Part 11: The Elder Updates XI - To Crowhaven!Dahlia's fine, you worry-warts. The various men on her ship were just pirates that valued their privacy. A lot.
...who are you?
I am Lucien Lachance, a Speaker for the Dark Brotherhood. And you, you are a killer. A taker of life. A harvester of souls.
I will hear your opportunity.
Then heed my words, for I will not repeat them. On the Green Road to the north of Bravil lies the Inn of Ill Omen. There you will find a man named Rufio. Kill him, and your initiation into the Dark Brotherhood will be complete. Do this, and the next time you sleep in a location I deem secure, I will reveal myself once more, bearing the love of your new family.
That's it? Easily done.
Excellent! Now please, accept this token from the Dark Brotherhood. It is a virgin blade, and thirsts for blood. May it serve your endeavors well. Now, I bid you farewell. I do hope we'll meet again soon.
Lucien actually turns invisible and leaves the scene instead of relying on any kind of magic teleportation bullshit. It's a nice touch!
The life of an assassin could be lucrative...but first, I'd like to go into Crowhaven. I came all this way, of course.
Nice virgin blade, though.
As far as attack power, the Blade of Woe isn't anything to write home about just yet. It's weightless, looks sweet as hell, and will happily harm ghosts, so we'll hang on to it. Not that we could drop it, being a quest item.
Is...is that my horse?!
Oh, right, I should point something out here - as you can see by the compass, the map marker for Dunbarrow Cove isn't actually where the cove itself is. Probably something to do with not wanting you to fast travel into water. When I went to rest there, I fast traveled, and when you fast travel, your horse shows up. Handy!
To Crowhaven, and to adventure!
A cave? Well, adventure awaits.
...hm. Nothing here.
Hrota Cave turned out to be entirely devoid of enemies, which I'm sure wasn't intended behavior, so what the hell, game?
Oblivion's Not That Bad Points: -7 +
Just to Crowhaven, then!
Looks like a Crowhaven to me.
Oh, goddammit. Skeletons?
Out of my way!
Let's see what secrets this old place hides.
Timber Wolves, to be precise. Every five levels, the game decides it's time to integrate a new tier of enemies. Timber Wolves are, obviously, stronger versions of Wolves. There's still some enemies from the first tier in here, so it's not too horrible.
I needed to practice my Restoration anyway.
These guys don't mess around...
I'm just gonna catch my breath.
No shame in abusing waiting.
These big doors looks promising.
Gods, I love sniping.
Bandits? Something doesn't feel right.
Poison will help.
Thank you poison
These are some tough bandits.
Freeze and die.
Thank you magic
Okay, this is slightly heavier than our Steel Bow, but it's made of finest silver, so, y'know, fuck it.
...what in Oblivion? A portion of his flesh seems to have...turned into dust.
And...his too? Oh, no.
Those were no bandits. They were vampires!
There you are.
Invisibility goes away if you happen to do something like attack an enemy or cast a spell. NPCs aren't really smart enough to do much else in combat, so it merely confuses the player for a moment.
Gah! Crafty vampire...
I've still got options.
Come here, you...
Gah! Did...did you just scratch me?
I feel a bit...woozy. Cold and woozy.
Boy oh boy, Porphyric Hemophilia! For now we just have a negligible penalty to our Fatigue, but in three days it'll blossom into Vampirism.
Okay, I...I may have the vampirism disease. It's fine if I cure it in time.
Even if I went vampire...I could get by, right?
So, should Sterv go vampire? Unlike in Morrowind, it's actually kinda beneficial. There are four phases, each with greater bonuses and drawbacks than the last, depending on how long it's been since you last had yourself some blood. If you've just fed, you have some minor stat boosts, take no damage in the sunlight, and get no disposition penalty while talking to people. If you go 24 hours or more without feeding (and then wait or rest), you take damage in the sunlight and have a minor disposition penalty while talking to people, and so on and so forth. I could go on, but it'd just wind up being more or less what's on the wiki page, so I strongly recommend you just go read that. Seriously, if you don't already know how vampirism works in Oblivion, read the wiki page or don't vote on the matter.
Can't panic. Just practice my spells. Practice.
Okay. I'm fine.
I'll soon find Agronak's proof, and then I can go back to the city.
Besides, I've got plenty of time to think it over. From everything I've heard, it takes three days for vampirism to set in.
Get back! Back, I said!
Diiiiiiiie? Oh, thank the Gods.
Hey, nice dagger.
Just as strong as our Steel Longsword, 19 pounds lighter, and if I remember correctly, a bit faster too! We'll take the fuck out of that.
"Journal of the Lord Lovidicus". Let's see here...
Journal of the Lord Lovidicus posted:
Entry 1: Beauty! Pure and sublime. That is the only way to describe my love, the maiden gro-Malog. True, the Orcs of Tamriel are often vilified by the other citizens of the Empire, and rarely would they be considered a pleasure to look upon. So, is my maiden Luktuv a rare breed of Orc, unlike the rest of her kin in physical appearance? Nay. In fact, she is the perfect representative of her race, green skin, muscular frame and all. But beautiful she is, all the same. For who am I to judge? Who am I to criticize when so many would condemn my very existence? I can only hope my love is as understanding when she learns of my unique condition, for I have yet to reveal that most precious of secrets.
Entry 2: Damn the politics of my station! Taxation and trade negotiations and meetings with disingenuous aristocrats -- it's sometimes enouhg to make me regret my birthright altogether. I've spent the latter half of my life hiding my identity, guarding my secret. But now I am faced with an even greater challenge, for if word were to get out that I have fallen in love with a servant -- and an Orc, no less -- I would be all but ruined! Such is the life of the Cyrodilic nobleman.
Entry 3: Curse me for a coward, but I have not yet found the strength to tell my beloved Luktuv the truth. Perhaps it's for the best, for what benefit is there in her knowing? She would share all of my fears but none of my abilities. Her life would become one of doubt and uncertainty. Still, if she is to spend her remaining mortal days with me, she has the right to know the truth.
Entry 4: Joy and ealtation! She is with child! My beloved Luktuv is carrying my child! The midwives predict a boy, and we have already settled on the name Agronak. In truth, I never realized such miracles were even possible, but the Divines have granted us their blessing, and so shall it be. I must wonder, of course, if my dear child will share in my Dark Gift. Only time will tell.
Entry 5: Tonight the truth will be revealed. I will tell my beloved Luktuv everything. Shhe wil know who and what I am, and we will decide how best to raise the precious child that grows in her womb.
Entry 6: Betrayal! Foul and loathsome harlot! How dare Luktuv question my motives, question the love I have for my own unborn child! When she learned the truth, that I, the Lord Lovidicus, am no longer human, that I have walked Tamriel as a vampire for the past two hundred years, how quickly she judged me! So, I am a monster, am I? Perhaps I should have proven her right. Perhaps I should have drained her dry when I had the chance! But I loved her, as deeply as a man has ever loved a woman, and I wanted nothing more than to bring our baby into this world and embrace my new role as father. Perhaps when Luktuv has come to her senses -- for she refuses to come out of her room -- we can have rational discourse about our future. I do not, however, retain much hope.
Entry 7: Imprisoned! Imprisoned in my own home! While I slept, Luktuk locked me in my own private chambers. She called to me through the doors, told me of her plan to escape with our unborn child. She means to keep my baby from me! When I get free, I will find the traitorous whore and rip the child from her very womb!
Entry 8: Two weeks. Two weeks have passed since Luktuv locked me in my quarters. Try as I might, I cannot free myself. I cannot breach the doors! If I don't feed soon, I feel I will go mad.
Entry 9: Food blood blood blood blood I need itI need blood need blood
Entry 10: ...
The poor man.
Agronak must know the truth.
Come on, horse! No time to waste!
I don't particularly feel like heading through the wilderness, so fast travel it is!
This is wonderful news! The words of the Lord Lovidicus himself! Perfect!
Ah, but I believe I owe you something, eh? Here, let me show you these moves. Step like this...now strike...all right, now parry...that's it! There you are, some of the best combat moves you'll ever learn! You'll need them if you want to last more than five seconds against me in the Arena.
We get permanent +3 increases to Blade, Block, and Athletics here, and they don't even send us closer to leveling up! The game doesn't notify us of it since skipped from 24 to 27 in it, but we now have the standing power attack that comes with Apprentice-level skill in Blade. Oblivion veterans will know there's a roundabout benefit to the training, but it won't be relevant for a while yet.
I'm no "Gray Prince!" I'm the spawn of evil! I thought my father was a nobleman, not some blood-sucking monster! I...I can't...all a lie! A lie...
I...I just wanted to get some training. Dammit!
LET ME HIT SOMETHING.
So then I fought six matches in the Arena because sometimes that's just what you DO when you're playing a video game, dammit.
In so doing, I learned the value of jumping and cowardice, and made a tidy sum of gold!
I learned to run more efficiently, too!
After that, we picked the lockbox for Arena spectator money clean.
Then there was a whole bunch of burglary that, honestly, you don't need or want to see. I managed to brew up a Cure Disease potion in case we want to ditch Vampirism, though.
This being an Elder Scrolls game, of course, I leveled up my Conjuration amd Mysticism to Apprentice while I was at it, and bought a few basic summon spells.
So here we are! As a bright-eyed level 5 character, it's up to you to decide Sterv's next move. We'll want to pick a guild to join (though I plan on covering all of them eventually), and a city to poke around in. The available guilds are the Fighter's Guild, the Thieves' Guild, the Mage's Guild, and the Dark Brotherhood. The available cities are Bruma, Chorrol, Skingrad, Anvil, Cheydinhal, Bravil, and Leyawiin. Of course, if you want me to go deliver the damn Amulet of Kings to Weynon Priory already and do some main quest before anything else, I can do that too. And please, whatever you vote for, please keep the gossip in check. If there's something you want me to see in particular, point me in the right direction, but don't come out and say there's a wizarding tournament in Bob Wizard's basement. Last but not least, fire dagger or fire bow for our use of the Sigil Stone?
Light Armor: 57
Not class skills
Hand To Hand: 26
Heavy Armor: 18
Those little bars in the corner of the screen
Fatigue: 183 -5 due to Porphyric Hemophilia