Ancient Blood Ch 11

  • Ancient Blood Chapter 11

    The Dark Star

        Standing outside the entrance to Nightcaller Temple, Jenassa  waits for her Master with her and Sebastian’s horses. It has been snowing since she exited the ruin. She tightens her cloak around herself, fiddles with the saddle straps, brushes the horses, does any little thing she can to keep from thinking about what she saw inside. Of course, the more she tries not to think about it… the more she fixates on it. Her focus is broken by the sound of something approaching in the snow. She jumps and quickly grabs her bow taking aim. It takes a moment for the figure to come into view, but she recognizes the figure as Sebastian. Disheveled as he may be.


       Jenassa puts her bow away and grabs a change of clothes from her saddle bag. “Here, Master. I got you… these…” She stops when she gets a better look at him. His tattered robes she expected, but she did not expect to see his hands, chest, and mouth covered in blood. Not a sight she has not seen before, but he’ll have to be cleaned up. Sebastian holds out his hand for the clothes, but she holds them to her chest, “Perhaps I’ll give you these later, Master.” He looks puzzled at her. Jenassa points to the blood and he looks down at himself, “Oh… right…” Jenassa jumps again when a gout of flame pours from his palm melting a patch of snow. Sebastian notices, but says nothing.


       He kneels down in front of the puddle and begins rinsing himself off and asks, “Any trouble in town?” Jenassa watches him carefully, “No, Master. Most people are asleep. Despite me taking the Skull of Corruption into town, aside from a handful of guards, the entire town seemed to be resting peacefully… What about you? Did you have trouble at the camp you mentioned?” Sebastian stands cleaned of the blood, “No… No trouble at all.” She hands him the clothes, “These aren’t enchanted, but you can’t travel in rags.” He looks the clothes over, “These are fine… Where did you get them? Not from any of the bodies inside.” She shrugs, “I stole them from the Jarl’s longhouse in Dawnstar… Like I said, everyone is sleeping.” She was hoping for a smile, but his face remains blank as he changes. “Come,” he says, “we’ll get some supplies from the camp before heading back.” Jenassa follows him with the horses, “Won’t the Imperials object?” Sebastian keeps walking, “They are not in a position to complain.”

       It’s difficult to see in the snow storm, but as they reach the top of the ridge, the glow of a sizable camp fire can be seen. As they get closer, Jenassa stumbles on something in the snow. She looks down to see a severed arm. She looks around more closely as she moves up to see the camp site littered with bodies. Some have been burned by fire or lightning, some have had their throats ripped out, some are skewered by their own swords, and others have been savagely torn apart. “What happened here, Master?” she asks. He says nothing and just sits by the fire. “Master?” she asks again. “There ya are, m’ boy!” a voice calls out. Again, Jenassa jumps as the camp's quartermaster exits her tent, “About time you showed up. Brought a young lady with ya, eh? Come, dear. Sit. It’s almost supper time.” Jenassa looks confused as the strange woman walks over to the camp's cooking station. “I mesmerized her,” Sebastian says, “ She thinks she’s at home preparing dinner for her son… it was the last happy memory she had.”


       Jenassa just looks at Sebastian and says, “Jenassa…” She flinches when he says her name. “Y-Yes, Master?” She asks. Sebastian lowers his head and sighs, “You seem a bit on edge.” She shakes her head, “I’m... I’m fine. It’s just… I’m tired is all.” She fidgets for a moment. He stands slowly and looks at her, “I frightened you… I did not intend…” Suddenly Jenassa wraps her arms around him squeezing him as tight as she can. He can feel her trembling and knows it’s not the cold this time. “You left me… You did… THAT and you left me. I don’t care how hungry you are, you can’t just leave me like that!” He sighs, “I was more than just hungry, Jenassa…” She looks at him, “You know you can feed on me if you want. You’ve done it before. I’m strong. I can…” “No…” he says, “Look around you, Jenassa. That blast took more out of me than I expected. A lot more. I was starving… I poured everything I had into breaking that barrier. I needed blood and a lot of it. I knew the moment I tasted blood, a frenzy would set in and I would not be able to stop. I promised you a long time ago that I would not allow anyone to harm you… and I meant it. I left you, because the greatest danger to you at that moment was me.” She lays her head on his shoulder and is quiet for a moment. “Come on, you two.” the quartermaster says with a smile, “Dinner is ready. Wash up.” They remain motionless by the fire. “I’ve never been afraid of you before.” Jenassa says. 

       After Jenassa has eaten and they have raided the camp for anything of use, they leave the quartermaster milling around the camp and begin the long ride back to Lakeview Manor in Falkreath hold to the far south of the province. “What’s going to happen to that woman when your spell wears off, Master?” Jenassa asks. Sebastian looks over, “She’s going to carry as much of the camp's gear as she can into Dawnstar to sell off, hire a boat to take her to Solitude, decide the war is not worth dying for, and return home to her son.” He shakes his head, “There is no honor to be had in the squabbling of Jarl’s…. Whoa!” Sebastian suddenly stops his horse. Jenassa looks back, “Master?” “Up there,” he points, “A lodge is smoldering.” They turn up the path to investigate.

       The path leads to what remains of the Hall of the Vigilants in Skyrim. The bodies of fallen Vigilants are spread around the grounds of the burned down interior. “What happened here, Master?” Jenassa asks. Sebastian pushes over a toppled wall uncovering a Death Hound and a vampire wearing the armor of clan Volkihar. “Harkon…” He says. Jenassa looks on, “You know this vampire, Master?” Sebastian shakes his head, “No… I know his master though. This is a flunky of one of the last clans in Skyrim… there is another one over there… ” Jenassa checks the other body, “Were they captives?” “Crusaders don’t take captives.” he says, “They are still armed… they weren’t taken… These two, and at least four others, attacked the hall. Seems the Dawnguard was right.” Jenassa looks around, “Why? The Vigilantes are annoying, but an outright attack will only attract more of them to the province.” Sebastian goes through the pockets of the vampire laying in front of him, “Harkon is a prideful fool… I doubt he cares. This will likely drive recruits to the Dawnguard as well… nothing… What the hell are you doing, Harkon?” After going through the rest of the bodies for anything of interest, they get back on their horses and ride for Lakeview Manor.

       The sun is setting behind the mountains as the pair come up to the Manor. A Khajiit meets them. Sebastian nods, “You’re looking better, Talon.” “This one is strong, once more.” Talon replies, “And you? Were you successful?” Jenassa dismounts her mare and says, “Yes. Where is your mistress?” “Inside,” he says, “Working. She has been very busy since you left. And this one thinks she is happy to be so. If the Mistress is happy, so is Talon... this one will take your horses.” Sebastian grabs the staff from his saddle and they head into the manor.


       “Shepherd!” Sebastian calls out as they enter the main hall. Shepherd comes from a side passage, “There you are… Do you have what was promised?” Sebastian lays the Staff on the table, “The Skull of Corruption... in all it’s wretchedness. And you, Sweet Sister? Have you completed the Dark Star?” Shepherd looks the staff over, “Not yet… I’ve been working very hard, but I still require one vital ingredient.” Sebastian picks up the Staff and Shepherd rolls her eyes, “Oh do relax, Dear Brother. No more errands. This ingredient is readily available.” She picks up a bowl from the table  and holds it out to him. Sebastian just looks at the bowl, “What?” “You’re blood…” she says with a small grin. Jenassa says, “What?!” Shepherd shrugs, “It’s the final ingredient. The blood of an ancient Vampire who is rich in the dark gifts of our kind…. As this sigil is meant for you, Dear Brother. It is your blood that is required to complete the Sigil.” Sebastian scowls as he holds his hand over the bowl. Shepherd draws her claws against his palm and catches the blood that falls from him.


       Once she has enough, Shepherd uses a healing spell on Sebastian’s palm. “All better… see… That wasn’t so bad.” She says. Turning away from the pair, Shepherd says, “Come along you two… I have something to show you.” Jenassa looks to Sebastian and says, “She’s up to something.” Sebastian grins, “My Sweet Sister is always up to something.” They follow Shepherd down the passage, a blinding light envelopes the hall. Jenassa pulls her blades, “Master!... I can’t see!…. Master!?” Someone grabs Jenassa’s arms, “Calm down, Jenassa.” She recognizes Sebastian’s voice. “She blinded me! The WItch blinded me!” she exclaims. Sebastian continues to try and calm her, “Just breathe, Jenassa… Your sight will return… It’s a side effect of crossing the dimensional barrier…” Jenassa shakes her head, “The what...Where are we?” Shepherd speaks up, “You are safe, child.” Jenessa's vision slowly returns, “I can almost… Shepherd?... What did you...” As Jenassa’s vision comes into focus, Shepherd says, “You stand the land of Dark Fall… My realm in Aetherius… It is a shock to the senses on your first visit. Your eyes cannot make sense of what they see at first. Just give it a moment.”


       Jenassa looks around at an alien landscape of spralling fields of crimson grass, rolling hills, and sporadic groves of violet trees. Though it is bright as day, the sky is filled with brilliant stars pulsing with light. Jenassa stands, “M-Master… Where… What is this?” Sebastian looks around slowly, “You crazy old witch… You actually did it… You made your own bloody realm…” Shepherd just smiles, “I told you, Dear Brother…. I’ve been working very hard… While you were sleeping, I have been very busy.” She waves her hand and a stone table rises from the grass. She places the bowl of Sebastian’s blood on it and holds her hand out to Sebastian, “Now then… The staff, Dear Brother…”  He hands the Skull of Corruption to her and she walks behind some trees. They follow her and see her insert the staff into a waiting pedestal alongside the  Wabbajack, Dawn Breaker, the Oghma Infinium, and Molag Bal’s Mace. There are several openings in the pedestal waiting to be filled. When the Skull of corruption is put in its place, the ground beneath their feet trembles for a brief moment. “Now then,” Shepherd says, “I can use the Skull of Corruption to peer into the mind of mortals from here. At least when they’re asleep… I think... Thank you, Dear Brother.”


       Sebastian wanders the field, “I owe you an apology, Sweet Sister.” Shepherd smiles, “Sorry for calling me crazy, now?” Sebastian looks at her, “Oh no… You are absolutely insane… doesn’t mean you were wrong. What will you do when a Prince takes notice of this place? They don’t like to share...” Shepherd just smiles, “I appreciate your concern, Dear Brother, but I have taken steps… Besides, Aetherius is... rather large. I positioned this place, with great care, well away from the other realms… I’m safe… well… as safe as  one can be in the land of the gods” Sebastian hesitates, “Shepherd… How… How did you do all of this?” Shepherd shakes her head, “The Infinium was the key… It has many secrets hidden within. Some I still cannot fully understand. I think… I think certain information is deliberately being shrouded from me.” Sebastian looks at her inquisitively, “Shrouded? How do you mean?” Shepherd tilts her head, “Sometimes I will read something or randomly discover a particular mechanic of… let’s call it ‘world building’... and a moment later that knowledge is just… gone.” She looks up to the Heavens, “I think it is due to our nature. Molag Bal would have taken steps to ensure his ‘children’ would never be capable of matching him. I fear I will never be able to properly mantle this realm as a lord should.” “If that’s the case,” Sebastian asks, “how am I standing here? How does this place even exist?” Shepherd  motions towards the pedestal with the Daedric Artifacts embedded in it, “When faced with an immovable object… go around. The glyphs etched into the pedestal allow me to use particular aspects of the artifacts to maintain and alter this space. I have to recharge the artifacts from time to time, of course, but that’s hardly an issue. At present, a single mortal soul or a dozen petty souls offered up once a year and the artifacts surge with power anew. I hope to break through whatever is holding me back one day, but for now… This will do… This will do nicely.”


       Jenassa sits on the grass, running her fingers through the strange blades beneath her, and tries to make some sense of what’s around her. Shepherd picks up the bowl and walks to a set of thick shrubs. The shrubs separate as she approaches to reveal a set of traditional Direnni noble armor with a matching dark blue cape with golden trim. Shepherd dips her fingers in the blood and traces them around some etchings on the interior of the armor pieces. She begins chanting in the lost tongue of the Et’Ada. When she is done, she turns to Sebastian, “The blood needs to set… once it does, the Dark Star is complete. The Sun will have no effect on you and offensive magics used against you will only feed your Magicka reserves.” Sebastian inspects the armor, “Thank you, Sweet Sister.” She grabs his hand, “There is a catch… There is always a catch. When you are in direct sunlight, your thirst will steadily grow until you seek shelter in the shadows. You will need to feed more frequently.” Sebastian nods, “I understand.” Shepherd shakes her head, “No, you don’t… but you will... I’ll bring you the armor when it’s finished… I suggest taking your companion back to Lakeview. She is a bit out of her depth here.” Again they are surrounded by a blinding light and soon find themselves in the halls of Lakeview Manor. Jenassa looks up at Sebastian, “Master? What happened?” Sebastian looks around, “I’m not certain, but… I think we were just kicked out of her playroom…”


       Several hours later, Jenassa is eating a stew at the table in the main hall when she sees a light flash in the hall. Shepherd appears with the suit of armor on a rolling stand shortly after and smiles at Jenassa, “There you are, dear. Feeling better?” Jenassa nods, “Much… the last few days have taken a toll. I won’t even pretend to understand what you showed us, but it was amazing.” Shepherd sits across the table, “It’s still a work in progress, but I am pleased with that progress... Where, pray tell, is my Dear Brother?” Jenassa looks at the armor, “He’s resting in the guest quarters… So this is a Dark Star? A suit of armor?” Shepherd tilts her head, “Yes and no… It’s actually twelve different enchantments designed to work in tandem with each other. The set functions as a single piece and must be complete. A single piece is nothing but a fancy custom armor. You need the full suit to get the effect. I used an old Direnni style for the armor itself just because I think my Dear Brother looks rather dashing in it.” Jenassa eyes the armor, “It’s beautiful. I’m sure Sebastian will look very handsome in it.” Shepherd gazes at Jenassa a moment. Jenassa notices, “What?” Shepherd remains motionless, “I believe that’s the first time I’ve heard you say my brother’s name.” Jenassa looks down at her stew, “....I’ve said his name before...” Shepherd grins, “Jenassa… You’ve been watching over him a long time, haven’t you... Tell me, do you fancy my Dear Brother?” Jenassa shakes her head, “He still sees me as a child.” Shepherd leans forward, “That doesn’t really address the question I asked you, my dear.” Jenassa is silent a moment then looks up to the second floor, “He’s awake. I should go check on him. I’ll tell him the suit is ready” As Jenassa walks away, Shepherd leans back in her chair and whispers, “... Ah… I see…”


       After a few minutes, Shepherd looks up to see Sebastian coming down the stairs. “It’s ready then?” He asks. Shepherd spins the armor on it’s rack, “It may need a tuck here or there, but It should fit  you well. The Sun has been up for a while now. Try it on and go for a walk…” Sebastian lifts the armor off the rack, “You said my thirst would grow the longer I’m in the sun’s light… Is there any risk of a frenzy?” Shepherd thinks for a few moments,”If you lose too much blood or expend too much power… certainly. Never had that trouble myself, but it’s possible. Remember, while you will have access to your full strength, your vampiric powers will always be weaker during the day. The vampire is at our best in the embrace of shadow and the Night.” Sebastian nods, “Thank you, Sweet Sister.” and returns up the stairs to change.


       A few moments later, the front door to Lakeview Manor opens. Sebastian holds out his right hand in the light of day, “Ha… nothing… No burn… no tightening of the skin… nothing… It’s warm.” He steps out slowly and looks up at the sun sitting at high noon. He holds up his hands to the sky and jets of flame erupt from his palms. He spins slowly in place, laughing. The jets curve and over lap until a giant fireball floats above him. With a flick of his wrist, he sends the ball hurtling up towards the sun. He holds one hand up in the direction of the sphere and, with a snap of his fingers, causes the fire ball to implode creating a spectacle that can be seen for miles in all directions. Jenassa comes out of the stable with their horses shaking her head, “Done fooling about yet, Master?” Sebastian shrugs, “Do you blame me? You know how long it’s been since I looked up and didn’t curse that thing?” “I do...” Shepherd says stepping out of the manor, “Sure you don’t want me to make any alterations?” Sebastian pats the breast plate, “Fits perfectly… Just promise me that you will be careful with… your new toys… They’re dangerous.” Shepherd adjusts his cape, “Don’t worry about me, Dear Brother. You should be worried about your Dragonborn.” Sebastian scowls, “Why do you say that?” “My ‘new toy’ has shown me something.” Shepherd says, “The remains of the Blades, all two of them, have injected themselves into events. Your Dragonborn has just rescued one of them from an Aldmeri assassination attempt in Riften and is taking him to the other in Riverwood as we speak.”


       Sebastian rubs his face, “He was supposed to be studying with the Greybeards… The Blades. Always sticking their nose in where it doesn’t belong.” Shepherd smiles, “Oh, the female has put your Dragonborn up to all sorts of unpleasantness. Slayed a Dragon is East March, some espionage on the Aldmeri consulate in Haafingar, and now rescuing a hermit from an assassination squad in the Rift.” Sebastian shakes his head grumbling to himself, “Who are these blades, then?” Shepherd folds her arms, “You wouldn’t know them. The one with your Dragonborn is an old Nord calling himself Esbern. Something of a lore keeper from what I can tell. The one in Riverwood calls herself Delphine. A foot soldier who fancies herself a spy who is pretending to be an Innkeeper. A fairly self righteous tart of a Breton. I’m sure you’ll hate her, immediately.” Sebastian sighs, “Must be the blonde at the Sleeping Giant…” “So you’ve met?” Shepherd says, “You should be able to get to Riverwood before they do.” Sebastian and Jenassa mount their horses. Jenassa looks at Shepherd, “...I thought you weren’t getting involved…” Shepherd shrugs, “If even half of the ravings I have glimpsed in Esbern’s mind are true… Staying out of it may not be an option, soon.” Shepherd looks to Sebastian, “Don’t you go getting this woman into too much trouble, Dear Brother… I’m starting to like her.” Sebastian holds out two fingers to Shepherd. Shepherd rolls her eyes then presses two fingers to his. Jenassa is not sure what to make of this gesture, but a subtle smile is  shared between the vampires. It has meaning for them. Without another word, Sebastian and Jenassa begin their ride to Riverwood.




    The Story So Far:

    Ancient Blood Ch 1   Ancient Blood Ch 2   Ancient Blood Ch 3   Ancient Blood Ch 4   Ancient Blood Ch 5   Ancient Blood Ch 6   Ancient Blood Ch 7 Ancient Blood Ch 8   Ancient Blood Ch 9   Ancient Blood Ch 10   Ancient Blood Ch 11   Ancient Blood Ch 12   Ancient Blood Ch 13   Ancient Blood Ch 14   Ancient Blood Ch 15   Ancient Blood Ch 16   Ancient Blood Ch 17   Ancient Blood Ch 18   Ancient Blood Ch 19   Ancient Blood Ch 20   Ancient Blood Ch 21


1 Comment
  • TheGreySon
    TheGreySon   ·  July 2, 2021
    Getting a good number of views on these. Hope you all are enjoying the story thus far. I've finished this story. Should I post more than one chapter at a time?