(Sometime before 188 4E)
Born into a minor noble house in Wayrest in the 178th year of the 4th era, Alayne was the youngest child of two children. Her mother had died giving birth to her, a truth that her brother would never let her forget, even if his resentment was unspoken, it was always there. Her brother Robert was ten years her senior and was being groomed to inherit her father's business and estate. She would be married off to some rich lord to curry favour with his family no doubt, Alayne hated that idea, which often annoyed her father.
Left her to her own devices growing up, Alayne would frequent the estate's library wing quite regularly. Reading tales about famous adventurers, and gallant knight's often ending with rescuing a beautiful lady or princess, she liked the idea of being a knight more than some swooning dolt.
Sometimes she would play with the servant's children, though she would never tell her father, he had strong opinions about mixing with peasants. Her father had been a renowned merchant who had set his business up at the Wayrest docks. He had trade agreements with several notable houses from all over the Iliac bay. Some ships would even go as far south as the Summerset Isle's, or north to the frozen lands of Skyrim. Once he'd also thought to send a ship to the far north frozen island of Roscrea to make some new trade partners, but it never did get there. It had been lost in the sea of ghosts. Some storm, iceberg or rogue wave must have seen that it never reached its destination.
Her father traded in many things from fine silks and exotic pelts to rare herbs and spices, sometimes even the rare vintage. He would ofttimes say that "the Wayrest docks were the gateway to the world". Alayne wondered if the land's far to the south were as exciting as they were in the books she read. Were there really deserts that rolled on for leagues where strange cat men lived? Were there lush rainforests with cities and villages built into the trees high above the ground where savage elves lived? Her brother would tease her and say the elves ate any adventurers who strayed too far into the woods alone, he would finish by saying "or any little noble girls who had to curious minds" and he would pinch her on the nose and laugh.
She missed that, she thought, as her mind trailed off again…
(13 years earlier: The Sacking of Wayrest)
The year 188 was the year everything changed; it was the year that she found out the truth and the lies…It was an unremarkable day as any to start with. She broke her fast with her father and brother before saying her goodbyes as they headed down to the docks to father's business. She then walked down to the west wing of the estate as she would often do to read in the library.
It was late in the afternoon, and she had just gotten home from "adventuring "with the kitchenhand's son. They'd ventured down to the market district earlier in the day and pilfered some sweet's and raisins from one of the unwitting merchants while he wasn't looking. She knew she never had to steal, of course; her father made sure she never wanted for anything. Maybe that's why she did it, some form of childish rebellion and the thrill that she got whenever she got away with it? Whatever the reason she had gotten quite good at passing unnoticed in the crowds and taking valuables from right under people's noses. She'd often give her prizes to the less fortunate or the beggars. She knew if her father saw some of the things she had, he'd wonder where she'd gotten them. Best he not know and if it meant giving it away she didn't mind, she was a 'noble lady' after all. She wondered what her father was going to bring home today? Sometimes he'd have new books for her or a new dress… she hoped it was the former.
Her daydreaming was interrupted by the sudden donging of bells, strange she remembered thinking, they never rung the bells at this time. She got up to walk over to the window, but before she could her brother burst through the doors, the serving woman gasped and dropped the honeyed milk that she'd been bringing to Alayne. Her brother's tunic was stained with blood, dirt and sweat. He must have run the horse half ragged to be looking like that. Alayne had opened her mouth to say something, but Robert cut her off and grabbed her by the hand. He told her she had to hide and that father and almost everyone at the docks had been killed. The city was under attack by brigands and corsairs, Robert said while her head swam at the sudden shock of what was happening. He took her to their mother's old study, why she did not know. What was here that could possibly help them? Her brother started at the bookshelf, she yelled at him, not understanding why he'd want to look for a book in a time like this. Robert turned to her; the look on his face was stone and solemn. Alayne had let him be after that and just watched in fearful silence. The bookshelf creaked and cracked and slowly began to open. Robert grabbed her and told her that she had to go in there and not come out until he came back for her. He said some things wouldn't make sense and he would tell her everything once the crisis was over. He shoved her into the darkness, and the bookshelf swung shut, he never did come back. She was alone in that terrible dank place for what seemed like days before she gave up waiting for him.
(Present day: Aboard a Merchant Vessel)
A sudden gust of icy wind snapped her from thought, she brushed a lock of her auburn hair out of her eyes and headed back to her cabin at the aft of the ship. The icy wind howling off the sea of ghosts was a stark change to that of the gentle warm breezes back in the Iliac Bay. They'd set sail half a moon's turn ago near the end of Sun's height. The captain was confident that they'd reach Solitude the morrow if Kyne kept the wind in their sails. Kyne, Alayne thought, that's what the Nords call Kynareth. The captain was an immense and burly Nord who despite his age towered over her. Even for a Nord, the man was tall. Olgeird was his name, and he had captained this ship under her father's employ as he now did under hers.
As she swaggered across the deck, she took note of the heavy oak door to her cabin. It was embossed with patterns of roses and baroque knots, that was beautiful to behold, the level of craftsmanship put into it must have cost a fortune. Father had always been over lavish with his ships. The breeze abruptly subsided as she closed the door shut behind her to retire for the eve.
Alayne approached the mirror and studied the scar that streaked across her lower left cheek. "It's healed well," she mused. Hard-earned though it was it didn't detract from her features, her cheeks were lightly freckled, and her eyes burned a royal green the shade of emeralds catching the light. Her father said she had her mother's eyes and her mother's fire. As the candlelight flickered and danced across the walls of the small cabin, she pulled off her leather boots and breaches, unlaced her bodice and slipped out of her tunic, tossing it lazily to the ground. The cold bristled through her, and soon goose prickles dotted her pale, slender body. She hastily pulled a nightgown on and wrapped herself in the heavy blankets from the bed and let the lax lulling of the ship ease her into sleep.
(Thirteen years earlier: The Sacking of Wayrest)
Alayne dreamed of the secret room again. She was a child, and it was dark as pitch. The distant sound of bells ringing and people screaming could be heard faint and stifled though it was. She sobbed quietly fumbling at the walls, eventually finding a lantern perchance with some oil in it, she nearly knocked it over as her hand clumsily brushed over it. She grabbed it down off the wall and used the flint that was strung on the side of it to light the oil within. When she had finally lit the lantern, she made her way slowly down the cold flagstone steps. The steps were caked in dust and cobwebs hung sprawled along the walls. A mouse scurried away as the light rounded the stairwell. A few moments later, the steps broke off into a small room. She lifted the lantern to get a better view; a sudden flash caught her eye as light reflected off a silver sword. She made her way over cautiously. The blade itself was rather plain, but it had an ornate cross guard with beautiful patterns and swirls, that met a fine leather grip dyed in a crimson red. At the top of the hilt sat a rounded pommel with the knot of Arkay inscribed around a blood-red garnet. She ran a finger along the blade and winced, at the sudden sense of pain.
(Present day: Aboard a Merchant Vessel)
Alayne jerked awake. Even after having the dream so many times, she always would wake just as she touched the blade. She looked across the cabin to where her mother's sword hung from a hook in its scabbard. Dawn was just starting to break through a crack in the curtains, the light hitting the garnet and sending flickers of red and pink rays across the room. Would mother be proud that she was carrying on her mission? Alayne hoped she would. The young rogue swung her legs out of bed, wiping the sand from her eyes warily. The wooden floor was freezing on her feet, and she hurried to the armoire to clothe herself. After she was dressed, she sat at the table to eat; Pickled olives and a slice of not yet stale bread downed with a glass of wine.
While eating, she found herself thinking back to her last hunt. She knew there was still reason enough to stay in Wayrest her most recent scar was proof enough of that, though she suspected that with the last beast she vanquished it might make its brethren warier at least for a time….
(5 weeks earlier: Wayrest Streets - The Hunt).
She had been tracking the beast for several weeks, and it had led her all over the city leaving bodies in its wake. The guards had never deigned to lend Alayne aid, dismissing her findings as; "pointless", "that's what life on the streets was like" and, "Why care for the likes of scum". One even dared to suggest he might have some information for her if they could come to some sort of "arrangement", braggarts. The beast had chosen its victims well it seemed. They were all from the lower class; urchins, vagabonds, drunks and whores, people no one would miss. It thought to go unnoticed, but she noticed, and she meant to bring justice to the foul creature even if the guards would not.
One of the bodies she came upon, she recognised—a beggar she had given her stolen goods to as a child. The life had gone from his eyes, and they'd turned a milky white. His face was gaunt and grey and blood and spittle crusted on his lips and coarse beard. His neck had been broken and laid upon the ground at a queer angle, in it were two puncture wounds. She knelt beside the corpse and uttered a short prayer to Arkay to take the wretch into the afterlife. As she rose, she caught the peculiar scent of lavender and cloves. She had noticed that scent before. One of the earlier victims had had that distinct scent, but she had been a courtesan and had most likely gotten the perfume from some nobleman of whom she had been entertaining. Or so Alayne thought. How did some lowly beggar come upon it? He certainly would never have had the coin to afford a courtesan. The only conclusion was that the vile creature she was hunting must be using the perfume. Not surprising though, Alayne had thought. The abominations would often try to fit into polite society attending soirees and tea parties of the nobles.
If half the nobles knew that some of their patrons were foul blood drinkers, the city would be in an uproar. At least then she might have had more luck with the guards. But alas, the nobility was all too happy to pretend that bad things never happened, so long as it wasn't to them at least. She had approached a few of the nobility over the years, and they'd been about as useful as stuffed horkers, telling her to keep her head out of fairy tales, and how preposterous she sounded. Well, maybe the next vampire I kill I should drop its head right into their laps and see what they do then. The thought of that had brought a wry smile to Alayne's face. She made a mental note of where the beggar's body was, so the temple priests might collect it to give him his funeral rights and carried on with the hunt.
Secunda and Messer were high in the sky, and the silver light that glimmered down from them had an arcane beauty. As she rounded the corner of a decrepit alley, a hooded man bumped into her and begged her pardon as he carried on. And there it was again that distinct scent the lavender and clove, she recognised it at once. Alayne cautiously continued on her way, sensing a trap. She glanced over her shoulder as the man was just veering down another street, their eyes meeting at that moment and she knew then, that it was he who had been hunting her. The creature was bold to show itself to her so brazenly. Her hand dropped instinctively to rest beside the pommel of her silver, and she flexed her fingers around the grip. She slid her cloak back over the blade and spun on her heel in the direction the vampire had gone. He may have expected her to follow but what he didn't know was that she had a few tricks of her own. She cast a spell to quiet her movements and then another to make her utterly imperceptible to the eye. She was a phantom in the night, eerily gliding through the city streets after her prey.
She had been silently keeping pace with the creature for a half-hour, dodging through alleys and passing through a group of drunk sailors at the docks. Eventually, it came to an old warehouse long since abandoned. The walls were rotted, and it had some smashed windows. The vampire entered but not before looking to see if he had been followed. The door creaked shut closing with an eerie thud. With the beast inside Alayne broke stealth doing a quick reconnaissance around the warehouse. No surprises out here. But what about within? She concentrated on a detect life spell and found nothing, then a detect death spell. The vampire showed no two vampires. On the ground, she made out several figures none were animals. She closed her fist, cancelling the magic. There were some old East Empire Company crates stacked against the wall that she used to climb upon. She vaulted off the stack and pulled her self onto the roof, making not a sound. She cast invisibility on herself once more and stalked over to the skylight, silently dropping through onto the rafters below. She carefully studied the inside of the building; what she saw was of no comfort. Pallid corpses lay strewn across the ground, bathing in pools of not yet congealed blood. She looked away in disdain. By Arkay, I'll make sure no more innocents die at the hands of these monsters, she swore.
The vampires were sitting at a table drinking from goblets; the cloaked man had taken off his hood. He had long dark hair pulled into a knot, his face was characteristically gaunt and pale, and like all vampires, his eyes glowed a malevolent amber. The other vampire appeared as a young woman of no more than sixteen or seventeen, whatever beauty she once had, was now marred by the evil taint of vampirism. The only endearing feature she had left was her ashen coloured hair, which trailed down to the small of her back in waves that ended in slight ringlets.
Alayne had studied the Montalion clan extensively. Her mother had acquired much knowledge in the years before her passing. She wondered if her mother had ever been able to unravel their abilities as she had? The Montalion clan was well known for being able to "teleport". Alayne knew from personal experience that this was only half true. Several vampires, she had fought used this trick, seemingly turning into a swirl of shadows or dark smoke, quickly gliding toward her. While physical attacks had done nought but pass through the smoke, the arcane, particularly light spells, could force the creature out so that it became vulnerable again. And she was now able to use this form of rare magick as well. She was not nearly as adept or masterful as its creators, who were able to maintain the transformation indefinitely to launch attacks whilst veiled in the cloud. But she was able to use it for dashing short distances, temporarily shrouding herself from view for a second or two. As far as she knew she was the only mortal who had figured the secret out. Sometimes it seemed she herself didn't fully grasp how she learned the trick. Perhaps it was luck that had something to do with it, or more likely what she had done gain access to the abilities….
Alayne pulled her cloak around her arm to shield any light the spell might produce and silently cast a sun rune on the exit door, then another amongst the corpses and the final one behind where the ashen haired vampire was sitting. The vampire rose alerted to the muffled sound of the rune arming on the ground. She drew her blade and as she was about to investigate the disturbance the rune triggered, engulfing her in light and instantly turning her to ashes. The vampire whom she had followed was now aware that she was there though he couldn't yet see her. He cast a foul spell at the corpses hoping to use them as minions but as the first one began to move the second rune triggered destroying the remains. The vampire bore his fangs in anger. "Cowardice will only save you for so long mortal, come out and face me and maybe I will give you a quick death".
Alayne stealthily dropped from the rafters hitting the ground on the balls of her feet and tucking into a roll. She unsheathed her silver and crept behind the vampire, but just as she was about to strike, he noticed her. He swung his sword at her, Alayne instinctively ducked, his cut tearing through her cloak, shredding the delicate material. He followed with a bolt of lightning that fizzed past her side. The vampire laughed manically and turned into a cloud of shadows and charged her. Alayne pirouetted out of the way parrying a flurry of vicious blows, the last one catching her cheek. The warm sensation of blood running down her neck hinted at more than a scratch. The huntress managed to put her back to the exit, and when the creature glided fervently toward her for another attack, she skilfully sidestepped. The final rune ignited blasting a hole into the door showering the beast with white-hot sun fire and shards of splintered timber. The vampire howled in agony smoking and smouldering from the holy light while being forced back into its corporeal form. "You fight well for a mortal", the beast managed with laboured breath. "But did you truly think you could stand against me? I have slain innumerable enemies worthier than you girl" it seethed at her.
"We shall see if you fair better than your predecessors. They were quite the bore, and oh so… predictable. At the first scent of blood, they lost all discipline. For immortals' you bloodsuckers should really be better at swordplay", Alayne said smugly.
Driven into a frenzy from the scent of Alayne's blood and the snub she'd made, the vampire barreled at her, she dashed to the side, her silver sword cutting into its mark. The creature wailed at the sudden burn of the metal. Alayne didn't give him time to recover and sent him reeling several yards back with a turning spell. An instant later, she had her silver piercing his heart. Unbelieving eyes of fire stared back at her.
"H-How" the vampire wheezed.
"You're not the only one who can do that trick," the huntress said, sliding her silver blade from his chest. He slumped to the floor, dying. She flexed her palm and sent forth a stream of flames to make an end of it. And so, another of the Montalion clan was slain by her hand.
(Present day: Aboard a Merchant Vessel)
After Alayne had broken her fast, she began to get all of her effects together. She went to the desk and rolled up the scroll she had been studying, placing it into a chest carefully. Alayne's reason for sailing to Skyrim was twofold. She'd read a while ago from some of her mother's old research that there was supposedly a legendary artefact in Skyrim located near the small town of Dragon Bridge. This artefact was said to be a sword of unmatched beauty and glowed with such power and splendour that any false life in its presence would be purged from existence. More importantly, Olgeird had informed her that on his last docking in Solitude he'd heard a pirate boasting of his exploits… those exploits included running his cutlass through a particular noble merchant from Wayrest and plundering the goods from his warehouse at the docks, during Wayrest's sacking thirteen years earlier. Alayne couldn't let that stand; she had settled any affairs she had the very next day and had left the estate in the capable hands of her steward.
As the ship rounded the cove, she donned her cloak, hiding her silver beneath it and pulled up her fur hood as she stepped out of the cabin into the bitter cold wind. The sound of gulls and bells carried through the air and in the near distance, she saw the imposing arch of Solitude, the Blue palace standing proudly upon it. They had arrived in Skyrim at last. She lingered on the side of the deck for a while, taking in the scenery. To the left, as they were coming into the bay was swampy marshlands of Hjalmarch, and to the fore of the ship in the far distance, she saw the Wrothgarian mountain range all capped in snow. The vessel sliced through the bay, breaking the serene reflections in the water upon its prow. The crew began to ready the ship for docking. Olgeird was manning the helm when he caught Alayne's attention and gestured for her to come and see him.
After Alayne had concluded some last-minute business aboard the vessel, she arranged her belongings to be taken to Solitudes most lavish inn, "The Winking Skeever", a rather odd name to call an inn she thought. As she was leaving for the dock, Olgeird asked her one final question. "What is it that you hope to accomplish my lady ".
"Vengeance". Alayne said simply and stepped onto the docks.
So thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it. This was quite the lengthy write-up, but I'm delighted to be able to share it with you all. If you want to see more of this character check out the Build Thanks again - Furrion