Bleeding Sun - Chapter 6: Haven At Last

  • WARNING: This chapter contains strong language and very disturbing imagery. Read responsibly.


    The halls and crypts of Forelhost echoed with the frantic footsteps of the pair of Breton survivors. Even though Sorine was moving at a reasonably fast pace considering the condition of her legs, the vampire lord in front of her seemed all but walking and was still much faster than her. He moved with agility that she couldn’t hope to match even under normal circumstances. Frankly, it made her jealous.


    Two minutes in and Sorine dumbly just realized that Cato wasn’t going through the same way she went in. In fact, this wing of the crypt was completely new to her. The stonework looked remarkably well-preserved, untouched, resembling any other hall of the dead in any other city within the province. Could he be planning to...?


    “I’m unfamiliar with this part of the crypt,” she said between breaths, her voice purposely indicating that she was confused and more importantly, suspicious. “For your sake, I hope this leads to a safe way out.”


    “Safety, I can never guarantee,” the vampire replied. “But rest assured, this hidden section does lead to an exit, albeit one that you may not be acquainted with.” His own voice had an air of comfort and much to her chagrin, Sorine felt no need to question him further. It felt unnatural trusting his words, the words of a vampire, but Cato had kept her alive thus far and, hopefully, he would remain to do so. Having an Impurity, an unholy force of nature, at one’s side greatly increased her chances of survival.    


    Caught in her thoughts, she barely noticed that she was falling behind.


    “Stop,” his warning voice cut through the air. She did immediately, glaring at him with a demanding look. Cato wordlessly held a hand over the empty corridor in front of them. His eyes narrowed and in one blurred motion, he flung two knives towards a seemingly random point. To her surprise, the knives stayed in the air and a flash of Illusion magic proved that they had lodged into an invisible vampire’s throat. The show of skill turned her glare into a grudgingly awed expression. Cato remained impassive. “Let’s keep moving.” His sudden flight caught her by surprise and Sorine had to struggle to catch up to him again.


    It was easy to lose track of time underground. After what seemed like ten minutes to her passed, they finally made it out, greeted to the same expanse of aspen trees. The red sun was looming close to the horizon, night was fast approaching. Sorine could’ve sworn she departed from the farmhouse before noon. How long did she truly spend inside Forelhost? Before she could peruse that question, an unfamiliar, guttural voice reached her ears, making her breath catch in her throat.


    “You’ve escaped our grasp long enough, traitor.”


    To her horror, dozens upon dozens of Stormcloak soldiers charged in from the orange forest, with some civilians mixed in with them. They marched in mechanical unison. All were thralled. Likely the one controlling them, above them hovered the unmistakably repulsive form of a vampire lord, bat-like and gaunt. Two orbs of dark-red energy were being held in his clawed hands. Sorine immediately recognized it as the vampire lord Durak and Beleval was kneeling towards and her gaze hardened with resentment. The Breton unloaded her crossbow and aimed for the winged creature wordlessly. In response, it sneered.


    “There will be nothing but a swift death in store for you and the Dawnguard bitch. Welcome to the end of the road,” it growled out, the Stormcloaks drawing their weapons as if on cue. A drop of sweat formed in her forehead. There were no less than fifty of them and she wasn’t sure the two of them could fight them all. For the second time in the same day, Sorine feared for her life. And Adam’s.


    “This is not the time for fighting,” Cato whispered in her ear. “It’s me they want. I’ll keep them distracted while you run. And once you run, don’t stop until Isay so. Or until you find shelter. Whichever comes first.” Part of her wanted to stay and fight. And die a good death in battle. But as he said, this was not the time. Scared out of her wits, Sorine nodded in agreement and lowered the crossbow.


    “I’ll wait for an opening.” Her newfound ally began walking towards the thralls, glaring at them with cold disdain. The face he had to maintain while with the Volkihar. She knew he what he was planning to do. Isran had once remarked that the true purpose of the Impurities’ immortality was so that they could act as distraction while their allies whittled the adversary down unopposed.


    A massive war cry in unison shook Sorine away from her thoughts. The thralls had begun their attack and Cato met them head on. Around him formed a dark, almost solid aura resembling a demon. In fact, it was actually solid, helping him fight by swatting enemies out of his line of sight like flies. Few got past his combination of dark magic and blade mastery and the strikes that did made no effect on him due to his regenerative factor. And out of the corner of her eye, she saw it. A gap in the Stormcloak ranks leading into the forest. Her opening.


    Without hesitation, the Dawnguard broke into a mad sprint, taking care not to let baby Adam wake in her arms. Surprisingly enough, the thralls paid no attention to her. They truly were dead set on slaying the traitor. Most of them wore those iconic pointed helms, but some had their bloodthirsty, rabid expressions uncovered. A few weren’t even in uniform at all, clad in various armors and peasant attire. So thorough was the illusion of the Bleeding Sun, all-encompassing its grip on the people. No one could hope to be spared. Not even the children, proven by the lone little girl charging mindlessly wielding a wooden sword, screaming like a rabid wolf. The poor girl was soon swept away and sent flying by the skeletal hand of Cato’s avatar. By the Gods…


    No. She couldn’t be distracted. She had to run to safety.


    If not for her, then for Adam.


    Faster and faster her legs took her. She heard frantic footsteps behind her. Hesitantly, she glanced behind her. Some thralls had given chase, three seemingly identical soldiers charging towards her with absolutely no sign of stopping. And no matter how fast she ran, they kept closing in faster and faster still. One of them got close enough and dived to reach out for her leg...


    And was promptly stabbed in the back for it by a throwing knife courtesy of Cato. His other companions soon met the same fate. Not willing to let her guard down simply for that moment of relief, Sorine rushed forward, struggling to tune out the sounds of bloodshed behind her and focus on the narrow path ahead. Weaving recklessly through the forest, the odds warned her that she could not keep the chase for long. Every inch of her body ached like never before and with each breath, her back screamed in protest. Then, eventually, she broke. Sorine crashed onto the ground, thankfully on her side so as to keep Adam safe from the fall, though the force of it would lead to his awakening. The gods were truly with them tonight if his crying didn’t attract the wrong kind of attention. She had no idea in whose company would she find herself in once she waked up. Hell, she even doubted if she was to awaken at all after everything. For now, all she could think of was the nothingness of forced slumber. The last thing her eyes saw was the rough outline of a Nordic house in the dark of night..




    Sorine awoke much later, finding herself laying on a bed in a large room, Adam laying right next to her. Beside the bed, a window, from which seeped in the dim of crimson moonlight. The first thing she did upon opening her eyes and realizing that she once again safe was to break down in tears of gratitude, every breath an utterance of thanks before the Divines. Her instinct would lead her to embrace ‘her’ baby, but looking at him still as a rock and breathing tranquil breaths, Sorine was reluctant to disturb him, so she let him be for now.


    But where were they? The room she was in, dusty though it might be, looked untouched by the catastrophe wrecking the outside world. Numerous slaps and pinches proved that she was neither dreaming nor dead. So where in the world did she wake up in?


    “You can rest easy. We have evaded danger and you are not dreaming.” As if on cue, Cato came in through the door, looking for all intents and purposes healthy even though he just went head to head against an army of thralls. Was this a testament to the true strength of an Impurity?


    “Miss Jurard, you still look terribly weary,” he said calmly. His words left her stunned. Jurard. Sorine Jurard. That was her name. Less than three days into the doom of a near-endless night and she was at the verge of forgetting her own name. Unbelievable. And that wasn’t the only thing that seemed unbelievable...


    “ you know my name?” she asked.


    “The Volkihar keep records of Dawnguard officers, just as you keep records of ‘us’.” That was a stupidly straightforward answer for a straightforwardly stupid question. The way Cato said it with such a straight face only enforced that regard, prompting her to retort with just a meek “Oh, I knew that.”


    “Miss Jurard, I am serious. You need more rest if you are to return to peak physical condition,” he then said, his tone more pressing than before. Sorine looked at him solemnly for a moment and then to Adam in her arms. The cute little bab stirred gently as if threatening to wake, but smothered in her warmth, the threat went unfulfilled. Eventually, she caved to his wishes and peacefully retreated back to sleep.


    Cato stuck at the bedside as Sorine willed herself to rest, sitting still as a statue beside her.


    The next time she opened her eyes, Cato was still sitting there in the same spot, in the same position. And in his hands was a bowl of what appeared to be...soup or a stew. Regardless of what it was, the aroma it exuded was intoxicating to the highest degree.


    “...Cato. H-How long did I sleep this time...?”


    “Two hours, eighteen minutes and fifty seven seconds,” he answered in precision. Getting up from the very very comfortable bed, Sorine clearly felt the impact of that several hour’s rest. Her legs actually felt normal now, no abnormal aches and pains. She could probably move as she used to now, given a bit of stretching.


    “You must be famished after all that sleep. Here, I made you a bowl of beef and vegetable stew.” Her stomach rumbled as she was handed the bowl, still pleasantly warm. She drank from it, hungrily. Her hunger’s opinion aside, the stew was hearty and delicious, if a bit overcooked and bland. Still, it was just what she needed.


    “Please do excuse if the stew is not to your liking,” he said. “I do not claim to be a good cook at all, I merely threw together what ingredients I could find so that you didn’t-“


    “Dude, don’t worry about it. It’s great. Thank you for this,” she interrupted him, a reassuring smile coming his way. This was purely her heart speaking; no way would her mind find such words directed to a vampire reasonable.  “And for everything, really. Adam and I would have died if it wasn’t for your help.” At first, Cato made no semblance of a response, but then smiled back at her, his smile more subdued than anything. Before long, Sorine finished up her meal and looked to her side. The baby was awake and he certainly didn’t look happy. In an attempt to comfort him, she cradled him in her arms, but that didn’t seem to work.


    “Cato, Adam looks hungry, do you think you can-?”  At her words, the man was gone in a flash, leaving her dumbfounded. He returned just a few seconds later with a bottle of milk and a small bowl of some pureed food in his hands. “-get him Thank you.” Adjusting Adam’s positioning, she took the two items from Cato’s hands and began to feed the little baby. Poor thing seemed to share her hunger.


    “Quicker than a sneeze, aren’t you? That was barely any time at all,” she remarked incredulously as she continued feeding Adam. “How do you do it? There’s no way you’re that fast by nature....right?” He smiled again.


    “It is a technique that I developed life. Flash Step, I had named it, hence why they called me Cato of the Flash Step. Calling it purely a physical feat would be a lie, but it really can’t be done without conditioning my body properly.” Sorine paid him barely any mind as she filled her stomach with food, but the lad didn’t seem troubled or offended by it at all.


    “Miss Jurard, do you have a plan or are you just ...surviving as best you can?” A loaded question that made her stop eating altogether. He was right, what was she doing out here? At the moment, her focus was solely on her own survival as well as Adam’s. Why the latter was of such importance, she didn’t know. Sorine had always been taught to be as pragmatic as possible by Isran; it improved her chances of survival. Taking in a baby went against that and she’d truly have more to gain by abandoning him.


    But she won’t. And most likely never would. Adam was her sole anchor to the world that had been, to a time when life was as simple as chopping off the heads of vampires. As much as it would benefit her to abandon that anchor, it would hurt her spirit much more than words could describe. Perhaps her survival really was a fool’s errand, doomed to end disastrously, but she couldn’t tell him that.


    “I...don’t know,” Sorine honestly answered. “I just don’t want Adam and I to die...that’s all I want to focus on. That’s all I can do at this point. Cato, what else is there for me?” The room was left with an uneasy silence as she countered with her own loaded question.




    “I don’t know either.  But I can help you with that. Come downstairs once you’ve found the strength to walk around, There’s much to plan for your next move. Evading the Volkihar has become doubly difficult for you now that they know I’m with you.”


    Sorine bit her lip. “That’s a pleasant thought. Still, I’d like your help in this more than I care to admit. I’ll head down after I put Adam back to sleep.” The Vampire Lord nodded and rose, walking towards the door with his slow, shuffling steps.


    “Oh! and Cato?” He stopped just as he was about to step out of the room, turning back to answer his ward’s call. “Yes?”


    “....Thank you.” Again silence filled the room, but it was an amiable one, if a tad awkward. She assumed that he didn’t hear words like that often, especially with all this happening. The way he smiled soon after hearing them supported that assumption.


    “You’re welcome.” The door closed.



    “These are the places where I know the Volkihar has placed their attention and manpower on.” Cato and Sorine, and Adam in her arms, were standing contemplatively in front of a makeshift war table, a map of Skyrim with knives embedded onto all the markers of the majors city save for Riften. It was also littered with smaller X’s in various other places. “I’d advise you to stay away from all heavily populated areas; they’re filled with thralls and Volkihar troops by now. Harkon wants to secure as many strongholds of power here as possible before moving onto...” With a swift hand motion, he removed all the knives from the map and flipped the aged parchment over to reveal another map, one of Tamriel. “The rest of the world.”


    Sorine pursed her lips, greatly troubled by this information. By taking out the sun, every single vampire in Tamriel had the freedom to walk in day as the would in night. Combined with the all-encompassing mass hypnosis charm that came with it, what chance did us men of daylight have in this eternal blackness?


    “Well, when you put it like this, I’m starting to doubt my chances,” she muttered. “But surely some are like us, survivors. Have you found others before you happened onto me and Adam?”


    He nodded. “I have met plenty, but few lasted as long as you. The stubbornness of people here are admirable, but I can’t save them all.”


    She took a deep breath. “So this place...quite a convenient place to hole up. Where are we?”


    “We are in Black-Briar Lodge, the leisure residence of the infamous Black-Briar family,” Cato explained as he started to walk towards the kitchen. “Somehow, they managed to obtain information of the coming death of the sun far before it happened and approached ‘us’, a bold move. They came to bargain security of their lives in exchange for funds and manpower.” He paused and walked back to the war table, a bottle of mead in his hands. Black-Briar Brew, naturally. He drinks? This was proven not the case when he handed the bottle to her. “Stay hydrated, Miss Jurard.” When it became clear he wouldn’t rest until she ‘stayed hydrated’, she rolled her eyes and drank the damn mead, which tasted great. Only then did Cato continue.


    “Bargaining with vampires is risky. Bargaining with the Volkihar is perhaps an impossibility. The Black-Briars and their attendants were slaughtered before Lord Harkon and the riches the brought as fealty, plundered. That said, this lodge has been abandoned long before the purge and the long night. It is safe..”


    “And you’re sure they won’t come looking here?”


    He nodded. “I’ve placed both fire traps and an illusion around the perimeters of the lodge. To the outside observer, this place is burned down and those who dare approach will be incinerated.”


    She chuckled. It was a pleasant sound; she never thought she’d hear another like it. “You’ve put plenty of work into this, haven’t you? We only need some fortification and we have ourselves a stronghold.” He smiled at her. Oh, if only her comrades could see her now, bantering amiably with a vampire that was not Serana.


    “It was necessary. I needed to make this place safe. As long as you stay within these walls, you are safe. And don’t worry, I will not let you go anywhere outside of these walls.”


    Sorine did a double take. “W-What?”


    “Yes, I cannot allow you to wander out into the open yourself. It is far too dangerous.”


    “And what, we’re supposed to stay here until we run out of resources and die?” She was starting to get pissed off right now. How dare he suggest such a thing. Surely it was far riskier to remain holed up where they were sitting ducks. To say nothing of the path that the Psijic folks put her on, but she couldn’t tell him that. He’d call her a maniac. “We need to stay on the move, Cato. If not to cover our tracks, then to find supplies, weapons, even other survivors. Maybe we can form a resistance with enough numbers…”


    He shook his head. “Miss Jurard, that is very optimistic thinking. You have seen what Harkon’s black sun can do. Few can resist its hypnotic enthrallment. Most of Skyrim, and the world, is hunting for those that do. You may think that because I am in your company, you can do anything. Cease with this though. I am one person and so are you. And the Volkihar are many. They will kill you if you do something foolish. I am only trying to stop you from letting that happen to yourself. Can’t you understand that?”  That was the last straw. Next thing they knew, Sorine was up in his face, furious at his audacity.


    “Oh, you think me so fucking weak, don’t you? That just because you saved me from danger, it means I constantly have to be saved like some damsel? Well, then you have another thing coming for you, cunt.” Her hand gripped the fabric of his collar in anger. So much anger, in fact, that she didn’t question why he’d let her do such a contentious gesture. “I’ve survived through so much even without you for a reason. I’m no fucking fool, I know the risks of stepping outside and I’m willing to go out there anyway because I can handle it! You can’t just keep me in here like some...prisoner! There are people out there who need help! Can’t you understand that?! Prick?!” The room grew silent, the tension thick in the air. Yet Cato seemed demure as always, not nearly as vexed as the woman grabbing him by the collar and spewing fighting words..




    “This is the drink talking, no?” he asked calmly.


    Sorine sighed and relaxed, moving back to give him some space. “Yes. I’m sorry.”



    “Don’t be.” He adjusted his collar. It was frayed from her furious grip. “It was I who pushed you first, knowing how deeply stressed you are.”


    “Yeah…don’t do that again.” She sighed again and went back to looking at the map. “So, um, where were we?” Cato joined her at the war table, flipping the map back to its Skyrim side.


    “If you are truly adamant about being on the go once again, I must suggest that you make your next destination….” He traced a finger across the map, passing Riften and the Throat of the world before landing on…”Helgen.”


    “Helgen?” She repeated. “Why there?”


    “For one, it’s a safer route to the rest of Skyrim while completely bypassing Eastmarch. The path leading there is also both secluded and provides plenty of landmarks to use as temporary cover. You could make it there in less than a day if you are swift and stealthy enough to avoid Volkihar hunting parties.”


    Sorine smirked a little. “Which I am, I assure you. Why would you want to avoid Eastmarch, though?”


    His expression hardened ever so slightly, but was swiftly hidden. “I have scouted that area while you were asleep. There is a huge mass of enthralled Stormcloak soldiers situated there, more still moving both eastward and westward. I assumed that was where the group that ambushed us last night came from.”


    “How many are there?”


    “Close to thousands. Well over five hundred men are encroaching to the east from what I’ve seen. Yet they move slow. I would give it a week before they even come near the Rift. That is how slow they are as a unit.”


    She probably shouldn’t, but sighed in relief anyway. “That gives us plenty of time, then. You know, despite what I’m leading you to believe, it wouldn’t hurt at all to stay here a while before going mobile again. Your counsel ain’t so bad after all, Cato.”


    He nodded approvingly, a small smile forming. “I am glad you think so.”


    Sorine climbed up and sat unceremoniously on the table. “There’s...something else I’ve been meaning to ask you.”


    Cato nodded again. “Please, go ahead.”


    “Before all...this happened, I had a talk with Isran and, uh, the Dra-” She was suddenly cut off by the sound of a fiery explosion, followed by muffled screaming from outside, shrill and piercing. A woman’s. When the screaming ceased as fast as it had came into earshot, Cato turned towards the door, immediately rushing out to see what was going on.  Less than a minute later,  he returned with a woman’s body hoisted over his shoulder.


    “Step away from the table.” Before Sorine could properly do so, he cleared the table and placed the woman on top of it. Poor lass must have tripped over one of his fire traps, her skin was completely burnt and still smoldering in some places even, but it was clear that she was still breathing. Without immediate action, however, that might not be the case anymore.


    “W-What are you going to do with her?” she asked, unsure what she herself was even to do in this situation. “Can she even be healed when she’s like this?” Cato looked at her with cold eyes.


    “My intention was to hide the body as fast as possible, not to heal her. Which is most likely impossible.” The way he said these words sent chills running down her spine. This was what Sorine would have initially expected an Impurity like; remorseless, unfettered professionals that would let nothing get in the way of their master’s will.


    But that wasn’t the Cato she was far too accustomed to.


    “She’s still breathing, you emotionless freak! Are you just going to let her die without at least trying to heal her? Don’t you have some sort of vampire magic like the one you used on me in Forelhost?” She could see it in his eyes. He wanted to help this woman, but every odd seemed to go against her survival.


    “Miss Jurard, she is on the throes of death. If we are truly help her, we would have to…wait.” Cato narrowed his eyes suddenly and placed a hand on the woman’s shoulder.


    “Wha-what’s wrong?”


    “Her is like there is something curdling under it.” Just as he said this, the part of the shoulder being touched by Cato shed apart without warning, making him recoil in surprise. Soon the burnt skin molted away completely to reveal an untarnished layer of clear fair skin. This was complete recovery from near-fatal burns and it was unbelievable to the two of them. Without her charred clothes, there was no way of telling that she survived a deadly fire trap.


    “Impossible…” Cato muttered in disbelief. “This kind of regeneration is unprecedentedly rapid. Slightly faster than that of the Impurities, but unlike it purely organic.” Sorine herself was at a loss of words. So far, she has encountered a very lucky infant, a ghost monk of the Psijic Order, a sympathetic vampire and a woman who could survive deadly fires. Of all the stranger things that could’ve happened, why did it have to happen to her of all people?


    While the couple stood in stunned silence, the woman took this opportunity to regain consciousness, coughing in a fit back to life. Now it was Sorine’s turn to take action, medic instincts kicking in.


    “Cato, get her water and a healing potion, now!” He didn’t need to be told twice; a flash step and a second later, he brought the things to her. She gave the woman water first before giving the potion. It didn’t take long for her to recover, heavy breaths steadying into calm inspirations. Her eyes, teal in color, fleeted around the room to take in her surroundings.      


    “Papa...papa,” she finally muttered out, her voice weak and shaky. “Where am I?”


    “Hush now, darling, you’re safe now,” Sorine said with a smile, comfortingly taking her in her arms. “You’re going to be alright.”


    “I, so much fire…” When the woman said this, she immediately gave Cato a sour glance. ‘On the throes of death’, her ass.  Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to react at all.


    “You’re okay now. Your body...seemed to take care of itself nicely. Come on, there’s a bed upstairs, it’s much more comfortable than a table.” When Sorine smiled, the woman managed to smile back. This close to her, she found her to be really cute. A timeless baby face, golden locks of slightly burnt blonde hair and...stunning curves, she was the picturesque fair-haired buxom maiden of Skyrim and yet she seemed to be so much more than meets the eye. Regardless of who this person might be, she was under their protection right now. Even if Cato seemed to object.


    “A-Alright, miss.” The woman got to her feet and stuck close to Sorine who gave her a shoulder to cling to, since she seemed to have difficulties walking right now. Together, the two women made their way up to the master bedroom, Cato following them.


    “So I’m Sorine Jurard,” she introduced herself as they walked. “And the creepy pale man behind us is Cato. He’s, uh, a vampire, but you can trust him.” Behind them, he meekly waved as the girl glanced back. “What’s your name?”


    “My name is Almalexia Telvanni. Please call me Alma.”




    Meanwhile, in the Castle Volkihar…


    When Lord Harkon asked for something, be it directly or indirectly, Garan Marethi understood it to always be an urgent matter. In his hands were a quiverful of recently made arrows forged from Moonstone, created at the lord’s behest. He guessed that the Volkihar patriarch intended to create Bloodcursed arrows, the arrows which he had used to blot out the sun indefinitely. Humble servant Garan had always wondered how they came to be. Obviously one needed arrows and then blood to curse them with, but beyond that? The process was a mystery to all but the lord himself. Would it be worth it to inquire about it…?


    Absolutely not. Lord Harkon was in an exceedingly bitter mood after Cato’s gods-forsaken betrayal and Garan did not want to anger him further by stepping out of the boundaries of a simple steward in a vampire’s court. The Dark Elf had been told to bring the arrows to the Volkihar Cathedral, where Lord Harkon would be waiting, and that would be all.


    Entering the unholy Cathedral, Garan found his lord standing expressionless next to the bloodstained altar of Molag Bal, bathed in red sunlight. Strangely, Auriel’s Bow was in his hands. Something seemed odd. Did Lord Harkon truly need to use that bow to deal with Cato? Regardless of his curiosity, the servant approached and knelt before him, his hands presenting the arrows.


    “My lord, here are the arrows,” he said. In turn, the lord smiled- a wicked sort of smile- and stepped towards Garan to take them.


    “Ah, my arrows. Thank you, my steward.” Without another word, Harkon retrieved the arrows and stood there silently for a moment, leaving his steward bemused.


    “Will...that be all, my lord?” he asked reluctantly.


    “If you deem it appropriate, you may take your leave now. But…” The sentence was left hanging, wrecking Garan’s nerves with every second passed. “I would like to show you something.” Lord Harkon raised his free and slowly lowered it. With the motion, the sound of chains slowly and violently clanking like the mechanisms of a very aged gate. A shadowy form descended from the dark Cathedral ceiling. At first, he thought it to be some sort of curtain, but further scrutiny showed that it was a person. A person Garan knew well and presumed to have died some time ago.


    Lady Serana.


    The unclothed body of Lord Harkon’s own daughter was suspended over the altar to Molag Bal, her mouth sewed shut in a gruesome manner and her whole bare form bound in barbed chains in something reminiscent of a perverse, twisted fantasy made reality. Intricate chains knotting around that almost completely restricted her movements, binding hands, legs and breasts and was that a chain passing through her...womanly regions? By Azura, the pain she’d feel must be incomprehensible. She struggled and clamored for freedom, but with every movement, the barbs dug in deeper, gashing at her skin more and more, deterring further struggling. Even breathing seemed painful. Bloodied and constricted in such a manner, Serana bore an expression of desperation, lifeless eyes darting every which way like those of a dying animal. Seeing the once beloved daughter of the lord like this brought feelings of pity and sympathy to the normally unfeeling Garan Marethi. He didn’t understand, why was she like this in the first place?


    “How are we doing, my daughter?" Lord Harkon asked her in a mockingly sweet tone. He did not wait for a response. She couldn’t speak, after all, but the way her muffled voice sounded, she probably didn’t have anything pleasant to say to her father.


    “I trust you are wondering why in the world I, Harkon, would subject you, my own daughter to...whatever this madness is called instead of mercifully slaying you for turning your fangs to my neck. Today, your curiosity shall be sated. The only satisfaction you’ll ever obtain.” The lord nocked an arrow onto Auriel’s Bow. Now Garan understood. He had incorrectly assumed that Lord Harkon had slain his daughter when she rebelled against him alongside the Dragonborn, but to blot out the sun, one needed arrows laced with the blood of a Daughter of Coldharbour. Serana was perhaps the only such person in immediate proximity; Daughters of Coldharbour were rarest among the rare as far as vampires went. It was foolish of Garan to think that his lord would let one die so easily.


    Looks like he would see how Bloodcursed arrows were made after all.


    Lord Harkon let loose the arrow, flying towards Serana’s exposed abdomen. Driving straight onto her flesh, the poor daughter tried to scream in agony, the muffled sound echoing throughout the Cathedral. While Garan found this act strangely disconcerting, Lord Harkon was unsurprisingly unfazed.


    “This would not have happened if you had not been deceived by your accursed mother! We could’ve ruled over our new world together!” Another arrow nocked and shot at the same place, eliciting another scream from her. This would continue on and on until all of the arrows Garan had given to his lord were now firmly embedded in Serana, sharp tips cutting deep under her skin. Slowly, the once golden moonstone arrows began to shift in color, a shade of dark blood red creeping up the shaft into the feather fletchings, once grey now shifting to black. In contrast, Serana started to look discolored and drained.


    Lord Harkon raised his palm and telekinetically pulled these new arrows out of her body one by one, slowly and agonizingly. The wounds from the arrows lingered for a few moments before sealing themselves shut, herself regaining her usual coloration (still quite pale, however).


    “Behold the Bloodcursed Arrows, Garan,” Harkon uttered, holding one in his arms and inspecting it before his steward. It had a malevolent black aura circling the shaft. “Instruments of Auriel’s defilement and the penultimate in vampiric magic. With these, I, Harkon, eliminated the tyranny of sunlight from our reality and with these, I shall end the life the one who has betrayed us all. And also those who have yet to do so, but will.” He gave a Garan a seemingly innocent passing glance, knowing exactly what the lord meant by it.


    “Keep this scene in mind when you have doubts about my rule as conqueror of the mortal world. You are dismissed.” Visibly shaken, Garan Marethi bowed before Lord Harkon and promptly stormed out of the Cathedral. If that was what he was willing to do to his own daughter, what chance did he have when the lord decided to turn his anger onto him? Despite himself, he felt tremendous pity for Serana and, by extent, Cato the traitor who would share her fate if he wasn’t swift enough to avoid the wrath of the Volkihar. Her muffled screams echoed still as he walked away from the Cathedral.


    Cruel gods do exist when such horrors were allowed to become reality..


    Next time on Bleeding Sun...


    "I'm not a Nord. I'm not even human. I'm an aberration and I've long since accepted it."


    "Return the traitor Cato to us and on the word of Lord Harkon, your lives shall be spared."


    "Welcome to the Event. The Hero of your age died before his time. Take up his mantle and be the Hero."


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7 Comments   |   Golden Fool and 4 others like this.
  • Ebonslayer
    Ebonslayer   ·  April 11, 2017
    That Alma cameo is great. Why do I get the feeling Neloth will be kicking Harkon's ass by the time this is over with?
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  December 30, 2016
    Carry on:-

    While keeping with Serana's suffering and the horrific conditions she is kept as a captive, it removes a large shock factor which I feel don't give the scene any more punch anyway. Feel free to cont...  more
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  December 30, 2016
    That's one powerful and sadistic chapter Lazy. I can't help but wonder if Serana will survive this.. 
    I would send you a PM but as we're not friends yet, I'll mention it here.

    Intricate chains knotting around that almost ...  more
  • Ben W
    Ben W   ·  December 16, 2016
    Holy fucking shit...
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  December 15, 2016
    You need to read CA. Trust me, he'd be super pissed, especially by the end. lol
  • Lazy
    Lazy   ·  December 14, 2016
    ? I'm not following why would long-haired elf daddy be pissed 
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  December 14, 2016
    Holy crap. Was thinking that was the case actually, especially since. Albee is soooooo pissed right now, not even funny. :D