"Turn me into a vampire."
Rella held Serana's gaze unflinchingly as she spoke. The drumming of her heart turned the simple words of the incantation into an almost resplendent chant, filling her with strength and determinedness.
Serana's eyes were burning bright. There was an intensity to them that the Dragonborn had scarcely seen before. "Are you sure this is what you want?"
"With you," said Rella. "Yes."
There was no going back, now. She'd made up her mind.
For a few agonising moments, the vampire watched her, as if searching for any hint of uncertainty; anything that might indicate the Dovahkiin was not fully committed to her decision.
"I want this, Serana. I want you."
In an instant, Serana's mouth crashed against hers. Pale hands reached up to grasp the front of her tunic, pulling her backwards, towards the bed. Rella dropped down when she felt the mattress against the backs of her knees, bringing the vampire with her.
The manner in which Serana led Rella onto her back was delicate, gentle, but the younger Nord wouldn't allow it. Instead, she rolled the vampire underneath her. She traced Serana's collarbone, her cheek; the Dragonborn's fingers no more than a warm whisper on her cool skin.
The vampire's hands slipped beneath Rella's tunic, grazing her hips, gliding across the small of her back and following her spine to her shoulder blades. The Dovahkiin sighed into Serana's mouth, unresisting when she tugged the hem of her tunic up and over her head. Then, not content with just the one piece of clothing gone, Serana relieved her of her leggings, too.
Rella began to say something – quite what, she wasn't entirely sure even herself – but before she was able, Serana silenced her with another kiss, smooth and deep and urgent. She fumbled with the clasp on the vampire's robes; a small and insignificant hunk of metalwork that thoroughly, and irritatingly, both confounded and embarrassed her. She murmured a curse against Serana's mouth, drawing back to properly study this trifling and tormenting mechanism, determined not to let it defeat her.
Serana's solution, however, was much simpler. She merely reached up and tore it apart, shrugging out of the crimson garment and casting it aside. It was certainly one way to do it. Rella allowed her gaze to roam the wealth of alabaster flesh that now lay exposed before her, taking in every inch and committing as much of it to her memory as she could. It was more of the vampire she'd ever had the privilege of seeing before, and by the Nine, she was beautiful.
Serana was watching her, too, with a mixture of wonderment and desire burning in her eyes that made the Dragonborn's heart leap inside her chest. Rella descended on her, kissing her softly at first, and slowly, sweeping her fingertips along Serana's sides. She skimmed the outer curve of her breasts, eliciting an almost petulant moan from the older Nord.
Serana's response, or rather her revenge, was to seize the Dragonborn's shoulders and flip her onto her back. The vampire half-straddled her, pressing her thigh in between Rella's legs and pinning both of her hands above her head with just one of her own. The other she used to trail down the length of her body, from the base of her throat to her stomach, and then further down, over the fabric of her lower undergarments. The Dragonborn inhaled sharply and arched her back, prompting the vampire to nip at the rosebuds that crowned her breasts. Rella willed her to return south, aching for her touch. Had she been able, she would have guided Serana's hand there herself.
As if reading her mind, the vampire started to drag Rella's underwear down, the action slow and deliberate; agonising. It seemed like an eternity until they were done away with, and Serana's lips collided with hers once more. She felt the vampire's icy, slender fingers brush against her before dipping inside. Tentatively, at first, and Rella's breath hitched in her throat. The Dovahkiin's hips jerked up and forced them deeper, shuddering in rhythm with Serana's movements, a raspy moan escaping from her mouth.
"Serana," Rella gasped. She was close, now. "Make me yours."
The vampire didn't question her. She released her grip on the Dragonborn's hands, lifting her upper body, fingers still thrusting inside her. "I'll try to make it as painless as possible," she whispered into Rella's ear.
When she plunged her fangs into the Dragonborn's neck, she was claiming a different part of her, and beginning the process that would change another.
At first, all she felt was pain. Her entire body stung, as though the tips of a thousand invisible swords were stabbing at her over and over, joining together to create a wave of agony that swept from her toes to the very top of her head.
Then, the cold. It began at her fingertips, spreading across her skin; a freezing embrace that wrapped around her and wouldn't let go. The darkness had once been an ally; a friend, but now it sought to diminish her. The silence taunted her along with it.
She couldn't even hear her own heartbeat.
Dark, silent, and cold. Where was she?
She felt weightless; unable to discern if she was standing or lying.
Another sensation hit her. Loneliness.
She was all alone. But there was a memory, faint in her mind, of something. Someone.
Who was she?
It was a question aimed as much at herself as the woman whose features she couldn't quite see. She was but a shadow, blending into the blackness that was all around her.
She opened her eyes.
She was in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by a pallid, pulsing mist. Beneath her, water. It rippled and glimmered all around her, ribbons of silver streaking the surface. She wasn't sinking. She wasn't even afloat. Was there really fluid below her or was it an illusion?
She bent to dip a hand in, but as she did a creature's face rose up from the depths to meet her. Blood-red eyes, a snarling visage, skin the colour of stone. She screamed. The sound was unfamiliar even to her own ears.
And then she was falling. The liquid swallowed her whole and pulled her down, further and further, deeper and deeper.
A dull ache in her shoulder blades slowly turned into a searing discomfort. Something was pushing out from inside of her, tearing at her skin. She tried to cry out, but no sound came.
She knew nothing of what was happening to her and began to lose all hope. She wanted the darkness to consume her, to take her away from this solitary hell she'd been left in.
Suddenly, she was moving towards the pale light above and she burst into the open, back into the cage of fog.
She realised then that she was flying. Quite how, she didn't know.
She drifted towards the vaporous barrier that kept her prisoner. When she attempted to pass through it, it solidified, blocking her way.
She looked around for an opening, some way for her to break through. She saw nothing, no means of escape. She would have to use her wits, now; what few of them she had. Or remembered she had.
As her eyes trailed over this shadow-sea, she caught sight of that beast again. It was lurking below, but didn't breach the surface.
She peered closer, and it did the same. She recoiled quickly, unwilling to let it come any nearer to her. Again, it did the same.
A spike of fear lanced through her. As she stared into its scarlet orbs, she glimpsed something familiar behind them. The longer she looked into them the more the 'something familiar' became someone familiar.
She saw herself.
It was all clear to her, now.
Rella opened her eyes. The woman who had been lost in her memories watched her with an anxious expression. She was so beautiful, her gaze so deliciously warm and gentle.
Rella never wanted to forget her again. She wouldn't.
In a voice she recognised as her own, she said: "Serana."