How Eldaline joined the Dawnguard (even ...

How Eldaline joined the Dawnguard (even though she didn't want to) part 4.

Feb 09, 2022

The story so far:

Eldaline Alkinour, one of the cruellest archivists in the history of the Dominion, is trying to clear her name after being mistakenly accused of burning down the Hall of the Vigilant. To do this, she must help her library assistant (formerly thrall) Skavild and his friend Serana, daughter of Lord Harkon, end her father's vampiric prophecy by finding Auriel's Bow. And first, the Elder Scroll that might lead them to it.

Eldaline, Skavild and Serana hopped down into the miserable expanse of the Soul Cairn in search of Serana's mother and hopefully the third Elder Scroll. There were souls languishing here and there, and none of them looked cheerful.

"You there, Mr. Soul." Said Skavild. "Have you seen a lady vampire, a little older than me, probably very attractive, but not quite as attractive as her daughter here, who is a very good friend of mine."

Then he realised that he could see straight through the soul.

"All I said was that Queen Potema looked quite portly in that dress." Said the soul.

"Eldaline, you're a necromancer. Can you you talk to this dead man?"

Then he realised another thing, which was that Eldaline had employed her talent of going missing at strange moments.

"Don't worry." He said. "She does this a lot. She'll reappear at an inconvenient time."

"Let's go." Serana said. "My mother must be waiting on the other side of that thing."

"What thing? Oh, the big ominous wall." Said Skavild. "Yes, let's go towards that."

It wasn't long before they found another sad soul.

"Poor things." Said Serana.

"Don't cry, little soul." Said Skavild.

"I will do anything you ask!" The soul said, sobbing with anger. "I will undo my mistress' spell and open the gates to you, but please, let the other servants go, or at least spare their lives! I do not care what suffering you cause to my master and mistress. I would curse them a thousand times, if I had the strength or the talent. They have stolen what little I have."

"That doesn't make any sense. It's Eldaline!" Cried Skavild.

"Incredible." Serana said. "Simply incredible."

"It's not incredible, it's horrible!" Said Skavild. "Entering the Soul Cairn must have killed her immediately. Speak to me, Eldaline! No, don't fade away!" But she did.

Serana looked thoughtful. "You give the Ideal Masters souls, they give you powers to summon the undead. Most of the stories end with the Ideal Masters duping the necromancers, who end up dead or wishing they were dead."

"Are you trying to cheer me up? Look, there she is again, just through the wall! Eldaline! Can you see me?"

Eldaline was behind a barred window beyond the ominous wall.

“By the gods, I will go mad if you leave me in here a moment longer. I have given you my word that I will always be a good subject.”

She still did not respond when Serana and Skavild reached her on the other side of the window, but said, "I have done as you asked... why am I still in this dreadful prison?"

"You're not in prison!" Shouted Skavild.

"What are you both staring at?" Said Eldaline. "I was just rescuing this poor lost horse. He looked lonely."

"I'm glad to see you alive!" Said Skavild. "I thought the Soul Cairn turned you into a ghost."

"Nonsense." She said. "I went to look at something, turned around, and you were both simply gone."

"Too slow." Said Serana.

"Absolutely right, Serana." Said Eldaline. "By the way, I have met your mother. She is lovely. She gave me some ectoplasm."

It was true that Eldaline had a talent for alienating normal people and getting along very well with necromancers and other people who liked to eat raw ectoplasm. Valerica the vampire was no exception.

"Come on, she's leading us to the scroll." Said Serana.

As Valerica led them through a wide, open courtyard, Skavild wondered if now would be a good time to ask for her daughter's hand in marriage. After careful deliberation, he decided not to. It seemed a little awkward in the circumstances.

"It was nice to meet your mother." He said, as they made their way back through the Soul Cairn.

"I'm glad we found the scroll, but I... I wish she could come with us." Said Serana.

"It was nice to meet your father, too." Said Eldaline. "It's a shame we're going to kill him."

"I can't say it surprises me. I kind of figured we were heading for this some day. I just didn't know when."

"What's that, on that hill?" Said Skavild.

"It's only a soul." Said Eldaline. "The place is full of them."

"It's you, again. What are you doing?"

"Don't listen to her, she's a mad lost soul."

"She's you, though." he said.

"Listen!" Said Skavild.

"Since I am now alone, and I know you to be masters of fighting in darkness, you may accept my surrender for now. We will negotiate your terms later. Whatever disturbance they have gone to investigate, my soldiers will soon have this tower back under our control." Said the ghost Eldaline.

"Hear that?" Said the less ghostly Eldaline. "She's mad as a spoon. I'm standing in front of you. I am the real Eldaline. She's a figment of your imagination. And mine, but never mind that."

"Gods, no! Let me leave the library! I should be fighting!" Said the ghostly Eldaline on the hill. "Why will you not allow me to fight and die with my soldiers?"

"What did you mean by that?" Said Skavild.

"Nothing, as I didn't say it." Eldaline explained, beginning to sound irritable. "Visiting the Soul Cairn was supposed to be an interesting and informative experience, and you have ruined it by trying to make friends with all the ghosts. Follow me."

"Do you think you could get used to living in a house this size, Skavild?" Said Eldaline.

"Ssh!" He hissed.

Once back in Fort Dawnguard, they immediately began looking around for Eldaline's Moth Priest friend. The third Elder Scroll, it was hoped, would reveal the location of the Aedric artefact they were seeking. But, as it usually was, he had bad news for her.

"What do you mean, blind?" Said Skavild. "Do you mean he can't see?"

"It happens to all the Priests of the Ancestor Moth after a lifetime's service to reading and trying to understand the scrolls. Traditionally, they became masters of fighting in darkness as a result. Even when old." Said Eldaline.

"I understand that he can't see, but does that mean he can't read?" Skavild demanded. He was very disappointed.

"It does mean that."

"But that means we've got three Elder Scrolls and we can't read two of them."

"That is not true." Eldaline said. "He has provided us with another way. I will read them."

"But, you're not a Moth Priest." Said Skavild.

"No, and nor will I ever be. But Brother Dexion has explained to me what ceremony is needed. And I will probably not go blind."

"No!" Said Serana, looking quite upset.

"No, let me!" Said Skavild.

"No." Said Eldaline.

"All right, then." he said.

Eldaline explained about the ritual on the way through the mountains, towards a place called Ancestor Glade.

"How did you get to know the Moth Priests, Eldaline?" Said Skavild. "You seem to know a lot about their ways."

"Not as much as I wished to learn." Said Eldaline. "And, no. Elder Scrolls themselves are of little interest to me. The sooner they are found again and sealed away, the better."

They crept through the shrubbery at the entrance to the glade.

"Do you need to sneeze, Skavild?" Said Eldaline.

"Shut up." Said Skavild.

"Well, look down there!" Said Eldaline.

Serana sneezed.


"Knife, tree bark, and then... the part I am not looking forward to." Said Eldaline, examining the ceremonial knife that was apparently such a large part of Brother Dexion's Plan.

"Don't worry about the scroll, Eldaline. The priest said you'd probably be safe from going blind." Said Skavild.

"Or your friend Dexion and I are going to have some words when we get back." Said Serana.

As she peeled a tree, Eldaline said, "Thank you, Serana. But I am not talking about the reading of the scroll. In a moment I will have to be surrounded by moths, I do not like insects."

"You scared of them, or something?" Said Skavild.

"If you want to put it like that, yes." Said Eldaline.

"Goes for long walks in the Deadlands, cavorts with Daedra, not scared of ghosts, vampires, Stormcloak assassins, Imperial guards, but scared of bloody insects." Muttered Skavild, as Eldaline worked on attracting moths.

"Look at them... they've definitely taken a liking to you. And unless I'm seeing things, you're starting to... glimmer." Said Serana

"I often glimmer. I am favoured by the gods." Said Eldaline.

Skavild said, "Try not to encourage her, Serana."

"That's quite enough moths." Eldaline said, shuddering as she pulled out the scroll. "If I go blind, at least I won't have to look at them ever again."

"Don't joke about such things." Said Skavild.

They had just settled down to watch the reading when Eldaline screamed loudly.

"What is it?" Cried Skavild. "Have you gone blind?"

"I'm fine." Said Eldaline. "It was exactly as I expected. The scrolls despise me. They showed be three times as many moths as before, bigger and more revolting that ever."

"What about Auriel's Bow?" Said Serana.

"Oh, that." Said Eldaline. "Yes, that as well. Follow me!"

To be continued...

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