All work and no play make a dull day in the park, or something along those lines. I was at the top of the Figher's and Mage's guilds. Time to take a vacation. I decided to go wander all over the place, looking for alchemy ingredients. I put on some light armor, and had myself teleported to the Balmora via the Mage's guild. Just next door to the pawn shop I had noticed a nice man with several pack guar's for sale.

We discussed the pros and cons of better and lesser-trained pack guars, and finally haggled myself into a very experienced and strong animal to carry stuff in. This guar didn't smell too good, so I decided to call him "Stinky".

I stuffed my tent into the packs, along with food and water for the next few days. No telling what strange things we'll find out in the wilds.

We headed out past Fort Moonmoth, across an ancient Dwemer bridge, taking us right into the dusty reaches of Molag Amur region.

Again, those ancient Dwemer ruins - whatever happened to them?

I encountered a monster that decided to attack us without provication. I tried out a new spell I had learned recently, called Wall of Fire. It worked really well.

After several hours, I decided to set up camp for the night. It was getting windy and started to rain. Stinky was happy nibbling on some of the local plants, as all guars do.

I warmed myself by the fire, slouched down on the hammock, read a little bit of one of the books I had brought with me, then settled down for a long night's sleep. It rained all night long, but I was nice and dry inside my tent. I was glad I had brought it along.

The next morning saw us continuing through the dusty lands of Molag Amur. It seemed like it took us forever to reach Molag Mar. After doing some trading, Stinky and I headed north, and eventually found ourselves in a beautiful area called "The Grazelands".

I found a tomb just north of the old Dunmer stronghold called Falensarano, and as night was approaching, I decided to pitch my tent there on a hilltop near the tomb entrance.

I decided to test out my helmet of night eye. I had been tomb-raiding before, so this should be easy for me.

As one of the chores for Skink-in-tree's-shade, I had to find a couple of books on vampires for him. I had found them, but had given the matter no more thought afterward. Vampires. I hadn't seen any such thing, and I had been in dozens of tombs and Dwemer ruins before this. Well, this was different.

I was attacked by one vampire after another. I could see them approach just by seeing the glow in their eyes.

Several of them came after me, and I was so glad I had the sword "Umbra" with me. They had resistance to normal weapons, but this sword was anything but normal. It cut them down one after another, causing them to make a terrible, unearthly shreek as they died.

One of the vampires struck at me, over and over. She was very powerful, stronger than the others had been. Her fingers ripped into my arm through my armor. The armor protected me, but she still managed to leave a nasty scratch. Still, I managed to dispatch her after a few blows.

While resisting, I noticed a tingly sensation on my injured arm. I used a spell of restoration, which healed the wound, but I felt different, odd, more energetic, than I had felt before. If this was a disease, it certainly couldn't be a bad thing. I actually felt good.

I headed back to Stinky, to see what mischief he'd gotten into. He was busy eating some of the plants and grass.

The next day found us a long way from the vampire home, traveling north. We had seen a number of unusual creatures, including daedra, such as golden saints, flame and frost antronchs, and even a hunger. This area is a hunter's dream.

I set up camp that night after a hard day of hunting things. We had collected many alchemy ingredients that will be most useful for creating potions, mostly restoring health, and with the arrival of these daedra creatures, potions that can restore magika.

The next day, we had an encounter with a winged twilight. She put up a terrible fight, scratching at me with her clawed talons. I managed to block her assault and put the creature down easily. I felt more energy in me than ever before. The only thing I noticed is that the tingling in my previously injured arm was continuing, and the sunlight seemed so bright that it hurt my eyes.

The next day, I encountered one of Dagoth Ur's dreaded creatures: an Ascended Sleeper. The vile creature spit poison air at me, desperately wanting me to die under it's deformed feet (if it had any, I couldn't see under it's cloak). Again, I felt an energy coursing through me that I had never felt before. What kind of disease was this that I had caught?

After my encounter with that beast, I decided to take it easy and sleep the rest of the day. I don't know why, but the sunlight was still hurting my eyes, and felt unusually hot on my skin and face. I just wanted to be in my tent and out of the sun. Within an hour, I felt restless, like I needed to go somewhere, do something, run, ......hunt. Why? I finally fell into a restless sleep. And then, I had "The Nightmare".

I awoke screaming. Dear Azura, what has happened to me? I looked into the water in the pot of the fire, and could only see my clothing, but not my face! That was the disease I had contracted three days earlier. It had given me more energy, more stamina, but it had done so at a terrible, terrible cost. I had become a vampire. "What have I done to myself?" I screamed out loud. Ah! I felt pain in my stomach. Food! Where is my food!

I hungered. I tried some of the bread I had brought with me, but it was of no use. Water? I spat it out in disgust. I ran out of my tent. It was just after midnight. Some keen instinct told me that I needed to feed, on something alive. I looked at Stinky, who looked back at me with nerviousness in his eye. I didn't want to attack him, because if I did, who would carry all of my things?

I finally found a nixhound nearby, and attacked it. It fought back, but each time I touched it, I drained it's life into myself. I felt my strength returning. I left the creature a dead husk of it's former self. What to do next, I wondered. There is no cure for vampirism, except the destruction of the vampire. That wasn't a pleasnt thought.

And what of me? Where will I go now? What will I do? Am I to live in the darkness all the rest of my life?