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> Order Vampyrum: Daughter of Coldharbour
Acadian
post Mar 22 2020, 08:18 PM
Post #61


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From: Las Vegas



The summary you provided of where we are to date was a delightful opportunity to refresh where we are and how things fit together.

’In great hall of our home, my father poured double-bloody mara into a pair of goblets.’
- - I love it! I believe ESO actually has the recipe for such a beverage. What else would vampires drink? tongue.gif And it does appear you likely forgot the word ‘the’ prior to ‘great hall’ early in the sentence.

No surprise that Decumus is aware of Raven’s jaunt into Coldharbour. And we learn a little more about the death (?) of Raven’s mother. Decumus' words seem to have struck an impactful chord with Raven.

Wonderful job of meaningfully interweaving the chess game with the tense father-daughter conversation. I enjoy writing a conversations with some of background physical activity simultaneously progressing. For Buffy, this is often grooming or riding Superian. You went one better by choosing an activity that quite relates to and reinforces the conversation.


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SubRosa
post Mar 25 2020, 04:24 PM
Post #62


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As Acadian noted, I love the Bloody Mara. Now we just need a Morrowind Mule to finish off our night of drinking.

This father-daughter interlude raises as many questions as it answers. It now seems clear that Raven's mother committed suicide by sunlight. But not exactly why? Her father seems assured that she is well, in whatever afterworld she may be. But is she? He also makes it plain that he expects Raven to move on to the political arena, and leave her quest to find her mother, and what happens to dead vampires, in the past. But will she?


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Darkness Eternal
post Apr 8 2020, 11:45 PM
Post #63


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From: Coldharbour




Acadian: I think it was necessary to update it since I last posted.

Double-Bloody Mara indeed was in ESO, and there sure is a recipe on how to make it.

The story regarding Raven's mother is a mystery still to her just as it is to the reader. She only knows what she's been told by her father.

Absolutely. I have noticed that in your works and it truly pulls us in there with Buffy and company! Chess is a game that requires patience, focus and other skills to win, which is not so dissimilar to that of the characters in this story. To best navigate through Tamriel as a vampire, one has to be well-equipped with a number of things.

Subrosa: Ah, there's an idea!

The mystery of Lady Decumus' death is part of Raven's major arc, and we will learn more as she does about the truth of her mother's fate. Not everything told to her is true, and everything isn't always as it seems. Lady Decumus taught Raven many things in the realm of magic and studies, and according to Crassus it had driven her mad.

Those questions are questions that will be answered. Is Raven's mother well? Is she in Coldharbour? Will Raven pursue this path that's expected of her?

Previously on Order Vampyrum: Lord Decumus plays a chess game with Raven and tells her the importance of life and her role in it.

~Chapter 17: The Order's Prerogative~


Draken Decumus.

The dining room was empty.

I sat in my mother's place, in the seat she had always used on those special occasions when our family had dined together: across was my father's chair, next to Raven, who had always sat at his right, and mine to his left.

It was quite an effort to summon memories of those happy times—I tried to hear my father's half-howled cackle, tried to see my mother’s struggle to maintain her disapproving stare at one of my father's ribald tales, tried to feel Raven's elbow poking my ribs or her feet nudging my knee, or a surreptitious serving of caramelized goat nibbles and sun's height pudding given to us when our parents weren’t looking—but I could not. It was impossible to fit such sights and memories into this dining room. Were those memories even real?

Having exposed themselves as the undead much later in our youth, was the lifestyle of my mother and father a sham all along? Being the creatures of deception they were, that I now am, was everything a lie?

The dining room was different now. The table was barren, except for a bottle of blood which occupied a lonesome spot in center, left by our manservant Gallinius. I took the bottle, and poured myself a drink of the rich and brothy content.

After a moment of silence I stood up, and left these memories behind.

Why did this have to be so long?

The hallway echoed with the sounds of my steps as I walked to my father's office upon his request.

The matter with Quintus is quite urgent, it seemed.

The lengthy corridor was lined with ancient busts, commemorating the oldest of Imperial heroes and warriors, as well as my mother and father. This effort to immortalize them was a trifle superfluous, given that both of them were graced with life eternal, but even vampires can have egos.

And wounded feelings.

I had been half expecting, after all these weeks upon my death and unlife, that looking upon the place where I had grown up with new perspective would mean something: that with this new condition I would find some kind of safety here. Some kind of answer. As though if I could only lie down and slumber forever, but instead I would awaken from my night terrors to find that the nightmare I had lived—had yet been a real and oppressive shadow.

What could be worse than coming back home for the night, and finding that you are still lost?

As I came near to my father's office, I listened to voices that came from within, in their hushed and conspiratorial nature. I remembered how my father and mother would do the same before our initiation into vampirism.

And now as I approached closer to the front door I saw Raven and my father, defined in somewhat obscurity near a candelabra, which cast upon them its trembling chiaroscuro. Lord Decumus had a piece of paper in his hand, and Raven leaned upon the wall in the shadows with her arms folded at her chest.

My father stood there, eyes glowing from behind the light of the candles, mouth parted to reveal a phalanx of teeth. His skin was pale as a tombstone.

"Come inside," Lord Decumus said. After a moment, I did.

He handed me the paper as I walked in. It was the latest edition of the Black Horse Courier. The headline of the newspaper, which no doubt would be read by many, so stunned and horrified me that I held my breath and saw miniature points of light dance before my eyes. Missing Noblewoman!

My eyes fled from the title and without ostentation—and with supreme casualness—I read, or at least attempted to read, the rest of it as I habitually tensed my jaw. Lady Priscilla missing. Dark days. Vampire attacks. Crime. Conflict with Cameron Usurper.

Lady Priscilla was dead!. With a stab of pain so intense that it was almost like remorse, I reflected whether I might have been able to avoid killing her, and avoided the madness that would ensue.

I grimaced as their eyes fell upon me, and at once I was assaulted not by the degrading and violent memories of self-submission in my death and undeath, but how that led me to becoming what I was, and what came after: burying Priscilla under the dirt.

I wanted to ask him to tell me in greater detail the circumstances of her disappearance—probably if it had to do with the mysterious vanishing of the renown figure Quintus. However, my mind was already beginning to grapple with this fact as the germinal idea to blame the recent vampiric attacks.

The only good thing about those dreadful parasites is that they can take the blame.

"An unfortunate tragedy. I hope all is well with her," I said, turning around to pour myself a cup of steer's blood. Avoiding their gaze was a safeguard, concealing the fullness of my own exposure. Sparing them from an ugly glimpse what my eyes might have sealed, not letting them catch a proportionate measure of any secrets my pupils could betray. "A terrible tragedy. The work of the vampires? Could she had fallen victim to them?"

"It is a strange thing," Lord Decumus murmured. "Lady Priscilla was well-loved by many, and very protected by her parents. She seldom left her home, and when she did she was escorted by an army of guards. For a young woman she was being watched at all times. That a pack of rabid vampires would be able to kidnap and take her away . . ."

"It almost beggars belief." Raven's brow wrinkled as she looked at me—in suspicion?

Lord Decumus was not for idle chat, he went straight to the point as he addressed both of us. "Listen closely. Your first change was physical. You became a vampyre. As your understand, this is merely the first step. The second change is when you become a vampyr of this blood, you are initiated and married into the greatest society of immortals in Cyrodiil. The first embrace is physical, the second social, but they share a singular thing. Neither can be refused. I have a task for both of you, something that will require all of your newfound skills."

My father paced around his desk.

"The matter of the thin-blooded vampires will be dealt with by you, Draken. These creatures spread like an infection. If they are not destroyed to the last one, there will be far greater concerns. To sterilize their hiding places will be your primary task, Draken. The Resolutes of Stendarr have no leader now, and they are aimless and disorganized. We will need you in their midst. You will be the eyes and ears and report to me their every move."

I blinked. "You want me to join the Resolutes of Stendarr—To become a member?"

He thought before speaking. "In a manner."

Knowing my father, I was expecting him to exercise a judicious combination of bribes, threats, and blackmail that would ensure that any eyewitnesses to our recent escapades would not go running to latest newspaper, and that they would be left alone to conduct their crusades. Raven's dramatic show, of course, helped ensure that the Resolutes of Stendarr lacked any true understanding of what had truly happened.

I was silent for a moment, thinking it over. Then I said, "In truth, I am confused. Are we not to manipulate the hand of society to mete our agendas from our offices of power? Yet you place me in their very midst."

"You will be instrumental in dismantling them from within as you help eradicate the threat of these bloodfiends. As you know, you must exercise restraint in all things. There will be errant feeding, no blatant displays of power, and certainly no telling the living about what we are. My contact in the Waterfront District will give you the details of your new quest and how to best approach it. Tomorrow evening you will go to the Imperial City and meet with my contact and exercise our prerogative."

Lord Decumus turned, and regarded my sister with a smile. It was an odd sight to see. His smile, which was practically never, was a crude perfunctory grin that was akin to a surgical incision. It left me feeling odd and intimidated as he engaged her now with an approving gaze.

"My daughter, you will have a separate task but nonetheless important. Listen carefully."

With the very act of announcing her contentment, she flared up in a change of posture. She stepped forth with, stood there like some manner of successor. Honored and elevated, she erected herself tall; proud and ready to undergo her task for the Order. Black as midnight in her robes, her fierce beauty and her unutterable woe, she had locked eyes with me long enough to appear to say that she was more than capable of success.

Raven stepped forth. "What would you have me do, father?"

There was a ludicrous, ardent, debutante tonality painting her voice which for an instant made me want to step out the room or show her the door. She was as soft as silk every time after absorbing the crimson ichor; she had a bold manner about her that was not in the least diffident or bashful, and in her voice there were all sorts of warm, and soothing modulations befit a young woman of her status.

There was dignity there, too, and that class of radiant poise and control. And yet she did not lack the minor streak of maliciousness that even the most divine of women could possess. Given this fact, I could guess that Raven's task for the Order could very much well lead her into the political realm, and I would be inclined to guess that it was her flowery exterior, and her serpentine wits that made her suited for this particular quest.

Despite my general inquisitiveness about Raven and her arcane antics, it was easy to remember a thorough image of her childhood and youth, and some things became very evident. Her subservience to our father, was just as certain, as certain as in any backwater provincial culture of the wilderness, demanding utter fealty from some young and impressionable offspring. She never questioned this fealty, I knew; it was part of her blood, and this was clear that as a little girl growing up she seldom resented such things, going as far as to offering herself to a Daedric Prince. It was all anchored by her upbringing sans my mother, in which veneration of her father was appropriate and necessary in any manner.

"I need you to go to the Imperial City. There is one among us who in significant trouble. Isabeau Northwode has lived in the Talos Plaza District for many years, but it is time for her to leave. Her cover, if you prefer, has been compromised. She has recently received a rather indelicate correspondence that if revealed would jeopardize her position and expose her true nature. I am hereby commissioning you to be my agent in this matter on our Order's directive."

"And you would like me to eradicate this threat?" Raven asked my father. Did I detect in her eyes—like a speck of dust or a ray of light—the odd glint of murderous madness?

"If it comes to it," my father said. "But you must evaluate the best option. Discretion and diplomacy is paramount where blackmail is concerned. I want you to meet with her, and she will explain in further detail what is amiss."

"Anyone bold enough to blackmail one of us warrants our attention," Raven admitted. "Do we know who is responsible?"

"That is what you need to find out."

My sister nodded, her eyes narrowing as she processed the information. "How did she manage to expose her cover?"

"That is something else you need to find out."

"The Resolutes of Stendarr will send some of their own to investigate," she noted. "More so now with these feral vampire attacks."

"Not right away," my father assured her. "This is a personal matter unknown to other parties, and that is why we must act now to prevent any further issues."

Raven responded to him with a readiness that was practically pert. "I see. I shall go to the Imperial City then. It should not take me long."

"I expect you to be there for quite some time," he said. "You will procure a safe haven of your choosing there along with your brother. The more covert we remain, the more influence we can have. You two will be placed in the city for an undefined period of time. You will contact me through an established courier."

Life in the Imperial City: the pinnacle of art, entertainment, scholarship. I was lifted above on a cloud of wonder and thinking. I found it quite pedestrian, in my ignorance, inexperience, and perhaps my conceit, to assume that my quest would go without complication. I was unable even to recall, in this moment, the teachings my father gave us. Though as a nobleman and a vampire, I knew, in a manner, how to best conduct myself in society.

As I was anchored by my uneventful, smothered life, this was the first time that I will some deeper understanding of space and air and freedom, and time away from Castle Decumus. I reflected on this—and the reflection was sweet. Oh, the Imperial City—a place that would cater to my hunger, my thirst, perhaps to my vanity; to whatever was the sum of me.

With the recent massacre at Fort Wooden Hand, it was best to say that I was caught off-guard by my father's decision in trusting me with such a delicate and fragile matter in which, arguably, Raven was better suited. In a way it was all very tempting, and I could not deny it. With the words spoken by my father of the Imperial City, my mind had painted a grand picture; away from the usual lusterless drudgery and into the greatest city of Tamriel, home to over a million people from all over the Empire, and me being a part of that city, and away from the painful memories of Castle Decumus that haunted me every waking night.

The romanticized idea of the serenity of the nocturnal hours there skewered me on the heart like a stake of nostalgia of my early years. The temptation was both powerful, and it lasted for as long as it took me take another drink of blood and brood over my recent killing before it was suspended in an imaginary idyllic mist.

Perhaps there I can escape all of this. Perhaps in the Imperial City all can be forgotten.

Perhaps.

I was civil but mechanical. "I shall see it through, father. I shall leave tomorrow evening at once."


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And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.”
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Acadian
post Apr 9 2020, 07:52 PM
Post #64


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’…surreptitious serving of caramelized goat nibbles and sun's height pudding given to us when our parents weren’t looking…’
- - a delightful phrase in which you get to exercise your Tamrielic culinary creativity. tongue.gif

I figured there would be repercussions still to come from Priscilla’s fate.

Missions for both siblings in The Imperial City! I’m quite looking forward to how each approaches their tasking.

Raven’s task sounds well-suited to her subtle skillset.

Draken will infiltrate a group focused on the very destruction of vampires. Yikes! I imagine that will certainly require some careful choices regarding his words and actions.


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SubRosa
post Apr 11 2020, 07:07 PM
Post #65


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Draken grapples with some serious issues about the identity of his family, and by extension himself. Funny how adding fangs to a person does not make the ordinary issues of life, time, and relationships go away, but instead only exacerbates them.

I was expecting the elder Decumus to send Draken to infiltrate the Stendarrites as soon as they appeared in the story. I do not envy Draken! But on the other hand, he will be getting out from under his father's thumb. As he ruminates, it will bring out whatever is the sum of him.





nits:
probably if it had to do with the mysterious vanishing of the renown{ed} figure Quintus
I am thinking you missed an {ed} where I added it there.


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