C.O.T.W Chapter 40: The Mind of Madness

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    A few minutes past noon, a courier arrived at the fort, Tulen was rudely imterrupted from his daily commune with Molag Bal by a

    loud knocking, he cursed under his breath and stood up, huffing loudly,

    "Damn, always when I am doing something important."

     

    He apologized to Molag Bal, extinguished the fire, causing the fiery demonic goblin head to retreat into the fireplace as its food

    source was depleted. His tail slammed down in annoyance and he got up and walked past the traing area which included the

    dummies at the far end. As he walked Tulen glanced to his left and saw four dummies against the far wall that were each inflicted by

    a different 'wound.' One of the dummies had its 'stomach' cut, it's innards strewn across the fort floor, another had an arrow in its

    'eye' and the last two had similar wounds. Tulen forced his mind to stay on track, he blanked the 'fallen soldiers' and walked towards

    the front door just off the main room. Tail snaking in the dust behind him, he exited through a wooden door into yet another larger

    room, again he glanced to his right and saw a black werewolf hanging dead on the wall. He laughed to himself, Stupid bastard got

    what he deserved. 

    He walked to the front door by way of a small, cramped entryway, smiling to himself as he walked. His clawed hand pushed the

    bamboo door open,

     

    The courier lowered his hand, his face darkening in fright as he saw Tulen's enraged face,

    "Can I help you with sssomething ssir or are you jusst losst?" The Argonian hissed angrily, making the courier back up a few

    feet. Tulen's snarl lessened a bit and in response the man loosened up as well

     

    The courier shook Tulen's outstretched claw,

    Good afternoon, I have news from Neesh."

     

    The courier handed Tulen a letter and told him that would explain it more than he could. Tulen undid the twine on the envelope,

    ripped it open with a clawed finger and scanned the letter. His eyes lit up with the fires of Oblivion, he did not need this unwelcome

    news as he was having a relaxing afternoon and recieving this news pretty much ripped a huge hoe through his entire afternoon,

    ruining it completely as a careless flame would ruin an old tome. He lashed out with lightning fast reflexes, bit down hard on the

    man's neck, causing him to cry out. The Argonian's eyes flashed black for a second  Transfering some of his power to the Imperial.

     

    The man's posture began to change, his skin stretched over newly formed bone. Seconds later, Tulen's eyes returned to normal and

    his bloodlust abated as he drew back from the man's neck and sat on a nearby bit of rubble near the fort.  He smiled as he saw the

    fruits of his and his lord's hard work begin to blossom. When all was said and done, a wolf of pure shadow stood before him, eyes a

    firery red. The wolf gave a feeble howl and collapsed on the spot. Tulen looked at the unconscious form, frowning. He had thought

    that every being could withstand the force of the shadow wolf blood-that which is reserved only for Molag's faithful-but this

    particular vessel could've been weakened by some unseen force, disease maybe. The Argonian sighed with relieve when he saw the

    form move. He walked over to the wolf, tail swaying side to side.

     

    He knelt down beside the creature, sighed, and thanked the god of domination,

    "Oh, thank Molag Bal, I feared you had died." 

     

    He looked at him with eyes that could've said 'of course I'm not dead you moron,' that is if eye could speak. Tulen patted him

    absent-mindedly on the head while he figured out their next move. He pondered on this particularly juicy bit of information of a solid

    five minutes when the 'index finger' of the silver hand burst through the door. He told Tulen that the vampires of Volkihar castle are

    planning the attack the fort.

     

    Tulen stood up fast and strode over deliberately over to the newcomer, overexaggerating his tail swings as he walked. He thrust his

    clawed hand outwards, causing the silver hand member to be catapulted over his feet and pinned to the stony wall of the fort by

    invisible tethers, which were tightening around the poor soul's body.

     

    Tulen bent low so the member could hear him better and lowered his voice to a whisper,

    "I don't give a fuck about what you heard." He hissed, waving a dismissive hand in the air. "I already thought on attacking castle

    Volkihar, you stupid human." He shouted into his ear, and for good measure, the man recieved a hard slap across the face from the

    argonian's scaly hand.

     

    He walked circles around the man that looked like an orange that was getting run through the juicer. When he circled the man, he

    did not let up on the spell through, in fact the closer he was to the breton, the stronger his spell got. He was ooblivious to the

    breton's pleas for help and cries of pain. Tulen relished the prospect of causing pain to others. This rather unpleasant talent started

    when he was three, ripping apart kwama foragers and scribs for no other reason than for his enjoyment to hear them squirm on the

    ground, he found joy in hearing their helpless cries of pain. 

     

    He had moved up from torturing lowly bugs to more complex creatures like reptiles at age five and finally trying his talent out on

    humanoids at the age of six, he had picked his sister Milsha and his baby brother Hasir for his experiments. When his mother and

    father saw him one night practicing his art on their son and daughter they would intervene, trying to stop him anyway they could.

    He would often get agitated and axious when this hapopens and would often turn around and instead carried out the torture that

    was meant to be for the sister and baby brother. They screamed in pain as their screams of pain brought unimaginable mirth to

    Tulen. He would often laugh maliciously as his victims  wear being burned from the inside. The exact same feeling flooded over him

    as he circled his newest victim.

     

    the breton, named Davide, looked in pain and feear at the argoinian,

    Tulen...I just came to inform you about the invasion. Lord Harkon has died...and the vampires have all gone feral," 

     

    Tuken was listening intently but did not lose that maliciousness in his eyes nor did his hands fall, he knew the breton was lying, most

    likely a cover up for something he did not wish the argonian to know. Tulen's spell increased in power also with Tulen's emotional

    state. The breton pleaded with the Argonian to stop, or at the very least let up enough so he could tell his tale in full without ribbons

    of pain shooting through his body every second. 

    Tulen did not listen to Davide's request. As best he could, the breton told the mad Argonian that without a leader the vampires in the

    castle up north a going crazy with bloodlust. They even go so far as to go out of their way to attack travelers on the roads near the

    boat leading to the remote castle. He even went so far as to suggest that Tulen lead the ragtag band of vampires. this got Tulen so

    pissed off that he tightened the vice further as blood startied spurting from Davide's mouth. 

     

    Tulen stared at Davide with pure loathing, He hated every word that came spewing from the lying breton's mouth,

    "You fucking liar! I will never lead a filthy band of lesser beings to strike against my brother. I should kill you where you stand." He

    then unsheathed a silver dagger from its sheath fixed to the imperial armor and delivered a quick slice to the breton's neck and the

    stabbed his in the heart. The nord hung there for a moment like a grotesque marionnette and then plummeted down to earth

    landing in a heap in a nearby rubble pile. 

     

    The Argonian looked down a him and wiped the silver dagger on his chest, clean it so it shone like new once again,

    "What a waste, I must obtain servants who will listen and will not oppose my ideas, but where to look?" He said, scratching his chin

    with a clawed finger

     

    As he pondered on his options, visions of various places flitted through his head like some weird old timey movie, except in was in

    color, not black and white.Picutres of Volkihar castle, Bloated Man's grotto and a strange place known as the pelagius wing flashed

    through his mind. He absentmindedly grasped a one as though her were grasping at straws. He had deccided his coarse of action.

    He knew vampires would not be easy to control and werewolves..hee did not want to look after smelly dogs all day and he knew

    they would have their own agenda and their small minds make them very unreliable servants. He decided upon the pelagius wing in

    the Blue Palace in Solitude because he mused that there would one be one person, well daedra with a mind as screwed up as his

    own and he would also make for the ideal servant: Sheogorath.

    He turned away from the fort, shifted into his shadow wolf form and set off for Solitude. He sniffed the air just to be sure of the

    direction, he turned and folled a paritcularly strong sent that came from the northeast, on his journey he happened upon two

    imperial bringing a prisoner to Solitude from whever they got his from, Darkclaw decided to follow them all the way to Solitude, who

    symbol was fittingly enough, a shadow wolf, it was almost like Molag Bal was pointing to the city and telling him subliminally where

    to go. He had no idea what the human mind would do when encountered with a werewooolf in its midst, so Darkclaw decided to

    crouch in the brush the whole way, making sure to keep the two Imperial soldiers and the prisoner in sight. 

     

    At around mid afternoon, the troops, prisoner and the well hidden Darkclaw arrived at the impressive looking city with red, slightly

    tattered banners hanging from the ramparts depicted a grey wolf head before a grey and black shield with a silver cross behind

    that. Darkclaw shifted back in his Argonain form and unfolded from the stance he took as a wolf, making a little noise as he could in

    standing up in case either the Imperial guards or prisoner caught sight of him in his lupine form. Thankfully though they paid no

    attention to the wolf in the grass, but instead on the road as they traveled to the magestic city. The guards went inside the city,

    tugging at the prionser's rope as he followed them. Tulen stepped out of the grass and onto a cobblestone road where he beheld

    magesty of Solitude for himself. He also found that the city gates were flanked by two Imperial guards.

     

    Tulen stuck to the wall that lay a few feet from the main gate, inches toward the end of it and peered out toward the guard,

    expecting themmm to arrest him for being some unknown assassin that has come to murder some high ranking official in the city.

    This, however, was not the case as the guards kept their silent vigil on either side of the gate. Tulen debated on either walking right

    by them, praying that they do not chase him away with their accusatory looks or transform into his wolf form and take them into the

    nearby grass just beyond the low bearing wall just feet in front of him and finish them off and sneak in. He thought on this and

    thought the first way was the more sensible solution. 

    He uncoiled his tense body and stepped out from his shadowy refuge and breath and huge sigh of relief as he approached the gate.

    The guards saw this and pointed their unsheathed swords at his throat, 

    "Whoa there, hold up, these are dangerous times and as such I must ask you what bussiness do you have inside the capital city,

    lizard?"  One of the guards asked with a thick nordic accent. The other guard merely nodded he head as he was wondering the exact

    same thing. 

     

    Tulen smiled broadly and held his hands up in surrender,

    "Hey, guys, can't we take this down a notch? I come in peace, see? No weapons" He showed them his scaly, slightly dry and cracked

    hands as a sort of peace offering. ",Search me if it makes you feel better. I do not wish to harm your citizens, unlesss that iss your

    impression."  He eyed the guards nervously. He attempted to lower the guards' weapons with one clawed fingernail. 

     

    Both guards tigtened their grips on the weapons so the weapon would resist the Argonian. The guard nearest the low bearing wall

    scoffed at him,

    "Oh come now, do you think we are stupid, we know you have a weapon, now, be a good lizard and show it to us. We will not let you

    into the city unless we see that you truly have no weapon." He retorted

     

    The Argonian's innocent expression suddenly turned into a malicious sneer and he reached for his weapon that the guard was very

    clever at pointing out. Tulen slashed upwards with the silver dagger, cutting the guards diagonally. Tulen stamped down thee guards'

    chests hard in succession the ribcages snapped like twigs under the foot on an overenthusiastic hunting dog. He reached down,

    ripping their hearts from their chests and biting into each one with an air of gluttony. When he finished his meal, he stepped

    over the bodies and headed for the city. About halfway, he stopped and looked back at the broken corpses, frowning,

    "Such a shame, if you boys only let me enter peacefully, you would sttill be alive." He chuckled and licked his lips, purging them of

    every last drop of blood. He shrugged, "At least I got lunch." He then faced the gates once more and entered the city. 

    Upon entering the city, Tulen heard several dis pleased voices shouting at a man that was at the chopping block high on a stone

    platform with stairs flanking in on either side off to his right. This intrigued Tulen so he wandered over amongst the throng of jeering

    Imperial supporters. Rgwew qwew ahouts of 'get on with it' from a man near Tulen. A woman in front of Tulen pulled something out

    of her pocket and  raised a ripe tommato above her head and throw it as hard as she could, it spattered across the condemned

    man's stormcloak uniform, standard issue for all stormclak footsoldiers.

     

    The lady whose name was Vivienne shouted above the crowd,

    "Traitor, you let all of Solitude down, you don't deserve to live."

     

    Tulen budged his way through the crowd trying not to hit anyone with his tail, which was flapping about wildly. The crowd parted as

    he made his way to the front. From his clearer vanatage point, he could clearly see the red stain sttarted to spread over Roggvir's

    uniform The jeers of the crowd fell silent as the Argonian had eyes only for Roggvir.

     

    He could see the fear that was hidden behind a false mask of bravery on the man's face. He leaned close to him,

    "Hey Imperial, I can get you out of this, if you want, I normal don't help people but you seem desperate." The man looked with

    wonderous intent into the Argonian's green eyes to see if he was telling the truth.  The Argonia shook his spiny head to show that he

    was not joking. 

     

    The man gasped and broke down into joyful sobs,

    "Thank you friend, if you get me out of here...I'll..I'll do whatever you want, you just name it." 

     

    The hooded man that stood a little to the right of Roggvir moved behind him and raised the headsman's axe, ready to end his

    wretched existence once and for all. Tulen glanced up and saw the perfect assassination point: a stone the jutted out from the stone

    wall that surrounded the city. What's better was it was miles above where the headman now stood. Tulen moved silently, crouching

    so as not to alert the crowd to his presence. Within seconds, he was  on the wall scaling it like a giant reptilian spider. He had no

    problems working his way around to the stone in question, using loosen stone bricks as handholds as he made he way around.

    Tulen unsheathed his silver dagger and waited for his moment to strike. 

     

    His heart pounded heavily in his chest as he waited also for the crowd the disperse or at the very least to not look up as that would

    give away his position and give him zero chance to land a perfect kill. gripping the edge of the stone with his feet to ensure he did

    not slip and end up killing himself instead, he lowered into a crouch and edged carefully to the edge of the stone. The headman axe

    cut through the air and Tulen knew that was tthe signal for him to strike. He jumped, cat-like from his perch and slit the headman's

    throat before his axe could complete its arc. The executioner fell to the side clutching at the constantly flowing stream of blood

    trying to at least dam it up before all life flowed from him. Tulen landed perfectly on the stony platorm, untied the imperial and lead

    him away from the dreadful scene.                                                                                                                                               

    Raggvir looked at the Argonian, smiling and thanked him, Tulen's tail responded by failing in the air. He started panting heavily,

    "You're welcome...Now Just...Because...I saved you doesn't mean you get off that easy. You must...now do something for me."

     

    Roggvir opened his mouth to speak but no sound came out, instead a viscous red substance spurted from his chest and he fell onto

    the ground like a fallen tree. Tulen screamed his name and ran to his side and spotted an arrow sticking out of his back. Tullen was

    just about inquire as to who would do a heinous act like this when he looke up and saw a guard with his bow drawn standing by the

    horse head statue by the slope leading up to the Imperial castle. Tulen's eye started changing to a silver color and his body was bent

    low as he transformed into his wolf form.

     

    Darkclaw ran at the offender, his maw showing forty two pearly white fangs. The wolf lunged at the guard, claws extended and

    started ripping the guard apart, when all was done, a large chuck of the man's throat was ripped out. The wolf fed on the body

    ripping of flesh piece by piece and stuff his maw full. When he was well fed, the wolf ran into a dark alley by the castle to transfrom

    back. 

     

    Tulen wiping the blood off of his face with a leather cloth that he extracted from his pocket, wrung it out and replaced it. He was

    about the head for the blue palace when he heard a woman scream loudly. shit, I knew I should have hidden the body instead of

    leaving it out in plain sight, not only his body but Roggvir's as well. He hugged the wall of the allley and peered over the edge and

    saw ten guards running in his direction. Ah, they must've caught sight of the executiooner's exsanguinated corpse as well, will I ever

    catch a break? He hissed to himself

     

    He ran as fast as he could, dodging the concerned citizens as he made his way to the pelagius wing of the blue palace. His tail

    slammed down in anger as he could hear the footsteps of the guards closing in on his position. He decided evasive manuvers were

    the way to go since he had no other options. He froze were he stood as he saw more guards flanking the castle entryway. He moved

    over to the arched walkway to the left of the main entryway and crouch-walked all the way to the door. He would stop periodically,

    pressing him against a pillar where two arch joined to minimize he chance of being spotted. Once he reached the door, he quickly

    and silently opened the door and stepped inside. 

    He looked to his left and there between two arches stood his salvation. He walked over to the door, tail flapping happily as he walked

    and opened the door. It creaked on its hinges as he enters the dimly lit room. Tulen's face screwed up in disgusted amazement, he

    guessed this room had not been used for at least one hundred years or more as cobwebs adormed eevery surface, nook and cranny

    of the room. He cursed himself for not thinking on this sooner, his eyes suddenly turned bluish yellow as the room took on the same

    color, He could see better now that he could in the almost lightless passage before, but he still could not see where sheogorath was

    hiding. 

     

    He walked through the dust and cobweb infested room and found a clearly defined path through the debris. He turned and walked

    the invisible path until his came to a set of stairs. He ascended the three flights of stair until he reached a corridor that had a red a

    yellow carpet running the length of it and fog obsuring the end. Tulen walked down the passage, eyes darting this way and that. The

    fog became thicker as he walked until he could no longer see five feet in either direcction. The fog completely obscured his vision

    and he thought that this would be the end of him, until he heard a voice that cut the unnaturally thick fog like a knife.

     

    It was the voice of an imperial man,, Tulen could wager that much but he could not place the accent,

    "Mortal, how nice of you to stop be, come in, have some tea." Tulen wondered how he was to do that when he heard a snap that

    seemed to resonate with the very fabric of the universe, causing the fog to dissipate. Tulen found himself in a rather different land

    than the one he was used to. A long stone table stone in the center of the realm with various types of cheeses on the table and on

    four silver plates. He also saw large stone archways around the table which lead to where Tulen did not know. He approached the

    man wearing a half purple half brown shirt and sporting a gray ponytail and a goatee of the same color.

     

    Tulen held out his hand to the man, who stood up as a sign of politeness,

    "I am Tulen, I come here to seek help of one who can help me with a problem, may I ask to whom I am speaking?" He asked,

    furrowing his brow

     

    The man smiled and, in turn, took Tulen's hand and shook it,

    "I am Sheogorath, deadric lord of madness and I was about to have a nice cup of tea, care to join me?" He asked, grinning madly.

     

    Tulen nodded, although he could'nt help be remarked on how there where four chairs and they were only two beings present.

    Sheogorath girinned and said that his other guest have met with very unfortunate accidents. Tueln gasped in horror. Sheogorath

    laughed loudly ans said he was kidding and ask Tulen why he was here.

     

    Tulen cleared his throat and blatanly asked if he was the one who placed the curse on his brother and his nowfound friends.

    Sheogoratth nodded and said that it was a prank of his own making because he a Hircine did not get along well. He also told the

    Argonian that he sided with Molag Bal for the prank to work. Tulen let over the table and asked the daeedric lord if the change is

    permanent. Sheogorath shrugs and said he did not know how long it lasted and didn't care. He was only labeled as the daedric

    prankster and cheese lord. He was not tasked with any higher understanding of how much time things took, that, he said, was

    Azura's domain, not his. 

     Tulen rested his hand on the mad god's shoulder and shook his head like he was ridding himselff of a particularly bad thought,

    "That does not matter, the fact the you are opposing that horned deer is enough for me." He said, his tail flapping about

    happily. 

     

    Sheogorath asked Tulen why he has his tail show his emotions and why he doesn't show his emotions with his mouth like most

    mortals. Tulen said the hist did not give some facial muscles to them that other races on Tamriel have. Sheogorath's face became a

    mask of confusion. Tulen clarified by saying that the hist are sentient trees that the people of blackmarsh, also known as the

    kingdom of Argonia, gain their genetics from. He stared innto Sheogeorath's still confused eyes. He huffed loudly and said that the

    hist gave life to all Argonians in blackmarsh and also gave them impressive abilities like being able to heal instantaneous, but, alas

    did not give them the much needed muscles to smile, frown, express pain or anger. But the hist, he told sheogorath, compensated

    on that small oversight by letting us display those same emotions we lack with our tails. The mad god shook his head, feeling even

    more confused.

     

    Tulen got up from where he sat and looked at Sheogorath, his tail a straight line,

    "So, do we have a deal? Will you help me in my revenge plot against both my brother and the horned god?"

     

    Sheogorath looked at liiike he had three heads,

    "I'm sorry mortal, erm, what were we discussing? Forgive me, I must have cheese for brains." He told him as, turning his head

    sideways, he smacked his head several times. To Tulen's amazement, six cheese wedges and two cheese wheels fell onto the grass. 

     

    Tulen shook his head and chuckled to himself. I thought he was joking about the cheese for brains bit, he thought. Tulen asked

    Sheogorath again if he would like to help him get rid of Hircine and his most devout servants.

     

    Sheogorath's brow furrowed,

    "Now why in Oblivion would I do that?" 

     

    Tulen gulped loudly, he started to sweat as the mad god's slitted eyes bore into his. Tule started to fumble over his words because

    he did not like be 'put on the spot.' He told Sheogorath that he wanted Hasir to suffer because he felt his little brother had

    abandoned his family and thus upset their religious views and by extention, their very way of life. He also ssaid his lord wants to rid

    Tamriel of Hircine and his servants because the horned god saw him in Aetherius courting his sister Kynareth the goddess of nature

    and when Molag Bal gets angry, he tends to go over the top by punishing those who had nnothing to do with his primary quarrel.

     

    Tulen eyed Sheogorath with some newfound courage, no longer stammering and sweating,

    "Now that you heard the whole story, will you help me?" He asked, extending his hand. He had the typical Argonian neutral

    expression but his tail was fllaping about like a fly trying to evade a fly swatter. He had to restrain his tail with his free hand. The

    daedric god smiled toothily and said they had a deal. Tulen was ecstatic, so much so in fact that his tail wriggled free of his hand and

    started wagging back and forth in a relaxed posture, like a dog's tail.

    Tueln's tail stopped wagging a fell limp once more,

    "Erm, Sheogorath, how am I to get home?"

     

    The daedric god laughed, tumping the table with his hand sending platters of cheees, goblets and candlesticks flying through the air

    to land in the grass a few feet away. Tulen's tail thumped the ground so hard that a cloud of dust mingled with the air. Tulen did not

    think this attempt at humor was very funny, he was serious and the mad god thought it was some kiind of joke. 

     

    "It'ss not a joke you stupid cheesehead, I got what I came for now itss time for me to depart. Either you help me our I will find my

    own way owt." He shouts as he started walking toward the big stone arch that lay to the east of the banquet table and sat on a

    stone wall that joined with the arch. Sheogorath glanced to his left and hurry to meet the steamed Argonian.He aplogized to the

    Argonian about his brash behavior. The Argonian accepted with his tail rresumed its dance of excitement.

     

    The daedric god told Tulen that he cleverly diminished the once great werewolves of the one called Hircine and forced them to

     

    wear the pelts of normal wolves instead.  Tulen got up and wrapped his tail around Sheogorath's leg. The mad god jumped as he felt

    the sliny tail coil around his flesh. Tulen laughed and explained that that is how Argonians show their deepest gratitude or extreme

    joy. Sheogorath abest-mindly patted the clingy tail and then started muttering a spell while weaving his hands about as if he were

    practicing Tai Chi. A bright blue shimmering portal, wide enought to fit a five foot man or reptile in appeared in the middle of the

    field.

     

    Sheogorath glanced at Tulen and told him the portal will only stay open for five minutes so he best get a move on. Tulen had to

    cupped his hand to his ear to clearly hear the mad god's warning because of the intense whirring sound of the magic that made the

    portal. Tulen stood up and hurried to the portal. When he got within five feet of the porttal, a strange wind blew, sucking Tulen

    toward the portal with impressive force. Tulen tried to thank Sheogorath for everything he has done and will continue to do but just

    before he could finish thank him the portal closed and he was back in the Pelagius wing. Tulen was so mad, that he thumped his fist

    on the wooden table that lay near him. The wood creaked under his fist, started to sag and finally broke apart, sending bits of wood

    flying in the current of the four winds.

     

    Hee turned to his right and exited the room. He sat down at a table near the door and pondered on how he was going to capture

    Hasir and demoralize his god's enemy, the father of the unholy werewolves.