U.O.T.W. Chapter 227 Howling Cries and Tired Eyes

  • The guard of Whitewatch Tower tracked Sotek as he walked towards Whiterun. They had just finished talking about the mine near Rorikstead and the Draugr problem the miners had there; as such the guard expected the Companion to head there but he didn’t, he blanked the plains altogether and headed back towards the city.
    “What’s he going to do? There’s no changing Proventus’s mind”.

     

    “I don’t know. What I do know however is this. It doesn’t pay to underestimate him. Don’t bother asking what he’s up to either. The bastard never explains anything until it’s too bloody late to do anything about it. I wouldn’t worry though; his plans usually work out alright”. As Aela spoke she too watched her mate as he slowly faded from view. She just wished for once he would explain things; at the very least to her.

     

    The cub growled and chomped down its fangs as it tried to bite a butterfly which strayed too close to its snout. Aela looked down at the wolf and smirked at its attempts.
    “You want to hunt do you? If you want to hunt with me then you’re eyes need to be quick and your paws quicker”.

     

    “Hunt?” The guard said in jest. “Let’s get him to sit and follow first shall we? Don’t be so eager with him; he’ll learn to hunt soon enough. Sit and follow now; hunt later”.

     

    “Indeed”. Aela said in agreement. “He’s naught but a Whelp. So, where do we start? What’s your name? I can’t call you ‘guard’ all the time and who is this?” As she spoke she pointed to his dog; a large grey mutt with shaggy fur.

     

    “My name is Andsvarr and this is Rúni. Rúni say hello”. As Andsvarr spoke he beckoned the dog towards him. The beast jumped up and trotted over in a friendly manner. It sniffed Aela’s outstretched hand and growled at her. “No, be nice!”

     

    Aela growled back on instinct, causing the dog to whine and lay down submissively. She smiled back at the guard to find him shaking his head.
    “This is going to take a while. If you want to train him then you have to coax him, don’t threaten”.

     

    The grin on Aela’s face disappeared and a look of regret took hold on her. She knelt down on her knees and offered a small piece of meat to Rúni in the hope of making friends.
    “I know that. At least you’d think I know it. That’s what Sotek says about me; about Red. ‘If you want Red to do something, or even Aela for that matter then all you need to do is coax them’. Both have fangs and they will use them if they have to. Dogs and wolves are no different are they? I’m not very good at this”.

     

    “We haven’t started yet”. Andsvarr stroked fang on the head then picked him up. He moved the cub next to Aela and sat it down by pressing lightly on its lower back. “First off we’ll get it to sit. What I want from you is to give him a clear signal; short and sharp. ‘Sit’. Every time you say it, make him sit down. Do you have plenty of pieces of meat?”

     

    Aela nodded back and opened a small pouch which had various pieces of chicken and treats in.
    “Yes, but why?”

     

    “He will learn by being given immediate rewards. Don’t be fooled by this, I mean immediate rewards. If you tell him to sit and he sits then you have to give a treat straight away. I use a two second rule. If it’s after those two seconds then the cub won’t understand what the treat is for. A treat can also be praise. Tell him to sit and if he does then you can pat him, ruffle his fur. Watch”. He moved away from Aela and called over his own dog, Rúni who came running over to him. As soon as it reached him he knelt down and praised the animal. “A bit of fussing is just as good. It enforces the behavior we want”.

     

    “That’s why he strokes her! Red, Sotek calls Red to him and he stroked her face… I need to do that with Scarface. Sorry, I’m going off track”. Aela rolled her eyes at herself and lightly slapped the back of her hand. One thing she was pleased about was that they had only started talking for a few minutes and she had already learnt a few things about Fang, as well as Red and Scarface.

     

    “Red? Oh yes, your werewolf form. It’s the same principal. I bet he hand feeds her too; not that I would”. Andsvarr’s face cringed when he pictured Red at the battle of Whiterun. He was there that fateful day; one of many who were forced back against the wall until the battle was turned.

     

    After nearly an hour of howling, snarling whimpers and pats along with a belly full of meat; Fang learned what was expected of him when his mistress said ‘sit’. To start with he would sit by her side but as the training went on he began sitting where he was rather than moving out of position.

     

    He began getting sluggish and he flumped down on his belly and whined. Aela tilted her head at him and she was about to call out to him when he yawned.
    “Oh Hircine’s blessing. You’re tired”. She picked him up and sat down in the long grass with him sprawled out on her lap while she and Andsvarr carried on talking about the training over the course of the remaining afternoon.

     

    Their conversation was interrupted by Rúni who sprang up on his paws and began chasing a rabbit. The critter jumped about in the hope of losing the pursuer while Aela watched in awe at Rúni’s speed.
    “Wow he’s fast!”

     

    “Yes but not too clever. The rabbit will outsmart him. Watch out!! Ouch!” The rabbit bolted through as small hollow log, causing Rúni to collide with the entrance. The dog was snarling and growling as well as franticly clawing at the end of the trunk when the rabbit appeared from the other side of the log and hopped off, leaving Rúni with nothing to chase. “See? He’s loyal but stupid. Rúni! Here boy!”

     

    “Don’t be so mean” Aela said as she laughed.

     

    “Wolves are far smarter. Fang here will be a great hunter if you teach him right. I just hope I’ll get to see it”.

     

    “You will. He’s seen to that!” A gruff female voice called out from behind them.

     

    Both Aela and the guard turned around in surprise to see a rather agitated Irileth bearing down on them.

     

    For all her blustering which was clearly evident by the way she marched towards them, Aela wasn’t flustered. She had already guessed who the ‘he’ was. There was only one person who could wind up people to that extreme while getting their own way.
    “What has Sotek done now? Oh please tell me, I’m curious as to the whereabouts of my mate. What’s he done?”

     

    “What’s he done? That Argonian of yours has forced Proventus’s hand. He won’t let this stand without retribution; you mark my words. Anyhow, I’ve come to see this wolf cub for myself”. She glanced down at Aela’s lap and buried her face in the palm of her hand. “Oh Azura preserve us; it’s true”.

     

    “What’s true?” Aela said without thinking. She looked down at her lap at Fang and gasped. “What’s been said about him?”

     

    “Don’t start growling at me. Save it for that N’wah Proventus. I’m grateful and indebted to both you and Sotek. Oh what was he thinking!” Irileth paced back and forth while she pondered on what to say. Her mind was reeling so she couldn’t even think straight with the revelation that Sotek was speaking the truth; Aela had a wolf cub as a pet.

     

    The more she walked about the more it wound Aela up. Every step seemed to tread on the Huntress’s spine to the point where her hands started tightening up into fists. She knew she was losing control and she also knew why. Yet again her Fang’s life was in the balance.

     

    Aela tried to calm herself but she could feel the thin threads of restraint slipping away. Irileth knew of Aela since she first stepped into Whiterun. She learned to read the signs of the Huntress’s temper; such as the signs she was giving now. Irileth stopped pacing around and turned to the tense Companion before matters went too far as they often would.
    “There’s no need to go feral! Jarl Balgruuf has already told Sotek it’s a good idea. I just don’t know why he gave you a wolf of all things. It’s a wild animal; you can’t train it!”

     

    The change in Aela’s temperament shifted faster than a jack rabbit on skooma. She almost jumped forwards, startling Irileth from the eagerness to show what Fang could do.
    “We are training it! Sit on that wall and watch”.

     

    There was no stopping Aela now. Irileth tried to protest but the Huntress was having none of it. She silently pointed at the stone cobbled wall then folded her arms across her chest, tapped her foot in quick succession and glared at the Dunmer until she was sitting down.

     

    With just a single command, Fang jumped up to his paws and came bounding over to his mistress whilst yapping excitedly. Aela knelt and fussed over him, rolling him on his back and teasing his maw with the side of her finger. He in turn clamped down with his fangs and wrestled with her hand playfully.

     

    Irileth looked far from impressed although she did raise a single eyebrow at the cub due to his response to Aela’s commands.
    “Well he comes when you call him. That’s something I suppose”.

     

    “Hey, it’s early days. What do you expect? Miracles?” Whether it was bad timing or the fact that Aela’s attention was now on Irileth instead of Fang made little difference. The cub decided he was on ‘free time’ from his training and bound off chasing a bee across the heather.

     

    Aela cried out, calling him back while she was consciously aware of Irileth’s eyes boring into her.
    “Fang! Come here you furry little bastard!”

     

    Upon hearing her shout, Andsvarr buried his face in the palms of his hand. He strolled over towards her while shaking his head at the Huntress.
    “No! You can’t call him like that. If he thinks you are angry then he won’t come near you. Remember, calm and placid get better results”.

     

    Aela stopped shouting at Fang and turned to the guard with a sneer across her face. She growled loudly at him for reprimanding her but she quickly chanced posture as well as the tone in her voice. The Huntress called Fang over to her again; this time far more relaxed and softly.
    “Fang! Here boy”.

     

    Fang stopped mid chase and turned back to his mistress. He watched her for a few moments then he looked to his front where the bee landed on a flower. He took a single paw forwards then he heard his name call out again. Giving up the chase, he turned around and ran back to the Huntress’s side.
    “Soft yet firm!” Aela stated, mainly for her own benefit, while she crouched down and fed Fang a scrap of meat.

     

    “I’m impressed”. Irileth declared. “It’s been a while since I saw someone tell Aela she was wrong and for them to remain standing”.

     

    “Can you please sit down and shut up!” Aela said loudly. She felt Irileth was having a dig at her even though her reputation was well known; and often deserved. “Look; you are welcome to watch but stop putting him off”.

     

    “Him off? Or you?” Irileth said with a smirk. She beat a hasty retreat and sat on the wall where she watched Andsvarr teach Aela how to train Fang to walk by her side. It took less than an hour for Fang to master Aela’s commands although he was often distracted by the various smells and fragrances which wafted across the plains.

     

    Both Irileth and Andsvarr were curious as to why Fang would suddenly stop and gaze across the open tundra. Aela knew full well why though. Her senses were almost as keen as Fangs and she could detect the nearby deer easily.
    “A stag and a doe; three hundred yards over the brow of that hill. When you are bigger Fang; you need to grow a bit first”. She stopped what she was doing and stared down at the cub. She could feel Red’s passion for a kill as it washed over her. The smell of the deer pulled her a step forwards until she shook her head and regained control. “One day soon Fang I’ll introduce you to my other self. When you are bigger you can hunt with her; with them...”

     

    Irileth leaned back against the gatehouse wall. She seemed content and at peace as she lazily gazed up at the cloudless sky. Although she gave the impression that she was relaxed, her mind was racing with what Aela had said.

     

     

     

Comments

2 Comments   |   Meli and 5 others like this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  July 3
    Fang won't be a furry little friend for too long. He will grow......
  • Shy Knight of the Shovel
    Shy Knight of the Shovel   ·  July 2
    I am glad Aela has a little furry friend and you gave life to that spot near Dawnstar.