U.O.T.W. Chapter 217 Campfire

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    By now Aela and Sotek had already traversed the easterly bridge and were now strolling along the road as they headed off to the Imperial camp. By the time they arrived at the perimeter of the encampment it was mid morning. By now various tents and structures were fully set up and erected. The stores own marquee was filled with supplies and the wagon which Sotek had liberated was close by. All the boxes, barrels and crates had been removed.

     

    Eight sentries were on duty and Rikke had already sent out two patrols. One squad headed across the hillside leaving the other force to scout out the woodland and beyond. Legate Rikke was in the main tent where the map of Skyrim was set up on a table. Just as before, on it were small colored flags showing the position of the forts in the area.

     

    As Sotek and Aela entered the main tent Rikke was studying the map along with several of her officers.

     

    The moment she saw Aela she stopped talking. They both looked straight at each other in a bizarre power play while everyone else looked on. Rikke may have been able to intimidate the officers around her but she held no sway over the She-Wolf. Aela growled as she showed her teeth, causing Rikke to avert her eyes. All it took was a fraction. Aela had won and they both knew it.

     

    Rikke snapped at the soldiers around her, dismissing them from the tent while Aela couldn’t help but smile at her victory with the ‘mega bitch’.

     

    Sotek felt little in the way of empathy for the legion officer. He warned her and he had said what would happen; now she understood.

    “They always understand when it’s too late”. He whispered to himself.

     

    Hoping to make amends, but more so knowing where Sotek’s loyalties lay, Rikke approached Aela in the hope of sorting out the tension between them.

    “Aela, we got off on a bad start. Let’s try again”. She held out her hand and offered it to the female Companion.

     

    The Huntress screwed her face up and snidely spoke.

    “No thanks. I’m a good girl; I don’t play with my food”.

     

    A second later she lurched forwards as Sotek gave her a shove in the back. She glared back at him only to find he was matching her own glare with one of his own. She went to growl but he beat her to it and hissed.

    “Do it! Hsss!”

     

    She gave Rikke a fierce look then grudgingly shook her hand. She gripped it tightly and gave Rikke a stern warning.

    “Remember what I said earlier; don’t forget it. I’ll get to you far quicker than what he can get to me”. She then threw Rikke’s hand away and slouched down on a chair where she grumbled to herself.

     

    Rikke shook her hand to help with the blood circulation. Aela had tried to crush it but Rikke was a slightly heavier build than the Nord girl. The Huntress’s words caused her to smile. She grinned back sarcastically and threw her dagger on the table and spoke with an air of authority.

    “This rebellion won’t take half the effort or the time if all it takes is the scowl of a Nord girl to send the Nord men running. Is that what your reputation is to be measured on? Pathetic threats and hand squeezes?”

     

    Sotek rolled his eyes at them both then stepped between them. He didn’t look overly impressed with either Aela’s attitude or Rikke’s and he was quick to tell them.

    “Aela, shut up; don’t. Rikke, we’re here to help. If you two keep fighting then we might as well let Ulfric take Skyrim now because all we will do is hand it to him anyway. We’re not fighting a man, we’re fighting an ideal; a cause. Now, please, stop this bickering. Legate Rikke, what’s the plan?”

     

    Before she could say anything, Aela jumped up to her feet. She scanned the roof of the tent as if she was hunting some invisible bee that was buzzing above their heads. A moment later Sotek lifted his head up and sniffed at the air. He quickly turned around and looked at the tents entrance then as one both Companions sprinted outside, drawing their bows as they ran.

     

    Both sets of eyes scanned the sky, franticly searching for something. With no explanation Sotek yelled across the camp, laying out his orders to the bemused forces.

    Archers get ready”.

     

    Rikke left the tent and stood with them. She looked up but there was nothing in the sky; at least nothing she could see.

    “What? What is it?”

     

    Aela flashed her eyes with excitement. She was in her element; a Huntress doing what she loved; hunting. She was almost smiling as she said it.

    “Dragon”.

     

    Sotek scanned the mountain near where the camp was situated but he could see nothing. Despite this, he knew it was there; somewhere. All he needed was to draw it out.

     

    He Shouted out for all he was worth, hoping to lure the dragon to him.

    “Fus Ro!!” The blast shook the side of the mountain as it rumbled along the razor sharp edges of rock and granite. Out from a recess, previously hidden from view, a dragon broke cover from its hiding place and flew in a tight turn. It lazily swooped down then hovered twenty feet above the camp.

     

    Arrows cut into its side as Aela, Sotek and the archers all opened fire. Most of the arrows bounced off the scaly hide as the bows weren’t up to the appointed task of dealing with such a well armoured target. As for the Companion’s missiles though; their Dragonbone bows were created with such a creature in mind. Its brothers own bones used in the weapons creation.

     

    With a roaring cry the dragon lowered its head and shouted out with words of power. A devastating blast of icy particles and frost blasted the densely packed troops, wounding several soldiers as the dragon covered three tents with its icy breath.

     

    Sotek discarded his bow. By now the dragon was circling above them and half of his shots were missing so he didn’t see the point of such a worthless gesture. Instead he yelled at the mages who seemed unsure as to what spells to use.

    “Fire; use fire spells!”

     

    He began casting fireballs and launched them high into the air in the flight path of the dragon. These weren’t small ones but the strongest he could muster. Each fireball was double cast and when they struck the creature, it blazed with flames as fire engulfed the dragon, smothering its body and wings.

     

    The battle mages followed his lead and soon the sky was lit up with orbs of flame. Under a barrage of magic, the dragon came crashing down and ripped a small gully where it collided with the earth. Debris was thrown upwards along with bushes and small trees as they were torn from the ground.

     

    Even as it slid across the ground Aela was still firing at it. Knowing it was now grounded, Sotek changed his attack. He ran forwards with both axes in his hands as he charged. Several soldiers drew their own weapons and followed closely behind while the dragon lifted its head to blast them into Oblivion.

     

    Sotek shouted out as he ran, engulfing the dragon in yet more flames while disrupting its own shout at the same time.

    “Yol Tor!!”

     

    Even before the flames died down, axes and swords hacked into the beast’s neck. Chunks of flesh and scales were wrenched from the body as a multitude of blows rained down, slaying the dragon beneath an overwhelming force of men and women as more and more soldiers joined in on the attack. Each one determined to avenge their stricken comrades who fell under the initial assault.

     

    A few seconds later its soul was pulled out from the corpse and everyone watched in awe as Sotek absorbed it. Silence filled the camp except for the screams and murmurs of the wounded while everyone else looked on as realism slapped them all across the face.

     

    Sotek and Aela examined the remains. She found a few scales and two bones then stored them in her pack, then she turned to Rikke who was still stunned by what had just happened.

     

    Rikke raised a trembling hand and pointed at the skeletal dragon. She blurted out what was on nearly everyone’s mind, while not quite believing what she had seen.

    “That, that’s a dragon! By the Eights they are real”.

     

    Aela coldly turned to Rikke with a mixed look of disgust and criticism. It was like she was inspecting a raw Whelp, thrust upon her by Kodlak. She moved over towards Sotek and tapped his tail.

    “Was I like that when I first saw one?”

     

    “Sort of”. Sotek said wearily. “You were lying on your back”.

     

    “Why was I lying on my back?” Aela asked as she tried to remember that particular day. All she could remember about that morning was how much her mind was in turmoil; let alone her heart.

     

    “You were apparently trying to make animal shapes in the clouds! You remember the morning after the night before?”

     

    “I remember that nigh all right. It’s the morning that’s sketchy. Yes you bastard! You kept ignoring me”. As she remembered she gave a laugh at the conversation they had. “Hey Sotek; you want to talk?”

     

    Sotek laughed and he pulled her towards him so he could kiss the top of her head. They embraced each other as he whispered in her ear.

    “Not now”.

     

    Legate Rikke sat down by the fire and tried to compose herself while Sotek gave the healers a helping hand with the wounded. Aela stood close by and watched Rikke as she struggled with everything. She looked up at the Huntress and grimaced at her own lack of courage; all too aware that she was still shaking from the shock.

    “How was it for you when you first fought a dragon?”

     

    Aela gave a sigh then sat down near her. There was no need to score points anymore. Life was too short and death all too certain.

    “To be honest, I spent the next half hour lying down. Like Sotek said, I was busy making animal shapes in the clouds”.

     

    Rikke gave her a slight glance and chuckled despite not feeling like laughing.

    “Really? I used to do that when I was a kid”.

     

    “Forget it!” Aela snapped.

     

    She started to walk off but Rikke snatched her hand and pulled her back.

    “No, no I wasn’t being funny. Hell I’m still shaking. I meant to say that I used to do that as well, that was all”.

     

    Aela looked at her; she could see Rikke was still a bit shocked by the sudden attack. She huffed then slumped down beside the officer and started talking once more.

    “Before I met Sotek, or rather before I went out with Sotek, I used to go out on the plains by myself. Sometimes I’d lay there for hours watching the clouds. Out on the plains I feel more at home than at Whiterun sometimes”. As she spoke she looked up and smiled. “Oh look; a horse”.

     

    Rikke looked up scanned the clouds for anything which resembled a horse.

    “Where? I can’t see it”.

     

    “There! Near the mountain” Aela exclaimed as she pointed it out.

     

    “Oh yes, so it is. There! A wolf head! Five points to me”.

     

    “Five points?” Aela said as she questioned Rikke’s statement.

     

    “Yes, my brothers and I had a scoring system. The better the animal the more points you would get. A horse is three points but a wolf being a predator is five, like a fox”.

     

    “Excuse me but a wolf is better than a fox!” Aela stated as she glared at Rikke.

     

    Rikke looked back at her in surprise at her outburst. She seemed to take the low score personally.

    “What, you reckon six points?”

     

    “More like seven thank you”. Aela said with a sneer.

     

    Rikke laughed at her expressions and nodded joyfully.

    “Ok you got three points and I got seven”.

     

    Aela glared at her then laughed as she realized she done herself more harm than good.

    “Me and my big mouth”. She watched the clouds again scrutinizing every shape then she screamed out, making Rikke jump.

    “There! Werewolf’s claw”.

     

    “Oh trust you to spot that one!” Rikke chuckled “Six points as it’s just the claw but it does look like one doesn’t it”.

     

    Aela laughed as she watched it slowly float across the sky where it began to mingle with other clouds.

    “Yes, now I’m in the lead”.

     

    At that point Sotek looked over to them both. They were lying down in the grass, next to each other watching the clouds. He guessed straightaway as to what they were doing. Sotek went over to them both and leaned right over blocking their view.

     

    Rikke laughed as she pointed at his face.

    “Argonian”.

     

    Aela burst out laughing. She rolled on her side in stitches as she held her stomach.

    “One point, I win”.

     

    Grumbling at being given such a low score, Sotek gave Aela a quick kick in the leg as he pointed towards the mountain.

    “Dragon! Twenty points, I win”.

     

    Aela just managed to stop laughing then she stood up. She lent Rikke a hand and helped her to her feet. Before giving Sotek the game, Aela demanded proof and she scanned the clouds one last time.

    “Where?”

     

    Sotek pointed to the mountain which was just to the south of them. In the distance, flying around the peak they could now see a dragon circling the mountain top.

    “I bet that’s where this one came from. Let’s go”.

     

    Rikke strained her eyes looking at it. Something seemed different to the one they just faced but she wasn’t sure of what she could see.

    “It’s a different colour isn’t it?”

     

    “This one was a frost dragon”. Sotek said as he explained about the different dragons. “That’s an older one. It’s stronger, more powerful. According to Farengar, that’s an Ancient one due to its colour. You see its red wings and body? That’s the markings of an Ancient one”.

     

    As Rikke watched it fly around, she gulped. She looked back at Aela and Sotek in shock as she realised what they were going to try and do.

    “You two are never going to try and take that thing on by yourselves are you? You’re insane!”

     

    Sotek intently shook his head at her.

    “No, we are going to take it on”.

     

    Legate Rikke looked at Sotek with a mixture of fascination and horror. She could see he wasn’t messing about. He was serious; they were going to kill it. Before she could stop herself, she heard her own voice speak out, asking the Huntress of a favour.

    “Aela, could I come along?”

     

    Aela turned to Rikke and studied her face. She seemed sincere and the fear had been replaced with a deep resolve. Sotek closed his eyes as he prepared and fully expected Aela to yell, shout or scream back at the unfortunate officer. Her words though caught him by complete surprise.

    “Yes sure. You might want to bring a few archers, he’s a biggy!”

     

    The Argonian slowly turned towards Aela in shock. He stammered as he struggled to find words, let alone say them.

    “Wh... what?”

     

    “It’s big!” Aela exclaimed as she pointed at the giant reptilian monster. “We could do with the help”. She paused and took in Sotek’s persona. Something about him seemed off. He was acting strange like he didn’t know where he was. “Are you ok?”

     

    “No to be honest; I’m not”. He found his voice once more and stomped across the ground towards her. He tapped her on the shoulder with his finger while his tail flapped about. “This morning you wanted to kill her! I pulled her out of your way”.

     

    “No...” Aela said with a devious smile. “You pulled her out of Red’s way! Don’t you remember?”

     

    “Aela, you know what I meant”. Sotek said angrily. He felt a little confused over Aela’s whole change of stance with Rikke. Such a sudden switch of attitude wasn’t the usual for her and he wanted to know what she was up to.

     

    Aela shook her head at him, then tutted. She took Rikke’s hand and led her off towards the horses, leaving Sotek behind.

    “We had a bonding session”.

     

    “Twelve hours? You went from enemies to best friends in twelve hours! It took me nearly a month and I had to nearly kill you”. Sotek yelled as he watched the two girls walk away from him.

     

    “Yes, well you’re a boy what do you expect? It’s only cause of your tail you got this far with me”. Aela said with a cheeky grin.

     

    Rikke looked a bit confused. She glanced back over her shoulder at Sotek and enquired about him.

    “His tail?”

     

    Aela burst out laughing and profusely nodded.

    “Yes! When he’s asleep, if you gently touch his tail, it flicks up in the air”. Both girls suffered a sudden attack of the giggles as Aela flicked her arm up imitating Sotek’s tail.

     

    Sotek shook his head at the pair of them; not quite believing what he heard.

    “Boy? What in all of Oblivion?”

     

    Once they mounted up on horseback along with four archers and two of the battle mages, they headed up the mountain trail.

     

    Sotek fell silent as he kept a track on the dragon and watched it as it lazily circled above them.

     

    When they finally neared the top of the mountain peak, the Dragon flew off to the south and disappeared from his view when it started diving between different mountain tops.

     

     Aela and Rikke saw it fly off out of sight as it went down and disappeared beyond the mountain range.

     

    “Oh blast it” Aela cried out loudly in frustration. She couldn’t help but sound disappointed.

     

    “Maybe next time”. Rikke said, trying her best to console the Huntress.

     

     

Comments

3 Comments   |   ShyGuyWolf and 4 others like this.
  • Aela The Huntress
    Aela The Huntress   ·  May 15
    Argonian  1 point Haha
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  May 6
    That's what Sotek thought  :-O
  • Harrow
    Harrow   ·  May 6
    Woah. Well, that didn't take long.