Dawnguard Diaries: Chalices and Crossbows
by Steve Watts, shacknews.com, Jun 29, 2012 1:00PM PDT
(Continued from Dawnguard Diaries: Plight of the Lizard Wizard)
I accepted Lord Harkon's offer, and he came at me like a bolt of lightning. Everything went fuzzy and dark, and I woke up in a part of Volkihar Keep that I didn't recognize. Harkon was waiting for me, apparently having watched me sleep. Vampires are creepers, you know. He guided me through my vampire powers: the ability to change forms, turn to a swarm of bats, and so on. Truth be told, I was really hoping that my vampire form would be some sort of lizard-vampire, but alas I look like any run-of-the-mill Vampire Lord.
Harkon also explained that feeding on humans will sate my new-found hunger, but take away the strength that grows from it. Feeding on vampires, on the other hand, enhances my powers. It seems a little short-sighted for a small, power-hungry clan to have cannibalism perks, but I shrug it off. Surely no vampires will try to feed on me. I'm all gamey and lizardy.
He tasked me with using a special chalice, to fill with an underground red spring and the blood of a deceased vampire. At this rate, it seems like the Dawnguard could just leave us alone and then take out whichever one is left standing. This chalice is said to enhance the powers of the vampires, so whatever Harkon has planned must be big. Harkon also mentioned, offhandedly, that his ex-wife is the one to have taken his daughter. I have a sneaking suspicion I'll be meeting the ol' ball-and-chain.
As I explored the cave, I toyed around with my Vampire Lord form. Each time I triggered it, it's as if I was looking outside my body. I was powerful, especially when hovering above ground, but my movements felt a little more awkward. Worse yet, when I would try to revert back to my lizard state, I would turn to a swarm of bats before realizing how to conjure up the spell to turn me back.
After filling the chalice, a few vampire up-starts tried to kill me. How convenient! I needed some blood anyway. After dispatching them handily, I reported back to Harkon. Apparently this chalice mission was to enhance our collective vampire powers, so we can darken the sun. Wait, aren't we going to have a serious food shortage when all the humans die? But Lord Harkon's mind is made up, and I'm not the leader of the coven. I can only hope my cold Argonian blood doesn't mean I freeze to death in record time.
I rejected the monster's offer, and my eyes were filled with blue light. I woke in a haze just outside the Keep -- apparently he was good to his word, at least enough to tell his followers not to snack on the easy prey unconscious outside. I'm not sure exactly what's happening that coven, but I just delivered them a vampire princess, and I'm almost certain she was holding an Elder Scroll.
I sped back to Fort Dawnguard to report to Isran, their leader. Before I could step in the door, however, the castle was attacked by vampires. Isran concluded that they're getting more bold, and my revelations about the Elder Scroll only reconfirmed his suspicions. He gave me a verbal drubbing about not taking out any vampires while I was in their castle, and was probably more than a little unreasonable about my odds against a dozen or so blood-suckers. But eventually he relented and turned his thoughts to strategy.
Obviously, we needed more Dawnguard soldiers. He asked me to track down two old friends of the clan: Gunmar and Sorine. I found Gunmar easily enough. Using the crossbow provided by Isran, I helped him stalk and kill a wild bear in exchange for his allegiance. Four bears, actually. I was a little indiscriminate with my bear killing, to be frank. On the bright side, I have a lot of pelts now.
On my way to Sorine, the sun rose and my blood began to boil. This day just keeps going from bad to worse. In Dimhollow Crypt, I must have sustained a bite without realizing it. I shrugged off the hunger for blood for the time being, and tracked down Sorine. After some cajoling (and help finding some missing mechanized parts), she agreed to join the Dawnguard too.
We all met with Isran at Fort Dawnguard, and he used some kind of incantation to check if we were vampires. The man is nothing if not thorough. Also, probably a little paranoid. He discovered my vampirism straightaway, but (thankfully) didn't murder me on the spot. Instead, he gave me one more chance: go find a healer and be cured, to prove I would be loyal and, more importantly, safe in the Dawnguard.
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.