I rode west for Dragon Bridge - which is quite a sight in its own right, tiny village made noteworthy for the ancient bridge of ornate stone worked to look like the spine of a dragon. It's quite good, really. And I've seen two dragons' skeletons, recently. First, Mirmulnir, then the nameless lesser wyrm that happened to attack Silent Moons Camp at the same time Lydia and I were arriving to do the exact same thing.
Anyway, I rode through Dragon Bridge and a little ways farther north, I could I see the towering Statue of Meridia crowning her ruined temple. As I rode beneath the shadow of the Statue, she spoke to me again. About the inconstancy of mortals, for not maintaining her precious building. I climbed a set of broken stairs to the foot of the Statue and replaced her beacon on its stand there, and suddenly I was snatched up high, very high... higher than High Hrothgar, which I believe I could see in the great distance. And there, I was face to face with a near-blinding orb of blue-ish light. Meridia's avatar in Tamriel.
The daedra told me that her temple had been corrupted and defiled by a powerful necromancer named Malkoran, and that I would be rewarded if I cleansed it for her. Well, alright then, O Lady of Blinding Light Holding Me Suspended Higher than Any Dragon Can Fly! Since I have SO much choice in the matter, I cleanse your bloody temple for you!
Meridia dropped me back to the base of her Statue - gently. Lydia's face was ghost white pale, but I didn't have time to reassure her. I simply told her, "If you're going to be my housecarl, you're probably going to see worse shit than this. I'm the Dragonborn, remember? I'm going to be the one to stop Alduin from eating your kinsmen's souls in Sovngarde, and if you live long enough, you're going with me. Now skin that pretty Orcish sword I gave you and move your cheeks!" With that I bounded down the staircase and made for the entryway to the ruined temple.
Once inside, I immediately noticed the defilement Meridia was talking about. There hung in the air a thick and cloying miasma, a... blackness. It threatened to seep into my pores and corrupt me, if I lingered over-long. On the ground, there was a desecrated corpse. Lydia stood guard while I inspected the body and picked through its surprisingly fine clothing. He.. or she, hard to tell... had a good bit of coin on its person. Wouldn't need that anymore, so I took it and we moved on. I found dozens of these corpses, all similarly treated, each with a lot of gold on them. Likely cultists lured here by this Malkoran, and wealthy ones at that. That fact alone spoke to the power of this necromancer.
After fighting our way through pairs and trios of shades, more powerful than the simple draugr I'd encountered before, and turning a series of multi-faceted crystals to direct a beam of light shone down into the temple by Meridia herself through a series of arcane locking mechanisms, we finally found our way to the central altar of Meridia's Temple. And inside, we found Malkoran, guarded by no fewer than six of these shades, more powerful than the ones we'd encountered already. My Imperial voice had no effect on them, and shouting "Fus" only seemed to annoy them. Lydia almost perished in the fighting - twice I had to leave off of battling Malkoran to assist her with the shades. I admit, I would have felt bad about it if she'd died. Draugr were nothing compared to these shadowy horrors. I wouldn't have survived without her help. And she was a warrior, through and through. At one point, I saw her buckled to one knee and when I turned to charge to her defense, she struggled to assure me that "It is nothing!" Ha!
When the necromancer fell, it wasn't over. His own shade rose to avenge him! And where the necromancer had fought me with ice, his ghost fought me with fire. Now, I keep a lot of potions I may never need, things I find in my travels, things I stumble into with random experiments at Arcadia's alchemy lab in Whiterun. After the first fireball nearly ended me, I remembered that I had a Draught of Resist Fire in my pack, and I quickly drank it. After that, I had more difficulty staying between Malkoran's Shade and Lydia than enduring his flames.
Once the deed was done, the daedric prince spoke to me again, inviting me to remove the sword from her alter. A beautiful blade, it is, glowing with a light both beautiful and terrible to behold. She called it "Dawnbreaker." Once I had retrieved it, after retrieving the gold from a dozen or so more of Malkoran's dead followers, Meridia plucked me on high once again to deliver a very flowery speech about weilding Dawnbreaker in her honor and spreading her light through the world. I don't know about spreading light... but I think I will bear this sword from here out.
In fact, almost every guard I pass by has something to say about the reforming of the Dawnguard. There have been several vampire attacks, lately...