Per Mortem Maleficarum
Written in honor of Curse's Skyrim Character Build: The Maleficar
Albeit the very prospect of witchcraft had fallen out of favor in response to the White Gold Concordat and the rise of the Aldmeri Dominion, there still exist numerous mages in the province of Skyrim.
In spite of spell casting being frowned upon as of recently, not even the dreaded, black art of necromancy was outlawed. Of course, as a practitioner of such vile magics, I always had to exercise utmost caution as to where, when and in what company I practiced my craft.
Forwhy the majority of citizens of that gelid, snow coated place would oftentimes force me out of their respective habitats when they discovered the despicable work I had done on the graves of those who had long since deceased.
Notwithstanding the continuous threat, perpetuated by superstitious indigents, I faltered not in my pursuit to attain a grander might.
A power to surpass that of the feared vampires or the masterful College attendees.
Out of necessity I at length made myself comfortable within the bowels of Treva's Watch, an old fort befallen by ruin and decay. A bandit-infested mound of filth and lost clemency.
By the time I had invaded the fortress, I transformed those farcically underdeveloped marauders into loyal guardians to my cause.
And even though in life, they had been nothing more than dirt under my fingernails, they had always done an excellent job of keeping away pesky adventurers who would reach out with greedy talons to bereave me of my most valuable possessions.
For my relentless desire for power drove me to conduct certain experiments that precipitated my shift from practicing legal necromancy to arguably illegal murder, theft and sacrifices. And a few ghastly sentries kept the prying eyes at bay.
My singular craft, however, necessitated the procurement of rather curious tomes and queer manuscripts. Contained therein, only the darkest of secrets and most tenebrous of rituals that went far beyond the boundaries of the commonly acceptable.
Unbeknownst to me, such volumes would constitute unwanted attention. The kind that was not only a minor annoyance, for I should quite unexpectedly find out that certain other groups, who were several orders of magnitude more iniquitous than I, were also drawn to these very documents.
In response I went through a thoroughly harrowing experience at the hands of an evil I was no competition for.
It was on a cloudy Turdas, some time during Sun's Dusk, 4E202, when a nightmare was about to extend its perilous fingers to alter my fate. A thing that would keep me affrighted long enough to twist my resolve as it haunted my conscious mind every single day thereafter.
I had before been iterating upon my obsession with forbidden knowledge. I had built a functional laboratory within the confines of the fort's dusty, crumbling heart. With complete disregard for the conspicuous disrepair of my chosen abode, I always considered it to be dissuading enough to deter any would-be thieves from claiming ingress.
What I did not anticipate in any capacity, however, was that sudden and impetuous visit from the, admittedly dim and in no way respectable, Vigilants of Stendarr that afternoon.
In my eyes they were no more than a disordered pile of blinded, self-righteous zealots. In the past, that coarsely sewn together band of religious renegades had been rooting out and executing those who would worship, and pray to, the Daedra. Even the common conjurer, who, by their misfortune, relied on tapping into Daedric magical resources in order to practice their magics, was not safe from those imbecilic mage banes.
It was a very much foreseeable shift, then, when that laughable order began to also target regular mages, vampires and everyone else who was fond of using that aetherial energy as a source of power. Notwithstanding their innate hypocrisy in respect to their intolerant anti-magic policy, for they would be quick to use restoration magic in response to injury. Moreover, Stendarr's blessing could also be considered use of magic. But I digress.
For a reason that has hitherto expertly evaded my conjecture, that particular group of nuisances somehow wound up in my residence that day. I would not be too surprised if they had in their misplaced, feverish sense of justice begun to be on the hunt for common outlaws - or anyone else for that matter.
If so, I hypothesize that the somewhat stoic state of the guards I employed led them to discover a causality I intended to keep under lock and key, since they appeared to have caught a whiff of my unsanctified ambitions.
I was at the time in the middle of some crucial studies pertaining to more elaborate forms of my art. As it was, I had at length resolved to imitate one of the unhallowed processions specified in one of the books that I had stolen and was subsequently on the brink of conducting an experiment vital to further my goals.
I was lost in thought when I picked up on the raucous noise that came from outside.
Evidently, a group of adventurers must have been in the process of slaying my so carefully reanimated servants. Or so I thought.
When these impertinent dogs broke down the door to my laboratory, I saw with much dismay that the Vigilants had been responsible for that afore heard, auditory contention.
I managed to launch an orb of ardent death into one of the many faces that had intruded upon my home, charring his likeness to a crisp layer of coal before he collapsed to reveal the six other warriors behind him.
I knew that I was in trouble. The sheer number of opponents was overwhelming. In their reluctance to rely on any offensive spells, they closed in on me with magical wards in front of them, weapons in hand. I backed away in an attempt to flee but soon, I found myself with my back against the wall, cornered by those detestable justice enforcers.
I already prepared to raise the body of my victim in defense, when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that their presence had lured in a much greater catastrophe than even they were prepared for.
At first, all I could hear were elegant footsteps, followed by a mighty stomping of gnashing feet, entirely inhuman.
The earth quaked as aforementioned feet came closer and, before the squad that threatened to end my life could adequately react, I witnessed how a ginormous lance of ice, crepitating as if freshly frozen, protruded from the chest of one of my enemies, his still beating heart mounted on the spike's tip like a war trophy.
Within seconds it got coated in lustrously frozen water before shattering to tiny, glimmering pieces when the large appendage swayed off to the right, throwing off the corpse behind it where I could not see.
Three of the servants of the Divine were flung into the nearest wall from that movement. As the sound of crushed bones echoed among the empty halls of my haven, I finally saw the adversary that brought about this carnage.
Foremost, I suspected a rogue frost atronach to have haphazardly entered my domain. But then, I looked over its left shoulder and observed a slender figure meander from shadow to shadow.
While I got distracted identifying the strange silhouette, the vitreous beast in front of me attended to the incapacitated victims of its wrath.
The remaining two Vigilants thusly found themselves in the predicament of having to dispatch both a detestable corpse defiler such as myself and a conjurer who most assuredly was involved in Daedra worship.
Fortunately for me, they decided that I posed the lesser hazard and chose to oppose the hulking atronach.
My very proximity to the daedroth caused a shiver to creep up my spine, the air itself seemed to solidify due to the encroaching cold that it spread.
As the self-proclaimed knights of good fought off the glacial monster, I used that moment of temporary advantage as an opportunity to reanimate the carcass of the one who first fell, before casting a ward in defence to deflect possible, magical assault.
The body rose slowly, a gaping, ice-encrusted hole in its torso where the heart had once pumped blood to the rhythm of life.
Not long after, the elusive person finally revealed herself. A beauteous Dunmer woman emerged from within the surrounding shades, short, light grey hair swaying back and forth in the chilling gust that was permitted entrance through the open door, dressed in a violet garment that emanated as much respect as it did allure.
Her gleaming eyes wandered from the rising dead to me and, with a snap of her fingertips, a fiery menace arose underneath my newly enslaved puppet.
A blazing dæmon of female outline surfaced from Oblivion's gulfs, thereby immolating my lifeless creation. I watched as nothing more than an ash cloud remained of it when the flame atronach pompously announced its presence to all whom it concerned with a prodigious wave of all-consuming flames.
The grey dust was scattered about the chamber and the hitherto still standing Vigilants were pushed back to glide helplessly over my meticulously outfitted alchemical working table, destroying half of my research.
To my chagrin, this would not be the end of it.
I narrowly averted my own demise by the warding spell that blocked the purifying heat.
To my left, the then still paralyzed jests of man were gruesomely impaled and stomped by the wintry beast, besmearing my robe with half coagulated blood.
Meanwhile, the other dæmoniac apparition rapidly advanced in my direction, a trail of unabridged fury in its wake.
'How are these simple atronachs this powerful?', I caught myself asking while I made every effort to get out of harm's way.
In my terrified haste, I stumbled over the still breathing anti-mages and fell onto the moist, brick flooring. I turned my head to look back, witnessing how those hapless individuals got incinerated under horrible screams of agony and importless pleas for mercy. The familiar scent of burnt flesh waged war on my nostrils. And lo, when I gleaned over the smoking piles of human meat, I beheld something profoundly irritating.
The dark elven witch stood there, hands outstretched, and seemed to, quite impossibly, continuously concentrate two spells with intimidating continuity.
One of the spells I did not recognize. Based on my fastidious observations, it appeared to receive its power by feeding off of the Dunmer's life force as I was able to deduct from a stream of sanguinary droplets that permeated through her epidermis and into the gleaming orb in her hand.
The other I could identify as a healing spell. The same kind that most healers used, even if much more potent.
There she was, herself completely enveloped in a gay spectacle of radiant splendor while she watched in uncanny apathy the grueling havoc that was wrought as her minions crushed all resistance.
When the atrocity that was the dark elf witch cast her soul chilling gaze upon me, I felt the ties that held me within the mortal plane break. Festering fear prompted me to launch another ball of fire. The effort was in vain, for within the blink of an eye, her hemomancy was exchanged for a powerful ward that deflected my feeble attack with mocking ease.
There I now sat, frail and squeamish, awaiting final judgement for the crimes I had committed. Black retribution for my ill deeds.
The smushed and half disintegrated remains of my former foes forbade a fate of torment at the hands of the Dunmer's loyal fiends.
In my despondence, I evoked the most powerful mass reanimation spell I was capable of. A last effort to try and stay alive. Ad hoc, every corpse levitated, floating gently to assume an upright posture, all at once, ready to protect their master.
Weapons drawn, the comically malformed husks shambled towards the root of the latent malignity that sought to take up residence within my shelter. Mindless combat ensued, but the conjurer was quick on her feet and managed to evade each and every strike directed at her.
At last, she dispelled her magics in favor of concentrating a devilishly dangerous spell with both of her hands.
The atmosphere started to sizzle with bubbling electricity, pervading my flesh to resonate in nauseating dissonance with my bones.
Seconds later, she unleashed terrible doom upon my minions. An endless stream of incandescent thunder had torn asunder the revenants in mere seconds, reduced to a few dark particles to be carried away by the breeze.
An unforgiving madness of exploding bolts of blinding lightning deafened me and robbed me of my sight.
As the cataclysmic cataract of electrical rancor ebbed, I still sat in the very back of the room, mysteriously unharmed from the calamity that had just taken place.
For the first time during this encounter, I espied emotion in the witch's face. Her perplexed, inquisitive and somewhat angered complexion told of as much puzzlement at my apparent survival as I had felt.
She let out a heavy sigh and slowly approached me as if on the prowl. Her toes met mine and her hand fastened itself around my throat with an iron grip, pulling me up. She leaned forward, her lips and nose uncomfortably close to my ear, and whispered under her breath:
"You would do good to remember this place henceforth as 'Lilith's Watch', necromancer.".
In her voice, there lay an icy vibration. There was something inexplicably corrupted about her, almost otherworldly in its terror.
Before I had the chance to expostulate, her frigid ally threw me out of my laboratory with a brutal ram of its shoulder. In my panic and weakness, I fled the premises, leaving behind all that I owned - and my life's work. But I intend to reclaim it.
I live in a cave now, and the fact that I wrote this diary entry means that preparations for revenge are complete. But not only this, forwhy I shall make that fœtid dark elf expectorate to me the secrets to her malign power. One way or the other. I will rise to greatness again, and I will begin my journey in Treva's Watch.