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.
I hang out in the entrance of the fort/underground dungeon. Looking at the deeper parts of the place, I spot a heavily armed man, a woman with a bow and a large dog. I don't feel like murdering what , in this childless world, seems to be the closest thing to a little family of outlaws I've yet to see. Martor isn't here for a fight so I sneak into other tunnels around. Killing a couple of rats, I spend most of the day just sneaking around. Then it's night again, I can get out and get to the last bit of this quest.
The place where the quest has marked the Redwater Slough on my map, where that mighty vampire whose ashes I need is supposed to dwell, is further south than I have ever traveled. I fast-travel to the shrine where I drew blood from that Argonian, then I move onwards on horseback, seeking that cave. It does take a while to ride there so I have already given up the fantasy of returning to Melisande during this night. Finding the cave, I check my equipment. I have my steel claymore, in a decent state of sharpness. I have my katana but lacking it's best buddy, the leather shield, the weapon is of limited use to me, especially as it is rather used by this point. I have the magic mace I bought in case I have to fight ghosts again. As it does deal extra fire-damage, I consider it a possible weapon for my fight with Hindaril and assign it to a quick-draw-slot. I also ready the bow with steel arrows. Maybe I'll get a sneak-attack on someone. I enter the vampire-lair, claymore in hand.
The entrance cave is quite large, when it comes to natural caves. There is a pit in the center, with a stone coffin and some rocks. There are several beams of wood protruding from the pit walls, on which there are coffins. In the middle of the pit there is a stone sarcophagus and there is a corpse tied to one of the rocks with bent metal girders. Creeped out by the corpse, I fire an arrow at it. Then I sneak closer, retrieving the arrow. The corpse isn't moving, luckily. The sarcophagus is not to be interacted with, which is somewhat a relief as I was afraid that a vampire might rise from it. There is a tunnel leading away from the central pit and I follow it. It is half-flooded a bit in, where it ends in a T-intersection. As I know from my wiki, I have to go right in order to get a key for the area to the left. While I'm contemplating this, I hear a voice from the left, asking who's there, while, from the tunnel to the right, a ghost appears and attacks.
It doesn't take long to get over my initial fright of fighting another noncorporeal enemy. I have just checked my equipment and reminded myself of the magic weapon I have so I switch to the mace and pummel the ghost into a puddle of ectoplasm. It works! Sadly, the noise has attracted the attention of the vampire who was inquiring about who was there earlier. He's seen me and, to my chagrin, instead of attacking me and running into my sword, starts summoning zombies. The first zombie gets an arrow by me, then I draw my claymore and start fighting them. After four or five zombies, I realize that he isn't going to stop summoning them. I have to attack. I hack my way through another zombie, get hit by a fireball the vampire caster throws at me, then I reach him and quickly cut him down. I turn around and go towards the area where I know the key is supposed to be.
I have to dive through some water to get to that cave, which even if I wasn't a vampire who doesn't need to breathe wouldn't be a problem as I have a necklace that keeps me alive under water. There are two creepy looking fish down here, which I kill. The cave in which I surface contains a passageway to another cave, where I think I spy a hung body and suspect more vampires. I don't have to go there yet, as the first chest I search holds the key I need to proceed in the other half of the cave. I want to do that before doing the rest of the cave, as I want all my resources, daily-spell and repaired items-wise for the fight against Hindaril. I dive back through the water and go to the passage where I killed that vampire conjurer. I sneak through some tunnels and run into the next vampire, who calls me a dirty Nord. He is indeed the first person in-game who is using my nationality/race as an insult, the second who even mentions it at all. I lay into him until he stops moving.
In the next cave over there is a female vampire, who I sneak up on but I only get an x1 bonus for the sneak-attack. The fight drags on for a while despite her fighting bare-fisted. She buffs and heals herself with magic and after killing her, she is identified as a vampire-monk. Weird. Wouldn't that be a nun or something? Bikkuni, if you want it martial-arts-Eastern-style? Whatever. I sneak to the next cave and see another vampire. Forgetting about my magic mace, I attack him with my claymore. It is the infamous Hindaril and I use a protection-spell and then a frost-based attack-spell that my vampirism has granted me. He dies surprisingly quickly. It is almost to easy.
I gather his ashes and see that indeed, he didn't have a weapon. But he did have a magical shield. I pick it up and decide that the night is almost over so I might as well explore the rest of the cave, as I'm going to spend the entire day here anyways. I dive through the underground lake again, this time going into the cave where I thought I'd seen a hung body. Another vampire is there, a vampire wizard, as he manages to hurl a single fireball at me before I reach him and cut him down. His body is identified as „Vampire witch-hunter“, which seems somewhat weird. But he's dead now and I have all I need for the cure. All I have to do now is wait 12 hours for it to become night again and then fast-travel to the witch house. Finally...