C.O.T.W Chapter 57: The Way of the Voice

  • The khajiit got up abruptly, swung his legs over the edge of his bed and told the argonian how he, himself, went to Vaermina's realm

    with Aela during that night at the nordic mead hall. He left out the bits of him being unconscious for most of the journey into his



    Inigo drew a deep breath and spoke quite plainly,

    "I, er, well Aela and I went inside the Quagmire and had to fight numerous changing nightmares that taught me valuable lessons and

    did not release me until I did." He teetered on his heels looking at Hasir, "I must've, er, left the realm with some residual energy

    that  must've clung to my fur." Inigo mimed itching his fur and wiping something small and irritating off of his furred armor.


    Haasir closed the book and leapt off of his bed,

    "So, did the dragon escape from the realm and the doomstrider as well?" Hasir asked him curiously


    Inigo scratched his furry head, looking nonplused,

    "What dragon? I don't remember running into any dragon in my nightdream."


    Hasir told him of the dragon that he encountered on what he thought was a test put forth by the greybeards. Inigo smiled and shook

    his head saying that he had no idea of this but he was sure the greybeards did not do this. He smirked at Hasir and asked him if

    their beards are really grey or if they are wearing fake ones to make people think they are famous know-it-alls. Hasir said he was

    not sure and jokingly said that he will make it a point to tell them the next time they met.


    Inigo chuckled heartily at this last bit and told him the doomstrider is a being of miasma borne from the Quagmire. Hasir asked him

    how he was sure. The khajiit smiled at him and said that he had seen the purplish creature while he and Aela were in the realm. The

    khajiit smirked at the argonian and told him that the doomstrider, before exiting the realm, had its pick of Skyrim's inhabitants.

    Hasir looked at Inigo and became startled somewhat as he could see a glimmer of black at the corner of one of his eyes. Inigo

    furrowed his eyebrows and stared at the Argonian like he had said something that was beyond the khajiit's comprehension. The

    khajiit asked him what was wrong. The Argonian told him that he had something in his eye and he reaced up a clawed figure and

    prodded the khajiit in the eye to make sure it was not a bit of dust. Inigo shouted in pain and wrench the clawed hand away from his


    ""Hasir, what are you doing? Trying to gouge my eye out? Get off you stupid Argonian." He said, his eyes flashing red


    Hasir's mind turned back to the black khajiit in his dream, he had red eyes. Inigo advanced on him and, briefly, Inigo;s face

    dissapeared and that red eyed, black furred khajiit flickered into place and Hasir gasped and backed away slowly from the enraged

    khajiit. He did not feel his bed and feel onto the furred bedspread. 


    The black furred khajiit was still coming; the Argonian reecoiled into himself drawing his tail so close to him that he looked like a

    green-scaled disc. The black khajiit reached down causing Hasir to withdraw further into the fur laden bed. The Argonian looked up,

    expecting to see the red eyes of the doomstrider, he, however saw the normal pumpkin-like eyes and blue furred head of his feline



    Inigo smiled worriedly at him,

    "My friend what is wrong? Did I scare you?" he asked, looking sidelong at the coiled Argonian


    The Argonian sat up, chest heaving and told the khajiit, who sat down next to him, that he backed away from him because he saw a

    black furred khajiit with red eyes momentarily replace Inigo. The khajiit suddenly lowered his head clearly ashamed of himself. Ingo

    muttered something about him not wanting to let the Doomstrider out anymore. Hasir looked at him and asked if the Doomstrider,

    for him, was like the werewolf for the Argonian. The khajiit muttered to himself again saying that he did not think that the Argonian

    realized the rammifications of the Doomstrider vs. Werewolf dilemna. 


    The Argonian was about to argue this point when the khajiit cut across him and said that the should get some sleep, so they

    undressed, put their respective armors near their respective beds, and got into bed and fell alseep in no time at all.

    The next day came with the warm sun shining down through the arrow slit windows that dotted the upper half of the room. Hasir

    opened his eyes, yawned and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. He swung his legs over the bed, got up and put his armor on piece by

    piece. Hasir saw that Inigo was mimicking the same exact movement that he had done. Inigo got dressed and they walked together

    out of their room. They heard footsteps echoing through the hall and heard Angeir's voice, which echoed down the hallway,

    "Dragonborn, today is your true final test, prepare yourself. Once you are ready, meet me in the courtyard." He said, smiling as he

    came into view.


    Inigo and Hasir walked into the main room and saw Ocheeva and Tigress coming from their rooms in the west wing of the

    monastery. They walked down the stair and met Hasir and Inigo and went through the double doors together. Inigo, Tigress and

    Ocheeva took their place on the bench near the double doors. Hasir walked toward Angeir in the center of the courtyard,

    "Ah, dragonborn, finally you arrive, good, good" He said, nodding his head slowly.


    The Argonian looked up at the sky,

    "So what is my final test? More dragons?" he asked, confused


    Angeir shook his head and told the Argonian that the test will require extensive use of the unrelenting force and whirlwind sprint

    shouts. Hasir gazed in awe as Angeir raised his hands and conjured gates, much like the ones at the end of the courtyard, all around

    the courtyard at various intervales and then conjured seven ghosts,


    "Dragonborn, this is your final test, manuver through the gates using your voice and likewise knock the ghosts into the targets

    behind them." Hasir guessed there was more to this because with the greybeards things were never easy. "You are quite right,

    dragonborn, er, Tigress can you put three minutes on the clock please?" The ka'oo'tun said she will remember the time.


    Angeir yelled for someone to count Hasir down,

    "3...2...1...go, my friend, go." The indigo khajiit yelled from the bench 


    Hasir shot past the started like and the first set of gates opened and Hasir moved fast through the gate and blasted the ghost

    backwards with his voice. The second gate opened and Hasir blew through it, knocking the second ghost into the target shattering it

    to pieces. Hasir finally got the pattern down-blow through a gate and knock the ghost into a target. He did the next gate and target

    with a grace only an Argonian could supply. He narrowed his eyes and prepared himself with a deep intake of breath,

    "Fus ro d-" He began but his mind let go of the words as he heard a great rumbling sound and he looked up. His eyes went wide as

    he saw huge meteors fall from the sky.


    He looked over to Angeir who was smiling self-satisfactorily to himself having successfully casting the meteor storm shout,

    "I added a wrinkle to your trial, see if you can quickly get through the course while dodging the flaming rocks." He thought on this

    more, "either that or you can use unrelenting force to try to shatter the rocks." 


    Hasir groaned sliding his hand down his face,

    "By Hircine you're not going to make this easy are you?" He asked, laughing all while narrowing his eyes and smirking, "right

    then, bring it on."


    The sky burped red, flaming rocks that made his progress forward difficult; he waiting for both the gate to open and a small receess

    in the constantly falling meteors. He saw the opening and he dashed forward like all the wind was at his tail, took out his bow and

    shot an arrow through the ghost which carried it toward the raised platform the target stood on, it shattered upon the arrow's

    contact with it. Hasir smirked slyly and shot past the remaining four gates between the states of opening and closing. He shot the

    remaining four summoned targets into the remaing targets that were lined up in a straight line from the middle edge of the

    courtyard to the edge of the mountain. hen he was done, he ran in a huge half-circle back to the snowy finish line draw at Angier's



    The greybeard turned and walked to Tigress and asked how quick Hasir was on his final trial. The ka'po'tun told Angeir that Hasir

    did  well enough. Angeir wanted to know the time, not how he did. The ka'po'tun did not flinch when the greybeard raised his voice

    to ask again how he peformed on his trial.


    Tigress took a deep breath,

    "Four minutes." She said smiling


    Hasir tumped his tail in triumph and punched the air,

    "Ha! I knew it, I could do better...but, by Oblivion I'll take it." He said eyes wide disbelieving of his quick timing


    He turned to his mother and gave her a smile and a wink. She knew what he meant by this as she moved eever closer to him and

    settled her paw upon his shoulder, held him at arms length as if she were examining him and pulled him into a warm embrace,

    "Good job sweetheart, I am so proud of you." Hasir gave her a worried look. Tigress asked if he was ok.


    Hasir nodded and slid his tail along the floor so that it tickled her ankle,

    "Am I a shadowscale now?" He asked her slyly


    Hasir expected the greybeard to come behind him and present him with a crown and sash saying 'Hasir the newest shadowscale.'

    like he were in some Tamriel beauty pageant but it was not to be as Angeir did come up behind him, Hasir felt the greybeard's hot

    breath on his scaly green neck and instead of a crown and sash all he got was a 'well done dragonborn' from the grey robed and

    bearded nord. Hasir had to fight feelings of dissapointment as feelings of positively lay buried underneath that and struggled to

    spread warm throughout his entire body.

    "Thank you Angeir, I will bear the rank of shadowscale with pride." He said with his chest puffed out like he was important though he

    knew he was a mere plaything in a tuf of war of sorts between daedra for their own amusement; a fact he did not relish. True, he did

    revere Hircine moreso than Molag Bal, thiis new cosmic force know as the doomstrider and all the other daedra. He also revered

    Kynareth but only because she was interrtwined with Hircine as brother and sister. He, though, did not place her before the wolflord.

    In his mind, neither trumps the other; they are both on a cosmic seesaw that is flattened out. He had not told his mother nor the

    greybeard of this relationship of Hircine and Kynareth and he would like it to be kept that way. He was not sure how they would feel

    about an aedra 'fraternizing' with her natural enemy.


    Angier and Tigress bowed their heads in acknowledgement. Ocheeva walked over, spread her arms wide, bowed her heaad, tail

    snaking behind her,

    "Lady and gentleman," She smiled at Inigo who had stood up and walked beside him and beaming madly, "I give you the newest

    member of trained assassins of Argonia, the shadowscales, Hasir....er," She looked sideways at him, "Do you have a surname?"


    Hasir looked at her nonplused,

    "What?" He asked, a bit annoyed that she interrupted the ceremony


    Ocheeva looked at him angrily,

    "By Sithis, you really are dumb," She smacked his ankle with her tail. He gave a yelp of pain, "Ow! What was that for? Hsss!"

    Ocheeva scuffed at him. She asked him again what his surname was. He gave Inigo a questioning glace.


    Inigo looked back at him, smiling,

    "She means a last name, well...do you have one my friend?" He asked


    Hasir shook his head,

    "The eggminders never gave me one." He said

    Ocheeva nodded appreciatively,

    "Thank you, erm, if you would like we can give you one." She was looking at him now, eyes smiling sweetly. Hasir said that he

    would  like that. Ocheeva stared to walk around him but stop at his backside. She told him that he not need one, though an inclusion

    of a last name would facilitate the ceremony. Hasir thought about this and said that he did not need one. She told him to suit himself

    and  continued with the ceremony, "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the newest member of trained assassins of Argonia, Hasir." 


    She grinned widely and clapped, soon, she was joined by Tigress, Angeir and Inigo. Hasir turned to him and asked, eyebrows


    "This is all and good, but, erm, what did you turn up about the dragonpriest named Krosis?"


    Angeir turned to him and told him that he studied the mask and besides the strange enchantment, he found a folded map that was

    wedged between the nosepiece and one of the corners of the mask; he had to prise the yellowing map out of the mask and unfolded

    it. He told the group at large about the location of the remaining masks they will need to procure if they are to have a chance of

    stopping Mola Bal and his nefarious plot to eradicate lycanthropes.


    Hasir looked sideways at him,

    "Hang on, I thought that the doomstrider was our primary target."


    Angeir shook his head and told the young Argonian to not let the wool be pulled over his eyes so easily; to look past the easiy

    answer and find the one that makes the most sense. He said that Vaermina only serves to be a clever distraction that they cannot

    see the path ahead but if he clears his mind of all distraction the way forward will become clear.

    Hasir thought hard on this, wrinkling his forehead,

    "If I understand correctly...Molag Bal took our wolf spirits and placed a piece of each of them in the dragonpriest masks?"


    Angeir said he hit the nail on the head with that assumption and if he was to fight Molag Bal properly he would have to retrieve not

    only the masks here on Skyrim but also the ones on the isle of Solstheim as well. He handed the map he pulled from the mask from

    beneath his robe and handed it to Hasir,

    "If you are going to undertake this test you will need this." He announced despite the Argonian's confused expression


    Hasir took the mask and put it up to his face, eager to regain his bipedal wolf form that was cruelly ripped away from him and the

    members who were actually in the circle; he knew to them he was still a whelp needing to prove himself to them, and the harbinger.

    Both Angeir and Tigress said they did not recommend what the Argonian was about to do. Hasir lowered the mask and eyes the nord

    and ka'po'tun with some comprehesion,

    "Why not? Will I turn skeletal or something?" He Asked


    He shuttered to think of his scales and muscles beneath them falling away so that he would be nothing more than a walking

    skeleton. He shook this rather unsettling tought off and raised the mask to his face; when the mask was a inch from his face it

    latched on like a face hugger would a marine from the alien movies. His eyes misted over and gave a muffled scream as his body

    shook involuntarily. Unsupported because of his constant shaking as if he was in a seizure, he collapsed to the ground and continued

    to convulse involuntarily. Flecks of foam were visibly bubbling down from Hasir's mouth. Inigo turned and saw his friend in distress.


    He ran over pushing aside the nord and ka'po'tun who were huddled around him. Inigo saw the offending mask which was obviously

    causing the distress and tugged at the mask but it did not come away. The khajiit looked at him and tried a different approach.

    Gritting his teeth he grabbed the mask with both hands and pull as hard as he could; this only served to send the khajiit flying

    backwards into a stone wall by the double doors. The khajiit got up a little dazed and coaxed Angeir and Tigress to join him in the

    process of extracting the mask from the convulsing Argonian.


    They yanked as hard as they could, but the mask stood quite resolute. On their third attempt, they succeeded in prising the mask of

    and the mist cleared from Hasir's eyes. The mask flew through the air and clattered on the snowy ground a foot from the throng

    gathered around the Argonian, eyes flitting between the nord and ka'po'tun anxiously. 

    "What happened?" he asked looking up at them


    Inigo opened his mouth to speak on the onlookers' behalf,

    "You were convulsing like a fish out of water, my friend, it was terrifying." He said, eyeing his friend with wide, concerned eyes.


    Angeir said this was true but he was leaving something out. Inigo asked what it was and the greybeard shot his a disapproving look,

    "You forgot to mention about the mask you idiot." The khajiit looked like he was about to cry; the greybeard told him to stop being

    such an overly sensitive kitten. In reponse the khajiit huffed in anger, folded his arms and turned away from him.


    The greybeard turned his attention back to Hasir,

    "So sorry about that, I was having...a catfight. Anyway, what Inigo neglected to tell you was that there were catastrophic, erm,

    consequences when you put on the mask." Hasir's face screwed up in confusion and asked how catastrohpic the event was to which

    the greybeard repliied that when Hasir put on the mask there was a premature mixing of the two souls within him and the one in the



    Hasir screwed up his face in thought as he tried to put what had happened to him in some kind of sensible order,

    So what you're saying is," He began with some effort, "is that when I put on the mask there was a combustion of sorts when my

    partial wolf soul." He said in a confused tone.


    The greybeard smiled broadly and nodded,

    "Precisely, by my count there are four out of the five companions in need of their proper wolf forms and ten masks, well you

    already have Krosis, so that leaves nine masks, one left for you to find to regain your bipedal wolf form and eight for the others to

    find, two to each person." He had to double check this to see if his math was correct, in the end he confirmed it was.


    Angeir turned to the Argonian, a perplexed look etched on his aged faced,

    "Hasir come over here," he said, beckoning the young Argonian over to the bench where Ocheeva previously sat though she had

    long since gone inside the monastery, "er, before you move forward with this task, there I something I wish to know. If you want

    your wolf form to return to it's former glory you will have to sacrifice your other gift." The greybeard turned to the Argonian and saw

    the shock in his eyes as though he were asking the Argonian to sacrifice one of his best friends to save another's life, "My question

    is...will you be willing to do this? I can understand if you have...reservations about doing this."


    Hasir shook his head as though he was shaking off some annoying fly,

    "I have no problem with doing this, its just-" He glanced at the ground avoid eye contact with Angeir 


    Angier sat wondering what in Oblivion was going through his head, finally he turned to the Argonian, 

    "It's just--what?" He asked, concern playing on his face now


    Hasir twiddled his thumbs with a look of a wolf who had just been told its pup died in a hunt,

    "Well, my bat blood is as much a part of my as, say, my tail is. I don't think I want to do this as it seems like a fool's errand at this

    point." He took in Angeir's puzzled expression, "You know a pointless endeavor. I know for a fact my bat soul will try to fight if we

    seperate it." He gave the greybeard a weary smile followed by a heavy sigh, "I've just one question will my soul reain intact after we

    remove it or will I be caught in a kind of limbo with only half of my soul?"

    Tigress reached over to Hasir and put a paw on his shoulder,

    "As far as my eperience with souls go, you will not have to suffer a half life. No, you will remain intact and your inner emotional

    battle will still rage on whilst you will no longer have to deal with your bat blood hindering you from your destiny." As she said this,

    she smiled. 


    Hasir looked sideways at her,

    "What is my destiny, if I may ask?" He asked inquisitively


    Tigress shrugged and flashed her eyes at him,

    "I have no idea, son, that is something you have to find on your own. Just like everyone else has to find their own way and how they

    fit into the world of Nirn." She got up and went inside the monastery, bidding the greybeard goodnight and bade Hasir and Ocheeva

    to follow her, they did. 


    Once inside the sanctuary, the party went into their respective rooms. When Hasir arrived in his and Ingo's room he already found

    the khajiit alseep with his armor laying against the wall beside the bed. Hasir's tail curled upon itself like a snake as he heard the

    khajiit's rythmic breathing. He decided it was time for him to get some sleep as well; after all, he did have a rather eventful day with

    him finally being named shadowscale. 


    As he lay in his bed he thought to himself By Hircine, what took so damn long? He closed his eyes as sleep finally took him.