It's early 2012 and I'm playing The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Why? Because I (finally) can. Join me on my path to glory and the stabilization of the status quo in almost-Tolkien-land.
It takes me a while to find the entrance to the castle in Skingrad, accidentally ending in the guard-quarters at one point. The count’s secretary tells me to wait and I pace around the grand entrance hall of the incredibly gothic-looking castle thinking about what to do when the guy shows up. Is he going to fess-up and I’ll have to kill him? With all of these guards around? Will he have a cure and I can just go, being back to normal human Nord again? Making himself seem very important, the count lets me wait for a while. When he finally shows up I get to watch him slowly walking across a balcony and then coming down the stairs. When he deems it fit to speak to me, my hopes of a quick-heal is quickly shattered.
He tells Martor that yes, he is a vampire, and he likes being a vampire, but his wife doesn’t. So he has been looking for a cure for her but not for himself. There may or may not be a witch near a river in the East who knows how to cure vampirism. I should go talk to her. If I have any success, I am to come back to him and tell him all about it. Great. The third referral in a row. Maybe this witch actually knows what to do. I fast-travel to the city of Cheydinhal, as it is close to said river and I might find clues to the witches location there. Wandering around Cheydinhal for a while, I notice that there are a lot of dark-elves living here, telling me that they are refugees from the last game in the series, coming from a much more racist part of the world than this one. Interesting. As nobody is able or willing to give me information regarding a witch living in the area (or Martor is just to daft to bring it up in conversation, you never know), I decide to go to the river and manually search for a witch’s house from horseback.
The Northern shore of the river is rather steep and the horse has great trouble to maneuver it, while there are wild kobolds attacking from time to time. I decide to ignore them and keep sweeping the shore, finding some cave-entrances but no house. Near a bridge that seems to mark the end of the designated river, there is a small camp-site and I decide to go and ask them if they know about a witch in the area. Martor doesn’t want to bring up the topic though, and all the people in the camp-site have for us is a side-quest. Apparently they were fooled by the government to settle here but the area is in the middle of a goblin-war. Do I wish to end said goblin-war for them? I accept the quest as, even though it is definitely secondary to getting my vampirism cured, Martor is just that kind of do-gooder. I'll take care of it –whenever later.
Frustrated, I decide to search the Southern shore of the river and cross over the bridge. Upon being attacked by some bandits I notice to my terror that my horse seems to be taking damage on all of these attacks that I have been ignoring previously. This is not good at all. I decide to leave the animal behind with the people camped-out by the river. I check their campsite quickly and, to my horror, notice that the game gives me the option to feed on a sleeping woman. No. Never. I start exploring the Southern bank on foot. This quickly turns out to be problematic and as I check my map again, I realize that the house has been marked in it all this time. Damn. I run there and talk to the witch.
The woman isn't too friendly but agrees to help me if I do a fetch quest for her to get the ingredients necessary for curing vampirism. Alright, I think, not realizing that the first item on her list is five greater soul-gems. I think I saw one of those before. Like, once. Five? How on Earth is Martor supposed to do this? At this point I tab out of the game and check on the internet. A quick search tells me that greater soul-gems are totally easy to get, if you’re a member of the mages-guild. Great. I fast-travel back to Cheydinhal and go to find them there. Sadly, the guy responsible for recruitment isn’t in house at the time so I decide to kill some time in the city. I enter a church and pray to all the gods. A prompt on screen tells me that I have been healed of all disease. Really? All of them? I get excited and check Martors face. Nope, still a vampire. Maybe I need to sleep in order for my skin to change back? I seek out an inn. A grave mistake, as it would turn out.
The owner of the inn, a cute dark-elf chick that is totally to Martors liking, tells me that this is a dark-elf pub and some violence and noise is normal. This seems a strange point to make as –as usual- Martor is the only patron. Whatever, we rent a room for the night and go to sleep.
Oh crap, another one of these nightmares. Upon waking up, I get options to vampiric powers. Oh crap. I choose a charm-power that can be used once per day. I regret having slept at all. Even more so as, upon leaving the place, Martor is blinded by the brightness of the sunlight and takes damage from being in it. Oh dear. I go back inside and wait until nightfall. This quest is getting serious. Upon darkness I leave the house and go back to the mages-guild. Of course, the guy who could take me in is only there during the day. Crap. Now what? I walk out of the city. A passing guard tells me I don’t look to well. Martor certainly doesn’t feel to well either. How long until he needs to drink blood? Exhausted, I decide to end this gaming-session. This character will find a cure or be broken by this turn of events. Screw the imperial seal and heir and all that other main-quest-stuff. Martor needs to be human in order to be a functioning good guy. Maybe this quest can be done while only traveling at night. Maybe…