Vampires of the Iliac Bay, Part I
There are over one hundred distinct kinds of vampire in Tamriel. The Iliac Bay region alone has nine variations with unique powers and abilities. I have this information not only because I have been researching this blight of the world for the last ten years of my life, but because for the seven years before that, I was one of the creatures. Vampirism is a disease, like brain rot or cholera, but far, far more insidious. One can become a vampire through certain magical items or by the curse of a powerful wizard, but the most common cause is the bite or scratch of a vampire. There are no symptoms of vampirism except this -- if the victim sleeps after the attack but before he becomes a vampire, his sleep will be plagued with nightmares. During this two to four day period, when the disease has been spread but the victim is still mortal, most any temple healer can remove the curse of vampirism. There will be no further warning. I do not remember dying. I had been a scout for an order of knights which shall go nameless for this. A daughter of a local nobleman had been kidnapped by a mysterious character, and my captain had located his hideout. Deep in the dank underground chambers, I searched until I found the girl. Or what remained of her, a corpse the color of snow, drained of every drop of blood. I knew what the mystery man was right then, but he found me before I found the exit out. He took a good sized hunk out of my fighting arm before I managed to outrun him. I figured I was lucky to be alive. Some luck. My trip back to the knightly order was a five day journey. I decided to get some rest early to get my arm in better shape in case I found any more trouble. I can't remember the dreams I had that night -- only that I was doing something horrible and I couldn't stop myself. I woke up screaming. The next night, at an inn a little closer to my destination, my sleep was deep and dreamless. On the third night, I died. Of course, I didn't know that I died. I had gone to sleep in a nice warm feathered bed and I woke on a cold wet stone mortuary slab. Dazed, I opened the door to the masoleum I was in, which I think must have been locked. I was in a cemetary not far from a town I knew, so I wandered in. It was late at night, so there were precious few souls in the streets. I paused to read a public notice and noticed the date. The date was two weeks later than I thought it must have been. As I puzzled over that, I saw a girl, a wench at my favorite tavern in that town, wandering toward me. I hailed her. She ignored me. I called her by her name, and she turned to me, smiling, but with an expression that told me she did not know who I was. I had visited her tavern on my way over to the mystery man's hideout, but she didn't know me! I told her my name. She angrily told me that it was a very poor joke, that I looked nothing like the brave knight who used to visit the town, and that if I didn't know he was dead. My emotions were a tangled skein. I could tell she was not joking, that I looked nothing like myself. I was touched by her sorrow at my death, and horrified by the idea dawning on me of what I had become. Suddenly, an overriding instinct overcame all my thoughts -- hunger. Without even thinking about what I was doing, I reached out and tore her throat open. I drained her until she looked like the corpse in the mystery man's dungeon. The rest of my story is told in Vampires of the Bay, Chapter II.