Chapter 36:


Evelyn found herself unable to sleep. Her insomnia was kicking in again, and it was becoming a pain. Luckily she was used to it, but she was enjoying sleeping for a change. She slowly gets up, to see Artemis sound asleep on his chest. She chuckles slightly, he looked rather adorable sleeping. She gets up and checks on her son. He too was asleep. She kisses the top of his head lightly before heading downstairs. She ends up outside on her balcony, to see Drizzt there, looking over the wall. She smiles as she joins him. "Couldn't sleep?" He tilts his head slightly. "My kind don't really need a lot of sleep. I was enjoying the salty air. I used to travels the seas." She joins him as she looks out. "Really?" "Aye, me and Cattie-brie traveled on the Sea Sprite, chasing pirates. Six years we spent together....I loved her then.." She places her hand on his shoulder lightly. "Sounds like it was few good years spent..." She pauses as she glances up. "Don't think we have pirates though." He lets out a low chuckle at this. "No worries, there's plenty of bandits that need to be taught a lesson." "No kidding, some things never change. Bandits is one of them. At least you missed out on the crazy of the Crimson River group." He tilts his head at this. "A group of Bandits that take Skooma. A drug, not only that but they mix the drug with Hist Tree sap. Which is also a drug....hence the name." He looks at her with wide eyes. "It's as bad as you think it is..." He shivers, not wanting to think about it any longer.

Meanwhile, Artemis moves a bit, his arm reaching for his lover. When he feels the spot is slightly cold he slowly wakes up. He glances around, getting up and pulling his pants on. He checks on his son, he was asleep. But he picks him up and wonders off to go find his lover. He slowly finds his way outside, to see her standing with Drizzt. "So have you traveled much?" "Some, Vilkas took me to Solstheim. I'm still getting used to the idea of an entire island, of elves not related to Drow." She lets out a soft laugh. "Oh my, I guess it's still a shock eh?" He shrugs slightly, giving her a sheepish smile. "I understand...so what did you go down there for?" "Ash Spawn...what are those things?" She scratches the back of her head. "I'm not sure, I think they come alive due to the Heart Stone that are found out there. Also has something to do with the mountain blowing some eighty years ago." She really didn't have much of an answer, but that's what she thinks was causing the problem. "I saw some of those Netch...found myself watching them for a bit. Still can't figure out how they flout..." "You and Artemis both. Though even I have no idea how those things work. They're like big cows that just flout.." Drizzt ends up laughing at this. "Aye, they kind of are. They just mind their own business." he lets out a low sigh as he shakes his head. "I wouldn't mind seeing more of the island at some point. Can't say I've seen a volcano so close.." His gaze remains on the ocean, just enjoying the moment.

"I wouldn't mind traveling the seas again, but it doesn't seem like many do so." Evelyn nods at this. "Only trade ships really go out to sea. I think because most ships end up missing...it keeps people from wanting to go to far. But hey, don't let that stop you though." He smiles warmly at this. "You're a good friend Evelyn, Artemis is lucky to have you around." She just chuckles slightly at this. "Oh I try, I've always been a people person." She lets out a low sigh as she shuffles a bit. "Being raised by Mernon, I got so used to being around elves." She looks down a bit, she hadn't really thought about him since she had killed him. "I just..." She slowly breaks down, it still hurt her even after all these months. Drizzt moves slightly as he places his hand on her arm. It was understandable for her to be upset. She lets out a small sniff as she wipes her cheek. "Sorry." "No need, he raised you...and then sold you out..." Artemis had been standing at the door. He smirks slightly but Adrian gives him up by crying slightly. Evelyn turns as he walks over to her. "I think he's hungry.." She takes the boy and heads inside. Once she was inside he shakes his head slightly. "She hasn't talked about him since that day. I try not to push the issue..." He knows that feeling all to well and knows some wounds don't heal. Drizzt just smiles, he was wrong, they were both lucky to have one another. He may not show it, but he did seem happy with his life. More so then before at least.

A couple of days later, they meet at Castle Dour again. Most of the Dawnguard had showed up, Serana included. Evelyn was always happy to see the woman. Isran and the others just gather together. Isran just lets out a low sigh. "Slavers using Castle Volkihar...like vampires weren't bad enough..." Evelyn holds out her hands. "We don't know for sure, but that's why I called you down here." He just lets out another sigh. Serana walks over to Artemis, smiling down at the now wide awake baby boy. "Who's this handsome little man?" "Adrian, he's a month old." Artemis just tightens his hold on the boy, glaring slightly at the woman. He didn't trust the fact she used to be a vampire. Evelyn just shakes her head at him, but chuckles at how protective he is. Once everyone gathers she tells them how the slavers might be using the castle, and the old keep. Not only that, but they might be keeping werewolves. Passing them off as 'pets'. Isran just shakes his head at this, it's a good thing they keep a stock of silver weapons. Evelyn splits the group. Isran and a few will go to the keep. While Serana and the other half will go to the castle. Aela will go with Isran just in case the keep was being used to hold werewolves. Once Evelyn was sure everyone knew where they were going, she sends them off. Drizzt heading off with them as well. Once the castle was empty Evelyn turns to Artemis. "You should go with them." He gives her a surprised look. "What about you?" "Adrian needs me still, go...take Dawnbreaker." He didn't seem sure at first, but he quickly decides to join them. He ends up joining Serana, since Dawnbreaker was good against the undead.

Drizzt ended up with the group that headed for Northwatch Keep. From the outside, it was dead quiet. Aela moves slowly as she leads the way. It's the same keep that once held Thorald. They had no idea the poor boy was even still alive. Only his mother, Fralia held onto hope. It wasn't until Evelyn had gone herself to check it out and rescued him from the Thalmor. Along with them was a small group of Legion solders, ready to help. They enter the keep, Aela sniffing at the air. She doesn't hide what she is from Drizzt, he already knows and isn't bothered. "Someone has been in here...can't tell how long..." She pulls out her bow as she leads the way, Drizzt following. He places a free hand on Guenhwyvar, the figurine was deep in his pocket. He could feel the magic in the air and quickly pulls out his blades. It was just one long hallway until they reached a larger room. It looked like it had been used as a holding cell. A pelt laid on the floor and Aela lets out a low growl. Drizzt walks around it, it looked, fresh. They hear a sound, only to see a frail looking wood elf, holding a broken piece of glass. "D-don't...you're not r-real...not real...." The poor woman was naked, her honey color hair was a mess. Aela holds out her hands and moves slowly. "Be calm, we mean no harm." The elf swings her small weapon. "Not real, the hunt take me.." She thrust the shard into her neck and quickly bleeds out. Aela rushes over, but it was to late. "Damn...." They find the main room. The place was full of more elves. Seems they have been left to rot. Most were dead, near dead, or slowly going insane. There was no saving these elves. Aela felt horrible, they didn't disserve this, but they had no choice.

Meanwhile in the Castle, Artemis moves slowly. He had never seen the place before, but it was huge. Isran just heads in as Serana leads the way. Most of the main dining area had been cleared out. But even she could tell someone had been here recently. There was still plenty of magical items that had been left behind. She makes her way to the garden. To make her way to her mothers study room. The portal was still open, but it would be impossible to tell if anyone used it. not that they would be able to go in unless they were vampires. Artemis just kind of leans his head toward the thing, but doesn't get close. "Why would anyone go into it?" Serana could only shrug. "Not sure, there's not much there anymore after we found the Elder Scroll. I just hope my mother is...safe." He rises his brow at this. "Your mother is in there?" "She's still a vampire. I would go in, but it's not worth the effort..." They leave the room as they head to a different part of the castle. She leads him to the sleeping area that had once been used. She checks the coffins, only to find ash. She moves slowly, checking everything. But so far, the place looked clear. "Maybe we're missing something." Artemis pulls out Dawnbreaker, as well as his dagger. "I say we check everything, just to be sure. Something doesn't seem right here." Serana nods as she continues to look through her old home. Then it hits her, the old shrine her father used. "There's a shrine to Molag Bal." She turns and leads the way, Artemis following after her.

As they get closer, he could hear voices. Serana opens the door to see a small group gathered at the fountain. A Redguard holds a poor frail looking woman. They were forcing her to drink from the fountain. Serana stops them with a fireball and the woman hits the ground. The leader, the Redguard, pulls out his sword and charges after Serana. Artemis stops the Redguard as the others of his group join in the fight. It was hardly a fight for Artemis. Those not in the fight were to weak to do so. He checks on the woman. She was a short Breton with grayish hair. She was chocking it seems as her body starts to twitch. He takes a step back, Serana watches in horror. The woman was a werewolf, but the blood in the fountain was doing something horrible to her. Her body half turns and she ends up in some sort of half formed body and dies from blood loss. Artemis could hardly move after seeing that. Serana was the first to move, looking the woman over. "What are they trying to do?" She checks on the others, most were dead. One was still alive, a male Nord with copper hair. He was struggling, his eyes here blood red. He didn't seem to have any idea what was going on around him, but he was suffering. Artemis takes charge in using his dagger, putting the poor man out of his misery. "I didn't think it was possible to mix vampires and werewolves. It was always one or the other..." Serana was at a loss here as to what they were trying to do. "Maybe they're trying to sell a 'cure'." Artemis checks the area before looking at her. She gives him a surprise look.

Once they were sure the room was empty they leave and make it back to the main dinning room. Isran and the rest of the Dawnguard. They were going to have to lock down the castle to make sure no one else tried this again. Artemis and Serana made it back to the Fort awhile later for Aela to tell them what they found. Most of who they found were werewolves. Some didn't take to the change well due to being kept locked up. Aela was forced to kill most of them since they were far to gone to be helped. Given what they learned from the castle, Artemis runs his fingers through his hair. "So they weaken them....give them the idea of a 'cure' for...what?" Serana could only shake her head. "Someone is using these people as some kind of experiment. You can't mix the Sanguinare Vampiris disease with the Sanies Lupinus disease..." Aela tilts her head at this. "Right, I forget, back in the day, some...oh I'd say two hundred years it was possible to catch Lycanthropy from a disease. Not sure how it spreads now." Drizzt could only shutter, wondering what kind of people would even try something like this. "The only thing we didn't learn was who started all of this.." "We'll make another sweep of the keep, see if we can't find any notes..." Aela turns to go back into the fort and Drizzt turns to join her, also wanting answers. "I'm going to go back to the castle.." Serana turns to Artemis as he just nods. "I'll head back to Solitude. If you learn anything..." "We'll make our way back to Castle Dour."

Artemis ends up making the long trip back to Solitude. Several days had past since they had left. He felt tired from it all. It was strange to feel he was looking forward to retuning home. He even found himself just kind of standing in the middle of the road for a few minutes. A few hours later he makes it to Proudspire, it was late into the night. He enters, silent as he makes his way upstairs. He makes his way upstairs, to see Evelyn sound asleep. She was wearing a open robe, their son laying on her chest. She just holds him close to her as they sleep. A strange since of warmth forms in his chest when he sees this. He was still getting used to these new emotions. He moves slowly, not wanting to wake her. But it doesn't take much to alert her and she blinks a bit. "Artemis, you're back...what did you find?" He shakes his head slightly. "I really don't think you want to know." She slowly sits up, making sure to not wake Adrian. She lays the boy in his crib before she turns to him. "I don't even really know what to tell you. They were using this fountain under the castle. Some kind of experiment with werewolves. Her browns slowly knit as he tells her everything. "How strange...why would someone go through all that. You can't be both...unless someone is trying to prove other wise. Doesn't seem like it's working in the slightest." It sounds crazy, but a part of her is glad she didn't see any of it. She holds out her arms and pulls him into her embrace. She kisses the side of his head. "Are you okay?" He leans into her slightly. "Just trying to make since of it all. I've seen some strange things, this tops everything."

She lets out a low sigh. "Well you're home now, try not to think of it." It's still a strange feeling, but he's slowly starting to enjoy it. He starts to relax as she holds him against her. "I didn't mean to wake you." She shrugs at this. "Oh it's fine, a short nap never hurts." She turns her gaze to her sleeping child. "I do hope my insomnia isn't something that gets passed down." She would feel horrible if that was the case. Artemis isn't sure what to say. "I think it's more habit you've formed over the years. I doubt it will have any effect on him.." He has a point, her being unable to sleep is her own fault. It's just something she had gotten used to over time. It's gotten slightly better, but there's still times where she will just end up wide awake. After what Artemis told her she wasn't about to go to sleep any time soon. "I do hope we can figure out what's going on before this gets any worse. Why does it seem if it's not one thing, it's another?" "That's how life works." She rolls her eyes at him. "Thanks for the positive feedback." "Just being honest, if I learned anything. Things can always get worse." She lets out a low sigh as she nods. "No kidding, I wonder who I can go to for a pay rise..." He rises his brow at her. "I'm my own boss...should I write myself a letter?" He lets out a soft chuckle. "How about a bonus?" She tilts her head at this, until he starts to remove his shirt. "I'm in." She giggles as she joins him.