Dragonborn Chapter 363: Beauty and the Beast
A/n: So I was supposed to be on Eid Break and I really enjoyed i… okay, who am I kidding!? I just slept for two days straight with nothing to do. T^T … That’s why I worked on research about Serana’s age and how old are the Volkihars. I’ll share it on both Reddit and at the end of the chapter.
Also, this is a 4K words (research is not included), so it is a double chapter for today and the 5K votes.
Anyways, Eid Mubarak.
*9 Days until the Battle of Winterhold*
The Pale, a Hold that shares borders with Winterhold from the West and the South governed by Jarl Skald the Elder. However, on the other side of the Hold, there was a big secret being unearthed.
Jon was covered by a cloak provided by the vampires of Volkihar. It was a very rare fabric called the Void Cloth, it gets extracted from a medium height plant with blue stems and blue flowers called the Void Bloom. As hard as it is to find the plant, the extraction can be refined into threads then tailored into Void Cloth that has an extraordinary ability to hide presences and conceal signals, and here is the thing… once that cloth touched Jon’s skin, [Greed] made an absolute mess inside the [Cube]. It was insanely trying to jump out and devour that delicious material.
Right now, Jon was watching the entrance of a certain cave being unearthed and sitting outside on a stone being watched by both Fura and Garan.
Barely suppressing [Greed] that was going on a rampage, Jon let out a few parts of the damn thing to go out and started devouring the cloak bit by bit then replace the eaten parts with more of [Greed].
When [Greed] devoured the shadow sword [Shadowrend] some time ago, it possessed the ability to understand metallic objects and Reshape them like [Shadowrend] which can reshape itself as well. Jon wouldn’t miss a chance for his first Deadly Sin artifact, that is also part of his soul, to reach a higher potential.
Still, to not make it noticeable, Jon started chatting with the two Vampire Lords next to him.
“… Then I jumped off the building and shouted at the loudest of my voice ‘Bitch, my surname is Dare’ and splash down the canal. It was a glorious day.”
“Can this Nord stop talking.” Garan was clearly annoyed by Jon.
“Don’t ask me.” Fura was barely holding back her irritation.
“Oh! That reminds me, back in my past life…”
“Again with that?”
The two couldn’t hold it anymore and took distance from Jon. Fura started sharpening her greatsword and Garan opened a book.
“Oh! Commentaries on the Mysterium Xarxes by Mankar Camoran. That’s one rare book.” Jon talked to Garan.
“You know about books?”
“Of course, I am a mage myself.”
“Humph! Calling yourself a mage? You Nords know nothing other than swinging your big swords like morons.” Gara, originally a Dark Elf, talked back at Jon with a hint of his words directed at Fura.
She paused for a second before going back again at her usual.
“Hey, that’s one idiotic insult. I am a capable mage and also a capable warrior who can swing his big sword like a moron all day long… just point me at a brothel and I’ll show you real swordplay.”
“You are getting on my nerves, rich boy.” Fura pointed her sword at Jon.
“Oh, look. You two are actually talking now… I still have that tale about Dragons that I always tell about my past life… let’s see it starts at…”
“Someone stop him.”
Jon used the deadliest of his arsenal, the Chatterbox Technique. Inheriting the Egyptian technique that was refined through 5000 years from days of the most ancient civilization on Earth, Jon made the vampires wish to stay as far away from him as they can get.
By that distraction, [Greed] has already completely taken over the Void Cloth Cloak and started showing signs of evolving.
The true nature of [Greed] is aethereal which led Jon to consider it a Shadow Aether, something that can be seen as Matter and Energy at the same time. By [Greed]’s nature, its favorite food other than Jon’s Magicka is things that have a Shadow Nature and that Void Cloth happened to be one. By devouring the cloth, [Greed] can now morph into a fabric form.
Jon was extremely happy with the change.
Now, instead of the Void Cloth, [Greed] was covering Jon which meant he is free from the effect of having his magic signal blocked from reading. He also can now connect himself back to the System fully.
‘Alexa! You there?’
<Reconnecting 1%… 45%… 79%… 100%>
<Welcome back, Admin.>
<Syncing your Data with the main unit!>
<You have 4337 Notifications!>
‘… Fuck! This is worse than my e-mail back in the day.’
<Second Admin has logged in through the Main Unit. Second Admin is now offline.>
‘Oh! Alina found it. Good! I think she found out what to do without me now.’
Jon was happy. Some time ago, he decided to make an Emergency measure and disconnected himself from the Augur then put the Astral Extension in a device with the ability to manipulate the Binary Enchantments. With that, Jon could have his own analysis device without putting too much workload on the Augur. He also can now edit his own System programming to his preferences and the Augur can access it for Data whenever he wanted.
He also gave Alina access to the Main System Unit in case anything happened.
The Technological advance of Jon’s own gadgets has taken a completely Sci-Fi turn compared to the Continent’s current magical technology.
With him being assured that Alina will commence his plans, Jon started writing a message to assure her and tell that he has a plan to escape and will be there in the span of 9 days. As he didn’t have to do anything while the entrance to the cave was being unearthed, Jon kept sending more information about his situation to Alina telling her what to do and completed some important schematics for certain items.
The vampires thought he was under the control of the Void Cloak and the Magic Shackles but he had already got rid of the cloak and the shackles were nothing but a toy in his eyes compared to his true level of power.
“Why is that human so silent all of a sudden?” Garan noticed how silent Jon became.
“Hm? Right? Hey, are you up to something?” Fura shouted at Jon.
“Eh… what? Oh! I- I dozed off… what were we saying? Dragons, yes. Right… the second verse of the story…”
“… Oh! Sorry.”
Jon’s dumb act that was refined through years of hard work kept him clear from trouble. He kept his head under the cloak’s hood and feigned sleeping.
The Vampires’ Thralls finished the work for their masters and Jon took the lead in the cave following him were the Vampire Lords Garan and Fura followed by the Lesser Vampires and the Thralls. Being non-vampires, the thralls were used as a meat shield whenever there was a trap detected.
Jon had no remorse for the thralls despite being humans too. This thing was that thralls were originally bandits attacked by vampires and used to add up to the force of the vampire by being hypnotized with the vampires’ eyes.
Once the cavern ended and the ruins started to appear, Garan started nodding to himself.
“These are Nordic ruins indeed. If I am not wrong, this should be ‘Dimhollow Crypt’.”
“So the so-called Child of Prophecy was right? We’ll find an Elder Scroll here?” Fura asked.
“That is yet to be seen.” Garan urged the team forward.
Sure enough as any other Nordic tomb, the place was infested with Draugrs, deadly traps and sometimes giant spiders.
Jon was casually moving around navigating through Nefertiti’s guiding from the Shadow World, she could tell discover traps or enemies a day away so the trip in the crypt was smooth.
As the excavation teams spend almost half a day exploring the crypt, they finally arrived in a large room that can almost take an Olympic Stadium inside it. Jon pointed out the traps and walked to the balcony overlooking the room.
“This is… way better than I ever thought.” Fura was amazed by the sight.
The room wasn’t just large, it had a deep bottom and a high ceiling. In the bottom, water submerged the floor and a high circular platform was built. This platform had a strange architecture that can only be seen in Castle Volkihar.
Jon walked down the balcony and crossed the bridge across the room to the platform. There as no enemies on this side of the room.
“What is this place?” Fura asked.
“Here lies the Elder Scroll and… another Ancient Vampire.” Jon said.
“Only one way to find out.”
Jon looked around the circular platform that was made of dark stone and found all the key parts about it. The floor was carved in circles and there were braisers and a small altar in the center.
Jon didn’t reply as he walked to one of the Thralls and dragged him by his nape to the center. The vampires frowned as they didn’t like Jon’s attitude acting out of line but none stopped him.
Anticipating what was going to happen, Jon held the man and carried him high with his two hands then slammed him on the altar. With the impact, the altar reacted and a sharp head grew from it skewering the thrall and draining some blood. With that, the carving on the floor started to show signs of change and harmless purple flames appeared on them in a certain pattern.
“A puzzle? This should be easy.” Garan said as he started thinking but Jon was already solving it which irritated the vampire.
He moved the braziers to follow the trail of the purple flames and each time the flames started to take another pattern which he had to follow. From the center to the outside back to the center, the puzzle was already solved.
The floor of the platform shook the areas around its center started to sink down. The ones standing on the edges of the platform fell from it to undefined fate and the ones in the middle held to the ground.
The central altar started to rise showing a thick monolith under it and the monolith’s surface showed signs of opening. As Jon went forward to check it out, the two Vampire Lords pushed Jon back and stood in front of the monolith in anticipation.
The cover slid open slowly and its inside was dark, as the dim light started to illuminate the inside of the hollowed monolith.
A thin figure of a black-haired maiden that almost tried to walk out of her petrified state from the inside of that monolith stumbled on her steps and tripped down powerlessly.
Once she tripped and her back was exposed, everyone around could see the thing she was carrying. A cylinder object of unknown material yet magnificent and majestic appearance. It was nothing like any and none was like. A singularity of art and piece of music. Where songs and dreams are the same. A perfect yet mysterious object.
The maiden groaned as she started to rise and the object on her back hid behind her again. She stood up while staggering and examined the people around her. A Dark Elf man with short hair in a familiar dress, a Nord woman with a greatsword and wary expressions, a large man in a black cloak with a curious aura around him with blue eyes gleaming from under his hood and a bunch of minor characters behind them.
The people who saw the girl were gratified by her appearance. She was a verse in the law of beauty even though she was pale and thin. Well shaped features, beautiful arched eyes and hints of royalty in each detail about her. Few could make people feel inferior around them and that girl’s appearance was already putting a large amount of pressure on the vampires around without even a single hint of energy leaking from her.
“… Who… who sent you?” The girl spoke in a dry voice. She was having a struggle keeping her mind together with the long slumber she woke from.
“… This… you must be…”
Before the Dark Elf could say anything, a drop of blood came from above and descended down on the girl’s cheek.
It was from the corpse of the thrall that Jon used to activate the puzzle. Jon saw that and his lips arched up in a smile.
The girl’s face started to turn. There was beauty no more. Only a savage brutal expression appeared on her face with a strong lust for blood tingling on all her nerves. Hundreds of years under seal in slumber would make a vampire go insane with all the thirst that comes all of a sudden from the tiniest whiff of blood, let alone a whole damn drop.
As the girl’s face turned, her mouth opened for her four long fangs to appear and her claws extended ten inches each, she was a wolf in a herd of sheep.
All she wanted was to feed and lo and behold, the nearest human was standing there tall and mighty behind those two vampires as a buffet of everything that is sweet and tasty. It felt as if he was saying “come at me” and indeed, he was actually saying it with his wide insane sadistic smile.
Two beasts of blood and insanity showed nothing but absolute interest in one another as if the world was made only for the two of them. A beast of blood and a beast of tyranny and the other one only looked like the sweetest prey in each’s eyes.
Jon’s plan was executed to perfection.
Show knowledge about the place and lead the vampires by the nose, put every piece where it should and a single drop of blood will unleash the beast and make a river.
Now to the second verse of the song or rather… Now to the dance.
The girl was no longer in control, she saw the nearest human and charged at him looking for the best place to suck his blood dry, his neck.
Jon raised his wrist that was cuffed by the Magicka Shackles and the girl’s open mow bit on that shackle breaking. Jon looked at the adorable face of the beast with a grin and blocked her claws by the shackles on the other hand.
The girl’s superhuman strength broke both the shackles and waved her free hand on the busy-handed Jon. With his Magicka free once again, [Greed], as a cloak, enveloped Jon and took the hit of the girl’s free hands.
To everyone’s surprise, the supposed to be Void Cloak got shreded to six pieces horizontally without any resistance. The man inside the cloak was now nothing but six pieces cut by five sharp claws but that was not the case.
As soon as the cloak pieces fell down, there were no blood or flesh shreds to be witnessed. Only the cold sound of the shackles falling on the ground woke the surrounding from its daze.
Everyone including the girl looked left and right to where Jon may be only to hear foot steps from the other side across the room. The large figure was walking with easy in a mighty looking suit of armor.
It was the [Volkihar Knight Armor], a modded armor Jon installed in his past life and found it in the armory of Castle Volkihar. It suited him like nothing else.
The same design as the Volkihar vampires’ dresses with extra material of metal on the arms and vital parts, the armor was a piece of art.[A/n: one of my favorites, check it on nexus code 80634.]
The girl, in her frenziness, could recognize Jon as a tricky prey. Not caring about all the prey around her, the vampire girl’s eyes were set on no one but Jon.
None noticed that the Void Cloak that was torn to six pieces, which was actually [Greed], had started crawling to Jon’s location and he held his hand out. [Greed] rose up like a living shadow and joined its owner. Jon then morphed [Greed] into a fast a jet black katana in a jet black scabbard.
The tension was clear and the girl’s superior blood was suppressing vampires and thralls alike so no one in their right mind had a speck of idea to stop her. She lowered her posture ready for a charge and Jon lowered his posture with the katana at his left side being held in the ‘Iaido Style’.[A/n: Iaido Style is a style that emphasizes being aware and capable of quickly drawing the sword and responding to a sudden attack.]
With his Aura unleashed, his left hand holding the scabbard and his right hovering above the handle, Jon drew the sword with the girl’s charge and a collision was heard.
She was on the other side behind Jon and he has already drawn his sword in full. Both of them has avoided the other’s attack but looking at the girl, she was clearly tricked.
Jon’s scabbard was the real weapon all along. Once the girl passed him, the scabbard extended and stabbed the girl from behind her knee but to no avail, she was too strong to get even injured like that.
Jon didn’t have much hope anyway, he just wanted the weakened vampire girl to exhaust her power completely, that was his goal.
The girl turned around like a beast with no focus in her eyes and waved her hands left and right at Jon. He responded with every slash calmly and kept using the scabbard as a defensive part and sometimes offensive.
The speed of their movements was insane and only Fura and Garan were able to keep up with their eyes. Maybe the girl was still weak and the human is shockingly stronger than they thought but the two vampires knew they shouldn’t interfere in such a fast-paced battle or they may injure themselves or worse… injure the berserking girl. Those poor souls who were not able to get away from the scale of the fight were mercilessly cut by either Jon’s blade or the girl’s claws.
Jon kept taking distances and sheathed the sword each time he got away to perform an Iaido style attack. Outwardly he was acting cool but inwardly he was shocked by the girl’s strength. He had some standards for a Noble Vampire in his mind but he found that the girl is far more powerful than just what she is capable of showing right now. Maybe lack of training or lack of food caused her to this bad at fighting. It still meant that he needs to weaken her more than he planned.
He also discovered one more thing. Harkon may be an Ancient Vampire but he is just another Vampire Lord, this girl was on a whole different level. She is an Original Vampire, a Daughter of Coldharbour.
With the rise of Jon’s estimation, so did his tactic. His hand started casting spells on a fast pace around the girl who seemed to be going to charge any moment. As the girl moved, she seemed to be able to see through the traps Jon put around her and avoided with a very unrefined footwork technique. Jon saw through her movements and his thumb behind the katana’s tsuka (guard) launched the sword like bolt towards the girl. The katana flew backward and its kashira (pommel) crashed in the girl’s forehead causing her to halt for a second, a second enough for Jon to arrive and kick the girl towards the traps he laid.
Just as she landed on the runes, a hand made of lightning launched off and grabbed her leg, another trap was unleashed and another hand of lightning grabbed another limb. Each trap was actually a [Electrohand] spell and all caught the girl on a rapid pace. Jon cast his magic and empowered the traps to catch the girl in space from all four. She was kept hanged like that and started moving violently to break free yet to no avail, Jon was already in control.
Before he could do anything, a blade was already on his neck and five pairs of claws were holding him.
“That’s enough!” Fura and Garan finally got the chance to stop the fight.
“Took you long enough. What’s the deal with the lass?” Jon spoke.
“Well, it is your mess that she caught a whiff of blood. Now, look around… we ran out of thralls just by your little rampage.” Fura said.
“I wasn’t the one who made such a puzzle. Now deal with her and let’s be on our way.” Jon replied.
“You can’t deal with her, she is not a normal vampire.” Garan said.
“Eh?” Jon feigned ignorance.
Fura and Garan got away from Jon.
“You need to give her your blood, Mortal.”
“What? My blood?” Jon acted angrily, “My deal with Lord Harkon was for none of you fuck faces to even put a scratch on me, now you want my blood?”
“A Blood Potion won’t do with her state. We need fresh blood. If you kept one Thrall alive in the fight then we should have avoided that. Now deal with it, return her to her right mind before her powers return with more thirst and she kills us all.” Fura said.
Despite the unwillingness he showed, it was perfectly what he wanted. He was planning for this all along.
Weaken the girl both mentally and physically, eliminate any possible blood donors then give her the blood. It won’t enthrall her but it will be enough… enough for the next plan.
Jon controlled the hands of lightning and pinned the girl down then walked to her. Her monstrous face was glaring at him in frenzy.
“Now, now… all that frowning is bad for your skin. I’ll give you my blood but on my terms. No funny moves.”
Jon held the girl’s face up and with nothing but his will, a small wound opened on his palm. His blood flowed down in an unnatural form as if he was controlling it himself. It flowed through the girl’s lips down to her mouth.
Slowly and carefully, Jon almost emptied a full liter of his own blood before the girl calms down and revert to her natural face.
Jon dispelled traps and held the girl down. She was collapsing slowly supported by his hands. Drenched in sweat, the berserk state must have drained her stamina a lot.
Jon could only smile as he looked at the beautiful face of that girl. A silly idea came to his head and thought that she is both the Beauty and the Beast.
He also considered himself a beauty and a beast.
What a match!
He only caressed her forehead with an unintentional grin forming on his face.
“Welcome home, Serana.”
Lore Research: Is Serana really 4233 years old? Here’s why I don’t think so… (This is based on the game events, not the novel… mostly the one who played the game! so ABANDON SHIP of SPOILERS!)
While she herself was taken aback by the existence of an Empire in Cyrodiil. I think this shouldn’t mean she is from the time before the empires of Cyrodiil (the early 240 years of the First Era).
Also, according to the wiki, there Empires in Cyrodiil were established and dissolved on those dates.
– Alessian Empire (1E 242 – 1E 2331)
– Reman Empire (1E 2703 – 1E 2920)
– Akaviri Potentate (1E 2920 – 2E 430)
– Septim Empire (2E 854 – 4E 0)
– Mede Empire (4E 29 – to date)
We have a lot of gaps between the Empires. 372 years between the Alessian and Reman and 854 between Reman and Septim.
I am talking about the chance that the Volkihar folk are not from the pre-Alessian period because let’s face it, those 242 years were very busy for Nords conquering Morrowind and High Rock with all the kings recorded and before it was the Merethic Era when the Atmoran were just arriving.
Serana and her family are Nords but the thing about them being that old (4233) is too far fetched.
One of the most notable vampires in Volkihar clan is Vingalmo the High Elf. He is the first person the player and Serana meet after entering Castle Volkihar together and he recognizes Serana with the first glance. After talking with Vingalmo afterward he mentions that he used to be a Thalmor.
The Thalmor first appeared with the founding of the First Aldmeri Dominion by Queen Ayrenn year 2E 580, right between the Reman and the Septim Empires.
There was a Second Aldmeri Dominion between 2E 830 and 2E 895 but that was short-lived and got crushed by Tiber Septim and the Third Aldmeri Dominion is very recent and doesn’t fit Harkon’s being an Ancient King.
By that, Vingalmo should be either a remanent of the First or a survivor of the Second cutting Serana’s age to either around 972 or 726.
Whether it is true or false, there is a strong conflict with the story of the Undead Dragon in the Soul Cairn, Durnehviir (Dur-Neh-Viir). He claimed to be a dragon from the time when dragons fought for power and territory and that’s either the Early First Era or the late pre-historic Merethic Era when the Dragon Cult existed in Skyrim.
After he traveled to the Soul Crain and met with the Ideal Masters, Durnehviir was tasked with keeping Valerica imprisoned which was a trick as both were Immortals and Durnehviir was doomed to serve the Ideal Masters for eternity.
This conflicts with my reasons but I think there is more to Durnehviir’s story than what we were told and guess what, Dragons Appeared in the Second Era. The Elder Scrolls Online newest DLC is called ‘Elsweyr’ and it is filled with Dragons so let’s hope we are right about this one.
By my delicate observations, I find it more satisfying to have a 900 to 700 years old damsel (ignoring what Molag Bal did) over a 4000 one. (don’t ask me why).
Of course, the Dawnguard DLC was badly written and all… (I mean 3 Elder Scrolls for a mere Sun Screen Prophecy dammit!)… but that can’t stop us from doing thirsty research on our best waifu’s real age.
Now someone come with Ser Meryn’s face saying “TOO OLD!”
And Eid Mubarak.