UOTW Chapter 243 The Trail

  • Author’s note: The chapter has not been edited except for odd mistakes and errors therefore the content may change at a later date although the plot will remain the same. The content you read now is as I written it in 2014-2015. I hope this fact doesn’t lessen your enjoyment.
    As always, should you see an error or something you feel is off then by all means let me know.

    Sotek Loyal Hound of Hircine

     

    The sun was just breaking over the top of the mountains to the east, causing sunlight to smother the campsite as it chased away the remaining shadows from the night before. Aela grimaced, screwing her lip up in a snarl as the sun shone right in her face making her turn over, away from the rays of the morning light. She opened her eyes a few times then half sat up. Looking around the camp site, the Huntress found herself to be alone. Sotek and Veezara had both gone; their weapons lay by their perspective bedrolls but as to where they were, there was no sign or clue. 

     

    She got up then built the fire as she moaned to herself.

    “I guess I’ll have to sort out my own breakfast. Typical bloody lizards”. 

     

    “Someone’s in a bad mood”. Veezara chuckled as he broke the surface of the water.

     

    Sotek was moments behind him, holding three salmon. 

    “Sorry but it’s fish again”. He apologized to Aela as she sat there frowning. 

     

    “That’s fine; I just wondered where you got to”. She cast a smile but she still seemed a bit moody. 

     

    “We were catching breakfast. Veezara has told me the basics. You want to eat first before we discuss details?” 

     

    “No, lay it on the table. What have I let him get me into?” She turned to Veezara while she spoke though it was Sotek she was pointing at. Sotek gulped; he couldn’t help but wonder if she was going to slap him once she learned the whole truth. 

     

    Veezara sat down next to her. He stared into the distance as he spoke.

    “All we know is there’s a contact who a member of the Dark Brotherhood is going to meet. He doesn't know who, but he has found out where. They are meeting in Volunruud. He's never heard of such a place. Maybe you have? Sotek don’t want to intercept him, he wants it to run its course. Until the assassin returns to the sanctuary, he knows little else except there are multiple targets; all with the objective of drawing out the Emperor. They’re going to assassinate him in Skyrim and Ulfric will have Skyrim unopposed. In fact it’s likely that whoever has instigated this whole operation, will actually support Ulfric”. 

     

    Aela turned on Sotek she was far from happy, and she let him know it.

    "He? He who... oh he as in you... I should have known that. What with slime tail here! Why in all of Oblivion aren’t we going to intercept him? You know? Take out the assassin?” 

     

    “This isn’t a simple assassination job. Do you think they won’t try again? We have to let it run its course. All we can do is shadow him, follow his trail and see where it leads us”. Sotek replied along with a hiss.

     

    “What? The three of us?” Aela looked straight at Veezara, hoping for confirmation.

     

    Veezara shook his head.

    "No, just you two. He's heading back to the sanctuary. We’ve arranged a drop box by your ermm home? On the plains”. 

     

    She rolled her eyes as she turned to Sotek glaring at him.

    “Oh that’s marvellous”. 

     

    “What choice do we have?” As Sotek spoke he met her glare, he couldn’t help but feel slightly nervous. 

     

    Aela sat by the fire and started preparing the fish, as she did so Sotek stared at them with pity in his eyes.

    “Oh you poor bastards! Caught by us and burnt by Aela”. 

     

    “Oi, I’m not that bad”. She stated as she gutted them. Minutes later a fish fell of the skewer and landed in the fire. Sotek smirked at Veezara as Aela stared at it in disbelieve. She muttered to herself denying all responsibility of the wasted food. “That wasn’t my fault”. 

     

    Veezara just gave a slight chuckle.

    "He has got to go anyway. Keep checking your drop box every few days, if he gets any new information he’ll leave it there. Stay in the shadows”. Then he set off towards Falkreath. Within a few moments he was in the tree lines then as if by magic, he was gone. 

     

    Aela glanced over to the trees, biting into her fish as she did so.

    "Can we really trust him?” 

     

    Sotek gave a slight chuckle before replying.

    “Oh I hope so. If not, we’re in real trouble”. The moment he bit into his fish, he sighed then threw it on the fire. Aela glared at him but moments later her face screwed up as her fish joined Sotek's in the flames. He shook his head at her then climbed to his feet. “Come on, let’s pack up; we’ve got a fair bit of travelling to do”.

     

    They packed their gear up then set off to the plains. From there, they would turn northwards and head towards the mountain range. As they crossed the plains, they passed a small stream. Sotek conjured up his bow then took aim and fired; the arrow shot through the air and struck a mud crab.

    “Yes, I killed a mud crab”. 

     

    Aela sarcastically clapped, mocking him.

    “Oh well done. My hero”. 

     

    “Well at least it wasn’t a rock”. He stated smiling. 

     

    She gave him a slight shove, as she laughed at him.

    "You’re an idiot”. She smiled to herself as she watched him cut the shell open to get to the crab meat inside.

     

    A few hours later as they crossed the plains, Aela froze. Sotek turned around to find her standing there transfixed. He followed her line of sight to a herd of deer in the distance.

    "Hey, you ok?” 

     

    “What? Yes, it’s just been a while. I’m good”. As she gazed across the plains at the deer she found herself subconsciously licking her lips. 

     

    “It’s been too long. Yes, I’m feeling it too. Let’s get to Volunruud then, once we have an idea of what to do, we might get an opportunity to go hunting”. 

     

    Aela shook her head slowly, she sounded a bit disappointed as she whispered to him.

    “No, we won’t”. 

     

    He gave her a slight hug, then reassured her.

    "Yes we will, I need it as much as you do. We’ll go hunting soon enough, or rather Red and Scarface will”. 

     

    She gave a broad grin as she thought about Red and Scarface. The feeling of euphoria gave her a boost of energy, quickening her pace. 

    “Yes, he does like going on his hunting trips doesn't he? The trouble is, he don’t just hunt after food. Red’s found herself being hunted by him a few times lately”. 

     

     “Yes, I’m sorry about that. I try not to, but Scarface...” He turned away from her gaze as if he felt somewhat ashamed of Scarface's uncontrollable animal urges.

     

    Aela smiled at him and held his face to hers so she could kiss him.

    "Hey, I'm sure if she didn’t want him to, she would soon let him know. Which reminds me”. Then she gave him a slight shove, separating them. To his surprise, he received a light slap on the cheek. “No hugs and kisses”. 

     

    “Hey! You kissed me, remember?” 

     

    Aela laughed and shook her finger at him.

    "No I didn’t, and you’re the one that can’t control yourself remember? So there”. She then blew a small raspberry at him then they set off towards the mountains once again. 

     

    Within a few hours they reached the mountain range then they headed east along the base like they had done numerous times before. In the distance, Aela spotted their ‘home’, the rocky overhang where they would camp out on their hunting trips. By the afternoon they past the old bandit camp which they had cleared out months before. Aela still remembered when Sotek had a go at her when she wouldn’t change. She gave a smile as she thought about Red charging through the mine as Sotek casually followed her throughout the underground cave system. 

     

    From there, Aela led them to the north circling the mountain slightly then they headed up the mountainside. Sotek came to a gradual stop as he was gazing up in the afternoon sky.  

     

    “What’s up? You ok?” 

     

    “Yes, I was just remembering when we came here hunting hawks. I think that was the first time you were actually nice to me”. 

     

    Aela looked a bit shocked.

    “No it wasn’t! I was nice to you when... ermm, Ahh! When you made your axe? The second one, thank you”. 

     

    “Oh, you mean after your guilt trip?” 

     

    “Yes; what? No, stop it. Cut it out. Yes I was a bit of a bitch to you then. Stop bringing it up, I’m sorry”. She started heading off in front slowly like she was torturing herself. 

     

    Sotek ran forwards and grabbed hold of her lightly.

    "Hey, come here”. 

     

    She turned to face him; he could see she was upset although she kept her composure.

    "What? Yes I know its ok, you keep telling me, but every time I see the places where we were enemies, it cuts into me. Like the trial, the Harbinger asked me the other day do I think Ebony’s ready, all I could think about was your trial”. 

     

    “Aela, it’s like you said about me arriving with a sword. I wouldn’t change those days where we weren’t friends for anything. Enemies though? It’s such a strong word. Let’s not use that word, hmm? Besides, if I did change those days then we wouldn’t be where we are now. You are mine and I am yours. That is how it is”. As soon as he finished he looked around, subconsciously he followed Aela for the last half hour. The spot where they hunted the hawks was way behind them now. “Speaking of where we are now, where the hell are we? I don’t recognize any of the terrain”. 

     

    “That’s because you’re a thick skinned stupid lizard. Just over there is Volunruud”. 

     

    Sotek gave a small chuckle.

    "See? Even when you’re wracked with guilt you throw insults”. 

     

    Aela just shook her head at him.

    “Well you bring out the worst in me, come on”. Aela headed off towards the entrance then had a quick scout around. “Someone’s been here recently; shall we enter or wait and see who comes outside?” 

     

    Sotek scrutinized the doorway then the trails lading off away from the entrance.

    “Whoever’s been in there have already left. Let’s get inside and see if we can learn anything”. Slowly he pushed open the door then headed inside; stepping out of the late afternoon sun and into the darkness within. 

     

    The initial chamber inside was little more than a small room with a single flight of stairs leading down. Aela lit a torch that was hanging on the wall. It cast its light on an old throne which was in an alcove. On it was the remains of a skeleton; or rather the remains of one as it had been smashed to pieces. Bits of the bone were scattered across the floor. 

    “Well someone’s defiantly been here”. She commented as they headed down the stairway. 

     

    At the bottom of the stairway was a small chamber; bigger than the initial section they had passed through, but in all it was only about fifteen feet across. However, unlike its counterpart, there were numerous doorways and arches sending out tunnels in all directions.

    “This way”. Sotek stated as he followed the footprints leading to the far left exit.

     

    Following it, they found themselves at the bottom of a drop trap. The grill was a good twenty feet above them but it looked like it hasn’t been operated for years as cobwebs and hanging moss coated the bars and grills. Around the floor were various bodies and even the odd draugr was left rotting on the stone floor. All of them looked like they had been there for months if not years. Sotek quickly went through their pockets and packs of the dead adventurers. In all he found a few gold and some lock picks for his troubles. 

     

    As he did so, Aela lock picked the wooden door in front of them. Soon enough she unlocked it then after giving Sotek a quick nod she opened it slowly and peered inside. The room seemed empty as they made their way through the doorway. The musty air seemed to cling to them gripping on to them like the touch of death. Aela’s torch lit up the circular room as the flames chased away the shadows, however back against the far wall, was a body in Imperial armor. Unlike the others, he had been there for a few hours. Sotek drew his axes as he cautiously approached. 

     

    The Imperial’s eyes shot open as he struggled to fix his gaze on the intruders.

    “Who’s there? Who are you? What? No, get away! Get away”. The voice was feeble and panicky. Sotek knelt down at the man who tried to lift a sword but he was too weak; the sword dropped from his hand and clanged onto the stone ground. Sotek picked it up and threw it several feet away. He lifted up a part of the imperials armor to find three gaping wounds in his side. He was just about to cast his healing spell when Aela stopped him.  

     

    “No, don’t. We don’t know what side he’s on. Let me question him first”. 

     

    “I’ll question him, I can get the answers”. Sotek stated, and then he turned to the man leaning against the wall. “Who are you? Why are you here?”

     

    He looked up at Sotek with desperate eyes.

    “My, my names Rexus. I was with Amaund. Who... who are you?” 

     

    “That does not concern you. What are you doing here?” 

     

    Rexus shook his head, his eyes went wide, then he started screaming at Sotek.

    “Get away, leave me alone! I’ll tell you nothing!! Nothing, you hear? Get away”. 

     

    Sotek tried for a few minutes then Aela walked up to him.

    “Here let me, I got the woman’s touch”. 

     

     Sotek sniggered at her.

    “The woman’s touch? You? Fair enough; Rexus, you got one last chance. Talk to me, or I stand back”.

    “Fuck off, the pair of you! I’ll say nothing, nothing you hear!” 

     

    Aela knelt next to the man then she softly spoke to Sotek.

    “Take a walk”. Sotek got up then headed to the door, he looked back at Aela who knelt alongside the man. She turned to Sotek and smiled. “It’s ok. He’ll tell me what I want to know”. 

     

    “I’ll be out here if you need me”. Sotek said, but he somehow felt that she wouldn’t need him at all. 

     

    Aela gently held the man’s face and caressed his hair with her hands slowly moving her fingers through it as she whispered softly to him.

    “We need to know what you are doing here, and who this Amaund is. Do you know about the assassin that was supposed to come here?” 

     

    “Nothing! I’m saying nothing! Fuck off you whore”. Then he spat in her face. Aela wiped the spit off then smiled at him. 

     

    “I got two brothers of sorts and they are afraid of me. Shall I tell you why? Because one day when I was around twelve they took my bow and hid it! They both swore they wouldn’t tell me where it was. But... that night I did this to one of them”. She drew her dagger and stabbed the man hard in the leg with it then she pulled it down a few inches cutting a gaping wound in his leg. 

     

    “Aggghhrr! You bitch!” He screamed as he shook from the pain but Aela just smiled.

     

    “Oh, did that hurt? I haven’t started yet; tell me what I want to know”. 

     

    “No you fucking cunt!” He hollered at her, but the next second he screamed like nothing Sotek ever heard before. He shot around the doorway to see Aela’s arm smothered in blood as she thrust her hand inside the wound and gripped whatever she could with her fingers as the man flailed about from the pain. The wound ripped open a little more every few seconds as she pulled on bone and muscle from inside the wound. Within a few seconds the man had passed out. Aela emptied a flask of water on his face reviving him, and then, as she went to force her hand inside his wound again, he talked. 

     

    “So... Solitude. The wedding... there’s a wedding. The bride, she’s the target”. 

     

    Aela smiled at him then started caressing his hair again with her bloodied hand.

    “See? That was easy wasn’t it? Who’s wedding?” 

     

    “I don’t know; I swear, I don’t know. It’s on in a week’s time. The assassin will strike when she’s giving a speech... it’s in a week’s time”. 

     

    Sotek gulped as he looked at the man’s leg, the wound was horrific. He had to look away as he tried to remove the image from his mind.

    “What happened to you?” 

     

    “He was given an amulet! The assassin was given an amulet for payment; a special one.  I tried to steal it from him once Amaund left. He did this. Please, let me go... let me go”. 

     

    Aela got up then wiped her hands on the imperials armor.

    “He’s telling the truth. What do we do with him?” 

     

    Sotek pulled Aela aside and spoke quietly.

    Where would someone sell an amulet here in Skyrim?” 

     

    She just shrugged her shoulders.

    I have no bloody Idea”. 

     

    “Well I know someone who might know... yes I think we’ll be ok. So what do we do about you?” As Sotek spoke he turned and stared at the man lying on the floor, clutching his leg. 

     

    “Please let me go, let me go”. He sobbed, pleading for his life. 

     

    Aela spoke quietly to Sotek.

    “What shall we do? Let him go, or hand him in?” 

     

    Sotek faced the cold hard truth. He knew there was only one option.

    “Neither. We can’t take the chance of him telling this Amaund or even an assassin that we are on their trail”. 

     

    “I can’t kill him in cold blood! I’m no murderer”. Aela stated. She looked back at the man and from where she stood, he looked pathetic. 

     

    “Red is! No, don’t you look like that Aela, you know she is. She’ll kill him and her heart won’t miss a beat. She needs to feed and we cannot afford to let him go! Do it”. 

     

    “Why not Scarface? Why me?” 

     

    “She needs it more. Don’t worry, he will get his chance soon enough”. 

     

    Aela changed, as she did so the man screamed in terror. Red looked down at him with little regard for mercy or compassion. The scent of blood caused her nostrils to flare. The werewolf swiped with her claws, cutting him to pieces with a single blow. Red stood there and stared at Sotek. He walked up to her and held her face into him. 

     

    “Hey, you need to feed. Go on girl, eat. You need it”. As Sotek softly guided her to the corpse, he kept gently stroking her hair with his fingers. Red sniffed at the corpse then started feeding off it. Initially she only just took a bite but the hunger and the taste of fresh blood overwhelmed her. She tore into the corpse, feasting like a wild animal.

     

    Sotek stepped back then patiently waited as she spent a good few minutes sating her hunger. Soon enough she had finished and she let out an almighty howl then she fell silent as she slowly walked up to Sotek. He grabbed a cloth from his bag and tipped out half a flask of water then he started washing her face.  

     

    Aela changed back but Sotek just carried on, washing her off. Once he had wiped off the worst of the blood, he produced a second cloth then dried her face with it. All the while she stood there watching him.

    “There you go. You feel better?” 

     

    “Yes... yes I do, but that was...” She turned once more to the corpse, then Sotek held her hand tight. 

     

    “It was necessary. We couldn’t let him live, he was in on the plot remember? Time to go; we need to get back to Whiterun. I need to speak with someone and we better inform the Harbinger on what we have learned”.

     

    They both headed outside then made their way south. Within the hour they arrived at the road side then they simply followed it to Whiterun. By the time they neared the city, it was dark so Sotek decided to delay speaking with a ‘friend’ that night.

    “Come on lets head home, I’ll chase up my contact in the morning”. They went to Jorrvaskr and spoke to the Harbinger informing him on every detail they had, bar the way Aela had coaxed the information from him. They had both decided Kodlak didn’t need to know such matters. Once they ate, they both headed downstairs to bed.

     

    Sotek followed Aela to her room where she laid on her bed expecting him to join her but he just pulled off her boots then covered her in some furs and gave her a kiss on the temple.

    “Night; get some sleep”. Afterwards he headed outside of her room and started to make his way to his own bed. 

     

    Aela called out to him.

    “Come back here mister”.

     

    He turned around and leaned against her doorway.

    “You need sleep”. 

     

    Aela just looked at him defiantly.

    “What I need is for you to be here when I wake up. Get your boots off and climb in!” 

     

    He gave a sigh then left his boots by her bedpost along with all their armor. Within moments of them both holding each other, they were fast asleep.

     

     

Comments

4 Comments   |   The Wolf Of Atmora and 5 others like this.
  • Ebonslayer
    Ebonslayer   ·  August 18
    "Sotek [doesn't] want to intercept him, he wants it to run its course".
    "Sotek smirked at Veezara as Aela stared at it in [disbelief]".
    “Well someone’s [definitely] been here”.


    I wonder who Sotek's contact ...  more
  • A Shadow Under the Moons
    A Shadow Under the Moons   ·  August 17
    This was... strange. Aela's all right with invasive interrogation techniques but disposing of a witness is a no-no?
  • The Lorc of Flowers
    The Lorc of Flowers   ·  July 24
    Interesting to see the DB plot unfold with Sotek trying to stop them. Interesting perspective. 
    Also, sorry, but that was a cold blooded murder if I ever saw one. Changing to werewolf knowing what happens is murder. Watching knowing what happen...  more
    • Sotek
      Sotek
      The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      Interesting to see the DB plot unfold with Sotek trying to stop them. Interesting perspective. 
      Also, sorry, but that was a cold blooded murder if I ever saw one. Changing to werewolf knowing what happens is murder. Watching knowing what happens is m...  more
        ·  July 24
      I agree completely. Aela's real trouble was the fact that Rexus was so weak and feeble. Often the Companions in Skyrim, Fighter's Guild inCyrodil, even the Mages college in Morrowind all play judge jury and executioner at times. it's harsh, but a reality.