The White Wolf
It is to be noted that the works in this section take place in the Tamriel universe, as part of the Elder Scrolls franchise, which is owned and maintained by ZeniMax Studios and Bethesda Softworks. The author of these works takes no ownership of the referenced setting materials. However, all created characters are the intellectual property of the author.
Quillyn slapped the old tome he was reading to a definitive shut and threw it on the floor beside his desk. It was a book on the Daedra—one he hadn’t ever read, which was a rare find indeed. “Darkest Darkness” it was called—published anonymously. Though it was rare, it had proved to be about as valuable as the mangled leather that bound it. It had earned its place on the shelves upstairs with all the other useless trite that pompous priests and enthusiastic cultists spewed onto paper from time to time.
The dark elf rubbed his gold eyes and wondered if he would ever get his answers. He couldn’t see the clock past his feet, which were kicked up on the desk in front of him, but it had to be late—though, he supposed it hardly mattered. Sleep was a rare luxury these days. He let his head fall back to the headrest and rubbed it gently on the dark polished wood, trying to get comfortable.
There was never any information on the Princes. There was lore, sure. Myth and legend blended into one pseudo-historical account that could hardly be taken for fact.
But the Princes are real. They’re as real as the spilled blood of the people who offer themselves freely in their name. They’re as real as the katana, Goldbrand, which rested against the corner of his bed, or the Oghma Infinium locked away in the safe beside his desk. They’re as real as the Wabbajack staff that rattled away upstairs in its magically sealed case, and as real as the Razor-sharp dagger of Mehrunes Dagon that sat quietly—menacingly— in the case next to that.
Quillyn was a bit of a collector.
But these items—these Daedric artifacts, were trinkets to him. Highly valued, of course. Protected and studied in his makeshift laboratory, but still trinkets; they got him no closer to his answers. They usually only evoked more questions.
He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, and let his eyes shift from his vampiric darkvision back to the normal spectrum before opening them. He moved his feet slightly. 3:47.
He sighed. He shouldn’t have even checked.
He closed his eyes again, but this time, he felt cold pressure around his body and his head felt like it was vibrating. A soft, soothing female voice echoed around him: a voice he recognized all too well. The voice of his oldest friend and his most powerful enemy. Her voice rang out like soft bells in his mind:
“I told you, I don’t know who you’re on about! You touched in the head?” growled Balimund, Riften’s blacksmith, and the only man unfortunate enough to be awake this early. He was a large man, and not easily intimidated—but he knew what these people were. Their eyes glowed the telltale orange and he could see their teeth growing as his heart started beating faster. One of them, a tall Dunmer, the leader, he suspected, had him by the collar and up against the wall to the side of his own shop.
“Come now, don’t be coy. We know he’s here. We could just search the houses, if you’d like… But we’ve traveled a long way, friend. My brothers are… “He smiled “Hungry.”
Balimund winced at the thought and struggled to break free of the leader’s grasp, if only to go down swinging.
The leader smiled a sharp, toothy grin. “Hm. Maybe you’re telling the truth. Such a shame that he’s kept his presence a secret from you. It might’ve saved your life.”
The leader’s fangs grew even longer as his associates hissed in delight, and he got close to Balimund’s neck, and licked him. “Not my favorite, but you’ll have to–”
His sentence was broken by the whoosh and thud of an arrow to the back, and his eyes started glowing brighter and brighter. He looked like he was trying to scream, but he fell silent as he dissolved into ash and bone, dropping Balimund, who managed to land on his feet. He smirked as he recoverd.
“Looks like he found you, first.”
The two other vampires turned around and hissed. One instinctively dove to the side, behind the forge. The other wasn’t so smart, and was struck in the chest by another arrow from the sky, and he burned to ash.
Balimund was no coward, but vampires were best left to Quillyn. He started for the Guard’s quarters, running as fast as he could.
As he ran, he felt the rush of air and the flutter of cloth behind him, and smiled as a shadow overtook the forge and he heard hissing and the sound of a one-sided struggle.
“Who sent you?!” Quillyn’s words spat at the grounded vampire, who was smiling.
“My, my, Strider, the stories don’t do you justice.”
Quillyn pulled a silver-tipped arrow from his belt quiver, and stuck it against the vampire’s neck, cutting only slightly. The vampire winced as the cut burned instead of bled, and he writhed in pain. Quillyn got closer. “Who. Sent. You. I won’t ask again.”
The vampire laughed an airy, defeated laugh.
“Kill me if you so desire. More will take my place. We are the Volkihar.”
The name struck Quillyn deeply. He knew the Volkihar to be an ancient vampire clan—one that hasn’t been seen in centuries—no, even longer. He had searched for them, long ago, but nothing came of it. He thought they had vanished altogether.
“Liar!” Quillyn dug the tip in deeper, and the glowing intensified.
The vampire struggled and squirmed under the pain. “Vaashi mal de’shok!” he screamed.
He pulled the tip from the creature’s neck. His eyes went wide as he realized that he had, for the first time in centuries, heard the language of his heritage. This vampire had just spoken Chimeri.
The vampire laughed. “My lady Serana told me to tell you that if we found you.” He looked deep into Quillyn’s gold eyes. “We have a new champion—a halfblood, like you… “He cackled at the thought. “But no longer… Our father has turned him, and he will lead us to a new age of glory!”
Quillyn snapped out of his trance and stuck the tip back in the monster’s neck. “What is this champion’s name?”
The vampire coughed and ash sputtered out. He smiled. “His name is Thareth, you disgusting wretch.” He laughed again. “And he hunts the White Wolf.”
The vampire cackled in ecstasy and Quillyn thrust the tip in deep. The vampire’s laughter was cut off by the crackling of dissolving flesh and bone.
Quillyn sat there, crouched over the pile of ash, for some time.
Serana? Thareth? The White Wolf…
“Vaashi mal de’shok.”
He mouthed the words slowly and meaning started to coalesce in his mind, linking together like old, rusted cogs, slowly turning.
“You are not alone.”