Before she could go, however, she needed to report her contract completions to Nazir. The news of Lurbuk's death brought the usual sarcasm with the gold, but when Katnys confirmed that she had killed Hern as well, Nazir dropped his sardonic veneer to offer his sincere respect for facing down a vampire. He then suggested that she check for signs of vampirism herself, making reference to the Brotherhood's own resident vampire, Babette.
That's when it dawned on her: the ambush at Half-Moon Mill, the strange draining attack, that nagging thirst on the way home...Katnys had contracted Sanguinare Vampiris! She knew enough to understand that if she didn't act quickly, she would become a full-blown vampire before the week was out. Katnys found the Cure Disease potion she had picked up somewhere along the way, opened the vial...and stopped.
Vampirism was bad, of course. Katnys had encountered vampires before; she witnessed a vampire attack in Whiterun, and even though she didn't help the town guards and citizens put the monsters down, that one Dawnguard soldier took her aside and invited her to join his band of vampire hunters. At the time, she was too focused on avenging her sister and the whole "Dragonborn" business to get involved. Now that she was infected, she was involved whether she liked it or not.
As she held the Cure Disease potion to her lips, she thought about those vampires; they were powerful, they could enthrall people, drain health from afar, even become invisible. But most of all, they didn't grow old and die. Nazir mentioned Babette; look at what she had accomplished through this "disease." What if Katnys needed more power, more time to exact her vengeance on the Empire? Wouldn't becoming a vampire actually help? What did she have to lose? She would talk it over with Jenassa on the way to Volunruud; Katnys had grown to really love and trust Jenassa during their travels together and her opinion meant more than anyone else's.
Once outside the Sanctuary, Katnys told her companion everything. Jenassa, for her part, had little to say, but the little she did say decided the issue for Katnys: "We're one of the same kind, you and I. I'm glad to have met you. I am a lethal instrument, yours to command. Blade and shadow, silence and death - these are my arts. I'll make great art for you. I am the shadow at your back. Let's get going." Jenassa would be beside her, no matter what.
Glowing from Jenassa's expression of acceptance and loyalty, Katnys led the way to Volunruud. Once inside the tomb, she found a tattered journal next to what was, presumably, the author's skeleton. Katnys opened the journal, fearing that she had failed to reach Motierre in time, only to discover that the journal belonged to some foolish explorer named Heddic; she pocketed the journal (there would be time to follow up on that later) and followed a noise to her left that sounded increasingly like muffled conversation. In front of a large closed door lay the bodies of several vanquished draugr. If Motierre was behind that door, he was someone to be reckoned with.
As it turned out, Motierre was indeed in the chamber beyond, but it was most likely his hulking bodyguard, Rexus, who had dispatched the draugr. Katnys startled and raised her bow upon first laying eyes on Rexus in his Imperial armor -- was this some sort of Imperial trap? Motierre, however, rushed forward to put her at ease. He was obviously still shaken from performing the Black Sacrament, and was eager to get down to business. Katnys, however, was not prepared for the target he was to offer: the Emperor!
It was all Katnys could do to keep the cold, silent demeanor she had begun to adopt as an assassin. In an instant, in that stinking Nord crypt, listening to veiled insults of a Breton fop and his Imperial pet -- everything suddenly made sense. How did Motierre put it? The stars had aligned. The dragon attack at Helgen, the Aretino boy, the Brotherhood contracts that tugged at her conscience, the Night Mother's revelation: it had all led to this. With this contract, Katnys would finally avenge her sister. The Emperor himself would pay for Prym's blood!
Quickly remembering herself, Katnys took some items from Rexus (she hadn't really been paying attention -- Motierre said something about an amulet, a letter, and killing some other people) and made straight for the Sanctuary. Astrid was, of course, taken aback by the news, but then gave Katnys a quick history lesson and embraced the challenge Motierre had put before the Brotherhood:
|She said the magic word.|
Once inside the Ragged Flagon, Mallory confirmed that the amulet belonged to a member of the Emperor's Elder Council, and gave Katnys the letter of credit Astrid had mentioned. Upon her return, Katnys delivered the letter, and in exchange, Astrid revealed that to her that Katnys would carry out the first assassination herself: Vittoria Vici, manager of the East Empire Company's holdings in Solitude, was to be killed at her own wedding. Slaughtering an Empire lackey in front of a crowd of Imperial dandies-- what a lovely opening act!