Part 51 - Daughters 2

"It wasn't until later that we found out about the prophecy. Basically, that needed a Daughter of Coldharbour to die, so that her blood could be used in some ritual with Auriel's bow. The details of how to do that were in the Elder Scrolls, and Harkon started looking for the right ones. He found one of the three, and mother managed to steal it from him. That's when she hid me in Dimhollow Crypt, and tried to hide herself in the Soul Cairn."

"Harkon didn't know I already had one of the scrolls," Valerica added. "I took that one with me to the Soul Cairn to keep it separate from the one I hid with Serana. There would have been only one more needed, and then he could have started to look for the bow."

"But why did you think he intended to sacrifice one of you?" Clark asked. "Weren't there Daughters of Coldharbour other than his own wife and daughter? I'd have expected him to be hunting for them, at the same time as the scrolls."

"Because there weren't any others," Valerica replied. "Harkon tried to summon Bal again the next year, but he wouldn't respond. I doubt the poor girl he'd found would have made it, but she couldn't even be offered."

"And I searched the archives that the Dawnguard kept," Serana added. "There are no reports of any since me. I don't think my father would have given up trying to create more, so I just have to assume that nobody else survived Bal."

"Or that he wouldn't answer the summon," Clark surmised. "Do you want to know what I think happened? I think you became a vampire at just the same point your mother described, when you surrendered control of your life to the Daedric Prince. But with your new vampire strength, you were able to withstand his assault, and he was having too much pleasure to stop. If you'd understood that, you'd have been able to control him, but you were a first-timer without any experience to draw on, and didn't. He dodged the arrow then, but now he's afraid of losing control again, and won't take the chance by coming here."

"Wait, you're saying Molag Bal is afraid of me?" Serana asked, incredulous.

"No he's afraid of not being able to control his own urges," Valerica responded. "But that's almost the same thing."

Clark was hearing other voices. Inside his head. Voices he recognised, because they'd been there before. "Yes, you can come and have a chat," he told them. "Just let me warn the others."

"Azura and Nocturnal would like to speak to us," Clark announced. "I think they overheard what I was thinking."

They materialised either side of Clark, and Azura gave him an affectionate squeeze. There was something different about the way she looked and he wasn't sure what it was.

"Bigger breasts," she told him. "I'd noticed you were spending time with some quite spectacular women, so I thought I'd give them a try."

Nocturnal had changed even more than her sister. She'd apparently got bored with her "black glow" and looked more like a mortal woman. Or rather, what a mortal woman would wish to look like. Hers might have been a bit larger than Clark remembered, too, but she didn't have them out on display the way Azura did.

"It appears that Clark also likes vampires," Nocturnal pointed out. "Even if Molag Bal doesn't favour these two any more."

"Yes, Molag Bal," agreed Azura. "Just the topic we came to discuss. I think Clark's hit the nail right on the head. Serana was more than he was expecting, and now he's bound to be ... embarrassed, at least."

"Especially now that we know about it," agreed Nocturnal. "He should just be glad that we haven't told Boethiah."

Azura giggled at that, a reaction the two vampire women weren't expecting from a Daedric Princess. "No, we wouldn't do that, would we? Not until it would be really useful, anyway. No point in playing your cards too soon, is there?"

"But now you know, if Molag Bal finds out that you know, aren't we in a lot of trouble?" Serana asked.

"No more than Valerica was in, in the Soul Cairn." Nocturnal replied. "I'm convinced the actions of the Ideal Masters were at Bal's bidding. That's as much as he's capable of, outside of Coldharbour. He can't take direct action in Mundus, so you'll be safe enough."

"And we're not forgetting the 'direct action' he took with both of you," Azura added. "He could only do that because he was summoned to do so. Harkon's dead, and nobody else would have the motivation to summon him against you. Besides, you control the shrine, and there aren't many others where he can appear."

"You can't destroy the shrine," Nocturnal pointed out. "Even we couldn't do that. But it's just an ugly ornament until someone uses it. And by use it, I mean more than just drinking some of the blood. It will sustain a vampire without getting Molag Bal involved at all, so I wouldn't even consider blocking the Cathedral off from the rest of the castle. The blood fountain's too useful."

"Does that work the same way as the ones in the Deadlands?" Clark asked. He'd been there way back when he rescued Cyndil the archer from the dremora.

"Yes, pretty much so," she agreed. "But those were set up to restore health. This one's a bit more vampire-specific, and wouldn't do you any good. But the magicka that powers it is all around us, and doesn't come from Bal himself. That's why the blood fountains in Mehrunes Dagon's realm would aid his allies and enemies alike"

After Azura and Nocturnal had gone, Serana spoke to Clark. "So they were the ones who made you immortal, weren't they? I'd assumed that if it wasn't Molag Bal, it would be Boethiah. After all, she's a woman, sometimes, and Gilda had said that sex was involved."

"And now you're curious, aren't you? Especially now you've met them, and they're not a pair of scary monsters."

"Azura's pair were monsters, but I wouldn't call them scary," Valerica agreed. She hadn't met Gilda, of course. Serana had, and she said nothing.

"Yes, well they weren't always like that," Clark replied. "And they're probably already back to normal size, since I didn't go wild about them. She's awesome anyway, and she should know that without my reminding her. But that's just one thing about her that will probably never change. She likes being admired, and wants to deserve it, too."

Clark sat the two women down, and started the lengthy tale of how he'd first encountered Nocturnal, in Minx's bedroom at the Cyrodiil Thieves Guild, and how that had led to him retrieving Azura's Crescent, when it was stolen by a Khajiit burglar.

"So you did it with both of them, but none of that made you immortal?" Serana queried. "And the way you described it, it sounded like you were having fun."

"He was," her mother answered. "Just keep listening. It will do you good."

"It was indeed very enjoyable, and after one particularly good session with Azura, she asked me if that wasn't the best I'd ever had. I told her it might have been second best, so of course she wanted to know when I'd had better."

"I told her that, no it wasn't her sister, who was as good, in her own way, but not better. She should think again. Who could be better than Azura?"

"It was herself, when I brought back the Crescent. She was so overjoyed to get it back, she just had to share that feeling with someone. That was what made it special, sharing the joy. Not trying to impress me."

"Azura was pleased with that answer, but she still wanted to know how I could even think about other times while all that was going on. So I had to tell how how I'd trained that ability as a spy for the Empire, with Taminwe in particular. And we'd learned as much from each other because we shared every new trick we discovered."

"Azura had noticed my emphasis on sharing. Was sharing the secret?"

"Not a secret, just something she might not have thought about before. She was the unequalled ruler of her own realm, so it just didn't come up, except for situations like this."

"Azura told me she'd rarely learned something new from a mortal, and she thought I should be rewarded. She asked her sister what she thought would be appropriate, and Nocturnal told her that if she kept rewarding me the way she usually did, I'd need to be immortal or I'd wear out!"

"Of course, when Nocturnal joined her to help do that, I started to wonder if they were putting my new immortality to the test. I told them that together they'd just set the new high mark, because that's what Azura liked to hear, and it was true, anyway."

"And by sharing, she'd remarked."

"Are you trying to suggest that the three of us...?" Valerica began.