The Bounty Chronicles: Ch. 15


One could always find my nose in a good book. There were so many out in the world and in many different languages of the inhabitants of Nirn. Such history, such lore of every known people.

But my favorite, by far, were the spell tomes.

Each one book was unique when compared to another. The one currently in my claws, a Restoration spell book containing the spell known as Sun Ray, was quickly becoming a favorite weapon of mine, as was Meridian Rune. Though I knew the spell already, rereading never hurt anyone.

Unlike what non magic users believe, the books do not disappear from our clutches after one is finished reading. No, what actually happens is the magic within the pages imbues itself with the reader, giving them knowledge of the spell. And the instructions to cast it were already in the contents. All that remains was an ‘empty’ book.

Unfortunately distractions are everywhere.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of why a vampire came here asking for you! By name!”

Ahh, which must mean…!

“What-what did you say?”

Xian-Krie had returned with Sorine Jurard and was going to receive payment. At least that is what Agmaer had told me. The young Nord filled me in on his situation when I became a member of the Dawnguard. Sweet boy, truly. Innocent if naïve a tad. The strapping Nord was full of potential, none of us disputed that.

I narrowed my eyes, wondering what the next line would be out of either mans’ mouth.

“You heard me!”

“But… that doesn’t even make any…!” I heard my egg-brother pause. “No… it can’t be.”

“If you have something to say, say it when we are face to face with the parasite! Lights!”

Oh dear.

Dropping the tome I ran from the resting area, or the leisure room, and into the main room, cloak flapping with each hurried step.

“Yes Isran?”

“Come with us! You are going to bear witness to, in my mind, something unique. Move it!”

“Of course,” I responded obediently. Turning towards the stairs on the right, I motioned for the bounty hunter to follow. “Come on, Krie. Don’t wish to anger him do you?”

“Normally I would not bat an eye. This is different because of who I think is up there with him.” The ebony scaled lizard shuttered at his own thoughts. I do not believe anyone had heard of, let alone see, Xian shutter. Simply fascinating! But worrisome, most particularly him calling the demon in sheep’s clothing ‘who’.

“Why would you even care, egg brother?” I asked him as we wound our way up the spiral staircase. “You are being paid to kill parasites like the one that is here.”

“This one is not being paid to kill vampires,” he said with the tiniest hint of resentment. “Simply being paid to do what Isran says.”

“Ahh, so a common thug then.”

“Hm. Still better than you, xheutk.”

Oh, he cursed at me in our native tongue. Unique insult to be sure but something I brushed aside due to the task currently at hand. On a side note it appeared to be easier to get under his scaled than anticipated. Interesting.

Around the corner stood Isran, proud and tall, awaiting us.

“Stop your damn bickering and move it.” The Redguard ordered before showing us the way into the torture room. Attached to the small prison were the remains of his previous victim. As I recall it was an interrogation on how vampires found their way into Fort Dawnguard. The questioned one, a Redguard night dweller, met a grisly end with molten silver after giving up some crucial information to Isran and Durak.

Not enough information however.

Xian stopped dead in his tracks profoundly flabbergasted, eyes and mouth open wide.

“But… why?”

In front of the three of us was a female vampire. She was a moderate height for her kind, if a bit taller than even an adult Nord. She wore her black hair in a braid with a slight part in the center of her head. Her, admittedly lovely and attractive, face had almost natural skin color for a citizen of Skyrim. Cute button nose and facial features that made her someone men would try to garner her attention most, if not all, the time. The woman had a poise about her that seemed almost regal yet modest.

Most striking were her eyes. They appeared almost human but for the orange pupils surrounded by darkness.

“This vampire showed up while you were away,” Isran stated rather calmly. “I’ll assume it’s the same one you found in Dimhollow Crypt. Says it wants to talk with you. Go on then, if you can even get a word out of it.”

The vampiric Nord looked upon my egg brother with familiar regards. To me it seemed as if they’d known each other.

“Bet you weren’t expecting to see me again.”

The Hunter shook his head.

“No. Not even in the slightest Serana.”

“It has a name?” I scoffed.

“Yes I do,” the Nord replied vehemently. “And if you don’t mind, stay quiet until I’ve said my piece. Got it? Good.”

“Hah. Definitely headstrong,” Xian chuckled. “But foolish.”

“Learned from the best after all.” She cocked an eyebrow at him coyly.

“Get on with your ‘piece’ then, or I’ll hasten the pace for you.” Isran growled, reaching for the Warhammer on his back. I could not help but follow in suit unsheathing my maul and dagger.

“Alright, alright damn.” Serana raised her hands in means of understanding to us both. Even with her gesture we did not put the weapons away. “The reason why I came here, despite all the danger and my well-being… And why I had the Elder Scroll with me in the cave. It all goes back to my father.”

“Harkon,” my marsh fellow said. “The ‘Lord’ of your court.”

“Yeah.” She brushed a strand of stray hair back over an ear. “I’m sure you could tell from that one meeting he’s not exactly… Oh, what’s the word I’m looking for?”

“Steady?” he tried.

“Sane?” I wagered, gaining looks from all of them.

“That, stable, or a good person. Even by vampire standards.”

Isran lauged.

“’Vampire standards.’ Now I’ve heard it all.”

“Not all vampires are vile creatures,” the Hunter chimed over his shoulder. “I know of one right now working as court wizard. As she has been since a certain ruler was a child.”

“A ploy,” I spat. “All vampires wish to do is murder, drink blood and deceive one another.”

“Funny,” the parasite smirked. “I can say that about every other race and species too.”

“Get to the fucking point!” Isran bellowed furiously, his face growing red in anger. Never a good idea to keep his man in suspense.

Serana rolled her eyes and hopped to it, picking up where she left off.

“It all goes back to my father, Harkon Volkihar. Millennium ago he stumbled upon a prophecy. An extremely obscure one at that. It stated that vampires would no longer need to fear the sun.”

“That sounds farfetched,” I said flatly.

“I concur,” Xian agreed ruffling his white plumage.

“Nevertheless I do not exaggerate. And ever since he found that damn thing, he’s changed.” I saw a twinge of sorrow flash through her soft features. No doubt Krie saw it as well.

Wonder how this is going to pan out.

“For someone who considers himself vampire royalty, that’s pretty seductive. He became absorbed, obsessed really, ever since discovering it. Fawning over it like a cat plays with a dead rat.”

“Quite the image,” Isran grumbled. “Now that we all heard what it has to say, is there any reason why I shouldn’t kill this bloodsucking fiend right now?”

Xian stepped between him and the vampire, hands clenched into fists ready to strike.

“Me being in the way, for one.”

“And what makes you believe I won’t just brush you aside like a piece of discarded paper, hunter? I control your payment after all. Why endanger it?” A smug grin played across his face. Isran got an upper hand on Xian, putting the lizard between a rock and a steep slope. Either getting payment or having the vampire killed.

“True, it is unwise for a hunter like myself to endanger his reward for two contracts now.” His steely silver eyes focused on the Redguard leader. “However because you do not enjoy vampiric company, this one has a proposition.”

“You cannot be serious,” I scoffed becoming increasingly dubious. “What are you planning? Stalling for time?”

“I’d make it far more difficult for you to notice my stalling, light-boy. My proposal is that when I go on the assignments given by Isran, Serana will accompany me.” All three of us stared in surprise at the man. I would say all three but it was only Isran and I to do so. The night stalker merely crossed her arms and chortled a little.

“And why would I agree to allow an asset to leave and roam free with you Xian?”

“For starters, if I am allowed to speak,” Serana chirped, “you just acknowledged me as something you require. An asset. You need me. ”

Clever witch, I hissed to myself.

The Dawnguard leader gritted his teeth and growled something to himself.

“… Fine. You win this round, for now,” Isran begrudgingly replied. “But if you so much as lay a finger on anyone while in my fort, Xian and you will pay the price. And if you don’t believe me take a look at the previous victim on the stretcher.”

They turned around to see the nightmare inducing corpse. Burned flesh still clung to the skull, charred black and melting from extreme heat. The top of the head was devoid of any hair and scalp, revealing the blacked skull underneath. Two blank eyes stared up into the ceiling, each as wide as saucers.

Its neck had a hole burned through the center due to the molten silver being forced down the throat. The chest, arms, legs and waist area were burned down to the guts and bones. Only the muscle still remained on scarce parts of the body.

“Huh,” Serana quipped. I could see beyond that mask of levelheadedness it was a little scared.

“By the Hist…! Really? Just really?” Xian crept closer to the blacked shell of the vampire; his eyes moved from one section to another, studying and drinking in the knowledge of the insane form of intelligence gathering.

“With the amount of flesh missing from the body, and how it poured off the figure and was not torn or ripped off, you poured molten ore on him,” Xian explained aloud. Seems his skills as a tracker paid off in many other fields. Kneeling, he examined several small mounds of cooled metal on the ground that were mixed with some flesh. “… You doused the vampire with melted silver, didn’t you?”

“Your skills of examination don’t lie to you, boy.”

Serana began to become angry for her, possibly receding, safety.

“If you even think about pouring anything molten on my skin, I’ll-“

“You’ll what vampire?!” I shouted at her. “Kill us all? Ha! I’d like to see you even try!”

“That can be arranged if you have a death wish!”

“I should have known better than to allow a demon like you into my fort!” Isran grabbed the warhammer from his back and readied it for a swing. “I don’t care if you’re an asset or not! That Elder Scroll on your back will belong to the Dawnguard!”

“If any of you even thinks about swing their weapons or magic,” Xian barked at us, “I WILL make you regret it! I know how to make dragons beg for mercy!” His daggers were already in his claws, the lethal things refracting the light. "Wanna see how?"

“You side with the vampire?!” I shouted at my marsh brother.

“I like her better than you two already! But I said anyone.”

“How kind of you Xian,” Serana replied to him. “But that doesn’t take much does it?”

“Not with these men.”

Footsteps of many clambered and echoed together as the other members of the Dawnguard ran into the small room.

“What in Oblivion is going on here?!” Durak yelled. He stared at the four of us, our brandished weapons poised and ready to eat flesh.

“This is none of your concern, Durak!” Isran barked back.

“Hey, all of you, enough!” Sorine shouted into the fray. “Xian, especially you! We don’t need you Shouting anyone or anything down!”

“Damn, you figured out my trump card to stop the fight before a weapon was swung!”

“So you weren’t thinking about cutting into anyone?” Gunmar asked pushing through the small crowd to be beside Durak. “Even just a little, Dragonborn?”

“Dragonborn?!” I said incredulously. “Then you…! Then you should be on our side and not siding with a parasite like her! Protecting Skyrim from threats! Your duty!”

Something inside my egg brother snapped.

“I. Am so FUCKING sick of fuckers and simpletons like you who think it is my job, my DUTY, to protect this Gods damned province because of my blood!! I always meet someone who says it is and I can’t stand people like them!!" Quicker than anything I’ve seen before Xian sprang forward, tackling me to the cold bloodstained ground.

I tried to bring the maul up to bash his chest or side, anything to get him off of me. His anger made him strong, far stronger than most. The blow didn’t even register in his mind, only making Xian-Krie appear more deranged and blood thirsty.

Everyone gasped at the spectacle. We all knew he wasn’t a pure being, one of a kind heart through and through. But to outright pounce on me…!

“Get off, egg-brother,” I yelled.

A cold as ice stare was his response, void of any semblance of the word 'no' or 'mercy.'

A fist clubbed me near the temple, disorienting my sight and causing me to see double. It was followed by another to the other and a connecting krak as both fists hit my forehead. Blood oozed and crept down to my muzzle, temporarily blinding my left eye. I could do nothing but meekly raise my now empty right hand to block his angry blows.

“Get off of him!!” Isran shouted trying to pry the Dragonborn off of me. Serana stood there, unsure of what to do but watch with shock in her eyes. Krie merely shoved the Redguard away, nearly tossing him to the ground. Surprisingly Serana caught him before he hit the floor, gently easing him back up.

Xian’s arm went up, the dagger’s immensely sharp point aimed for my forehead. The fool was going to kill me! Using what energy I had my fist connected with his cheek several times before he batted it away like it was nothing more than a nuisance. My left arm was pinned under a leg of his, useless to try to cease his hostilities.

“Xian! That’s enough!” Sorine shouted. “Stop and think dammit! THINK!!”

He cried out something in Jel and thrust the weapon downward.

Embedding it in the stone by the side of my curled horn.

The Hunter was huffing like he had just ran a great distance or experienced an intense battle. The bloodlust and craze in his eyes remained but diminished very slowly. His arms were still tense and shaking with adrenaline.

He looked around the room, spying every eye on him. All were wide with shock at how close he was to committing coldblooded murder. Even without being him, I knew Krie felt everyone was against him. One lizard against an entire room full of opinions that’d only serve to push him further down the dark road. And by the look of his incredulous face, he couldn’t stand it any longer.

Without a word Xian took the dagger and ran out of the room, jumping over the railing.


 The fellow Argonian Shouted, like the ancient Nords and Graybeards, leaving behind a trail of corporeal mist as he fell. Xian didn’t even cry out or yelp in pain as he landed with a loud thud! Soon the oak doors were heard opening and slammed shut as he stormed into the outside world.

“That bastard,” Isran growled. “That bastard had the gall to openly attack a fellow member of the Dawnguard?!”

“Lights started it,” Serana protested.

“No one gave you permission to talk, vampire!”

“Fuck off! You know it to be true! Your little demon there,” she pointed an accusing finger at me, “egged him on!”

“I did no such thing! Only stated it was his duty to protect Skyrim from your kind!”

Sorine sucked in through her teeth.

“I know exactly what happened then. And yes, I’m with the vampire here, Lights pushed him.”

“Wh… how?!” I proclaimed.

“The subject of his blood is a bitter one for that Argonian,” she explained; Isran’s adrenaline started to wear off as his hammer was placed on his back once more. “He did not explain to me the specifics of his blood but just from the look Xian gave when I asked, well… It is his decision above all. And now I know he hates it when people tell him it’s his obligation to protect Skyrim.”

Such a revelation! A noble hero depicted in many Nord stories and legends, Dragonborn, hated being told to be noble. It is extremely contrary to what he does when taking contracts, as he put it.

“That doesn’t excuse the fact that he attacked one of my members,” Isran replied.

“Bullshit! It is the exact same thing we did to you.” Serana huffed and got in his face. “It’s taking every little bit of your willpower not to strike me away from you! Now then,” she continued to explain. “As Sorine said, the subject of his blood is extremely personal to Xian. And he hates it when he has to conform to the populace opinion of their version of a Dragonborn.”

“What are you getting at, vermin?” I inquired before finally getting up.

“Well, little demon, if you’d let me continue instead of interrupting me,” she hissed. “The same subject just fell onto you, Isran for letting me join him when he’s out on assignments from this place. You hate me and my kind so much you want me dead right now but Xian wouldn’t allow you and instead offered an alternative.”

“If all that shouting from before the big one was any indication,” Celann added, “then yeah. As much as I despise vampires, this one has common sense.”

“Thank you. I think.”

“Not every day I compliment a vampire. Don’t get used to it now,” he said as a word of warning.

“I didn’t expect it anyway, Breton.”

The Redguard leader of ours stayed silent, contemplating the situation that presented itself. From the look on his face he was having actual trouble on figuring out its solution.

“I need… Stendarr, I need someone to go and fetch that damn Argonian. Now. We need to have a talk.”

“I can do that,” Sorine volunteered.

“I’ll come with,” Serana motioned to her.

“Don’t mistake my hesitation for a decision, but why?”

“Well he already considers me a friend. Strange thing is we only traveled together for a couple of days.” She shrugged at the thought. “Said it was easy to get into his graces.”

“Heh. Used that line on you too, huh?” Sorine mused. “Come on then. Maybe we both can talk some sense into him.

“Hold a moment. Please,” I said to both women. “Please, may I go with you?”

“And why would we agree to that?” Serana asked with a scowl.

“As much as I hate to ask…,” Sorine put in.

“I-I… I merely wish to give him my apology and hope he can forgive me. Forgive me for something I did not know would set him off like blasting powder.”

“Well in order to get to him, you have to apologize to me first Argonian,” the vampire hissed.

“This is most ridic-”

She popped her knuckles.

“Alright, by the Eight and Hist.” Bowing before her, getting onto my knees I commenced. “Please, fair maiden, forgive my impudence. Forgive my name calling and poisonous words meant only to cause harm. Forgive my transgression against both yourself and my egg brother, Xian-Krie.”

Everything I said, all that ‘forgive me’ stuff, I honestly was. It was part of a paladin’s way to be on good terms with ally, friend and even foe. Something I had forgotten when it was needed most.

“I partially accept your forgiveness Lights.” The vampiric Nord crossed her arms and cast dubious looks upon me. “Not even half way, I might add. But since you got something from me, now comes the biggest obstacle: trying to gain Xian’s acceptance.”

“I realize this. But even so, I must try.”

“You’ll probably die,” Sorine quickly said. “The Argonian is brutal in combat. Swift, ferocious as well but has his moments. Pray to whatever God you prefer and hope he doesn’t attack on sight.”

“I want him brought back into the main room, one way or another,” Isran said with a gesture. “We all have to talk. About many different subjects. And his… reward.” The man rubbed his eyes in exasperation.

Sorine answered the man.

“We’ll see what we can do Isran. Come on then Lights.”

“Of-of course.”

The parting of the members of the Dawnguard gave us easy passage towards the stairs. The women lead the way, keeping me on their heels. The vampire was an interesting one. She didn’t seem interested in trying to come up with a plan to drink blood from any of us. Curious and a touch troubling.

I had heard from several different sources that there were vampires on record that refused to give into their animalistic needs and divulge on the crimson drink that was the life blood of every being on Nirn. Was this vampire another to not partake in the sin? I would, when on far better terms with it, ask to study its habits to forgo blood drinking.

The walk was silent, save for the sounds of the other members speaking with Isran. About what I could not hearl; the unfortunate me being out of earshot. However a gut feeling told me that whatever was being spoken would be told when all of us would gather together.

“What exactly do you hope to say to him that’ll make him change his mind?” I asked when the silence became too much.

“Easy. Anything that’ll ease his mind about his ‘duty’ that you so eagerly reminded him of,” Sorine replied without looking back. It appears that I already made a foe in the Dawnguard with its newest recruit. Maybe I could make friends with Gunmar? Unless he and she are good friends, in which case he and I will not get along.

“I did not know. How could I have known?”

“Well maybe you would have had a better answer than a tackle to the ground if you hadn’t decided to be openly hostile to the Nord vampire here.” The Breton woman motioned to Serana beside her.

“Thanks for the understanding, Sorine right?” Serana asked. She received a nod. “Making sure from all the talking before.”

“And from the yelling Durak, Agmaer, Celann, Gunmar and I heard you must be Serana.”

“Yeah.” She clapped the Breton on the shoulder. “I am.”

“Then… nice to meet you officially.” As we reached the doors Sorine finished her talk. “It appears Xian trusts you, most likely to some extent. Not sure how far that may be but trust nonetheless. I hope Isran can learn from his example.”

“Can that man learn tolerance, or is it not in his vocabulary?”

Sorine gave a soft laugh.

“He’s more stubborn than a Nord, and that is saying something. Think some Nord runs in his veins to be honest. But if you prove yourself useful, then I can see him tolerating your company and assistance.”

She sighed.

“I guess that’s the best I can receive from him, eh?”

“Something like that,” Sorine grinned.

Serana opened the doors, bathing us and the dark hallway in a bright, warm light. She winced a little in pain and put on her hood, protecting her eyes and face from the sun. It felt, otherwise, nice to warm my scales. I couldn’t help but look back at my shadow. The curling horns cast an eerie dark figure onto my otherwise normal Argonian shadow. Serana was right about one thing.

I did look like a demon.

The sounds of grunting and swears soon blew on the breeze followed by fairly loud, low thnks! What was he doing, shooting bow and arrow? Soon fits of rage came in force.

“Gods dammit!! YUL… TOOR SHUL!!!”

A gout of brilliant orange and red fire plumed upward, smothering the stonework of the fort in fire. Luckily the trees, grass and shrubbery didn’t catch alight or else we would’ve had a forest fire to deal with. It appeared that Xian was not finished venting his anger on something and went back to firing his archery equipment.

Coming down the small incline of a hill we found him not too far off, shooting his bow like I had predicted. The arms were pulled back incredibly far, far enough that it looked like either it or the string would snap any second. Ahead of him was a target riddled with arrows, all of which poked through and embedded into the support. Damn…


He growled in confusion and suspicion.

“Who the hell- oh.”

Amazing. Just like that, it disappeared from Serana speaking alone.

“What are you doing out here?” Sorine asked.

“Exactly what you see.”

I stood still while the others went and looked at the arrow filled target. The wood splintered around the heads and the feathers touched the thing itself. All of them circled the bullseye and a couple of them cut each other in half. Seemed he had a lot of anger built up in one moment.

“Butchering an archer’s target?”

“Not as bad as what I want to do to him!” Krie pointed a damning finger at me. “What do you want?”

I cleared my throat, a bit frightened of him now.

“I came to apologize for my-”

“Apologize? A mini-Isran?! Hahahahahah!”

I was surprised. Mini-Isran? Me? That was far from correct. I felt I was more of a mini-Durak. But, thinking back to the fight, I could see why Xian would come to that conclusion.

“He was being serious,” Sorine said pulling an arrow from the target. “And before you ask, he already apologized to your vampire friend, Serana.”

“I graciously said that I partially forgave him.” The vampire walked closer to the Argonian. “And you can guess why. Surprisingly enough he said sorry for even all the name calling. Pulled out all the stops too, kneeling down and just begging to be kicked in the stomach,” she giggled.

“Is that so?” He stared at me, studying my form and my being it seemed. “Get over here.” His claw pointed a few feet in front of him. “Now.”

What choice did I have but to agree? Hesitantly I walked towards my egg brother. My fingers were twitching near uncontrollably. It thankfully did not get worse but it didn’t help my predicament.

“Yes?” I asked when I stood in the spot he ordered.


“Why…. what?”

“Why do you wish to apologize? To try and gain a way into my good graces? I can tell you now, you will never gain them,” he hissed.

“I do not mind that, marsh brother. I swear.” My hand fell onto my chest above my heart.

“That is something but not what this one wished to hear. Why are you apologizing to me?”

He would not let that go, asking me why. Was it a personal vendetta or something a touch broader? He was adamant about it, that much I knew. Still this bugged me for an unknown reason but I did tell Sorine and Serana earlier why I wanted to. And I meant it.

“I wished to apologize because I wish to be forgiven, even a little. For transgressing a boundary that I did not know of.”

“No one does and I have a feeling I’ll explain in a moment, against my wishes to do so,” he frowned. “Do you only care to apologize because you’re a paladin? Like those idiots, the Vigilants of Stendarr?”

“I may be a paladin, Krie, but I’m learning from my mistakes. Such as my previous ones.”

Xian looked from me to Serana and back to me.

“And you already gave your first one to her, yes?”

“He did, like I said,” she admitted. “Full show and everything. Felt showy, and it was, but a plea for forgiveness all the same.”

The ebony Argonian nodded slightly, taking in her words with a trained mind. A claw went to his chin, tapping against the rough scales and tough bone underneath.

“Then get on with it, before I change my mind of having you do so.”

I nodded, repeating the same kneel I performed for the vampiric Nord.

“Please, egg brother, forgive me for my transgressions against you. Forgive my shortcoming and impudence on the subject of your duty. It was not, and is not, in my way to tell you what and who to defend. That choice is forever yours.”

Xian held his head up a bit, looking down onto me like he was better. For extensive purposes, he currently was but it would not last for long. After all, he was only a bounty hunter. Unfortunately he was one of, if not, the best in Skyrim. And his greatest weapon was not his bow and arrows, dagger or his blood.

It was his mind.

“Fine. I forgive you but not even close to fully.”

“Then a great weight is lifted from my shoulders,” I replied, standing up. “Thank you.”

“I said not even close. So do not expect me to be calling your brother-in-arms or egg brother. We may share a home swampland but that does not make me trust you.”

“Of course, Krie.”

“Is it really that touchy of a sub- Never mind, stupid question,” I said. Of course it was a touchy subject. How could it not after I could have lost my life with a dagger through the skull? The man was extremely powerful but I felt there was still something or someone out there stronger than him.

In fact I knew there was.

“Now allow me to make this perfectly clear so we do not have another outburst of my rage and contempt for you again, Lights,” Xian explained. “My blood is my blood. It does not mark me as some fucking hero the Nords of this land claim their Dragonborn is. I make my life and my decisions.”

“Like any other man and woman should,” I nodded in agreement.

“It is not my obligation to protect this province. If I wish to see it burn at another’s hand then I will. If I decide to save it, then I shall. And if you ever tell me of my ‘obligations’ again my aim with the dagger will be true!”

“Threat taken and will be avoided at all costs!”

“Good boy,” he said with narrowed eyes. Xian turned to Sorine. “Now you know my opinion of my blood Sorine. Hope it was worth finding out about through this little piece of shit.”

The Breton took a deep breath.

“I’ll admit, the answer to that question is simpler than what I originally thought. Before I imagined it was because of some weird personal belief or something to do with the Hist.” She shrugged. “Maybe that’s just me being a tad racist about usual Argonian religion, but can you fault me for thinking that way?”

“Yes and no.” He sighed in exasperation, placing a hand over his face and rubbed his eyes. “Gods, I need a drink.”

“There’s drink inside in the dining area,” I answered his unspoken question. “Basic mead and ale, but if you’re lucky you can catch the Argonian Bloodwine or aged Colovian Blackwood.” Two potent drinks that would put even a hardy Nord down after one bottle. I had no idea how well Xian could hold his liquor. Maybe he could handle it?

“Thank the Gods,” he stated in relief. “Drowned sorrows here I come.”

None of us knew if he was serious on that or not.

“Been forever since I’ve had something to drink.” Serana said to herself. “Wonder how well such things have changed since then.”

“Never had you marked for a drinker,” Xian remarked.

“Well, there’s more to people than just our exterior. And that includes myself.”

“Before you two go and try to drink the other under the table, Isran wishes to speak with all of us,” I said. The two of them gave a soft groan. “I know, not what you really wish to do but he insisted.” Krie didn’t seem satisfied. “He’s calmed down. Easier to speak to. And forgiving.”

“The man owes me for two contracts and I plan on acquiring my dues.”

“And no doubt you will,” Sorine reassured him. “Just more than likely after we all talk. Now, may we head inside and give it a try?”

It appeared that he was skeptical about it all. If Agmaer was to be believe, he and Isran never really saw eye-to-eye, often butting heads.

Xian’s eyes traced circles in the air obviously thinking on his answer. He wasn’t exactly hard pressed for one but one was required sooner rather than later.

“Come on Xian,” Serana started. “Even I’m willing to listen to the man. And that’s saying something.” Her orange eyes glowed softly under the shade of the hood.

The Breton voiced her opinion.

“If your vampire friend is willing to listen, then that means you should be too. Considering everything that’s happened.”

“Oh, Gods dammit fine,” he caved. “Fine, just stop badgering me about it. Let’s go then…”

“It’ll be alright. Not that my word gives you much hope but still, it is something,” I replied to him.


Once more silence permeated our group as the short walk commenced. Xian was surrounded by Sorine and Serana, giving him small talk so he would calm down even more. I offered no such thing to him due to the circumstances that had currently existed between him and me. No doubt there was no chance of gaining such a momentous thing as his graces, but that did not bother me. After all, the Dawnguard offered all I needed.

The great oak doors creaked heavily as we opened them, the hinges begging to be well oiled. Several sentries had since joined us to see what the meeting had to offer, insisting that the others could keep watch without them. I did not object though I felt that I should have. True we did not have another attack since the first one but maybe we were just getting lucky.

The sound of quiet talking echoed ever so slightly against the hall walls, the crates and other things obscuring the messages. Isran and several others were speaking keeping it civil and nonviolent.

“More recruits are a given Gunmar,” the Redguard nodded. “But we must be careful in our selection as to avoid another attack on the property.”

“And you are sure that vampire you interrogated said a black Argonian was a spy or something similar?”

“Yes,” went Durak’s voice. “I was there to hear it as well. It’s already being taken care of. So don’t worry yourself.”

“I just don’t believe-” The brute of a Nord turned to see us heading for them; standing in the center of the main room, just as Isran at stated. “Well look who it is. Feeling better, Dragonborn?”

“After I get a drink in me I’ll let you know Gunmar.”

He chuckled. “You sound like a Nord when you say it like that.”

“I have been told that before.” His eyes fell onto our leader. “Isran.”


“I am not going to beg or ask for your forgiveness for earlier because I do not want it.”

“That is as good as I am going to get it, right?”

“You are correct.”

“Fine then.” He rubbed his beard in thought. “Do either of you three remember where we left off? It was something about-“

“About threatening me by pouring molten silver on me as a means of death.” Serana didn’t spit the answer which she received a perplexed look from me. “But moving away from that unpleasantness, where we really left off was with my father pawing over that prophecy.”

“Isran’s already filled us in on what it states,” Celann said. “But none of us believe it to be possible.”

“Well my mother and I thought it to be and took the necessary precautions.” She looked at her reptilian rescuer. “That’s why I was down in that cave, inside the sarcophagus. And why the Elder Scroll was with me.”

“And why you were impartial to part with it,” Krie said putting some pieces of the puzzle together.

“Exactly. I know that, within the contents of the Scroll, it explains how to stop my father. But,” she looked around the room, “none of us can read it.”

“I kind of did, once.”

Everyone stared at the bounty hunter wide eyed.


“You have got to be joking!”

“I don’t believe you!”

My egg brother held his hands up to silence everyone.

“I do not mean read in the conventional sense. I… how to explain what happened…” He rubbed his forehead and straightened a feather or two. “I opened an Elder Scroll required to show me a vision of the past.”

“That sounds dubious,” I said. “How in the world could that even happen?”

“Oh Gods, history lesson.” Xian hissed at his luck. “Alright, I’ll explain so you all can understand. I had to do such a task because of the Dragon Crisis that plagued Skyrim over a year ago. When Alduin still soared the skies of Keizaal.”

We could all see in his face that he did not wish to explain the process but that did not stop him. We stood there and took it all in.

“This one was told by the leader of the Graybeards that the Ancient Nord heroes, Gormlaith, Hakon and Feldir, used an Elder Scroll to banish him from their time. It was unfortunate that they only sent him forward in time, to the fourth era.”

Story time was good.

“Long story shortened, I had to find the same Elder Scroll they used and open it inside the time wound; a tearing in time itself that, according to the Graybeard leader, all the Dragons felt when Alduin disappeared.” He took a deep breath and sighed. “That’s how I ‘read’ the Scroll.”

“As amazing and farfetched as stories go, you couldn’t have just said you didn’t read any words revealed to you?” Serana asked him.

“I figured you all wanted a damn story,” he shrugged. “Either way you got my answer. I cannot read Elder Scrolls.”

“Then we have to find someone who can,” Agmaer remarked. “Only problem is, I have no idea who can do such a feat.”

“Those that can read Elder Scrolls are part of an Imperial order known as the Cult of the Ancestor Moth,” Isran answered. “Their members, the Moth Priests, spend many of their years preparing to read even a single one.”

“None of this helps us Isran as they’re half a continent away in Cyrodiil,” said Sorine. “And they aren’t the kind where you can just go and ask them. You have to take it to them. If you can even get to their location.”

“Fuck!” Xian barked in frustration.

“Now hold your Voice until you hear everything.” Isran stepped forward and placed a hand on his shoulder. I half expected him to shake it free and was impressed to see it remain where it was. “I have a friend who works in close with the Empire in Cyrodiil. And he sends me information every now and then to see if it’ll help. Recently he sent a schedule of a touring Moth Priest’s itinerary. He plans on visiting the College of Winterhold.”

“Then that is where we should head to,” Serana smiled while looking at Xian.


“Well yeah, that is, of course, if Isran will allow you to have this assignment and take me with you.”

“That is something I will allow, provided I can get some information on how you behave.”

“I doubt you’ll get even that Isran,” Xian looked to him. “Couriers are a rare thing in the shambled town of Winterhold.”

“Winterhold… a shambled town?” Serana cocked an eyebrow. “That can’t be right. Last I remember that place was a sprawling, snow covered city.”

“A lot has happened since you were away,” Gunmar told her. “A lot. Don’t expect Skyrim to be like the one you recall.”

“I’ve learned some of that already, walking here from my family’s home after all.”

“Likewise, but I know the terrain and have a map.” Xian mused a tad.

“Since we’re poking fun at each other, I have something good for you,” Serana smirked. “You have a tab in Morthal’s inn now. You owe the owner about one hundred gold.”

Xian blinked several times.

“I’m sorry what?”

“She put it on your tab.”

“I don’t have one.”

“You do now,” she chuckled.

Several of us couldn’t help but chortle along with her. So he owed one hundred to an inn. Who didn’t at one point in their lives?

“Ah, dammit alright. Alright.”

“Sorry. It was late and though I can see in the dark like it was morning, I was hiking since the first light to get away from the house.”

“That bad, huh?” Sorine asked.

“I… I feel I am not even a person to my father anymore. Only an object to be used.” She somberly shook her head. “No child should have to feel that way about their father.”

None of us spoke, unsure of exactly what to say. We never knew a vampire could actually feel as Serana currently was. A regular person, sure we’d console them and offer them an arm. But a vampire? I suppose the same thing could apply.

An armored hand grabbed her shoulder reassuringly.

“This one is sorry, Serana.” Xian rubbed his thumb against the cloth that was her armor and clothing. “Though it is not enough, still it is something.”

“I know,” she sighed heavily, almost in a defeated manner. The vampiric Nord lifted her head and put on a smile. “Thanks Xian.”

He gave her a nod and a smile before returning his attention to the rest of us.

“So we have a location of where the Moth Priest will be. But how long before he arrives? Or stays?”

Isran reached into his back pocket, pulling out a piece of folded paper. It ruffled loudly as he unfolded the thing. “It says here that the man will arrive at the College in about nine days, as of now.”

“So a little over a week…” He groaned. “I can think of a reason to be at the College before he arrives.”

“Oh?” Sorine sounded. “And that would be…?”

“They’ll want to study me because of my Shouting. It’s a type of ancient magic that interests them.”

“The mages would want their grabby hands on another piece of magic.” Isran uttered to himself as much as anyone, rubbing his temple. “But at least you’ll have something to bride them with so you can stay until the Priest arrives.”

“Great,” Xian sighed.

“Is that everything we have to discuss?” Durak asked. “Feel like we’re forgetting something…”

“Other than my payments and next assignment?” Xian inquired. “Probably a drink.”

He gained several sporting laughs, including my own.

“Like I stated before, you’ll find the drinks in the dining area.”

“Thank the Hist,” he replied, both elated and drained. “I really need a few.”

“Xian.” Isran spoke up, reaching out a weary hand to fall on his shoulder. “I will apologize for my disposition earlier but that does not mean you are off the hook. I still got my eyes on you and your vampire friend there,” he cocked his head to point at Serana. “But if another outburst like that happens again, you will be reprimanded. Do I make myself clear?”

“Clear as a soul gem.”

“Depending on the type they can be quite dark and non-see-through,” Serana quipped.

“That doesn’t help my situation.”

“Wasn’t supposed to,” she joked.

“Aren’t you sly.”

“Aren’t you thirsty?”

“Yeah,” he admitted. The Argonian gave a simple wave to the others before heading into the hallway that went to the dining area. The long table was made out of mahogany, shining darkly when the fire place was lit.

Serana followed him and was soon joined by Sorine and Gunmar, probably hoping to get in a talk with either him or both of them. Maybe reminisce to one another.

“To drink the sorrows and hardships away,” we all heard him say aloud. Clinking sounds of mead bottles bumping into each other.

Something prodded at the back of my mind. What was it? Oh, by the Hist, how could I have forgotten?

Heading for the opposite hallway I made my way back into the resting area. None of the cots were currently being used for the other members for a nap or to catch up on their sleep. A small fire burned intensely, hungrily consuming the wood that fueled its wake.

I was alone, which was good. Now I could get ahold of-

“Hey Lights!” Agmaer called out from the doorway. “Why don’t you join us at the table? Xian’s regaling us of some of his past contracts and will go over plans before he and the vampire set off.”

“Ahh, n-no I’m fine,” I stuttered to my friend. “I just wish to read my troubles away.”

“You sure? This may be your only chance to hear some outlandish fights.”

“Thanks but no tha-”

“Come on, it’ll be awesome!” he cried grabbing my arm and forcing me towards the table. I sighed, unable to control my current fate.

Distractions are everywhere.

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  • I enjoy this character. Wish he was in the actual game.

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