C.O.T.W Chapter 60: Displacement of the Pack

  • Everyone, including the maid and the regular, non-circle companions came out onto the deck of Jorrvaskr to see smoke rising from

    just inside the underfforge's door. Aela took point and she and the circle members walked slowly and solemnly to the rock door.

    Aela did not even bother to feel if the door was hot, she pushed it open and stepped insde. A blazing inferno met their eyes. They did

    not know who could have done this.


    Minutes later Tigress, Hasir, Mere Glim and Inigo came up the road toward the city and the Argonian sniffed the air and, sensing

    something was amiss, he ran toward the main gate of the city. His companions, apparently none the wiser, followed him. They

    blanked the guard towers as they ran full pelt toward the city gate and thrust it open with little effort, at least on Hasir's part. The

    Ka'po'tun, Khajiit and chocolate-spinned Argonian could smell the acrid smell of smoke permeating the city's otherwise clean air.

    Hasir followed his nose to where the smoke was issuing from.


    He already knew; he was more scared for the other members than himself because he already knew the bedlam that awaited him.

    He knew that the circle members would be in shock because, after all, the underforge was the place where each member of the

    circle had drank Aela's, well, Red's blood to become a werewolf. Hasir did not want to think about their saddened expressions. He

    knew Aela would be utterly crushed by the destruction of the underforge and would most obviously want revenge for the

    unspeakable act. Hasir looked perplexedly at her and smiled; she was taken aback at this,

    "Hasir, have I said something wrong?" She asked him, her head turned towards his


    Hasir chuckled heartily,

    "No you didn't, sorry I was thinking of something." he lied


    Hasir put his arm around her when Inigo approached them,

    "Er, did I miss something? Oh, how lovely a campfire, can we cook vension on it?" He said grinning madly


    Aela burst into tears; as she bawled her eyes out, Hasir narrowed his eyes at Inigo,

    "Inigo how can you be sso rude? Aela connected the most with the place," He put his hands on his hips, " which by the way just

    happens to be on fire.'


    Inigo did not hear this and ran at the door his head down. All Inigo cared about was Aela; as long as she was safe, he would be fine.

    The Indigo khajiit ran for the door despite the yells from Hasir and the others. He looked back and was about to tell them not to

    worry about him when his furry body collided with the stone door and he fell, sprawled on the stony ground. "Ow!" He got up

    rubbing his head, eyes watering.


    Hasir narrowed his eyes and hissed softly at the khajiit,

    "Are you stupid? What do you think you are a ghost? You can't pass through rock! You're solid for howling out loud." He said,

    slapping his face with his palm hardly believing somone who is considered the pack phsychologist could be so stupid.


    He stood up and threw his furry body against it again,

    "Why...won't...you...budge?" He said through gritted teeth as he slammed repeatedly into the rock wall


    Hasir chuckled at him shaking his head,

    "You must have a headache, you idiot, the door will never open like that!" he said 

    Inigo rubbed his head and glared at the grinning Argonian and told him not to breathe a word of this to anyone. Hasir laughed and

    raised his hands and said that would not be a problem. Hasir, still giggling, knocked on the stone door with a clawed finger. The door

    opened and to his astonishment he saw that the underground chapel was aflame. Inigo finished his hurtful glaring and stared mouth

    agape at the ensuing inferno. Hasir ran past the khajiit and straight into the burning chapel.


    Hasir turned back and asked him if he was coming, but Inigo shook his head and said he would wait for them to emerge from it

    again. He sat on the rock to the left of the burning chapel.


    He was calm entering the inferno which was the complete opposite of Aela's, Farkas' and Vilkas' expressions. Both the male nords

    were tugging the arms of a red haired nord female who was sobbing uncontrollably in her hands. She remembered many happy

    moments in the underforge with a much younger Skjor and her mother Katria. She also remembered them telling her the tales of

    how they obtained their lycanthropy when they drank deep from the basin in the center. A red werewolf had bestowed this gift upon

    them; the werewolf who gave them the wolfblood was none other than Aela's mother's father, Fenrir. Now all this was gone; gone in

    a blaze of fire threatening to envelope her and her comrades.


    Aela did not move despite her brothers' constant pleas to force her to get out of the burning underforge. Hasir looked up to see one

    of the stone wolf statues crumble and fall into the flames. He heard the fires consuming the altar of Hircine which crumpled upon

    itself. He also heard the stone basin in the center of the room crack down the middle and fall victim to the flames; the same

    fate befell the wooden benches. Hasir gave a shriek of terror as his eyes became fixed on the artifacts which were even now

    coming under attack by the flames. He dove toward the burning shrine and carefully lifted the weapons, ring and armor off of the

    pegs just as the flames reached them. Hasir eyed Aela out of the corner of his eye still sobbing and trying to gather the totems,

    coughing profusely as she did so. He walked past Aela who had all three totems of Hircine in her hands and was running to the

    entrance as fast as possible.


    Hasir, Farkas, Vilkas and Kodlak followed her coughing heavily because of the black smoke that filled the once proud chapel. Four of

    them got out. Hasir on the other hand, was trying to keep the image of the unblemished chapel in his head so he did not have to

    embrace the awful truth of the deeply burned chapel whose hayday was long behind it. Hasir mournfully left the chapel; head low,

    his tail dragging slowly behind him.


    Hasir put the artifacts into his bag and looked mournfully at the stone door which, miraculously, the fire did not so much as cinge the

    stone. He looked over and the members of the circle looked especially crestfallen, Aela's eyes were watering; She hated to admit it

    and would hurt anyone who said she was weak, but she was crying because, like her fellow circle members, the underforge was like

    a second home to her. Unlike her circle members, however, she was especially hurt because she feared that Hircine would be mad at


    Hasir did not share the circle's saddened expression as he did not know the underforge for as long as they had. What he did know

    was that if they did set foot in it again, it would never be the same. He know it was best for the companions to find somewhere else

    to set up shop. A place that no enemy of Hircine could infiltrate and attack. Somewhere underground. 


    Hasir turned to his fellow companions and told them his plan. They whole-heartedly agreed and set off to find this new chapel. Hasir

    was about to lead them out of the training yard when he spotted, among some bushes in the corner of the yard, a trapdoor. He

    opened it and went down it closely followed by the circle. Five balls of light illuminated a cramped hallway that twisted on for what

    seemed age when they rounded a corner and saw a trapdoor at the end of it. Hasir opened the trap door followed by the circle and

    gasped as the found themselves on the western bank of the white river, so named because of how it ran close to the city of



    Stretching upward from the grassy bank were two gigantic steel white steel horses. Hasir guessed they had to be ninety-eight feet

    tall. They formed a half circle around the two horse and searched for a way to enter. Aela, Farkas, Vilkas and the harbinger took out

    their weapons and jabbed the base of the horses with the butts of their swords and axes. The constant clanging of weapons did

    nothing to reveal an opening in the horse nor did the frantic clanging of weapons press a hidden button.

    Aela walked over to the horse that looked at her rather than looking at the ground and walked around the horse thinking to herself.

    She found what she was looking for: a well hidden button near the steel plate that she was facing was visible. A great rumbling tore

    the air in two as a door appeared in the side of the forward-facing horse that faced the roaring rapids in the river. Aela called to the


    "Hey, you guys, I found an entrance to these strange structures, well this one anyway." The other companions strode the two feet to

    the horse in front of which she stood. 


    They circled the gigantic horse and entered the door one by one. The door closed behind them and an unseen steel plate slid back

    into place, hiding the door from sight again. Hasir took point as he extracted an unlit torch from his bag, lit it by quickly brushing it

    against the wall and held it aloft. He saw a a narrow spiral staircase encased in stone that wound its way down into the darkness.

    Hasir, still holding the ball of light aloft, lead the way down the narrow staircase. Aela and the others followed the Argonian as he

    went deeper into the earth.


    Hasir descended the stairs one at a time until he stopped abruptly at the bottom; which was fifty steps beneath the white horse

    statue. The others failed to see that he had stopped and had to halt an inch from him to avoid knocking him over,

    "What is it? did you stub your tail or something?" Aela asked, poking her head out from where the staircase sloped upwards


    Hasir shook his head while his eyes lay fixed on something ahead of him. He was, for the moment, unable to speak as he beheld a

    giant wolf's head with sapphire eyes with, where its mouth would've been, a white door that was locked to him. He tried thowing him

    weight against it as Inigo had done when he tried making the door budge, but like the rock door this door did not budge but instead

    stood immovable. He threw his hands up in frustation,

    "Grrr...What in Oblivion are we going to do now?" He asked to no one in particular

    Aela sighed in exhasberation, moved to the front of the line and sighed; looking at the stone wolf carefully as if studying an

    interesting species of insect. She bent down, transformed and touched the door with her forepaw. The door did nothing for the

    longest time, but then a sounded like a thousand cracking whips issued from the stone wall; the lock fell away from the door and the

    doors slide open. Hasir laughed in amazement and stepped through the doors, closely followed by Aela and the others. 


    Hasir turned to her as she passed through the doorway,

    "How on Nirn did you do that? I surveyed the stone wolf closely and I couldn't even find a way to enter or have the doors open." He

    said in shocked amazzement. Aela smirked at him and whipped his face with her long, red hair as she walked past the dumbstruck

    Argonian, "just...lucky I guess."


    Hasir's eyes grew to the size of beach balls as he beheld a huge stone atrium with a high arced ceiling that was hewn out of the

    identical grey stone as the entirety of the chapel. Hasir looked around the atrium and saw double the number of wooden benches

    that were in the underforge. Hasir cast his eyes skyward as dying sunlight peered through huge stained glass windows.

    Upon the stained glass windows were pictures of werewolves; a wolf feasting on a stained glass corpse, blood streaming from it, a

    wolf howling at the moon on another and the lord hircine patting one of his hounds after a successfully hunt on the last.


    Hasir lowered his head and saw a white marble stone altar with black fabric the size of a small carpet with a red moon depicted on it

    above a black wolf head. Behind the altar stood a familar face. Next to the cat was Aela and Farkas on her left; Vilkas and Kodlak

    on her right. 


    Hasir smiled broadly at Valhira,

    "Good to see you again Valhira, I never expected to see you again because well, you, er, inhaled a lot of smoke after the fire."


    Valjira grinned back at Hasir. Her tail happily swayed behind her as if it had a reason to be joyful,

    "Good to see you too Hasir, we Khajiit are a storng-willed people. I will not let something as inconsequential as smoke inhalation stop

    me from fulfilling Hircine's will."

    Hasir told Valjira about Molag Bal's new plan for genocide because of some petty ancestral marital dispute. The khajiit frowned at

    this saying this was indeed bad news and saying that they must be extremely thick for something so small too accumulate in a

    genocide of an entire race. She voiced Hasir's concern about this when he had first heard of this a month ago almost verbatum.


    Valljira looked expectantly at the Argoian,

    "Hasir, what are we going to do. We cannot let this Argonian genocide happen." She said, tears soaking the cloth on the altar. Hircine

    help me. Please, I don't know what to do."


    He lifted her head and stared at her as if trying to pierce her very soul with his gaze,

    "Valjira, I'm not sure if Hircine can help us as he was the one to assist, of all daedra, Molag Bal.


    The Khajiit gulped so hard so near swallowed her tongue. She turned to face Hasir again and whispered,

    "Hircine did this? By the saands, I can scarcely believe it." She felt weak as she slumped onto the altar displacing the soaked cloth

    banner, "So, Hasir, do you know who set this horrible decree into action?" She said, eyes wide in fright


    Hasir let out a low growl as he played over the events in his mind, causing Valjira to yelp and hide behind the corner of the altar,

    "Yes, one of my slaver's ancestors started this ball rolling." He walked around the altar, all while keeping Valjira in sight. He

    recounted the horrible tale of Nerethi and his ancestor to a particularly scared but all too interested khajiit. 


    After several minutes of thoughful silence Valjira spoke in a calm voice, despite feeling like a exploding volcano on the inside,

    "Erm, I-I think I understand now, but, my question still stands: Why would Hircine be working with his sworn enemy?"


    Hasir groaned as his scaly hand slid down his face,

    "You Khajiit really are thick, I already told you why." He said throwing his hands up in exasperation 

    Hasir found a nearby chair next to the altar and slumped onto it, tail curling below him,

    "I apologize Valjira, I mustn't lose my head over such petty things such as you not understanding the seriousness of the matter." He

    sounded like a baloon that has gotten all the air sucked out of it as he stared sorrowfully at the stone ground. 


    The khajiit thumped him on the shoulder and smirked at him,

    "Come on 'Mr. grouchy pants' lighten up, I know just the thing to brighten you gloomy skies, I hear there is someone waiting at

    Rivewood, just...for...you." As she said these wods she delivered short, precise jabs to his midsection. Hasir perked up at this and

    whipped around to face Valjira.


    The excited Argonian grabbed Valhira by the shoulders, grrined and hugged her,

    "Thank Hircine, I knew she'd make it here safe." He wiped a happy tear from his eye with a black claw as he stood up. He bid the

    chapel as a whole farewell as he hurried back outside and found his horse parked inexplicably next to the southern-most statue. He

    mounted his steed and sped off for Riverwood.


    After hours of riding, he arrived at the gateway to Riiverwood, dismounted his steed, tied him to a nearby tree and walked toward

    the only inn in the small village. He traversed the steps and opened the door. The sweet aroma of mead was wafting toward Hasir

    and music assaulted his ears, a bard was playing a song on on her lute and she looked to be having fun when playing. Hasir scanned

    the scene and saw a small tailless Argonian twirling about on the spot apparently trying, and failing to perform either an oricish

    dance or one of her people, the Argonians. Hasir walked up beside her, smirked, chuckled a little and as he watched her make a fool

    of herself in front of the entire inn. The whole inn was staring at them like they were a few seeds short of a hist tree but they had

    fun none the less. Minutes later, the song finished and so did Khash's dancing.

    Khash's eyes nervously cast around the inn. Her face broke out into a huge grin as they fell upon Hasir who smiled back at her. She

    ran to him and threw her arms around him and asked how he was. He nervously rubbed the back of his neck with one hand,

    "Erm, hi Kash, nice to see you too. How've ya been?" 


    Khash said she was okay and began recounting her adenntures since she and Hasir parted ways many months ago,

    "On my way here, I overheard some people talking about your family."


    Hasir stared at her unbelieving,

    "W-what did these people say?"


    Khash said she went on a journey to Blackmarsh to see is she could find out about her clutch. She asked every tribe leader there but

    no one had an answer that she was satisfied with. She instead heard at the miredancer village in the province of Stormhold that

    his mother, Haxara, had fled the province whenn his so was only an hour old. She then became lost in her memory as she vividly

    recalled the coversation. Taking her back to the swampy marsh where the exchage of words took place. 


    Khash hid in some thick brush in order to overhear the conversation undetected. 

    "Did you hear? Kassamae settled in a place up north named Urshilaku camp." An argonian, Under-Root, standing an inch from

    the northern post told another argonian, Dusk-Scales, who was leaning on the northern-most post of their hut.


    Dusk-Scales shrugged and asked,

    "Why did she settle there? What's there that Stormhold doesn't have?"


    Under-Root merely shrugged. He told her in a hushed voice what he knew of the matter,

    "Dunno, I heard that she went there with her friend, a Ka'Po'Tun if you can believe that, after she married an Argonian from the

    bright-throat tribe." He drew in a deep breath, "Sithis help them wherever they are now. Her husband, Iskenaaz was left to care for

    the hatchling."


    Dusk-Scales narrowed her eyes and slammed her tail down hard on the ground, frightening her Uxith-Beeko, 

    "Sithis damn her, why in Oblivion dd she have to leave her baby with an imcompetent egg-sac such as he?" 


    The female Argonian went over to her Uxith-Beeko and draped her arm around him,

    "She left him at the agile domicile on the border of Stormhold here in Shadowfen. She must've known she could not take him with

    her." She glanced over to her husband and said something in Jel that left Khash stumped as to the exact meaning of what was said


    Apparently, though, he understood, nodded and said, in the common tongue so that the hidden lizard could hear them, 

    "Isn't Urshilaku camp a dunmer camp? As I am sure you are aware, thhe Saxhleel and dunmer have a great hatred for one another."

    He eyed her for any signs of recogniton of the feud.


    She rounded on him, poking him in the chest with a blackened claw, eyes narrowed horribly,

    "Of course, I know that. By the Hist, I am not a hatchling you Nalpa-Thitithil." She said, hissing indignantly at him


    He backed away from her, hands held up in a gesture of surrender, and said something about it is her swamp as well as his and she

    can swim around it however she likes. She turned, whipped her tail around he ducked as to avoid the collision between her tail and

    his face. She did not like being called a rotten egg; in fact no Saxhleel did. To them it was as emotional scarring as 'I wish you were

    never born' would be to an ojel, an outsider. 

    Hasir had pulled a chair over and sat in it, smiling to himself as he listened to his egg-sister's tale. Occasionally he would laugh when

    he found some part of her story amusing or cheer if he agreed with the points she was making. He wanted to find out how she got

    her, if she knew about the chapel on the northern bank of the white river or even if she knew she had an egg-brother that she may

    or may not've been aware of but he decided this could wait until her story came to an end. 


    Khash walked over to Hasir and sat down next to him in an empty chair and locked her eyes on his,

    "Hasir, erm, I could continue with my story, but," she sighed heavily, "I am sure the only part you are concerned with is what

    happened to your mother, yes?" she looked hopefully at him; waiting for a reponse.


    He did nothing for a minute and then swiftly shook his head,

    "Not neccesarily, while I do want to know where my mother went and what she is doing there, I would love to hear more about the

    miredancer tribe and how Under-Roots and Dusk-Scales are getting on." He looked at her, beaming; his tail wrapped around her

    ankle like a boa constrictor that has forgotten how to strangle its victims. 


    Khash hugged him warmly and continued with her story, 

    "So Under-Roots went inside his hut to try and placate the still fuming female Argonian when a knock sounded on the hut, She

    rushed to the door, thinking it was something that could put sun on her scales. In the doorway of the small hut stood her son. A dark

    green skinned Argonian with ivory spines decorating his head instead of hair, poisonous green eyes set deep in dark green sockets."

    She further explained that this Argonian was one of her hatchlings, an Argonian named Talks-To-Himself, age seven, had a female

    standing next to him, smiling, holding his hand in a romantic way so the two hands formed a fist. Khash told Hasir about how the

    two Argonians, one with green eyes and spines on his head and the other with brown eyes, black leaf-like hair entended to her

    shoulders and a bright red patch on her throat. She lent toward Hasir and told him the female's name was Tar-Sakka.


    Hasir's eyes grew wide at this,

    "Didn't the miredancers frown on this inter-tribal relationship?"


    Khash nodded solemnly and rubbed the back of her neck, looking puzled,

    "Yes, what you say is indeed true, it is outlawed; to combat thsi, they decided to have their marriage ceemony is prive so neither

    village would be angry. Now, Argonian marriage ceremonies are not the same as other Tamrieilc ones. Talks-to Himself had to go

    with his so to be Uxith-beeko to a jeweler near neither of their villages and he had to craft a ring for her." 


    It was Hasir's took to look puzzled,

    "Craft a ring? what do you mean?" He asked her


    Khash put a clawed hand on his shoulder and gave him a worried grin,

    "Do you not know the rituals of your people?" Hasir shook his head saying that he was ripped from his homeland when he just

    hatched. Khash looked positively shocked at this, "Oh, well, the ritual involves going to a jeweler, a trade that Argonians are

    naturally good at, and crafting a ring that bears at least one or both tribal sigils. To consumate their marriage, they go to a hist that

    is central to both tribal villages; once there the two Argonians must both cup their hands together and drink deep from the pool in

    front of the hist tree. 


    Hasir nodded even though everthing that Khash said was all tail and scales to him. He did not want to interrupt Khash's story again

    as he did indeed find this interesting and he did not want Khash to having the possibilty of losing her train of thought and not be able

    to put in on the track again. He smiled, sat back in his chair and folded his clawed hands across his chest as he listened intently to

    her story. Khash told him how the two Argonians built their hut in a place not to far from the hist trees where they pledged

    themselves in front of the one who came before. Hasir asked what the village was called. Khash told him it was called mudtree

    village in the land of Shadowfen. She then told Hasir of how they birth four eggs: one egg they lost, died in the hatching process

    leaving three eggs.


    She walked around the inn pointiing to each 'egg' as she told her tale,

    "The female Argonian had three eggs," As she spoke she pointed to three spots as if the inn had somehow turned into the Argonian's

    marriage hut."When they hatched," she told him, "three hatchlings were visible, thhree boys and one girl. The girl had one thing the

    boys did not have," She sat in a chair and folded her arms in her lap, "You see, she had no tail, the mother, though, didn't see this as

    a handicap, no, instead she loved her with the same amount of love she gave the other hatchlings so that when she got older she

    would not feel reproachful towards her parents for being treated differently from the other hatchlings.


    Hasir could smell where this was goiing from a mile off even if Khash couldn't. She told him about how when the tailless Argonian

    was newly hatched, a big burly orc by the name of Marlock knocked on their hut door, saying that he was sent by the Wrothgarian

    government to escort the hatchling to a new home in his city because he said it was his duty to rescue hatchlings thought to be

    neglected and send them away. Tar-sakka, she told him, protested against this saying she was a good mother and would never hurt

    the girl. Marlock snarled at her and went to kill her, forcing Talks-To-Himself the try and shield his wife from the orc's axe but to no

    avail; the crazed orc cut him down like a tree meant for firewood. He closed in on  and led the hatchling out of the swamp, to the

    harbor and booked a ship to Orsinium.


    Hasir saw that Khash had started crying, even though she tried hard to be strong and not let anyone see her cry. Hasir offered her

    his shoulder, she accepted and soaked the black fur with tears. She looked up at Hasir, tear streaks visible on her face,

    "Hasir, that little girl must have been frightened beyond belief to be forcibly ripped away from her mother like that, a mother I bet

    my egg-tooth on was not abusive in any way.

    Hasir patted her on the shoulder while glanced around him at the patrons talking amongst themselves or enjoying nice cold mugs of

    mead. His glance fell upon her again,

    "Khash, quiet down, it will be ok, I am sure your..er..her parents will at least know she is safe now." 


    Hasir gasped and his hand flew to his mouth, there was no denying that the Wamasu was out of the water now. Khash stared at him

    and pushed him. The male Argonian was sent reeling backwards and fell on his tail. He yelped loudly in pain, rubbing his tail with

    one hand while he got his feet, ignoring the shattered bits of what used to be a chair and was met with Khhash's bulging eyes.


    She started poking him hard in the chest and backing him into a corner of the inn,

    "What the tuks was that about Hasir, hmm?" She asked him, "Catch wind of something I am not aware of huh?" Her eyes

    bore into his, "What was the whole 'your parents' thing about, care to tell me that?"


    Hasir swallowed hard as he prepared himself to divulge a bit of Khash's past,

    "Erm, Khash don't take this too hard but the so called 'government official' your protector was, I hate to break your rock hard shell

    but he was actually an assassin sent by the Wrothgarian dark brotherhood to dispose of your father because he had an outstanding

    balance that he had yet to pay them, you see he was a Shadowcaled/ Shadowscales are born-" He began but Khash hit him hard in

    the head with her fist. Hasir toppled over upon impact and again sat on his broken tail.


    Khash stared at him as if he were a disobedient child,

    "I know what a shadowscale is you moron." She bellowed at him, "Why did you not tell me they were my parents were killed by a

    murderer? A person whom I had long believed to be a nice and pleasant orc.

    Hasir gritted his teeth as he got unsteadily to his feet,

    "Yeah well, like it or not you protector IS a murderer, why can't you get your reptilian mind around this?"


    Khash shruuged and slumped in a char by the fire,

    "I do not know, I was just hoping to find out for myself. I can't believe it, my parent's mudered by the darkbrotherhood by the one I

    thought of as my protector?"" She asked, lifting her head up from her arms folded on her lap, "Tusking Damiit, how could I be so

    blind?" She screamed into the inn, that lay silent as the chatter had long since died away as the patrons returned to their homes for

    the night.


    Hasir put a loving hand on her shoulder, forcing Khash to look up, smiling warmly,

    "Listen Khash," He said a note of distaste for her wasteful tears in his voice, "one should not cry for the dead, if we still have

    memories of them then they are still alive. True, their bodies will have returned to nature; turned into fertilzer for new plant life to

    grow" He grasped her other hand squeezing it tight but not so tightly that all blood flow is cut off, "It is only if we forget them or lose

    memories of them either by age or if one loses focus on them do we lose them on the current of time itself, we, er, you mustn't let

    that happen. Hold tight to them Khash, never let their memories leave your minds so that you might contact them in times of



    Khash nodded and got up from her chair hugging Hasir. He looked down and her, tail curly around her ankle,

    "Ready to look on the bright side of life? You have too much going for you to focus all your energy and thoughts solely on you dead

    parents." Hasir paused, feeling Khash's breath ease up as it came in more deep, even breaths, Kash, If you need anything, you know

    you can rely on my right?" Hasir felt the small reptilian head slide up and down against his torso. Hasir was a bit hesitant about what

    he did next because he wasn't sure how she would take it; after a deep breath, he said it,

    "Khash, er, I am not sure you know but I am your brother." He waited for the recoil, it did not come

    Khash looked up, a confused look swam across her face,

    "Huh? oh, yeah, I know, I mean I don't know specifically but I heard my other brother talk about it with my mom. Not being able to

    determine sytax of any part of spoken language yet, I had a difficult time decipherring this but his and my mother'claw movements

    were easy to understand. fzrom them I could decipher that an Argonian male hatchling was born in the city of Stormhold and he and

    were seperated at birth."


    Hasir eyed her with silent wonderment and chuckled,

    "Yeah, My parents handed me over to my aunt and uncle after a neighboring Argonian tribe threatened to burn our land and home

    because of some food shortage brought on by the dunmers. Well, that and that their Mnemic egg was stolen. So Haxara, my thtithik,

    egg bear or mother and naseesh, tribal leader, loaded me, shrouded in a fur cocoon, onto a ship known as the Crimson Scar along

    with my brother and sisters that was bound for a land called Vvardenfell.


    Khash jumped back in shock,

    By the gods, that must have been horrifying, did the hist tree die without its Mnemic egg?"


    Hasir llooked at her and nodded. 

    "Sadly yes, if a hist ttree is separated from its egg, it has not to facilitate the contsant cycle of birth and death, so yes it and any

    Saxhleel, Argonian, connected to it will die."


    His eyes seemed to mist over from the memories that were flooding back to him,

    "My father, Iskenaaz, as well as my mother, stayed back to hold the tribe off, I would never know of the outcome of my tribe because

    I was to undertake the trials of the Whetfang and Shadowscale. I knever even new you until I first laid eyes on you a couple

    months ago when we were bound for Dren's plantation on a slave ship. 

    Hasir patted his egg-sister on the shoulder, grinning,

    "Well, I have to get back to the chapel." He sighed as he turned to leave


    Khash frowned at this rather abrupt parting of the ways,

    "You sure you can't you stay just a little bit longer?"


    Hasir thought on this a minute and a iidea came to him,

    "Why don't you accompany me to the chapel? That way you will not be lonely and I will have someone to talk to on the way, sound

    good?" He looked over to Khash who smiled at this heartwarming gesture. The two Argonians hugged once more, delighted to have

    found each other after so many months alone, and left the inn.


    They walked in silence until Hasir found Hashire tied to the post. He walked over and untied his steed and led it over to where Khash

    stood; a confused look on her face. She pointed at the horse and grimaced asking the Argonian if horses see little lizards as food;

    Hasir shook his head. Khash sighed in relief,

    "That is good, Hasir there is something else, I never, er, rode a horse before." She said looking at the many cobblestones that made

    up the path they were both on.


    Hasir cupped his hands to bost her up, all while breathing in slow, even breaths,

    "I'll teach you, sit behind me and just copy me, ok?" The Argonian nodded nervously as she was boosted up onto the horse. She had

    to fight falling of the horse becase she had never ridden one her life, she had dfficulty keeping her center of gravity. Hasir got up in

    the saddle in front of her, instructed her to hold onto his sides. He grabbed the reins and spurred the horse onwards. 


    Khash screwed her eyes up tight to fight motion sickness that woulld overwhelm her if she could see the speed at with the trees

    were whipping by. The wind did no favors to comfort her; it was biting at every exposed scale it could reach as if it was an enraged

    cliffracer. She heard the hooves clatter over stone and they veer off to the right. As the horse sped across the bridge and ran

    towards its destination, Kash heard the bandits at some towers far off it the distances jeer and make loathesome remarks towards

    her about her missing tail. She could not hear them because her mind was working overtime just to keep all her energy stable so

    she did not fall off the horse. As for Hasir, his mind was on keeping Hashire on course; he could already smell the steel of the chapel.


    At around midday, the two Argonians made it to the horse head statues. Hasir dismounted gracefully, this was more than could be

    said for Khash, she fell face first onto the ground; eyes still clamped shut as they had been the entire journey. Hasir gave her a

    confused look and told her she could open her eyes. She rolled onto her back, swore and opened her eyes; she could not hear the

    rumbling of hooves anymore so that was a plus. She looked up slowly, her eyes tracing the back of the white horse until she saw

    Hasir, tail stretched out behind him, hand against a white-steel panel of the downturned horse head,

    "Thank Hircine, I thought you were stuck like that." He sighed, chuckling a little


    He looked in her direction and had to stifle a giggle as Khash was sprawled on the ground as if she was trying to do a backstroke on

    dry land. Hasir rushed to her side bent down and offered to help her up, Khash grabbed his outstretched hand. As Khash got to her

    feet, she brushed herself of and thanked Hasir for helping her, he told her not to worry about it and that she would do the same

    thing if it was him sprawled on the ground. An amused loook stretched across his face and he fell over, roaring with laughter,,

    "You know, you wouldn't have done that if your eyes were open." He said, rolling on the ground

    She took a rock that lay near her and throw it at him, he dodged this effortlessly,

    "Whoa, easy, I was just having fun, no need to get mad." He said, catching the rock and tossing it back to her


    She did not have his lightning quick reflexes and got hit in the face. The force of the blow was enough to send her rolling across the

    grass, landing, once again, on her face. Hasir rushed over to her and helped her up; this time, however, he did not laugh, but instead

    looked as serious as a heart attack.


    He looked into her beautiful eyes and sighed,

    "You know, your not the only one to do a faceplant off of a horse," She looked at him bewildered, he nodded, "That's right, the first

    few times I rode a horse, I had my share off faceplants; you can laugh, your amongst friends here." He looked around, dishearted,

    Well an estranged brother, anyway."


    He released her as she let out a laugh the rang off of the steel of the statue beside her, making it seem ten times louder than it

    actually was. He smiled back at her,

    "I bet you feel a lot better after belting out out."


    She followed him around to the front of the skyward facing horse head just ten feet from where they once stood. Khash did have to

    admit, she did feel a lot better. Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself once in a while. She knew that now, life was not a total

    crapchute as she once thought it was. While walking she wondered if the two horse heads were somehow connected. She would soon

    have her answer as Hasir grinned at her, slid a panel on the horse's neck aside a press a hidden button. Khash looked stunned as she

    saw the panel slid to the left and the neighboring one slide to the right; the ones on top of these slid to the left and right as well.

    When this was all down, a hole big enough for two grown people to stand in confortably, was visiblle. Hasir stepped in thhe hole

    closely followed by Kash.


    The darkened stairwell beyond was lit up by a tiny ball of light that hovered two inches above Hasir's outstretched hand. The light

    cast dancing shadows on the walls as they descended the now visible greystone staircase. They were now at the wolf door, Khash

    looked up and gasped as she beheld, for the first time, the black and white furred wolf with sapphire-like blue eyes, Hasir's face

    screwed up in thought as he figured out how to open this because the moon wouldn't be up for another couple of hours. Hasir

    lowered his voice and spoke. The language that came out Khash could not understand,

    "Kaju Haj-Ei, Gloor Beeko-Ojel Tsona Vos!"

    As he said this last word, there was a crack that rang out through the cavern, Hasir was shocked that jel could even open this door

    as it was not made be the same material thhat the long-dead ancestors of Blackmarsh. Khash cast a sidelong glance at him and

    asked him what in Oblivion he just said. Hasir told her it was the ancient language that the trees the dotted Blackmarsh known as

    Jel. He said that the Hist taught the Argonians' acestors; That language, he said, was stored in the trunks of the hist along with the

    souls of deceased Argonian and ones that had yet to be birthed. Khash screwed up her face but thought better of it; her face relaxed

    and she decided she would not question Hasir about this now. she did have alot to learn about herself and her racial history.


    She instead asked him what he said, he stared at her if she swore at him,

    "Khash, how can you not know your native tongue?," He asked, "I am shocked that you do not know Jel, did anyone teach you?" She

    frowned and shook her head, Hasir groaned at this, "Er, well, don't worry I teach you as much of Jel as I can. Sound good?"


    Khash smiled and nodded,

    "Great, what was that thing you just said?" She asked, cocking her head at him 


    He looked at her like a deelith would a student,

    "Well, I, er, said 'sacred hiidden eyes I beseech you, give my young outsider friend and I safe passage as we swim through your

    stony waters.' She looked at her with a pained expression and said that is what it roughly means. Jel cannot be easily translated into

    the main Tamrielic languages because the Argonians are not descended from the Elnohfey. He said they instead come from the hist

    and the first treeminders of the Argonian tribes gained the language directly from the hist and dubbed it 'the only language that is

    close to thought."


    She followed him through the newly opened passageway and into the chapel proper. She was in awe as she saw a huge statue of a

    man with a deer head alongside dogs, or were they wolves? Khash did not know or certain. Around the statue were eight high

    backed wooden chairs; each of them were decorated with what looked like wooden antlers for handholds and carved into the backs

    of each chair was a caricature of Hircine's head. Kash looked up to see a high vaulted ceiling formed from a multitude of arches the

    same shade of white as the rest of the cathedral. Khash guessed tah the reason this was underground was to hide it from both

    prying eyes and those who would do it harm while also serviing as a safe haven of sorts.


    She saw that each arch ended on a stained glass window, Upon the stained glass windows were pictures of werewolves; a wolf

    feasting on a stained glass corpse, blood streaming from it, a wolf howling at a blood red moon on another and one of Hircine's

    hounds impaling a man in silver armor upon his own sword. 


    Hasir walked up to her and grinned is a mocking way,

    "So what do you think of this place?" He asked, looking her in the eyes




    She was about to answer when a female voice sounded for  behind Hasir,

    "What do you think you're doing?" He turned and saw Aela, her face as red as her hair


    Hasir had no idea what she was on about, She slid her hands down her face messing up her makeup; we she removed then, Hasir

    could see the fires of Oblivion burning in her eyes. Before he could more than gasp in horro, she had his back against a wall, pinning

    him against it with her immense strength,

    "Don't play dumb with me." She growled, gesturing toward the small Argonian gazed starstruck at the stained glass. "What is she

    doing in here? I thought only lycanthropes only knew how to get in here, well, she is not a lycanthrope, I could smell her 'normalcy'

    when she walked in here. I also again, what is she doing in here?" She screamed, banging Hasir hard on the grey stone.


    Hasir knew there was no use in fighting this any longer,

    "Okay, Aela, you win. I... er... let her in myself." Aela looked at him, mouth agape


    Hasir spent the next five minutes telling Aela that he did not have the resources to open the door like she did so he decided to utter

    words in Jel. Aela slowly lowered him to his feet and asked how in Oblivion he did that? she thought that the only way to open the

    great stone door was by wolf's paw. Hasir shook his head and told her of how his ancestors made similar falsesafes like the door, to

    keep intruders out and the only way to open those doors is for an Argonian or other person versed in Jel to speak certain words

    and that person would be granted admittance.  


    Aela slapped him hard on the cheek, causing Hasir to hiss loudly and fall backwards,

    "You moron, do you have no moral compass, did you even think of what would befall us if you mistakenly let the silver hand in

    here?" She adavanced on hm, forcing him to back blindly into the bench; if he had not felt his backside bump into the wooden seat,

    he would have fallen over, further damaging his broken tail. Aela spewed obscenities even as he sat on the benches, his tail wanting

    to curl around himself. Hasir try to steady his tail with his free claw; the tail, though, seemed to be wanting to break free of its

    confines as it was constantly trying to tear through the leather that bound it. It somehow did manage to break free and curl around

    Hasir as if the tail was trying to comfort him in his time of fearfulness. Hasir snaked a claw behind him and felt his tail, both the scaly

    and bony parts, expecting to feeling fragmented bone pieces. Everything seemed to have healed in a relatively short time. He knew

    it was absurd to think otherwise because Argonians were fast healers, able to heal a broken bone in the tail in a manner of days

    instead of months. He smiled because he knew being a lycanthrope boost that healing factor up some as well. Some bones though

    would still take time to heal, regardless of his accelerated healing factor, such as legs and arms.

    He sat there grinning like an idiot as she approached still red in the face,

    "Aela, don't go around calling people morons, it's not nice." He said, waggling a finger at her. He catapulted himseelf off of the

    bench at her, she gasped, hovering her face with her hands expecting him to land on top of her. He instead landed a few inches

    away from her, "I thought of the ramifications if I let the silver hand in here and, guess what? I asked Khash and she iss on our

    side." He said, giving Aela a knowing smirk. He crept up behind her and shoved her playfully onto one of the benches, laughing while

    he did so. Aela flew, sprawling in the air to land with a muffled thump on the wooden bench behind her. He zig zagged his way

    through the greystone pillars towards her, smiling as he snaked around each pillar. Hasir jumped and landed on the bench beside

    Aela so hard that it nearly sent Aela crashed to the white marble floor.


    Aela looked scathingly at the Argonian who was howling with laughter and added a scowl for good measure. Hasir was too wrapped

    up in having such a good time that he did not see Aela's penetrating stare, could not smell the waves of white hot anger rolling off of

    her. Finally, Aela, fed up by this, clearing her throat noisily causing Hasir to whip his head around at her,

    "Yessss?" He hissed at her


    Aela blasted him on the fact of his blatant idiocy,

    "What if this Argonian was working undercover for the silver hand? what then, you stubborn reptile? Were you just going to let her

    destroy us from the inside? what then?" Hasir shrugeed, "If I or, Hircine forbid, Valjira, find out that she is a sleeper agent, you'll be

    out on your ass begging for scraps, would you want that?" TThey both sat in silence for a time, both daring the other to either

    confirm of deny this. In the end though Hasir crumpled like a wall of mud,

    "No, I would not want that and no, I did not consider the ramifications of my actions," He said, his tail drooping off the bench

    behind him.


    He muttered something inaudible at the ground in which she had to strain to pick up,

    "I'm sorry, what was that?" Aela said, cupping her hand around her ear


    Hasir cleared his throat and said that he just found out a few days ago that he and the fenale Argonian wandering around near the

    altar were seperated by birth. Aela's hardened expression softened as the realization of what he had just said set in. She had not

    understood a word of it but went along for the ride anyway. She asked Hasir how this happened. Hasir told her about how the

    guardians of Argonian souls, the hist trees determine the roles of Argonian souls long before they find a suitable body. 


    Hasir inched closer to the nord and told her if no suitable body is found for a soul then that hist tree 'transfers' the soul onto a

    neighboring hist so that that hist might find a suitable body in it collection of bodies. If a match is found, albeit as an egg, the tree

    dispenses it via a chute at the trunk into a pool of yellow water known as a hatching pool. An egg-tender is chosen to watch after the

    egg until it hatches. He shrugged and said that the female Argonian must've undergone that transference because the memory in

    the Stormhold hists must've been full, meaning they could not hold any more Argonian consciousnesses.


    Aela said she did not care of any 'transferences', she just want to know if the Argonian was a silver hand spy sent to gather intel and

    send it back to them. Hasir sighed, shook his head and callled for Khash to come over and meet the fiery haired nord. Khash agreed

    and practically ran to where her brother and the nord sat, squeezing in between them,

    "Hi, my name's Khash, pleased to meet you," she said beaming at Aela, "and you are?" She literally sat on the edge of her seat

    waiting for the nord to reply. She let this sink in before her wolf got the best of her and tearing this Argonian, whom she still thought

    to be a spy, limb from limb.

    Aela stared at her coldly while narrowing her eyes dangerously,,

    "Nice to meet you too, here to kill werewolves are you?" She growled through clenched teeth


    Khash did not know what to say about this. She knew that she wasn't a spy; if she was, she wouldn't walk in as if she were there for

    a casual visit, she would've blasted her way in with silver crossbow at the ready. She just scoffed at this rather brash accusation and

    seethed in silence. Hasir found this a prime time to talk more about Kassamae, where she had gone and why she was there. Khash

    told him more of the reason why Kassamae fled the swampy continent. Hasir gawked at the female Argonian. Khash told him to

    shut his mouth as he was letting flies in.


    Khash grinned as she told Hasir that she wished she had met Kassamae before the shameful act that befell her parents. Khash was

    taken away from the village of Mudtree before she could so much as catch a glimpse of her. Khash did return after she was old

    enough to venture outside of the city of Wrothgar. HAsir was about to ask what his estranged egg-sister was doing but Khash held up

    a hand to silence him,

    "Wait until my tail is finished." She said


    Hasir sat back and let her continue. Khash smiled in appreciation and launched into her tale,

    "I later returned to the small bright throat tribal village in Stormhold where I met Kassamae who came to my old hatching hut." She

    looked to Hasir and dared him to interrupt her, he didn't. "Kassamae, your mother, was talking to Iskenaaz..." she tailed away,

    looking at Hasir, saying that it was his father. Hasir scowled at her and said, absentmindly that he figured that out for himself.

    "Anyway, I heard your parents talking in hushed voices about the ancient civilization that predated the present day Saxhleel. 


    Khash told Hasir about how the ancient lizards worshipped neithert the hist nor Sithis, as the Argonians of the present do but they

    were afraid of Sithis and to this end, they built huge stone pyramids known as Xanmeer and huge stone cities to stave off the

    destruction that they believed Sithis would bring if they went a day without performing their appeasatory rituals. Khash told the

    Argonian that Kassamae and her husband talked at length about this unnerving fact.