Welcome to Part 4 of Tamriel Times: The Skyrim Diaries, our ongoing look at life in Tamriel (If you missed them, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). This time, we take a look at one warrior’s fall from grace and into dark cravings for blood.
“The fall from grace is steep and swift, and when you land, it does not make a sound, because you are alone.”
Adventure. It was something of a craving. No, a compulsion, driving at the base of my neck, squirreling its way down my spine and into my legs which reflexively contorted and kicked to its electronic humming. I was a young Nord, clean shaven, yet dark of hair, with a taste for
swords and drink, barring the occasional barmaid, who, so help them, often fell into my wanton path.
Despite my carnal obsessions, I was a man of honor and honesty – a man of my word as well as my sword. Though chivalry was all but forgotten with the advent of the female knight, whose sword was proven as strong and true of any man’s, I still adhered to a personal
code of heroic intervention. I had long believed that a man should behave and react with empathy and resilient judgment adhering to a strong, moral justice. A golden rule I followed, under the full assumption that had I ever found myself crippled, maimed, weakened, tired, or, in other words, unable to defend myself or my household, I might necessitate the help of a kind, wandering stranger – of strong, moral disposition, of course.
And thus, this had become my lot in life. Righter of wrongs, drinker of ale, and, at odd times, irritating meddler, always on the behalf of some helpless maiden or bed ridden old man. Yet even the best intentions are, at times, not enough to protect oneself from the world’s unrelenting pressures. With war came suspicion, or paranoia (depending on your unique point of view), and I found myself at odds with the Empire’s incompetent, yet numerous, military. Swiftly disarmed, I was tossed into the back of a wagon, to be carted off to hell knows where.
The rest, you surely know. One dragon attacks, another dies, and the fates deem it opportune to present me with more power than any mortal man should ever carry.
I am aware that this is beginning to sound over-done, and most likely you believe you know where this tale is headed, but let me assure you that my judicious, moral philosophy did not give way under my new found strength. Instead, it was only further enthused, now with a
hunger to destroy greater evils and right larger wrongs. As time would tell, I remained a man of the light, and began to become proactive with my heroism, chasing down and punishing individuals who would prey on the weak, at times ignoring certain civilities in order
to expedite justice.
Things seemed to be humming along smoothly, until on one fateful excursion into a particularly ominous cavern. It should come as no surprise that little good decides to nest inside an abandoned, labyrinthine catacomb of unknown history, but after so many successful
spelunking excursions my guard had been thoroughly softened.
The usual suspects were out and about, for the opening plunge. Giant Spiders, who fled aflame and squealing, proved no contest, nor did the undead Nord Draugrs who stirred from their graves, only to scatter fearfully at the blow of my War-Hammer of Turning. To speak briefly about my prized hammer, I would like to mention that I am, as a rule, in strict opposition towards blunt weaponry. In the same manner of a whip, whose blows cannot kill, only maim with the intention to torture, hammers often bruise and break bone. If one is to strike another man, with the intent of delivering a killing blow, a sword is much more reliable. But in the case of the undead, and their abominable brethren, I believe exceptions can be made.
As I dug deeper into the catacombs, lifting precious gems and useful loot from fallen monsters and long forgotten chests, a stark shift in scenery presented itself. I stepped out of the dark, slippery walkway of the maze-like cave and into a well maintained laboratory of
nefarious origin. Upon helping myself to several invisibility potions, I found the lab’s nocturnal occupant – a female vampire lord and her undead thralls.
This, dear readers, is where my tale turned particularly awry. Upon being spotted, the two minor vampires leapt at me, swinging tiny, impotent daggers which I brushed away with my Elven shield. Twice I swung my hammer, and twice vampires fell into ashen heaps on the
floor. The lord, upon seeing her minions dispatched, began back-peddling through her tiny dungeon, siphoning my life-force from my body.
One Draconic word later and she was sprawled out, back to the floorboards, and I was in position to deliver a Coup-De-Grâce. Yet as I began to smash the tiny, defenseless, undead horror toward the abyss, I was overcome with a sudden, dark sensation. Despite the hesitation, I caved the demon’s head in with one final blow and made off with most of her treasured trinkets and useful utensils.
Over the course of the next few days, a growing sensation began to take root in my being. The ramifications of my nonsensical cavern diving were not felt until some time after my encounter with the vampires, while on a fairly routine delivery errand. I’d taken it upon myself to retrieve a hunter’s bow for him, one stolen by a pack of bandits who had taken refuge in a tower not far from town. The bandits, somewhat predictably, posed little threat, but during the fight I had discovered a host of newfound powers. The quality and strength of the abilities were fair warning enough, but an intense fear began to build in my bowels as the obvious began to dawn on me.
The Elf who had requested my aid in returning the bow was less than thrilled to see me upon my return. Despite trying to present him with his bow, he and two town guards rushed me down and began to beat me viciously. After being forced to dispatch all three men, I quickly
ran to town to try and find a remedy for what I knew would be a hard bug to shake.
As soon as I was within sight of the gates, the town guards were upon me, and almost as quickly they were dead too. Then, through the gates, several more people turned on me, including two potentially important quest givers. At some point, I knew that a line would have to be drawn. Despite my overbearing urge to protect my body, I ran sobbing from the town, weapons sheathed and hands over my head, as an angry mob chased me into the wilderness.
Almost as certain as I was before, that the heavens were surely watching me and protecting my actions, I was now positive that I had been cast as the butt of some celestial joke. I could not even approach a human settlement without being immediately set upon. A new found weakness to fire made my daily life a miserable slog, and the sunlight kept me from moving safely from town to town. You guessed it – I’d contracted vampirism.
Finally, I broke. I would have to cave into my new lot in life, lest I give up on civilization all together. One invisibility spell and one helpless barmaid later and I was back to somewhat presentable, though grotesquely sickly form. Now, forced to live a second life of predatory nature, certain responsibilities and expectations, originally attributed to me, were cast out.
The weakest of the population were always targets for feeding, and every good deed had to be counterbalanced with a night of stalking through the shadows and preying on unsuspecting men, women, and children. Though my still intact machismo often persuaded me towards the occasional barmaid, I am not proud to admit I’ve had to wait long periods of time in the guard barracks, patiently crouched by armored bedsides.
Strangely, after several weeks of this cat and mouse game, I have yet to seek out a true cure for my ailment. Truth be told, I had grown to like my new powers. Dragon hunting, in particular, became much, much simpler. If caught at night, my vampire abilities sapped the strength right out of the wyrms, while my improved physical strength quickly struck them down.
If presented with a cure, would I take it? Difficult to say. If there is one thing I have learned since taking on this dark persona, it is that there are few disadvantages to a well maintained vampire. Besides, I can still “do the right thing,” when the opportunity arises. In fact, perhaps supernatural strength only improves my ability to help others further. If a few must be
sacrificed in order to maintain my vigor, then so be it. In this case, I must concede that the ends justify the means.
Click for PART 5