The Protectors of the Night - Part 2

  • Well, it took about five months for me to get my shit together and start writing again, but I'm glad I did. Thanks to everybody who liked or commented on my first part, I really appreciate the support it got. The first part of the story can be found here

    Fort Dawnguard stood, tall, gray, and stony, in the noon-time sun’s glare. It had housed the Dawnguard since their rebuilding 3 years ago, providing protection while they slowly gathered their strength, and then stormed Castle Volkihar and annihilated all of its inhabitants. It has changed little since then, besides having more guards patrolling outside, and more members relaxing or preparing inside. A few sturdier and taller defenses are new as well, for even though the Volkihars are gone, vampires still remain in Skyrim.

    The party of four approached the outer gate, two of them glad to finally be back home, and two of them excited to see their new home. One of the guards looked over at them as they were opening the gate, and cried a greeting, happy to see them return, and in fairly good health, for what he knew they had been through since they had left.

    “Brought some recruits with you, Brandr?” the guard shouted. “I remember when I looked like them,” he said with a laugh.

    “Aye, and that was a while ago, wasn’t it Agmaer?” replied Brandr, chuckling. “But these aren’t exactly new to our business. We got that werewolf. That’s better than most recruits I’ve known.”

    Agmaer straightened a bit, sizing up Raccan and Daris anew. “Well. . .” he mused. “I bet that took some doing. Even if I was only to judge by the state of your equipment,” he said with a grin, nodding meaningfully at Borug’s broken battleaxe, Brandr’s dented shield, Daris’ ripped robes, and the battered armor the other three were wearing.

    “Yes. . .” Borug said slowly. “I think we could all use some new equipment, now that we know more about what we’re dealing with. We’ll have to talk to Gunmar about that, maybe Sorine and Florentius too.”

    With that, they said their goodbyes to Agmaer and continued on into Fort Dawnguard. As they entered, they were greeted by even more gray stone that was now illuminated by torches that hung all around the walls. The sound of a hammer beating against a workbench could be heard, as well as the murmur of conversation among the Dawnguard.

    Raccan and Daris stared around in awe. “So this is Fort Dawnguard. . .” Daris breathed. “I’ve read and heard a lot about this Fort. And about your battle with the Volkihars. You and Borug were here for that, weren’t you?” he asked Brandr.

    “Yes,” he replied. “Those were dark times, but we made it through. Not without the help of The Last Dragonborn, though. We wouldn’t have survived if not for him. One hell of a warrior, that man.”

    Raccan stood listening to something in the background, a strange look on his face. “Why the hell. . .do I hear trolls?” he asked, perplexed.

    “Ah,” said Borug, “That’s good old Gunmar. You’ll meet him pretty soon. Your stereotypical hairy Nord, except he enjoys playing with trolls in his spare time. Maybe it’s because they’re hairy, too,” he said with a laugh.

    “Nords playing with trolls. . .” said Daris. “I wonder what’s next?”

    “Oh, but you haven’t met our priest yet,” said Borug with a big and toothy smile. “He’s definitely unique.”

    “Let’s all head up to Isran to tell him what happened,” Brandr said. “Then we can introduce you two to the rest of the Dawnguard, and see about getting some new gear, or our old repaired. I know I definitely need it,” he said ruefully, looking down at the remains of his shield and mace.

    They started up the winding staircase to the top level, taking care to avoid the spikes adorning the railing.

    “Don’t cut yourself,” called one of the Dawnguard, from below. “Hey, maybe one of you new guys can convince Isran to have those damn daggers cut off of the railing. They scare me more than any vampire,” he laughed, as did all of the Dawnguard within earshot.

    Once they were at the top, Daris and Raccan walked over to look down upon the entryway, careful to keep their hands away from the spikes.

    “Nice view,” said Raccan. “Looks like this would be a good spot to defend that door from, too.”

    “Yeah, it wouldn’t be too bad,” said Brandr. “We’ve never had any vampires even get in the door though, and fewer make it close now that we’ve upgraded a bit.”

    “It still could happen,” growled a low voice from behind them. Brandr smiled. He knew that voice, as did all members of the Dawnguard.

    “Raccan and Daris, meet the leader and rebuilder of the Dawnguard, Isran,” he said as they all turned to face the new voice.

    “Bah, don’t let him sweet talk you. When we started, it was just a few of us, and this place wasn’t very safe. We’re a lot better off now, both in numbers and how the Fort has improved, but we can be attacked at any time. The first thing you two need to learn is to always be ready,” Isran said.

    “Yes sir,” said Daris quickly.

    “Damn it, boy,” said Isran, his eyes twinkling, “We’re not in the army here. Just call me Isran.”

    Daris sheepishly nodded, saying, “Sure thing, Isran. Glad to meet you.”

    “Same here,” said Raccan. “But I wasn’t expecting everybody to be so. . .cheerful. For being vampire hunters.”

    “We try to be,” said Isran. “I learned that from the Dragonborn, a few years ago. It’s the only way to stay sane in our line of work,” he ended quietly, thinking back. “And besides, if I make more jokes, I don’t seem like as much of a grumpy old bastard,” he said, as they all chuckled. “So, why don’t you all tell me how the first hunt of the Protectors of the Night went?”

    Brandr started out, with each filling in the occasional detail. He told of Raccan joining them in Kynesgrove, and Daris in Winterhold, and then the battle in the dark cave to the south of Winterhold, and of the slaying of their first werewolf. He finished with the trek in the blizzard back to Windhelm, and of the old man who saved Daris. By the end, Isran looked grim, but glad they were all alive.

    “I see you’ve already learned to be careful, the hard way,” he said to Daris. “Well, experience is the best teacher, and you’re still alive. That’s all that matters. And that the beast is dead,” he grunted. “Good job with that. But you all look like hell, why don’t you go talk to Gunmar and Sorine and the rest of the crew, and maybe rest up. You look like you need it.”

    “Yeah, we were planning on getting some new gear, for all of us,” said Borug. “We’ll have to talk to Dexion too, so that he can start compiling what we learn about our new enemy.”

    They headed back downstairs, avoiding the spear-railings yet again, and walked over to the sleeping area in the back. They decided that they could all use some rest, the new equipment could wait until morning. As they walked into the back room, they were met by the warm glow of the fire, for although the sun was shining outside, it was cold inside much of the Fort. But not this room. There were more beds in it too, than in years past, each with it’s own couple of shelves and a chest nearby, and an animal pelt on top of the bed. Borug pointed out a couple of unoccupied beds, which Daris and Raccan promptly fell into, while he and Brandr walked over to their beds and stored their armor before going to bed.

    Daris woke up at what he guessed was a somewhat early hour, as every Dawnguard but one seemed to be sleeping. The one that was awake was stirring a pot over the fire, preparing breakfast, Daris figured. He sat on the edge of his bed, feeling considerably better than he did the night before, and sat looking down upon his robes, which had a large tear down the middle. He sighed. They weren’t particularly good quality robes, just Novice, and he had got them for free, but he had hoped that they would last longer than one day out of the College. But from the sound of it, he might be able to buy a new one from one of the merchants, or maybe the priest. He had a few coins that he had saved up since before he went to the College, and some more from doing odd jobs while he was a student. Hopefully it would be enough.

    He got up slowly and walked over to the Dawnguard by the fire, noticing that it was a woman with short auburn hair.

    She glanced up and smiled as he approached, saying, “It’s good to see another Breton here! I’m Sorine, welcome to the Dawnguard. How did your first job go?” she asked, glancing at his robes.

    “Well. . .it could have been worse,” Daris said with a quiet chuckle. “I’m alive, and the werewolf is dead. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t really thinking about joining the Dawnguard before Brandr and Borug showed up, but once they did, I realized I was ready to leave the College.”

    “A mage, huh, fresh from the College?” asked Sorine. “I’m sure your magic will come in handy. Personally, I like bows. Crossbows too, or any Dwemer technology.”

    “I bet Raccan will like talking to you,” said Daris. “We were all thinking about getting some new gear, and he might want to pick up a crossbow. That should help punch through that thick werewolf hide.”

    Sorine nodded, thinking while she was cooking. She realized as well as the others that everybody still had a lot to know about werewolves. And the Protectors would be the ones doing the learning.

    “What’s for breakfast?” asked Daris. “You wouldn’t happen to be serving any meat alongside that stew, would you?”

    “This is just some elk, leek and potato stew,” said Sorine. “I was planning on saving the steak for dinner tonight.”

    “Do you mind if I take one now?” asked Daris with a mischievous grin. “It’s for my friend.”

    Sorine smiled and pointed over to where some salted elk was drying near the fire. “Help yourself.”

    “Thanks Sorine. It’s good to meet you, and I’m glad to be here,” Daris said with a more serious look on his face.


    - - - - - - - -


    About an hour later all of the Dawnguard were finally up. Borug and Brandr both walked over to the table at the same time, drawing glances from the others.

    “Borug, what happened to that fine lumber axe of yours?” one shouted.

    “Shutup Gunmar, how about you try blocking a werewolf swing with that dinky axe of yours?” Borug yelled back as the rest of the Dawnguard laughed.

    Ganmar said, “Hey, if you need a new one, I’ve got it for the low-low price-”

    “Yeah, yeah, we’ll talk about that AFTER we eat, dammit. I’m hungry,” Borug said, feigning anger. He then looked down the table at where Raccan was sitting. “Hey. . .” he said. “What the hell is up with the feast going on down there?”

    Raccan was sitting happily at his place, which had a large and beautifully browned and juicy-looking elk steak balanced on top of his bowl of stew. “Well, somebody must like me, because I’m eating good today!” Raccan yelled, happiness written all over his face.

    While the rest of the Dawnguard looked on in surprise, he chomped down on the steak with gusto, his eyes closed while he savored it. But when he reached the middle, he stopped, ripped it back out of his mouth, and swore, spitting his bite out. “What. . .what the hell? Who cooked this damn thing?” he stammered.

    Meanwhile, Daris burst out laughing. “Well,” he said, tears streaming down his face, “I thought that maybe I should try your cooking technique on it. If I’m going to be the next Gourmet, the only way to get better is to cook!” he ended as everybody else erupted into laughter.

    Raccan stared, and then sadly went to eating his stew, pushing his steak off to the side. Because Daris used fire magic to cook it, the outside looked great, but the inside was raw and cold.

    When everybody was done eating and had gone back to their normal tasks, Brandr and Borug gathered up Daris and Raccan, and they made their way over to Gunmar, in the back by his troll pen and his forge. Raccan and Daris were surprised when they saw that the trolls were wearing suits of thick iron plate armor on their heads and chests, and that they seemed, almost. . . more civilized than normal trolls.

    Gunmar was busy, as usual, pounding away at his forge. He looked up as they approached, saying, “Ah, so you’ve come to see me about some new gear? I’d be glad to help.”

    “Aye, and I think I’ll start,” said Brandr. “My mace didn’t do shit against werewolf hide, so I think it’s time to retire it. I need something sharp, but something that won’t get stuck in a werewolf, like an axe probably would. You got any good quality swords?” he asked. “Maybe even some silver ones? If we don’t get silver weapons now, we should soon.”

    “No, no silver weapons, and not even any ingots or ore to make some out of,” Gunmar said with a scowl. “The next best I’ve got is steel. Sorry about that.”

    “Nah, we’ll just pick some up the next time we run by one of those real smiths that you hear about, who actually have a storefront and some variety in their goods,” said Barug, grinning.

    Gunmar scowled anew. “Well then, you won’t be surprised to hear that I’m suddenly completely out of battleaxes. Damn shame. You would never believe it if you had seen it, but a gang of Reiklings came in yesterday and bought them all. One even tried to ride his damn boar in to the Fort, but we told him that there are enough animals inside already,” he said, smiling. “So I guess you’ll just have to go with a small axe for now.”

    Everybody started laughing, except Borug. “I guess I’ll just stick with the ol’ twigsplitter for now,” he said mournfully.

    “If you don’t have battleaxes, do you have any robes?” asked Daris. “Or are those gone too?”

    “For robes, you’re gonna want to talk to that crazy bastard right over there,” Gunmar said, pointing at Florentius with a smile. “He should have a few.”

    Daris started walking towards the man Gunmar had pointed out, who was wearing a full set of greyish-silver Dawnguard armor. He was happily mashing away at his alchemy lab, mixing up something, Daris was sure. “Hello!” he said when he was next  to the man. “Do you sell robes? Mine’s a bit tattered because-”

    “OH!” shouted Florentius, wide eyed, “You don’t need to tell me how that happened! Arkay already did! A werewolf scratched you, he said. And he was right. Arkay is always right,” he ended, with a bright-eyed smile. “Now, what was that about robes?”

    “Do you. . . have any that are better than these?” asked Daris hesitantly, a little surprised, and starting to understand what the others meant when they were talking about Florentius. “Any maybe cheap? I’m a poor college student, if that gets me any discounts.”

    Florentius went over to his chest and rooted around. He quickly produced a robe, which looked to Daris like it was of Apprentice quality. “What school do you use the most?” Florentius asked him. “Arkay and I have Apprentice robes for just about every school.”

    “Probably Destruction is the one I have the most experience in,” said Daris. “But I was hoping to start working on my Restoration so that I can help any of the Protectors who get hurt.”

    “I’m happy to say that I think Arkay likes you,” Florentius said with a wide smile. “I’m sure he and I could help with your Restoration training. I am a master, you know. But for the robes, these happen to be the Destruction variety. How about you give me 100 septims and what’s left of your old robe, and you can have this one? Is that alright with you?”

    “It sounds great to me,” Daris said, smiling. “But the real question is, is Arkay alright with it?”

    “Oh, of course!” said Florentius. “Here, take these, and after you change bring me back your old robes. I’m sure I can find some use for them.”

    Daris said his thanks, and hurried away to change clothes. Meanwhile, Raccan and Sorine were having a talk about weapons. More specifically, bows and crossbows.

    “My old hunting bow didn’t do terribly against that werewolf, but I’m definitely interested in seeing if one of your famous Dawnguard Crossbows can do better,” Raccan said with an excited grin.

    “Sure,” said Sorine, smiling as well at the prospect of one of her weapons slaying a werewolf. “Hell, I’m sure Gunmar has one in his back pocket. Go ask for one from him. Tell him I said you could have it for experimental purposes.”

    Raccan walked over to Gunmar once more, who was in the process of finding Brandr his new sword. Brandr, meanwhile, was hammering the dents out of his armor and shield, and although they weren’t too extensive, some were considerably large.

    “Hey Gunmar,” started Raccan, “Sorine said I could have one of those crossbows of yours. Could you grab me one out of your bottomless chest over there?”

    “Sure,” Gunmar said, his body half hidden, as he was bent over into his enormous brown chest rummaging around for a sword. Presently he came out with a sword in one hand and a steel crossbow in the other, which he handed to Raccan. “Go ahead and grab maybe 50 bolts out of there, too,” he said. “I don’t know how many you’ll need, but they aren’t too hard to make. You can always help yourself. Everybody else does,” he said with a chuckle.

    Raccan walked over to the chest and was about to reach in when he suddenly paused. “How do you not cut yourself on all this shit?” he asked, laughing. “You have enough weapons in here to supply the Imperial Legion.” While Gunmar laughed, Raccan reached in once again--very carefully--and gathered a quiver and about 30 bolts. “Thanks Gunmar, I appreciate it,” he said.

    “Glad I could help,” Gunmar said. He then turned and shouted, “Hey, Brandr, here’s your new weapon!”

    Brandr had just finished up fixing his armor, and walked over to Gunmar to claim his new sword. “Thanks Gunmar. If we find anything interesting the next hunt, we’ll bring it back for you,” he said, smiling in appreciation. “As long as Sorine doesn’t grab it first.”

    Brandr then walked over to Borug, who had finished grinding down the bottom of this axe handle. He had decided that was the only fix he could do before they set out again. He was gleefully retelling the story of their first hunt to all of the members of the Dawnguard who weren’t on duty. He was nearing the end, and they clung to his every word. He’s a good storyteller, thought Brandr. Indeed he was. Borug was very animated, with his hands gracefully gliding through the air, and his tusks flashing majestically, as he explained every detail of the fight once again to his attentive audience. When he had finished, Brandr patted him on the shoulder. “Come on, Borug,” he said. “We should see if Isran has news of any new werewolves for us to hunt.”

    Fort Dawnguard, as an organization with only one headquarters, and enemies that ranged across the whole of Skyrim, needed to have good sources of information. Much of this came from the frequent patrols sent out, as well as from swift Dawnguard runners, who carried news of any vampire attacks or sightings. Now, they carried news of events involving werewolves, too.

    Brandr had seen one of the runners earlier, heading upstairs to Isran. Brandr hoped that they had news of another beast to test their new equipment and knowledge on. He and Borug started heading for the stairs, grabbing Daris along the way, who was practicing his Restoration with Florentius (and Arkay). Florentius reported that Daris was already getting better, and should be able heal at least some injuries. The three then headed over to Raccan, who was practicing with his new crossbow, as Agmaer once did, three years before.

    The Fort is better than it was back then, thought Brandr. At least they had cleared out those damn cobwebs and the barrels lying everywhere. The place looks presentable to newcomers now. It’s a place to be proud of.

    Isran turned to greet them as they reached the entrance of his room. “You sure look better than you did yesterday,” he said with a smile. “I bet you feel better, too.”

    Daris and Raccan both laughed. “Yeah, we feel better, and we sure are glad to be here. There are a lot of good people here,” Raccan said quietly.

    Isran smiled. “Yes, and you are both one of us now,” he said. “And we’re glad that you’re here.”

    Raccan and Daris both smiled, embarrassed. Brandr broke the silence, asking, “So, did you get any news about werewolves from that runner I saw earlier?”

    Isran chuckled. “You don’t miss much, do you? Yeah, he brought news of another one. Sounds like it’s about the same as the first, a feral. Hasn’t killed anybody yet, though. Scratched one of the workers in Dawnstar, though, but the worker got cured by a priest before he could turn into a werewolf. Damn good thing, too. You’ll have to figure out where the beast is. The runner didn’t know. Some of the locals might, though. I’d ask around. You aren’t likely to find any tracks with that snowstorm that went through though, it definitely would’ve hidden any tracks that were there. So, that’s it. Need any supplies before we go?” he asked.

    “Yeah, we can go down and grab a little food and a few waterskins before we go,” Barug said. “Maybe some salt to, for preserving our meat. It could be a week or two before we get back. Besides that I think we’re good. Can you boys think of anything else?” he asked, glancing at Daris and Raccan.

    “Maybe a torch or two,” said Daris. “I’m not skilled enough in Illusion to cast any brightening spells, and torches would sure as hell have helped in that cave. This new bastard will probably be in a cave too, I bet.”

    “That’s a good idea Daris,” Raccan said. “They’ll help keep us warm too, up in the Pale. It gets damn cold up there, especially for me,” he laughed.

    Brandr and Borug agreed, and they said their goodbyes to Isran and headed downstairs to grab some torches from the storage. After they got those, they grabbed the rest of their gear from the sleeping quarters, including a large four person fur tent that they would take turns carrying. They knew enough about Northern Skyrim, even just from their last trip, to know that they would need it.

    Before they walked out the door Isran appeared at the railing and shouted down, “Hey, don’t forget about the old man! Make sure you tell him about what happened before you leave!”

    In the excitement of being back, Borug and Brandr had forgotten about Dexion. Borug set the tent and most of their supplies down against the closest wall, and they hurried into the back of the fort, where Dexion stayed. Originally planning on going back to his people, the Moth Priests, Dexion stayed and became a lore collector and recorder of sorts for the Dawnguard. Whenever somebody learned something new about vampires, or hunted some down, they told Dexion, and he recorded it. He had quite a few books filled by now, and his eyes were starting to heal back.

    Daris and Raccan were surprised to see such a frail-looking old man in robes among all of the warriors in Fort Dawnguard, but they understood after Brandr told them who Dexion was. They had both heard the stories about how he had been saved by the Last Dragonborn, and had gone blind after reading an Elder Scroll. They were happy to see he was recovering. He was pleased to meet them as well, but understood that they had been about to leave, and were in somewhat of a hurry. They rushed out all of their story in as much detail as they could, and then when everybody agreed that they could talk more once they got back, they headed back and grabbed their supplies once again, ready to start their second hunt.

    The rest of the Dawnguard gathered around to say goodbye and wish them good hunting. They accompanied the four out to the gate, shouting encouragement to them the whole time. The crowd halted at the gate, but the four could still hear them yelling from the entrance to Dayspring Canyon. Once they were beyond the canyon, they looked at each other and smiled, knowing that it was just them against a werewolf once again. And this time, they knew they were ready.


  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  June 16, 2016
    Less spoke about werewolves being killed the better...........
  • Tim
    Tim   ·  June 5, 2016
    Heheh, yeah, I noticed that, but I figured you would realize eventually.
    So how do you feel about werewolves being killed?
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  June 5, 2016
    I somehow commented on this but never gave it a like. Must have been having an off wolf day.
  • Tim
    Tim   ·  June 5, 2016
    Thanks Sotek! And Karver, I'm eagerly awaiting your story
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  June 4, 2016
    Damn...I'll have to write some fairy tale about deaf werewolf then. It will be said, his mother most likely left him when he was just a pup. But don't worry, it will have a happy end.

    Goldpact Knight will put him out of his misery...
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  June 4, 2016
    Deaf werewolves..... naa sorry Karver not letting you off this one....

    I do agree though, so many times main line Dragonborn characters steal the show all too often. This is something I too try to avoid. Not sure if I do or not. Well done wit...  more
  • Tim
    Tim   ·  June 4, 2016
    I really appreciate that, Karver. I'll definitely be able to get my next part out in much less time than this one took 
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  June 4, 2016
    I actually love these kind of stories, Tim. Something that refers back to great hero, but is portrayed from the point of view of common, normal people. Main characters being Dragonborns feels kind of a cliché to me these days, especially those Dragonborns...  more
  • Tim
    Tim   ·  June 4, 2016
    Thanks guys! I"ll take that tag off, but leave the link.
    I'm glad you like that it happens after the last DB comes through, Karver. I kinda like that it seems more "current", I guess. After the DB has already done all of his stuff, now life is back ...  more
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  June 4, 2016
    Crap. Dead! Dead werewolves. Damn autocorrect.