Morndas, 15th Sun’s Dawn, 4E 203

Riften, College of Winterhold, Dragon Bridge, Forebears’ Holdout: Vampire vs vampire, History lesson, Urag knows, Assassin, Smart kid, Ambush, Bloody trail, Captured priest, Fistfight, Fashion critics.

We were up at 6:00AM and at the stables near 7:00AM.

The Khajiit caravan was there so I stopped to have a chat and exchange some gems for coin.

As we were walking the short distance back to our horses a group of vampires and thralls attacked.

Serana leapt in and fought them with the same enthusiasm as Jordis and Meeko!

When they were all dead I walked up to her and said,

I was unsure if you would help fight your own kind.

“They were not my kind. My family and our court hunt down vampires like this. At least we used to but it seems Father has let his standards slip. They are of inferior blood plus these random attacks on mortal villages and towns is a risk to our continued existence. I doubt any Volkihar Clan vampires have been involved in these raids.”

You dismissed the eating of flesh yet what I saw in your home…

“… is not what I remember of my clan. I am with you now. When I left the Castle with this Elder Scroll I made Father my enemy.”

And if we encounter Volkihar Clan vampires?

“They will try and kill or capture me. I will fight and kill them without hesitation.”

Sorry if I sound paranoid or ungrateful. My encounters with vampires have always involved the purest of evil. You are an enigma.

With that we mounted our horses (both living and undead) and made out way to Winterhold.

We arrive and tethered our horse at about 11:00AM. Serana stared at the devastation and asked,

“What happened? This city used to rival Solitude in splendour and opulence.”

Just over 80 years ago some huge storms caused waves from The Sea of Ghosts to smash into Winterhold causing the devastation you see.

“What caused it? Earthquake?”

Nobody knows. Severe storm lashed the coast for almost a year and then in two or three days this damage was caused and only here, nowhere else. The College seemed to have survived with no damage apart from its bridge. I know this is not a fact and underneath, in the Midden as it is called, the devastation is equal to the rest of the town. The College had protective magicks placed around it centuries ago so the living and study areas were mostly undamaged.

“I suppose that raised anger and suspicions?”

Yes, residents, especially those who lost loved ones, demanded to know why the mages had not protected the whole city. The anger quickly turned to suspicion and fingers were pointed. While you were ‘asleep’, Red Mountain, Mount Vvardenfell, erupted a few times. In 4E 05 it destroyed much of Morrowind causing an exodus of the Dunmer. The College had a large number of Dunmer staff and students as a result. Solstheim had been granted to the Dunmer as a new homeland but many remained in Skyrim. After the ‘Great Collapse’ Nord prejudice reared its ugly head. The College was blamed for it and the Dunmer treated so badly most left for Solstheim and other places.

“Surely they still do not blame others for a natural occurrence?”

I have spoken to the Jarl and after my reassurances he no longer blames mages, Dunmer or College. Until the Empire invests some money to rebuild Winterhold the prejudices will remain amongst the common people. When visitors see the destruction and ask why the bigots are happy to spread their misinformation.

“Why would the Jarl believe you?’

For many reasons. I am happy to fill you in on recent history but let’s go find this Moth Priest first.

As we crossed the damaged bridge I could see Serana getting angry. I do not blame her. It has been 80 years! The place could be rebuilt with Imperial support.

We entered the Arcanaeum and found Urag gro-Shub at his usual spot behind his desk.

“Greetings Arch-Mage, can I help you?”

(Serana was startled by this greeting.)

I heard there was a Moth Priest visiting Skyrim. I need to talk to one as a matter of urgency.

“Yes, he stopped to do some research and to enquire about the Elder Scroll you donated to the College.”

Did he want to read it?

“Yes, but I told him we would need your permission first. I was going to send a courier to your school but here you are. It is uncanny how you do that. Just pop up when needed.”

I need to talk to him about another matter but will find out why he wants to read our Elder Scroll. I might as well take it with me if you don’t mind retrieving it. All those wards over it make me nervous! One wrong incantation and boom, new Arch-Mage needed.

“I would not trust it to anybody else. I will get if for you. The Moth Priest’s name is Dexion Evicus. He said Dragon Bridge was his next destination. You might find him still there.”

(As Urag went to fetch the Elder Scroll I turned to Serana.)

“Arch-Mage? You are full of surprises.”

I am not comfortable talking about some of the things I have done for The Divine as it can come across as egotistical. More importantly, much has been hidden from the general population to prevent panic. I have ensured it is not lost to history however.

“A Divine Task made you Arch-Mage?”

My actions in saving the people of Nirn, not for the first time, earned me the title. It was a Divine Task and so is this. We, that includes you, are probably going to save every mortal from death or worse. Won’t that be fun?

Urag returned and handed me the Elder Scroll. We then left for Dragon Bridge.

We arrived at Dragon Bridge around 4:30PM. I was looking around for somebody who might know about Dexion when a Stormcloak Assassin walked behind and tried to stab me in the back. As per usual Meeko had sussed out the assassin and was already ripping out his throat out by the time I turned to see what the noise was. Serena looked at the body and said,

“You sure know how to make friends!”

There was a civil war. I ended it. He was on the losing side. It has been months since the last attempt and I was complacent. That is all I want to say about it.

“Sorry if I sounded glib. I know what it is like having assassins after you. They may have a different name in this era but their intentions have not changed towards my kind.”

A young boy came wandering over and asked,

“Are you the Guardian General? I saw your picture in the news-sheets. One day I’m going to be a soldier. Why did that soldier try to kill you?  Is that Dicko?”

Hello strange child who asks a lot of questions before I even know his name.

“Oh sorry. My name is Clinton Lylvieve.”

My name is Wulf and yes, I was the Guardian General. That was not an Imperial soldier. He was a Stormcloak who did not like losing the war. It is good you want to be a soldier but make sure you know what it really means to be one. It is not a game. That is not Dicko, it is Meeko and you should not read that type of news-sheet at your age.

“Hello Meeko.”

(Meeko gave a hello bark in return.)

I am looking for an old man called Dexion. He would have been accompanied by some Imperial soldiers and wearing a robe, like a mage or priest.

“I did see an old man in a robe not long ago. He was riding in a wagon with some Imperial guards. They didn’t stop to visit, though. They rode through town heading south, and went across the big bridge. It was only just a little bit ago. I bet you can catch them if you hurry up.”

Thanks Clinton. I am sure you will make a fine soldier one day if that is what you want to be.

We leaped back onto our horses and headed across the bridge.

To add to my growing list of “things I will never get an answer to” is this. Why doesn’t anybody react to Serana’s on fire undead skeleton horse thingy yet have kittens over Blaze? They might make a comment when she summons it but the way it looks, not a peep!

We crossed over the bridge and a bit further South we came across the overturned wagon, corpses and lots of blood. We dismounted and inspected the site.

I searched the body of a vampire and found a note. It read,

“I have new orders for you. Prepare an ambush just south of the Dragon Bridge. Take the Moth Priest to Forebears’ Holdout for safekeeping until I can break his will. – MALKUS.”

I handed the note to Serana.

“Malkus is one of Father’s enforcers. The crest on the paper belongs to my family. There is a blood trail. I can follow that easy if we hurry.”

We mounted the horses and followed the blood.

It led to a cave which we assumed must be Forebear’s Holdout.

We entered and soon found ourselves in a large cavern.

Sentries saw as and I used fireballs to remove some at a distance.

My companions fought others that were closer. These were Volkihar vampires and as Serana promised, she had no hesitation destroying them.

We finally made our way to the small fort and on the second level there was some sort of magical barrier surrounded an old man, most likely Dexion. A vampire, I assumed it was Malkus, was interrogating him,

  • Malkus: “The more you fight me, the more you will suffer, mortal.”
  • Dexion: “I will resist you, monster. I must!”
  • Malkus: “How much longer can you keep this up, Moth Priest? Your mind was strong, but you’re exhausted from the struggle.”
  • Dexion: “Must… resist…”
  • Malkus: “Yes, I can feel your defences crumbling. You want it to end. You want to give in to me. Now, acknowledge me as your master!”
  • Dexion: “Yes Master.”

We charged and killed Malkus and another junior vampire.

I inspected Malkus’ body and found a Dwemer sphere not dissimilar to what I used to get into Black Reach.

Inside the shimmering field was Dexion.

We searched the cavern and found a pedestal with a recess for the sphere. Serana said,

“Malkus is dead so Dexion should eventually come to his senses. That may take days or even weeks unless you shock him into it. A bit like slapping somebody who is hysterical to snap them out of it.”

I told everybody not to approach Dexion. If he is hostile I will need to take him down without hurting him.

I placed the sphere in the receptacle.

The shield dissipated and I approached Dexion. He looked at me and said,

“I serve my master’s will. But my master is dead, and his enemies will pay!”

He attacked me with his sword and he was excellent! A far better swordsman than most I had faced. I had to dodge and weave to miss being hit.

I had to stop him but did not want to kill him. I ducked and weaved and he followed. Eventually we did our dance to the bottom of some stairs and he slipped. That left an opening for me and an uppercut put him down.

He shook his head and I helped him up.

“That… that wasn’t me you were fighting. I could see through my eyes, but I could not control my actions. Thank you for breaking that foul vampire’s hold over me.”

Are you alright?

“I’m quite alright, thanks to you. Dexion Evicus is my name. I’m a Moth Priest of the White Gold Tower. These vampires claimed they had some purpose in store for me, but they wouldn’t say what. Probably hoping to ransom me, the fools. Now tell me, whom do you represent, and what do you want with me?”

I am Wulf, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divine. I also happen to be Arch-Mage of the College of Winterhold. I am helping a group that call themselves Dawnguard. The vampires needed you to read an Elder Scroll. So do I. Not the one from the College, although we can discuss that later, but another to do with an ancient prophecy. I would like you to do that in front of us and the leader of the Dawnguard, a man called Isran.

“You have another Elder Scroll? Remarkable! If my knowledge of history serves me, I recall that the Dawnguard was an ancient order of vampire hunters. I will be happy to assist you with your Elder Scroll. Just tell me where I need to go.”

You can find their headquarters, Fort Dawnguard, near Stendarr’s Beacon. We can escort you if you wish.

“No. I see one of your companions is a vampire. I do not feel comfortable around such as her at the moment. I have been travelling the dusty roads of Tamriel solo for decades. I will hurry there myself.”

With that he shuffled off full of confidence despite the fact he had just survived an encounter with vampires.

We had a good look around in case there was anything else of use. We then set off for Dragon Bridge where I had decided we would spend the night.

Young Clinton and the Stormcloak assassin had both recognised me earlier. So before we reached the town we pulled off to the side of the road where I donned one of my many disguises. We walked our horses, except for Serana’s monstrosity which she unsummoned, and entered Dragon Bridge at about 10:30PM. I put up with the sniggers and snide remarks nearly all the way till I told them to go ahead and book some rooms for themselves.

I entered the Four Shield Tavern ten minutes later and was warmly greeted by Faida, the innkeeper,

“Jolgol! I wasn’t expecting you for a few months.”

Just passing through Faida. I will sing a set for the usual fee if you wish. I need the coin!

“Go ahead. See if you can get a smile out of that bunch.”

So I played a set and got some feet tapping and a few laughs at a bawdy tale about Dicko the Dibella trained dog and some farmer’s daughters. Meeko joined in with some howling during the chorus.

Eventually the women retired to their room with Meeko and I finished my set.

I had a quick meal and went to my room.

I wrote this journal entry and settled for the night.

I know not what time I fell asleep.

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