Part 40 - Meeting Serana

Clark had let Gilda know by courier of his plans to visit Solstheim with Vicuņa, so she knew he'd be at Candlehearth Hall. He was half-expecting her to visit them there, if only to tell him how things were with the Thieves Guild, and Maven Black-briar. He wasn't expecting the young woman who turned up in her place.

Except that she wasn't young, she just looked that way. Serana was several times older than him. "I'm not sure how long ago I was locked away in Dimhollow Crypt," she told him, "but there wasn't an Emperor in Cyrodiil back then."

She'd found out about Clark from Gilda, who she'd met in Riften. Serana had joined the Thieves Guild as an appropriate vocation for someone of a nocturnal disposition. Clark could see from her eyes that she was a vampire, and like Sibylle Stentor in Solitude, or Hert and Hern at Half-moon Mill, she clearly had it under control. She'd lost her father recently. or rather, helped kill him, and she wanted Clark's help in getting her mother back.

"What makes you think I can help?" he asked.

"First, the fact that you just asked that question, rather than why you'd want to. There aren't that many people that would be prepared to help a vampire with anything. Second, Gilda told me you were an immortal, too, and that could be the key to reaching my mother, Valerica."

"What else did Gilda tell you?"

"She said that you'd been made immortal directly by a Daedric Prince, like I was. So I thought you'd be understanding, and willing to assist. I can see you're not a vampire, so I assume it wasn't Molag Bal in your case."

Clark suspected that Molag Bal might not have been as considerate as Nocturnal and Azura. "You'd better tell me the whole story first. Take your time."

Of course, there was a gap of centuries in the middle of her tale where she had no idea what was going on in the world. She knew that Harkon, her father, had had the same plan to acquire and corrupt Auriel's bow all that time. He wanted to turn off the sun, so that vampires could roam at all times. Clark could see a large number of problems with that idea, so he wasn't surprised it had opposition even from other vampires.

It wasn't clear to her why it had all come to a head just now. Perhaps that had been connected with Isran reforming the Dawnguard, and recruiting the young Nord who'd been the catalyst. She'd been entombed, and her mother in hiding, all that time, until he'd awakened her and set the whole thing in motion.

The Hunter, as Serana referred to him, had taken her back to Volkihar Castle, but refused Harkon's offer to make him a vampire. Her father had made it clear that he wouldn't get the same offer twice. Serana's intent was to try and stop Harkon's scheme, and she thought at first that she'd stand a better chance of doing so from within the family. It hadn't taken her long to reject that idea, and she'd gone looking for the Hunter back at Fort Dawnguard.

Together, they'd found two more Elder Scrolls to go with the one she'd had with her in Dimhollow Crypt. The lack of the scrolls had apparently been what was stopping Harkon from proceeding with his plans, and he'd let her leave the castle again, in the hope that Serana would find them for him.

One of the scrolls had been taken by the Dwemer, and was hidden in a ruin in Skyrim. The other was in the possession of her mother, Valerica, who'd taken it to the Soul Cairn and got trapped there by the Ideal Masters. Serana wasn't sure who they were, but she thought they had something to do with Molag Bal. They'd brought the scroll back, but Valerica had stayed in the Soul Cairn, refusing to leave until Harkon was dead.

Once they had the scrolls, it had been a question of staying one step ahead of the other vampires while they used them to track down Auriel's Bow, which was just as important to the Dawnguard's side as it was to Harkon's. It was the only way to finally put an end to Harkon and his plans. Serana and the Hunter had finally confronted Harkon in the Cathedral at his own castle, and the Hunter had used Auriel's Bow to slay the vampire lord.

"It wasn't until afterward that I discovered what the Hunter's motivations were," Serana continued. "He asked me, or rather demanded, that I get cured of my vampirism. I got the impression that he thought I was to be his reward for the whole effort, and my being a vampire didn't fit with his plans. Since I'd just eliminated my father for trying to plan my existence for his own benefit, I wasn't about to let a mortal take over. Besides, after what I went through to become immortal, I wasn't too pleased with the idea of losing that. I sent him back to Fort Dawguard, and I've erased his name from my memory."

"So where do I fit in?" Clark asked. "That all sounds very complete. Harkon's dead, the Hunter is out of your life, and your mother's free to return."

"Free to return, yes. But she won't believe me when I tell her that my father's been slain. She knows better than anyone how powerful a vampire he was. She thinks he's using me to trick her, and so I need someone else to confirm my story. Someone who's not a vampire, and therefore not one of Harkon's minions."

"There has to be something more than that involved. Or else anyone could help."

"Well, my mother's still in the Soul Cairn, and anyone who goes there has to be dead, or undead, or maybe immortal. I'm not quite sure any more. When I took the Hunter with me, we were able to trick the portal by partially soul-trapping him. I don't think that would work a second time. Anyone dead couldn't come back, a vampire wouldn't convince my mother, so the only option that's left is an immortal - like you."

"Are you in a hurry? I was just leaving for Solstheim, so can it wait until I get back?"

"Of course. She's been trapped there for centuries. What's a few more weeks?"