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Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 56:

We currently sit in the Ancestor Glade. The Scrolls have been read and we are at present surrounded by the bodies of numerous vampires and their minions which had somehow tracked us to the Glade, attacking us after we had completed the ritualistic reading. We have faced numerous teams of vampires on the road, but this attack was particularly organized. How they have been so consistent in their tracking of us, as well as their organization in striking so fiercely at my most vulnerable times, I cannot tell, however I have begun to suspect Serana of sharing some kind of necromantic sentiment with her Clan after meeting with her mother in the Soul-Cairn. I have no proof of this, and I will relent from accusation, however I have noticed that her sleep of late has been dreadful, as she is often kept awake by nightmares which plague her, I suspect she is being tormented by the interference of Molag Bal, but she refuses to answer any of my questions concerning these dreams. I have begun whispering prayers to the Master of All Things over her while she sleeps, it seems to help. I know the Daedric Prince has no power over the invocation of that Greater Power.

The reading of the Scrolls was perplexing yet particularly helpful; upon my reading of the Blood Scroll which we had retrieved from Valerica, the runic inscriptions upon the Scroll inspired my mind to produce some kind of map-image of Skyrim, pinpointing a single location in the Reach. My awareness of the outside world began to dim as the thought of a name bubbled up in my mind, as if it were my own thoughts, “Darkfall Cave.” I recognized the name from my time spent researching Dwemer artifacts in Markarth, the guards mentioned it to be a troll-den. Apparently, the bow of Auriel lies there. After these things, the vision faded from my mind, and I was fully lucid once again.

I also used this time to read the Scroll of Dragons, retrieved from Fal’Zhardum Din. Instead of a map, this time the vision of a massive mountain emerged in my mind’s eye; it was the Throat of the World. High Hrothgar sat on it like a king upon his throne, but the vision took me higher than the monastery, towards the upper-most summit, where I saw a shimmering light on one particular patch of snowy ground. My vision focused there for a moment, and my concentration upon the mist was broken by the sound of a dragon’s roar. I recognized the voice to be that of the beast which attacked Helgen many moons ago upon my entrance to this country. I then heard another voice, this one also distinctly draconic, I could tell the two voices were arguing. This marked the end of the vision.

I produced the third Scroll, that of the Sun. I saw visions of many mer; families funneled into the earth through brazen doors of Dwemeri craft. Light turned to darkness, day turned to night, and I heard a voice unfamiliar to me speak, “The Blood of Coldharbour’s Daughter will blind the eye of the Dragon.”

I cannot claim to know the meanings of these visions, but perhaps with time their interpretations will become clear to me.

We sup here until dark, and we leave for Darkfall Cave soon.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 57:

I have been wounded and betrayed.

I rest in Mor Khazgur and have paid a considerable sum to Chief Larak in exchange for the service of one of his men to run a correspondence to Fort Dawnguard, and it is here that I await their arrival. I am hoping to be back in fighting form by the time they are ready to assault Castle Volkihar, but I fear the fulfillment of the vampiric prophesy is all but inevitable.

I will attempt to recount the events of our quest for Auriel’s Bow.

We arrived at Darkfall Cave around midnight on Tirdas, continuing the practice of only traveling at night for Serena’s sake. Scouring the cave, we discovered a small shrine being tended to by a single mer who identified himself as belonging the last remnant of the Falmer of Black Soul. The mer introduced himself as ‘Knight-Paladin Gelebor,’ and hailed us, knowing that we sought the Aedric artifact. He drew up from the ground what he called a “wayshrine,” and instructed us that we were to ascend to Auriel’s Chantry and kill his brother, Arch-Curate Vyrthur, who has been corrupted by the cursed Falmer, whom he called 'the Betrayed.’ When asked why we would do such a thing he revealed that it was the only way to retrieve the Bow.

He gave us instructions for our journey; to connect a series of wayshrines in order to unlock the grand entrance to the temple. We pressed forward into the wayshrine, which was itself a portal deeper into the cave and, subsequently, into the ancient land of the Snow Elves. We strode forward with enthusiasm, unaware of the length and severity of the journey we were about to undertake. Over the course of said journey we encountered all manner of vile creatures, battling wave after wave of Falmer, dragon, chaurus, spider, giant, and other sundry beast as we traveled through harsh conditions, at multiple points finding ourselves submerged in below-freezing waters. We had lost what food we had and were forced to subside on the stock found within Falmer residences, yet at one point we stumbled upon a frigid river where we discovered some number of fish which we consumed raw due to the hastiness of malnourishment.

We rested at sunrise on Turdas and began to understand that the acquisition of the Bow would be no small trial. We crawled into a cave, set up a small camp, and laid down. Serana began to shake violently. I asked her if she was cold, however to my disgust she revealed to me that it had been days since her last ‘feeding,’ the draining and consumption of blood from a living person. She asked, even begged, that I allow her some portion of my own blood, which I refused vehemently. In my exhaustion and frustration accumulated by days of battle, I berated her for once calling her spiritual affliction a ‘gift,’ and I stated that no true gift exacts such a horrible price from its recipient, and that her violation by Molag Bal presently continues. She lashed out at me, claiming that I knew nothing of her Daedric Prince or the power given to “her people,” to which I responded that it is because of the evil wiles of “her people” that we are forced to come here to destroy the bow to begin with.
“Destroy?” She asked me.

In the midst of our confusion and tired delirium, we had come to the realization that we had each traveled to this cursed vale for different reasons. I sought to destroy the bow, and Serana came to claim it as her own. She stood up and laid hands on me, accusing me of something which I cannot at present remember, also saying that my judgment was clouded by my hatred of the gods. I responded that I show no obeisance to a mere object, nor do I bestow worship to any false god as she does. Gasping for breath over the altercation, we agreed that we should not come to blows over such an issue and waste what precious little energy we had, and that a decision was to be made after we acquire the artifact. Serana stumbled off and fell into a deep sleep.

I exited the cave and was met by a strange sound- some kind of whispering within my mind. I first thought that I was only imagining things in my feverish state, but that, as I found out, was untrue. I took a moment to try and decipher the meaning of the whispers, and understood that they were drawing me on some small path leading up the hill. Knowing Serana was asleep, I felt comfortable to explore by my own initiative. As I walked down the path, the sound grew and grew, and in my mind the whispers drew me into the brush off the path. I drew my sword in expectation of battle and pushed through the brambles. They grew louder and louder, and finally stopped when I came upon some skeleton from antiquity, holding in its bony hand a tablet of clay, upon which was some paragraph of a language unknown to me. When I placed it into my bag, a green writhing mass appeared before me. “Consider this a down-payment for your service,” it said. I immediately recognized the voice to belong to Hermaeus Mora, who brokered with me a deal some few weeks ago that I open Septimus’ infernal box in exchange for a compilation of information regarding the Supreme Being. I hope I made no error in accepting this tablet, but my hope of understanding the One who is worthy of all worship holds precedence. Perhaps Urag can help me decipher its meaning. I returned to the cave and slept until nightfall.

By the time we reached the temple, it was Fredas, our third day since entering Darkfall Cave. The mobs of Falmer continued even into the Temple, emerging from some kind of frozen slumber to attack us. We reached the final chamber exhausted, and met Vyrthur; of falmeri descent like his brother Gelebor. He spoke condescendingly to us, revealing that he also sought Serena’s blood to fulfill the vampiric prophecy. He summoned many frozen creatures to attack us and worked some great telepathy, bringing a large portion of the ceiling down on me. My armor withstood the force by some miracle, and we cut down his minions. He fled to a large balcony, where Serana interrogated him. The mer revealed that he had created the prophecy himself as an act of defiance towards Auri-El in return for the cursing of his race. I pleaded with him on the basis of understanding his plight, but he claimed that nobody could understand the evil that was wrought upon his people by Auri-El’s abandonment. I told him that the faith of his race was misplaced to have worshipped such a spirit. I hoped to show him some sympathy towards the falmer suffering by the misdeeds of the Et’Ada, but my statement enraged him and we were forced to kill him with the last of our energy.

After his death, the final wayshrine emerged from the floor of the balcony, revealing Auri-El’s Bow inside. I removed my helmet, casting it to the floor as I laid hold of the artifact, placing it on the ground before me under the light of the moon. I began invoking the names “Supreme Power” and “Master of All Things” over the weapon as per Erandur’s instructions, but Serana stopped me. To the best of my memory, our conversation transpired thus;

“What are you doing? We agreed we would speak about this first.” She said
“I have decided,” I said with finality, “that the best way to stop the prophecy is to annihilate its means.”
Serana spoke, “If you destroy it, we will stand no chance against my father. It’s our only chance of killing him.”
I spoke again, “Chance means nothing. If the prophecy is stopped, we will have no need to kill your father. He can return to eating the bodies of the dead in the squalor of his decrepit castle, finding his inevitable death at the blade of the Dawnguard. Do you not want to foil his strivings which destroyed your family?”
At this point she quickly reached for the bow which laid at my feet, but I grabbed her wrist.
“You cause me to question your intentions, Daughter of Coldharbour. Stand back and watch as I draw a conclusion to your father’s false prophecy,” I said, releasing her arm.

I raised my hands to the heavens once again, entreating my Master to destroy the weapon, invoking his Name against the spirit which gives corporeality to the artifact. I heard the crackling of sparks before me, and when I lowered my gaze, I witnessed a massive bolt of lightning emerge from Serana’s hands. It was the last thing I saw before I lost consciousness.

I awoke to darkness and unimaginable pain in my eyes and head, which radiated down to my neck and chest. Thinking it to be night, I raised my hand and cast a spell of candlelight. I saw nothing.

I exhausted every spell of the restoration school within my repertoire with little avail. Finally, with the prepared casting of Grand Healing, I regained a dim and hazy vision in my right eye. I stumbled forward, picked up my helmet which I then tied at my side, and hugged the wall of the wayshrine until I found myself on the other side of the portal, falling to the ground at the initial shrine and camp of Gelebor, who was nowhere to be seen. I searched the walls of the tunnels for what felt like hours before finding the mouth of the cave, exiting and catching only the faintest rays of sunlight with what limited sight I had. Crawling on hands and knees to Mor Khazgur less than a mile away, they received me with open arms and brought me into the Longhouse where I presently reside. I have been tended to by Sharamph, who has proven herself to be a pillar of strength, showing extreme generosity to me for the second time now; the first being her treatment of my affliction by Sanguinare Vampiris. It has been two full days, and my sight has only begun to return after my dreadful injury at the hands of Harkon’s daughter.

I am certain that Isran will take the loss of the Bow as a sign to make an attack of desperation on the Castle.
I am sure that Serana has switched sides, as Isran had warned me. Her defense of her people Does she not know that her father will kill her; indeed, sacrifice her for the sake of the darkening of the sun?
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 58:

Isran arrived with the full host of the Dawnguard, probably 20 men and women in all, a considerable fighting force. As expected, Isran reprimanded me for trusting Serana, and ordered that we travel to begin our siege upon the castle at once. Chief Larak instructed one of his sons to lead us North through the mountains via a secret path, which saved us probably a full day’s travel. We arrived at the icewater jetty after midnight and made camp there in the forests near the Thalmor fortress.

At sunrise, we called to speak with the Thalmor, who sent out an emissary to meet us. We bartered for the service of a few of their small boats, which we rowed to the island that held aloft Castle Volkihar like sickly gums bearing a dark and jagged tooth. The moment we reached the shore, the gargoyles lining the bridge to the castle-gate sprung to life in defense, and the first wave of vampires poured out of the keep. The gargoyles were immeasurably strong, casting the weaker members of our force off the bridge to the rocks below. I focused on the spell casting vampires as Isran led the Dawnguard in dismantling the stone beasts.

We stormed up the bridge and broke the door down with axe and spell, Florentius proved himself to be especially adept. We were met by a large host of fiends, and while the Dawnguard rushed in and fought for control, I scanned the hall with the spell taught to me by Tolfdir, detect dead, but was unable to identify the clan’s master, nor was I able to find Serana. Casting muffling and invisibility magicks, I snuck through the side parlors, finally discovering a large room bore great resemblance to some aedric cathedral, yet with a massive shrine to Molag Bal in the center, an exact replica of the structure within the home in Markarth in which Tyranus had lost his mind and life, boasting a small pool of blood over which resided an evil semblance, the visage of the Daedric Prince himself. I attempted a dead-detection spell yet again and discovered that the floor was lined with ancient remains, and a single being resided behind the altar.

Out from behind the shrine emerged Harkon in the form of a beast of Coldharbour, bearing massive fangs, impressive stature and musculature, and large bat-like wings which bore him aloft. “Why do you hide behind the image of the one who cursed you?” I asked, to which Harkon responded, “I can think of no power greater than domination, over which Molag Bal is king. Today, you will know his destructive power. You are here to kill me, vampire hunter,” he continued, “and I assume you brought Serana here with you. Let her step forward that I might speak to her.” I was indeed surprised to hear that Serana had not already given the bow to her father in order to fulfill the prophecy. I hesitated; she had forced our hand to attack, yet without her, Auriel’s Bow was nowhere to be found.

“If Serana is not here,” I told the beast, “Then she has disappeared with the bow. Who’s to say she hasn’t dumped it into the Sea of Ghosts.” Harkon showed some disappointment at my statement, yet after a moment of consideration, he answered, “It is no matter. Once we eliminate your pitiful band of warriors and empty your fortress in Eastmarch, our hunt for her will be swift and the prophecy will be complete.” I had heard enough of his bile and drew my sword. We engaged in ferocious combat, but I was unprepared, still recovering from my injuries and off-balanced due to my partial blindness. My helmet all but suffocated me as I struggled to see, and I felt my life-force being stolen away by the vampire’s blood magic. He was unimaginably fast, turning into vapor and fleeing when I used the Thu’um to close the gap between us. I was truly outmatched. He summoned at least a dozen powerful skeletons and gargoyles, which pummeled me from every side, and I could tell that my armor was being ripped apart and was beginning to fail.

As I was beaten down and struck by Harkon’s strange powers, I began to crumple to my knees, and regretted separating from our main forces, also realizing that we had been incredibly foolish to think ourselves capable enough to leave this castle with our lives. Undead hands ripped the iron plates from my armor and cast them aside, my helmet also being pulled from my head as I was held down by my shoulders on both sides by grotesque gargoyles. For a moment they relented and I raised my head to look at Harkon, and found him hovering before the shrine. “I will afford you your final words,” he said, preparing a spell in both hands. I opened my mouth to speak, “Though I am indeed of pitiable estate, having committed many misdeeds and neglected to do that which is good,” said I, “May I nevertheless be found worthy by the One whose name I know not; the God who veils himself from the proud and loves that which is lowly, the Being who works in his hands both Stasis and Change, the Spirit by which all other spirits bow and fall, the Master of All Things.” After saying these things, the ground began to rumble, and I expected that my life was ending, but I soon realized that the power which shook the foundations of the castle did not belong to Harkon, who himself looked around with great confusion, and then with terror as the altar erected to Molag Bal cracked and shattered, leaving the broken visage of the Daedric Prince face down on the ground.

Harkon with great rage drew his hands back to cast his fatal spell, but was struck by another force which recoiled him backwards some few feet. As I looked, I saw that he was left with a hole of considerable diameter in his chest, through which I could see daylight. The undead and gargoyles surrounding me fell to pieces as the vampire slumped to the ground. Looking back at the source of the attack behind me, there stood none other than Serana, with tears staining her eyes, holding aloft Auriel’s Bow. “How could you do this, daughter?” Harkon asked, who then began to tremble. The lord of the castle exploded at the chest into daylight by the power of the Aedric weapon, splattering blood over what was once the altar devoted to his disgusting and false god.

I stood and was stabilized by Serana, who assisted me as I doffed the remnants of my destroyed iron armor and left them on the ground, leaving only my lightweight tunic underneath. As I looked her in the eyes, I was met not by her usual complexion, but by a smoother and warmer face, boasting not the eyes of a vampire but those of a human. A startling realization came over me. I stammered, “You’re…,” and she cut me off, “Cured, yes. While we were waiting for correspondence at the College from the White-Gold Tower, Phinis told me of a man in Morthal who could potentially cure vampirism. After I wounded you and left you for dead, I saw that Molag Bal intended to twist me to his will, and I knew that he would never let me kill my father, his servant. I was cured at once and came here, hiding in the shadows for the opportune time to strike.”

I forgave her for her attack against me, and explained that Isran’s forces were severely outnumbered in the grand hall and needed aid. I summoned the steed Arvak from the Soul-Cairn, upon whom we burst out of the double-doors into the main chamber as Serana lifted high Auriel’s Bow and I held aloft my own trophy from the altar-room, Harkon’s severed head. We trampled down the host of vampires who looked on in fear at their defeated leader as the members of the Dawnguard cheered and smote their foes. A glorious victory was gained over Molag Bal’s minions as we swept through the corridors and dungeons of the keep, slaughtering any fiends that were hiding in their holes and liberating prisoners who had been kept as livestock under the passing of innumerable moons. Blades were placed into their hands, which were willing to aid us in our conquest.

We completed our circuit of the fortress and met again at the small pier, rowing three trips back and forth from the mainland due to the number of prisoners added to our rank. I met Isran with a firm handshake, as well as Sorine, Gunmar, and Florentius, all of which vowed to continue their crusade against the vampires until they are wiped from the land.

Serana traveled with me to the Winking Skeever in Solitude, where we both rested for many hours. She explained to me that there was much of Skyrim that she had never seen, and now that she has no need to fear the Sun, she desires to visit every city and find true family. She asked what I had planned on doing next, and I told her that I had some business with the Companions, and sought to end the remnant of the Dark Brotherhood. She wished me luck on my journey, and I assured her that I believe in no such thing as luck.

Serana left some hours ago, and I plan on the morrow to travel by light of the Sun to Whiterun in order to forge a new set of armor and to meet Bjorn and Athis upon their honorable return.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 59:

I write from the Bannered Mare in Whiterun, having arrived after finding much pleasure during my short visit to Solitude and the journey thereafter. The journey itself was somewhat eventful; I left Solitude in an outfit purchased from Radiant Raiment, arriving at midday to the Four-Shield Tavern in Dragon Bridge. Upon my arrival, there was some small commotion over a letter, potentially a suicide, by one of the guards who seems to have thrown himself from the bridge. I went to investigate, casting detect dead as I walked the riverside. I discovered the guards body, upon which I found another note incriminating a certain “Adelpius,” of infiltrating the ranks of the Solitude guards. I returned to the tavern with the evidence, but was stopped by one of the guard, it was Adelpius himself. He accused me of slighting his honor, and challenged me to a duel in an hours’ time. Having no armor of my own, I returned to the riverside, claiming the helmet, plate-boots, and gauntlets of the deceased guard for myself, carrying his body up over the bridge and delivering him at the doorpost of the Penitus Oculatus outpost.

I returned to the bridge and waited, helmet in hand as I watched Adelpius approach in a set of steel armor suited for travel. I appealed to him not to fight, as I had no intention of killing him, but he revealed to me that he killed the guard and threw him off the bridge for finding out his secret; that he was not truly in service to Elisif, but rather a bandit. Finally, he said to me, “Either my secret dies with you, or my ruse ends with me.” I donned my helmet and engaged in combat with the man. I was unable to see properly through the thin visor of the helmet, and unable to gauge distance due to my lack of depth perception. I had taken two or three small nicks before casting off my helmet. Unarmored, I relied on mobility and strategy. My opponent was a skilled duelist, but nonetheless lost his life at the end of my blade. His death came quickly.
I took note of his armor, and cast his body over the bridge as he had done to his victim. He seemed to be a troubled individual, may he rest peacefully.

From Dragon Bridge I traveled to Whiterun and headed for Jorrvaskr, finding that Bjorn and Athis had returned to the hall the night prior. I called both men out back to discuss their mission, and was pleased to find that they spoke to me from one heart. I could tell they had formed a bond of brotherhood over their journey; as is the way of true Shield-Brothers. As expected, Athis found much success in connecting with Erandur, as they shared a heritage and opinion of their homeland, and connected on the basis of their hatred of evil. Bjorn took on a passive role socially, but was able to shine in survival and combat. Such was our goal in sending them both specifically.

The men explained to me Erandur’s briefing, that strange men had been sighted hauling tons of stone out from one of the mountains near the shore Northeast of Dawnstar. Erandur had also explained to them that he personally encountered a man in a dark cloak, whom he stopped and questioned about his purposes and if he knew anything about the mysterious project, who then became violent and stole off into the wilderness, leaving our Dunmer contact with no answers. Bjorn led Athis through the inhospitable mountains and freezing coasts, Athis lending his aid by providing fire magicks to keep them both warm. Eventually, the pair came across a large mound of stones a few feet off the shore. Upon inspection, Athis described, they found track-marks in the snow leading down and back from the stones to some location inland.

Following the markings, the warriors came upon two men chatting quietly along a small cliff-face. They hailed them, but were met with drawn blade. They brought them to submission and interrogated the individuals, who revealed that they had each individually been brought by way of dream to this coast by none other than the woman who claims to be the mistress of Sithis; the Night Mother. At pain of death, the cultists led the Shield-Brothers some short way along the coast to a “dark and strange-looking door, possessed by some kind of spirit,” according to Bjorn. The cultists refused to lend their aid in opening the door. Athis began to negotiate, but Bjorn threatened death. They refused again, and fell to the massive axe of the Nord, with which Athis took much offense in the moment.

They stayed some few nights in the mountains overlooking the door, but witnessed no man or mer enter or leave that dark passage. I asked them what the door had said to them; and they recounted the phrase, “What is life’s greatest illusion?” Such a question is noble and seeking, and my only hint is the question of the Door in Falkreath: “What is the music of life,” the answer of which being, “silence, my brother.”

I thanked the men for their honorable service to Erandur and the people of Dawnstar, and applauded them on their success in comradery. I went to Vilkas and reported that I believed Bjorn worthy of official membership into the Companions, and we held his ceremony that night. Each member of the Circle swore to fight at his side and raise a tankard in his name. Athis also chose to attend by invitation.

I have begun to hatch a plan to acquire the answer to the Door’s riddle, finding entrance into the remaining hideout of the Dark Brotherhood to wipe them out once and for all. Even if we fail to slay every member, the only target that matters is the Night Mother, which was suspiciously missing from their sanctuary in Falkreath. For the remainder of my time in Whiterun I will work with Eorlund to craft a new set of armor based on that which was worn by the Dragon-Bridge duelist, and then I leave for Honorhall Orphanage in Riften.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 60:

I write from Candlehearth Hall in Windhelm, having learned the location of one able to perform the Black Sacrament and thus draw out the rats from their hole.

As I prepared to leave Whiterun, I worked with Eorlund to forge a set of steel armor reminiscent of the man I dueled days before. It is perfectly suited for long days on the road, and while I initially planned to utilize the original blueprint for the helmet, I opted rather for a high neck-guard to allow my head to move freely in accommodation of my limited eyesight. I then took the set of armor to Farengar in Dragonsreach, who assisted me in its enchanting, also imbuing a head-wrap I had purchased from Radiant Raiment, inlaying it with protective charms and enchantments provided by the black souls of vampires collected during my travels in service of the Dawnguard.

I sorted my belongings in Breezehome, also packing my payment for my contact in Riften. My travel there was lively, as I was attacked by a dragon on the way. He put up a good fight but grew tired and landed, thinking himself capable to best me close-quarters, realizing too late that he opened himself up for an attack on his wings, grounding him for the remainder of the fight. Using the Thu’um to my advantage, his fire-breath had little effect, and was slain in a matter of minutes. I sold his bones and scales to the venders in the Riften square, giving a percentage to the beggars around the well, as is my custom.

At sunset, I entered Honorhall Orphanage and requested the presence of one Aventus Aretino. The kind lady who greeted me, Constance, asked that I wait in the foyer. As I waited, I heard the laughter and play of children, much contrasted from my last visit to the hall. While some may find the voices of children appealing, however I have become, of late, disturbed by the voices of children, especially girls, after my grievous wound in Winterhold by the blade of B.

Aventus approached and immediately recognized me as the man who he believed had killed Grelod. I explained to him that I was indeed innocent of the old woman’s death, yet would not reveal to him that it was Erandur that acted out of zeal for the orphans. I returned to him the heirloom belonging to the Aretino family, which he had once given me as payment. I then asked him the question for which I had come, “Where did you learn to perform what is called the Black Sacrament?” He answered, explaining that a woman from the Gray Quarter taught him everything he knew about the shadowy cult, not being a member herself but admiring their work. I asked of her name, and he revealed her identity, Jenassa, who frequents the New Gnisis Cornerclub. I know the place well, as I pass it by in order to barter with Sadri in his shop every time I visit the city. I thanked the boy and left, resting at the Bee and Barb and traveling North the next day to Windhelm.

I spoke to the barman of the Cornerclub for information regarding the Dunmer Jenassa. He told me that she had traveled West for some mercenary work some months ago, and after loosing his lips with a generous purchase, he also revealed that before she left she had frequently mentioned the Drunken Huntsman in Whiterun. I travel West in the morning, but will take a short detour to access the methods necessary to defeat my assassin when she comes for me.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 61:

On my trip West I overshot Whiterun, traveling by night upon Arvak, who bore me swiftly to Morthal. It was there that I spoke for a good long while with Falion, the mage who holds the secret to curing vampirism, which I asked him to share with me. At first, he was hesitant to answer any of my questions due to my position at the College, as he revealed that he was at one time expelled from research at the institution, however after I disclosed that I was close friends with Serana he opened up to me like a flower.

The wizard asked me what my purposes were in seeking such information, and I told him that I planned to win the favor of a certain vampire. He retorted, saying that if I wished to seek the favor of one such fiend, I would do much better in offering a living subject rather than a cure. I responded that I did not wish to provide a cure, but to force one. “How do you expect to win the vampire’s favor by revoking his curse, the source of his powers,” he asked me, to which I simply responded, “The school of illusion holds many tools, able to soothe the fiercest Nord but ineffective entirely against the undead.” “I see now,” he said, “you wish to bend one such person to your will. I should have expected as much from a Collegiate.” At this point, he offered to teach me, but demanded payment; a year of service as his assistant, after which he would relinquish the secret- this would not do.

I asked why he was expelled from the College, and he revealed that he, years ago under in the name of the College, practiced necromancy. I was confused, explaining that necromancy has its own applications in the College, and can be practiced in an ethical manner, as I am writing about in my book. He then revealed that what he studied was not necromancy in the sense of conjuration, but in the sense of soul magic, forging agreements and dealings with the Ideal Masters of the Soul Cairn; souls for power. Needless to say, my interest was piqued- perhaps this man was the key to freeing Valerica, Serena’s mother, depending on what knowledge he held. I made him a counter-offer; in return for teaching me the secret of curing vampirism, he would be restored to a position of honorary membership at the College, needless of tuition or scholarly contribution, provided that any dealings that he made with the Ideal Masters were thoroughly documented. He agreed.

Over the course of several hours, the man showed me the exact technique for releasing Molag Bal’s hold over an individual, which I will briefly describe here; that a filled black soul-gem be held by the transferer, who then commands with a loud voice that the affliction of vampirism release its claim on the victim, latching rather to the soul within the gem. Because vampirism is a spiritual affliction of Daedric origin, it responds most immediately to power, and if you can assert your power over it, obedience is certain. Since a creature with vampirism cannot contract vampirism a second time, thus the soul within the gem must not already be afflicted; due to this, I found myself at an ethical conundrum, unwilling to foist the curse onto an innocent soul and, because of my convictions, the only black souls in my possession were vampiric.

I asked to see Falion’s collection of black soul gems, and he proceeded to unfurl a large leather roll, revealing about a dozen gems of varying size and hue. I asked the details of each soul- unfortunately, all of the individuals trapped within were either bandits, necromancers, or already of vampiric quality. I told him I would find a suitable gem elsewhere and thanked him for his service, promising that he would be accepted at the College, as I would be sending a letter to admissions (which I had sent that night via courier).

As I approached the door, however, I noticed out of the corner of my eye another gem- twisted, curled, and dark amber. Upon my questioning, he explained that the soul within belonged to a Dremora of moderate rank. I asked if such a creature held a black soul, which he affirmed. I asked to purchase it, and we were once again thrust into negotiations. In the end, after about another half-hour of haggling, we came to an agreement, that I should teach him to summon Arvak from the Soul-Cairn, provided that he not bring harm to the steed in any way. I must say I am sad to transfer ownership of the noble beast, as he held me aloft to safety many times, but he is but a beast, and as a stableman sells his steed for a fair price, so did I with Arvak. I taught Falion exactly how to summon him and how exactly to situate his bridle.

I cut the tension of trade finally by explaining that I had at one point attempted to capture the soul of a carrot, thinking it suitable food for the soul-horse. Of course it didn’t work, but it was also that day that I learned that Arvak still enjoyed the taste of carrots and apples, despite the reality that they would always either fall out of his jaw or through his rib-cage. For the first time over the course of hours, I saw the old mage smile. We left on good terms, and I hope for a profitable relationship with him in the future.

I currently write from Moorside Inn, and will return tomorrow to Whiterun to seek the aid of Jenassa.
 
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