, "Because I needed one final ingredient. A Daughter of Coldharbour." Serana gritted her teeth. I'd never seen her this mad. She reached for Vythur again, grabbing his neck and lifting him off the ground. But he put his feet on her chest and kicked off, landing on his feet. Everyone's drew weapons. He quickly casted a spell, summoning another Ancient Frost Atronach, but there were five of us. He lasted approximately six seconds. A moment later, the shrine in the Inner Sanctum rose. Door opening, Knight-Paladin Gelebor walked out of one of the portals. "This wayshrine is active. Vythur must be dead," he said. "It wasn't the Falmer's fault," I said flatly, "He was a vampire." "That explains much. Deep inside, it brings me joy the Betrayed weren't to blame. Perhaps..." He started. Maybe someday the Falmer could be cured, but that wasn't happening anytime soon. "My thanks, to both of you," Gelebor said, "You may have the bow. You've restored the Chantry. If you wish, I can create Sunhallowed Arrows for you, from normal elven arrows." Of course it had to be elven arrows. I pulled out a roll of them from my pack. Usually I just use whatever arrows are closest to the top. Thank gods I hadn't used all of them. I had him make me 40 of them. As Gelebor handed me the bow, he said, "This bow was said to be created by Auriel himself in battle against Lorkhan in ancient times. It draws power from Aetherius, channeling it through the sun. With these arrows, the effect is even greater." We got on the road to Volkihar Castle. Serana commented, "Not as shiny as I was expecting. Before we visited my mother, I'd say we bring it to my father. But now..." "Oh, I'm going to bring him this bow. And I'll deliver these arrows to Harkon personally," I said. "But..." Serana said. "You know, one at a time, at very high velocity. I was making a joke," I smiled, "That was in poor taste, wasn't it?" "I wish there was another way," she sighed, "I know I might seem pretty carefree, joking with you all the time... I guess I'm just trying to run away from all these feelings. But I feel pretty overwhelmed right now." Sofia said, "Have you ever wondered if our lives are just one big game? That the gods are playing with us?" "Well, Auriel doesn't seem to care about mortals, for one," I said. Serana blinked, "That's... surprisingly profound." "Like someone is sitting there playing with us like some adult plaything," Sofia continued. "Aha," I said, "There's the rub." "Where? I want a rub," Sofia said. "My gods, woman," Inigo facepalmed, "They're trying to have a moment here." "Sofia is pretty good at lightening spirits," Serana said, "I have to say you're growing on me." "Growing on you?" Sofia smirked. "Stop..." I said. We beached the rowboat to the island and got out. We walked as a group to and through the castle. I grabbed a snack from one of the human 'cattle' there, and we continued into Harkon's Room. He was standing there, already in Vampire Lord form, "So, you return." He motioned with his hand, and the doors slammed shut behind us, locking everyone outside the room except myself and Serana. "You look pretty threatening right now. Why would you want to threaten us? We've done exactly as you asked. Moved heaven and earth to get this bow," I said. I was just playing a part at this point. I wanted to see what he would say. He turned to Serana, not even acknowledging me, "Is your pet keeping you entertained?" "Do you actually care?" She asked. "Of course I do," he replied, "You disappoint me, Serana. You've taken everything I provided for you and thrown it away on this... pathetic half-breed vampire. No more. I'm done with you." "You can go to Oblivion for all I care," Serana said, wearing her heart on her sleeve. "I see this one has fangs," Harkon said. Then he turned to me, "It appears I have you to thank for turning my daughter against me. I knew it was only a matter of time before your ambition outgrew your loyalty." "Loyalty? You're hilarious. You were always going to kill me," I replied. "A small price to pay for the betterment of our kind," Harkon said. "You're an insult to our kind," I said. "Please, spare me your notions of kinship," he said. "But you just said our... whatever," I said. "You've simply used Serana in an attempt to take away what should rightfully be mine. I see you've been speaking to Valerica and she's convinced you that eternal night will plunge us into war with daytime dwellers. If only it were so. With the world in shadow, we would never tire, never weaken... more than a match for their pitiful armies." I narrowed my eyes, "Are you seriously that dense?" "How do you mean?" Harkon raised an eyebrow. "What do vampires need to live?" He stared blankly at me. "Whether their armies could take ours or not, vampires need blood. Blood comes from humans and animals. Both of them need plants to survive. Have you ever noticed that at night it gets cold, just like it does in the winter? Plants don't grow in the winter. That's because we're further away from the giant hole in the sky that leads to Aetherius we call the Sun. No sun, no plants, no animals, no humans, no... fucking... vampires!" His eyes got larger, as if he'd just come to a huge realization. "My plan was to stop you from the beginning. You ruined your family for this idiotic plan that would've meant the ruin of all things, including yourself!" I drew Auriel's bow, "You know what? Somebody like you doesn't deserve to be at the head of such a powerful dynasty. I'd let time take it's course, but I know it never will. So I'm going to do your family a favor and end you!" "Come then. Let's end this!" Harkon shouted back. He collapsed into a cloud of bats, which dispersed. I could hear banging on the door like a battering ram now that the battle had begun. Lord Harkon materialized across the room and waved his arm, manifesting a shield and summoning a group of skeletons. Serana fired ice bursts at the skeletons as I nocked a Sun Arrow and fired at Harkon. It pierced his shield, but he used bats again, appearing to my left. He immediately blasted me with Blood Storm, and I jumped to the side. I returned fire with Auriel's Bow and Sunblessed Arrows. Serana struggled to keep control of the skeletons, to which Harkon summoned gargoyles! He darted about the room, using the architecture to his advantage. Every time I got him, he drained it back with Blood Storm. This was not looking good. Suddenly, Shirley's Ebony-Booted foot tore through the double doors. She drew her greatsword as Inigo and Sofia rushed into the room. "Didn't anybody tell you, don't mess with Grandma?!" Shirley shouted. The three engaged the rapidly increasing skeleton forces in melee, leaving Serana and I to focus on her father. Where I was struggling with him, Serana made up for my weakness by flanking him. Between her ice blasts and my arrows (which I nearly ran out of) he fell. "No...my daughter... how could you?" He whispered as he crumbled to dust by his blood fountain. I exhaled as Garan entered. It was done. He said, "My congratulations on defeating Harkon. Clearly you are the superior vampire." "Clearly not," I said, "Look at all the help I needed." "Well, you're the master now. We bow to your power, which includes Auriel's Bow. The castle is yours. We shall follow you and help spread your influence across Skyrim," he said. "Dude, what the hell are you talking about? That's not how royalty and nobility works," I proclaimed, then stepped aside, pointing to Serana, "She is the new master of the castle now. Why the hell does every faction in Skyrim do that?" Serana scowled at Garan, then giggled at me, "As my first decree, I think we need to do some reconstruction. This castle is a trash heap. And I want to refocus our overall mission." "What should we change, mistress?" Garan asked. "I want us to focus on either bringing the wayward vampires under our command, or destroying them. Mainly the ones that are a nuisance to the humans of Skyrim," Serana said. "But... humans are our food. They are little more than cattle," Garan scoffed. "No. Humans are our friends, not food." "Come now," Garan cringed at this talk, then he looked at me. "Don't look at me! I was going to say the same thing. Though maybe not as articulately," I folded my arms, "I called a moot a few weeks ago. I negotiated you guys becoming a part of Skyrim's people for real. Though I imagine you want to maintain your secret location so a random Nord doesn't try to burn down the castle, you should make peace. Make an effort to feed on humans without killing them. Or if you do - do what we do." Serana motioned to the both of us, "We kill bandits and warlocks and animals and drain them. You know, bad people. Though the cattle idea has merit, the women in the foyer look like they're good wenches, stolen from their lives." "Hey!" I said, "I have ties with the Dark Brotherhood. Your cattle could come from them. Instead of kidnapping and killing, they can supply you with cattle." Garan replied snootily, "I suppose that works." Serana turned to me as Garan walked out of the room, "Well, seems like I have my work cut out for me for a while. Got any more adventures to go on?" "Well, there is at least one more, then I'll leave you to your reconstruction. Remember that dragon trap?" I asked. I gathered the group and we traveled back to Whiterun. After that marathon, we slept at the Inn until morning, but then we went back to Dragonsreach. "Ready, Vignar?" I asked as I approached the Jarl's throne. Balgruuf was there too, the two seemed to be getting along famously. "Dragonborn!" Balgruuf shouted, "We were just discussing the terms of the moot." "I must say, I am getting on in years. My family is already wealthy, but Balgruuf is still young. I would be willing to step down and let him retake his place. I'm more apt to spend my twilight years recounting my younger days with the Companions. I don't have the time to drink with Kodlak like I used to!" Vignar chuckled, "But! I'll be damned if I miss this scheme you've cooked up!" "I'm coming too!" Balgruuf shouted. Vidnar continued, "The chains are all greased up and everything still works, thank Talos. My men know what to do. Make sure you do your part. I'm putting the city in your hands." "Let's go trap a dragon," we went out onto the back deck. Everyone got in their positions, and I went out onto the balcony, "OD - AH - VIING!" For a moment - silence. I backed into the massive hall, readying the Nerevarine's Bow. Then the guard standing on the balcony got snatched and thrown to the plains below. My group engaged him with ranged attacks and I stayed back. When he reared his head in front of the huge window, I sent out a, "JOOR!" Dragonrend. He roared in pain and landed, and my group laid into him. I backed off more, shooting him with arrows. Not as strong as Alduin, but stronger than an average dragon. As he started to weaken, I pulled my fighters back. In rage, he charged at me, then the trap was sprung, a huge collar falling on Odahviing and snapping on. "Horvutah med kodaav. Caught like a bear in a trap," he growled, "You went to a great deal of trouble to put me in this... humiliating position. No doubt you want to know where to find Alduin?" "That's right. Where is he hiding?" I said. "An apt phrase. One reason I came to your call was to test your Thu'um for myself. Many of us have begun to question Alduin's lordship. None were ready to openly defy him." "You were telling me where to find Alduin?" I asked again. "Innumerable pardons. I digress. Sovngarde. He regains power by devouring the souls of mortal dead. His door to Sovngarde is at Skuldafn. One of his ancient fanes high in the eastern mountains. So, can I go free now?" "Maybe. Make me an offer. I have a dragon I can call already. Want to be my friend? If I can beat Alduin, then you probably should." "Alright. There is one detail about Skuldafn that I neglected to mention. You will never reach it without wings. I could fly you there, were I not imprisoned like this," Odahviing said. "I get the hint. But do you expect me to trust you?" I folded my arms. "Come, dragonborn, you wound me. I do not lie. If you release me, I promise to take you to Skuldafn and stop helping Alduin," he replied. Farengar (the court mage) slipped in about that time, "I would be most appreciative if you would permit me to perform some, ah, tests on you. In the interest of knowledge." He walked behind Odahviing, "You won't even notice me." Olfina said, "Farengar, this is a bad idea, even for you." "What are you doing back there?" The dragon roared. I smirked, walking casually over to the pull chain while Farengar was still gathering, "Don't forget, you promised." I pulled it, and the collar lifted off Odahviing. I'm pretty sure I saw Farengar go flying across the hall. I chuckled, walking back down to where Odahviing had been collared. "Wait, did I hear all this right?" Serana said. I turned, and it looked like tears were forming in her eyes. "Yeah, I need to ride this dragon here to Skuldafn, before I enter Sovngarde," I said. It sounded a lot more trying and ominous when I said it out loud. "That's the plan?" She said, like a weight just dropped into her stomach, "You ride a dragon to an ancient burial mound - alone - and then travel to a realm of Aetherius. There you defeat Alduin, and somehow come back to the world of the living in one piece. Yeah, I can't exactly say the plan sits well with me." I put my hand on her shoulder, "I'll be fine." "But..." She sighed, "You could die... You've come close so many times. And this could be the thing that does it. I just can't imagine you dying alone up there. You're... the first person I've ever trusted. The first... only... person I've ever loved." I continued to stare into her red, piercing eyes. "There has to be another way," she pleaded. "I don't think there is," I replied. She took a deep breath, "All right. This isn't easy. Go save the world." Odahviing turned toward the massive balcony, "Now, as promised, are you ready to see the world as only a Dovah can?" I nodded, hopping on the dragon's back. "Good luck, my friend!" Inigo shouted. "Dragonborn! You're amazing!" Sofia shouted. Olfina Graymane chimed in, "You're crazy!" "May Kyne guide you!" Vidnar shouted. "Talos be with you!" Balgruuf shouted. "You better come back alive!" Serana chuckled awkwardly.
It's Destana again. Since that day, I read a few books on Dragon Breaks. Many times, it is caused by things related to Lorkhan, like the Numidium. That might've been it. But, I believe me killing Alduin was what really caused time to go all wibbly-wobbly. I was in Sovngarde for about five days. Five months passed in Skyrim. "What?? Five months? How is that possible?" I asked Serana, in shock. "Well," Serana started, still clearly emotional, "Alduin was Akatosh's child. Maybe his death had some effect on time. Maybe Akatosh did it." "Anything weird happen while I was gone?" She leaned in and kissed me, then took me in her arms, completely ignoring what I was saying. She grabbed my hand and pulled me into the study. So, we had sex, which she desperately needed. While we were laying there in her bed, we dozed off for a while. A while later, she started talking. "What do you mean by weird?" She asked. I opened my eyes, "Well, I would've never predicted time dilation, so I guess... did anything interesting happen while I was gone?" "The last six months (since the moot) have been pretty fruitful. They opened up another clothes/armor shop. And like ten roadside Inns. Riften built more houses and stores to the south, just like you asked. And a little town sprung up just across the channel from Volkihar!" She said. "Wow. They've been busy here," I said, "Got your ear to the ground?" "Well, I think the people took what you said to heart. The Jarls started including me in their planning meetings. The Stormcloaks built up their forces for the upcoming conflict. Strangely, most the Imperial Troops stationed here have defected and joined the local armies. A lot of them even started living here! And there are lot of refugees, though they stopped a few months ago." "Wow, I guess it's pretty bad south." "Yeah," Serana said, "We thought the empire or the Thalmor were going to bother us, but they seem to be leaving us alone for now. Come to think of it, even trade from the south has stopped. Though, it seems like ships are coming in." "Oh! I didn't realize this, but you haven't seen all the new additions to the castle!" She sat up, pulling me out of bed. "Whoa!" I said, as she led me out of the bedroom, "I did see you got nice new carpets and tapestries, and cleaned up the common area." We passed by some draugr, just patrolling the halls. "I see you got guards," I said. "Yeah," she led me to the entrance, and pushed me onto a new, glowing pad, which teleported me to a room high in the tower. There were five similar teleporters in this room: Windhelm, Solitude, Winterhold, Riften and Markarth. And a spell tome to travel back to Volkihar! I grabbed a copy to learn at my leisure. "Oh wow! Do these go to all the big holds (and Winterhold)?" "Yeah. This is how I've been communing with them. I wasn't sure if it was the best idea, seeing as how historically humans hate vampires, but they're all one-way. On the bright side, the Windhelm portal allows you to travel back and forth at your leisure and see both of us," she said. Then she led be down a spiral set of stairs into a Cathedral, with a few vampires going about their daily tasks. I continued to be in awe as we then passed into a Tavern-like structure, filled with vampires. Serana smiled smugly, "These are some of the new converts to the New Way." I smiled back, "Well, color me proud." We then passed into Valerica's Tower, which had been refurbished. And down a set of stairs was a meeting room and a small library. "Wow, this is very nice. You finally got your own library," I commented as we walked back up to Valerica's lab, "So did your mom move back in?" Serana's eyes grew wide, "Ah shit. You know we should probably go to the Cairn and get her." I laughed out loud, "Before we go to a horrible land of death, mind if we finish the tour? And I want to go tour some of the changes in Skyrim." "Eh, sure. She's been in there a thousand years. What's another day?" She commented, "You DO owe me a few dates." I chuckled as she led me down a familiar path. When we found Valerica's tower the first time, we'd fought our way up this ruined path. Now, it was completely clean and refurbished, and patrolled by friendly draugr. We walked out the final door and before me was a small shipyard! "Wow! I am so impressed by you right now!" "Hey, you went and fought a dragon god. I had to keep myself busy," she smiled. We passed back through the main hall and grabbed some blood potions. Also, I randomly came upon Hestla (the Nord warrior vampiress) kneeling between Ronthil (wood elf vampire) and Dexion (the blind moth priest), giving them some 'attention,' if you know what I mean. Good to know my little thrall is making friends and assimilating here. We traveled to Seapoint Settlement, the small town across the channel, with a much larger shipyard. A great number of boats dotted the sea a little bit downstream. We went to the Inn. I grabbed drinks and we sat at the table in the corner. A bard started to play and sang, "We drink to our youth, and to days come and gone... For the age of aggression is just about done." "Wait, aggression?" I asked. I think he means oppression... "We'll drive out the Stormcloaks and restore what we own. With our blood and our steel we will take back our home. Down with Ulfric! The killer of kings!" "Whoa whoa whoa!" I said aloud, "I have a request." "What's that?" The bard turned. "Could you stop?" "Uhh... sure," he said. He walked off somewhere. I turned to Serana and we drank. One thing vampires can still enjoy is a good flagon of mead. "What you thinking about?" I asked. "Aside from you being safe and sound, I was just thinking about how much the world changed while I was asleep. All this stuff changing in the blink of an eye while you were gone - same thing. When I was put to sleep, Cyrodiil wasn't even an Empire." "Well, seems like it won't last much longer," I said. "Every great empire has its rise and fall. The Alessians, the Remans, the Septims, and now the Medes." "Someone's been reading," I said. "Always," she downed the rest of her drink, "Want another? What do you want?" "How about some nice milk? I'm a milk drinker and I'm not afraid to admit it!" I shouted jokingly. She laughed and got me a drink. "Little quiet in here," I said, "Maybe I should play. Get an actually good bard in here." "Sorry friend," a man said, "What did you just say?" I turned, and it was the bard, standing over me. "I'm not going to pull my punches. You should go back to the college," I chuckled. The bard reached out and pushed over my milk, "What do you have to say to that?" Serana was immediately on her feet, charging up a frost spell. "Whoa! Calm down, tiger!" I said, getting to my feet. "Probably better that you stand down, though," he said, "A couple rude whores couldn't take me on." Curbing my rage, I decided I turned to him and slammed the crown of my head into his forehead. I tripped him and kicked him in the side. "You're an idiot," I said, "Lay down there for a while." But, of course, he stood up and drew his sword. I rolled my eyes. Maybe I shouldn't kill this idiot. "TIID!" I moved behind him in a flash, then suplexed the guy, kicking his sword away and taking his pocket change. Then I tied his hands behind his back, "Again, you're an idiot. Stay down and I won't kill you." We stood, and I grabbed the bard's glass, "A toast, to strong, independent women!" Serana had been laughing the whole time. We downed the drinks and walked out. We took a little walk to the lighthouse and looked out over the countryside. "You can see Volkihar from here," I smiled, "This counts as a date, right?" "Yeah. I liked how you hurt that guy," Serana smiled, kissing me. I turned to my left, "Oh hey, it's the border with High Rock. Just a stone's throw away from his town." We walked over towards the border and I heard a roar, "Ah, Shor's bones." Serana sighed, "Go, take care of it." The dragon landed at the edge of the shipyard, threatening to burn the boats, and I fired arrow after arrow at it. After it took a few shots, it started to run! I jumped from boat to boat, continuing to shoot it. And the sailors joined in. Eventually, I ran out of boats to shoot from and I dove into the ocean. It was icy cold. After a few minutes, I reached an island with two towers and the dragon landed on top of one of them. "Son of a," I said, then I casted Doom Draw, teleporting to the top of the tower. An not-often used spell I know that transports me to the most dangerous foe nearby. Surprisingly helpful. When I got there, I realized it was a different dragon I teleported to. The dragon I'd been chasing was soaring overhead. I fought this one off in melee and he fell from the tower. I summoned Serana, and she used magic to take down the already-weakened one. "You call this a date?" She said, but she was smiling. "Ugh, no. Sorry," I replied, "Maybe we can hop a boat back to Volkihar and take the portal to Markarth and go to that clothes store." "Oh! Markarth! I want to show you something there!" Serana said. Not gonna tell huh? After I absorbed the souls, we made our way across the island and to the next. There was a heavily overgrown island with a small wrecked ship on it. We fought our way through the skeletons inside, and there was a random sailor who attacked us. I swam the short distance to Haafstad, a small island/shipping town a quick swim to Volkihar. I said hi to a few sailors there, and a man named Captain One-Eye said he'd been wanting to hire somebody to take care of that nest of undead. He gave me a small septim reward, and I swam back to Volkihar. I summoned Serana and we took the portal to Markarth. She pulled me to the Temple of Dibella, still not open to the public. And we walked around to the locked side-door. "What's this?" I asked. "Look at the sign," she said. I read, "Dibellan Baths. Huh. Sure this is okay?" "Since when have you been worried about following rules?" She asked. "Good point," I picked the lock and we headed inside. The baths were beautiful. Statues, big warm pools, and Serana, already undressing. "This is amazing, why have I never heard about this?" I asked. "It was in a state of disrepair until recently. SOMEbody made a sizeable donation to the Temple. Also, they asked if you would do something for them so they could open. They asked for you specifically," Serana asked, "But later. You're mine for now." We were undisturbed for a while, and of course, we made good use of the baths. When we were done, it was afternoon. We traveled to the Divine Elegance store and tried on dresses for a while. When I put on a white dress, it was clear what I was looking for (among other things). "Hey," Serana said, "You're still going through with your plan, right?" "Yeah," I said, "My first wedding dress was kinda meh. This one is a lot prettier." "I know you've known him for almost ten years and me for only a few months, but we're basically family, right?" "Yeah." "You know, I visited him," she said, looking like she was testing the waters, "Is that okay?" "Of course. That's great," I replied. "All the stuff everybody says about him - you know, that he's a racist and such. It's not true," Serana said. "Well, you kinda have me to thank for that. I think falling in love with me did a lot of it. Could say I trained it out of him," I said, then I muttered, "Or fucked it out of him." Serana smiled, "What I said back to my mother in the Soul Cairn, you are basically my sole reason to keep on living." "My, my," I said, "I love you too." "Don't you make fun of me. I'm serious," she said, "Don't you bring this up in front of anyone. I have an image to project." "Oh, don't worry, vampire queen. I will," I said. "You'd better not be surprised if your next tomato soup tastes like Hagraven toes." "Oh no! Not the soup!" I joked. "What I was trying to say is I want to spend the rest of my life with you, even if it is forever," she said. "Are you proposing to me?" "Well, yeah. I guess I am. And... I don't want to push you into anything you don't want to do," she said meekly. "Stop being so dismissive of yourself," I said, "You're an immortal badass." But she continued, sounding a little frantic, "I think it could really work, you know? Maybe I wouldn't make such a bad wife, you know?" "Stop. Yes. I'll marry you," I said, "As long as you accept polyamory. Polygamy?" "Yeah, well. Both him and I have a lot to do outside of you," Serana was all smiles. We each bought a few clothing items and walked outside. "Ugh," I said, "You know what was really cool?" "What's that?" "Flying on that dragon was awesome. If there's one reason I would want to be a true dragon, it's that. You know I heard there used to be flight spells a few hundreds of years ago." Serana smirked at me for a moment. I looked at her, "What are you smiling about?" "Now you get to be impressed by me again. Do you know who you're talking to?" I raised an eyebrow. "Remember that I learned magic hundreds of years ago." I blinked in disbelief, "Are you... serious?" "Yeah. I can show you." And yes, she taught me an ancient flight spell. "Oh my gods! This is amazing!" I shouted, "Even better than flying on that dragon!" Serana laughed, "I'm glad you like it." "Why have you never told me about this?" I asked. "To be honest, I forgot about it. I had to piece it together. But I've had a lot of free time recently." We flew around a little bit, and about that time we were attacked by some Dawnguard. We responded with ranged attacks from the air. "I'm starting to think there can be no peace with these guys," I said. And we flew to Riften and looked at some of the new buildings. Of course, people had immediately bought up (or were renting from Maven) all the homes. Finally, we teleported back to Volkihar and I went into the Cairn to pick up Serana's mom. It was a great reunion, and her mother was immediately as impressed as I was at the refurbishments. I had to tell her that all this was Serana, and in the few months since Harkon's death. And then we had to apologize to her about forgetting to come get her. Valerica acknowledged Serana as the Master of the castle. "I'm content with my new, improved garden and alchemy lab. And now there's not a random Vampire Lord hanging out in the garden!" I nodded, "Yeah we got rid of it." I decided more of a vacation was in order, though I did kill quite a few dragons over the next couple days. They seemed to be vying for dominance since Alduin's death, and the holds were paying the price. So, I guess my original assertion that me taking care of Alduin would stop the dragon attacks was incorrect. On the bright side, I assumed at this point the dragons' numbers were finite. I also decided I would tour the holds and let them know Alduin was vanquished - a task made much easier by Volkihar's teleportation. I visited Ulfric first. "Destana!" He yelled from his throne. As was customary, I walked up and sat on his lap like no time had passed. But really, many times in our friendship this happened - he didn't see me for months at a time and I just walked in. But this time, a lot was new! "So I killed Alduin," I said, nonchalantly. "So can I finally call you THE dragonborn?" "Excellent." "Yes," I said, "But only in bed." He chuckled. "I heard you had a visitor," I said. "Yes, Serana has been visiting me a lot lately. And that one time..." He blinked, "Was it okay that..." "Yes, yes," I waved it off, "You know when we get married you have my leave to bed whomever you wish. Just don't get anybody pregnant." "I'm glad you haven't reconsidered," Ulfric said, "You know, a man can wonder. You're still young. I wish I was a young, strong warrior like in my old days." "Psh, what are you talking about? You don't look a day over thirty! Somebody's having a mid-life crisis!" I snickered. "Anyway," I got off him and pulled a white dress out of my pack, "Here's my dress. You're making the arrangements, right?" He blinked, "Jorleif, you're making arrangements, right?" "Of course, my Jarl. The wedding will be at the Shrine of Talos." Ulfric sighed in relief. "So when's the wedding?" I asked. Jorleif replied, "We were waiting to see when or if you'd come back. How's two weeks from now sound?" "Sounds good. So where's Fenrir?" I asked. Ulfric scratched his head, "The kid went off on an adventure a few months ago. Left a note." Ulfric handed it to me from his pocket. Dear Dad (and maybe Mom). I'm going on an adventure. Don't look for me, as I will not be in Skyrim. Don't worry, I'll be safe, and I'll be back when the time is right." -Fenrir Okay...? With that I left Windhelm. When I went to Dawnstar, hoping to see another child, I went to the Sanctuary. "Where's Runa?" "She's been in Bruma the last few months, gathering information about the old guild," the man named Stabby said, "Too bad too." "Too bad? Why?" "Oh, you haven't been around, have you? Heard about your escapades in the Nord dead world. So hey, there's some kind of barrier to the south, around the southern border. I think the Winterhold mages have been studying it." So I went to Winterhold. Also, Damien wasn't there. Nobody knew where he'd gone, and it didn't seem like it was Manantis this time. (What the fuck?) "Hey Tolfdir!" I said, walking up to the Alteration Master, "Do you know anything about this barrier to the south?" "Why yes. And no. It seems to be some sort of temporal distortion," he scratched his beard, "Though manipulating time is a form of magic that is far beyond perhaps any mage living today." "What do you mean by temporal distortion?" I asked. "If you think of time like a river..." He said, lapsing into teacher mode, "It's as if a dam was built in a river. A small branch diverges and rejoins the larger river farther down the line. In the interim, the smaller branch flows much slower." "In this analogy, is Skyrim the smaller, slower branch?" "Yes," Tolfdir said, "And like a river, it takes someone of great personal power to ford against the current, chronomancy or not. Thus, what appears a barrier to us is dense time." "I may not be following..." Tolfdir scratched his head, "Imagine trying to push into a space that moves many times slower. It would be agonizingly slow, but doable if you have the tenacity, power and will. By the same token, trying to get into Skyrim would be even harder. You'd have to struggle not to have your arm (or whatever appendage you sent in first) ripped off and your body ripped apart." So, I dunno. I figured I'd finish my tour before I went and looked at that barrier. I went to Solitude, which was probably not a great idea, since I DO hate Solitude and I was not in the best mood. Walking up to the front gate, as I have dozens of times before, the sky suddenly turned red and a giant Oblivion portal opened. "NOW WHAT?!" I yelled, and four daedra wearing black armor popped out. "You better not be here to attack Solitude or something. I have a lot on my plate right now," I growled. "I smell weakness!" One of them yelled. I sighed, and pulled out my blades. I engaged, and two guards backed me up. There were several innocent bystanders that scattered. Two of them converged on me; one slashing me with a sword and the other bashing me with a mace. "FUS!" I knocked them back, dodging and weaving. Two more daedra came out of the portal: one with a helmet, and another who looked like a mage. "Shit, this is getting bad," I exclaimed. The two in front of me knocked me to the ground. I crouched as they stood over me. The hungry look in their eyes I was all-too-familiar with. Where the hell did these guys come from? "What do you want?!" I shouted. And to my surprise, a crescent-shaped beam of light passed by me and rebuffed the daedra, a woman helping me up. She was just slightly taller than me, and heavily armored in a mix of ebony and other motley pieces, carrying a lightly green-glowing greatsword. "C'mon! Let's take care of these guys, Averna!" She shouted, and the voice sounded familiar. Two more daedra popped out. The two guards were now dead and it was eight-on-three? I couldn't see anyone else with the woman. Though I remember Averna was the name of a woman in the Dark Brotherhood... "I'm right behind you, Listener!" Averna's invisibility dropped as she stabbed one of the newest daedra through the chest. Listener? This was happening way too fast. Wait! One of the daedra was carrying one of the newer Stormcloak Shields. "What the hell is going on here?" I said. The caster spoke from under a Dragon Priest mask, "You needed us, so we came!" He threw his hand forward and shouted, "Black Winter!" A deafening, arctic burst of subzero wind materialized from his hands, blowing the two daedra who'd been vexing me off their feet, freezing them and shattering them into pieces. The daedra (?) holding the Stormcloak shield raised his daedric axe and buried it in a Daedra. And the woman with the greatsword stabbed the last daedra through the chest. Everyone eyed each other warily for a second, and then put away their weapons, except me. With that, the Oblivion Portal closed. "Okay, somebody needs to start talking," I said, "Thanks for saving me, by the way, but who are all you people, and why are you friendly?" "Damn guys, I was trying to have a dramatic reveal here," the woman who'd been called the Listener said, "I'd been following her for a bit, searching for the right moment. But you two upstaged me." "Oh my gods," I put my hands over my mouth, "Runa?" "You haven't changed a bit," she said. "You changed a lot," I said, "You're taller than me now! And who are these men you seem to recognize?" The Stormcloak Daedra took off his helm, the caster taking off his Dragon Priest mask. "Fenrir and Damien? You all got tall!" "Sorry about the ruckus. They targeted you specifically, and we followed them through the portal. We knew we needed to act," Fenrir said. In my disbelief, they led me to the Winking Skeever in a patronizing way. They all ordered drinks, including one for me. "So, catch me up. I was in Sovngarde, killing Alduin. Which... seems like not the biggest story going on anymore," I said, swirling my ale, "It took me five days. Five months passed here in Skyrim. And there's some kind of time shield south of Skyrim...?" "Well..." Runa said, "I went to Bruma to explore some contacts and contracts south of the border. I was trapped down there with Averna here (she won't stop following me). While five months passed in Skyrim, five years passed in the rest of Nirn." "Five years?? You're twenty now?" "Nineteen. Haven't had my birthday yet. But, I mean, I don't even know what month it is here." "Well, I guess I'm 28 now for real (we passed Last Seed and are now in Hearthfire, 210). Not that my age really matters at the moment. Still a vampire," I said. "Our story is a little darker. You know how dad said he was off fighting a war in Oblivion?" Damien asked. "Yeah," I replied. "Well, one night, he came to me in the library at Winterhold and asked for my help." "I was in my room in Windhelm," Fenrir said, "When we got to Oblivion, he said we had both gotten a lot stronger, but we could get stronger still. We trained for a year with daedric tutors, and dad himself." "We were given a mission," Damien continued, "He set us down in a realm, and we'd seek and destroy a target. We did this a few times before we realized we were taking out hidden weapons the daedra use against each other, disarming them. Of course, there were a lot of daedra and monsters in our way." "We became pretty strong," Fenrir said, "But, as you might imagine, time passes differently in some Oblivion realms." "So how old are you guys?" I asked. "Seems like about ten years passed for us. I'm eighteen," Damien said. "Seventeen," Fenrir added. "Yeah, well, I thought my story was cool until I heard that," Runa said. "Me too!" I said, "I killed a dragon god and partied with Ysmir, Jurgen Windcaller and his lot!" I paused for a second, taking a long drink, "Gods, I feel like it was only a few weeks ago I came and saw you guys and you were boys. I missed so much." "But, mom. You gave us all the tools we needed to survive in a harsh world," Damien said, "You should be proud." "Of course I am," I put my hands on the boys'. "Speaking of tools," I said, "Give me a rundown on your new stuff." Damien started, "After ten years, I'm a master of destruction, conjuration, alteration, restoration, illusion and alchemy. And I've been studying time magic. Though not much to report yet. Even in Oblivion, there aren't many tomes on the subject. I have a few staves and decent robes and equipment, but nothing really special." Fenrir said, "I feel like I can call myself a master of onehanded weapons, shields, heavy armor, archery. I've been working on smithing also. I got myself a set of enchanted daedric armor and axe. I also have a shield, but my Stormcloak shield has a much better enchantment. Oh! And with Smithing I've been tinkering with Dwemer stuff. Since I'm back in Skyrim I hope to find some new blueprints here." Runa said, "I'm wearing a mix of ebony and other plate types. I learned how to cast basic spells with no hands, allowing me to heal myself. I also broke into a secret school called, 'Antimagic,' for disrupting mages. Also, this is the Moonlight Greatsword." "I sense a strange energy from that blade," Damien said, "Because of the Dragon Break, the walls between our world and other worlds has grown thinner, allowing strange creatures and powerful objects to creep inside (so says the daedra). Is that object from another world?" Runa shrugged, "I dunno. I found it lying around in a ruin. It makes a cool energy blade when I swing it really hard." Damien rolled his eyes, then he turned to me, "The Dragon Break was felt pretty much throughout Mundus, by sensitive creatures like the Daedra." "So are you guys here to stay?" I asked. "Yeah, dad said we were needed here," Fenrir said, "And after our last mission we should return to Skyrim. He had a means to get us here, but I guess we skipped a step." "So how is he?" I asked, folding my arms. "He misses you. And Tamriel," Damien said, "He said he understands you getting remarried." "Huh, well... maybe I should go see him someday," I said to myself. Finally I asked, "So how'd you get through the barrier, Runa?" Runa said, "Through a deep tunnel. And from what the Bruma Mages' Guild said, the barrier is weakening and time is lining up again." "Well, that's good news!" I said. "Not... exactly," Runa said. "What do you mean?" I asked. "Well, the Thalmor know they have the Empire subdued and out of the way. Most of the Empire's army is decimated because of their Civil War (I tried to help a little, but didn't end up working out very well). Only Bruma still stands in opposition. The Thalmor have been waiting for the barrier to come down to attack... and conquer Skyrim." "How long do we have?" I asked. "About a month," Runa said. "That is bad," I said, downing the rest of my drink and ordering another, "If we only have a month, I need to figure out exactly what to do to get ready for the invasion. Fenrir, can you let Ulfric know? He'll probably have some instructions for you, so I'll leave you to him." I patted him on the shoulder, "Might even get to command something." "Damien?" "Mom, I think I know what could occupy my time," he interrupted, "Figuring out how the Eye of Magnus can be used as a weapon." "That's a good thought," I said, "Runa." "What do you have in mind?" "For now, I think I need help with something." We ate and parted ways after a while, then I took Runa aside. "So what did you need help with?" She asked. "Well, does Averna need to keep following you?" "She... never stops following me. No matter what I say. Watch this," Runa turned to her, "Hey Averna, would you go back to the Sanctuary?" "Sure. We'll meet up later," Averna said, turning invisible. I looked in her direction noting the subtle wave pattern of somebody invisible. After a moment, she didn't move, and I said, "I can see you. Why won't you go away for a bit?" No response. Bah! "In order for Ulfric to be High King, we need to have a wedding. This might seem like a weird time to ask for this, but would you be my maid of honor?" She blinked, "Sure I guess. I hope that doesn't involve me doing anything beyond showing up. I don't want to get married, I don't have any interest in marriage. So, I don't know anything about marriage. Couldn't you make Serana do it?" "Meh, yeah probably. And that frees you up to do it during my marriage to her. Either way, come with me," I said, "You can help me make the timetable. And maybe do some of the stuff." New Mods Added
Hey, it's Destana. So, I just killed the Emperor of Cyrodiil and part of the rest of Tamriel. Not really Hammerfell, or Skyrim, or any of the Elven nations. Or Elswyer. That's mostly controlled by the Thalmor, I've heard. High Rock? Black... Marsh? Oh, nope. They seceded after the Oblivion Crisis. Only Cyrodiil and High Rock. WHAT AN EMPIRE! I decided I would leave Runa and the others to do the rebuilding, both of the Dawnstar Sanctuary and of the Dark Brotherhood itself. Also, Runa was intent on tackling some easy jobs of no-name people from the Night Mother. Anyway, I'm also a vampire. And I've accepted I'm going to be this way atleast for a little while. It has pretty cool powers and so far I've been able to stop myself from doing anything too heinous. People I was going to kill anyway, I just drink their blood. No problem! So I figured the 'mission' the Dawnguard gave me a couple days ago would be a neat thing to pursue. A vampire artifact seems like something that could benefit me. And even before I was a vamp I could kill other vampires without much trouble, so I figure I go as the Dawnguard guy and kill the vampires and just take the artifact for myself. Whether or not I work for the dawnguard after that is up to them, I guess. And I'm mostly done with going into dungeons by myself. I got ambushed by Falmer a few too many times for comfort in the Sightless Pit while I was working with the Helgen Boys. So, I called upon Inigo and Sofia. A slightly smaller, stealthy group. We trounced the vamps by the door with Shadowmere's help (too bad he doesn't come with us into dungeons) then headed inside. The first area was a pretty standard ranged pick-off session. As we went deeper, I found vampires fighting draugr. I let them fight it out and killed the survivor. We pushed our way in more, where a vampire was interrogating a vigilant of Stendarr. I shot him in the head and my guys finished off his two friends. And then, some kind of sliding brazier puzzle, unlike any of those in the Nord ruins. I slid them around a bit and figured it out, the bottom of the dais descended to turn into a pillar. Curious, I opened it. A woman came out. A vampire, I could tell. But her eyes were different and she didn't immediately want to kill me. (Maybe vampires just need better PR, and manners?) "Who sent you?" She asked. "Isren, of the Dawnguard. Though, I don't really work for them." "Does he work for my father?" She asked. "Who's your father?" I asked. "Hmm... well, he's very powerful. Or maybe he was," she replied, "I'm surprised a vampire wouldn't know who he is." "Yeah, well, I've been a vampire for about a week. Of course you'd be able to tell. Pretty obvious." "I could smell you before my eyes were open," she smiled. "The Dawnguard will want to kill you," I said. "I don't know why you'd associate with them. Only a matter of time until they turn on you," she said. "A means to an end. They didn't serve a purpose, other than giving me your location," I replied, "Why were you locked up here?" "I'm not sure I trust you," she replied, "But if you want to know the whole story, get me back to my family's home." "Where's that?" I asked. "West of Solitude on an island," she turned to leave, "By the way, my name is Serana. Nice to meet you." I smiled at her, "Nice to meet you too. Destana." "Holy shit is that an Elder Scroll?" I pointed to the thing on her back. "Yeah. But its mine." "Alright," I shrugged. We killed a room full of skeletons, but it was quick work for the four of us. And in a gilded throne, an Ancient Draugr Lich, though he wasn't very impressive. I snagged a word wall, then we emerged from the cave. While I was looking at my map for where to head next, I asked, "So how long were you down there?" "I dunno. Who is Skyrim's High King?" "Up for debate. I'm going to try and get it for Ulfric Stormcloak," I said. "Never heard of him," she replied. "The Empire, of course, backs Elisif. But we flushed them out," I continued. "What empire?" "The... one in Cyrodiil," I replied, "If you predate the empire, that puts you in there for ... like 450 years." "We should get back to the castle." We skirted the coast until we came to a boat overlooking the castle. I never knew this area existed. We hopped on the small boat and I rowed across. "Hey, before we go in there..." she said as we pulled ashore. "Are you alright?" I asked. "Just wanted to thank you for freeing me," she said, "After we get inside, I think I need to be on my own for a little while. Let me take the lead in there." I nodded, "Sure." "Wait... tell me something," she continued, "Why did you do this for me?" I smiled, "Frankly, I'm interested in this whole 'vampire family' thing. And you look interesting too." "Perhaps I am," she replied. "You guys should probably not come with us," I said to Inigo and Sofia. "I'll be in Riften," Inigo replied. "I think you'll miss me," Sofia said, "And I'm curious." "All right. Come in at your own risk," I said, walking in the front door. "How dare you trespass here!" A man accosted me, "Wait, Serana! I can't believe my eyes!" Then he ran to the balcony overlooking the great hall, "My lord! Serana has returned!" "My long lost daughter!" The master said as we walked down the stairs, "I trust you have my Elder Scroll." "That's the first thing you ask me when I come home?" Serana asked. "Of course I love you, daughter. Must I say it? If only your traitor mother were here. I'd put her head on a spike after the reunion. And who is this soul who brought you back to me?" "Destana." "Greetings, I am Lord Harkon. Of course, you know the nature of our family. One of the oldest vampire families. You have done me a great service. Now, I would like you to be rewarded. I offer you my blood. Take it and walk as a Lion among sheep," he said finally. "I'm already a vampire," I replied. "You contracted a disease, perhaps. But you are no true vampire. Take my offer and you'll know the difference," he explained. He groaned, then he transformed into what looked to me like a giant werebat. I smiled, "What the hell. Why not." "Hold still," he said. I awoke some time later next to a fountain of blood. "Ah, you're finally awake," he said, and I started to get crippling anxiety that I was going to wake up in a cart somewhere and this all was just a dream. "Let me show you how to use your newfound power," he continued, and I was snapped back to reality. I could feel a sudden power... like the power of being a vampire, but moreso. My skin crawled until, like blood bursting from my pores as I assumed the form he'd shown me. He went through the suite of powers my alternate form granted me. He taught me how to transform, and when we were done he told me he had a job for me. I didn't really feel great about doing jobs for a powerful vampire. This could only end badly. I may now have made a full transition into immortal monster, but I wasn't planning on doing anything I didn't want to do. But I would go along for now. I talked to Garan (one of the court vampires) who sent me to use the Bloodstone Chalice at Redwater Den. Great. More fetch. I grabbed a bit of a drink (not lethal) from one of the blood wenches there. When I got there it was 1 am. I'm not really keeping track of time very well now, since I don't really need to sleep anymore. A man was standing by the dilapidated, collapsed building. "You here for the Skooma? Go through the trapdoor," the man said. I went inside, and the doorman said to me, "If you're heading down below, keep your weapons to yourself and you'll be fine." I walked down further. A line of private rooms, people coughing pink smoke to my right, a counter to my left. "You're new down here. Welcome to the Redwater Den. Finest Skooma in the world!" The dunmer woman said. "How about a sample?" I said. Clearly not interested, I wanted to get access deeper inside. "Sure. Just pick a room," she replied, handing me a red bottle of Skooma. After looking at the patrons in the rooms, I was doubly not going to do this drug. Emaciated and dying was all I could say about them. Something inside me, call it my 'remaining humanity' wanted to stop this operation. Ironically, the easiest way to do that might be transform into my Lord form and start blasting. I resigned myself to my normal ways for now, sneaking and stealth. But I had a powerful trump card. I walked into the empty room by the barred door at the end of the hall, waited until the safety patrol was looking on in another guest, popped my head out and picked the lock, closing the door behind me silently. Beyond was a large room with large vats with a man working them. I ventured past stealthily. I wanted to disrupt this entire operation - I could see in front of my eyes what it did to people. But I would do the job first. I made my way up a ramp to a small sleeping area and found a vampire sleeping, his thrall patrolling and heading for me in her normal path. I waited behind boxes and cut her down. Either I made a lot of noise or the vampire was attuned to his thrall's wellbeing, because he started to rouse, so I stabbed him in the chest with Dawnfang. I walked to a path through what looked like it used to be a mine before the red water business. Seeing a thrall and there was nowhere to hide, I used Invisibility and got the drop on him, finishing him. I did the same with the next thrall and a skeleton, who reanimated once and I had to cut him down a second time. A secret pullchain opened up a stone wall which revealed the vampire's sanctum. I killed her two death dogs, then opened her coffin and killed her. Going deeper, I found the actual spring and overheard two more vampires talking. "Why not just drink the blood from the spring instead of run a skooma den?" The man asked. "The boss said it's not actual blood - it's just profaned," the woman replied, "Drinking it gives you strength, but it gets you pretty messed up. That's why we started selling it in Skooma." I took out my bow as I walked down to the lower area. I aimed for the man's center mass, when the woman started to walk around. I smiled, lining up a shot on the woman as she passed directly in front of the man. The arrow traveled right through her chest and clipped the man in the shoulder. By the time he looked up I was already shooting him in the head. But then I could feel half a dozen others running in my direction. I drew my sword, still with invisibility in my offhand and shrouded myself - no fair fights here! As the first one came for me but couldn't find me in the shadows, I stabbed her in the back. I strafed around a structure and went for the others, but I slipped! I toppled and fell into a hole. Falling forward, I hit my chest on a crossbeam in the pit and the second crossbeam I landed on my feet, barely keeping a grip on whatever I could purchase with my hands. I looked down about ten feet and the pit was filled with man-sized spikes. Shor's Bones! I nearly ate it right there! I jumped to the side to the path leading out of the pit, avoiding the pendulum axe blades with a Whirlwind Sprint. I wondered if it was time to test out these new skills. Yes. Yes it was. I walked up the path and as soon as I found the way out I transformed. I paved a path in blood through the rest of the people there, until I reached the Redwater Spring. Two vampires emerged from the structure on the opposite side of the pool. "Good. Now I can make quick work of both of you and return the chalice to Vialmo," the woman said. "But the plan was we take the chalice back together," the man said. "My orders were actually to kill you both," she replied. Still in Lord form, I just threw some drains and was done with the both of them. I exited and realized I was in a back room with barrels of the skooma, behind the counter at the beginning. I decided it was time. Popped out from the back room and instantly slew the receptionist, then the safety guard. Then the skooma producer. I continued my onslaught until all the dealers were dead, including the doorman and the outside doorman. Unfortunately, all the addicts had already died of their extensive use. I headed back toward the castle. But decided I would take the scenic route. I passed through Fort Greenwall - a bandit fort. When I got there, two Eldergleam Druids, or Storm Mages seemed to be attacking, but they were killed by the bandits before I even reached them. I just killed all the bandits. Something I may have done anyway, but with every kill I enhanced my Lord powers, some of which enhanced my regular vampire powers now. I transformed back into my regular form to travel. I passed by Windhelm near sunset and I figured it was a good time to take a break and get a snack (hehe). I walked into the Palace of Kings and Ulfric was still sitting on his throne. "Hey!" He shouted from across the hall. "Hey, Ulfric! Is Fenrir annoying you that much?" I said as I slowly walked towards him, making sure not to approach the throne yet. "Actually, quite the opposite. Training the boy this past month or so has been a great distraction from court affairs." "Where is he now?" "Galmar took him out for a hunt this morning. Should be back tonight." "Ahh... now I see why you're bored," I said. "Why... why are you staying so far away? Would you come closer so I don't have to shout?" He asked. "Sure, but, I'm going to ask you to prepare yourself," I warned him. I'd been wearing my full helm on my way into town, though a lot of random townspeople don't seem to notice the blatantly obvious golden eyes. "All right," he said. I got closer and pulled off the helm, my white hair falling into place. "I see. You're a vampire now," he said, not sure what to make of this. "So you're one of the perceptive ones," I said. "I see you're in control of yourself," he looked me over, "Either vampires aren't the feral beasts easily swayed to evil we've been told about, or you have a lot of willpower." "Meh, it's not so bad. I do have cravings, yeah. But, really, killing a dozen bandits is a normal Tirdas for me. Now I just drink their blood." "As far as I know, there's no cure," he said, "Except, becoming a werewolf." "That doesn't seem like a solution. Like burning your house down to kill a rat infestation," I replied, "Anyway, I think I might stay this way for a while." He raised an eyebrow, "Going to raise a few questions about your legitimacy as a prophesied... savior of... whatever." He chuckled. He was just trying to push my buttons, but he could see it wasn't working. "My thoughts exactly!" I smirked, "So, are you curious?" "Curious...?" "You know..." I started, then I walked up the steps to the throne and sat on his lap, "You might be asking yourself, 'is it cold now?' The answer might surprise you." I kissed him, biting his lip a little. He blinked, "Hey, Jorlief, leave us be. Tell the guards at the door to step outside for a bit." "Are you sure, my Thane?" The steward whispered, "She's a vampire, you know." "Jorlief!" He said back, "I trust the Dragonborn implicitly. We're practically..." He looked at me. I wasn't sure what he was going to say, but I think I wanted to know. Jorlief walked out. "What were you going to say there?" I asked. "... Family," he replied. "What are you proposing?" I said, but it came out as, 'What? Are you proposing?' "Perhaps," he said, "A High King needs a proper queen." "I'm anything but proper," I chuckled, and so did he. "Sure you want a commoner, slave, prisoner...vampire as your queen?" I asked. "You're you. No matter what you become," he replied. "That is the most wise thing I've ever heard you say, old man. I think you really have changed in the past decade," I said, "You know what? I think I have a plan to finally make you High King. Wait awhile and we'll see if it works out." "Psh! We'll see. Old man!" He said, but I pulled him close and kissed him again. Of course, we had sex on the throne. And on the platform. And then we went to his bedchamber. After about 4 times, he told me he was feeling very tired so I brought him food and water from his table, and let him know I didn't need to sleep as long as I fed. My powers of charisma must've grown, because then I asked him if I could taste his blood, and he said yes without hesitation. I could feel the power. I already guessed he might be a blue blood. He went to sleep and I laid there for a while. But I was wide awake after the invigorating drink. When I heard him snoring, I got up silently and crept out, throwing on some old dark robes. I walked down the hall and looked in a couple rooms. One of them was one of Ulfric's trusted warriors. Another - Galmar, who was fast asleep. I smiled. I went to the next room and sure enough, Fenrir was there. He looked over at me as I opened the door. "Oh, sorry, kid. I figured you'd be asleep," I said. "Mom! Come over," he replied, "We got back about an hour ago." I laid next to my boy and we snuggled. He was still a boy, but he was definitely a big boy now. "Aren't you tired?" I asked. "Yeah. We hunted bears. But I can't sleep," he said. "Look at you. You've become brave," I said. "You've become a vampire," he said, giggling. "Yep," I shrugged, and we got up and went over to the table next to his bed with two chairs, "I don't need to eat or sleep." He grabbed an apple and ate while I explained it to him. He seemed okay with the idea. For the first time since I'd let him stay here, I took a good look at him. He definitely looked stronger. His hair was braided. His skin had darkened even more than mine because he was outside all the time. He'd laid down in his armor - the new Stormcloak armor, and he looked good in it. "Honey, you shouldn't sleep in your armor. Causes aches and pains," I said. "Yeah. I figured I'd go straight to sleep, was too tired to take it off," he replied, "But here we are. Mom, are you going to stay? Or are we going back home?" It'd been a while since I'd been to the house. "Nah, I just wanted to check on you," I said, "You keep working on your sword arm and I'll be back for you in a bit." "I use an axe now," he smiled, showing it off next to his Stormcloak round shield. "Looks good on you," I said back. I laid with him until he went to sleep, and by the time it was almost sunrise (ugh, sun). I left and finally went back to Volkihar castle. I approached Garan and immediately said, "Two of your vampire buds tried to kill me. They're dead now." "Good. Welcome to court politics," he said back, "Return the chalice to Lord Harkon." I walked into his private room where he was sitting across from the fireplace, brooding. He looked up from his pursuit to say, "Good. You're here." I sat down beside him, "You wanted to see me?" "Yes. When I told you I was grateful for returning my daughter, I didn't tell you everything. I wasn't sure I could trust you yet." "I suspected as much. Only a fool reveals everything upfront," I replied. "Your cunning serves you well," he said, back, "As you know, vampires are powerful but we have limits. The sun." "Yeah, I do kinda hate the sun these days," I said back. "A great enemy. For centuries I searched for a way to deal with it. I found an old prophecy written by a moth priest about Elder Scrolls. It tells of a time when vampires will have dominion over the sun. I believe the answer lies in Serana's Elder Scroll. I'm assembling the court. I have a task for you. Come. Hear my proclamation." He stepped out onto the platform in the main room while I joined the court. "Scions of the night! Hear my words! The time has finally come! A new age of darkness begins!" I narrowed my eyes. Age of darkness, eh? I do dislike the sun. But, a lot of things depend on it. I would not only say this plan is selfish, but also stupid. If there's no sun, there will be no plants, so no animals. If there are no plants and animals, there will be no humans. And thus, no vampires. I decided I was going to go along with this plan until Harkon tipped his hand and sabotage it. "I have spread false rumors of an Elder Scroll here to draw a moth priest to Skyrim," Harkon continued. Not exactly false, we actually have a scroll, but ok... "Go forth, and find him," Harkon finished. I walked up next to the platform and noticed Serana'd come out of her hiding places. She turned toward me, "You going to look for him?" "Yeah," I said. "Want company?" She asked. "From you... yes," I replied. She smiled, "Any ideas?" "Nope. What about you?" "How about the College of WInterhold?" She asked. "Yeah, they do have a pretty big library there," I said back. And I could visit my other boy. We traveled across Skyrim on Shadowmere. On the bridge to Winterhold I asked, "You alright? Happy to be back with your family?" "The reception was pretty cold, even for vampires," she said back, "I can't believe the first thing he asked was if I had the Elder Scroll." "Yeah. Sorry," I said. Why was I apologizing? I walked through the doors and realized it was nighttime. I went towards the librarian's bunkroom. I asked Serana to stay outside, then I stealthily walked into his room and stole the big sack of coins on his nightstand. Then I woke him up with, "Hey, do you know where to find a moth priest?" "Moth... priest?" He rubbed his eyes, "Usually in Cyrodiil. But there was one here recently. Think he left for Dragon Bridge." "You taking any of your master tests soon?" He asked. "I dunno. I kinda got distracted from my studies," I nodded, "Thanks." I walked back out, and cruised over to Damien's room. But he was just sitting in the common room by a stack of books a mile high. "Hey kid, what you doing up at 4 am?" I asked. "Mom!" He shouted, then ran up and hugged me, "I'm studying. I've learned a lot of destruction spells. Wanna see?" "Can't stay long. On the hunt for a moth priest." "Aww," he groaned, "But there's no classes today." I pursed my lips, "Wanna come with us for a while?" "Sure! Who's this?" He asked. "I'm Serana. Nice to meet you," she said. Of all the things he could've said, I assumed it would be along the lines of 'spooky girl,' but he said, "You're pretty." She blushed. I laughed, "He's right. This is my son, Damien." "Son, huh? He's aware we're vampires, right?" She asked. "Of course I am!" Damien smiled, "I think I have you beat! I'm half daedra!" "Well, I guess you do, kid," Serana smiled. We all three cruised on over to Dragon Bridge. I was in the middle, with Serana behind and Damien in front. While we were riding, I noticed he'd changed a little bit too. He was definitely starting to show his father's angular chin. But he looked handsome, especially with the hair out of his face. "Nice haircut," I said to him over the wind. "Thanks. Figured the old one was a kids' haircut. Nice eyes, by the way," he smirked. He looked back at me, "So is this your new girlfriend?" Serana didn't hear him or didn't react. I replied, "Your dad and I aren't technically broken up." "Mom, I know how you operate. Nonexclusive," Damien said, "I'm not blind. Not that there's anything wrong with that." I smiled, "I'm just helping her and her dad out. What about you? Met any girls?" "I may be aging a little faster than a normal boy, but I still think girls are icky," Damien replied. I laughed. I accosted the first guard I saw, "Seen a moth priest?" "They rode south a while ago, over the bridge," he replied. So we took off on foot after the group. Not too far there was a toppled-over carriage, three dead and blood smeared all over the road. The vampire's bags held a note written by Malkus, another court vampire, "Prepare an ambush at Dragon Bridge. Take the Priest to the Forebears' Hideout until I can come break him." Another court squabble? By this point I was starting to get a little pissed at these bickering children that call themselves vampires. We ran off in search of the hideout. This time I transformed right off the bat (that's a pun), to which Serana commented, "Beautiful," when she saw my naked form. I would beg to differ, but, it does get the job done. I cut down the Dawnguard there that were struggling with the vampires, then I killed the vampires as well. Damien seemed to freeze during the battle, unable to cast even a single spell to help me. I picked him up when it was over and told him I'd take him back to the college where he'd be safe. I released the Moth priest and used my vampiric powers of seduction to make him a thrall. I decided to take Damien back first - I stopped off to visit the Archmage during the night and sneak feed him. I had assumed he was a blue blood too, and I was right. Then I returned the moth priest to Volkihar Castle. I was sorry Damien didn't get to show off his new destruction spells, but really, this was some heavy stuff we were dealing with. "Somehow I knew it would be you who found him," Harkon said. "More of your court's boys just getting in the way," I said. "Whatever. Just command your thrall to read the scroll," Harkon replied. "Well, go on," I said to the priest. He opened it. "A bow. This is Auriel's Bow. Among the night's children, a dread lord will arise. In an age of strife, when dragons return to the realm of men, darkness will mingle with light and day and night will become one," he continued, "I think there is more to this. Written on other Elder Scrolls. One that speaks of ancient blood. One of dragons." "Bah," I scoffed, "After all that you mean to say I need to find another TWO Elder Scrolls?" Harkon folded his arms, "It seems so. Not as useful as I might have liked. Even so, good job." "Any clue where I can find them?" I asked. "One was stolen away by my traitor wife. The other is locked away in some dwemer ruin somewhere," he replied. I walked outside. A moment later Serana appeared next to me, "I might have an idea where to get the Blood scroll." "Why didn't you say something?" I asked. "Less chance of getting ambushed again," she smiled at me, then she eyed me for a moment, "And I think we both know the path this line of jobs is going down." She studied me for a moment, "Would you consider yourself... a good person?" "Not really. But if you're wondering if I'm on board with the 'night conquering the day,' then no. It's idiotic." "So you're just working with him until you can steal away what you need here and keep him from fulfilling his goal?" Serana smiled her devilish smile at me. "What started out as curiosity and want to explore these new powers, turned into that, yes. What is between you and your father anyway that you'd turn against him too?" "The prophecy is his life. I don't even think he sees me as his daughter anymore. Just a means to an end," she replied. "So where's the scroll?" I asked. "Like he said, my mother has it. We just need to find my mother." "That's not really a lead." "She said she would be hiding somewhere he would never search," Serana said. "Sounds unhelpful." "Yeah, I can't think of a single place he hasn't looked already." "How about..." I started, "How about in the castle?" Her red eyes flashed a bit of hope, "You're a genius. I bet it has something to do with her Alchemy garden. My father hates going there." "How do we get there?" "Well, in order not to rouse suspicion... we should go in the secret entrance. C'mon!" She said, leading me around the side of the castle. We swam around the outside of the island and let me just say I'm glad I'm a vampire right now, because the freezing waters didn't kill me. We fought our way into and through the undercroft (I transformed again to make short work of the things there). Then we reached a courtyard with a sundial puzzle. I reverted to my natural form to work on the puzzle. "This looks much more desolate than last time I was here," Serana said, "She used to have so many plants growing here. Now it's just weeds. I bet my father wrecked the place and walled it off when she left." "Look," I pointed up, to what looked like a vampire lord or gargoyle perching on the rafters silently. "It doesn't seem to be reacting to our presence," Serana said, "I think... the Night Matron is her name?" I pulled out my bow. Because why not? Realizing the Vampire Lord form would not stand up to another monster that was pure muscle, I decided I would use my traditional approach. I pulled out a fire arrow and shot her in the head. She roared and flew right for me. One claw swipe and I was hurting. I chugged a potion and dodged around the moon dial. I decided I would use some tactics here. I charged up and cast Pride of Hirstaang, summoning a bear to take the hits for me. Then I chugged a magicka potion and cast Summon Inigo and Summon Sofia. He appeared ready to go, but she appeared completely naked (but with a sword in her hand - thank the gods!) The bear went down and the Night Matron went for Serana, who was holding her own for a bit with her drain power. I peppered the thing with Elemental Bolts and then more Fire Arrows when I ran out of Magicka again. The creature went for Inigo now, who'd drawn its attention with a great deal of shots with the bow. Sofia supported with Ice Shards, then sword strikes when it came close to them. I laid one final shot into the thing and it died as I ran out of Fire Arrows. "Thanks, guys," I said, and I handed them each a sack of coins. "Yeah, well, you keep calling me when I'm naked," Sofia said, "I'm outta here." "Sure I can't interest you guys in a dungeon crawl?" I asked, "It's a vampire castle." "I'm leaving too. This place gives me the creeps," Inigo said. "Just go that way out, back the way we came in," I said. Then I started on the puzzle. "My fellow... traveling companion," Serana said awkwardly. "Yes?" I fiddled with the dial. "This garden used to be very serene. But it hasn't aged well," she said, "I mean... I wasn't..." Wow, hundreds of years old and she still gets tongue-tied. It was that moment I could tell she was starting to get interested in me. "You trying to flirt with me or something?" "That's... entirely possible," she said. I proceeded to solve the moon dial puzzle and a spiral stairway opened up. "Wow," Serana said. "You wouldn't believe how many puzzles I've solved since I got to Skyrim," I said. We continued on. "I've never even been to this part of the castle," she said. And we walked in on a group of skeletons sitting down at a table. They arose. After that last fight, they were pretty easy. I used my transformed state again. In the next room was a gargoyle, but I let him hit me while I drained and he couldn't even keep up with the damage! In a moment, he collapsed into a pile of rocks. We piledrove our way through the rest of them - me gaining power as a Vampire Lord all the while. Until we finally reached the alchemical lab. A large open room with a spiral on the floor and lots of still-preserved alchemical components strewn about. Serana walked around a few minutes, talking about the contents of the laboratory. I found an alcove with books in it. Some good picks, and her journal, which I gave to Serana. She cracked it open. After a minute she said, "Ah, yes. She told me about her theories about the Soul Cairn." "What's that?" "Well, when you soul capture, you don't actually use the soul as fuel. You trade the soul for an eternity of servitude to... whatever is in there, and they grant you the power to enchant your stuff," she explained, "If she's made it there, we should figure out how. The circle in the center of the room is definitely a portal." "Let's see..." she listed off the ingredients in the book, "Damn it." "Hmm?" "We're also going to need a sample of her blood," Serana said. "Well, you're half her. Maybe your blood would work?" I shrugged. "Hopefully," she shrugged. I ran around and just gathered up all the ingredients and sorted them out in front of the activation brazier. Then I dumped the correct ones in. "The rest is up to me," she said, "Might want to stand back. I'm not sure what's going to happen (if anything) when I do this." "Before we go in, what do you plan do say to your mother if we find her?" I asked. "I've been asking that question since we started going through the undercroft," she folded her arms, "She was so sure about what she was doing." "Sounds like she did it to protect you," I replied. "Maybe. A vampire mother is still a mother, I guess," she replied. "So how did you become a vampire?" I asked. "Is this the time?" She asked. "We've been going nonstop since we met. If not now to take a break, when?" I asked. "Alright. Well, do you know where vampirism came from?" "I would guess a daedric lord," I replied. "Molag Bal. He is powerful, and his will is made manifest. The first vampire wasn't a willing subject, I'm told. My whole family took part in the same ritual. It was... degrading." "Ah... Old Molag Balls," I said, "Anything to do with the Daedric Lord of Rape sounds ungood." "Please, let's not talk about this anymore," she looked away. I grabbed her and held her close. "What... are you doing?" She asked. "I'm giving you a hug," I replied, "Has it really been that long since somebody touched you lovingly?" "Maybe..." She said. I pulled her close and kissed her. "What... was that?" She asked. "You know, I've faced death a hundred times at this point. And still I'm here," I said, "I just met you, but now we're traveling to another dimension of beings that trap souls." "What are you saying?" She asked. "I feel like this might be my last chance to do this. We might die in there. Or something much worse," I said. "Do what?" I kissed her again, "You know what I want." She could feel it too. The inevitable pull of death. The weight of regret. We undressed each other. And then we made love.