Skyrim Story - Of Dawn And Dark: Part 4: Return To Castle Volkihar
Thanks to the speed of the horse who galloped with all its might, they were back in front of the Dayspring Canyon in just under three days. Derbana having given the horse an hour or two to rest as she bought more carrots from the farmers they visited along the way. However, the carriage would only take them to the entrance as it was too small to fit through. With that, Derbana jumped off the driver's seat, massaging her behind once she did so. Dexion and Serana stepped down from the back and followed the Dragonborn inside.
They walked passed the darkness in a few seconds to come out the other side. Unlike the first time she arrived here, it was almost midnight. Though these surroundings had become familiar, she couldn't help but to be on edge as this was the vampires' time. Drawing her sword, they proceeded down the dirt path heading to Fort Dawnguard.
“You there! Die!” Her instincts proved right as two vampire scouts removed themselves from hiding and ran toward the three.
Derbana scoffed as the first scout, bore her fangs and rushed at her. Derbana threw her sword down and across so fast, no one knew what happened until they saw the X-shaped wound across her torso, the spritzing of blood landing forward as she fell backward, dead on the ground.
The second scout was now almost on top of her, drawing her sword over head as she ran. Foreseeing the power attack, Derbana took a step closer than her enemy prepared and bashed her shield across the vampire, staggering her for the brief moment Derbana needed to stab her through. With the fatal blow given, the vampire fell to her knees and looked up at her opponent. Derbana found neither a sense of victory or hatred as she shield bashed once more, hearing the sharp crack of a broken neck.
“Well, I never seen anything like that in the White Gold Tower.”
“Come on, we've got a prophecy to figure out.”
“Derbana, wait!” Serana yelled, causing her to stop, “What's going on? You've barely said a word for the past three days. You were so determined back at the cave, you seemed almost joyful when you were firing your arrows. Now...there's a coldness about you...tell me, please.”
Derbana sighed and faced her vampire friend, “Since I left Whiterun, I've been wondering what Sondas has been doing and how he feels with me being so far from him. And now my brother and his condition adds to my worry.” Then her voice turned cold and malicious, “Then, there's that vision and how easily your father turned me into his puppet.” She looked at her hands, “What am I going to do when I face him again? For the first time in my life, I have never been filled with this much doubt. I...I don't know if I can defeat him.”
Serana smiled, “This is a change...usually, I'm the dour one. Besides should you be hit by his power again, I know you're strong enough to defeat it. In the many years I've been alive, yours is the strongest will I've ever met.”
Derbana cracked a smile, “Thanks, Serana.”
“And worse comes to worse, I can always just punch you in the head real hard.”
Dexion massaged the left side of his skull, “Though I wouldn't recommend it.”
They all shared a small laugh as they walked up to the main doors and went inside. Isran was waiting for them in the main chamber. Derbana approached him as he looked passed her and at Dexion who just walked into the light.
“I'm impressed you could find a Moth Priest so quickly.”
“We have the scroll, he just needs to prepare.”
“Actually...” Dexion interjected, “I've prepared for the reading. If everyone could gather around, we will get started.” He held a hand toward Serana, “My lady, if you'd please...”
She nodded and removed the Elder Scroll from her back. As she walked up to Dexion and presented it, she held back a little. It was hard to let this go, having been with her all these centuries, but she gave it to him after the small moment passed.
He lifted it up in one hand, “Let's find out what secrets the scroll can tell.” As he unfurled it with the other hand, he remarked, “Now, if everyone will please be quiet, I must concentrate.” He felt his eyes strain slightly as he read the scroll, “I see a vision before me, an image of a great bow.” He stared at the image before him as it slowly made itself clear, “I know this weapon! Auriel's Bow!”
He paused as he lifted his head to look around for a moment, “Now a voice whispers, saying...” He waited a moment to hear the voice, “Among the night's children, a dread lord will rise. In an age of strife, when dragons return to the realm of men, darkness will mingle with light and the night and day will be as one.” He continued, “The voice fades and the words begin to shimmer and distort. But wait, there is more here. The secret of the bow's power is written elsewhere. I think there is more to the prophecy, recorded on other scrolls.”
As the images became clear to him, he nodded and spoke, “Yes, I see them now...One contains the ancients secrets of the dragons, and the other speaks of the potency of ancient blood. My vision darkens and I see no more. To complete the prophecy, we must have the other two scrolls.”
While closing the scroll, Dexion loses his balance and manages to catch himself with a hand before falling completely to the floor. As Isran came to his aid, the Moth Priest said, “I must rest now. The reading has made me weary.”
Isran lifted him back to his feet, “Come on, old man. You should get some rest.”
Bringing his arm over his shoulder, Isran helped Dexion to find a bed on the second floor. Derbana started to follow them, but Serana stood in her way.
“Do you have a moment to talk?”
Derbana looked passed her, but Isran was busy with Dexion, “What's on your mind?”
“That Moth Priest, Dexion. He said we needed two other Elder Scrolls. I think I know where we can start looking.”
“Why didn't you say something earlier?”
“Half the people in your little crew would just as soon kill me as talk to me. That doesn't exactly make me want to open up. I got a warmer welcome from my...him, and that's saying something.”
Trying not to become consumed in anger, Derbana changed the subject, “So, where is this Elder Scroll? The one we're missing.”
“We need to find my mother, Valerica...what do you mean the one we're missing?”
Derbana looked left-and-right, making sure they were clear before taking an Elder Scroll from her backpack, “The one that holds the ancient secrets of the dragons...I assume is this one. Just like you, I don't like to open up either especially if I'm carrying an Elder Scroll around, it usually attracts the wrong kind of attention.”
“Where did you get that?”
“During my quest to stop Alduin, but that's not important right now. Tell me why we need to find your mother.”
“She'll definitely know where it is, and if we're lucky, she actually has it herself.”
“But if I recall correctly, you said you didn't know where she went.”
“The last time I saw her, she said that she'd go somewhere safe...somewhere that my father would never search. Other than that, she wouldn't tell me anything.” Serana rubbed her chin, placing that memory in front of her, “But the way she said it...someplace he would never search. It was cryptic, yet she called attention to it.”
“It sounds like she was being cautious.”
“Maybe. What I can't figure out is why she said it that way. Besides, I can't imagine a single place my father would avoid looking. And he's had all this time, too. Any ideas?”
Derbana pondered on this for a while, “Let's see...we know that there can only be a few places she could have chosen. Hiding with the Dawnguard is not one of them, we would have run into her by now if they hadn't killed her first.”
“And sealing herself away like you were seems to be another option we can cross off. There's no way we could find her easily especially the only way would be leaving clues with you before sealing you away, but she would have to have sealed herself after you. It makes no sense that way.”
“So, what does that leave us with?”
“I don't know really...things are always like this, they seem to be so hard to find even if they are...” she paused in realization, “right under your nose.”
“Wait...that almost makes sense.”
Derbana nodded, “In Castle Volkihar.”
Serana followed up, “Yes....yes, there's a courtyard in the castle. I used to help her tend a garden there. All of the ingredients for our potions came from there. She used to say that my father couldn't stand the place. Too...peaceful.”
“Though it would be pretty risky, staying around the castle?”
Serana nodded, “Oh, absolutely. But my mother's not a coward. That is...I don't think we'll actually trip over her there. But it's worth a look.”
“It is easy to guess going in the front door is not an option.”
“True. But I know a way we can get to the courtyard without arousing suspicion. There's an unused inlet on the northern side of the island that was used by the previous owners to bring supplies into the castle. An old escape tunnel from the castle exists there, I think that's our way in.”
“Let's go to the castle's secret entrance...after I check up on my brother.”
“I'll get the carriage ready. Meet me there when you're done.”
Derbana nodded and proceed up the stairs to find Dexion resting on a nearby cot, close to her brother's makeshift room. Isran watched over the Moth Priest as Derbana approached.
“Look, I know he's your brother, but you have to know that he hasn't awakened yet.”
“But...it's been over three weeks? How can that be?”
“Okay, let me show you.”
They walked into his room as they laid Jerthar just as he was nine days ago when she last visited. Derbana couldn't believe it, he was laying there as still as a portrait with no improvement to his condition.
“See? Not a single inch and I ever....” He paused as his gaze looked on the stack of books he had left him and with his hand going up and down, he silently counted them.
“What? Is something wrong?”
“No, I seem to be mistaken. I know this is hard for you, but right now this war with its kind is more important than the life of a single High Elf, even if he's your brother as you claim him to be. What it and you have decided to do next should be where your focus is, I will see to your brother and keep everything going smoothly here, got it?”
“But, why did you?”
“Nevermind, get going!”
Derbana didn't look being talked to this way, but he did have a point. Taking one last look at Jerthar, she turned and left for the canyon.
Isran looked over his shoulder at Jerthar with a vigilant eye before heading to his bed.
The four days that followed went by slowly as the two women traded places driving the horse. While Derbana was driving, Serana would ask her questions about her brother and her exploits all across Skyrim as a means to pass the time. While Serana was driving on the other hand, Derbana was fast asleep in the back of the carriage, using her time wisely to rest for whatever waited for them in the vampires' home. Despite the good time they made, Derbana made a decision.
“You're giving up the carriage?” Serana asked.
“We've got to. The two routes that would take us to the castle are too dangerous to go by carriage. One takes us around the mountains where there are no roads and the paths are too narrow. The other is through the mountains, it is filled with carnivorous wildlife and brings us very close to the Thalmor Embassy, which we need to avoid.”
“Let's just say they hate my guts and want me dead. We don't need to go any further than that. Here at the stables in Solitude is the best place to leave him. We can journey by foot the rest of the way, it shouldn't take us no more than two days if we follow the path and scale down the side.”
“Well...okay, you know the landscape better than I do and your sense of timing hasn't led us astray so far.”
“Thank you. Hey!” She waved at the stable boy running around.
“Get the stable master, I've got a horse for him.”
He nodded and went inside the house. Serana stood there as Derbana bargained for the best price with the aging Nord. After a few minutes, Derbana and him shook hands and she received the payment they agreed on. With her pouch slightly heavier, she and Serana followed the road west, cutting through the mountains.
Once they were safely passed the Thalmor Embassy, they continued running with Serana. Down this stretch of road, they came across some of the carnivorous wildlife Derbana talked about, but they were no match for the veteran adventurer. Serana would come up the road to see her finishing off the animal every time, noting the way she combined grace and savagery while she fought.
The first night came and they set up camp just off the road. Derbana curled herself up, gazing into the fire as all the unanswered questions she had about her loved ones came to mind. Serana saw the look in her companion's eyes and stayed silent, only speaking again when she awoke Derbana from her rest.
Around eleven in the morning, they arrived at Fort Hraggstad. It overlooked the northern face of the mountain range and was under Imperial garrison. This is also where they would be scaling down. For Derbana, this was easy as she practically stepped from stone-to-stone, making her way down whereas Serana scaled slowly.
As she waited for her vampire friend to catch up, she could barely see Castle Volkihar on the horizon enshrouded in the mists. On the last part as they were close to the ground, Derbana carried Serana the rest of the way before heading toward the Icewater Jetty where the boat awaited to take them to Castle Volkihar.
Quietly tying up the boat at the dock, they gazed around them as night had started only an hour ago and yet, no one was outside. Serana tapped Derbana's shoulder and nudged her head to the left, nodding in reply, the pair silently walked toward the inlet Serana mentioned earlier.
Several minutes of traversing the rocky beach in the midst of a small storm, Derbana could see it. The stone inlet was made to have a two small ships docked. It has fallen into disrepair over the years. It was divided into two layers, the lower layers was for the offloading of supplies and passengers and the upper layer was for guards to be stationed as there were several skeletons with bows looking out into the ocean.
The two women held as close to the cliff wall as they could. When they were close enough, they saw a skeleton on the same level as they. She looked up to see an archer turning away on the upper level. Unsheathing her sword, she silently rolled behind the guard and stabbed him through while holding his mouth closed. She returned to Serana and looked up as the archer returned. Switching her weapons, an iron arrow flew through the air and hit the archer as he shattered into a pile of bones.
Keeping next to the wall, they went to a small outside corridor to hide from sight. Knowing they stood between the two sides of the inlet, Derbana saw a collapsed stairway next to them. She cursed silently and looked to the far side of the inlet from where they came. There was two guards in the same design as those she dispatched. Drawing another arrow, she notched it, took aim, and fired across to the upper guard who like his counterpart, shattered into each individual bone.
“Stay back.” Derbana whispered.
Retreating to the collapsed stairway, she had the best angle for the lower guard who ran toward the only intact stairway. Taking aim, time seemed to slow around her as the guard got into perfect alignment with her shot. The guard died again as he took the arrow in the eye socket. Still keeping silent, they crossed back into the open to ascend the two sets of stairs up. Looking around, Serana pointed to the wooden door up another two flights of stairs and the undead guard standing in front.
Without hesitation, another arrow flew and another guard fell to die again. With no more enemies in sight, they walked up the final steps to the wooden door.
The door creaked loudly as they swung it open. The cold air was stale and dusty, illuminating the torchlight even brighter. They gazed down past the stone railing to the platforms below. Walking around the three sets of a few steps, they saw the large wooden doors tapered at the arch. The doors were already open as if inviting them inside.
In the next chamber, a small pool of water cut into the center of the room leading up a small set of stairs to the floor. A bridge crossed over this pool. Every ten feet or so, there were three steps that raised the floor another foot until the back of the room. Here two death hounds sat on each side of the room, gnawing on some bones.
With a simple gesture, Derbana went stealthily across the bridge and prepared an arrow. Looking to each other and nodded, Serana zapped one with a lightning bolt as Derbana's arrow went loose. The hounds died almost at the same time. Drawing another arrow, she slowly walked to the back of the room where a vampire gnawed on a bone like the hounds and yet she shared their fate.
Serana on the left and Derbana on the right, they now stood in the back of the room. Serana gazed down the hallway to see a wooden drawbridge lifted all the way. Derbana's path led her to the next platform to see an alchemy lab on one side a set of stairs and a shelf with assorted items on the other. Passed this was a room with a closed coffin. Taking no chances, Derbana stabbed through and heard the death roar of another feral vampire. With all threats dealt with, she walked over and pulled the switch to lower the bridge just as Serana approached it.
Seeing her companion right beneath her, Derbana jumped over the balcony and landed next to her, causing her to jump slightly, though she wouldn't admit it. However the bridge they crossed lead to a very thin stone path standing over a room filled with spikes in a feet deep of water and another fully-closed drawbridge in front of them.
“Which way? Right or left?”
Derbana scanned their surroundings, “Left. You see the barred window above the door? There's another switch there like the one I used on this bridge. We go through there, we can lower it to get out of here.”
“No arguments from me, left it is.”
The first thing inside the door were three hanging spike traps that they easily sidestepped. Around the next corner was a horrific chamber filled with bone piles, both bloodied and dry. A few frostbite spiders turned to them, so they broke out of stealth and killed them rather quickly. Traversing around the bone piles and floating skulls on the water, they climbed the stairs to the next room where they cut through the webbing to a giant frostbite spider who was no match for a legendary dragonbone sword in the head.
Behind the spider was the switch and saw the second drawbridge go down into place. Without any further distractions, they went back, crossed the bridge, and followed the stairs up and around to another wooden door. Flowing fresh air blowing on their feet from the gap, this must be where they needed to go.
The night sky greeted them as they stood on the grassy ground. In the center of this enclosed place was a large moondial pointing north built into the circle of stone flooring. With withered trees and bushes sparsely grown around, there were two areas built out from the castle to the west and east. Both seemed to have two levels with tables, chairs, and benches.
“So, we made it to the courtyard. Oh no...” Serana said as she walked to the center to get a better look, “What happened to this place?” She heard toward the west area, “Everything's been turn down...the whole place looks...well, dead. It's like we're the first to set foot here in centuries.”
Once she stood on the stone floor, she looked up toward the castle to see the large door buried under tons of stone.
“This used to lead into the castle's great hall. It looks like my father had it sealed up.” Turning back to the east, she started to run, “I used to walk through here after evening meals. It was beautiful, once.” Crossing the middle, she stood before a small garden in the nook of the east area, “This was my mother's garden. It...do you know how beautiful something can be when it's tended by a master for hundreds of years? She would have hated to see it like this. Wait...” She walked to the large sundial and looked at it perplexed, “Something's wrong with the moondial here. Some of the crests are missing and the dial is askew.”
Derbana looked to see the circle of circles encircling the dial. Each of the small circles had a particular phase of the moon in both its waxing and waning states.
Serana put her hands on her hips, “I didn't even know the crests could be removed. Maybe my mother's trying to tell us something?”
“Which crests are missing?”
“Hmmm....” Serana walked around the circle for a moment before saying, “a half moon crest goes here, a full moon crest goes there, and the last one, a crescent moon crest belongs there.”
“The new moon doesn't have a crest?”
“Why need one? It wouldn't have the disc atop the frame anyway, it would just be the frame. They should be around here somewhere.”
Derbana started her search. The first was the west area where she found nothing until a piece of moonlight reflected off something in the small pool tucked in the corner between the west area and the castle wall. Stepping into the water, she pulled out the half moon crest. Continuing to look around, she found the full moon crest in the back of the mother's garden and the last crest on the floor of the highest part of the east area.
Bringing the three crests back to the moondial, Derbana put each in their proper place and stood next to Serana. They heard the grinding of metal on stone as the moondial now pointed east. A hidden staircase between the dial and the moon crests revealed itself.
Derbana sighed, “Always a spiral staircase.”
“Very clever, mother. Very clever. I've never been in those tunnels before, but I'd bet they run right under the courtyard and into the tower ruins. Well, at least, we're getting closer. Let's go.”
At the bottom of the staircase was the door leading to the ruins of the castle. Unlike the dank and watery Undercroft, the Tower Ruins were dusty and dry. With Derbana on her usual position as point with Serana as support, they carefully made their way from room-to-room. The first being the secret storage area they were in. Finding the pull chain easily, they opened the door into the kitchen and up the stairs into the first banquet hall. Noticing the skeletons and draugr in the chairs, she left nothing to chance and slain them from afar with her bow.
They winded through with nothing putting up too much of a fight, even the gargoyle sentinels and brutes that hid in this place. Up several flights of stairs, stepping over or around stone debris, they stood before the next large chamber, a chapel with its pews and balconies seemingly undisturbed when compared to the rest of this place.
Derbana peered around the corner and then back into hiding, “There's at least five skeletons and two draugr deathlords here. The skeletons are overlooking the balconies, one deathlord is where the preacher would be, and the other is toward the back of the room.” She looked to the other side of the door they were hiding.
“Okay, here's the plan. I'll take out the deathlords while you go to the stairway there and destroy anything coming through.” She quietly placed her quiver down and exchanged it for some ebony arrows, “This is just a little added protection.” Pulling out an arrow, she turned to Serana, “Ready?”
With a simple nod, Derbana turned around the corner and launched an arrow at the deathlord to the back as it spun, the one standing on the altar saw it fly pass and then looked at her. As the ebony arrow pierced and killed its target, the remaining deathlord screeched and jumped over the railing, landing hard on the stone floor.
She knew she had one more shot and she took it, hitting it directly in his armor and causing it to stagger. It was all the time she would need to switch to her sword and shield. Looking out the corner of her eye, She saw sparks of light as Serana was throwing her spells into the skeletons.
The deathlord rushed in and threw down a vertical strike, which Derbana dodged. Seeing the deathlord run in for a power attack, she charged with her shield raised. The deathlord was thrown into the air and crashed against the wall. As she got close, she prepared the finishing blow. Then a sharp pain cut through her side as the deathlord did a quick strike while kneeling Derbana stumbled back a bit, gripping her wound.
It shouted something garbled and ran to her. Seeing the enemy so close for another attempt at a strong strike, she ducked to the side in time and cut through its side, forcing it on one knee. Without a second thought, Derbana plunged her sword deep through its neck until the tip came out the ribcage. With horrific screaming, she planted her foot on its back and with a hard kick, freed her sword as the lifeless draugr fell to the floor.
She turned around to see Serana had finished on her end as well. After a quick healing, they resumed their walk up through the chapel. The room above had a half-finished gargoyle, the lower body still being the block of stone. Passed here was...a simple fireplace, coming to a dead end.
“What? All this way...for a fireplace? Derbana, what do you...Derbana?”
Derbana's eyes caught the strange candlesticks, hanging to either side. Taking hold of the right one first, it refused to budge as she put her arm into it. Going to the left candlestick, she gave it a hard tug and it turned. Hearing the whirling and turning of unseen gears and cogs, the simple fireplace was another secret entrance like its twin in the kitchen.
Once they were inside, Derbana pulled the chain to close the secret door behind them. As they ascended what seemed to be a dozen flights of steps circling upward. They opened the door and found what they needed to find...Valerica's Study.
It was a rather large room, not as big as the Dragonsreach Throneroom, but it did rival its size. The open room was divided into two floors, the lower floor had a strange circle pattern surrounded by a circle of candlesticks, some out and some still burning. In one corner were bookshelves filled to the brim, on the wall to the left of it was an alchemy lab with various alchemy reagents, which were filling the shelves on the opposite corner. The other walls were lined with either a long bench or hanging shelves with long wooden bins underneath them.
Serana entered the room and took a look around, “Look at this place. This has to be it! I knew she was deep into necromancy, I mean, she taught me everything I know. But I had no idea she had a setup like this.” She now stood in front of the alchemy lab, “Look at all this. She must have spent years collecting these components, “And what's this thing?”
She walked to the strange circle, “I'm not sure about this circle, but it's obviously...something.” She turned back to her companion, “Let's take a look around. There has to be something here that tells us where she's gone.”
“What exactly are you looking for?”
“My mother was meticulous about her research. If we can find her notes, there might be some hints in there.”
Knowing where to look first, Derbana went to the bookshelves. She knew some of these titles from her adventures and so could rule them out. She stopped when she saw a small red leather book, taking it down and opening it, she started reading and after a few sentences, knew it was Valerica's Journal. Returning to her, she gave it to her. Serana took it in hand and opened it.
“What's this 'Soul Cairn' that she mentions?”
“I only know what she told me. She had a theory about soul gems. That the souls inside of them don't just vanish when they're used...they end up in the Soul Cairn. It is home to very powerful beings. Necromancers send them souls, and receive powers of their own in return. My mother spent a lot of time trying to contact them directly, to travel to the Soul Cairn itself.”
“If she made it there, we'll find her.”
“Yes, that circle here is definitely some type of portal. If I'm reading this right, there's a formula here that should give us safe passage into the Soul Cairn. Let's see...” She referenced the book, “A handful of soul gem shards, some finely-ground bone meal, a good bit of purified void salts.... Oh, damn it!”
“Is something the matter?”
“We're also going to need a sample of her blood, which we don't have.”
“You share her blood, don't you?”
“Hmmm. Not bad. We'd better hope that's good enough. Mistakes with these kinds of portals can be...gruesome. Anyway, enough of that. Let's get started.”
“I take it, all these ingredients are here?”
“Oh, definitely. Mother would have plenty of those materials in her laboratory, we just need to find them.”
“I wish Jerthar was here.” Derbana turned to the piles of alchemy reagents everywhere, “He'd probably find this faster than us combined.”
“How about this? You check the first floor, and I'll check the second. This way, we should find them easily.”
“All right, we don't have a moment to lose.”
It did take several minutes of searching before they gathered the three ingredients needed for their spell. They gathered on the second floor, which was nothing more than a walkway against the back wall and a protruding platform shadowing over the strange circle a floor below. By Serana's instruction, they placed all the ingredients in a silver vessel close to the left edge of the platform.
“Then the rest is up to me.” Serana muttered as she approached the vessel placing one hand over it, “Are you ready? I'm not entirely sure what this thing is going to do when I add my blood.”
Derbana nodded, they came too far to go back now. Serana bit into her own arm and let the blood drip down into the vessel. The strange circle shook the entire chamber as each small piece of stone floated up and around, forming a staircase into a well of purple-white energy.
“By the blood of my ancestors...She actually did it...created a portal to the Soul Cairn. Incredible.” She stood amazed as the last of the stones floated into place.
Seeing her lost in astonishment, Derbana decided she would go in first. But as she got to the bottom, she felt a purple-white fire burning her harder the closer she got. With no choice, she headed back to the stairs.
“Just a little bit...” She said, casting a Restoration spell, “What was that?”
“Now that I think about it...I should have expected that. Sorry. The Soul Cairn is...well, hungry, for lack of a better word. It's trying to take your life essence as payment.”
“So...we can't go inside?”
“There might be a way, but I don't think you're going to like it. You see, vampires aren't among the living. I could probably go through there without a problem. Maybe if you'd...”
“I refuse...like your father's offer.” She looked down at the portal, “There must be another way.”
“Maybe. We could just 'pay the toll another way. It wants a soul, so we give it a soul. Yours.”
“But I'd die...wouldn't I?”
“My mother taught me a trick or two. I could partially soul trap you, and offer that gem to the Ideals Masters, the rulers of the Soul Cairn. It might be enough to satisfy them. It would make you weaker when we travel through there, but we might be able to fix that once we're inside. Maybe.”
“If those are my two options...what would happen to my child inside the Soul Cairn if I should have my soul partially trapped?”
“As long as your child is in your womb, he or she should be protected. The spell I will be using will only trap your soul, the child should be safe. Maybe.”
“I don't like you using 'maybe' a lot in there.”
“I wish there was a better way, but there isn't.”
Derbana looked into the portal and at her stomach, patting it and praying for the safety of their child. After a moment, she nodded.
“I've thought it through. Soul trap me. I'd be afraid if the vampirism spread to my unborn.”
“I know this is difficult for you. I hope you trust me. I'd never do anything that could hurt you.”
“I trust you completely, Serana. Do it.”
“Thank you. I promise to make this as painless as possible. Hold still.” Serana charged her spell.
Derbana closed her eyes as it hit her. The purple-white energy same as the Soul Cairn left her body into a small gem. Instantly, she felt as if a piece of herself had gone missing and she never felt quite whole...maybe, never again.
With not another word spoken between them, they walked down the stairs toward the Soul Cairn. This time as promised, the flame did not appear to take her life force and together, faded into the energy below. Leaving the study empty once more.