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Chapter 624: The Game is Afoot

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"So… what do you say about this, young miss?" Safia said.

"We have been bested by a stronger foe. I don't hold any of you…" Serana said as she held the shaft of the axe stuck into Safia's head and pulled it out, "… Responsible."

The Vampires which she had were battered by a single opponent that could only be described as an imitation of the monster Jon Dare is.

It was already too much for her to manage her own ground against her father's horde and against Jon's power. She simply wanted to do things her own way but the fact that she couldn't get it all done was just depressing.

The two years she spent alone in her father's castle made her think twice of her plans. She was sure that escaping is the only way she can be independent but she needed Jon in every stage so far.

She didn't feel any negative feelings towards Jon except for a hint of jealousy. He was simply as overwhelming as her father and twice as cunning.

Serana had one thing that traumatized her past and that was the process of becoming a Daughter of Coldharbour. She was offered with her mother to none other than Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of all things hateful. She was used by him in his monstrous form until she was literally killed and resurrected again as an Original Vampire.

The same happened with his mother and the two of them eventually turned her father into a Vampire Lord who gained a lot of power and favor from Molag Bal. He even became the Prince's most loyal subject as the one who sacrificed both his wife and daughter to the Lord.

In a way, Serana understood from that experience that she deserved that power and now she owns it. A power that is hers for hundreds of years.

But when she met someone like Jon whose power is akin to a force of nature, her concept of power flipped upside down. She lost confidence and believed that everything she ever believed was a lie.

She knows that Jon Dare is a Dragonborn, she just can't accept that he holds all that power and accepts his own mortality and never fears her father who is in a literal sense a doom to his enemies.

Such was the confidence she needed to follow Jon's Example and stand up bravely against her father.

In the end, she gritted her teeth knowing how lost she feels from inside and that her efforts are simply too far-fetched as she chased in Jon's shadow to stand up against her father. It put on a terrible and better weight on her heart.

If Jon had gained his power from being a wanderer, she would have become one. If he gained it by being a soldier, she would have become one. If he gained it through being a dragon hunter, she would have become one too without fear.

But he had this power before hunting any dragon, he had it before any war started, he had it before being an adventurer.

When she thought about it, what Jon has since his start and what she never had.

A Family.

Serana's family screwed her up, and Jon's family made him into a fearsome lord.

And she was right, of all the people who would know Jon's true power, she is the first one to expose his secret.

But Family is her weakness.


So she had to create her own family.

A band of misfits she gifted with Vampirism. The ones she was ought to kill as a Dark Brotherhood Assassin.

Hern and Hert, two Nord vampires who lived as lumberjacks on a traveling road where they picked their victims from the lonely travelers.

Beitild, a Nord woman hated by most when she was a mining forewoman in Dawnstar.

Ennodius, an unfortunate Imperial who was kicked from his job in a wood mill and was ordered dead by the same person that got him kicked.

Lurbuk, an Orc who thought himself a bard only to be ordered dead by the entirety of Morthal and then to be gagged by the other Vampires to stop him from singing.

Deekus, an Argonian who hunts for shiny things and was ordered dead by some unfortunate grudge.

Ma'randru-jo, a Khajiit who was part of the Caravans but got betrayed by a member of his caravan to push him out of the chain of command.

Anoriath, a Boomer hunter from Whiterun who was ordered dead over some age-old grudge.

Maluril, a Dunmer Wizard who dappled with Dwemer Magic but got subdued by Serana when she bested him in magic and offered him true power in Vampirism to eventually become her disciple.

Helvard, a Nord Housecarl from Falkreath, Serana had to kill him in public but she actually poisoned him and faked his death before dragging him to make him into a Vampire.

Safia, a Redguard Pirate leader who was suppressed by Serana before she made her into a Vampire.

And lastly the most mysterious of them all, Agnis, an elderly Nord whose background is mysterious but somehow hates leaving the place she's assigned to. Serana had to find a way in order to kill this woman in a fort filled with Imperial Soldiers but she was so nonchalant about meeting an Assassin let alone a Vampire and she didn't even want to listen to Serana who threatened her with everything she has. Later, she agreed to look after Serana while she stayed in her fort with the other vampires.

This band of misfits was all that Serana had but deep down in her heart, she knew very well that they were simply a band of strangers put together by force. Their stay in this fortress is also temporary and they will eventually have to vacate to the location she is after.

"My lady, if you let us take some thralls, we wouldn't have to fall into the trap of those Vampire Hunters and act more covertly." One of the Vampires spoke.

"It is no good at this time, Hert." Serana replied, "If our trace is exposed, we will gain too much attention. This time, the enemy was just giving us a warning. I guess you all understand how much danger we are up against after what happened tonight."

Serana's words fell heavy on her vampires and they all shivered from the sheer power of the foe they met today.

"So, how do we adjust our plans to this?" Safia asked.

"We won't." Serana replied, "I will have to go back and do something on my own, meanwhile, you can act freely and try to eliminate as many Skooma suppliers as possible. If you can do so, this will increase the demand on the Redwater Den."


"Then we strike the Den and take over everything. The Vampires over there are powerful but they don't understand the value of what they have. Leave it all to me and I'll get rid of them easily. We just need to watch and wait."

Serana stood up and took out a small vial with a crystallized drop of blood in it.

"We will make something revolutionary."


The Dark Brotherhood was calm for the past week and occasionally one of the members would go out and shovel off the snow from the Black Door yet they were all just waiting for the Listener.

Astrid was acting way too calm and quiet as if she wouldn't let anyone disturb her peace but the senior members of the Brotherhood are all well-aware of her personality and they didn't believe the calm facade.

On the other hand, the merry jester Cicero was awfully quiet just like Astrid, and barely mumbled in front of people.

If this quiet was to last for more than that then all the assassins would foresee the storm that is about to come.

But at the end of the week, Serana arrived and immediately met with Astrid. The conversation they had was held behind closed doors in Astrid's chambers.

"Good that you're back. What did Mallory have to say? Is the amulet authentic?" Asked Astrid as she asked Serana to sit in front of her.

"Yes," Replied Serana, "It is an Amulet specially made for what is called the Elder Council Members."

"The Elder Council... Color me impressed! That explains quite a bit indeed." Astrid said, scratched her chin, and started laughing.

"Motierre, you naughty, naughty boy. Hiring the Dark Brotherhood to help you rise beyond your station. Delicious!" Astrid mumbled before turning to Serana and asking, "Was Mallory willing to buy the amulet?"

"More than willing. He was the happiest a man can ever be." Serana replied, "Here's a letter of credit."

"Splendid! Then we're ready to begin." Astrid kept the letter of credit in her bra before looking at Serana with a cheeky face, "Or… more specifically, you're the one ready to begin. After all, you're the one the Night Mother spoke to."

"Do I really have to?" Serana asked with reluctance.

"If you want to be the greatest assassin that ever lived, then yes, you do." Astrid said, "Now then. I hope you have something nice to wear. Because you're going to a wedding."

Serana frowned.

"The Wedding… the one in Solitude?" Serana asked.

"Oh, so you were keeping up with the Vicis. How nice of you to save me the time to explain." Astrid spoke in her villainous voice showing a hint of mockery, "It… should be a lovely affair. You'll mingle with the guests, eat some cake... stab the bride.

"Truly?" Serana acted surprised.

"Oh yes. You've got to kill the bride. At her wedding. And they say romance is dead." Astrid laughed.

Serana had to take a moment to think since this is going to be Solitude, the City where Jon Dare is mostly directing his attention towards.

"The wedding, huh! That's gonna be troublesome."

"Your target's name is Vittoria Vici. She oversees the East Empire Company's business holdings in Solitude. The wedding is being held in that city, at the Temple of the Divines. Her death will cause an uproar, which is exactly what we want. Vici is likely to address her guests frequently, as is the wedding custom. Kill her when she does that. Now go and deliver my best to the bride." Astrid said.

Serana didn't want to hear more about the kill order since she knew that this situation would drag away from her personal plan.

But suddenly, things started to connect in her mind and she started to see a profit for her own situation within this one. Skyrim being in chaos will surely benefit her very much since even the Vampires must avoid large-scale human armies.

It is known that the Wedding in Solitude may be the first consolation to the peace process between the Stormcloaks and the Empire which is bad for business either way.

As long as the humans keep fighting, Serana will have a lot of time to prepare amidst the chaos and just like Jon, she will enrich and grow her family until she is ready to face anyone who may pose danger to her plans.

She'll have to continue playing meek by now.

And so, Serana went into the main hall of the Dark Brotherhood in order to fix the plan with the other assassins and prepare for the Assassination of Vittoria Vici.

While that is happening, the same process is happening in various places in the world.

The Assassination in Solitude was a big thing that Jon managed to leek to the Penitus Oculatus, the Imperial Authority of Skyrim, the East Empire Company, and the Court of Solitude. Even the agents of the Dare Corps were stationed in Solitude a week before that.

All of this was for the grand day of the wedding, the day of the Assassination. A day that even Jon had to sharpen a special blade just for. After all, the Game is afoot.

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