"No, it really is no trouble, sir. I'm just a stable boy running errands at the Imperial City anyway. It's a real pleasure to help out a fellow elf, especially a dark elf," the altmer named Tilmos says as Endar dismounts the beautiful brown bay horse in front of Skingrad's Grateful Pass Stables. The first thing Endar notices walking through Skingrad's enormous west gate is the huge walls on either side of him. The city is divided into two sections, north and south. Skingrad sports one of Cyrodiil's biggest castles, which is the only castle to lie outside of the city's walls. Two imperial men, armed with steel weaponry and shields bearing the mark of a red crescent moon, walk up to Endar. "Halt, dunmer. We know why you come to Skingrad. We will escort you to the keep. The count would like to have a word with you immediately," says one of the guards as he walks in front of Endar, leading him through the city, out the east gate, and on towards the castle.
Skingrad's castle is huge, resting on top of a hill just outside the city. The castle is a quarter the size of Skingrad itself. The torches along the edges of the bridge leading to the castle's courtyard doors magically light as the sun sets. After walking through the castle doors, Endar follows a red carpet all the way to what seems like a dead-end; a staircase to the left and a few dining tables to the right. Endar really hasn't seen too many castles in his lifetime, but this one seems to lack a throne room. The room he stands in is dark, gloomy, and he can sense a presence. An argonian walks up to him after descending the staircase, "Greetings, Endar, the count has been expecting you. My name is Hal-Liurz, personal aide to Count Hassildor," the lizard like person says with a female voice. It's so difficult to tell genders when it comes to argonians. "Please have a seat and the count will be down as soon as he can," says Hal-Liurz as she turns around and walks back up the stairs. Hours pass as Endar patiently waits, he finally falls to sleep sitting at one of the dinner tables.
Endar opens his eyes and sees a beautiful green plain on a huge island. He feels a peacefulness here - this is home. The prison, the Imperial City, Skingrad, it was all a dream. The island is covered with huge beautiful trees, plants, and inhabited by many animals. A gorgeous woman runs up to Endar and throws her arms around him. Suddenly, the entire world around Endar morphes into a dead, dry, barren wasteland, trees devoid of leaves are everywhere, and a familiar Khajiit voices calls out, "Endar. Wake up! They took your wife!"
Endar opens his eyes again, his head down, sitting in a familiar wooden chair. He slams his fist down onto the table in Skingrad castle hard, realizing this is not a dream. He looks up to see a man in a beautiful black and gold coat standing next to him. Endar stands quickly to show respect and Count Hassildor smiles, showing that he has two razor shard fangs, making Endar take a step back out of fear. "Again, sir, I mean you no harm. However, do not let the warden deceive you. He works for forces far more evil than you can understand. You will have to trust one of us, but I assure you, I will reward you greatly," the count says in a calm, relaxing voice. "No one knows of my condition, and that's the way it shall stay. However, certain said forces want my kind wiped out from the face of Cyrodiil. I cannot have this, as we bring a certain balance to the region. My kind stays away from you as long as the peace is kept. There is a vampire hunter named Eridor on his way to Bloodcrust Cavern to slay my kind hiding out in the cave. You are to stop him at all costs. If you are caught by the city guard, I cannot help you as to not expose my true identity. The cave is just southeast of this very castle, so be on your way. I trust you will make the right decision." Feeling compelled to leave quickly out of the castle, Endar turns and quickly walks out, looking back only once at the count. Hassildor nods his head and Endar realizes that this man can be trusted.
A few minutes later, Endar walks up to a man standing outside Bloodcrust Cavern's wooden door. "Excuse me, you're a dark elf, you must be the one the Imperial warden sent us to help get rid of these vermin infesting this cave. I am Carsten," says the man, who carries a silver long-sword in his hand. Endar then hears screaming coming from inside the cave. Carsten quickly turns to open the door as it explodes open and a man jumps out through the splintered wood. The man seems to be driven by his thirst for blood and punches Carsten in the stomach, making him collapse to the ground.The man then pulls Carsten's limp body back into the cave, Endar unsheathes his iron short-sword and follows slowly.
It's very dark inside the cavern and Endar hears hissing and voices all around him. It's too dark to safely walk so he stops in his tracks when he hears a voice from the darkness, "Welcome, Endar, we know why you are here." How in Oblivion does everyone but myself know what I'm doing and where I'm going, Endar wonders to himself. Candles are lit within the cavern to reveal ten vampires standing around him and two imperial men bound in heavy ropes. The voice he heard just seconds ago speaks again, from behind him this time, "You are a great man of noble blood, and it would be unwise of you to take these stupid hunters' side. I alone could kill you before you even start swinging that toy you call a sword." Endar feels a hand on his shoulder and breathing in his ear, "and I very much doubt you would like to become one of us. So, do the right thing and cut the throats of these men so we may have dinner tonight," he says as he chuckles, half of the other vampires laugh, the other half hissing. Endar hesitates as he holds the tip of his sword to Carsten's neck. "Come on, boy, kill him," yells the vampire now standing shoulder to shoulder next to Endar. The vampire smacks Endar in the face. "That doesn't feel too good, does it? Now, kill him!"
"Enough," a familiar voice from behind Endar shouts and all the vampires in the cavern back up to the walls. The count walks around Endar and behind the tied up men. "I can sense you trust me, Endar, but I can still smell your fear. I know personally that destiny is a very fickle thing. Maybe it is your destiny to return home after your trials here, maybe it is not. Yes, I know about the place you call home. Rolling fields of green grass, enormous trees, and a very bright sun. I have been there myself, Endar, to visit the ruler of that island, Sheogorath. However, you were not born there. You do not remember this world, but you were born here and taken to the Shivering Isles as a boy, to protect you. You were thrown into that rat infested prison because the Legion fears you!" Hassildor lifts up the two hunters' heads by their hair, "These men fear you as well, because you are the child... of a vampire." Endar's eyes widen suddenly as he drops his sword and stares at the count. "You, Endar, are not one of us, and I have no intention of changing that. However, certain evil forces would like to turn you. Why? Of that I am not certain, but I must know where your loyalties lie. Will you slay my kind here in this cavern?" As he asks this question, the vampire who slapped Endar hisses loudly and proclaims, "He would be dead before his hand touches his blade..." The count turns his head towards the vampire and his eyes turn jet black, "SILENCE," shouts the count in a deep, booming voice and the vampire backs away, hissing. "...Or will you trust me and kill these men who work for a man who intends on handing you over to those evil forces I mentioned before?"
The bound and gagged men in front of Endar shake their heads in fear. Endar ponders his father's past and what effect is has on the future. Why should I be blamed for my father's past? Why should anyone by myself decide my future? Endar stoops down, picks up his sword and quickly and remorselessly cuts Carsten's throat and his body falls dead on the ground. Endar puts the tip of his blade up to Eridor's throat and reaches down and rips the gag in his mouth. "You cannot escape the Legion! We will hunt you to the ends of Tamriel. You will be safe nowhere," cries Eridor as he struggles to get out of the ropes. A vampire kicks Eridor in the back of his neck. He cries out in pain as Endar's sword cuts across his throat swiftly. Endar drops the sword onto the ground in front of Eridor's now dead body and glances at the count. Hassildor smiles, baring his fangs and nods his head once again. Endar then slowly turns and walks out of the cavern.