After a quick stop at the lake to loot the broken king, my little band returned to Skyhaven Temple to swap out Bane for Anni the elven archer. For Bane's efforts I had promoted the khajiit to becoming a guard for Njada but understandably, he first wanted to see the current vampire threat ended. It was time to head back to Fort Dawnguard with Auriel's Bow but as usual we hit all sorts of side quests on the way: hunted a giant deer, two frost dragons, wiped out a bandit base, another master vampire and got Dummy to teach me the "Soul Rend" shout which seems pretty cool. He doesn't seem anywhere as useful as Odahviing though, so with our bargain done I think I'm going to let him rot in the Soul Cairn now.
We also stopped by the Mage's College to hand in some falmer tomes and it is becoming more and more apparent that other than Tolfdir, most of the other people there have a healthy hatred of me - and are becoming more open in their methods of disrespecting their "leader". I decide to let it slide for now since there are bigger fish to fry and we finally return to Fort Dawnguard, where we discover a small group of refugees(?) striking up camp right outside in hopes for protection. Isran isn't too thrilled about them, but his eyes light up when he sees the divine bow and after a stirring speech rallies most of his members for an all out assault on Volkihar Castle.
Agmaer and elf Beleval are to remain with the doggies and a few trolls to help the gate guard protect the refugees and base while we are gone. Knowing how strong the Volkihar clan is first hand I decided to field ALL my remaining resources for the upcoming battle: Anni, Lynn, Cutter, Bane and Jordis who was excited to get out to the front again. Even Njada, whom I would have preferred to stay safetly at home would have none of it after hearing what we were attempting, so she also came along. We met up with Isran's similarly sized group at the shore of the castle itself and when I asked what the exact plan was the crazy bastard just smiled devilishly, looked at me with excited eyes, and basically said "We charge the castle!"
This isn't going to end well, is it?