Ancient Blood Ch 1

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    Ancient Blood Chapter 1

    The Awakening

     

      The date is the 27th of First Seed, 1E 219.  A Nedic slave girl gives birth to her Elven Master’s child; a half-breed, one of the first of many such children to be born. Human in appearance with Elven magic coursing through him, he is the beginning of a race that would one day be called Bretons.  Though his birth name would soon become forgotten to him, he would one day be given the name Sebastian Shaw.  The fate of this particular half-breed differs greatly from many of his kin.

     

      As he grew, Sebastian served as a slave of Clan Direnni of High Rock.  His father and lord was an Altmer, more commonly referred to as High Elf, whom Sebastian was only allowed to call “Master”. Though born into servitude, he did not hold ill will toward his Master nor Elven family. It simply was the way life was. He considered neither escape nor independence. Such thoughts were not part of a slave’s life. His thoughts were consumed only by how best to serve his Master. Though he was gifted with magic, he was offered no proper tutelage in the art. Such was not the place of a slave. What Sebastian witnessed of his Master and half-brother’s practice when he would clean the arcanium, was the closest to a mystical education that Sebastian would receive in his formative years. He practiced in secret and found he was more of a natural at conjuration than he was at any of the other schools. Summoning a familiar was his favored spell. It would not remain for long, but he would treat the spirit pulled across the veil as though it were a pet.

     

      The years passed and life for Sebastian was fairly mundane. He would wear the customary slaves’ rags while cleaning his owner’s mansion; sweeping the stables, feeding the livestock, and occasionally acting as a test subject for his Master’s experiments. Though never recognized as his Master's child, he served him faithfully. Shortly after his 30th birthday, while walking beside his Master’s horse after returning from a trip to Direnni tower, they happen upon a hooded stranger on the road. By her attire, an elegant white cloak with golden embroidery, she appeared to be Ayleid. She was an odd sight to behold outside of the Heartlands of Cyrodiil.  She innocently asked for aid in reaching the nearest town. Sebastian's Master looked at her coldly. As with many of his kind, the Altmer looked down on other races as being lesser than himself. Snidely, he refused the stranger, “Return home and study the stars, or whatever meaningless research you people waste yourselves on. High Rock is no place for you.” His remarks proved to be a dire mistake, and one he would immediately regret. Her eyes began to glow a bright orange, revealing her to be a vampire… and a hungry one at that.

     

      "Well then" she mocked, "I suppose you two will have to do then..." The stranger leapt and tackled the Altmer from his horse. As she sank her teeth into his neck, Sebastian’s Master struggled and cried out, “SLAVE! GET THIS CREATURE OFF ME!!” Sebastian summoned flames from his hands, launching a weak fire bolt at the vampire. Although she was knocked off the Elf, she recovered quickly and rushed Sebastian, striking him and sending him flying into a tree. Sebastian fell to the ground, motionless. "Pesky brat!” she exclaimed as she patted out the flames consuming her cloak, “This was a new cloak… I admire your courage, though... Now, where was I?" She looked back to the Altmer.  He was gripping his neck and cowering on the ground. He tried to cast spells of his own, but his fear and pain disrupted his attempts. "WAIT!" he pleaded, "I... I have more slaves! Twelve! Spare me and they are yours!" The Vampire looked down at him in disgust, but agreed to the coward’s offer.  “Betray me, and you are the first to die! Now Walk!”

     

      The Altmer returned to his manor on foot, holding his neck together the entire way, with his fine boots covered in mud. He ordered his guards to load his slaves into a cart. Directly behind the Master of the house, the Vampire rode his horse with Sebastian draped across its back. A guard noticed that the Altmer’s expensive robes were covered in grass stains, the collar caked in dried blood, “Are you alright, Sirrah?” The Altmer slapped the guard, “GET THEM UP!! Get them all up!” The guard scowled, rubbed his jaw before begrudgingly following his lord’s command. In short order, the slaves were all roused from their beds and marched into a cart without explanation as to why. The hooded figure kept her eyes locked on the Altmer Lordling from the driver’s bench of the cart as a pair of horses were hitched onto it. The Vampire thanked the Altmer as she pulled out of the estate. Hearing the unrest rising from the back of the cart, the vampire subtly wove a calming spell over the slaves to pacify them, and then snapped the reins.  With a whine from the horses, the cart of confused and dazed faces vanished quickly into the night’s mist. The Altmer stormed into his mansion and slammed the door after himself. The guard he had struck glared at the door. “Rat bastard,” he muttered.

     

      Over the next few months, most of the slaves were killed, though some were carefully preserved as "cattle" to be fed upon repeatedly.  Four of the slaves from whom the Vampire had sensed magical talents were given her dark gift. Only one of the chosen failed to survive the turning. Sebastian was among the three who were to become a new brood of fledgling vampires. The experience was traumatic by the very nature of the turning. Whether from the turning or from a long-lost spell, most of Sebastian’s life had been erased from his mind. He did not even recognize his own mother standing before him as one of the coven’s "cattle". All he knew was that he had a new Master, whom he came to know as Mistress Lilith, and that he had an insatiable thirst to slake.

     

      Over the next two decades, Lilith trained Sebastian and his new siblings in the mystic arts, taught them her ways of living as a vampire, and instructed them on how to use the powers of the night to survive. Through their magical and physical might, her small coven became one of the most powerful in Iliac Bay. They could not rival the older vampiric clans of High Rock, but they were more than a match for any mortal band of would-be vampire slayers. They fed on those who crossed their path and lived well. Through many trials and disagreements, a bond that no mortal could truly comprehend developed among the members of this dark family; one that would outlast the ages.

     

      One night while on a stroll through the countryside, Sebastian came upon a large estate that looked everso familiar to him. Using the skills that Lilith had taught him, he slipped inside its walls unseen and unheard. Though he could not place the faces, the Elven family inside was familiar to him as well. Even from outside, he could sense that the Elder of the family was rich with magical power in his veins. His blood would certainly increase Sebastian's own power. With a vile grin, Sebastian whispered to himself "Mmmm… Hello there… Dinner time..." Using his dark gifts, the very shadows seemed to wrap around Sebastian and he vanished from sight.

     

       Waiting for the family to retire for the evening, Sebastian crept past the guards and into the quiet manor. While he did not know how, he seemed to know exactly where he was going in the maze of passages of this mansion. Once he had made his way to the Master’s bed chambers, Sebastian stood over the Lord of the house. The Altmer awoke, sensing a foreign presence in the room. A shadowy figure with glowing red eyes loomed over him. The visage of a vampire was unmistakable to him. He attempted to scream, but Sebastian bit into his throat hard, crushing his windpipe, and the Altmer was only able to make pitiful gurgling sounds as Sebastian drained the Elf’s life blood from him. A few sparks flew from the old mer’s hands, and then he fell still.

     

      After Sebastian had finished with the Elf and pulled away, his former Master caught a glimpse of his face. With a weak and raspy voice the Elf muttered, "...You...gug... no... not you... How..." then his eyes rolled back into the cold white stare of death.  Sebastian, though confused by the Altmer’s dying words, shrugged it off. Looking around the bedchamber, Sebastian pocketed a few valuables and arcane items. He contemplated feeding on the rest of the family, but he’d had his fill. Remembering his Mistress's teachings, he disguised his kill by carrying the old Elf to his arcanium. He positioned the body in a kneeling fashion. Searching the bookshelves of the study, he found a tome for a flame cloak spell and set it in front of the body. When cast correctly, the flame cloak would safely surround the caster in protective flames. When cast incorrectly, well, those flames were not safe for the caster. Any investigation would conclude that the old mage had fouled up a spell. Such are the dangers of magic. Once everything was in its proper place, Sebastian used his own fire spell to scorch the corpse. As Sebastian suspected, the Elf's blood had increased the potency of his magic. The flames burned hotter and brighter than normal.

     

       Sebastian returned to the manor a few times over the following months in an attempt to figure out why that particular kill had seemed so familiar to him.  Try as he might to divine the meaning of the Elf’s dying words, his efforts were to no avail. He eventually asked his Mistress about it, but having heard of his actions she claimed ignorance of the matter. Not knowing how Sebastian would respond to the knowledge that he had killed his own father, she felt it best to conceal the truth. Though disappointed, he seemed to believe her lie and put the matter out of his mind.

     

       The life of a vampire, a skilled one at least, is long and storied. Sebastian eventually left Lilith and ventured out on his own. She did not try to stop him as she had sensed his growing unrest. She had given him all the tools he would need to survive on his own, but reminded him that he was a part of her family. He would always be welcome among them and would be expected to always offer aid should any of them require it of him. Such was their way.

     

       Over the coming centuries, he traveled across all of Tamriel and visited some of the lands beyond. He enriched his knowledge greatly in his travels. He learned the way of the sword from the Alik'r, the skills of smithing from masters in Atmora, studied the various magical schools among the Ayleids, fought in battles great and small, had dealings with all manor of Daedra and Aedra, and even argued philosophy with Vivec himself in the Dunmer City of Blacklight. Indeed, he lived a life full of sundry great and minor deeds; most of which people in later eras would refuse to believe.

     

      Well over a thousand years old, Sebastian began to suffer the fate of many immortals…boredom. He found the slow passing of time to be tedious beyond his tolerance. He searched for a way to pass the ages quickly, but no magic held the power of traversing time itself. In his travels he did learn of a strange art from a Dragon cultist of the land that would one day come to be called Skyrim. It was an art of entombing oneself in a way that allowed one to slumber across great spans of time. A hundred years would appear to pass in an instant. The ritual required a heavy price from its subject and would leave them defenseless. The Dragon Priests used this to become powerful Liches after death, but as a vampire, such a change was not possible for Sebastian.

     

      When a period of time would come to bore him, Sebastian would prepare to entomb himself. First enthralling a young Elf with a long life span to guard over him. Failing to find a suitable protector, he would raise one from the dead and bind them to serve as long as their body would hold out. The ritual of ageless sleep involved draining his blood into special vials called Phylacteries - magically infused vessels that would preserve and enrich his blood while he slept - blood he would consume upon awakening. For an extra layer of protection, he would entomb himself in crypts known to filled with undead guardians and specters known as Draugr that would attack any intruder foolish enough to pilfer the undead.

     

      He did this several times over the ages, awaking only when he would sense great forces rising: the invasion of Molag Bal, the rise of the Numidian, the Oblivion Crisis, and ultimately at the dawn of the 4th era he awoke. Sensitive to the flow of magicka in the world, he felt the Ether of Mundus itself quake.  An ancient power threatened to return.

     

    ***

     

      Entombed in a crypt on the northern border of Cyrodiil near the city of Bruma, Sebastian struggles to pry the lid of his sarcophagus open. A dunmer thrall, Jenassa, whom he had left to watch over him, lifts the heavy weight up and helps her Master to a sitting position. In a graveled and weak voice, Sebastian asks "How...how long?" "Nearly one hundred and seventy eight years, Master,” she replies. He motions slightly, "Bring … Bring me my… my Phylacteries." Jenassa steps away and returns shortly carrying two vials. "Two?” he asks, “There are supposed to be five!” With a shameful downward glance, Jenassa explains, "There have been several raiders and shifts in the earth. These are the only two that survived. If need be, you may feed upon me, Master." His heightened vampiric senses detect the sound of fighting in the tomb. Something has stirred the Draugr. "That will not be necessary," he grumbles and drinks the two vials. His withered form regenerates quickly, but not completely.

     

       Sebastian stands on unsteady legs, his once fine silk clothes have turned to tattered rags over the passing of time. "There are others here. They will do." "But Master, you are still weak. You should rest. I will..." Jenassa interjects. Sebastian turns sharply, "I have rested long enough. I have the strength for this." He composes himself as the shadows of the tomb envelop Sebastian and he vanishes. Jenassa sees only footsteps in the dust as her Master goes looking for his meal. She quickly collects her hunter’s bow and steel arrows, then follows his tracks through the tomb’s passages.

     

       When she catches up to Sebastian, he has found a group of well-armed warriors fighting with the Draugr. Their garb is unfamiliar to Sebastian, but when Jenassa sees them, she recognizes the intruders. "I have heard of these men," She whispers, "They call themselves the Vigilants of Stendarr." Sebastian asks, "Do you think they are here for me or the dragon priest deeper in?" Jenassa shakes her head, "I cannot say. They are driven by oaths to destroy paranormal beings. They particularly hate the Daedra. It's not the first time they've come here, though. I have found a few of their bodies before around the tomb. They have never gotten this far in before."

     

      The two watch from the shadows as the crypt’s guardians battle the intruders. At first the Vigilants hold their own, but when the Death Lords, the most powerful form of the Draugr, rise from their alcoves, many of the Vigilants die quickly. There are only three left by the time the last of the Draugr falls. “Stendarr’s Mercy! We… we must turn back. Whatever evil is buried here be damned!” Sebastian’s prey is battered and their spirits are crushed by the sight of their fellows dead on the ground. “Just.. just give me a minute,” one of the other Vigilants begs, “I just need to... to catch my breath.” The third speaks up, “As do I. That foul creature got me good. I’m having trouble focusing my magicka to heal this blasted gash. Do either of you have any potions left?” The other two search their packs, “I’m out… Curse this place!”

     

      Sebastian savors the smell of blood in the air, "Time to feed,” he turns to Jenassa. “Ready your bow. Cripple the large one. Do not kill him." “As you say, Master,” she replies. He vanishes once more as Jenassa takes aim with her bow. Sebastian descends quickly and quietly. He casts a calming spell on the youngest of the survivors. Her Master revealed, Jenassa releases an arrow striking the hip of the big brute of a Nord, shattering the bone and causing him to drop to the stone floor screaming in pain.

     

       Sebastian jumps the last Vigilant. The Vigilant struggles under the withered Vampire, “Curse you, monster!” he cries. Sebastian holds him to the ground and smiles, “It’s been a long time since I tasted the blood of a fellow Breton.”  He gazes into the Vigilant’s eyes, and his captive enters a trance that ends his struggling. Sebastian sinks his fangs deeply into his neck. Sebastian’s eyes glow bright red as the lifeblood of the Vigilant flows. The Nord struggles to sit up and raises his mace, “FOUL BEAST!” he shouts and then attempts to throw the mace.  A single steel arrow pierces through his shoulder. Jenassa approaches him, “Wait your turn, fool!” she scoffs. “Grrrr… Bloody Knife Ear… You serve this monster?” he asks “He will turn on you...” She kicks the Nord in the face several times until he stops moving. “That is enough out of you,” she says.

     

      After draining all three survivors, Sebastian looks to Jenassa who is rummaging through the bodies for valuables and for any signs of why exactly the Vigilants had come. "Why have you awakened, Master?” she asks, “Certainly not for this lot." Sebastian lays on the ground, full as he could be, but not with his own blood filled with ancient magics. The blood of feeble mortals with little power. It’s enough to restore his physical appearance, but only a megger amount of his power.

     

       He wipes the blood from his lips, "I feel Nirn itself shaking. Something is coming. Something to the north. Tell me, what has been happening in Skyrim?" Jenassa looked at her Master sternly. "There is talk of a civil war in that province. Reports are hard to come by, but from what I have heard during my trips to Bruma, a group calling itself the Stormcloaks have risen against the Empire. A response to the White Gold Concordat." With a confused look, Sebastian asked "The white what?" Jenassa informs Sebastian in detail of the War between the Aldmeri Dominion, of the Summerset Isles, of the Empire and how the war was ended by an agreement between the two nations. An agreement called the White Gold Concordat.

     

      When Jenassa had finished her tale, he knew this was not what had awakened him. Sebastian scowls, "There must be something else. A few Nords taking up arms hardly seems like something that would cause a disruption in the realm itself." Jenassa simply shrugs, “That's all I've heard of the province from the Nords in Bruma. Some are proud of it while others see it as only folly." Sebastian stands, "I am going to Skyrim. Something far greater than some petty squabbling of Jarls is happening there."  "But Master, shouldn't you wait until your strength fully returns?" Jenassa objects.

     

       He glares at his thrall. "When the sun sets, we are going. You will scout the road ahead and I will follow. For now, go to Bruma and use the gold you pilfered off those zealots to buy traveling supplies." She nods, "As you command, Master." She stashes what gold and scrolls she found on the bodies into the small pack on the back of her Leather Armor and rushes off towards Bruma.

     

      Sebastian looks over the fallen Vigilants. "Those robes are enchanted, aren’t they? As is your mace. You don't mind if I take these, do you? You clearly don't need them anymore. Not a fan of the heavy steel boots and gauntlets, but I do like your satchel. Mine seems to have rotted. Shall we trade?” Digging through the Vigilants’ satchels, he finds a leather bound book. “Well now! A journal? I keep journals myself, you know. Time can paint one’s memories. I find a written record to be invaluable. Let’s see what brings you lot to me." Much of the book is too stained with blood to make out, but a few passages are legible: 

     

    10th of Last Seed 4E 201

     

      ...sending us to steal from the dead. This is unnecessary. The Counts should be singing our praises. At the very least, funding us directly. We have a holy mission to hunt the Daedra and all those who dare consort with them. We protect their lands from the hordes of Oblivion for Stendarr’s sake!! ....

     

    Several more pages are illegible.

     

      ....Curse Tacitus and his books for telling the Keeper about this foul pit……. being filled with treasures. Only reason I agreed to this indignity was because the locals complained of the old Nordic barrow being haunted….

     

     

     

       A few hours later, Jenassa returns. "I have everything we should need, Master. I couldn't afford horses, so I will have to carry everything." Sebastian scoffs, "Nonsense! Not when we have such fine pack mules on hand." She stares blankly at him, confused. He waves his hand and a blue sphere of magic strikes one of the Vigilants, who was not too badly torn up by the Draugr, and the dead man rises to his feet. He moans as he approaches Jenassa. He takes the large pack from her. "Not sure how long he will last,” Sebastian says, “but we should be able to get across the border with him. I found a journal on one of the others. Seems they were after some sort of treasure they believed to be inside.” Jenassa raises an eyebrow, “I have been over these tunnels many times, Master. There is nothing but rotted food and rusted weapons. Hardly what anyone would call a ‘treasure’. ” Sebastian grins in amusement, “I raided this tomb long before you were born, child. It was awash with riches. I never did tell Vanus where I’d gotten the gold and jewels from. Guess no one else ever made it through the Draugr.”

     

       Jenassa looked at him confused, “Vanus? Is that someone I should know?” Sebastian sighs and shakes his head, “Vanus Galerion… Founder of the Cyrodilic Mage’s Guild. Where do you think he got the gold to found his precious University? A lot of politicians and Lordlings had to be bought off before the first ‘class’ could be held.” Jenassa folds her arms. “You? You helped found the Mage’s Guild?” He smirks, “I didn’t say that. Vanus gave me the money to fund an expedition into these tunnels… after some convincing. I repaid him accordingly. The take was handsome, indeed. There is still a small portion of the riches hidden near the sarcophagus I was in.” Jenassa looks down the tunnel leading back from where they had come, “Should we bring it with us?” Sebastian shakes his head, “It’s difficult to pry the sarcophigi open. Besides, there’s too much to carry out of here with us for now. If we need it, we can come back for it.” Jenassa nods, “As you say, Master.”

     

       When the two reach the tomb’s entrance, Sebastian pulls a hood over his head. “You scout ahead and I'll follow with him." The raised Vigilant groans miserably. Jenassa nods, “As you wish, Master.” She hikes ahead and keeps watch for potential threats. With the way secured, they set out for the land of the Nords. Skyrim, the so-called birthplace of humanity.

     

Comments

2 Comments   |   Sotek and 1 other like this.
  • Hasir
    Hasir   ·  July 21
    This is an amazing start to the story. I cannot wait to read more. I love reading fantasy stories and especially fantasy stories featuring supernatural creatures. You might want to consider adding a table of contents and links for previous and next chapte...  more
    • TheGreySon
      TheGreySon
      Hasir
      Hasir
      Hasir
      This is an amazing start to the story. I cannot wait to read more. I love reading fantasy stories and especially fantasy stories featuring supernatural creatures. You might want to consider adding a table of contents and links for previous and next chapte...  more
        ·  July 22
      I added links to the bottom of the chapters so people can go back. When I get the whole thing put up, I'll go back and put a full table at the bottom of each post.