Part 50 - Daughters of Coldharbour

"That was Castle Volkihar, of course. It was empty when we got here, and although it was dirty and full of skeevers, it looked sound. Harkon told me that it had once been the home of a clan of vampires, and they had a shrine to Molag Bal there. But I shouldn't worry, Deadric Princes can only come to Tamriel if they're summoned, and who'd want to summon him?"

"Harkon hired some staff, to help us clean up the place, and maintain it after that. There was a delightful little courtyard where I planted flowers and medicinal herbs, and spent much of my time while I was waiting for Serana to arrive. Harkon didn't like it, it was too peaceful, and made him restless. He always seemed to want to go off and find a cave full of bandits to fight after he'd spent any time there."

"He never knew about the secret passage from there to my study. Nor did any of the staff. I didn't find it myself until Serana was already grown, and I'd been a vampire for several years."

"I should tell you about how that happened, shouldn't I?" Valerica inquired. "It will tell you a lot about Harkon."

"One of the staff came to the courtyard looking for me. I was surprised that Harkon didn't come himself, as he knew where I'd be. The servant asked if I'd come to the Cathedral, as Harkon had something he wanted to show me."

"I was curious why he'd chosen that place, as we rarely went in there. I always found the shrine, with its perpetual blood fountain, a bit too creepy. Molag Bal, to me, wasn't someone you worshipped. You'd prefer that he ignore you, or he could make a misery of your life, or even beyond. Harkon didn't seem to mind, but I'd always put that down to male bluster."

"Anyway, as soon as the door closed behind me, a huge black demon materialised next to the shrine, and Harkon was behind me, pushing towards him. And I mean him. The creature was naked; I'm not even sure he had skin. And conspicuously male."

"Molag Bal?" Clark asked.

Valerica nodded. "The King of Rape himself. I knew what was likely to happen next, and I wasn't wrong. You'll understand if I omit the nastier details. It was his intent to cause me as much pain and degradation as possible, and he knew how. I found myself thinking that I just wanted it to end, and If I had to die to make that happen, so be it."

"That's when it stopped. Clearly, that was what gave Molag Bal his satisfaction - his victim's total surrender. I collapsed on the floor and just cried. Nobody came to help me, not even Harkon."

"The pain went away faster than I expected. Especially as he'd sunk his jagged claws in my breasts, I was expecting to be healing myself for weeks. But I was whole again, and somehow felt more alive than before. Stronger, too."

"I got up and looked around. Harkon was there, watching me. And all the staff. With glowing eyes that told me they were all vampires. Every one of them."

"Harkon congratulated me on becoming a 'Daughter of Coldharbour'. He said that it was an honour not bestowed on many, as few survived the ordeal with Molag Bal. Before I could knock his teeth down his throat, he turned and walked out of the Cathedral."

"When I got back to my room, I saw in the mirror that I had become a vampire, too. And I'd started to calm down by then. There was a book I'd seen Harkon reading on the bedside table, and I picked it up and read about what I'd just become."

"It made some sense. Harkon, being Harkon, would want to become the most powerful kind of vampire possible, and he'd want that for his wife, too. Naturally Molag Bal doesn't want volunteers, so he wouldn't have been able to warn me, or it might have gone wrong."

Clark must have raised an eyebrow or something, as Valerica hastily explained. "No I don't mean I'd have been willing at all. Although Harkon might have thought that. He was 'vigorous' with me, to say the least, and he knew I like it that way. No, I meant that if I'd had any warning I might have resisted too well, and have angered Bal. Harkon did at least want me to survive."

"I still wouldn't be any hurry to forgive Harkon for this 'gift'. Yes, I was made more powerful, but it had hurt like... " She paused. "Nothing could hurt like that!"

"And then I thought about Serana. Her parents had just become vampires, and she hadn't. How would she react? Of course, I hadn't figured out at that early stage that Harkon intended her to go thorugh the same ordeal that I had. Serana was still a child, and she didn't have a clue about sex."

"When I did add it all up, I made sure she'd be better prepared than I was. I couldn't tell her anything, naturally, but I did everything I could to help improve her chances. I figured that I'd need to keep Serana a virgin, as losing it's painful, but survivable. Perhaps Molag Bal wouldn't need too much more pain from my daughter. And we trained her fighter-hard, so she'd be tough enough to withstand it."

"Of course, she had asked many times while she was growing when she'd become a vampire. I told her that vampires stopped aging when they were turned, so we'd want to wait until she was an adult. If we didn't, she 'd be stuck as a child for ever. That seemed to satify her curiosity."

"Keeping her virginity intact wasn't too hard at the isolated Castle. The vampire clan we'd gathered around us were firmly in Harkon's control, and we had mortal cattle in the basement cells for all their hungers. I tended to keep her with me, too, and not let her wander around where she might read the wrong books."

"I took her to the Cathedral on Bal's summoning day myself. I knew it was inevitable, and I couldn't stop Harkon doing it if I didn't. I don't think she had any idea what was going to happen, just that this was the day for her to become a vampire at last. She might even have been looking forward to that."

"Harkon took over once Serana was inside the Cathedral, and the door closed. He led her up to the altar and summoned Bal, telling him that he had a present for him. A virgin."

"Serana promptly screamed, and tried to run away. Which was exactly the right reaction. Molag Bal must have been able to sense her fear, as everyone else could. I turned away as he grabbed hold of her, and pulled her legs apart."

Serana's Face
Serana's Face

"I asked one of the others if it was over yet. She told me that it wasn't, that Molag Bal was taking much longer than he had with me. But Serana was still with us, and I shouldn't worry. When they told me it was coming to an end, I looked around to see her kneeling in front of him, and presenting her face for his 'blessing'"

Clark hadn't noticed Serana joining them. Her expression at being reminded of the events can't easily be described.

"What mother told you about total surrender, wanting to die just to end it, that happened for me, too. Right at the beginning, when I felt like I was being turned inside out the hard way. But he didn't stop, and I didn't die. The pain faded, more slowly than I'd have liked, but it did fade. I was just numb, and detached from what was going on, until he tried to drown me at the end."

"And I was a vampire, another Daughter of Coldharbour, just like my father wanted. At the time, we thought he just wanted us to be like him. That was what I wanted then, although I'd have chosen a different method. Just about any other way, really."