The Demon of Northwatch Keep

 Previously: The Outer Demon

The first to greet her was a thrall, mortal and no match for her. She cut him down with a single stroke of her dagger, and he fell bleeding to the earth.

Indrathel stared down at him for a moment, almost in daze. It had been a while since she'd killed someone, living or undead. It was bizarre how quickly it all came back to her.

The pumping blood, the humming skin, the racing heart...her instincts returned in a flash as her hearing and sight sharpened in the dark.

I can do this, she realized. I was made for this.

They had admittedly fooled one of the wisest jarls in Skyrim, but it was ultimately for naught. This time, they would learn what it felt like to be surprised. It was their turn to have their home invaded, to watch their comrades die screaming.

She reached the main hall fairly quickly; there were only three vampires presence and the element of surprise was on her side. Indrathel might have been a half-breed, but she was still much faster than any human, and exceedingly stronger. As she faced off, she realized she was actually equal in strength and speed with some of them.

With relish she wielded her enchanted dagger, cutting them down and simultaneously setting them ablaze. Vampires were so much more flammable than mortals; unlike mortals, their bodies caught fire with a single cut before quickly being engulfed in flames.

It made killing them so much easier.

Indrathel roamed the winding tunnels of the cave like some tall, black-clad demon of myth, slicing and burning without flinching or breaking stride, and savoring every single death. She left charred corpses in her wake, taking her sweet time as she stepped over them to kill yet more. It wasn't a huge coven; whoever the Ravencrone had hired years ago had done a good job of thinning the herd.

This is too ea-- 

Indrathel was stopped in her tracks by a mystical ice shard through her left arm. Before she could even register the pain of the first one, a second immediately followed.

She rolled her eyes. Not this again.

While the others had fallen before her with little effort, this mage clearly wasn't going down without a fight. Backed against a cave wall, she threw everything she had against Indrathel, and she had quite a bit in her arsenal.

The mage wisely kept her distance, preferring to hurtle spells at Indrathel rather than risk tasting her Daedric blade. She followed her ice spell with a blood spell, the infamous Vampiric Drain which, in addition to draining strength and magic, had the ability to turn mortals to vampires.

The thought of becoming a vampire offended Indrathel beyond words.

I know magic too, bitch.

Fire poured freely from Indrathel's left palm, engulfing the creature quickly, but not before she fired off one last ice shard.

Indrathel doubled over. Fucking bitch!

With the mage dead, Indrathel was free to pause and heal herself. She was finally starting to feel a little drained now and decided to leave. She could always come back and kill whoever was stupid enough to stay behind.

As she walked back through the tunnels towards the main hall, she felt her strength returning. Her heart rate picked back up as the strength in her muscles renewed. Invigorated, she searched every crook and nanny of the cave, suddenly eager to continue her slaughter.

But fate had a sense of humor; as she stepped over the bodies she'd dropped she found no one left. Silence echoed through the tunnels as she feverishly searched, growing more agitated every second she went without a kill.

Her blood was practically boiling when she finally reached the main hall, where one last vampire remained: Alva, of all people.

To Indrathel's surprise, the trembling young vampire promptly dropped to her knees in surrender at the sight of her.

"Please don't kill me!" she cried, hands feebly raised above her head.

Indrathel actually stopped, lowering her blade and scoffing at the pathetic sight.

"Where is Laelette?" she demanded. The poor woman's family deserved to know the truth.

"You killed her," Alva whispered, pointing towards a tunnel. "She was the mage you fought back there."

Well, Indrathel blinked. She would've made one hell of a Stormcloak.

"You know, Alva," she mused in a low, dry voice, "I have no idea where you come from. I don't know if you were ever a person with friends or a family--"

"I was!" Alva protested, rising slowly. "I'm from the Pale. I grew up in Heljarchen. My father was a fisherman."

Indrathel felt a mix amusement and curiosity. "How the fuck did you get mixed up with vampires?"

Alva's voice, as well as her whole body, shook as she spoke. "Heljarchen is so small...I was working at the Nightgate Inn, where hardly anyone ever stayed. One night, I met a man while I was out picking nightflowers." Her voice calmed a little. "He said his name was Movarth. He kissed me under the moonlight."

"So just like that, you fell in love and under his spell like the dimwitted country girl you are," Indrathel chortled.

Alva nodded. "He gave me coin, sent me to Morthal to buy a house and live among the people. He said he tried to conquer the town before, but the Jarl sent hunters after his coven. He said he wasn't going to make the same mistake this time. He said it was better to enslave the people, rather than killing them off."

I knew it, Indrathel smirked. "And where is this great love of yours now?" she inquired, her tone like iron.

"There," Alva pointed to a scorched body near the head of the table in the main hall. Tears streamed down her face. "You killed him first."

Indrathel threw back her head and laughed aloud, harsh, brittle, unyielding laughter. Her cackling visibly terrified the vampire.

"You know what, Alva? I'm not gonna kill you." The half-elf's humor vanished suddenly, her dark eyes sparkling with hate. "I don't know how news travels among the undead, but you're going to leave Hjaalmarch, today, now, and tell every rotten little bloodsucker you come across that Morthal is under the protection of the Aldmeri Dominion. Tell them the Thalmor are here, and we are watching you."

She took a half step forward, adding in a low, dangerous voice, "And tell them what happened when your coven crossed paths with Indrathel, the Demon of Northwatch Keep."


Even after Alva left, Indrathel did another sweep of the cave, not wanting to leave the job unfinished like her predecessors. It also didn't hurt that vampires were every bit as materialistic as mortals; there were chests, drawers, and shelves full of all sorts of valuable items.

It was nighttime when Indrathel finally exited the cave.

Night looked only a little darker than day in Hjaalmarch; the marshes stretched before her like a wet gray waste. With the last vampire on her way out of the hold, Indrathel was once more struck by the wild beauty of Skyrim.

The beauty of the marshes gave way to coziness of Morthal. At night, the small town had a certain charm she couldn't quite explain. Darkness shrouded the flaws of the old buildings. The streets were empty, as though everyone were home in bed, deep asleep.

Where I should be.

As she headed back into town, she felt pangs of regret at having to leave. Sure, it wouldn't be right away; she'd have to draft a report to Mirnor and await instructions. But once he heard the vampires were dead, he was very likely going to summon her back to Solitude.

She headed to the inn, right when Benor was locking up. Indrathel found that odd; it was nighttime not that late. He was surprised to see her, splattered in blood, carrying a bag of loot.

"I take it you'll be needing another bath," he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"And food if you've got it," Indrathel yawned, the weariness finally hitting her all at once. "I haven't eaten since breakfast with the Jarl."

"You'll have to wake Jonna for all that," Benor raised his hands. "We had a slow night and she might not be in the best mood."

"A slow night?" Indrathel chuckled. "This is the only spot in Morthal."

"Yeah...Gorm said something about vampires being back in Hjaalmarch so everybody stayed home," he shrugged.

Indrathel laughed. "The vampires are dead. I could tell you all about over it a bottle of warm mead."

"'ll have to be the one to wake Jonna for all that."


And wake Jonna she did.

For a polished amethyst Indrathel found in the cave, Jonna was willing to get up. For the usual ten septims, she prepared a room. But it cost an extra fifteen for a plate of boar, half a loaf of bread, and a bottle of warm mead.

Both Benor and the innkeeper fired questions at her while she ate.

"An entire coven?" Jonna gasped. "Living in that cave this whole time? Just outside town?"

"Not a whole coven," Indrathel shook her head, tearing a piece of bread and using it to sop up juice and oil from the boar. "Looked like they were operating as a skeleton crew."

Skeleton crew. She inwardly giggled.

"And you're sure it was Laelette?" Benor asked, his brow furrowed. "Her husband will be devastated."

Indrathel took a long swig of mead. "He'll get over it. Better she be dead than a vampire. Or worse," she added, "a Stormcloak."

"Mara protect us," Jonna whispered bowing her head.

"Fuck Mara," Indrathel said without thinking, causing Jonna and Benor to exchange looks.

"What's your quarrel with the goddess of love and compassion?" Benor blinked.

"I have no fucking clue," Indrathel shook her head, hungrily cutting up her boar meat. "But I'm sure I've got a good reason."

"You're really not like other Thalmor," Jonna touched her chest, eyes wide in alarm.

"No, madam, I am not."


For the first time since arriving in Skyrim, Indrathel slept well.

She slept deep, without nightmares or fitful turning, even though her pillows were too flat and the straw still smelled.

Need to have a chat with Jonna about that.

She didn't know how long before she'd have to leave, but as of now, she was off duty. Morthal might be small, but it still had diversions, and she planned to enjoy everything the broken little town had to offer.


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