Disclaimer: I do not own Skyrim. Though given the name of this site that should already be blatantly obvious.
Skin as Pale as Snow
As Adenah stepped forth into the gathering dusk the great doors of the ancient castle Volkihar closed behind her with a resolute thud. She took a breath, drawing the chill salt-laden sea air deep into her lungs. The wind gusted, pelting her with soggy white flakes that clung to her armour, snowflakes sliding slickly down the green-tinted plates of Orichalcum.
Within the shadowed recesses of her peaked helm Adenah's eyes shone with an unearthly light, a pair of twin coals glowing sullenly. She sniffed again, enhanced senses catching the barest whiff of a familiar scent.
Warm bodies. Sweat. Steel. Blood.
One eyebrow rose in an elegant motion. Heavy lidded eyes narrowed in predatory contemplation.
Humans HERE? My, they are ambitious.
The Breton woman flicked a glance at the hooded figure at her side who was regarding the weather with a look that spoke eloquently of her distaste.
"It appears we have some unexpected guests." She noted wryly. "Let us go and greet the weary travellers."
With that the armour-clad woman vanished into the chaotically whirling eddies of snow. She grasped the hilt of Summer's Spite, the metallic ring of razor-edged Skyforge steel being drawn swallowed by the winds. Serana followed silently behind.
Adenah ghosted through the growing blizzard, silent despite the plates of toughened metal encasing her deceptively slight form. She paused in the shadow of a gargoyle at the end of the arching bridge.
There were three of them, she could hear their hearts pulsing in their breasts, pumping hot salty life-giving fluid through their veins. This close she could almost taste it. Saliva pooled in her mouth, fangs distending in response to the prospect of feeding.
One was perched crossbow in hand at the top of the old watchtower by the dock, two more (these in heavier armour) wandered warily around the base, axes drawn and ready. Their armour was easily recognisable, as if the crossbow hadn't been all by itself. Dawnguard.
She wasn't terribly surprised that they'd found this place. Bloody great castles were hardly subtle after all, not to mention that that arrogant bastard Harkon didn't seem to have bothered to move in innumerable centuries. Still, it was the height of folly to send a mere three soldiers into the lair of such powerful vampires alone. Clearly they had no idea just what they were dealing with.
They were obviously not part of a full on assault on the castle, yet not nearly stealthy or skilled enough to be assassins (she would know after all). Even if by some strange miracle they actually managed to sneak past the rest of the court, superhuman senses and all, and actually surprise Harkon alone it still would make very little difference. He'd tear apart amateurs like these in a single breath and scarcely note it as a momentary distraction.
A scouting party then? That would make sense. The vampire's mouth stretched into a feral grin, such a pity they wouldn't be making it back with a report.
One of the armoured figures had trudged closer to her hiding place, the other having wandered off round the side of the small island towards they disused dock. He was a particularly bulky looking specimen of a Nord, even larger and heavier built than most of his ilk, and he must have towered over her by nearly two full feet. A man most likely accustomed to using his size and brute strength to overpower his foes. It wouldn't help him here.
Adenah darted forward in a veritable blur of motion, vampiric strength surging through her. His axe rose with almost painful slowness, seeming to her eyes to be moving through thick treacle. She lashed out viciously, striking out with magically strengthened steel.
There was a metallic clang which produced a brief spark and a subtle cracking squelch. The man's weapon fell from a nerveless grip as he grunted in a mixture of pain and shock. Bringing her blade around in a smooth arc she drove it through his armour and in at an upwards angle right into his gut. Flames burst forth as the enchantment roared to life, the odour of cooking meat spilling into the night air.
As the Nord let out a choked cry he bowed over the weapon that held him transfixed, involuntarily exposing his throat in the process. The vampiress' eyes blazed with hunger as she took the opening, grabbing his shoulder with bruising strength and lunging with a bestial snarl.
Ivory fangs pierced the skin without impediment, parting muscle and severing blood vessels until succulent nectar poured into her mouth. She slurped greedily, gulping down mouthfuls of the liquid as swiftly as possible. Her eyes grew lidded and she hummed in pleasure as she sated her long neglected thirst, stolen vitality thrumming through her body.
It had been far too long since she had last fed.
From the periphery of her vision Adenah saw the second Dawnguard scout charging towards her bellowing incoherently in outrage. Only to be smacked directly in the face by a bolt of lightning, courtesy of Serana. The crackling bolt of electricity split the air, filling the world for just an instant with a flash of blue radiance.
The man dropped stunned and twitching to the barren earth as tiny arcs of energy flickered and crawled across his armour. And that right there was precisely why so many warriors who spent their lives traipsing around in mobile lightning conductors positively hated mages who could turn the very thing that so often saved them in combat into a weapon that could be used against them.
Adenah blinked in surprise as a huge black shape burst from the shadows, reared with a scream of equine fury and came down on the soldier's spine, hard. There was a crunch and all movement stilled.
What the, how did? … Nevermind.
She'd long since given up asking just how Shadowmere got around, it just wasn't worth the inevitable headache. Though she was absolutely positive (He? She?) it been left on the mainland (rickety canoes not being made to accommodate horses or horse-shaped entities) and yet it'd somehow managed to cross that stretch of sea without getting wet. Honestly sometimes that creature creeped even her out a little.
Her thoughts and meal were rudely interrupted by a mechanical thunk and wind-cutting whine. She leapt back reflexively, gracefully pulling free the still-smoking long sword and making a short sharp hacking movement.
A crossbow bolt dropped at her feet, cut in perfect halves.
Suppressing a growl of irritation Adenah spat out a tattered chunk of human flesh, crimson streaks staining her chin, and reached within for that seething storm of light and power that was her Dovah Sil. The power bubbled up in her chest, rose like a cresting wave and built in her throat.
The word cracked like a whip, reverberating with draconic might as reality was reshaped to the Dragonborn's command. A pulse of energy stirred the snowflakes gathering at her feet pushing them outwards in a concentric circle as her armoured figure abruptly shimmered, turning transparent, the colour leeching away as another bolt hissed towards her. Wisps of ethereal smoke rose from the impact point as the shaft passed harmlessly through the centre of her now intangible chest.
Adenah glared contemptuously upwards at the third scout barely visible crouched behind watchtower's crenelated summit as he clumsily reloaded his crossbow. Her ghostly form slipped from sight as she sprinted for the blackened doorless entrance, ascended the spiralling stairs in long, smooth loping strides and emerged again into the gathering blizzard.
The remaining Dawnguard scout leaned over the edge with his back to her, entirely oblivious to her presence. The man ducked frantically as a writhing lance of magic spat overhead before popping up to fire another bolt at the Dragonborn's companion below.
She drew upon her Magicka, expertly twisting and compressing the warm flow of power into a flickering sphere grasped loosely between the splayed digits of her offhand. As the power of the Thu'um receded the colour bled back into the world and the material regained sway.
She released her mental hold on the spell, sending it darting forth to strike the enemy full in the back. Flames ballooned outwards as the concussive force of the fireball send him staggering, arms flailing for balance, crossbow forgotten as it spun over the edge as was lost to the sea. The would-be vampire hunter scrambled to face her, reaching for a knife as he did so.
Adenah spun as her arm lashed out, raking the keen edge of her blade across the man's ribs. He cried out as the protection offered by the lightweight armour proved insufficient, giving way to enchanted steel, flames licking at the wound.
Blood splattered the tower top, though not as much as might be expected from an injury of such severity, having been partially cauterised by the spelled sword.
The crossbowman fell to his knees with a metallic jangle. Grasping at his side with one hand and reaching out beseechingly with the other he seemed to shrink as he huddled in on himself.
"I cannot best you, please-" He hissed out, desperation edging his tone.
Adenah ignored him and stepped in close, grasped the hilt of Summer's Spite in both hands and raised it overhead. The man froze in horrified realisation, a foul stench arising as his bowels released from sheer terror. Light glinted, the sword stabbed down.
Adenah relaxed her grip on her weapon and stepped back to survey her handiwork. The vampire hunter lay splayed across the ice-slicked tower top, the shining blade protruding from him spine holding him pinned as he breathed out his last ragged breathes.
Just like a bug. She mused, eyes shining with cruel amusement. Poor ignorant fool.
She stepped forward again, pulled the sword free with a wet shlick and negligently flicked it, scattering a mist of red droplets. She surveyed the burnt-on residue with a look of mild irritation. As entertaining as fire enchanted weaponry was it did have its downsides.
Adenah sheathed her sword before leaping nimbly up onto the crumbling battlements. She stood on the brink with the northern winds roaring around her, yet remained untouched. She reached up and after a moment's fiddling removed her helm, freeing a cascade of midnight black hair which whipped around her blood-streaked face.
Closing her eyes she took a deep breath of the frigid night air, revelling in the feeling of the slick, chill power of her vampire blood stirring within her breast. Her fingers tightened as claws sought to form, wings of inky shadows behind her shoulder blades seeking to unfurl.
She spread her arms out wide, and embraced the night.
A/N: I freely admit to the pointlessness of this particular drabble, there is violence with pretty much no actual plot. And there isn't supposed to be, it's basically an attempt to stir my apparently comatose muse into life via a sharp poke with a pointy stick. I never intended for it to be posted actually, but after deciding that it wasn't completely awful I figured: "Meh, why not?".
Also yes, before anyone points it out I am indeed aware that feeding actually reduces the powers of Skyrim vamps. But since this makes absolutely no goddamn sense to me from anything other than a gameplay perspective I've chosen to ignore it.