U.O.T.W. Chapter 274 A Betrayal of Trust

  • A Betrayal of Trust 

     

    Sotek sighed then fell silent as he watched Aela head back to Whiterun. She slinked passed the tree line wearing a shawl of disgrace, forged by her own actions. Now that he was alone with Sasha, the female Shadowscale, Sotek focused on other matters; his own hunger being one of them. He cast an inquisitive gaze at the pot of food which was still hot having been rested by the campfire. 

    “You know Sasha, I think I will have a bowl of stew”. 

     

    Sasha looked over at him with some surprise and eagerly set about serving the Argonian Companion.

    “Certainly, here let me”. She happily dished up a bowl of the stew then handed it over to Sotek. As she passed it to him, she slightly held his hand as he took it from her.

     

    “Thanks, it smells nice”. Sotek commented as he breathed in the rich aroma of meat and herbs. “Aela can’t cook, she’s hopeless at it. She just hasn’t got the patience for cooking”. 

     

    “I noticed. Still, we’ll be ok. There’s plenty of food; I’ll cook up some venison slices later if you would like me to?” Sasha asked knowing full well by the flick of Sotek’s tail that he had taken a bite of her hook. She allowed herself a grudging satisfactory smirk. The plan was going well and Sotek had taken the bait all too easily. She baited a hook and he swallowed it whole.

     

    Unaware of the Shadowscale’s intentions, Sotek gave himself a small chuckle.

    “That’s something I’ll look forwards to”. His mood changed, dampening the air around them as he spoke on the Huntress’s behalf. “I do apologise for Aela’s behaviour. I have no idea why she acted like that”. 

     

    “Like I said, she’s feeling a bit stressed”. 

     

    “Did you say anything to provoke her? It doesn’t take much”. Sotek asked rather timidly as if he was trying to coax Sasha along rather than accuse her.

     

    “I wish I could say I did; that way it would be understandable. The truth is I didn’t. All I done was cook the stew. She became frustrated when the venison she was cooking fell on the fire”. 

     

    Sotek slightly nodded at her.

    “One...... Just one time”. 

     

    “Pardon?” 

     

    “Sorry, I was just thinking aloud. I would like just one time for her to cook something without burning it or dropping it in the fire. You know once we cooked some rolls in Jorrvaskr by the fire pit? She dropped mine in the flames”. Sotek laughed as he spoke. The pathetic tone in his voice when he watched his roll fall in the fire gave him little options to do anything but smirk. ‘But it was my roll... sniff’.

     

    Sasha laughed as she gave him a smile.

    “It’s a shame she had to spoil the trip. It would have been nice if she let the three of us laugh like this”. 

     

    While it was true Aela had a devil inside her who would often coax her into misbehaving, Sotek had a daemon. A daemon who was beyond cunning. With a devious smile, one you only see from someone who was up to no good, Sotek smirked back at the female Argonian and playfully flicked her tail.

    “Ahh, but how bad did she spoil it?”

     

    Sasha giggled from the attention then frowned as she stared into the distance.

    “She can’t cook; she picked a fight with me for no reason. Even when I changed into my werewolf form she tried to have a go at me. I wasn’t going to say anything but she changed twice. How does she do that?” 

     

    Sotek seemed confused. He briefly spoke to himself while he played back events as Sasha listened and watched his fingers as they scratched outlines in the dirt. Once he finished he looked at Sasha directly and explained.

    “She has the ring of Hircine. It enables her to change multiple times at will. What do you mean she changed twice? When?” 

     

    “When you went off. She changed her form into that ermm Red? She didn’t attack me but she threatened me. I couldn’t change so I backed off to that tree. Look, you see the claw marks she made”. As Sasha replied, she pointed to the tree which clearly showed four gashes where Red’s claws raked through the bark.

     

    Sotek got up then examined the tree.

    “Oh bloody hell Aela. What the hell is wrong with you? Sasha, this is important. Did you do anything or say anything to make her snap?”

     

    “Yes, I did. I wasn’t thinking; I said how impressive your werewolf form is... Scarface. She just stared at me then she went nuts”. 

     

    Sotek gave out a sigh.

    “Two...... Two times she changed tonight. I can’t help but feel angry”. 

     

    Sasha fell silent for several seconds as she pondered upon Sotek’s relationship with the Huntress. She knew the proverbial metal in the forge was red hot and the hammer was heavy. It was time to strike.

    “Why did you two get together? You put up with a lot from her and seem to gain little benefit”. 

     

    Sotek laughed in response. He answered as honestly as he could. He tried to leave mind games behind but he couldn’t help himself.

    “Lack of options and I had little choice, if any”. He chuckled to himself as he replayed the words. They were true, each and every one of them but only he knew how true, and more so, why. “I’m going to lay down by the fire”.

     

    Sotek got up then placed two bed rolls nearer to the campfire then he laid down on one. He then cast a sleazy look at Sasha and gave her a wink.

    “You look cold. Come here near the fire”.

     

    Smiling at how easily her target was to manipulate, she went over and sat on her knees next to him. Sotek took her hand and held it on his chest, covering his beating heart. He lay back then gazed straight up at the tree tops, holding her hand in place.

    “How in Oblivion am I going to kill all of them?”

     

    Sasha sighed as she traced along a scale on Sotek’s chest with her free hand.

    “I don’t know, but you got to go careful. You’ll be ok”. 

     

    Sotek gave her a warm smile.

    “Don’t worry yourself over me, I’m always careful”. 

     

    Sasha gave a little laugh as she sat there listening to him. The fool seemed so confident, yet he was so easy to manipulate.

    “Yes, you are. But you got to play it smart. Aela’s too emotional; you can’t take her with you when you hit the Dark Brotherhood sanctuary”. 

     

    Sotek held his breath instantly then slowly turned to Sasha.

    “You honestly think I should hit the sanctuary alone? That’s suicide. They are trained assassins for howling out loud. How does Huinzi think I can succeed in this endeavour?” 

     

    Sasha nodded at him.

    “You’re a sneaky bastard; you can pick them off one at a time”. 

     

    Sotek gulped and then turned his head to her while he rested on his back.

    “Sasha, can I trust you? Can I really trust you?”

     

    “Yes, you can... I’m sorry I can’t do this. Aela, you have to get her back”. 

     

    “What? Why?” Despite the surprise in his voice, he never moved. He just laid there watching her.

     

    Sasha moved away from him then sat on a log.

    “Sotek? Damn it you fool; it’s a trap. He wants you to take on the Dark Brotherhood not take them out. He needs you to go alone. That is why I was supposed to split you and Aela up”. 

     

    “Split us up? But why? To what end?” 

     

    Sasha started getting upset. She wiped a tear from her face as she looked across at him.

    “You killed two Shadowscales in Jorrvaskr, a third preventing the assassination at a wedding. Then on top of that you killed a Dark Brotherhood assassin, thereby saving the Emperor. Huinzi can’t allow you to live. He’s sending you to attack the Dark Brotherhood then he’s going to be outside and kill you when you’re done. I wound Aela up. Don’t you get it? I made her lose her temper. You need her, you can’t do this alone”. 

     

    Sotek sat up then laughed, much to Sasha’s surprise. He smiled back warmly and replied with an air of confidence.

    “I’m never alone”. The next second he shouted out to the trees. “Argonian is off the menu, come back”. 

     

    Within moments Aela stepped out from the tree line.

    “Thanks for leaving me the furs”. She walked straight up to Sotek and gave him a kiss, then however she poked him in the chest. “Did you have to get that cozy with her?”

     

    Sotek took a slight step back while his eyes attached themselves to Aela’s dagger. A part of him wished he never gave it back. “Yess. It’ss dark and I wanted you to have a clear target so I had to get her near the fire”. 

     

    Sasha stared at Aela as she did so her hand moved towards her blade. She suddenly looked to her side, but her dagger was gone. Sotek grinned as he held her dagger in his hand.

    “Looking for thiss?”

     

    Sasha was furious. She yelled out at him despite her vulnerable position.

    “You bastards! You fucking played me!” 

     

    Sotek broke away from Aela and lent back against a tree. He casually folded his arms across his chest and tutted back at the Argonian girl.

    “No, we actually tested you and you cut it close. I was just about to say three; a second later you would have been dead. Aela carries a Dragonbone bow, it’s extremely lethal and she never misses. Hell, with the fire lighting you up and you resting on your knees even I couldn’t miss. I suggest you go over to the lake and gather your thoughts then we’ll have a little chat and see where we go from there. Shift it”. 

     

    “She was aiming at me the whole time? But how did you know?” Sasha couldn’t believe it. She was so sure she had baited the hook and so certain of her catch yet it was her being strung along.

     

    “Simple”. Aela said with a smirk strewn across her face. “I was watching from where Sotek spent the last few hours when he went off. Now, be a good little hatchling and off you go”. 

     

    “What makes you think I won’t run? Or kill you both”. Sasha said defensively. She knew she couldn’t but she had to say something to try and wipe the infuriating smile off the Huntress’s face.

     

    Sotek laughed as he swept away her idle threat.

    “You said it yourself; we’ve already killed three Shadowscales. Besides we can both change to our werewolf forms. So no, you can’t kill us, but you’re welcome to try to run. Go to the lake and have a swim. Get your head back in the game then return here and we’ll see what we can salvage from this”. 

     

    “You’ll kill me the moment my back is turned”. 

     

    Sotek shook his head at her.

    “Sasha, if we wanted to kill you then you would be dead already. Aela would have seen to that. You have five minutes”. 

     

    Aela cast a glare and issued her own threat.

    “Sasha, Sotek’s mine. Five minutes? To Oblivion with five minutes... you actually have half an hour. Don’t be late and you had better not be early”. Aela then took Sasha’s dagger from Sotek and threw it to her. “Here catch. Now piss off”. 

     

    The moment Sasha went off towards the lake Aela gave Sotek a hard shove, pushing him towards the bedrolls.

    “As for you, you bastard. Get on your back”.

     

    “Why on my back?” Sotek asked as he tried to keep his footing. 

     

    “I can’t hold a dagger to your throat if I’m on my back, can I?” With that she drew her Dragonbone dagger and played with it in her hand, twirling it around in her fingers. 

     

    Sasha headed off a good few thousand yards away to the lake. Once there she spent a few minutes in the lake resting at the bottom of the water where she tried to gather her thoughts but she quickly became too cold so she moved to the shoreline. She contemplated running but she knew Aela could catch her, and she didn’t relish at all Scarface coming after her. She also had Huinzi to deal with. She had failed in her assignment and betrayed him by telling Sotek his plan. There was something about that Argonian that gave her confidence, a certain strength within him. Some dark force compelling her to follow. She resigned herself to her fate and waited as she watched the lake. 

     

    Every so often she would hear Aela howl out for a few seconds, then silence would claim the woodland once more. Suddenly Sotek yelled out but his cry was from pain. Two minutes later Aela called out to her.

    “Sasha, come back”. 

     

    A few minutes later Sasha re entered the camp to see Sotek sitting on a log, nursing a deep bite wound in his chest. Blood trickled down his torso as he nursed the bite mark. Aela grinned with bloodied teeth at Sasha .

    “Oh don’t worry, he’ll survive I’ve bitten him harder than that before. Now, Sotek wants to talk to you so I’m off to find a fresh deer while you both have a cozy chat. Oh yes... Sasha, keep your bloody hands off him else I’ll take them as souvenirs. Do you understand me?”

     

     Sotek gave himself a slight chuckle despite the pain he was in.

    “That’s where you say ‘Yes’. So for the love of Hircine say it”. 

     

    “Yes. I understand”. 

     

    Once Aela nodded to him, Sotek pointed to a log.

    “Sit down. Whether you understand or not is for me to decide”. 

     

    “Why did she bite you like that?” Sasha asked. Despite the situation she was in, the blood from Sotek’s ‘wound’ caused her to shudder. She had spilled blood but this was different. She tried to figure Aela out but all she could think of was a wolf. 

     

    “What, this? Two reasons, the first is to make sure you know that I belong to her. She’s marking her territory as it were. She thinks you like me so she sees you as a threat. Secondly, she’s letting me know she’s not happy with you being near me. This being the case, we both need to watch ourselves”. 

     

    Sasha looked around the tree lines but she couldn’t see anything.

    “Is she out there watching us?”

     

    Sotek gave a small chuckle and shook his head.

    “No, she’s actually hunting a deer. Now, what to do with you? I’ll make it easy for you to understand. We don’t like you, we don’t trust you. I see you as a threat. Aela sees you as a threat. Threats are eliminated. However, you in your finite wisdom gave yourself a chance at redemption. Do you wish to be my friend?” 

     

    Sasha looked carefully at him as she tried to read his emotions.

    “You won’t have me as a friend so why play this game”. 

     

    “I am prepared to give you an opportunity; I suggest that when the time comes that you take it. To make it easy on you, I’ll tell you where you went wrong. You gave me the letters when you didn’t want to”. 

     

    “I had no choice”. Sasha snapped back angrily. ‘What choice did I have? Obey or death? Some choice’. She mused as she listened to Sotek speak.

     

    “There is always a choice, you remember that. I will help you to make the right one. You set Aela up and let her take the fall. Yes, she’s a bitch, temperamental and everything else, but she’s loyal. She’ll stand by me and the others and she’ll die there if she must. You were more than happy to set her up and prey on her emotions. How in the Hunting Grounds do we trust you to watch our backs? I can go to any one of my friends and ask them to look after Aela and they will. Trust is like a tear, if you drop it in the lake you will never get it back”. 

     

    “Sotek, I can’t side with you, you’re out manned, out manoeuvred and out classed. Everyone’s coming to get you. The General, the Shadowscales, Ulfric”. 

     

    “General Tullius and the Shadowscales don’t trust each other. That is a weakness I’m going to exploit. If you stand with me, fight with me, then I promise you, we will win, we will take everything. If you stand with me, I swear you will never stand alone” 

     

    “The General and the Shadowscales do trust each other. They have each other’s backs”. 

     

    Sotek laughed loudly as he sat there ginning wildly.

    “Oh really? Then answer me this if you will. How important is it that the Dark Brotherhood is taken out?”

     

    “That’s a top priority. You’re the second one”. 

     

    Sotek smiled back at her. He knew the answer she would say; he also knew she was wrong.

    “They don’t trust each other. I don’t trust you, but you can trust me. Whether you do or not is up to you”. 

     

    Sasha stared into the fire as she tried to work things out. Unlike Sotek though, she was blind to so much.

    “You can’t win”. 

     

    “On the contrary, I can’t fail. Are you with us, or not?” 

     

    “You’ll be there? At my side?” 

     

    “I never stand beside my friends; I’m always at the forefront while Aela watches their backs”. 

     

    Sasha sat there for nearly a minute as she thought things through.

    “What would you want me to do?” 

     

    “For the moment? All I want is information. Where’s the sanctuary?” Sotek asked as he held out his map.

     

    “It’s near Falkreath”. 

     

    Sotek pointed to the deer emblem on his map.

    “Show me”.

     

    Sasha moved over to him then placed the map on the ground.

    “It’s around here, in a hollow. There’s a small dark pool outside it. Now what?”

     

    Sotek gave a chuckle as he pointed to Aela carrying some deer pieces which were strewn over her shoulder.

    “Right now? You cook”. 

     

    By the time they ate, it was well into the early hours. Aela cuddled up to Sotek and pulled a few furs over herself while Sasha had first watch. She spent the next three hours watching them, trying to work out if they were actually asleep or awake. Soon enough Sotek woke up and sat by the fire after he built it up a bit. Sasha then lay down and closed her eyes, she tried to stay awake, but despite the mistrust she felt, she just couldn’t. By the time she awoke it was well into dawn. 

     

    Sotek handed her a plate with some cooked venison on it.

    “It’s late but considering you’re both awake I presume that neither of you cut the other ones throat so that’s a good start to the day”. 

     

    Aela gave a slight sneer.

    “For you maybe”. 

     

    Sotek chuckled slightly as he shook his head at Aela before speaking to Sasha.

    “She still doesn’t like you much”. 

     

    Sasha sat quietly while she ate then she looked across to Aela.

    “I never apologised for what I did. I’m sorry”. 

     

    Aela walked over to her then sat down; she looked at Sasha then thought for a few seconds. “Sotek?” 

     

    He cast a quick glance over to her.

    “What?”

     

    “Can you disappear for a few minutes?” The Huntress asked in a demanding sort of way. She gave Sotek a brief glance then turned back to Sasha.

     

    Sotek watched her for a few seconds then shook his head.

    “No. You’ll kill her and you’re doing so well. It would be a shame to have that lapse”. 

     

    Aela stuck her tongue out at Sotek which prompted him to laugh. Aela instead turned her attention to Sasha.

    “I don’t care. I don’t like you. We’re never going to be friends but I’m ok with that. And to be honest, I think you are as well. Just stay out of my way”. 

     

    Sotek watched them both for several seconds the he looked up at the sun. 

    “Right time to move, let’s head back”. 

     

    Sasha cast a quick glance at him. She picked up her pack but she seemed puzzled.

    “But you haven’t told me what you want me to do”. 

     

    Sotek gave a sigh and admitted something to her.

    “Sasha, as of yet I don’t know what I’m going to do so how can I tell you what I want you to do?” 

     

    Aela called out to him as she was packing up her gear.

    “Pardon?”

     

    “What?” Sotek asked as he turned towards her.

     

    “Please tell me you’re joking?” 

     

    Sotek shrugged his shoulders, and grinned.

    “Do I look like I’m joking? Come on you two let's go”. 

     

    Sasha walked up to Sotek and held his arm, stopping him from walking away.

    “There’s one more thing you should know”. 

     

    Aela grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her around to face her.

    “Hands off my property. What?”

     

    Sasha gulped then looked Aela right in the eyes.

    “It’s about the Argonian girl. You know her as Kul-et”. 

     

     

Comments

10 Comments   |   Ebonslayer and 3 others like this.
  • Shy Knight of the Shovel
    Shy Knight of the Shovel   ·  August 28
    sweet a new Chapter. glad this is getting Juicier by the pages. :)
    • Sotek
      Sotek
      Shy Knight of the Shovel
      Shy Knight of the Shovel
      Shy Knight of the Shovel
      sweet a new Chapter. glad this is getting Juicier by the pages. :)
        ·  August 28
      Thanks Shy :D
  • A Shadow Under the Moons
    A Shadow Under the Moons   ·  August 28
    Oho, some plot development, and a quick, well-executed one too. I know you wrote this a while ago, Sotek-jo, but still, nice work.
    • Sotek
      Sotek
      A Shadow Under the Moons
      A Shadow Under the Moons
      A Shadow Under the Moons
      Oho, some plot development, and a quick, well-executed one too. I know you wrote this a while ago, Sotek-jo, but still, nice work.
        ·  August 28
      Thanks Shadow under the Moons. I'm glad this chapter worked and I hope to bring a few things to a close soon. One door closes, two open......  :S
  • Ebonslayer
    Ebonslayer   ·  August 28
    “Did you have to get that [cozy] with her?”

    “You said it yourself; we’ve already killed [two] Shadowscales." I think it was two.

    "Now, Sotek wants to talk to you so I’m off to find a fresh deer while you both have a [cozy]...  more
    • Sotek
      Sotek
      Ebonslayer
      Ebonslayer
      Ebonslayer
      “Did you have to get that [cozy] with her?”

      “You said it yourself; we’ve already killed [two] Shadowscales." I think it was two.

      "Now, ...  more
        ·  August 28
      Fixed the three errors. With regards to the total number of Shadowscales, it's four. I've added a bit to clarify this. 
      Ohhhh  you are close..... You missed the mark, but not by much. 
      • Ebonslayer
        Ebonslayer
        Sotek
        Sotek
        Sotek
        Fixed the three errors. With regards to the total number of Shadowscales, it's four. I've added a bit to clarify this. 
        Ohhhh  you are close..... You missed the mark, but not by much. 
          ·  August 28
        Forgot to change this.

        “You said it yourself; we’ve already killed four Shadowscales."
        • Sotek
          Sotek
          Ebonslayer
          Ebonslayer
          Ebonslayer
          Forgot to change this.

          “You said it yourself; we’ve already killed four Shadowscales."
            ·  August 28
          Fixed.......  Opps
      • Ebonslayer
        Ebonslayer
        Sotek
        Sotek
        Sotek
        Fixed the three errors. With regards to the total number of Shadowscales, it's four. I've added a bit to clarify this. 
        Ohhhh  you are close..... You missed the mark, but not by much. 
          ·  August 28
        I skimmed through this again and technically wouldn't it be 3 Shadowscales? He killed two in Jorrvaskr and one at the wedding but he didn't kill a Shadowscale while saving the Emperor, I presume you were talking about Cicero and he isn't a Shadowscale.
        • Sotek
          Sotek
          Ebonslayer
          Ebonslayer
          Ebonslayer
          I skimmed through this again and technically wouldn't it be 3 Shadowscales? He killed two in Jorrvaskr and one at the wedding but he didn't kill a Shadowscale while saving the Emperor, I presume you were talking about Cicero and he isn't a Shadowscale.
            ·  August 28
          Hahaha. Yep you got me there.... I'll fix it straight away...