The vampire screamed his lungs out once more as the knife cut deep into his chest. Blood now almost caked his skin and legs. The only light in the room, a lone oil lantern, gave me a good look at the sniveling creature on the table.
The vampire itself was huffing and puffing, trying in desperation to regulate his undead breathing. Unnatural bastards! I was growing irritated at his fortitude. At the same time, which I hated to admit, it was admirable.
“Tell me what we want to know, parasite!” My dark face was the only thing hiding the growing red of rage. The undead filth had survived about an hour of torture for the information on how he and his ‘friends’ found their way to the Fort. “Tell! Me! Now!”
“I…I won’t tell you any…thing,” the vampire wheezed pathetically. The sod coughed up a glob of blood; it splashed against my steel plaudron. “So you can go rot… in Oblivion, killer!”
“’Killer’,” I laughed aloud. “You are calling me a killer? You, who your kind kill innocent people and burn villages for fun? That’s a laugh.”
“You’re thinking of our lesser cousins,” the man sneered through bloodied teeth. “Our kind have a higher purpose. More strategic.” He held up his head as high as the weary muscles would allow. Too bad it wasn’t very much.
“Hate to break it to you,” I replied, punching his stomach and causing him to gasp and fight for air, “but no vampire has a higher calling than murdering people and each other. That’s what the Dawnguard is for. To cull your disgusting kind and send you back to the pits of Oblivion!”
Footsteps down the hall stole my attention, taking my eyes away from the piece of shit. Durak walked in, seemingly wanting something.
“What do you have Durak?” The Orc cocked an eyebrow at me. “I know you too well. You have something for me, correct?”
“Well, yeah,” he confided at last. Reaching into his armor the elf pulled out two letters. “While I was in Riften two couriers came up and handed them to me, stating they were from my allies.” As he handed them away, he continued. “They’re from Celann and Xian. According to the contents, they’ve found Sorine and Gunmar respectively.”
Opening the letters, one at a time, I skimmed through their words quickly to find Durak’s words true.
“So uh, what exactly are you trying to gain from him?” Durak asked. “Besides how he and his friends found out about this place.”
“His master would be a good start. But you know me Durak,” I said with a knowing smirk, “it is trying to hold out until his soul is sent back to his Master.”
“And he still hasn’t broken yet?’ Durak was very surprised at that fact. “Normally you’d have a blood sucker spilling their guts and waggling their tongues by now.”
“I know that. But this freak,” I pointed a damning finger towards the vampire, to which he flinched a little, “simply refuses to break. Says he’s of a higher species.” I took a seat in the nearby wooden chair, it creaking like a rusty door hinge. A new idea began to procreate in my mind, making me smile a little. “Perhaps then, a baser method is required.”
I glanced to Durak who smiled at first but it quickly turned into a frown. “You can’t be serious in crushing his bones, are you?”
“No. But that’s another idea I should thank you for.”
The Redguard vampire, once my kinsman but no longer, widened his orange eyes in fear. “B-break my bones?”
“That comes afterward,” I chuckled, “if you do not tell me all I wish to know.” Getting up and grabbing the silver knife, I brought it to my open palm as the Flame spell burned to life. “Before all that, of course, let us see what a little fire can do to loosen your tongue, eh?”
“No! Not again!”
The blade disappeared into the man’s side, burning the flesh and muscle that held him together. He writhed maddeningly against his bonds in vain desperation to get free. To taste freedom once again.
Shame the bindings holding him in place had silver lining his wrists and ankles.
The smell of burnt flesh threatened to overtake the small space of the torture room and escape into the hallway. The undead continued to squeal in pain while I smiled harshly. Withdrawing the knife it was covered with burnt blood.
“Ready to talk now, parasite? Or am I going to have to enjoy myself and break every bone in your body?” My hand reached for the Warhammer on my back for emphasis.
“No, please! Dear Molag Bal, I’ll talk! I’ll talk!”
Durak was the first to ask a question. “Who, in Malacath’s name, do you belong to?” The light of the lantern cast an eerie shadow that covered the Orc’s face, making him look more fierce and intimidating than he truly was.
“M-my clan I am a part of,” he winced, “is the strongest clan to grace Skyrim’s land!”
A silver bolt was stabbed into one of the many open wounds that leaked from his body. “I am not interested in that! They’ll be dealt with accordingly. Now then, answer my friend’s question. Before I lose my patience.” I glared at undead bastard, waiting for him to slip up just once.
“My clan…,” he panted, sweat beading down his brow. “My clan is known as the Volkihar.”
“Never heard of them,” Durak and I said in unison.
The vampire sneered. “Good. The court prefers it that way. Working and doing our business in the shadows.”
“Care to tell us where your base of operations is located?” I glared.
“Care to let me go free?”
My fingers wrapped around the handle of the Warhammer.
“I-I… I won’t,” he stammered, shaking in fear. “I won’t tell you, even if you bring me close to dea- AARRRAAAGGHHH!!!”
I brought the hammer down on his leg, splintering and breaking the shin. “You wanna run that by me again, vampire?!” There was no way in Stendarr’s Great Mercy that I would let an opportunity like this be past up. “You will answer me, blood sucking fiend! Or I will have to make both your legs match!”
The pieces of bone that broke away from the tibia and the fibula, protruding out of his skin, bleeding freely into the open world and dripping onto the stone floor. The amount that was lost kept growing exponentially. I’d have to cut back on bleeding him to get everything I need.
Thinking quickly and fishing out a healing potion, I shoved the vial into the Redguard’s mouth and forced the red liquid down his throat. The effects were almost instant but subtle. His bleeding ceased but the open wounds remained as such, the red flesh glistening in the low light. My warhammer fell to the floor with a pwuk!
The flesh could be seen knitting itself back together, but it was extremely slow. It could only be seen if you concentrated on a spot on the undead flesh. His chest and side followed suit, halting the bleeding before dying from blood lose.
“What the hell,” the vampire coughed between gasps of breath, “is your problem?!”
“’My problem’, as you say it were,” I growled, “is that you haven’t given me every bit of information I want!”
“Isran,” Durak interjected with a hand on my shoulder, “maybe you should let up on the torture. Even if it is a disgusted creature like the one before our eyes.” He cocked his head to the vampire, his ponytail bobbing as the Orc did so. “Your methods of garnering information are as unsanitary as their diet.”
“Unlike their diet, my methods keep me satisfied.”
“Until more are required,” the vampire taunted with a sly grin.
With a frown and growl that would frighten a wolf away, I delivered another devastating blow to his leg. The splintered bone held in place but that didn’t stop the pain from rocketing throughout the scum’s body.
“I’m growing tired of you. Very quickly, in fact.” I turned in the Orc’s direction. “Durak, go fetch the reinforced metal pail by the smelter. It should still be hot.”
“Isran, you sure you want to do that?”
“Of course I’m sure! I do have another piece of information I want and I don’t think the previous ‘applications’ will loosen his tongue.”
Durak let out a sigh. “All right. I will be just a moment.”
Plenty of time.
“So vampire,” I began with a grim smile, “will you answer my last question about how in Oblivion you found the fort?”
“That’s how it’s going to be then, huh?”
Silence with a scowl of determination.
“Now, you see right there, that’s one admirable trait everyone can get behind.” I can’t believe I actually complimented a vile vampire. Just one more thing to keep me up at night. “You don’t feel like giving up the last morsels of intel needed for the enemy, right?” A sneer and spit of blood was my answer. Wiping it away with a nearby cloth I stared back at my victim. “Well I can assure you, vampire, you will talk. And talk. And talk.”
With the sound of Durak’s arrival the Redguard’s eyes instantly shot to the bucket. Steam billowed out of it like a fire sending its fumes into the sky.
“Wha-what’s in that?” He was growing scared and it was intoxicating to see.
“Why don’t you see for yourself?” Taking the container from my Orc ally I poured a little molten silver on his weak flesh.
His screams filled our heads, blocking out all other outside stimulation.
“Going to give me what I want?! Or am I going to have to give you a drink of this?!”
The very skin of him began to melt away, dripping to the stone floor to reveal the muscle tissue underneath. The mixture of extreme heat and silver is a wondrous thing to experiment with on a vampire, isn’t it?
“Going to talk?”
The wide eyes had fear written all over them, tears of pain streaming down his cheeks and mouth hung open gasping for breath. Any blood that tried to drip away like rain was instantly burned at the liquid silver.
“Yes,” he cried. “Please, yes! I’ll tell you!”
“You have my attention.” I set the bucket down.
“H…how- ahh! – we knew to find… this dusty keep. It is all… because of a spy.”
Durak stole the words right out of my mouth. It quickly closed and I gritted my teeth in rage.
“WHO?! Tell me who dammit!” Spittle rained the vampire’s face. I must have been angry enough to make my friend take a step back. “Answer me or so help me,” I pointed to his protruding bone, “liquid silver will replace your marrow!”
“Alright, alright! I only know his species!” He shouted in desperation, trying to avoid going further into the belly of the beast. “The spy is an Argonian! He’s got black scales!”
“A black scaled Argonian,” I repeated. “Is that all you have?”
“Y-yes,” he meekly replied. “That’s all I know!”
“Then you are of no more use to me.”
“Wait, but I-“
The wails of agony were soon gargled out as the silver ran into his mouth, burning the parasite from the inside as the molten metal burned its way down his esophagus, destroying him utterly. Silver overflowed from his now gaping throat and onto his skin. Pale, snow white skin burned and melted into nothing but ash, taking the muscle and meat that held everything together. No longer able to scream in pain and agony all the vampire could do was thrash around and wail in silence before ceasing all function.
“So an ebony Argonian is the cause of the security breach.”
“Do you honestly believe the word of the dead vampire over Xian?” Durak asked. “He may not be the most pleasant lizard to be around. Alright, he’s a jackass, but still he’s a competent hunter. Look at all that he’s done for Skyrim.”
“I know Durak. I heard all about him killing the World Eater along with everyone else.” A hefty sigh escaped my lips. “By Stendarr. New protocol until the situation of the possible spy is found. Keep a close eye on Xian and that paladin fellow. They have matching scales, which is the only plausible evidence we have. What was his name? Lights-in-Shadows, correct?”
“Yeah, that’s right,” Durak replied with a nod.
When I started to recruit locally for new members to bolster our ranks, one of the applicants was the black Argonian going by the name Lights-in-Shadows. Said he just wanted to help as many people as he could due to the rise of vampire activities. The lizard was already proficient in the healing arts of Restoration magic and adequate with a blade. Honestly, Lights was an ideal candidate. He seemed a bit eager, even for a newcomer.
During the attack a few days ago I had ordered the Argonian to stay indoors. Lights may have been competent but that did not mean he was ready for battle against the creatures of the night. I would prefer not to see his body fall to the ground like a stone only to have it rise with a ghastly, grotesque and twisted body.
My hand wrapped around the handle of the weapon of mine before heading out of the torture room. The smell of burnt flesh would remain there for Gods knew how long as well as on the two of us. Along the way to the ground floor the two of us discussed about possible plans and watchers to keep a look on the two lizards of ours. Well, one was a part of the marry band of Dawnguard, the other we are paying.
“Maybe have Celann or Agmaer watch Xian-Krie and I can watch Lights,” Durak suggested.
“As long as their actions are recorded and reported, I do not mind who watches which Argonian.” The light from the ceiling bathed the center of the building, bringing a warmth to our core that many people take for granted.
As our conversation continued we were soon interrupted by Agmear.
“Ah, Isran, Durak,” he greeted.
“Well if it isn’t Agmaer.” The Orc beamed. “How are you?”
“I’m alright. But I have something to tell you,” he admitted. “Specifically Isran.”
“Oh? Let’s hear it boy.”
“It’s a little difficult to explain. I honestly don’t know where to begin.”
Durak gave his input.
“Just start at the beginning.”
“Alright. But you have to swear you won’t blame me or threaten me or anything of the like.”
“Why would we do that?” I narrowed my eyes waiting for an answer.
“Ok,” he sighed. “As there’s no easy way to say it, I’ll just say it.”
“Then do it already,” I said, growing a little irritable.
“A vampire is here wanting to-“
“What on Nirn did you just say?!” I shouted at the boy. “Why would you bring a vampire here?!”
“It’s here to speak with Xian.” He help up his hands in defense just in case some of us would bring our hand out in violence towards him. “And according to it, says it found the Fort on its own.”
“Xian?” Durak asked. “Why? Did it say?” His hand reached for the axe on his hip.
“She says she’ll only speak to the Argonian. Didn’t tell me anything, I promise.”
“Where is she?” I demanded.
“I’m right here.”
The soft voice came from the doors, echoing in the main chamber. Looking towards them we all saw a woman with a hood over her head walking our way. I held my hand up to stop Durak from trying anything for one reason alone: the Elder Scroll on her back.
“I’m sorry for the intrusion, but I truly need to-“
“I already know what you said, vampire,” I interjected. “But why should I comply with anything you ask for?”
She lowered her hood to reveal the orange vampiric eyes her kind are so known to have. Seems she didn’t bother to use Illusion magic to make her appear normal. The black hair of hers was braided on both sides of her head.
“Because I know you don’t want the sun to be blotted out for the rest of your mortal lives.”