U.O.T.W. Chapter 208 What's in a Name

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    The moment the double doors shut behind them, Farkas and the other Companions practically ran for the main gate. However once they reached the market they all slowed down; each one of them, one after the other greeted the market holders and the citizens of Whiterun like everything was normal, almost like they all were trying to hide the fact that they were actually fleeing Jorrvaskr for the next twenty four hours or so, away from Aela’s wrath.

     

    Once they all exited the main gate they followed the rocky plateau to the north before heading across the plains. The going was rougher than what the typical jaunt across the tundra would usually be but that was mainly because no one really travelled along the outer wall of Whiterun. Soon though, they all started hearing voices. Vilkas called the line to a stop then he and Farkas crept along the rocky edge to a large overhang. Below them, by the entrance of a shallow yet large alcove, were three Nords. They were unloading various supplies which were being stacked together alongside a horse and cart.

     

    Vilkas pointed out to a large pile of boxes and spoke to his brother, asking for his input.

    “They must be smugglers or bandits moving supplies by the looks of it. What do you think? Weapons for the Stormcloaks?”

     

    Farkas looked at the three men who seemed no different to regular traders. One man was dressed in robes who could have been a merchant while the others were more rough and ready; all the hallmarks of being bodyguards.

    “Why Stormcloaks?”

     

    “Well the empire doesn’t need to smuggle through anything. Either way they’re not up to any good. Merchants would be on the main road; unless they are lost. Let’s find out... Gold from Riverwood?”

     

    Farkas nodded back and smiled.

    “Sounds good to me; and it’s my turn too. Let’s take them”.

     

    Discretely, they both headed back to the Whelps where Vilkas gathered them around him so he could outline his plan.

    “There are three men below us. They look like smugglers or bandits; either way we’re going to take them out. I want you three to stay up here and shoot at them while Farkas and I will engage them on the ground. Any questions?”

     

    The girl drew her bow as she looked towards the cliff edge.

    “What’s our priority target?”

     

    Farkas laughed quietly and pointed at his brother.

    “That’s easy; anyone who isn’t us. And don’t fire at them until we have confirmed who they are, we don’t need bad rap for killing some bloody traders who got stuck or lost”. Then without another word Farkas and Vilkas headed down the rocky slopes. Farkas headed to the south side, leaving Vilkas to cover the north.

     

    Soon enough they were all in position to engage the three targets. Vilkas gave Farkas a nod signalling to him that he was in position and ready. In his own time, Farkas casually started walking over to the three ‘traders’ and he called out to them, forewarning them of his position.

    “Hello there, mind if I share your fire? It’s been a long cold morning, what with guarding the gold, ermm the shipment”.

     

    One of the Nords, a tall masculine male with a two-handed sword in his sheaf beckoned Farkas over towards him in a light-heartedly manner.

    “Ahh a fellow traveller! Come friend and join us. Tell me, where are you headed?”

     

    Having played his part before, Farkas boldly joined them as he set out the trap. His goal was simple, make himself seem a worthy target to bandits.

    “Oh I’m making my way to Riverwood. From there it’s off to Falkreath. I’ve a bag of gol… ermm merchandise to deliver”. Farkas walked over to the fire and sat down on one of the logs and warmed his hands by rubbing them together as he basked in the heat of the flames.

     

    The man behind him started slowly drawing his sword, while he watched the Companion for any signs of trickery. A single strike and it would be over and the three men would be richer after parting the fool with his gold. Farkas’s heart beat slow and steady although his hands felt sweaty. He wasn’t afraid or even the least bit concerned. He put his sweaty palms down to being close to the fire.  The Companion scooped up some dust and rubbed it into his skin, drying out the pores lest he lost his sword in the heat of battle. Even that didn’t concern him; it was the thought of the Whelps and his brother laughing.

     

    His mind snapped into focus as the hairs on the nap of his neck pricked up. ‘Any second now’ he thought to himself. Slowly he counted down the seconds.

     

     

    The ‘merchant’ who first welcomed Farkas to join them and warm himself from the fire, had barely drawn his sword six inches from its scabbard when Vilkas, who was beyond his line of sight, screamed out a warning to his brother as he charged forwards to engage the other ‘bodyguard’, making the fighter jump.

     

    Farkas reacted upon hearing the cry and swung his hand back as he sprung up to his feet.

    He backhanded the man’s face, catching him by complete surprise and knocking him over. He was still in a daze when Farkas had drawn his own sword and shield; any advantage the three bandits had was lost in an instant.

     

    With a beckoning nod, Farkas backed away, allowing the man to get to his feet. He finally managed to arm himself while the Companion looked on in an almost placid state as he slowly swung his sword around in anticipation of the fight to come.

     

    The ‘merchant’ who was covered in dark robes from his feet to the top of his head which was cloaked in a black hood, ran for cover as a barrage of arrows rained down from above. The Whelps released arrow after arrow but their aiming was way below their enthusiasm but they still managed to force him to the ground when he was wounded in the lower back and the legs as he tried to break for cover. Powerful magic nulled his mind, blotting out the pain as he ripped out each arrow with his bare hands. Despite the wounds he had suffered, he managed to force himself to crawl along the ground under the rock face out of sight from the archers. Once he was in relative safety, he lit up in golden light, signalling the fact that he was now healing himself.

     

    Having no targets to shoot at, the female Whelp followed the path Vilkas took a few minutes before and climbed down to join the mêlée despite the other two Whelps telling her to stay back. By now the mage started casting an ice spell at Vilkas. These spears of ice peppered his legs, disrupting his focus by slowing him down and preventing him from attacking properly. Where he had a single opponent who proved to be of little consequence, the Companion was now brought to his knees in a desperate battle of survival.

     

    Everything changed when the mage had his own problems to worry about as the girl charged straight at him with her ebony sword which was held aloft in the air.

     

    He started casting his ward spell but before it could form properly she sliced into his arm with the edge of her blade, then immediately followed up with the point, thrusting it right into his stomach.

     

    The robes he wore did little to prevent the blade slicing into him. Screaming as he fell, he tried to cast his healing spell but it was too late. Even if he had the time to cast it, he was in way too much agony to give it the concentration it required. Seconds later the Whelp ripped out the sword, cutting a gaping hole in his torso. Leaving him where he fell, she joined Farkas’s side and began attacking his target. Having little else to do, the two other Whelps followed her lead and charged towards Vilkas; helping him finish off his opponent.

     

    From this point the fight was all but over. There was little the two rogues could do against Farkas and Vilkas as it were, but once the Whelps joined in their fate was sealed. Farkas looked at the Whelp standing in front of him. He could see from her expression that she was half expecting a rebuke from him. He imagined if Aela was there and what she would do or say. He expected Aela would be livid; if she didn’t hang the Whelp for disobedience...

     

    He gave the girl a quick smile then pointed to the corpse; ordering her to carry on.

    “Well don’t just stand there gawping girl, loot him”.

     

    Leaving her to her own devices, he concentrated his own search on the cart only to be joined by his brother, Vilkas. As they both examined the wagon they spoke in hushed whispers; both of them discussing the Whelp’s abilities.

    “They did well there, it would seem their not exactly Whelps anymore. Maybe we should call them by their names”. Farkas stated as he kept a watchful eye on the Imperial girl.

     

    Vilkas readily agreed, although he wasn’t too sure about blurring the lines between ranks.

    “Yes they did but they’re not full Companions either and that’s a ‘circle’ thing. When other Whelps join it could add confusion. Maybe we could give them nicknames? Be far better instead of ‘Whelp’ wouldn’t it?”

     

    He looked around the scene before him. The girl was looting the body of the man she helped kill, while the others were checking the mage, and then the three of them went through the boxes which were stored at the back of the large alcove.

    “There’s a chest here!” The girl called out to them while pointing to a large chest partially hidden behind some sacks.

     

    Farkas dug his hand into his pack’s side pocket and replied back as he pulled out three thin strands of metal.

    “You got any lock picks?” He asked as he offered her his ones.

     

    “Yes, I bought some earlier from Sotek. I’ve no idea where he gets them from”. With no other words of instruction, she knelt down and proceeded to unlock the chest. Once she opened it, she found a silver ring, along with a small bag of gold which was added to their horde.

     

    When the five Companions finally cleared the site of all they were prepared to carry, Vilkas gathered the Whelps around in a small group.

    “You all did well there so we decided to give you all a nickname instead of just Whelp. It’s a sort of rank up as it were, so you stand out from other Whelps when they join. But; bear in mind that it’s not official so don’t expect everyone to abide by it”.

     

    One of the young men, the Nord who was never far from a flask of mead, so much so that his cheeks were a constant red, asked about the names the two Companions would choose. He wondered why they wouldn’t use their proper names; not that he wanted to be called by it. That name was lost to him; him and the Dunmer...

    “What names?”


    Ignorant to his thoughts, Farkas bluntly relied.

    “We haven’t decided yet but I might call her puke face”. He pointed to the girl and started laughing at her expense.

     

    Vilkas gave her a slight smile and dismissed her own fears. She looked half scared to death so he quickly put her at ease.

    “Don’t worry, it won’t be that bad”.

     

    Between the five of them, they discussed various options as they resumed their journey across the plains.

     

    After a few hours of travelling westwards, but not before dismissing a whole platoon of worthless names, Farkas picked the spot they would be spending the night then he gave each of the three Whelps their individual tasks.

    “Who set up camp last time?”

     

    “I did!” Replied the Imperial girl, half expecting to be given the same role as before. She was somewhat pleasantly surprised when she was given a totally different job though, something she didn’t count on.

     

    “Right today your hunting; we require two deer”. Farkas stated before pointing to another Whelp. “You can collect fire wood, and you can set up camp”. He then drew his bow and started heading off across the open plains towards some deer which were grazing in the distance.

     

    He took several steps before glancing back over his shoulder where the girl was still feeling stunned after being given the task of gathering food.

    “Hello? Come on, hurry up. I’m hungry”.

     

    The girl suddenly realized he was talking to her and hurriedly ran up to him while she quickly apologized.

    “Sorry, I was thrown a bit back there”.

     

    Farkas carried on walking briskly towards the deer, closing the distance when he answered her.

    “Oh? How so?”

     

    “I expected to be setting up camp again, being the girl of the group”. She timidly replied.

     

    Farkas stopped dead in his tracks and angrily turned towards her. He tapped her hard on the shoulder in a way of reprimanding her while he gave her a stern warning.

    “Don’t you ever say that again; especially if Aela’s around; she’ll probably kill you. Perish the thought of telling Aela to set up camp because she’s a girl. Oh sweet oblivion, it don’t bear thinking about”.

     

    She gave a nervous laugh in response and bashfully chucked.

    “No, now you mention it I can’t see her happily setting up the camp if she was told it’s because she’s a girl and it’s ‘girl duties’. She would probably set the bed roll on top of the camp fire”.

     

    Farkas burst out laughing and nodded profusely as he wiped a joyful tear from his eye.

    “She did once! We wound her up all day when she was a Whelp, then made her set up camp. We lost three bedrolls that night”.

     

    The Whelp gasped in surprise and shook her head.

    “No! She even burned her own one?”

     

    “Not in Oblivion she didn’t!! Mine, Vilkas’s and Kodlak’s! Bitch guarded hers and wouldn’t let anyone have it”. Farkas stated as he cringed from the memory of Aela sitting on her bedroll while she tapped the flat of a Skyforge steel dagger against the palm of her hand.

     

    The Whelp burst out laughing as she watched the expression on Farkas’s face when he told her of that particular tale. When he finished she looked beyond the horizon at Whiterun and asked about the Huntress.

    “She has a temper; scares me to death! How does she get away with it?”

     

    “Well that’s a hard one, for her just as much as anyone else. As you know we’re werewolves. Aela was the only female one so she had a lot of pressure from the men. She got tough because she had to. You see, they saw her as easy prey, nothing sexual you understand but they tried to keep her in her place”.

     

    “What happened?”

     

    “One afternoon in the Undercroft Aela took things into her own hands; or rather paws... She had a run in with two men. They happened to be werewolves, same as her but they underestimated Aela; badly in fact. She changed to Red who clawed one man right along the chest then she bit into the other one’s neck and wouldn’t let go. He was screaming for over an hour, she became a Companion that week”.

     

    “What happened to them?”

     

    “One died shortly afterwards when he was exploring some cave or something. He was always cocky; he got in to trouble but couldn’t fight his way out. We found his body two days later. The other one left shortly after that, he went to Cyrodiil or somewhere. That was years ago. Right chat times over, let’s see you bag that deer”. He rested his foot on a rock and lent on his knee as he waited for the Whelp to ready her bow.

     

    The Whelp gave a slight nod and removed the Nordic bow from her shoulder. She slowed her breathing like Aela had shown her many times before in the training yard and she dutifully notched an arrow. Taking careful aim she prepared to fire, pausing her breathing for a slight second before she let go of the drawstring. The iron missile shot across the plains then struck into the side of the deer, knocking it to the ground. The wound proved to be severe but it still tried to get up, although because of the wound all it could do was fall back down again. The Whelp drew her sword and ran at it, quickly dispatching the beast with a sharp stab in the chest with her sword.

     

    Farkas took the next shot at a second deer; he fared little better as he needed two arrows to slay his target though which made the Whelp feel somewhat better due to not instantly killing her mark as well.

     

    Once they gutted and skinned the two deer, they proceeded to slice off large chunks of meat to take back to camp.  Farkas then snapped off the antlers after he cut deep gouges in the base of them and stored the deer horns in his pack. All the while the Whelp watched him as he set himself to work.

    “What are they for? You don’t do alchemy, do you?”

     

    “Oh these? They’re for Sotek. As you know, he makes the potions we all use; it just helps him out a bit. Come on; it’s time to head back”. With the two deer carcases strung over his shoulder, Farkas and the Whelp headed back to rejoin the others.

     

    They were pleasantly surprised when they finally returned to the camp. Several bottles of mead were chilling in a nearby stream and two were already icy cold and waiting for them. The fire was burning brightly, once Vilkas had stepped in and lit it and he had already prepared various splits to cook the meat on. Farkas dumped the two deer carcases behind Vilkas before helping himself to a bottle of mead, leaving Vilkas to cook the venison on the fire.

     

    While he tended to the various slabs of meat, he gave Farkas a curious glance and once again discussed the Whelps and their prospective names.

    “Any ideas on what we’ll call the Whelps yet?”

     

    “Yes she’s puke face”. Farkas stated as he nudged the Imperial girl who was sitting beside him.

     

    She cried out in despair, causing Vilkas to chuckle at her. He found the desperation in her voice, let alone her features rather amusing but he never let her suffer for long.

    “No Farkas, we’re not calling her that. Any other suggestions?”

     

    “Well she can’t kill a deer with a bow and arrow; she had to finish it off with her sword”. Farkas stated, jestingly belittling her.

     

    She countered him by stating that he had in actual fact fared no better.

    “So did you! Two shots you took to kill a deer!”

     

    Farkas raised his eyebrows at her before tapping himself in the chest.

    “Excuse me? I’m a Companion and you are a Whelp; little Miss Puke Face. Two shots indeed!”

     

    His choice of words drew his gaze to her sword. They had all seen the Orcish sword which now resided on the wall of Jorrvaskr but none of them had thought to ask about the ebony sword she now wielded; until now.

    “Just where did you get that blade?”

     

    “When I was with Aela and Sotek. We found it in a cave. Aela gave it to me to replace my Orcish blade. It... it broke. Sotek and Eorlund fixed it for me but Eorlund said they couldn’t fix it like an Orc could so Sotek and Kodlak hung it on the wall so I could see it there. Kodlak called it an heirloom. A Companion’s heirloom...” The beaming smile in her face was a testament to the proud feeling she held.

     

    Vilkas clicked his fingers together and pointed straight at her.

    “There we go, ‘Ebony’! It matches her hair as well”.

     

    Farkas nodded in agreement but then he somewhat surprisingly roared in laughter. He slapped his thigh and beckoned everyone to lean in closer as he spoke.

    “Does that mean we can call Sotek ‘Spike’?”

     

    Vilkas gave a chuckle and eagerly added to the singular thought.

    “Yes!! And Aela can be howler!! Howler and Spike; hahaha”.

     

    Farkas laughed hysterically and profusely nodded; causing all the Whelps to laugh as well.

    “They sound like a pair of dogs; Howler and Spike. Mind you, half the time they are dogs”.

     

    Vilkas had a big grin on his face and an evil glint in his eye. He jingled a pouch of septims as he laid out the grounds for a bet between him and his brother.

    “I tell you what dear brother; one hundred gold septims to the first one who calls Aela and Sotek ‘Howler and spike’. Are you up for it?”

     

    Farkas gave him a wicked smile and handed a purse full of coins to Ebony.

    “Deal. Here you go, hold on to this. You can be the judicator”.

     

    Vilkas tossed his own bag of gold towards the girl but she happened to miss it. She shot up to retrieve it while Vilkas tutted at the unfortunate Whelp.

     

    While they were enjoying their meal Vilkas looked at the other two Whelps and started debating upon their names.

    “We still need names for these two. Anyone got any ideas?”

     

    The next moment the Dunmer called out to him, making Vilkas look up with surprise.

    “Sabre!”

     

    “Sabre? No too bad, but you don’t use a sabre you use a short sword. It’s more like a dagger to be honest”. Then he noticed everyone sitting there staring at him. “What? It’s true”.

     

    Ebony whispered quietly but there was a definite hint of alarm in her voice.

    “There’s a sabre cat behind you!” Her face had a look of panic as she tried to constrain her fear from taking hold of her.

     

    Vilkas rolled his eyes at the whole lot of them. He dismissed Ebony’s concerns and put it down to a joke.

    “Oh please, there’s a sabre behind you? I’m not falling for that. Farkas might but not me”. He stated as he puffed up his chest.

     

    Farkas slowly got up and drew his sword while he signalled at the Whelps to follow his lead. Only then did Vilkas look around. As he did so he saw the Sabre cat slowly approach him. He jumped in surprise and tumbled backwards, falling off the log to end up on his backside as he shouted out.

    “For the bloody nines!!”

     

    He scrambled to his feet as the Whelps and his brother closed in upon the beast startling it by the sudden number of opponents but more so from the commotion caused by Vilkas. It had little interest in any of them though and it was content in growling a warning at the Companion. All he could do was look on and watch the sabre cat bit into one of the deer carcasses before dragging it away from the group. No sooner than when it appeared, the cat wandered off, content with its meal.  

     

    Farkas sheaved his sword as he laughed at Ebony.

    “That was your deer it took. Go and get it back if you want any supper”. He left the girl wide eyed and gasping for breath at the prospect of fighting the cat for the deer’s remains.

     

    It took her a few moments to realize he was joking which only became apparent when he lightly pushed her back down on the log. He smirked at his brother and nodded, having finally decided upon the next nickname.

    “Sabre it is then”. He cheered at the Dark Elf. “Well done, your nickname’s Sabre”.

     

    Vilkas dusted himself off and snatched a bottle of mead from the third Whelp. He sounded grizzled and angry but the reality was such that he was far more embarrassed than anything else.

    “I suppose you think that was bloody funny”.

     

    “Not as funny as your face when you saw it!” Farkas stated. With that the four Companions started laughing again. It took a good few seconds for Vilkas to see the funny side. Once he did though he quickly joined in.

     

    That evening as they were all enjoying a bottle of mead, Farkas gazed back to Whiterun.

    “I wonder if they locked Aela up yet, or whether she’s actually killed anyone”.

     

    Vilkas smiled back at him and he expressed some marginal concerns for their beloved Harbinger.

    “I’m still feeling a bit guilty for leaving Kodlak to deal with her”.

     

    Farkas just shrugged as he took a long sup of mead.

    “Well we have to put up with her tomorrow, so make the most of it”.

     

     “Here this will help”. The last Whelp said as he passed over a bottle of mead to Vilkas.

     

    He took it gratefully then looked at the Whelp.

    “We still need a name for you, don’t we?”

     

    Farkas looked across at the young Nord and studied him.

    “Right, he’s got light hair; he uses a one handed weapon and he likes his mead. So, what have we got?”

     

    Vilkas laughed boisterously and playfully shoved Farkas in the shoulder. 

    “A blonde one handed drinker”.

     

    Ebony nervously tittered but then she sat up straight and aired her own thoughts on the matter.

    “How about Sam?”

     

    Farkas gave a slight frown as he turned towards her.

    “Sam? What the hell has Sam got to do with it?”

     

    Ebony chuckled as she went on to explain her reasoning behind the name.

    “Well, you said he uses a one handed sword and he likes his mead. Sword in one hand and Mead in the other? Sword and mead. S.A.M.”.

     

    Vilkas looked at the Whelp and thought it over.

    “Hell it’s as good as any. Ok, Sam it is”.

     

    Sam smiled back at him and grinned.

    “Does that mean I get to drink from a bottle while I’m fighting?”

     

    Farkas just laughed at the thought and replied.

    “Yea, if you want Aela to smash it over your head”.

     

    Vilkas grinned back at him and smirked evilly.

    “Sorry, Aela? Who the hell is Aela?”

     

    Farkas looked at him a bit funny then realised what he was on about.

    “Oh yea, Howler”.

     

    Slowly, as the two moons rose then started to fall, heralding the passing of midnight, the Whelps one by one fell asleep until Farkas and Vilkas were the last two up. Shortly after though after sharing one last bottle of mead they both rested. In the distance they heard the cry of a pack of wolves as they began their hunt.

     

     

Comments

4 Comments   |   Harrow and 4 others like this.
  • Teekus
    Teekus   ·  April 26
    Good to see a new chapter I was beginning to wonder what happened to Sotek 
    • Sotek
      Sotek
      Teekus
      Teekus
      Teekus
      Good to see a new chapter I was beginning to wonder what happened to Sotek 
        ·  April 26
      Had a lull with the posting due to work but with some luck everything's back to normal. Thanks for the support everyone.
  • Harrow
    Harrow   ·  April 24
    Waaiiiiit. If even Farkas and Vilkas went to sleep, who's on watch?
    • Sotek
      Sotek
      Harrow
      Harrow
      Harrow
      Waaiiiiit. If even Farkas and Vilkas went to sleep, who's on watch?
        ·  April 24
      That's a good question.
      Well, the simple answer is no one. This isn't an oversight though. They are on the plains where it is well known now that Red and Scarface hunt there. The amount of bandits in the area has dramatically decreased as well as pr...  more