Dawnguard Diaries: Plight of the Lizard Wizard
by Steve Watts, shacknews.com, Jun 27, 2012 12:00PM PDT
Lacertus the Argonian mage was a legend, once: Skyrim's greatest dragon slayer, leader of the Dark Brotherhood, arch-mage of Winterhold, and mammoth liberator. That was a long time ago. The great Lizard Wizard had long since gone into retirement, enjoying quiet solitude sorting and resorting his potions into a single (surprisingly spacious) chest at his home in Breezewood.
But recently, I had heard whispers of a new faction. City officers would speak of the Dawnguard gathering its forces again. Clearly, it was time to add a new title to my resume, and to take up the mantle of Lacertus once more.
With my trusty assassin bodyguard in tow, I approached the headquarters of the Dawnguard. A rather unimpressive stone building, it was clearly a matter of form over function. I'm not sure if my reputation preceded me, or if they simply ask any wandering lizard to take on important missions, but I was asked almost immediately if I could check out Dimhollow Crypt for them. Why, that doesn't sound creepy at all! I'd certainly love to do this favor for you, person I just met!
Oh, the plight of the wandering adventurer.
And so, it was off to the crypt, where I was promptly greeted by vampires, all of whom wanted to kill me. They probably should have thought this plan through, though, since they each died by fire. Once I made it to the central chamber, I found a set of glowing pedestals and a structure in the middle. It was all an elaborate puzzle to seal in a stone coffin. This is where I met Serana, who seemed like a nice enough vampire--at least in comparison to the ones who had just been trying to kill me. Sure, she's an evil denizen of the night, but as the leader of an assassin's guild I don't have much moral high-ground when it comes to killing people.
Serana needed help out of Dimhollow Crypt and back to her manor, and I was happy to oblige. That's just what wandering adventurers do. After being stuck in the cave for longer than I care to admit (thanks for pointing me in the precise wrong direction, Clairvoyance spell) I battled my way out. Though, to be perfectly honest, I didn't have to do much of the battling. A bodyguard assassin, a vampire princess, and her conjured warriors tend to make a pretty potent mixture of butt-kickery.
I guided Serana to the opulent Volkihar Keep--how had I not noticed that before?--and she mentioned that I should probably just keep quiet and not cause a fuss. You know, what with my association with a group of famed vampire hunters and all. As far as "guess who's coming to dinner" moments, a Dovahkiin in league with the Dawnguard is probably among the more awkward. Despite her warning, it didn't take long before I was confronted by Harkon, her father and leader of the vampire clan.
Harkon was so appreciative of his daughter's return that he offered me a choice. Join his clan as a Vampire Lord, or refuse the offer and be considered an enemy of the vampires forever. He'd let me walk out with my life this time, but I'd never set foot inside again. This moral dilemma stymied me. On the one hand, these vampires seemed perfectly nice, especially Serana, and having vampire powers sounds appealing. On the other hand, they prey on humans, and I have nothing in particular against humans. I grappled with this for, literally, seconds! Which to choose?
The answer, obviously, was both.
Shacknews' ongoing Dawnguard Diaries follow Steve Watts' journey through Skyrim's "Dawnguard" downloadable content. It was played on a retail Xbox 360 copy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, with a DLC code provided by the publisher.