Chapter 47: One Voice Speaks Louder Than A Thousand Fists

  • Red and Twilight hurtled out of the portal like speeding arrows. Red landed gracefully in the grass while Twilight was flung sideways

    andsmacked hard in the side of the stables. Red emitted a long howl as she transfromed back into Aela. The nord chuckled and ran

    over to the stables to find Twilight flattened against the rear wall, he slid down the wall and landed in a heap and the bottom of the

    wall. He stood up, gave a throaty howl and transformed back. Aela roared with laughed as she took a dig at the unfortunate

    Argonian, who glared at her begging her to stop. She did stop, only because she stayed where she was, almost as if she were a

    living statue as huge shadow darkened tthe ground where they stood.

     

    No sooner had she looked down to see the shadow did she clasp her hands over her ears as she heard an ear spiltting roar,

    "What in Oblivion was that?" She asked Hasir. He just srugged, unsure of it himself

     

    Aela looked around the immediate aera to find someone who could shed some light on their current situation. She walked over to

    Bjorlam, Hasir tailed close behind her, to see if he knew anything. He shook his head and pointed her to the building on the highest

    circle of Whiterun. She motioned Hasir over as she pushed the city gates open.

    They entered the city, hoping to find the creature here but as they entered the city proper, it was busy flying norrtheast of the city to

    some unknown tower. They went up the steps near the market and up another two flight of steps near the gildergreen. Hasir laughed

    as he remembered how he and Ceralyne, albeit in their wolf forms, took a swim in the pond below them. He thought no more on it

    as the memory brought up some waterworks that Hasir tried to keep turned off. He looked to the horizon to see a blue khajiit

    running towards them almost as if he were being chased, "My friend, Waaaiiit! Don't leave me!" He yelled at the top of his lungs.

     

    The khajiit, out of breath, ascended the steps and walked with them into the keep at the top. When they stepped inside, they saw

    twelve small, white archways supporting the sloped roof and the columns that sat atop columns adhering them to the wooden floor.

    They all looked towards the throne and saw eight arches of the same color on either side of the throne. Hanging from each of the

    arches were white silken banners with a styilized golden horse atop some nord symbols. As they went in further, they could see a

    still burning fire in the center and long tables running paralell on either side of the firepit that sat maybe eighteen of the inhabitants

    of the hall. However they had no time to siightsee as they wanted to know where the beast had come from and more importantly,

    what it was that they saw. They overhead the Jarl, his steward and and the court wizard, Farengar talking in a side room about

    dragons and a place called Bleak Falls Barrow. The Argonian, nord and khajiit snuck closer to hear what they were saying.

     

    Farengar walked around his desk, wringing his hands excitedly while the implored Farengar to be serious as this was grave matter,

    "Dragons? Are you sure of this, Brynjolf? How exciting, I have always wanted to see a dragon with my own eyes, wanted to study

    them ever since I was a little boy." 

     

    Brynjolf and his steward, Irileth, just scowled disapprovingly at him,

    "Farengar this is a serious matter one should handle with tact. Not prance about like a excited puppy who got his first bone. By the

    gods, man!" 

     

    Farengar apologized and the Jarl told him it was fine to have a fascination with dragons. He also told him that if he develops an

    unhealthy obsession with them that they, he and Irileth, will begin to worry. Having finished their meeting of sorts, the jarl and

    Irileth filed out of the roomm passing very near the trio listening at the wall and resumed their seats. Hasir told Aela and Inigo where

    they needed to go and what they needed to get. They left the hall as quickly as they could and went to the Whiterun stables to fetch

    their horses and made their way to bleak falls barrow.

    They rode through the plains for what seemed like hours when they looked up and there on top of a nearby mountain were the

    remnants of a strange twisted building withered with age. They spurred their horses onward and rode up the hill, slowed slightly by

    the heavy snow that began falling as they started their ascent up the mountain. When they reached the top, they beheld a ruin with

    carvings etched into the building's exterior as  well as stone work that either bend inward like rotted archways or buttresses that

    were topped with dragon mouth like openings. The trio walked up to the ornately carved stone door, when out of nowhere, bandits

    came at them with swords swinging and arrows flying. Inigo broke off fron the group and took up position on on of the rocks, pulled

    his ebony bow from his back, nocked an arrow and fired, one after the other. The arrows flew through the air and slammed into the

    bandits' hearts. They fell before Hasir and Aela could attack.

     

    Hasir turned to his feline friend, eyes wide with shock,

    "Inigo, where did you learn archery like this?" He asked his mouth agape, "your archery skill is way up there." He squinted at Inigo

    while his tail did some kind of dance behind him, "by the fires of Oblivion, I might even go so far as to say that you are a master

    archer."

     

    Inigo blushed, waving a paw in the air at him,

    "Stop it, you are making me blush, hehehe." He said, laughing

     

    Inigo explained it was just an art that his father taught him. He jumped down from the rock and rejoined the group in their quest to

    find out why that dragon flew overhead. They pushed the door opened and entered the ruin. Inside, they saw a large open room with

    a fire burning at the other end, the stench of rot and decay filled their nostrils, even though they weren't deep in the ruins yet.

     

    A lone bandit sitting by the fire beyond the fallen pillar heard footsteps, stood up and drew his iron sword and approached them,

    "You better leave now before I stick you full of holes." To the bandits amusement, the intruders stayed right where they were. "Ok,

    then, fine." The bandit sneered, "That khajiit over there would make a fine rug, don't you agree?"

     

    Hasir and Aela growled and were about to attack when Inigo jumped in front of them. His blue furred frame blocked any advantage

    they might have had,

    "Make a rug out of me will you? I hope you don't mind me wiping my feet on your corpse." He countered

     

    The khajiit smiled evilly as he launched himself at the bandit, ebony sword raised, and slashed out at the bandit. The terrified bandit

    raised his shield just as the sword came ccrashing down. It clanged loudly against the steel shield. Inigo looked like a khajiit

    posessed as he kept bashing the sword into the shieldd. The shield splinted, wood and steel sent flying to the four winds. Hasir heard

    splintering of bone followed by a scream of pain as the bandit held his broken arm and backed away from the fast approaching

    khajiitt. The bandit covered his hface with his other arm, which he hoped would act like a shield, but to no avail as Iingo's sword

    found an opening aa sliceed through the bandit's neck. A fountain of blood sprayed out of the sppace where the bandit's head was

    moments before and the head rolled near Inigo and he smushed it with the flat of his blade. Bits of skull and brain matter peppered

    the walls of the tomb and blood splattered the walls from the head of the deceased bandit.

     

    Both Aela and Hasir glared at Inigo,

    "Inigo was that nessecary? I mean, killing him is one thing, but squashing his head? The Argonian yelled at him, outraged. "Talk

    about overkill." Hasir said, shaking his head, arms folded across his chest.

     

    Inigo laughed at Hasir joke,

    "You said kill, Hehehe." Inigo giggled as he covered his mouth with one hand

     

    Aela glared and scowled at him. Inigo stopped giggling,

    "B-but he made fun off me," Inigo stammered, "I can tolerate many things. A meanie is not one of them." He said, folding his arms 

    Hasir came up behind him and patted him on the shoulder,

    "Let's not dwell on bad feelings, ok? How about we press on?" He asked the sore khajiit, who agreed

     

    The walked down a side passage which sloped downward into the ruin and came to another large room. When they approached, a

    bandit saw them and came running with his weapon drawn. Both Inigo and Hasir drew their weapons and disposed of the threat

    quickly, them bent down and divided the loot that the bandit had on them: forty gold coins, two iron swords, four ingots of various

    types and five bits of food (a block of cheese, an apple, a cabbage and a piece of bread.) Inigo put the cheese wedge, cabbage, two

    ingots and an iron sword into his bag. The twenty gold he put in the little pouch on his armor and let Hasir take the rest. He put his

    half of the gold into his armor pouch. 

     

    The group went further into the ruin, curving around corners, cut through spider webs and eyed various bits of rubble as he went.

    They saw the next cavern they came to end in a freefall to an icy death if the adventure was to bold to try to jump the gap to

    another icy sloped platform just ahead. Hasir was about to stupidly try this when Inigo tugged at his furred armor and pointed to a

    path just off to the right side of the cavern, cleverly hidden behind some hanging vines.

     

    Hasir smiled sheepishly as Aela prodded him in the back and shook her head muttering something about argonians and their stupid

    death wishes. Hasir growled at him, she just walked past him sticking out her tongue as she climbed the icy slope. Hasir shrugged

    as he and Inigo followed her. They entered a room with a vined window on their right. Hasir and Inigo gulped as they wondered what

    they were going to encounter a little further on. Regardless, they walked on both, wearing worried expressions. 

    Aela got to the circular room before them, her foot started tapping incessantly as it did whenever she was annoyed. They finally

    walked into the chamber and looked around amazed, Hasir looked at his feet with a surprised look. He readied a flame spell, which

    he learned from his father, and sprayed the orangish, yellow oil slick. It erupted wwith orange light and the flames spread from the

    oil slick to the walls. A spider poked its head out of its webbed home in the corner of the room and was about to attack the three

    juicy morsels walked just below its pincers when the agressive orange fingers spread to the creature's web which went up in flames

    faster than Inigo can run to catch his tail. 

     

    The spider escaped his home just in time, but, sadly though, it could not escape the inferno. The trio huddled near a man outfitted in

    nordic armor trapped in a silky spider web. He called out to them and Hasir took the lead, trying to extracate the frantically

    struggling man from the white web. Inigo became trapped as the wooden structure around the room burnt to cinders. He dove for

    the spider web and Aela did the same. Inigo looked back and cursed as the spider succumbed to its fate,

    "Shame, I would've like to squash that spider." He snarled, 

     

    Inigo attention tore away from the rapidly diminishing frost spider and worked with Hasir and Aela to try and free the man. Aela told

    everyone to stay back as she withdrew her skyforge steel sword and carefully dragged it across each of the spindly cords that held

    the man to the ruin wall. The man, named Arvel, smiled,

    "Thank you for freeing me," he said, beaming at Aela. He pointed at the now blackened ash that was, moment before, a magnificent

    spider. "That thing was about to have me for an after dinner snack."

     

    Two stony axes bit into Arvel's back. The man toppled forward in his own pool of his own blood. Aela glared at the Argonian. He

    shrugeed this off as he rummaged in the dead man's pocket. In his search, he found a few gold coins, a journal and a unsual golden

    claw. Aela's sour disposition brightened horribly as she strode next to him and pointed at the golden claw,

    "I've never seen a dragon claw so well preserved before." She said, jumping and clapping her hands wildly

     

    Hasir turned toward Aela,

    "A dragon what?" He asked, his face twisted in confusion

     

    Aela sighed exasserbatedly,

    "What?" She asked, gawking at him. You don't know the history?"

     

    Hasir shook his head wildly. Aela was dumbstruck, she had no idea someone could be so stupid as to not know anything about

    Tamrielic history, least of all Skyrim's. She opened her mouth and promptly shut it. She knew Hasir would have some stupid

    retort for her chastizing him for not know the history of Skyrim. She instead shifted her train of thought onto a new track that led

    her down to a room that looked like a crypt. 

     

    They all went deeper into the room with skeleton-like things laying on intents in the walls and some in coffins lining the walls. Inigo

    felt uneasy going through this as he knew some of the beings would jump out at him. When the trio got close, one of them did come

    to life. It eyes shone icy blue as it shambled toward the group, Inigo let out a scream like his tail had been trodded on and ran from

    the chamber. Aela asked Hasir to check on the scaredy cat while she took care of the draugr.

     

    Hasir backtracked all the way to the enterior of the ruin where he found Inigo sitting on a stone that jutted out of the ground. He

    walked over and sat down on a neighboring rock and asked Inigo if anything was bothering him,

    "No, my friend nothing is bothering me." He then swallowed hard and said, "I-I just don't like the undead; the way they walk

    makes my fur crawl." Inigo paused, took a lungful of air and continued, "I keep being reminded of a horrible experience I had with

    them in my youth whenever I see them."

     

    Hasir stored the questions he had about Inigo's younger days aside to ask him later. He smiled and told Inigo that it will be okay

    and that he will be there for Inigo if he needs him. Inigo wiped his eyes and thanked Hasir. They both went inside to find Aela. From

    that moment on, Inigo would be indebted to Hasir forever. They entered the chamber where they had left Aela minutes before. They

    were both shocked to see all the draugr dead with her standing in the ceenter of the room. She turned to them,

     

    "So is the scaredy cat all better? She asked Hasir mockingly as she put her hands on her hips. She turned to Inigo, "What Inigo, you

    do not like undead? By the divines, grow some thicker skin." She chuckled a little

    Hasir saw this as a dig at the khajiit's psyche  and asked her to cut it out of Inigo's sake. She frowned and said she was only taking

    swing at Inigo and that he shouldn't get his tail all in a knot about it. Hasir glared at Aela, showing his teeth saying that Inigo has

    horrors in his past that would either of them scared too if they saw them. Aela scoffed at his and turned her back to continue

    onwards. The thrio passed through a corridor of swinging axes by timing each axe so that when they were at the apex of

    their swing, they would pass through, unscathed. Inigo turned the corner and saw more draugr heading their way.

     

    Inigo breathed deeply as he ran towards the threat,

    "Ok, Aela told you to grow tougher fur, Inigo, so now's your chance." He yelled as he ran forwards slashing each and every draugr to

    bloody ribbons 

     

    Hasir clapped the khajiit on the shoulder when he caught up to him,

    "I'm proud of you Inigo, turning your disadvantage into your strength, good job." He said, tail flapping about

     

    Inigo beamed proudly as Hasir's compliment filled his body with warmth. They continued onward deeper into the ruin until they

    came to a room with three stones with nine symbols, three symbols on each stone, hidden in three alcoves. They pondered on what

    they will have to do when Inigo pointed to a symbol to the right of a gate leadeing further down into the burial crypt and two

    symbols above the stairs  along with a riddle on a pedestal in the center of the room. Hasir went over and read the riddle,

    "I am both hidden in the swamps and found in the oceans, I am different from the first and third, cannot fly yet can slither on the

    ground, answer this riddle and the way forward if found." Hasir reread the riddle and gave it to his companions to read.

     

    Aela had no clue, same as Hasir. Inigo, however, know the ridddle inside and out. He went over and manually pushed the heavy

    stones into the proper order and then went over to the middle of the room and pulled the lever, opening the gate.

    Hasir and Aela looked amazed at Inigo asking him how he did it,

    "I just cross-referenced the riddle to the puzzle and assumed the order was two consecutive snakes followed by a dolphin. He

    chuckled while they exchanged annoyed looks at each other. He told them not to stand on ceremony as they walked down a wooden

    spiral staircase that took them deeper into the tomb. At the end of the hall, they turned right and then left. They ended up in a long

    hallway with cobwebs strewn about everywhere. At the end was a door with three rows of symbols etched in gold above a gold

    keyhole. Hasir looked around and found a dragon claw-shaped key on the ground amidst some rubble. He looked at the key

    bewildered. He asked his companions if they had ever seen anything like this. They shook their collective heads.

     

    Hasir's brow furrowed as he studied both the door and the key. He looked to the right of the door and found a folded piece of paper

    under a rock. the Argonian walked over and extracted the note from under the rock, unfolded it and read it,

    "All of us are predators, none of us are prey, can you guess correctly? If not, be on your way." Hasir's brow furrowed as he tried to

    work out to riddle

     

    He went over to the door and looked at the claw again and turned it over; engraved on the underside were three animals,

    "Hmph, well, that was too easy, I expected the ancient nords to not give us the answers inscribed on the claws." He said, a little

    dissapointed

     

    He put the claw in his bag and went to work arranging the nordic animal totems. He first focused on the upper ring, putting all his

    weight on the heavy stone to turn it. The stone resisted somewhat but then finally moved to where he wanted it. He did the same

    with the middle and lower rings of stone. With that done he put the claw up to the claw carving engraved into the gold plate and, to

    his surprise, it slotted in place. The insertion of the claw sent out a rocky ripple that tore through the door, making each stone ring

    indent slightly. The door then descended in to the ground, granting the Khajiit, Argonian and Nord access to the dark cavern that

    lay before them.

    The caverns were so dark that they could barely see in front of them. The only sources of light were some bioillumanescent plants

    that grew along the walls of the cavern. What they could see however was a small stream in the middle of the cavern floor. Inigo and

    Hasir both walked towards it and stepped into it; the water was nice and refreshingly cold against their scaly and furry bodies. Hasir

    found it was deep enough for him to move along the surface.

     

    Hasir took a few laps around the pond, encircling Inigo like he were a sea serpent and the khajiit was its next meal,

    "Help, help, someone save me, a very hungry sea serpent is coming to get me. Divines, will someone please help." He screamed

    playfully. Hasir stopped at the edge and started 'attacking' the khajiit with water

     

    Inigo laughed as he raised his arms to protect his face,

    "Hey stop it, now you've done it, take that and that." He said cheerfully as he splashed the Argonian

     

    Meanwhile, Aela just shook her head in embarrassment. She groaned and raised her arms angrily,

    "For Hircine's sake, can you two please stop acting like children? We have a tablet to find." She blurted out, annoyed at the display,

    of what she thought of as laziness, in front of her

     

    Inigo and Hasir both solemnly get out, went over to Aela and shook themselves out, water flew from their bodies and Aela tried

    protecting herself by using her arms as a shield; it didn't work as she still got pelted with water droplets. Hasir and Inigo roared

    with laughter as they as Aela was fuming at them like a whistling teapot. Aela glared at them under her hair which looked like

    noodles that had been saturated with too much water, so much so that it clung to her skin like adhesive. 

     

    She turned to them, astonished by the inability for the pair of them to see the seriousness of finding out the creature's origins,

    "Are you two jackals done having a go at my expense, hmm?" She asked, still fuming

    The Argonian and Khajiit clamped their mouths shut, looking a tad embarrassed as they continued into the main area of the tomb.

    Aela walked out to a lever hidden in the wall amongst some moss vines and pulled, nothing happened. She put all her weight on the

    lever, still nothing. It seemed to be rusted with age. Hasir told her to move and he tried to pull the lever. To her annoyance, Aela

    found the lever flipped easily. As they walked into the next room, which was as equally large and cavernous as the last room.

     

    Hasir and Inigo both eyed her with amusement and tried to contain the tide of laughter, but failed as the damn broke and waves of

    laughter washed over Aela. The female nord shot them an angry look at Hasir,

    "Show off," She stuck her tongue out at him, "how dare you make me out to be the weak one." She said chastizing him

     

    Inigo told a frustrated Aela that they had to press on and complete their task and to leave bad feelings behind them. Aela reluctantly

    agreed and proceeded into the cavern with the two jackals. Hasir went ahead of them, scouting out the cavern to see if there was

    anything that they nneeded to be prepared for. He looked up and at the top of a small waterfall that emptied into the stream below

    was a curved wall of stone with wierd wrriting carved into the stone. He climbed up the steps, blanking the moss and vine covered

    walls. When he got to the platform with the curved stone wall on it, he could hear chanting of some kind. Inigo and Aela finally

    caught up with him, the khajiit moved closer as his eyes went wide as he saw a shimmering blue light danced atop the strange

    symbols.

     

    He tried to talk the hypnotized Argonian down but he inched closer the the polished, glowing rock surface,

    "Inigo," He said as he licked his lips in anticipation, "You can be cautious all you want, but, to me it seems like an invisible rope is

    pulling me towards these symbol and chanting as if it were my destiny to come here."

     

    Hasir was an inch away from the gloowing symbols when the blue light leapt off of the stone and started moving in one single stream

    toward the Argonian's scaly body. Inigo screamed and covered his eyes as Hasir becomed enveloped by the blue light. Hasir did not

    feel anything, not pain or discomfort just euphoric bliss as the light bathe him in a blue outline. The outline steadily became dimmer

    and dimmer as the word, or whatever it was, was assimilated into Hasir's brain, becoming one with his soul.

     

    A crack sounded behind Inigo and a draugr slowly got up as if someone had disturbed its millenia long slumber and ran toward Inigo

    and raised a long iron sword, seeing this, Hasir turn and drew his own weapon. He nocked an arrow to his reading stalhrim bow and

    fire. The ancient draugr with its rotting skin and skull like face, dodged the arrow effortlessly. Hasir swore as the arrow landed with a

    splashed in the stream below him. The Argonian moved down the steps as the undead being scuttled sideways like a spider and

    snarled at him.

    Hasir raised his bow poised to strike the undead foe, but Inigo ran down the steps all while firing of one arrow after another. The

    arrows whizzed through the air and thudded into the draugr cchest legs and head Inigo though this would finish the draugr but it

    didn't. It kept going as if aided by some dark spell, Inigo now at the level of the draugr and Hasir both ran at the draugr, using their

    combined bodyweight to topple it over to land in the stream, and stabbed him with their arrows. Seeing that this was not very

    effective, Hasir pulled a stalhrim longsword from his back and started slashing at the draugr everywhere he could reach, head, arms,

    legs, they were all fair game for his longsword. After several minutes of this, the draugr stopped resisting and lay as still as the

    grave.

     

    Inigo bent down and started rummaging through the draugr's pockets, thought better of this and told Hasir he could have the honor

    as Hasir killed the beast. Hasir thanked Inigo for his kind gesture and rummaged in the draugs pockets and found nothing of

    interest, except weapons and gold, which he split with Inigo, that is until he pulled a rather large baseball plate shaped object from

    the dead foe's pocket. He dropped the unweildy object and it clattered across the cave floor the rest below where Aela stood. Aela

    jumped down from her perch, picked up the object and examined it. Hasir and Inigo joined her a short while after.

     

    Looking at it with furrowed brows, they asked Aela what it was. The female nord shook her head,

    "I have no idea, but this may be the thing Farengar was talking about in dragonsreach. Come on, we best get back and present it to

    him." She said, motioning Hasir and Inigo to follow here as they left the cavern and exited out into the cold air once again.

     

    She put the stone in her bag slung about her waist and they circumnavigated around the mountain until they came to where they

    entered the ruin. They mounted up on their respective horses and left for Whiterun. When they had tied their horses up at

    the stables, they made sure they had water to drink and hay to eat. Satisfied that the horses had sustainace, they walked up to the

    main gate, pushed them opened and entered the city. The went straight up to Dragonreach and entered the hall.

     

    Farengar was in his study reading a book of magic when the trio appeared. Farengar looked up and beamed at them,

    "Hasir, Aela, er, blue khajiit thing, I have a task to ask of you, care to retrieve the dragonstone from Bleakfalls Barrow?" He asked,

    his eyebrows raised. To his surprise, Hasir reached into Aela's bag and tossed the dragonstone tablet onto the desk. Farengar's eyes

    went wide with disbelief, "You already found it? how did you get it so fast? Were you spying on me as I was talking to Brynjolf about

    it?" The three looked at each other, bewildered looks on their faces. Had he knoww of their eavesdropping earlier?

    They turned to leave the keep, Aela told them that she has to gone on without her as Kodlak had requested her presence back in

    Jorrvaskr. Hasir and Inigo waved goodbye as the parted ways past the arched bridge leading to the keep and made for the main gate

    of the city when they overhead two guards talking about something about a dragon. No matter how much the Argonian and Khajiit

    strained their ears, they could only hear a little of the conversation.

     

    A few feet away, one of the guards turned and cupped his hand to his ear as another guard whispered,

    "Horknir, I heard a dragon was sighted near that old watchtower southeast of the city." As he spoke he pointed to an unseen point

    past the gates. 

     

    The man, named Horknir, nodded and shrugged,

    "Great job Lydia, except for one tiny problem," He emphasized this by holding two finger an inch apart, ""WE'RE GUARDS! we guard

    things, we do not have the luxury to go out and fight dragons," He turned away from here and leaned against the stone wall

    adjacent to the gate, "That...is a luxury my cousin got that I can never hope to achieve." He muttered. Lydia leaned close to him,

    "What was that?." Horknir turned to her and smacked her on the back of her head, "Divines girl, are ya thick or just dumb? My

    cousin is out there fighting dragons and what do I get? Guard duty." 

     

    The pair walked past them and headed for the tower they overheard the guards talking about. Two specific words stood out to them

    like storm clouds in a blue sky, tower and dragons. Hasir and Inigo walked along the cobblestone road to the entrance to the stables,

    they noticed the intimidating guards towers which were mysteriously vacant. They wondered were the guards were. Inigo thought

    they were in their guard barracks getting drunk on mead and not on the look out for threats on the city, least of all a dragon. They

    did not need their horses as the tower was just a short walk from the guard towers; fifty feet at least and this would seem stupid to

    ride the horses this short a distance. 

     

    At midday, they saw a stony tower looming in the distance with a  mostly intact bridge with rubble strewn all around the tower. Inigo

    and Hasir thought who could do this when they heard the ear-splitting roar of a dragon. The beast flew over them in a wide arc and

    spewed flame from its mouth. The Argonian and Khajiit dove behind one of the many large fragments of the tower's bridge as the

    beast dove again  and a large torrent of flame sped at them, spread out by their makeshift shield. Hasir saw an opening and took out

    his stalhrim bow, nocked an aroow, narrowed his eyes and fired once he saw a sweet spot on the dragon's scaly hide. The arrow

    sped through the air but did not to injure the beast as the arrow bounced off of its hide just as a sword would a raised shield and

    landed in the grass nearby.

    The dragon spewed another stream of fire and he had to dive behind the rocky structure as if he were a second slower, he would've

    been roasted alive. The khajiit turned to the shock-ridden argonian with a look that clearly said you stupid bastard, do I have to do

    everything? Inigo drew his ebony bow, nocked an arrow and dove from the stone, aimed for the dragon and fired while in mid air.

    The arrow struck the dragon in the throat. The shocked beast tried to spout flame but it couldn't. It also found it was losing altitude;

    it gave up the fight and began falling to the ground like a meteor, it crashed hard into the ground in a cloud of dust. Hasir drew his

    Stalhrim sword in anticipation of fighting the flightless dragon.

     

    Both Hasir and Inigo double teamed the dragon. Hasir started off the fight by moving towards the beast and slashing it it's snout

    with his sword. The sword broke on contact. Hasir tossed the broken blade aside and pulled out his dual madness axes. To his

    surprise the stone edged weapon sliced through the dragon's horn. The dragon roared in pain as the Argonian lept onto its scaly

    back. Hasir brought the madness axes down on either side of the dragons head. The axes bit into the flesh of the beast, causing the

    dragon to roar in pain. The dragon's head shook violently from side to side, trying to throw him off. The dragon finally succeeded,

    tossing the Argonian to the side like he was a human bone that the beast had for lunch.

     

    The spread eagled Argonian turned into a black and white wolf before Inigo's eyes and snarled at the beast. His muzzle wrinkled

    showing rows of white teeth as he launched himself at the dragon. The dragon moved out of the wolf's range as it swung its tail in a

    sideway arc knocking the air out of Twilight's lungs. The wolf fell into the grass, unconsscious as the beast focused on the khajiit. The

    dragon clawed its way toward the khajiit. The khajiit had to make a decision, did he use his bow or sword to attack? He angrily

    tossed his bow away, pulled out his ebony sword and snarled, bearing his teeth at the dragon,

    "Alright, you son of a bitch, let's dance."

     

    The dragon's mouth closed around the space where the khajiit was minutes before. The khajiit circled around to the back of the

    dragon dodging its thumping tail as he lept at the dragon's neck as his ebony sword cut an arc through the dragon's neck, severing

    it from the body. A torrent of thick blood spouted from the hole and covered Inigo from head to foot. He hurried over to

    Twilight, who was now in his Argonian form. Hasir stirred and opened his eyes weakly,

    "I-Inigo, what happpened to you? Is the dragon?" He asked as Inigo helped him to his feet

     

    "Dead? Yes, the dragon will trouble us no more," He said as he smiled, "We did it my friend...what's happening?" He shrieked in

    fright.

     

    Hasir felt the euphoricly warm sensation he had felt in the tomb as the waves of blue, orange and pale yelow light enveloped his

    body, shimmered around him for a minute and disappeared. Inigo looked at him his mouth agape,

    "My friend, ingesting souls of dragons seem unhealthy, you shound see a doctor if this becomes an obsession." Hasir chuckled and

    told Inigo not to worry about it.

    Hasir wondered what he to do with the dragon soul and the word he had just learned when a ripple tore through the air that sounded

    like thunder. Inigo turned his ear to the sky and frowned. He started digging in his ear to make sure he had heard it correctly. No

    matter how hard he tried, he still wouldn't understand it.

    "Are the gods upset with us for killing a dragon or something? I have no idea what they are saying."

     

    Hasir smiled knowingly and he answered the khajiit's line of questioning with a level head,

    "I do know Inigo but I am sure we will find out."

     

    Before they walked back to the stables to retrieve their horses, he bent down and searched the dragon for any items of interest, the

    dragons had a fair amount of gold, which he split with Inigo. He also found dragon scales and bones, which he also gave half to Inigo

    to carry and the rest in his leather bag, got up and motioned for Inigo to follow him to the stables.

     

    When they arrived at the stables, they mounted up on their horses, Hashire and Ebony, and started for Ivarstead. They followed the

    cobblestone road a ways before they saw, rising in the distance, a series of stone towers with a bridge adjoining the towers and

    what looked like long spiraling wooden ramps descending from the towers. Hasir mentally noted this location for later as he had to

    rush to Ivarstead, for what though he did not know. Hasir and Inigo rode onward past the towers, down the hill and to the town of

    Ivaarstead which they saw when they has rounded the base of the Throat of the World. They entered the town around one o'clock

    and rode through the town as they saw blacksmiths pounding metal and children playing in the streets. They heard a stream running

    alongside them aand two men talking at the entrance to a bridge. They cantered across it and beheld stone steps that seemed to

    wound around the Throat of the World. to their right, they saw a pilgrim pray to what look liked a pentagram-shaped structure with a

    horizontal blank dark grey square in the center. They did not stop to examine this as they continued ascending the steps in front of

    him.

    They turned as the steps seemed ascended up the side of the mountain and snaked their way all the way up the mountain. As they

    continued up the mountain, Hasir counted the steps. At around the nine hundred mark, he lost count. They also saw more

    sones,what were known as tenent stones, as they ascended up the mountain. As they neared the end, they saw a curious looking

    building with a tenet stone stituated to the left of the building and a chest at the bottom of the staris leading up the building that

    travelers and pilgrims would leave offering to the greybeards. The horses approached the building. They dismounted the horses and

    their eyes drifted to the left of the building as they saw a orange, yellow eyed and black striped khajiit-looking creature praying to

    the stone. Sensing them approach, she stood up and brushed dirt off of her white tunic with red imperial symbols printed on it.

     

    The creature stood up and approached the duo and stuck out a paw-like hand,

    "Greetings Hasir." The argonian's forehead creased and he asked how she knew him. She sighed, straightened her tunic and slapped

    her forehead, "I forget myself, I am Tigress and Quinchal was my grandfather." 

     

    Hasir had so many questions he wanted to ask this creature. After a long time he found his voice,

    "So, how's a Ka'Po'Tun have blood relations with a Tsaesci anyway? He laughed slightly, "You must forgive me but it seems kind of

    odd that a Ka'Po'Tun and a Tsaesci...i-it's kind of, I dunno, weird."  

     

    Tigress crossed her striped arms across her chest, shaking her head.

    "You misunderstand, Quinchal, son of my great-grandfather, Qihuan. is my master. I will not stand to be treated as a laughing stock.

     

    Tigress stood up and ascended the stone stone with Hasir and Inigo behind her. Inigo nudged Hasir in the ribs and smirked,

    "I can't wait to paint some new stripes on her, if you know what I mean." He laughed but shut up immediately as Hasir cast him a

    murderous stare. Hasir hissed for him to be quiet. Tigress pushed the heavy stone door open and they stood, mouths agape with

    awe. Hasir shouted and waved his hands over his head as the stone doors were about a few feet from closing. They scurried up the

    steps and slid easily past the closing door. Hasir did at least.

     

    Inigo nearly made it. He made a squeal of pain as the doors shut on his tail, stopping it from its usual swishing motion and making it

    as stiff as a stick, 

    "Ouch!" He yelped. "Damn tail, more of a burden than a necessity honestly." He said as his face screwed up in concentration as he

    grabbed both sides of the stone door and scrambled forward but the tightly secured tail prevented him from achieving forward

    motion.

     

    Hasir saw this; what should he do? Help his friend or follow someone he had just met with no idea of her intentions; he

    decided on the former. He dove in the stuck khajiit's position and after a few tries and many choice curse words, on Inigo's part,

    finally extracted his friend's tail and the stone door closed at last. Inigo bent over and tried to catch his breath before he joined the

    Argonian who had walked over to Tigress who was talking to a grey bearded man. She turned around and smiled at Hasir.

     

    He saw her eyes sparkle spectaculary as she beheld him properly for the first time. Hasir gave her a sheepish grin as she circled him

    like a dog would circle before resting it him bed. She smiled at him, his eyes locked onto hers and his emotions went into overdrive,

    "So Hasir, I was taking in your scent when I discovered Quinchal's scent on you. Been visiting him on Akavir were you?"

     

    Hasir smirked slyly and turned as red as a turnip and scratched his neck scales distractedly,

    "Yeah, I went there a couple years ago when I was just a hatchling. He trained me in the way of the shadowscale."

     

    Tigress gave a knowing nod as she knew full well the trials that every hatchling born under the sign of the shadow underwent. She,

    however, had no idea that this particular hatchling's training did not take place on his homeland of Black Marsh but in some faraway

    land. She knew he underwent the trials of body, heart, spirit and mind that tested even the most hardened shadowscale initiate.

     

    Tigress told the love struck Argonian that he was far from a proper shadowscale as he only completed the trials that had to be

    completed before an initiate went on to advanced tactics. Hasir cocked his head at her and an inquisitive expression came onto his

    face. Tigress laughed cheerfully as she thought he looked like a hanging victim who had the neck broken. A very dismal vocal

    display to be certain, but it explained his expression just the same.  

     

    Hasir turned to Tigress,

    "Tigress, erm, what are the other trials I have to undergo?" He asked, perplexed

     

    Tigress explained the new trials: the way of the yin yang and the way of the voice. She said each trial was tailored to each

    shadowscales' strengths and weaknesses. As she had no idea of his, she decided to go down a different route. His trial was to be

    the way of the yin yang was to test his emotional state and how well he could control his emotions so one did not overshadow the

    other and the way of the voice was a She explained what he had to do to complete each trial. Hasir, however, did not hear her as he

    was caught in how beautiful she was that he had begun salivating in coupius amounts, to take in any word Tigress was telling him.

     

    Tigress looked behind her and saw that they had wasted more than enough time standing there talking as she saw a stream of

    silvery light extend downward from the lone wiindows in the middle of the wall. Hasir, thankfully, did not see the moonlight shining

    through the window. The transformation, however, took him all the same.

     

    "No, not now, I can't transform here." He said through gritted teeth as pain tore through him, "Not in front of this outsider." He cried

    out in pain as he buckled to his knees due to the pain. As Hasir could feel the coarse black fur begin to poke through. He reached

    into his bag which was made hard because of the intermittent jolts of pain and pulled out a silver ring that Kodlak had given him. He

    struggled to put in on his finger and the pain that had laid over Hasir as if it were a heavy blanket had lifted suddenly, his boned

    stopped crunchy into new shapes as well and thudded back into their original positions. He looked perplexedly at the ring on his

    finger, more importantly at the silver wolf's head with ruby eyes afixed to the silver band. He sighed in relief as he stood up. 

     

    Inigo and Tigress gawked at the ring as Hasir showed them it. Tigress creased her brow as her yellow eyes expanded in shock,

    "Hasir, what a curious ring, erm, where did you get it?"

     

    Hasir's head turned in her direction,

    "The harbinger of the companions gave it to me why?"

     

    Tigress opened her mouth and quickly changed her train of thought,

    "Nevermind we can talk more on this later, right now you two," She said as she glanced between Hasir and Inigo, "should go to bed,

    Hasir, you have training in the morning." You have better get to bed now, which you will find in the went wing of the building. Two

    beds are made up for you." She waved as she went in the opposite direction, "goodnight, you two see you in the morning." 

     

     

    Hasir and Inigo walked along the grey columned corridor and veered left into a room which did have two beds with wolf furs on top

    of them. Tooo tired to explore the room further, both the Argonian and the Khajiit fell onto their respective beds and fell asleep

    almost immediately. Hasir did not dare take off the ring as he feared what would befall him if he did.