U.O.T.W. Chapter 249 Run Aela Run

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    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

     

     

    As they left the barracks, Sotek broke away from Rikke and Aela and headed straight across the open courtyard towards the market stalls. There amongst the bushes in a sheltered corner he found what he was looking for, an old female tramp. He covered her up in a new fur he had and placed a small pouch of gold by her side. She awoke with a start but instantly recognised him due to his familiarity with Whiterun’s tramps. “Sotek? What... what are you doing here?” 

     

    “I’m on the trail of an Argonian. Have you seen any? Over the last few days?” 

     

    She smiled but she had a half crazed look in her eyes as she did so. “You, I seen you”. 

     

    He nodded gently.

    “Yes, but have you seen any other Argonians about?” 

     

    She shook her head, but it was obvious she was confused.

    “Yes! You, I saw you”. 

     

    At this point Sotek was getting slowly frustrated, but Aela came over and intervened before he started to lose his temper. Aela instantly lost hers instead.

    “Look damn you; we know you saw him but did you see any other Argonians? You know? Other ones?” 

     

    “Yes dear, I saw him”. As she spoke she pointed to Sotek. 

     

    Aela threw her arms up in the air then started walking off, cursing out as she went away from them all.

    “Bloody tramps, for effing sake”. 

     

    Sotek however was a lot more persistent.

    “Ok, let’s try something else. Where did you see me?” 

     

    “Up there, on the ramparts”. As she spoke she pointed to where they stood earlier, the evening before.  

     

    At that point Aela could have screamed.

    “Oh bloody hell! This is ridiculous”. 

     

    The old tramp shouted at her in disgust.

    “I saw him up there I tell you! When the horses rode out”. 

     

    At that point Rikke hurriedly approached them, almost in a panic. Sotek noticed instantly just by the look on her face.

    “Horses rode out? Rikke, when did the horses ride out?” 

     

    Rikke approached Sotek and Aela then she whispered quietly to the pair of them.

    A horse patrol left two days ago. If she saw you here that day, then either you have been here for two days or the Argonian looks like you and he’s already set up. By the eights... he’s here, in hiding. Sotek he’s already here!” Her mind raced as she tried to think of a way to turn their advantage. “Can’t Red and Scarface sniff him out?”

     

    “Sure, if you don’t mind the panic as two bloody great werewolves goes running around town”. Aela stated as she rather harshly snapped. She then looked over to the blue palace. At that moment her heart sank. “Hey, they’re setting up”. 

     

    Sotek looked over to where she was looking. Desperately he made a snap decision.

    “Right, we’re out of options. Rikke keep an eye on the dining area. Check for poisons. We’ll hit the ramparts, good luck”. Then the three of them went their separate ways.  

     

    Rikke tugged at his arm.

    “And how do I check for poisons?”

     

    Aela couldn’t help but smirk.

    “Simple, you drink some wine. If you drop dead, congratulations, you found the poison”. 

     

    Rikke smirked back at her.

    “Oh, go have a flea bath you mangy dog”. 

     

    “Hey, you two, cut it out. Just warn the guards to look out for tiny droplets of a clear sticky liquid and smell everything. Any funny smells move it away”. Then Sotek slapped Aela on the backside. “Trouble, come with me”. 

     

    Rikke started laughing despite the situation.

    “Any funny smells, we’ll be well screwed if Aela was cooking”. 

     

    Sotek grinned back at her.

    “If Aela was cooking, the assassin wouldn’t bother with poisons anyway. Her main meal will do the job”. 

     

    Rikke grinned back.

    “Main meal? Do you honestly think anyone would survive starters?” 

     

    Aela glared at them both then growled at Rikke before she kicked Sotek in the shin. 

    Within five minutes Sotek and Aela were overlooking the wedding platform. From their vantage point they could see most of the guests who had started gathering in the courtyard. By now Aela was getting impatient until the bride came out and started to address the crowd.

    “Oh wow, look at that wedding dress! It’s all frilly and white and so... yuck”. 

     

    Sotek peered down to the bride to see for himself; personally he thought it looked quite pretty.

    “So what would you wear if you ever got married?”

     

    She huffed straight back at him.

    “Me? No chance of that! Even the Harbinger said last year that he can’t see anyone putting up with me”. 

     

    Sotek slyly watched her expressions, knowing full well that he had caught her with her defences down.

    “But if someone did, what would you chose to wear?” 

     

    Aela sat back then gazed up in the sky, as she watched the hawks fly way over head.

    “I have absolutely no bloody idea”. She laughed slightly then looked at Sotek. Suddenly her face filled with shock.

    “Hey! No! This stops right here! No, no and no! No way! You get that bloody fucking thought out of your head. If you so much as even think of asking me, I’ll bloody kill you! Do you understand? I will kill you! Fuck off over there”. She pointed to the far side of the ramparts.  

     

    Sotek frowned but then he followed her finger. Suddenly he turned back to her as his eyes fixed onto something else.

    “Aww crap!” 

     

    Aela cursed back at him for her lapse in concentration but mainly because she felt so vulnerable.

    “Aww crap too bad! It’s not happening”. 

     

    “No, not that... that!” Sotek pointed to an Argonian who had crept along the rampart that ran above the bride. The Argonian, who was clad in grey silken robes which helped him blend in with the castle stonework, started trying to tip off a statue.

     

    Sotek shouted out for all he was worth.

    “Shoot him! Aela shoot him!” Then Sotek started to run across the rampart. Everything seemed to go in slow motion. He felt, even heard his own heart beating slowly and it seemed to take forever for his footsteps to sound out as he ran across the walkway. The assassin ever so slowly started pushing the statue over the edge so it would land on the bride. As Sotek closed the gap he could hear the slow sharp sounds of the statue crumbling, then he felt the crisp breeze of an arrow as it shot past him, barely inches from his head. 

     

    The very next instant everything sped up like Sotek had overdosed on skooma. The arrow, which his eyes could only just follow, slammed into the chest of the assassin, killing him instantly. As the fire and frost enchants erupted in a powerful blast of magical damage, the assassins body was thrown several feet back away. The statue, much to Sotek’s horror, had now stared toppling towards the alcove below where the bride was standing. As the statue toppled down, Sotek just managed to touch it with his fingertips. He failed utterly to grab hold of it but his effort did harvest some reward as it twisted in the air. He turned to face the assassin. However the body’s momentum from the explosion had slid across the stone floor which was slippery with the rain the day before. All Sotek could do was watch as the body disappear from sight as it went over the top of the walkway.

     

    As Sotek looked down at the corpse, various voices all shouted out as well as various screams, but one word rang out louder than the rest.

    “Assassins!!”

     

    H quickly looked over the edge to point out the body to the guards but the corpse fell in the bushes, completely out of sight. 

     

    Various arrows flew up at the two Companions who could be clearly seen on the ramparts where the statue had fallen from. When Rikke came out of the dining hall she looked up with horror as multiple guards started shooting at Aela and Sotek.

    Oh by the eights! Don’t run, don’t run”. She whispered to herself with baited breath as she paused, unable to do anything. 

     

    Aela angrily shouted down at the nearest guards.

    “Stop shooting you fucking pricks!” Just at that moment an arrow shot past her head, only just missing her by an inch. In that single moment Aela lost her temper and her control. “O’i, you fucker!” She grabbed an arrow and in a rage she started shooting back at them, all the while they maintained their firing.  

     

    Sotek ran as fast as he could and grabbed Aela’s arm.

    “Run you idiot!” He yanked her desperately across the ramparts towards a door which promptly threw open as several guards appeared armed with swords and shields. Knowing there was no chance to parlay with them due to Aela’s actions; he stopped then instantly turned around and ran for a far doorway. That too flew open as even more guards came spilling out on the ramparts; all the while more and more arrows flew at the pair of them.  

     

    “Follow me, and keep up”. Aela screamed as she broke into a run. She ran to one end of the battlements and jumped into space, clearing several feet of emptiness. As she jumped through the air, she glanced downwards then her eyes opened wide in horror. Below her was the ground, thirty feet below. She landed hard on the opposite platform; her ankle cracking from the impact, causing her to scream out in pain as she rolled along the rampart from her landing. 

     

    Moments later Sotek landed besides her. He could see her face full of tears and contorted from the pain. His main concern, other than a multitude of arrows was Aela’s eyes. They were dilated and rapidly turning yellow. Taking swift action, Sotek grabbed her by the collar and swiftly punched her in the temple, knocking her out before she could transform.

     

    Having no other option, Sotek transformed then Scarface howled out angrily. Moments later an arrow tore into his leg. He lifted Aela up in one paw and slung her over his shoulder then he ran. Rapidly moving along this rampart, he found himself heading towards the castle, but also to a dead end. One officer called out to his squad of soldiers.

    “Shoot them, bring them down”. 

     

    Scarface howled out at the squad then jumped up at the tower; he climbed up as fast as he could while Aela’s limp body swayed with his movements.

     

    For one moment Scarface thought he would fall when a second arrow slammed into his other leg, making him slip and holler out in pain. But he managed to hang onto the side of the tower. He tore into the white marble blocks as he made his way around the side, giving them temporary respite from the guard’s arrows. From there he worked his way upwards once more and managed to get them to the top. 

     

    Unfortunately the way forward was already blocked as more soldiers and guards started firing from the platform he was hoping to jump to. He could only see one way out so he took it, taking Aela’s limp body with him.

     

    The next second Scarface plunged into space and started falling a good few hundred feet and rapidly speeding up towards the vast ocean below. Sotek changed back to find himself tumbling towards the sea, he tried desperately to aid Aela’s descent but she was out of his reach.  

     

    Seconds seemed like minutes as they both plummeted down into the sea with two horrendous splashes, but already there were arrows tearing past them and  three row boats were being rowed across towards them; all packed with soldiers and even more boats were being prepped for launching.

     

    In shock from the sudden impact with the cold waters, Aela awoke to find herself in terrible pain and somewhat bizarrely in the middle of the harbour. She turned and started struggling to swim up, desperate for air and in horrible pain from her ankle where it had broken. She had little choice but to ignore the arrows that were penetrating the water a few feet below the water line. That was until Sotek grabbed her good ankle and pulled her down. 

     

    She desperately tried fighting him off but he turned towards the sea floor and swam as hard and as fast as he could, dragging her flailing arms and legs behind him.

     

    After several seconds, he stopped then tried to grab Aela’s head but her eyes were full of terror and pain. She uncontrollably flailed about as she looked up at the surface of the sea. She could make out the sun in the afternoon sky, which was hopelessly out of her reach, even if she never had a broken ankle. She panicked as desperation and the agony overwhelmed her. She had lost all control as the simple fact that she was on the very brink of her own demise.  

     

    Her mouth opened and immediately started filling up with water, loosing what little air she had left. Sotek forced his mouth around hers, pressing tightly against her with his lips which formed a seal then he started breathing once again.  

     

    Aela’s arms and legs started going limp as her eyes lost their focus, she felt herself slipping away and passing out. She was mere seconds away from drowning. However, Sotek had other plans. Precious oxygen was taken from the seawater through Sotek’s gills which enabled him to breathe underwater. Instead of simply breathing out, he blew into Aela’s mouth, filling it up with air straight from his lungs.

     

    Although it wasn’t a high amount of oxygen, it was certainly enough to keep her alive. Within seconds her eyes shot open as she gulped down the air. Panic set in a second time, but only for a few seconds as the fact that she was still way below the surface hit her hard. She once again flailed about and thrashed with her arms and legs as she tried to pull away. But Sotek held her tight, he could see her through one eye, watching her face as realism set in. 

     

    She stared at him with equal amounts of fear and confusion. Only when she realised she was actually breathing did she start calming down, but her ankle was by now proving to be too much to bear. Aela gripped his head, holding his face where it was as she filled her lungs up as her mind struggled to gain and then keep control. Her nerves were shattered but she fought to subdue them as she placed all of her trust into Sotek, totally dependent on him for survival and now for air. 

     

    On the shore line, Soldiers rapidly spread across both sides of the harbour as more and more row boats set out. General Tullius grabbed Rikke by the arm and practically shouted out at her despite the fact that she was only a foot or so away from him.

    “Damn you! They could be miles away by now. Argonians are fast bloody swimmers! Why didn’t you react faster?” 

     

    Rikke tore her arm away from him then shouted back, as she did so she pointed across the harbour.

    “React faster? To what? They were on our side damn it! Call off the soldiers”. 

     

    The general faced right up to her.

    “Our side? I have over a dozen witnesses all saying the same thing. Sotek pushed the statue down at Vittoria while she was giving a speech and Aela fired upon the guards”. 

     

    Rikke couldn’t believe this was happening. She desperately pleaded with him but to no avail.

    “She was returning fire! They fired at her first”. 

     

    “She fired at the guards, and he pushed the statue while you, yes you, led them up there! Why weren’t you with them?” 

     

    “Because Sotek sent me to check the dining hall!” As she shouted she pointed to the castle. She felt like she had lost all control, but then the general dropped a bigger problem on her lap. 

     

    “Yes, while he tried to kill Vittoria! What I have to work out is whether you were tricked or were you actually working with them”. He then turned towards two soldiers that were just standing behind him. “Take her to the barracks. Legate Rikke, consider yourself under close arrest. I’ll deal with you later”.  

     

    The guards both stepped forwards as Rikke once more looked at the general.

    “Please, they didn’t do this! I didn’t do this, you know me general”. 

     

    The general stepped forwards then abruptly grabbed her by the chest piece.

    “Innocent or not, the lords are up in arms. If I don’t get you under lock and key they’ll bloody hang you. Guards take her away and remove her armor and weapons. Empty her room of everything then lock her up. Now move, get her out of my sight”. As one the guards seized her then started escorting her back to the barracks.  

     

    An officer who watched the commotion from a safe distance approached Tullius.

    “General, there’s no sign of them. He could stay underwater indefinitely or simply swim under water along the whole coast if he wished”. 

     

    The general cursed out loudly.

    “That may be, but keep up the search. I want the whole coast line checked. Three thousand yards in all directions. They’re here, possibly by the rock face of the castle. Have the boats search the surrounding waters, tell them to spread out so there’s nowhere for them to surface”. 

     

    “But they are gone! He can swim for miles underwater”. 

     

    As general Tullius replied, his eyes scanned the waterline watching for any ripple or signs of their location.

    “Yes he can; but Aela can’t. They are here, hiding on the surface somewhere! Find them”. With that the general turned away and started heading back to Solitude. 

     

    Sotek signalled to Aela that he was going to break away from her, she nodded then she took in as much air as she could. After he counted down with his fingers he broke off and turned around so she was now behind him, she grabbed hold as best as she could then he swam once more as fast as possible, but this time unlike all the other occasions, he stayed well below the  surface. Aela tried to hold on but she struggled with the pain from her ankle. Her hands slipped and she fell backwards off Sotek’s back, loosing what little air she held as she choked from the attempted scream when she fell.

     

    Sotek turned around in a flash and swam as hard as he could. He grabbed her tight, forcing his mouth around hers a second time as she gripped his arms tightly. He felt her fingernails start to dig into his scales as they cut their way into his flesh from the pressure of Aela’s grip as she fought with the pain.  

     

    He broke away again after signalling to her then he swam under her and looked at her ankle, immediately upon seeing it he felt sick to the stomach, her foot was twisted badly. He let her breath off of him once more then he proceeded to cast his healing spell. The grand heal took effect as she light up in a golden glow as the healing spell set to work repairing the bone and damaged tissues. Aela screamed out once more, filling her lungs with water as the ankle righted itself, the pain was too much for her to take after suffering for the last half hour in agony, she fell limp in Sotek’s arms as she blacked out.  

     

     

     

    Seconds later Sotek broke the surface with Aela in his arms. He had swum towards the marshland where thick mist allowed them to hide as he made his way to a patch of hard earth. It wasn’t dry but at least he had solid ground beneath his feet. Although she was out cold, Aela was still breathing, much to his relief.

     

    Sotek scoured the coastline. They were well clear of the area where the general’s troops were searching for them but through the mist he could already see boats move towards their proximity so he headed deeper into the marsh with Aela in his arms.

     

    She came to with a scream. Sotek hastily covered her mouth with his hand as he whispered in her ear.

    Keep your voice down”. He scanned the marsh for any signs of unwelcome attention. 

     

    “My ankle, you fucking prick! It’s killing me..... Agghhh”. She screamed out again as Sotek stumbled, then she dug her teeth into his shoulder as she tried to muffle her cries. 

     

    Sotek yelped out with shock, which only made her bite down even harder. He stopped moving and just held her there in his arms as he tried to fight off the pain. As he was now still, the throbbing Aela was feeling died down slightly so her grip lessoned, releasing him from her mouths grasp. He as gently as possible sat her down then knelt down then knelt beside her.

     

    As he looked around, he could see they were surrounded in marshland and thick mist. Deciding Aela needed respite and having nowhere better to go which was close by, Sotek decided to risk it and set out a small camp where Aela could rest her ankle.

    Rikke looked around her now barren ‘cell’. Over the course of the half hour from being bought to her room, the guards had emptied everything leaving her with bare walls and a stone floor. Cursing out, she shouted to anyone that was listening.

    “You bastards, why my bloody bed? You’re going to regret this, all of you”. 

     

    “The only one that’s going to regret this is you”. General Tullius stated from behind the door. He was calm and collected as he opened her door to see her sitting against the wall. He gave her a smile; not one you would receive from a friend or even from an enemy when they know that you’re cornered, but one from a sadistic murdering bastard that had you dancing to his tune. The sort of smile that told you without words you were well and truly caught up in a web of deceit and betrayal. “You have a mission; it’s dangerous, but necessary”.  

     

    “And if I refuse?” She stated knowing full well that she couldn’t turn it down even if she wanted to. 

     

    He empathized just how deep she was in trouble.

    “Don’t be a fool, you have no choice, and you know it. Now, Sotek and Aela..... Find them, find out what exactly happened. The word is they are guilty! Find out where they are hiding; bring me proof of their innocents”. 

     

    She sat there with her back against the wall, facing the doorway. She contemplated for a second on trying to run but the province marshal   had hunted down deserters. Often they were hung where they were caught. She wouldn’t get to the courtyard let alone outside Solitude. “And if I can’t get proof? What then?” 

     

    He looked at her with sad eyes. He knew she was loyal to him; she had served under his command for years. This alone was the third campaign she had been there at his side. No less than four separate occasions had she saved his life from assassins and attackers.

    “If you can’t then don’t come back; run and hide. Get me proof, if not then hide, get out of Skyrim. You know where you can get a boat to Solsthiem, or even Morrowind! Forget your family in Cyrodiil, you’ll be hunted down. Find me proof; find out what’s going on. In one week the emperor will be here, word has already been sent to him about the assassination attempt. He’ll bring his royal guards. Find Sotek and Aela; find out what’s going on”.

     

    Then he turned around and slowly walked out the room. As he did so he dropped a small sack by her feet then he gave her a slight wink and shut the door. She sat there while she heard the key turn and the lock snap shut, leaving her alone once more. 

     

     

Comments

2 Comments   |   Shy Knight of the Shovel and 6 others like this.
  • Ebonslayer
    Ebonslayer   ·  August 18
    "By the [Eight]... he’s here, in hiding."

    "[He] quickly looked over the edge to point out the body to the guards but the corpse fell in the bushes, completely out of sight. "

    “ Oh by the [Eight]! Don’t run, don’t run ”. <...  more
  • The Lorc of Flowers
    The Lorc of Flowers   ·  July 25
    Well, this was definitely tense. *Shivers*