C.O.T.W Chapter 43: An Arrow To The Heart

  • Tulen and Veezara walked up the stone steps by the stalls and turned left at the gildergreen. They beheld the mead hall, which now

    had its windows lit up with warm and welcoming light. The two Argonians moved up the steps and stuck to the stone wall that

    surrounded the mead hall. The snuck toward the training yard and spotted six wolves of various sizes and types and the khajiit

    Tulen was tasked with bringing back to his lord. They moved quietly up the ramp to the Skyforge and hid in the crevice bewteen the

    forge and the armor work table. 

     

    Veezara thought they would be too easily discovered so he cast a chameleon spell on the two of them. They then slowly moved, still

    crouched to the edge of the platform. The spell made it so that they could easily spy on the wolves and khajiit below them but the

    combatantss could not see them as all the combatants saw if they looked above them would be a shimmering barrier.

     

    Veezara charged up a frenzy spell in his hand and was about to bathe the combatant in a light that evoked blind rage when Tulen

    shot out and held Veezara's shoulder and caused him to lower his hands, 

    "Not now," He hissed, "We have to wait until something happens, either Inigo transforms or he remains resolute in his ignorance." 

     

    They both played the waiting game as they both decided to let the events play out without any intervention-divine or otherwise.

    Massar and Secunda shone brightly in the night sky as the three wolves circled around Inigo, Twilight, Accalia and Ceralyne's wolf

    form as they bared their teeth, daring the other half to make a move. It went on like this, a stalemate, for a minute and then Inigo,

    fed up with waiting pulled out his ebony longsword and ran at the red wolf with murderous intent but his anger diminished as he

    reached her. Red saw her opportunity and clamped her sharp teeth down on the khajiit's neck. He screamed in pain as fresh blood

    poured from the wound like mead from a tankard.

     

    Hearing his screams, Twilight came to his aid, standing between him and red so that the wolf could not injure him further. Twilight's

    lips pulled back in a menacing snarling. This caused red to cease any action for the scantest of seconds. Soon, though, Red lunged at

    Inigo and Twilght launched him at her using his powerful hind legs as a springboard. He sailed through the air, teeth and claws ready

    to rip into the she wolf. Red dodged this attack and sent Twilight to tumble head over tail into a training dummy which shattered

    upon contact.

     

    The black and white wolf got up and glared at the red werewolf, his hackles and tail raised and lunged at her. She winced and

    waited for the collision but one of the black werewolves rammed in Twilight's side like a high speed locomotive. Twilight was sent

    sprawling through the air and collided with the stone wall that lay before the ramp to the Skyforge. Soon after, the attacker was

    joined by his brother. 

     

    Twilight got up and shook the pain off. The second black wolf rammed into his side and set him sprawling head over tail into the wall

    by the skyforge. The wolf padded over to the wall next to the unconscious wolf and prepared to finished off the black and white wolf,

    Coal rushed at his brother and knocked him off course, sending the black wolf spinning through the air to smash into a pile of rocks,

    the wolf was dazed but he still managed to get up and approached the center of the training yard.

     

    Red moved toward Twilight who was prime for her judgement due to her brothers' assistance. She did not intend a weak willed whelp

    to join the hallowed hall of honor. She close in for the kill, baring ehr teeth she lunged at the yin yang wolf. Unseen by her, a golden

    wolf ran to Twilight aid. Luna, the gold wolf stood between the red and black and white wolves. The two wolves circled around,

    growling and baring their teeth at each other. Inigo looked in Twilight's direction and ran at the red wolf,

    "NOOO! How dare you hurt my friend."

     

    He lunged at Red and fell four feet short, pulled his dagger from its sheath and saw Red's tail swaying like a drunkard who had one

    too many drinks. Sensing someone was behind her, Red lashed out at the khajiit. Inigo defended himself with one hand as he shifted

    his  dagger to his free hand and jabbed at her soft undercarriage with it. She dodged the mad khajiit's attack, rolling to the side as

    he continued his forward momentum. He did not see what he was doing due to his blind rage; all he saw in his rage was a flash of

    silver and fountain of crimson. He had accidentally impeded the dagger deep into Luna's heart. Inigo snapped back to reality as her

    life slipped away from her like a wind blowing over a field.

     

    Inigo realized too late what he had done. He broke down and held the wolf's head with eyes that stared straight ahead, uneseeing 

    "I..I thought I...Oh gods....why?" He said, sobbing ias his held her head

     

    Aela looked disapprovingly at Inigo,

    "Well, this just solidified my theory," 

     

    Inigo told her that he had no control over his actions. This angered Aela so much that she took an arrow and stabbed him in the leg

    with it. He howled in pain, rubbing the are vigorously and asked what that was for. She said that the person is always in control of

    his own body. She also told him that the fact that if anyone thinks someone else is in control of his or her body needs to get their

    head examined.

     

    Inigo apologized as he recieved a beating over the head form Aela's bag. the blue khajiit tried to defend himself with his arms but

    they were as useful as an agressive dog with no teeth. A good idea but altogether useless. The bag fell through the cracks that stuck

    out like a sore thumb in his defenses and connected with every blow she threw at him. 

     

    Inigo winced as she hit him, betwenn whacks, he asked why he was being assaultes so harshly,

    "Aela...what...did...I...do...to...deserve...this?" 

     

    Aela retracted the bag and told Inigo that he had killed the high elf and messed up their little training session, now because he

    dumbass did something so foolish as attacking a werewolf with a silver dagger that that brought the impending initiation to

    grinding halt. She looked at Ceralyne's dead body and huffed in anger,

    "Rakel's right, you are an idiot, a mortherfucking blue idot." She said as she stormed off toward the mead hall.

     

    She stopped at the top step as if she was frozen by the ice form shout. Kodlak had come out to see how the initiations trial was

    going. He smiled and nodded at Aela and proceeded down the steps to the training yard, his eyes went wide with shock as he looked

    from the dead elf to the unconscious wolf that lay at the far end of the yard. The harbinger's brow furrowed as he motioned for the

    nord and khajiit to approach him. Rakel smiled from her seat on the porch as she saw that they got what they deserved.

     

    Aela saw this, gulped and approached what was likely to be her doom. She saw Inigo standing next to the harbinger, head hung low

    and his tail limp. Alea  tried to explain the situation to the angry harbinger who was also her grandfather, but blood took a backseat

    on occasions such as this. She dreaded being singled out as she quite often blamed others for her wrongdoings but not this time.

    She had to own up to what she had done.

     

    Her eyes darted frantically between the harbinger and Inigo,

    "Kodlak, I didn't, you know me." She said, gesturing to herself, She pointed to the indigo khajiit, "It was Inigo, he committed this

    atrosity, I was only in the wrong place at the wrong time."

     

    Kodlak sighed and gave Aela the look that an angered father would give a petulent child,

    "Tell me the truth, young lady, did you do this?" Aela tried to interject

     

    Kodlak waggled his finger at her,

    "No excuses, The truth. Now." He said, rather sternly

     

    Aela shook her head and kept pointing toward the khajiit,

    "I dnd't do it." She said, stawart in her defiance, "Inigo killed the elf, not me, he was coming at me will the knife, so what could I do?

    I rolled out of harm's wau and he inadvertanly stabbed, er, killed Ceralyne."

     

    Kodlak huffed in silent annoyance and strode over to the khajiit,

    "Aela told me you have slain a wolf in a session meant olny to prove yourself." He said, with an air of a jarl addressing one of his

    subjects.

     

    He then fixed the khajiit with his usual owl-eyed stare,

    "Is Aela telling the truth khajjit?" He aske, a bit curiious

     

    He gazed at the solemn khajiit,

    "Well?" He asked, impatiently. "We don't have all day." 

    Inigo was about to tell the harbinger that it was he who killed Ceralyne when Hasir, now fully transformed back into his wolf from

    due to the sun climbing over to outer wall of the training yard, got up and approached his friends as he saw they were gathered

    around something on the ground. He could not make out what it was because of how closely huddled they were around it almost as

    if it were a closely guarded companion secret.

     

    Hasir found a loose stone on the traing yard cobblestone and kicked it, swearing as it missed the wall opposite the skyforge ramp

    and instead sailing over the far wall. He turned to them and shrugged,

    "So...what are we all huddled around for? Are you guys playing Hip and Tail Ball?" He asked, grinning at them.

     

    The throng gathered around the thing collectively shook their heads not know what the sport was or how it was played, Hasir said

    under his breath that he did not know anything about the game either. Kodlak stepped back to reveal what they were 'huddled'

    around. Hasir cried out in horror as he beheld the dead high elven form of his friend and only link to the Psiijic order, Ceralyne.

     

    He turned away because he did not want the others to see him cry as he did, he cursed,

    Hircine damn anyone who touched a brown lock on her golden head.

     

    Rakel heard this and crossed her arms in front of her chest and yelled at Hasir that if that is the way he thought of her that they

    should be dating. Hasir heard this and abruptly turned around and apologized to Rakel telling her that she will be his one and only

    mate. He asked her who could have done such a dispicable act. She muttered something inaudible and gestured to Inigo.

     

    He went over to Aelaa, laughing while he did it hardly believing such a gentle creature could do such a heartless act,

    "Aela, did Inigo really do this? I see only good in him and absolutely no darkness whatsoever." He whispered to her as he sat in a

    rock near the porch.

     

    She nodded, saying that she felt uneasy about they khajiit ever since he tried to cut her in half during the initiation, she turned to

    him and asked, on a side note, why Kodlak asked for him to undertake the trial on the newsblood because if her memory served

    correctly, he was already a whelp. Hasir nodded and said he most certainly was, but Kodlak wanted someone to train prospective

    recruits for the companions as he said there are far too few in the guild as it is. He also told her of how Rakel is also attained whelp

    status. When he finished, she told him that she sensed something off about the purple skinned khajiit, well smelled it to be more

    precise. Aela told Hasir of what she knew of how Inigo might be hiding some dark past that is slowly trying to reassert itself while he

    tries real hard to keep it at bay.

     

    Hasir said he will have a talk with him since he and the khajiit were quickly becoming friends. Aela smiled and told Hasir to get to it.

    Hasir's tail wagged, rather stiffly as he was wondering whether on not Aela was correct about Inigo or whether this was some wild

    goose chase where the goose is proven to be smarter than the gander, that is, whether Aela was the scantest bit wrong about the

    khajiit and the off chance he has no alterior motive.

     

    He passed the broken traing dummies over to where the khajiit stood, or rather sat on the wall near the dummies. Not wanting to be

    rude, the Argonian asked if the seat next to him was taken, to his suprise the khajiit told him, in a hollow voice, competely devoid of

    his usual cheerfulness, that he did not care if he sat there.


    The khajiit groaned an buried his head in his elbows,

    "What am I going to do?" He askeed Hasir, "When Kodlak finds out what I did, I will be a lot of hot water." He said between tears, his

    tail limp

     

    Hasir patted his sobbing friend on the back. He leaned close to him and told him that it will be alright. He said that Kodlak is kind of

    like an old, cranky wolf, angry if you take away his meal and alos if you look at him funny but once you break through that barrier

    then you can get close to him emtionally and he will trust you to the end of Nirn.

     

    Inigo turned to the lizard and hugged him,

    "Thank you for the words of wisdom my friend, I will grin and bear it and roll with the punches."  He said while he wiped his eyes

    with a cloth he pulled out of his bag.

     

    He thanked Hasir and the lizard smiled and said that anytime he needs to vent, he will be more than happy to listen. He hopped off

    the wall as well and told Inigo jokingly that even pack counselors need counseling as well. His tail twitched slightly then he slapped

    Inigo hard across the face as a snarl replace his typical nuetral expression,

    "What in Olbivion possessed you to kill Ceralyne? Hmm? Answer me that." He yelled as he looked fiercely into the khajiit's eyes

     

    Inigo ran to the table on top of the stone steps and cowered beneath it,

    It w-wasnot my fault my friend, Aela was the one who provoked the atttack, er, blame her." He said, pointing shakily in her direction.

    Hasir stormed up the steps and flung the table across the training yard. Silverware, glass and bits of wood flew to the four winds as

    The mad Argonian looked down and saw Inigo had his hands folded, praying to the god of mercy that the khajiit call S'rendarr,

    seperate from the tamrielic god, Stendarr even though their role is essentially the same.

     

    Hasir tore him away from his hiding place with both hands around his throat,

    "Inigo, I loved her, and you fuckiing killed her, and now I shall kill you!" He yelled at the struggling khajiit

     

    Inigo struggled to breath as Hasir's grip threatened to crush his windpiipe,

    "My friend...I...didn't kill...her, please stop, I can't breathe." He choked as he pawed fruitlessly against the emotionally charged

    Argonian. Unbenownst to them, the door to the meadhall opened and out walked the harbinger. He yelled at Hasir, but Hasir was too

    intent on trying to kill Inigo to care. Kodlak whistled loudly in the Argonian's direction, they both looked at the harbinger, who

    directed both of them to join their comrades. Inigo, vigorously massaging his neck, went up the stairs toward the harbinger.

     

    Inigo gave the harbinger a sheepish grin and a halfhearted wave. Kodlak told a mental note of his existence and moved slowly down

    the steps. He walked past the rocky outcrop that cleverly disguised the underforge and saw in the middle of the training yard an elf

    that he only had ever talk to once in his brief time of knowing her. His face turned as fiery as the realms of Oblivion as he looked

    from her dead body splayed out on all fours like some grotesque piece of art to the comapnions, Inigo and Hasir to whom he

    instruced to form a straight line from the skyforge ramp all the wall to the wall equidistant from it on the far ending of the traing

    grounds. Vilkas approached him and ask why they had to do something as childish as this.

     

    Kodlak turned and scowled at him, forcing Vilkas to backpedal a bit,

    "Because I said so, damn it Vilkas do what you are told! By the divines you can be so thick sometimes not to mention stupid." He

    hollered at him, forcing him to dive out of the way as the harbinger's fist flew into a nearby rock.

     

    Everyone in attendance jumped in fright as the old man eyed every single one of them, even Inigo, who saw fit to join them back on

    the cobblestone and Hasir. He walked along the line of suspects as he questioned each one in turn. Within seconds, he approached

    Inigo and Hasir. Inigo, still sore from his violent encounter with Hasir was scrathing his neck and spluttering.

     

    The Harbinger stopped beteewn the two of them and asked his question,

    "Hasir, Inigo, care to tell me if you had any hand in causing the elf's death?" He eyed both of them with his trademark owlish stare

     

    Hasir was the first to speak. In truth, he felt like he had a burning white light obstruct his vision with the harbinger demanding

    answers from him, even though this was not the case. Hasir was unnartually calm for a situation this dire. The harbinger asked the

    question again, leaving Inigo out, only focusing on him. The Argonian told him that he did not kill the high elf. The harbinger turned

    to Ceralyne's lifeless corpse and took a cloth from his pocket and rubbed the hilt of the silver dagger withit, making sure to get every

    print from it. Before he headed back to the pair he isolated as prime suspect, having pardoned everyone else, save for Aela, he

    scrutinized the cloth with which he obtained the killer's finger prints.

     

    Satisfied, he walked back to Hasir, Inigo and Aela and test their finger, claw and paw prints againt the cloth by having them put their

    hand on the cloth below the prints that were already there, spaced out enough so that the prints were easily visible and he also

    made sure they pressed hardd enough for the prints to clear show. He told them they had to only use one hand. After minutes of

    sitting at a chair on the porch and studying the cloth extra hand, he descended the steps and approached the guilty parties,

    "Well, Aela you're clean, turns ouut the prints are not from you." She breathed a sigh of relief

     

    He turned to Hasir and Inigo,

    Hasir, you're prints do not match as such you are free to go." The Argonian sighed and stepped back'

     

    Finally, he turned to Inigo, who was sweating profusely at this point,

    "Inigo-" He started but Inigo flung himself at the harbinger. I'm sorry harbinger, I did it, I killed...Ceralyne." 

     

    Kodlak stared at his in disgust, Inigo apologized and rehashed the story of him fighting Aela that ultimately culminated in Ceralyne's

    death. He also told the harbinger of how Hasir threatened him.

     

    Kodlak stared at Inigo like a volcano that was about to erupt,

    "Inigo, why would you do this? We do not settle differences like this...and silver? Inigo what were you thinking?" He was positively

    fuming. 

     

    He then walked passed Inigo and Hasir to Aela and scolded her,

    "Aela, I thought you knnew better, Iniigo I can forgive, but, you? Utterly Inexcusable, He said as he shook his head in disgust.

     

    He turned to Hasir,

    "Hasir, you are free to go." Hasir started to leave but the harbinger stopped him, "Hasir, we will talk later."

     

    He turned to Aela, looking like a hot burner on a stove,

    "Why did you goad Inigo into killing the elf? Have I failed you in some way you're not telling me?" 

     

    Aela shook her head, making her fiery red hair sway around head face like a curtain taken by the wind. Aela tried to apologize and

    told the already rehashed story from Inigo but from her persperspective. The harbing angry stuck out a hand toward her and said he

    did not want to hear it. He yelled at her that such transgressions are not to be tolerated in the honored halls of the companions.

     

    The Harbinger told Inigo and Aela that they both had to appease Hircine because they, well more Inigo than Aela, ripped a

    creation of Hircine from this world. He told Inigo that killing a member of, or a prospective whelp of the companions was

    punishable by barring the criminal from ever entering the hall or even becoming a companion themselves.

     

    Hasir vocally scolded Inigo. The angry harbinger rounded on Hasir, yelling at him for threatening to kill Inigo or some love betrayal

    and he also scoled the Argonian for hoisting the khajiit up by the throat. the harbinger asked Hasir how he would like it if someone

    did that to him? The Argonian said he would not like it. Kodlak told Hasir and Inigo that for their indiscretion that they were

    to undergo four trails, which are the trial of compassion, the trial of empathy, the trial of courage and finally, the trial of kindness. 

     

    Kodlak told Inigo and Aela that these trials are not only to learn news things about themselves, but they will also bring honor and

    pride to both Hircine and the companions as successful completion of these trials will bring Inigo ever closer to regaining his lost

    statis as a whelp.

     

    The harbinger directed them both inside to go to bed and instructed Tilma to not let them have supper, not even a scrap of meat as

    he told her they were meant to be punished and also told them that their punishement or path of redemption will start at niine a.m.

    sharp the next morning and he and the companions bade them good luck and to sleep tight.

     

    Tulen smirked to himself,

    Looks like I won't have to kidnap the khajiit after all. He thought, smiling conspiratory as the spell dissipated and he and Veezara

    walked to falkreath and his initiation into the brotherhood would soon begin.