Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!
With the arrival of Dawnguard as an early Christmas present I have returned to continue the story here for a bit! :)
The winds seemed colder as Rayna and I reached the final strech to Winterhold, having navigated past many dangers mostly in the form of witches and infected people for some reason. Once there I finally performed the final ritual to rid myself of that curse placed on me and paid off my dues to the college so that they would stop treating me like a leper. I sort of forgot where I left all my gear though, so after rummaging around the archmage's quarters we continued on to Windhelm again to look for stuff and crafted some gear while I was at it, reaching level 50. I ended up having to still raid my house and the castle kitchens for food due to my low supply of potions (and gold) before continuing south to Riften to do the same.
Seems a new person is inhabiting the Ragged Flagon, but since she isn't really allied with the thieves guild I let her be again heading South to try find this new band of vampire hunters we had heard about from a guardswoman at some remote mine. It took a little while before Rayna found the crack in the mountain leading to their base, a large but dilapidated castle manned only by a handful of people. There was an orc wielding a new weapon on the outskirts too - a crossbow! I let out an audible "ooooh" as he handed me a spare to try out, then continued into the structure with another newbie named Agmaer where we met their slightly psycho redguard leader, Isran.
I get my first task almost immediately, to go check out some crypt that has the vampire's attention for some reason. Wasn't hard to find since I had passed it earlier (though I couldn't reach it initially)and once inside Rayna and I were quickly introduced to the Dawnguard's main adversaries - vampires, and their pets. They weren't much of a problem until my companion got jumped by a more powerful one, her risen spider and her death hounds. Rayna fought fiercely but finally had her life drained out of her by the vampiress before I could reach her. With no choice but to leave the pale, cold corpse of my companion behind I continued deeper underground felling more undead scum that stood in my way until finally, I reached a strange circular puzzle that pierced my hand unexpectedly. Ouch!