C.O.T.W Chapter 16: Relics of Magic and Power

  • Quinchal stepped away from the 'window', which was more a loose board on the ship's portside, strode across the room, up the

    stairs and went through the door to the upper deck. He licked a finger and raised it to eye level to to see which way the wind was

    blowing. The wind was blowing north, which meant smooth sailing from here on out. Quinchal smiled to himself, he knew the

    favorable winds made of equally favorable journeys. He gripped the ship's wheel with two clawed hands and pushed the throttle

    from neutral to full speed ahead. The ship cut effortlessly through the Akavarian waters, with the help of the wind, that would

    definitely allow them to make pretty good time in getting to the pass and retrieving the artifacts. Below deck, Inigo and Moonman

    were discussing, in excitable voices, what they would find when they reach Akavir.

     

    Inigo turned to face the nord,

    So, my friend, what do you expect to find at this mysterious island?" 

     

    The nord scratched his head in search of an answer,

    "Well, I heard that the beast races of Akavir are expert martial artists, I figured I'd learn a few unique fighting styles while I'm there,

    maybe whispering tiger claw from the Kung'Po'Tun or Monkedo from the Tang Mo."

     

    The nord looked sideways at the khajiit,

    "What about you? What you most anxious to see in the dragon land?"

     

    Inigo thought for a moment as there were so many sights and unique creatures he wanted to see,

    "I am not sure, I have many things I would like to see on Akavir, from the beautiful architecture to the gorgeous statues and the

    unique species of dragons they have there."

     

    Quinchal heard this and told them, over the loudspeaker, that the primary objectives are to help him find a cure for his ill gotten

    condition and retrieve the two artifacts that Valjira asked them to find. He told them they could do some sight-seeing after.

    Back in the Ship's cabin, the khajiit and nord sat back down and did not speak another word until they got to where they were

    going. On deck, Quinchal battled small ocean squalls and manuvering the ship through tiny inlets and penninsulas that would dare to

    threaten the ship passage to Zhoushin pass. Within several hours, until the protective blanket of the peaceful night sky, the ship

    arrived at Zhoushin pass dock situated to the south of a well known Tsaesci village.

     

    Quinchal lowered the gangway and he Inigo and Moonman disembarked, once on dry land, the tseasci knelt down onto the patch of

    green grass that was surrounded by dragontails along with patches of brown dirt and said a silent prayer to his ancestors. When he

    done, he got up and noticed a dirt path leading off to the east and guessed that was where the cave where the first artifact may be

    found.

     

    He reached into his leather bag and consulted a rather worn piece of parchment which had the entire island of Akavir on it with

    points of interest.Inigo and Moonman walked over to where Quinchal stood and looked over his should at the map.

     

     

    Quinchal turned and eyed them angrily,

    "Can I please get some privacy? This map is hard enough to read without you two breathing down my neck.

     

    Inigo and Moonman defensively put up their hands and backed away as if saying 'ok, geez, you don't have to be a bitch about it.

    ' Quinchal turned back and looked at the map, studying it. He shouted in suprise which made both Inigo and Moonman

    jump,Chunlang. He traced the route from where he was standing to the cave with a yellow-scaled finger, then he rolled the map up

    and put it back into his leather bag. He turned to the nord and the khajiit, told them the cave is only fiifteen feet from their current

    location and motioned for them to follow him.

     They started down the dirt road that lead away from the area where they had docked the ship, past a wide open field of dragon tails

    plants that was bordered by some gingko trees. The trio had walked for two miles until they came across a cave.

     

    Inigo screwed up his face in disgust,

    "Yuck, want is that disgusting smell? I feel like my nose is in danger of running off my face. What a foul stench." 

     

    Quinchal motioned to a wooden sign nailed to the rock that served as the cave's mouth. The wooden sign stated that the cave was

    called langchun cave. Below the name was the translation 'the cave of wolf's peace', and below that, written in blood was a warning,

    'this cave holds not only valuable treasure, but also many dangers, travelers be wary.'

     

    The three looked at each other, as if determining who was going to go first. In the end, Moonman decided he was going to go first

    with Quinchal and Inigo following close behind. The nord entered the cave mouth and was immediately overcome by complete

    darkness. Moonman felt along the wall until his hand brushed a long, thin brown stick-like thing had what felt like moist straw at its

    tip, it lay five feet from the cave wall. The nord picked it up and cast a flame spell directly at the moist straw. The straw ignited at

    once.

     

    Quinchal and Inigo were behind him, they shielded their eyes as the torch lit aflame. The trio's eyes went wide as they beheld a

    massive cavern complete with the 'drip, drip, drip' of water droplets as they coelesced at the tip of stalactites and fell to the cavern

    floor. Thhe nord moved the torch about, filling the darkness with its smoke trail, all he could see was a big lump of brown earth a

    few feet in front of him, upon which something, or someone was sitting.

     

    The thing had yellow eyes beset with black slitted pupils, which seemed to glow in the cave's lowlight,

    "Come now mortal, are ya here to obtain a priceless artifact of some kind?" It said, smirking.

     

    Quinchal and Inigo could not place the name or recognize the voice, but, the nord knew it all to well as he had dealings with the

    daedric lord a bunch of times. Moonman's upper liip moved backwards as he let out a growl, one of pure loathing,

    "Sheogorath, what in Oblivion are YOU doing here?" 

     

    The daedric prince looked shocked and astounded at the nord's brash line of questioning. He told the three creatures that he was in

    Oblivion, put there by Hasir's mother, well, aunt and he managed to make an oblivion gate out of the laval rocks he had found in the

    realm because Drujeeta had banished him there due to a little disagreement that they had had. He bowed his head low as he told

    them of her death.

     

    Moonman unsheathed his irron longsword, 

    "Why tell us we were not there to witness her death, nor did we know her." As he finished, he advanced ever so slowly on the

    daedric lord. 

     

    Inigo went up and tried to talk Moonman out of whatever he was thinking,

    "My friend, I am sure we can talk this out, there is no need for violence." 

     

    He attempt fell on deaf ears as the nord was mere inches away from the daedric prince,

    "Spill what you know about the ring of Hircine, where is it?" He pointed his sword menacingly at sheogorath.

     

    Sheogorath held up a hand and tried, unsuccessfully, to move the sword away from his chest,

    "You want me to spill it do ya, mortal? Well, let's see Hircine and I don't get along well as he is all about the hunt. In my opinion, the

    hunt and his children are boring, boring boring." Moonman's face contorted with rage as he let out a loud growl.

     

    Sheogorath felt the blade cut off some of him brass buttons, Inigo rushed in front of Moonman to stop him from harming a persom

    whom he scarcely knew. Not knowing or caring about this block attempt, he pushed the sword in. 

    Inigo started to speak, but no words came out, feeling dampness suffuse his fur armor,, Inigo looked down to see thick, warm blood

    spread form the wound on his chest, the sword had missed any vital organs but had stuck far enough through Inigo's chest that

    Quinchal and a stunned Moonman saw the blade penetrate out of Inigo's back. the now pale blue cat staggered backwards, slumped

    against the wall beside Sheogorath and slid downwards.

     

    Horrorstruck, the nord staggers backwards and hit the cavern wall with a loud 'thud', which was in turn followed by the sound of

    small pebble-sized stones hitting the cave floor,

    "I-Inigo...I did not see you there, sorry." He looked solemnly at Inigo.

     

    The khajiit tried to sit up by found it too painful so he shifted his weight so he was leaning with his back against the wall,

    "It's okay...my friend, accidents happen." He said, through fits of coughing up blood.

     

    The tsaesci leered at Sheogorath,

    "Damn you, you stupid Daedra, if you weren't here, the cat wouldn't be clinging onto life by a thread." 

     

    The daedric prince recoiled in shock, as if stabbed by a dagger,

    Mortal, excuse me? I had nothing to do with this creature's impending demise." 

     

    Quinchal lept at Sheorgarth, only to see the daedric lord pull out a long, thin staff,

    "You test my patience long enough Mortal."

     

    Wabbajack!

     

    The Tseasci began to shrink until he was an inch off of the ground and had grown six legs out of his long, thin body. Sheogorath

    roared with laughter; he thoroughly enjoyed messing with mortals and making their lives a living hell. He was very unpredictable

    and as such it wouldn't be an ideal move to make him mad. He can either help or hider those seeking him help. Sheogorath stared

    down at the helpless scrib and pondered what to do with it.

     

    Sheogorath got up found a jar on one of the shelves near the eentrace, unscrewed the lid and put the scrib into it and close the lid,

    "Now be a good little scrib...you wouldn't want me to wabbajack ya again." He looked sternly at the captured scrib.

     

    Moonman got up a little dazed and ooked to his left and saw a scrib in a jar and asked Sheogorath who that was. Sheogorath roared

    with laughter, said something about small mortal mind and told the nord how he hope Quinchal ejoys his new home. This made

    Moonman made as he demaned the tsaesci be restored at once. The daedric lord sighed, pointed the staff at the scrib and with a

    flash of purple light which shot from the staff the scrib grew and became scaly again, the jar shattered and Quinchal landed on his

    head.  

     

    Sheogorath returned to his seat and sighed,

    "Well, it was fun while it lasted."

     

    Moonman and Quinchal both got up and walked over to Inigo, who had nearly all color drained from his face, most likely due to the

    severe blood loss. Quinchal told Moonman to stand clear as he tried something, his hands began to glow as he called his Akaviri

    magic to the forefront. He touched the khajiit's chest and smiled broadly as his healing magic began to work. Inigo's wound seemed

    to stitch itself up and his shallow breathing became more regular and color return to his fur.

     

    Inigo opened his eyes,

    Um, why are you standing over me? Do I have someting on my face?" He asked, his face contorted, trying to understand the

    situation.

     

    The nord and tsaesci shook their heads as one, Moonman knelt down and helped the khajiit to his feet,

    "Inigo, you, erm, tried to save me from wounding Sheogorath because he insulted Hircine. Instead of me stabbing the daedra. My

    longsword pierced your flesh instead, I am so sorry."

     

    A tear rolled down the nord's cheek, which he wiped away with a long finger. Inigo looked at the nord and told him not to worry

    about it and thanked him for healing him, the nord said it was actually Quinchal who saved him from death. Inigo said he was

    grateful anyway to have such good friends by his side.

     Moonman and Quinchal failed to see Sheogorath behind them. Sensing something was nearby, they both turned around to see him

    grinning like an idiot, The nord pushed the tsaesci aside and asked what Sheogorath's problem was. The daedric lord said that he

    just adores watching puny mortals helping each other when he knows that the life span of mortals is so short, it's just so touching.

     

    He suddenly became silent as he remembered something; he motioned to Moonman with has hand,

    "Don't you and the yellow mortal over there have things for," he shivered, "Hircine?" He shook his head, laughing, "I'm sorry, no

    matter how hard ya try, somethings just leave a bitter taste in your mouth...including that name.' He made a gaging noise

    emphasizing his point. "Don't you have artifacts to find, well mortals go fetch the stick or whatever you were asked to find."

     

    The nord and tsaesci turned away from Sheogorath and started out of the cave when the nord heard something get picked up. He

    turned around and saw the Sheogorath was playing with a silver ring  between his long fingers, rolling it back forth across his

    knucles. M00nman and the tsaeesci walked closer and saw the ring that the daedra was playing with was the rring of Hircine.

     

    The nord reached forward and made a grab for the ring, but Sheogorath held in just out of his reach,

    "Ya didn't say the magic word."

     

    Moonman huffed loudly, annoyed at Shoegorath's gall,

    "Fine, may I 'please' have the ring?" He asked through gritted teeth

     

    "The magic word is 'cheese' ya foolish mortal, you failed, no ring for you." He said, dangling the ring tantilizingly in front of the nord.

    Finding amusement in torturing mortals was his other great pleasure in his endless life. He threw the ring up in the air with a flick of

    his wrist. The nord lunged for the ring and caught it when the ring was just about to hit the cavern floor. 

     

    The nord smiled slyly at Sheogorath,

    "Lookie here, a mortal caught the ring," He said in a tone meant to mock the daedric prince. He held the ring in the same fashion

    that the prince of madness had done minutes before, "not bad for a creature with a shortened life span, huh? He asked.

     

    Sheogorath was livid. He depised being shown up by anyone especially when the that person happened to be a 'lowly mortal.' He

    vanished into thin air.

     

    The nord smmiled to himself,

    "One artifact down one to go," The nord turn to the tsaesci, "Quinchal, do you know where the savior's hide is?" 

     

    The tsaesci told him and Inigo that they will find the savior's hide within the deepest reaches of the langxin river that lay sixty

    feet north of the cavern where they now stood.

     

     

     The nord, Khajiit and tsaesci left the depressing cave and the crazed daedric lord behind. On their way to the river, they passed

    Shechyun, The local Tsaesci village, where Quinchal grew up. As the trio walked, they remarked on the towering pagodas as they

    walked passed them. Inigo's mouth hung open as he saw what he had been hoping to see, red panels interwoven with yellow

    thread and yellow roofs that were curved it the corners. Quinchal, however did not stop, he was too determined to be rid of his beast

    blood to take in the scenery, scenery that he had seen every day for twenty years. 

     

    Moonman stop walked, went up to the blue khajiit who was seemingly sucked into the world of Akavirian architecture and motioned

    with his hand that they had to get a move on. The blue cat's tail, which was flicking back and forth in excitement, was now stiff with

    disappointment, reluctantly and with a look that could have broken the sterdiest man's heart, strode away from the beautiful pagoda

    with hands thrust into the pockets of his brown trousers.

     

    The trio passed by a bunch of pagodas and small Akaviri shrines, used to pay homage to their many gods, until Quinchal held up a

    hand in front of his face to have them come to a halt. The nord and khajiit were about to ask why they had stop when Quinchal

    turned and spoke to a strange stone statue that looked like a gold deer with the head of the dragon and the antlers that neither of

    them had seen before or heard the tsaesci speak of,

     

    He bent his head low, in respect,

    "Mighty Zung'Qi, I humbly beseech your presence, for I have an urgent matter." 

     

    Inigo and Moonman could not believe their eyes, the statue seemed to glow in a mystical light, as if it were understanding him. The

    statue spoke in a voice so loud that tthe khajiit and nord had to cover their ears,

     

    "Quinchal, why have you come to me?" It asked, in a fatherly sort of way.

     

    Quinchal swallowed hard,

    "My lord, I want you to purge this beastblood from me."

     

    "Tell me scaled one, why have you forsaken the gifts of your ancestors for this lesser disease?" The statue's stone eyes seemed to

    cutt into Quinchal very soul, surveying him.

     

    "Forgive me, lord, but it was not my idea, my student, who is elsewhere at the moment, accidentally infected me, now I seek a

    reprieve from said disease."

     

    The statue fell silent for a time, but its voice came crashing back as loud as ever,

    "Very well, but, you must first do an unspeakable heinous act to rid yourself of it. Like, hmmmm...kill your friend perhaps?"

     

    Quinchal looked horrorstruck,

    "My lord, is there a less violent way to regain my ancestors' bloodline?"

     

    The statue told him that is the only way, unless he wanted to bring shame on his ancestors. Quinchal shook his head and said he

    would not want that. The statue summoned a silver sword at its base using ancestral energy and ordered Quinchal to be swift as the

    roaring river, that way he would not realize his soul was stolen from him, the statue also told the tsaesci to cut out his heart and

    place it at the base of the statue..

     

    Quinchal lent down and picked up the silver sword, felt the weight of the sword in his right hand and looked at the statue one last

    time. He turned away from the statue and walked towards the nord who sttarted backing away,

     

    Moonman backed away with his hands, palm out, in front of his face

    "Um, easy with that Quinchal," His forehead creased, "Wh'what are you doing?" He looked into the tsaesci's eyes, which burned with

    the fires of Oblivion.

     

    Moonman tripped and fell onto the ground and scurried on his back to the nearby building, he felt the molding cut into his back,

    which caused him to cry out in pain. His eyes went wide with fear as he saw a powermad tsaesci standing over him with the tip of

    the sword hanging inch above his heart. Moonman pleaded with Quinchal for him to see reason, put the Tsaesci had one thing on his

    mind which was to be cured of the affliction which was placed upon his. He told the nord, who was visibly shaking beneath the silver

    blade, that he wanted to regain his ancestral bloodline. Quinchal swifted brought the sword down and pierced the nord's heart.

     

    The nord lay on the ground, bleeding profuusely,

    "Q-Quinchal, w-why...would you do this...I...did...nothing to you." He spluttered intermittently through spellls of coughing up blood.

     

    Quinchal gave one final sickening twist of the sword, which was still in his heart, and the nord's life escaped as he breath his last.

    There was not wolf spirit standing on the other side, he just lay dead. His arms and legs stuckk out at odd angles as he flailed

    uncotrollably during his last, painful, moments.

     

    Thhe tsaesci knelt down, produced a knife from his leath bag strung about his should and got to work seperating the heart from the

    nord's body. Once it was free of its tethers, the tsaesci gave one final yank and finally freed the heart from its prison. Quinchal stood

    up and walked to the centeer of town where the stauute was, in front of a large red pagoda with an equally large yellow roof. that

    was surrounded by four gingko trees. The temple was the temple of one thousand sorrows where many creatures and people of

    Akaviri come to train in many different martial arts disciplines. 

     

    He knelt down in front of the stone kirin and laid the heart at its base, 

    "Mortal, you have done well, as part of our bargian, I will now bestow the gift of vampirism upon you."

     

    The statue started glowing as it did upon their first meeting. This time, however, reddish-black light came from the sky in a singular

    column that fill the statue and formed a spiral of light at the center of the statue. Quinchal watched as the spiral spun faster and

    faster, until a beam from the same color light that came from the sky enveloped the tsaesci. It lifted him off of his feet and flowed

    through the tsaesci's veins and caused his iris to take on a glowing, reddish tone and his pupils took on a more snake-like

    appearance with a black tint to them. When the transformation was complete, the light lowered the tsaesci to the ground. 

     

    After the tsaesci made contact with the ground, the sun began its ascent in the sky over the mountains. The tsaesci forgot about the

    vampire's weakness to sunlight because he went without the disease for two weeks.

     

    Quinchal looked up at the sky, a frown began to form,

    "Aw crap, divines save me."

     

    A horrifiic scene unfolded in front of the statue. Inigo, who was busy shopping for souvenirs when they heard an ear splitting

    scream, ran to the center of town.

     

    Their eyes went wide with shock as they found Quinchal doubled up in pain,

    "ARRGH," He cried out in agony as he saw the khajiit, "Inigo, help me, my body is not used to the disease beacuse of how long I

    have been seperated from it." His lips started burning and saliva began being overproducing in his mouth, "Gah! I liked being a

    werewolf better. Damnit! Being a vampire in a fate worse than death."

     

    Inigo knelt down and heled Quinchal to his feet, he brought him oover to a pagoda that had a extra long yellow roof. Quinchal sighed

    with relief as he was out of the sun, at least, for the moment.  

     

    Inigo realized something,

    My friend, where is the nord? I thought he was with you?" He asked, his furry forehead creased.

     

    Quinchal looked like he had been turn into a staue, a wave of cld came over him,

    "Inigo, I killed him." His looked sorrowful

     

    The khajiit was shocked, his eyes wide,

    "Why would you do that, tell me, my frined, why?"

     

    Quinchal told the khajiit the story about how he prayed to the kirin statue wanting to purge the beast blood and become a vampire

    once again. The tsaesci began to cry because he felt the kirin had decieved him in some way.

     

    Inigo placed a paw-like hand on the tsaesci's shoulder,

    Calm down my friend, so you made a mistake, it happens to the best of us," he said, trying to reassure the tsaesci, "we have to

    retrieve the savior's hide, remember? Don't let youe sorrow overshadow your duty."

     

    The duo started to walk in the direction of the wolf's heart river when the tsaesci put up a hand to make Ingio stop. Inigo asked why

    they had stopped. Quinchal explained that he needed to make both a grave for Moonman and to pray to his ancestors asking for

    forgiveness about what he has done. the khajiit nodded, Over the next few hours, they set to work making the grave. They found

    various bits of wood, and some stones near the edge of the dirt road and constructed the grave in the shade of a bamboo

    tree, leaned the planks of wooden against the tree and laid the rocks around the grave and Quinchal carved Moonman name, his

    dates of birth and death and a short, heartfelt message into the wood with his knife. 

     

    The khajiit sat by the grave for a short while, hiis tail occasionally flicking up and down, while Quinchal walked a few feet away from

    the gravee and prayed to his ancestors for their forgiveness.

     

     It was early evening by the time they had set out again in search of the savior's hide. The moon had just come out and shone upon

    them like a beacon of hope in this dark and depressing night. Te tsaesci and khajiit walked for what seemed like two hours when

    they found a river that had water like that of the heavens. Quinchal smiled to himself and told Inigo 'its here.'

     

    Quinchal stripped off his Akaviri scaled armorand stepped into the water and dove under, searching for the cuirass. He swam deep

    under water until he came to a deep trench that had to be at least five feet deep. He propelled himself downwards using his legs and

    taail as a pair of rudders and saw a cuirass with gold ringmail situated on leather below a grey furredd upper part, Quinchal could

    see upon the furred part of the cuirass was a downward facing wolf's head fashioned from the same color fur at the bottom. He

    failed to notice what was gaurding it; it was an ancient water dragon of the Mao'Xi'Qin water tribe that had long since died out.

     

    The water dragon noticed him and swa straight for him, jaws snapping. Quinchal out manuveured the dragon easily, he knew that

    evasion was the better course of action as his ancestors would have frowned upoon him kill it; they see dragons as sacred beasts.

    Quinchal easily swerve out of the way as the mighty beast lunged at him. He swam downward and saw silver light break the surface

    of the water as silently as a whisper. It shone off of the cuirass, which sparkled brilliantly in the moonlight.

     

    The tsaesci swan as hard as he could because the water dragon was on his tail. He swam past seaweed that swayed with the gentle

    flowing current of the river and found what he had seen for afar, the cuirass was indeed a sight to behold. Quinchal tried to lift it,

    but one of the rings wa snagged on something that Quinchal could not see. It was like an invisible hand was tugging hard at the

    cuirass, not wanting to part with such a precious treasure; Quinchal summon Akaviri winds that swirled around him like a cyclone,

    he aimed the winds at the force that was holding the cuirass and released all that energy in one thin stream of wind. The hand broke

    its hold on the cuirass and he slung the cuirass on his back, making sure to holld on tight to the armor with his left hand while he

    used his tail and right hand to propell himself through the water and towards the surface.

    He lept on of the water, walked over to the bamboo tree where he found his armor leaning against its trunk. He put the armor on

    and looked over to see Inigo leaning against the tree, his armed folded across his chest.

     

    Inigo looked questioningly at Quinchal,

    "So my friend did you retrieve the armor?"

     

    Quinchal nodded and show the khajiit the armor. Ingios eyes went wide with wonder and awe. He had never once beheld a cuirass

    this beuatiful before. Quinchal put the armor in his leather bag next to the ring of Hircine and as he did so, a ghostly stag came

    galloping up the road. It stopped five feet short of the tsaesci, Inigo on the other hand was afraid the stag might pierce him with his

    antlers.

     

    The stag, aspect of the wolflord Hircine, looked down at the tsaesci,

    "Well done hunters, you've managed to  procure the last of my artifacts, I shall tell the female khajiit of your success."

     

    With those words the turquoise sttag galloped away and just as he got to the end of the dirt road, it vanished into thin air. Inigo and

    Quinchal walked back the way they had come, past the tsaesci viallge and to the docks where the Crimson Fang waited to bring

    them back to Skyrim.

     

                     

Comments

1 Comment   |   Sotek likes this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  February 19, 2020
    Took me a while but like the prowling wolf hunting it's prey, I got here. 
    Quinchal … Not sure what was worse, killing his friend or getting rid of the wolf blessing.....  
    Harsh times I suppose...