Bloodlet Throne, Shadowfang coven
Early Years 4E 05-4E 115
Salthar Vivarian was born on the island of Skywatch, in 4E 05, into Altmer nobility. His mother was a powerful mage in her own right, and his father was a respected military commander. Salthar, unlike his brother, came into his magic at the age of fourteen. Over the years, he became a powerful mage, proficient in most schools of magic, and enrolled in the magical academy on the mainland of the Somerset Isles. He graduated at the top of his class, while his brother, Vengar Vivarian, did the same in the school of combat.
At the urging of his father, Salthar studied military tactics, and joined the Aldmeri military in 4E 25, quickly rising through the ranks to officer. At the same time, talks of elven superiority peaked. Salthars' father in particular was enamoured with the shadowy Thalmor, and hoping to advance his families standing in their eyes, hinted that Salthar might make a suitable officer working for them. Though intrigued, the Thalmor initially refused to recruit him. Instead, they kept a discreet eye on the promising officer, waiting to see where his loyalties lied.
Vivarian was a competent and loyal officer. He didn't hesitate to lead those under his command into dangerous skirmishes against pirate raiders off the coast of Skywatch. He was also swift to punish those that disobeyed orders, without fail. His service with the Aldmeri military and years of combat against the mixed races that made up pirate crews led him to see Altmer as a superior race. A viewpoint that very much matched the Thalmors.
When the Thalmor launched their coup against the current Aldmeri leaders, Salthar threw in with them, along with his brother, and most of the soldiers and mages under his command. He personally executed his commanding officer, who was loyal to the throne, as well as several of his former comrades. After this he and his troops hunted down those who opposed the Thalmor. As a reward for this, he was promoted to the rank of commander, and granted command of a battalion of soldiers.
Serving the Thalmor 4E 115 - 4E 175
"If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" - Salthar Vivarian, to the inhabitants of Falkreath, 4E 176
After the coup that divided the Elsweyr Confederacy in 4E 115, Salthar went to the Khajiit kingdom of Anequina, intrigued by Khajiit culture. There, he met a group of Khajiit, and befriended them. Several of the group were greatly impressed by his mastery of sorcery and tactics, and joined his battalion as scouts. He remained in the northern kingdom for many years, as the Thalmor were quietly consolodating their strength. Though he was officially on leave, he still participated in several battles against dissident Khajiit, further impressing the Thalmor supporting Khajiit.
In the months leading up to the Aldmeri invasion of Cyrodiil and Hammerfell, Salthar was assigned to other parts of the Dominion, he and his troops hunted down, captured, and executed Blades agents. Shortly before the invasion, he was recalled to northern Elsweyr, to the hidden camps stationed near the Imperial border. Salthar participated was in lord Naarifins army that invaded Cyrodiil. His battalion was charged with taking the city of Bravil.
By the beginning of 4E 172, Bravil had fallen to Salthars troops. The Altmer commander immediately had all Imperial officers executed, and put martial law into effect. A curfew was also placed on the city, to prevent messengers and spies from slipping out of the city. Imperial prisoners were kept in a decent state, though escape attempts prompted Salthar to execute most of the surviving legionnaires. However, he treated the civilian populace decently, and discouraged looting.
In 4E 173, a year later, orders arrived for Salthars troops to move on the Imperial city. A few days later, his troops arrived, and stormed the eastern bank of the Niben, along with several other battalions from the rest of Naarifins army. By the end of the year, the army had taken the Imperial City.
In 4E 175, the Imperials struck back. Reports flooded in from Bravil of an army of Nordic legionnaires. Salthar attempted to warn lord Naarifin, believing that the armies' position was not secure enough to hold the approaching Imperial forces. The general ignored Salthars warnings, and assigned him to fight the Nordic legion, under general Jonna. Despite Salthar using his magic to great effect, heavy casualties were inflicted on both sides. After two days of heavy fighting, Salthar and his troops withdrew to the Imperial city. Three days later, the battle of Red Ring road was over, the Aldmeri army defeated, and both Salthar and his brother captured. Though they escaped aboard a ship bound for the Somerset isles a few days later.
Having lost all but a few of his troops in the battle, upon returning to the Dominions capital of Alinor, Salthar resigned his commission. A few days later, the Thalmor approached him with the offer to become a justiciar, leading a small team of elite Thalmor operatives enforcing the White-Gold concordant in the Imperial province of Skyrim. Eager for a chance to take some form of revenge on the Nords for the loss of his troops, he accepted.
Skyrim 4E 176
Salthar was despatched to Skyrim a year after the signing of the concordant. Secret Talos worship was rampant in the province. He, his brother, and a team of half a dozen justiciars were assigned to Falkreath hold. On his first day in the town of Falkreath, he had his men capture a known Talos worshipper, and personally executed him in the town square. He then proceeded to announce that if the inhabitants of Falkreath had nothing to hide, they had nothing to fear. Later, when a group of suspected Talos worshippers took refuge in a house, he ordered the windows and doors boarded up. He then proceeded to set the house on fire, roasting the suspected heretics alive.
His methods were brutal but effective. He became known as the 'terror of Falkreath'. Despite this, Salthar was careful not to push the citizens past their breaking point. During his assignment, worship of Talos decreased dramatically, in Falkreath. Or, if it did not, those that did worship Talos, were much more cautious.
After four years of being stationed in Falkreath, Salthar, and several others, came across an Altmer woman, engaging a pack of bandits. He and his fellows assisted the woman, and killed the bandits. She introduced herself as Virani Snowvane, a Thalmor spy. It's possible this was true. Though seeing as Salthar was unwilling to spare a messenger to head to the embassy and have them confirm her story, it's likely this was just a fabrication on her part.
After several months, in which both of Salthar and the mysterious Altmer woman met, they fell in love. After a year had passed, Virani revealed her vampiric nature. Though shocked, Salthar felt that his own mastery of arcane lore was strong enough that he hadn't been seduced by her powers. In truth, the two were quite deeply in love, and a few short months afterwards, they married. A few days later, Virani turned Salthar into one of the undead. The pair dwelt in Falkreath for nearly two decades, keeping to themselves, and preying on the bandit groups in the area. Unfortunately, Virani was murdered in 4E 198, which lead to Salthar becoming bitterly vengeful. He turned his brother, and with Vengars assistance, killed the vampires holding the ruined fortress, the Bloodlet Throne.
Civil War 4E 201- 4E 202
"Let the Imperials and the Stormcloaks have their little war. Once they've slaughtered each other to exhaustion, a new order will rise from the ashes." - Salthar Vivarian, on the Skyrim civil war.
Salthar spent the years leading up to the war building up a small army of vampires and workers. One such vampire was Lucius Draconus, a former Imperial noble and mercenary. The majority of vampires he despatched to the holds, with orders to collect information. Because of this, he was among the first to know when Ulfric Stormcloak murdered the ruling high king. Though several of his fellow vampires urged him to take the fight to one side or another, Salthar refused, initially.
His plan was to watch and wait, all the while drawing more recruits to his side. After both sides had exhausted each other, he planned to bring about the rise of a new order, with a puppet government, loyal to him, and, to a lesser degree, the Thalmor. The plan worked for the most part. Any wandering townsfolk or hunters in the vicinity of the Bloodlet Throne were killed or captured. By the second of Second Seed, 4E 201, the coven numbered nearly three dozen.
Unfortunately for the vampires plans, the disappearances had not gone unnoticed. Anton Carsus, a member of an order of mage-knights known as the Order of the Blazing Sword, dedicated to eliminating evil, noticed the disappearances. He reported this to his superiors, and within a week, a small taskforce of mage-knights had arrived in Falkreath hold.
Anton, being a ranking member of the order, had decided that the best way to eliminate the vampires was to cut off the head of the coven. Salthar was lured to a local abandoned fort, by a falsified letter that hinted at information on the Silver Hand, an organization of werewolf and vampire hunters. To sell this illusion, Anton had his men dress as Silver Hand warriors, and equip themselves with the signature silver weaponry.
The disguised knights assaulted Salthar when he arrived on his own. Though the Altmer sorcerer easily killed the knights. However, once inside the fort, one of the knights shot him with an ensorcelled crossbow bolt, that temporarily stripped him of his wards. Salthar was rescued by his brother, Vengar, who killed Carsus, and the other knights in the room. Salthar mistakenly identified the knights as Silver Hand, and his brother immediately left for Driftshade refuge to assault the organizations main base of operations.
Fearing discovery, Salthar accelerated his plans. Bloodlet Throne forces assembled in secret, and on the sixth of Frostfall, he ordered assaults against both Stormcloak and Imperial targets. Due to his tactical experience, Salthar led his forces to victory in battles at fort Kastav, and fort Neugrad. He also lead attacks that ousted the Imperial and Stormcloak forces from most of Falkreath hold. During the skirmishes in Falkreath, he encountered captain Valdomir Iceclaw, a Stormcloak officer.
Apparent death and disappearance
During a pitched battle with Imperial forces near Karthspire, Salthar was run through by legate Altus Kathalon. His body fell into the Karth river, prompting the coven forces to retreat. Though the Imperials encouraged the rumour that Salthar had been killed, they never found his body.
Activities after the war 4E 202 - 4E 204
"That's the thing about creatures like myself. We're hard to kill. You should have taken that into account when you stabbed me at Karthspire, general."- Salthar Vivarian, speaking to general Altus Kathalon.
In reality, Salthar survived the battle, but instead of staying in Skyrim, returned to the Somerset Isles. He informed his brother of this, before attending a meeting of Thalmor officials. He attempted to convince the high ranking members of the Thalmor to assist him in removing the Stormcloak leadership. The Thalmor refused, mostly because they saw their vampiric colleagues failure as reason to withdraw the majority of their support.
Despite this, Thalmor high inquisitor Celestia Mourne, pointed him to an ancient mausoleum, sealed since the end of the first era. The mausoleum was home to some dark creature, possibly daedric in origin, though Salthar was unable to find any real background. Though he did discover that it had taken some of the most powerful battlemages of the first era to bind the creature to the mausoleum.
Entering the mausoleum, Salthar faced several 'trials' which tested his mastery of arcane arts. Eventually, he reached the main chamber of the mausoleum. There, the entity attempted to seize control of the Altmer vampire, in order to leave the place of death and wreak revenge on the descendants of those that had imprisoned it. An immense battle of wills commenced. After several hours, Salthar managed to destroy the creature, and gained it's power, bringing his arcane strengths to new heights.
Return to Skyrim
Salthar hired a mercenary ship to return him to Skyrim, sending word of his coming ahead of him, and instructing his agents to meet him and the brother at the Solitude docks. After leaving the ship, Salthar destroyed it, to prevent rumours of his survival from spreading.
With Ulfric Stormcloak victorious, Salthar realized he would have difficulty outright seizing control of Skyrim. He returned to the Bloodlet Throne, and began once again, subtly amassing his power. Many of the vampires that had fled after his apparent death returned to pledge their loyalty once again.
Approximately two months after his return, his coven was back to full strength. Though, instead of waging all out war, he had his agents subtly subvert or assassinate Stormcloak officials. Salthar personally turned the disgraced Valdomir Iceclaw.
When Harkon and his Volkihar compatriots rose to power, Salthar immediately set about bringing him down. He was well aware of Harkons quest to achieve Auriels bow and bring a permanent state of night to Tamriel. The fact that Harkon was a loyal and willing servant of Molag Bal instantly earned him the enmity of Salthar and his coven. More importantly, Salthar realized that something so obvious as blocking the sun would lead the mortals directly to the conclusion of vampires.
Not wanting to be caught up in the massive war that would follow should Harkon succeed, Salthar went about trying to stop Harkon. Rather than lead an army of his own coven to the doors of Volkihar castle, Salthar offered his assistance. Though the Bloodlet Throne coven were sworn enemies of Molag Bal and those who served him, Harkons desperation to succeed, and arrogance led him to accept the Altmer lords assistance.
Salthar sent his own agents to scour Tamriel, under the pretense of searching for the bow. In reality, Salthar had ordered them to hide any clues of the weapons whereabouts. In other instances, Salthars assassins killed several low ranking vampires that were deemed too close to uncovering the bows whereabouts. However, Harkons kind managed to find a Moth priest to read the scroll that had been in Serena, the daughter of Harkons' possession.
At this point, Salthar offered to station a group of his own coven members at castle Volkihar to guard the priest. Harkon believed this would free up his own minions to search for further elder scrolls, and agreed. Unknown to Harkon, the Bloodlet Throne vampires, led by Kharkov Darkstone, were under orders to kill the Moth priest the first chance they had. They were spared this duty when one of Kharkovs' men overheard the priest confessing he had gone blind.
After Harkons agents recovered Auriels bow, and returned to castle Volkihar, Salthar subtly alerted the Dawnguard to this fact. The order of vampire hunters assembled for an assault on Volkihar castle, attempting to avoid alerting the clan of vampires inside. One of Harkons guards spotted the landing Dawnguard forces, and alerted him. Relying on his 'allies' Harkon sent them to the northern area of the castle, to guard the docks and entrance.
Once again acting on Salthars' orders, Kharkov and his men abandoned the Volkihars, stealing one of their ships, and destroying the others. Once the Dawnguard had killed or routed the last of the Volkihar vampires, and left, Salthar arrived at the castle. He personally destroyed the altar of Molag Bal, and ordered Kharkov to purge the rest of the castle of feral vampires and death hounds.
"Killing me won't change anything."
"On the contrary. It'll be very educational to those who follow in your footsteps" -General Altus Kathalon, and Salthar Vivarian, shortly before Kathalons death.
After the Volkihar issue was resolved, Salthars agents reported they'd found the man responsible for his defeat at the battle of Karthspire. Altus Kathalon was promoted to general for his heroic actions at the battle. He was stationed in Anvil when Salthar learnt of his whereabouts. The Altmer vampire traveled to Cyrodiil incognito, and infiltrated the city. He located the general, and after a brief conversation, killed him, leaving the body to be discovered by one of the generals subordinates.
Teaching a lesson
"This is what happens to those who believe themselves immune to our retribution" - Salthar Vivarian
During the spring of 4E 204, on the 23rd of Mid-Year, word reached Salthar that the former jarl of Falkreath, Dengeir of Stuhn was attempting to contact the Dawnguard. Dengeir had long had his suspicions that the Bloodlet Throne was re-inhabited, and felt that, though he was no longer jarl, it was his responsibility to remove the vampire threat.
Unfortunately for Siddgeirs uncle, Salthars agents intercepted the messages, and reported back to Vivarian. Enraged, Salthar leaves the Bloodlet Throne, and heads directly to the Jarls longhouse in Falkreath. The Altmer vampire had thought that the inhabitants of Falkreath were content with their lot, and seeing as the Bloodlet Throne coven only hunted on the outskirts of the town, and eliminated several bandit groups. To illustrate the folly of attempting to oust his coven, Salthar literally tore Dengeir limb from limb.
Claiming territory 4E 205
In the early months of 4E 205, Salthar Vivarian initiated a bloody war against the Dawnguard. Most of the strategies were planned out by Salthar, and executed by several of his most competent lieutenants. The strategies outlined involved cutting fort Dawnguard off from any hope of reinforcements, before delivering a final, fatal blow. Salthar only participated in the battle of fort Dawnguard itself, however, where he fought with, and killed the Dawnguard leader. After the short and bloody war, and siege of fort Dawnguard itself, Salthar believed the order of vampire hunters to be eliminated.
Leaving the Bloodlet Throne
Near the end of the month of Last Seed, strange disappearances were reported in Falkreath hold. Initially, Salthar believed the perpetrator to be a small gang of rival vampires. Salthar decided to investigate for himself, leaving his brother in charge. He arrived in Falkreath on the 31st of Last seed, and met a large group of mercenaries-adventurers.
They left Falkreath on the 1st of Hearthfire, and eventually discovered the corpses of missing townsfolk. Salthar revised his initial opinion that vampires were responsible, and returned to Falkreath to confront the jarl and discover answers. A Blight scout is chased into the town of Falkreath. Salthar mistakenly identifies it as a ghoul, but unsure, orders his agents to examine the sight of the massacred townsfolk. A few hours later, his suspicions are confirmed. Salthar decided to stay with the group, and departed Falkreath for Whiterun, in search of further answers.
The fellowship was formed shortly after they arrived in Whiterun, and was charged by the Council of the Wise to find and eliminate the source of the abductions and murders. Salthar used his powers to fight off a large group of Blight 'corpsers'. Eventually, the group discovered the Blight originated from underground, and they headed for the nearest Dwemer ruin-Mzulft.
However, they were pursued, and caught outside of Mzulft, by the Blight Harbinger, Drazzel. The fellowship slew Drazzel, though Salthar was greatly disturbed to learn of more Blight that were simply waiting beneath the surface. He immediately ordered an increased watch around Falkreath and the Bloodlet Throne, and instructed his agents to continue with their recruiting efforts.
Salthar took a young healer, from the Fellowship, after they'd completed their task. He intended,with her permission, to teach her in advanced magical arts. They returned to the Bloodlet Throne, Salthar spent nearly a year tutoring her, and both mentor and student became close friends, despite her insistence that she lacked the proper focus to become an efficient mage.
The Northern Crisis 4E 207
With the ascendance of Azeraile to the throne of Windhelm, and the purges of all non-Nords in the immediate area, Salthar once again met the rest of the Fellowship. He was soon after summoned to Whiterun once again by the Council of the Wise. They, along with emperor Titus Mede III, were concerned about a new civil war. They wished Salthar and the Fellowship to end the threat Azeraile represented, before the northern holds seceded in another bloody war. Salthar lead the Fellowship in its goal, and after its outcome, left for the Summerset Isles to warn the Altmer nobility of the arrival of the Blight.
Personality and traits
"I don't wish to destroy the world. I merely wish to remove those who bring needless strife and chaos. And I will cut down any who stand in the way of that goal."
Salthar was a dedicated and loyal officer while in the Aldmeri army. Afterwards, as lord of the Bloodlet Throne, he valued, discipline, order, loyalty, and the ability to think on ones feet. Though his primary loyalty was to himself and those loyal to him, he never forgot his Thalmor colleagues, and would frequently go out of his way to assist them. For the most part, he was seen as a mass murderer and monster. He discouraged these rumours, seeing himself as a visionary, carrying his vampiric kin to a better life. He planned to eliminate needless strife, and chaos under a new order, embodying his values.
Salthar was a ruthless tactician and often cruel and coldhearted. He disliked the Stormcloaks very much, enough to engage and destroy several camps that held little military value. However, his true hatred was for Molag Bal. He dedicated himself to the destruction of the Daedric prince of Domination and Enslavement, and all his followers. Because of this, he earned the enmity of all vampires not of his coven. Despite his hatred of their lord, Salthar viewed the vampires of Bal as little more than slaves, or dangerous animals to be exterminated. He was not adverse to killing or ordering the deaths of a specific individual or group, if simply to make a point.
In addition, he had no qualms about ordering the deaths of those who betrayed him, such as the assassin, Veridas Ashheart. Also, his vision of a new order lead him to despise those that didn't share such a vision. He was more than happy to have them 'eliminated'. Those he could not control, he disposed of. His view of lycanthropes was much the same as his view of Bals' vampires. However, instead of pity, he viewed the lycans only with disgust, and decreed that they be eliminated. This attitude lead to direct conflict with the Companions on many occasions.
However, despite his more negative traits, Salthar praised himself on never breaking his word. Whether it be a threat or an assurance, the Altmer vampire strove to see it through. Also, he disliked hurting, killing, or witnessing the suffering of children. Finally, it can be argued that Salthar did many of the things he did out of a deep sorrow over the loss of his wife. Though no excuse, he did possess the ability to love deeply, and had loved Virani more than his own existence.
Flight- Salthar had the ability to transform himself into a man sized black bat. This allowed him to fly across Skyrim without the need for conventional travel or spells.
Shadow Form- First learnt after he defeated the entity on the Summerset Isles, Salthar has the ability to appear as a writhing mass of shadow, able to get to places unable to most, and avoid most physical forms of harm.
Chill- Mortals near Salthar feel an unnatural chill.
Quell- Salthar has the ability to diminish, or out right extinguish most flames.
Magical Abilities- Salthar is quite possibly one of the most powerful mages of the fourth era. He has mastered the school of destruction, and is and expert at all of the other known schools, except, perhaps restoration. His shadow abilities make him a dangerous foe, and he's proven able to take on several wizards of equal or lesser power at once.
Swordsmanship- Salthar is an adept one handed duelist, able to hold his own against several foes in blade to blade combat. His unnatural speed and strength allow him to finish any physical fight he engages in quickly.
Ebony sword- An ebony blade kept in exquisite condition, the blade is enscorcelled never to dull or break.
Thalmor Robes- Salthar is most often seen in his modified Thalmor robes, made of gold and black cloth, with red threading. These manage to represent both the Thalmor and the Bloodlet Throne.
Ring of Power- A gold ring, topped with a small sapphire, that holds enormous amounts of magical energy. It is also Salthars wedding ring, a secret that he has revealed to none.
Salthar Vivarian was considered tall among most men, though about average among the willowy Altmer. He was thin, though not frail. Thanks to his extensive physical training with the Dominion army, he had toned muscles, and was considered in peak physical condition when he was turned. He had shoulder length midnight black hair, and the typical high cheekbones and pointed ears of the Altmer. In life, his skin was a rich golden tone, but as a vampire, it paled to a lighter shade of gold. His eyes, formerly a yellow-gold, became flecked with a dark red. He had a scar under his left eye, and several on his torso. Despite this, he was considered handsome by most females of his kind. His tall, grim figure inspired an unnatural sense of fear in most mortals, in addition to aura of fear that wrapped around him like a second skin.