U.O.T.W. Chapter 228 A Cub's First Paws

  • Chapter 228 A Cub’s First Paws 


     
    As Sotek strolled casually through the city of Whiterun, he was feeling rather pleased with himself. Using his wit, he had assured that Andsvarr and his dog Rúni would remain at their post in Whitewatch Tower and furthermore, he had belayed the attack on the mine so Aela and Andsvarr could have time together to train Fang. With his mischievous deeds completed, Sotek made his way back to his mate to see what progress they have made.  
     
    His return journey to Whitewatch tower took him through Whiterun’s market where he hovered around the fruit stall so he could inspect Carlotta’s wares. The Argonian settled on two green apples and gave a cheerful Mila two septims. She tried to give him a coin back as he had overpaid but a friendly wink and a loving tap on her chin with his knuckle saw the second coin slip into the girl’s pocket.  
     
    It was Sotek’s intentions to give Aela an apple but he was already munching on it before he even got to the main gate.  
     
    The feint glow of a fire bathed Whitewatch tower and the  half collapsed walls of stone in a subtle orange glow. Aela was sitting on the ground near the warmth of the flames with Fang draped across her lap. His breathing was slow and steady as she stroked the rough short grey fur along his belly. Aela sniffed a few times then looked up at Sotek who was now nearly standing over her. She beamed a massive smile at him and eagerly spoke.  
    “You’ve had apples. Did you bring me one?”  
     
    Sotek gulped as guilt tugged at his tail causing it to flap about. It slithered between his feet as he stared wide eyed into the beasts own grey orbs. He chose to ignore the Huntress’s question and started talking about Fang.  
    “Ermm, so how’s the training going? Poor thing looks worn out”.  
     
    Aela flashed her eyes and gleamed proudly at the cub’s progress.  
    “He’s doing great! He walks by my side, stops when I say ‘halt’ sits when he’s told to and he runs so, so fast toward me. Andsvarr thinks he’ll be a great hunter when he older. He’s a clever sod”.  
     
    “You’re not so clever though, are you? The Harbinger said you were cunning and you stand toe to toe with Proventus?” Sotek groaned and rolled his eyes at Aela, causing her to smirk. He turned around to see Irileth walk outside the tower where she was taking shelter to write her appraisal of the tower’s weekly report. “I can’t have you undermining the Jarl Sotek; it’s not on”.  
       
    Sotek couldn’t help but snigger at what Irileth had said. The Argonian grinned at his mate and nudged her side. 
    “Jarl Sotek? I like the sound of that”. 
     
    He turned back to Irileth and gulped at the face she was pulling. All too clearly, he could see she wasn’t amused. He snapped right back at Irileth and let rip for all he was worth. His overzealous rebuke earned him few favors though.  
    “I wasn’t undermining Jarl Balgruuf at all. It was that skinny beanpole…”  
     
    “That ‘skinny beanpole’ is the Jarl’s advisor and I advise you to refrain from making him an enemy. In short, shut up! Jarl Balgruuf is waiting for my evaluation of that cub. What should I report? His training is going well and I can’t see there being problems or should I say that you both are pushing beyond your boundaries and we need to put a stop to it while we can? You mark my words; that’s what Proventus wants to hear”. Just to add emphasis to her words, Irileth walked towards Aela who was still sitting down and glared at Fang; the cause for all her troubles. “Keep him out of sight and out of trouble. Andsvarr, you are to remain at your post here. I trust you will carry out your orders with a renewed zealousness and show willing in your duties? Proventus will be monitoring your reports. By Azura I can feel his beady eyes on us now”.  
     
    “Sorry”. Sotek said as he lowered his head apologetically. “You are right and I’m sorry for any problems we have caused you”.  
     
    A single Dunmer finger tapped him on the nose, warning him to remain quiet.  
    “Don’t play the ‘sorry’ card. It doesn’t wash with me. Aela! Keep that thing out of trouble; the Jarls not happy about it”. 
     
    A single eyebrow lifted up on Aela’s face; clear evidence of her confusion.  
    “Keep who out of trouble?”  
       
    “Fang! Who did you think I meant?” Irileth stated hoarsely. She disdainfully shook her head and briskly tucked the pile of parchments under her arm where she used her elbow to pin them in place. Ignoring any further comments she turned back to the city and made her way home. She glanced back over her shoulder and gave the Huntress one last piece of advice.  
    “Time will tell so make the most of it. Use every day as if it counts”.  
     
    Sotek gave out a sigh as he watched the captain of the guard depart.  
    “Well that was awkward”.  
       
    Aela seemed unfazed. She jumped up to her feet, eager to show off Fang’s new skills and moved several yards away from the resting cub before calling out to him.  
    “Come on Fang, let’s show Sotek what we can do”. She tapped her hand on her hip twice and called the cub over to her. Fang just sat there, tilted his head as if he recognized his own name and then started scratching himself with his hind leg.  
       
    Aela called Fang over again. This time he responded by running towards her as fast as he could through the long grass. Most of the time Sotek couldn’t see Fang but the Argonian could see the grass moving showing Fangs position as he bolted through the undergrowth. As Aela moved around, Fang stayed by her side as best as he could.  When she was ready, Aela told fang to stay and she went off behind the tower to hide.  
     
    After a few minutes Fang started whining from being left alone. He lifted up his head and started howling for his mistress to return. Upon hearing his pitiful cries, Aela called out to him.  
    “Here Fang!” He shot up and ran around the tower as he sought her out. When he could actuality see her, he started yapping loudly in excitement.    
    Sotek clapped at them, praising Fang for his hard work and Aela for her progress with the cub.  
    “Well done to the pair of you. I’m proud of you Aela, and impressed”.  
       
    Aela slightly leaned forwards and lowered her head in a bow. Knowing she had pleased her mate filled her with a warm glow of pride. She giggled as he stepped up to her and held her back, pressing her against his chest. She rested her chin on his torso and playfully bit into his scales.  
    “Oh Sotek, that means so much. Thank you for having faith in me; it’s not often people show me as much support as you do”.  
     
    Sotek was taken aback at her words; either that or the pain when she bit into him.  
    “Oww. The Harbinger shows you support all the time”.  
     
    “Yes, but there’s always that doubt. I can feel it; almost smell it. You know what I speak of. You sense it too”. Her emotions fell flat and crashed in a cloud of pity and foreboding.  
     
    “Aww, look at that. Doesn’t the she-wolf look cute when she’s emotional?” Sotek stated in jest. He sarcastically smiled at Andsvarr then quickly regretted it due to Aela punching him in the stomach. “Offf!”  
     
    “Anyway”, the Huntress stated while trying to ignore the Argonian’s groans. “That’s it I’m afraid. When he’s bigger we’ll teach him how to hunt, but that’s when he’s older. For now though that’s it”.  
     
    “Oh Aela”. Sotek said softly as he gave her a hug. “That’s enough. You’ve both come a long way today. We’d best leave Andsvarr and Rúni in peace. Tell you what, why don’t you put Fang on the ground and let him make his own way back? He answers his mistress’s call does he not?”  
     
    Aela glanced back at the city wall and felt a tremble in her hand. Fang had only been in her care for a single day and the expanse between them and Whiterun seemed so vast.  
    “Is he ready?”  
     
    “He does come to you when you call him”. Andsvarr said in support of Sotek’s suggestion. “Just don’t let him stray too far”.  
     
    A wicked smile formed on Aela’s lips as she thumped Sotek in the arm.  
    “If he does run off, Scarface will have to bring him back. This is on your head!”  
     
    She thanked the guard one last time for his help then placed Fang on the grass. Aela slowly headed away from him and began the walk back to the city. She had only taken ten paces when she called out to him, bringing him to heel.  
    “Fang! Here boy! Good boy!” 
     
    Sotek felt a sense of satisfaction in watching the cub run towards them. The animal seemed quite content to run about in circles and between them as it chased bugs and butterflies while it explored the world around them. Fang suddenly stopped and lifted its head up. It growled in a high pitch which gave Aela cause to think it was whining but then it bolted forwards and pursued a rabbit. The critter jumped about, easily leaving the cub behind and with every turn it opened the ground between them.  
     
    Aela laughed as she watched the cub chase the rabbit despite being completely outclassed. She thought of shooting the rabbit but that didn’t seem fair sport. Instead she tested Fang and the amount of control she had. She never gave him much hope but she was genuinely surprised to see him stop when she called out ‘halt’. The cub looked back at her and sat down, patiently waiting for her next command. Sotek nodded his approval and lightly clapped when Aela called the cub. Fang, without hesitation, ran straight towards her and fell in by her right boot then he trotted dutifully alongside her once more.  
     
    A large bright red flower drew his attention. He approached it by crawling forwards and growling at the flower head. He pounced at it and trampled the stem. Now the ‘prey’ was subdued, Fang could examine it far closer. To do so meant shoving his snout deep in the flower head and taking a giant ‘sniff’. He immediately started sneezing which made him jump. He bolted back to his mistress for safety while yapping due to the fright. 

     

     

     

     

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