245. Vampire stories

245. Vampire stories

As I come to terms with the revelation that my new allies at Castle Ravenwatch are vampires, I realise how little I know of them beyond camp fire stories and old wives tales.

I remember one such tale of how a vampire was created by a stray cat jumping over a corpse, and another of how a window left open in a room in which lay a recently deceased body allowed a mischievous black crow from the Reach to fly in and by its harsh caw, mislead the lost soul back to its former body.  Yet another told of how a vampire victim became so enthralled that even beyond death’s ethereal doors he was unable to resist the vampires pull and returned to his corpse to become vampire himself.

My only experience of vampires came when serving in the Imperial Legions back in Cyrodiil.  A fellow soldier travelling back to the Imperial City after a period of leave, stopped off to spend the night at a small village tavern.  As he sat down for evening meal with the landlord and a few local patrons a bedraggled old woman entered the tavern and sat with them at the end of the table, and just stared in silence at the landlord.  The landlord and the locals looked startled and horrified, and the soldier knew not what to make of the scene.

When the soldier rose the next morning he learned that the landlord had died in the night.  Upon enquiry as to the bedraggled woman he was told she was the landlord’s mother who had died and been buried two days prior.

Upon returning to barracks the soldier recounted his curious tale to his comrades and eventually it reached the attention of his superiors.  An officer was commissioned to investigate the facts of the story at the village.  The officer, a priest of Arkay, a member of the mages guild, and the soldier, came to the village and were met with a most gruesome scene.  The entire village was dead, their bodies left strewn all about. 

The Priest examining the corpses was shocked to find many of them of ruddy complexion, as if blood still flowed through their limbs and they showed little sign of the rigidity of death, as if each had been dead but less than an hour.

Suddenly the soldier, who had stood silently by throughout, attacked the priest, appearing to attempt to bite him.  At the same moment a corpse rose and attacked the officer.  Only the mage was able to escape.

Upon his return to the Imperial city the mage sought an immediate audience with the emperor, who upon hearing his horrific tale, ordered an entire unit of the legion, my unit, to return with the mage to destroy the village and all in it.

When we arrived however we found the village utterly deserted, not a single person, nor a single corpse could be found.  No birds flew in the sky, no beasts roamed the fields, and the flowers and grass all about had begun to wither and wilt; it was as if nature itself had forsaken the village.

We could do no more than raze it to the ground.


244. Ravenwatch Castle

244 (a). Ravenwatch Castle

Vampires… Surely I should have known, or I should have been able to read the signs, but sometimes we are so focused upon the peccancy of our enemies, that we cannot see the true nature of those who we call friends.

My first reaction, and perhaps the only rational reaction, was to draw my weapon and slay every creature in this depraved castle… and yet incertitude bound my blade arm.  Count Verandis has proven thus far my most trustworthy ally in all Rivenspire, and surely if his intention was to kill me, then what better opportunity would he have had then when we were battling against the Vampiric Knight back at the Fevered Mews?

244 (e). Ravenwatch Castle

And the Bosmer girl, Gwendis, she… I see her sanguine eyes every-time I close mine and I feel…

I sheathe my sword.  It may prove to be a grave mistake, but I am far from home and alone, and am not in a position to question the true nature of my friends… lest they begin to question mine.


243. Repugnant purpose

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Dug low into the mountainside, the crypts of Crestshade’s now demolished chapel escaped the devastation caused by the rockslide.  Inside its dripping stone walls, an overwhelming stench of decaying flesh foretells the arrival into the chamber of Reezal-Jul’s vile abomination.

Assembled from the meat, bone and sinew of the towns unfortunate ‘survivors’, and bound together by stitch and necromantic spell, the creature shelters in the foreboding gloom whilst gaining strength and sustenance from fresh corpse and gore as it prepares for its repugnant purpose; to wreck butchery and carnage upon the innocent peoples of Rivenspire.


242. A town curst

Set at the foot of Rivenspire’s north-western mountain range, the town of Crestshade is the latest victim of the malevolent Argonian necromancer, Reezal-Jul.  In his retreat from Shornhelm he is said to have sent mountain rocks crashing down to seal the Doomcrag pass, which in turn destroyed much of Crestshade.  What followed was an act of pure maliciousness as in the aftermath Reezal-Jul cast a blood-curse upon the town and its surviving residents.

Now it is a town of ruin and desolation, of scuttling and shrieks, of corpses and monsters, and of ghosts who whisper ominously of a creature far more vile and sinister hidden beneath the town in the chapel’s crypts.  Whilst some townsfolk were able to escape through the southern gate, the blood-curse turned many into the feral bloodfiends that now roam the streets and feast upon the corpses.

Bloodfiends have no master but their own insatiable hunger, which they can neither control nor resist.  What repulses us most about these creatures is not that they feed upon raw flesh and blood, but that we can see reflected in them our own worst traits of gluttony and addiction.  To destroy these creatures is not to kill them; it is to release them from themselves.


241. The Crestshade mine

241 (a). The Crestshade mine

The recently forsaken mines on the outskirts of Crestshade village are now under occupation of trolls.  Whether the mines were abandoned because of the troll incursion or for some other mischance is as yet unclear.  Equally uncertain is whether the trolls will make this a permanent shelter or move on once they have ransacked all the resources left behind by the villagers.

Scholars suggest that these wild creatures might be domesticated by charm or subversion, just like the horse, guar or dog.  Some have even gone so far as to speculate that they might be trained with cudgel and armor, and turned into walking weapons.  An old Cyrodilic maxim reads ‘The most learned scholars are rarely the wisest.’

241 (e). The Crestshade mine

I’ve heard stories that in some rural communities of Skyrim, the Nords have learned to co-exist with mountain giants in relative tolerance of one another; even on rare occasion coming to each other’s aid in moments of conflict, much as one might come to the aid of a neighbouring village.  But these trolls have too much of the bear about them.  Perhaps we should first learn to co-exist and tolerate the wilds rather than attempt to ‘domesticate’ it.