C.O.T.W Chapter 65: Of Hist and Wolf

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    Hasir trudged miserably behind Kodlak up to the carved wooden doors and followed Kodlak inside. He walked over to the horseshoe

    table and saw Kodlak and Aela sitting before the firepit with arms crossed, beaming at him. Hasir screwed his face up as he saw the

    twins sitting beside Aela, with two tankards in front of them. Obviously mead He thought; he'd never tasted the stuff before. He

    sauntered over to the two nords and placed his good hand on Vilkas' shoulder while grinning at the two nords,

    "Hey guys, erm, what are you drinking?" He said, looking from one nord to the other

     

    Vilkas's face screwed up in confusion; he had no idea how anyone could not know about mead,

    "Were you born under a rock or something?" he gestured to the amber liquid filled tankard, "this is mead, here try it." The tankard

    skiddered across the table to Hasir's waiting open right hand. He threw his head back as the honeyed liquid slid out of the tankard

    like a lava flow out of red mountain. Vilkas and Farkas looked over as they saw his pupils dialate and retract. The two brothers

    chuckled as the Argonian fell forward and hit his head on the table edge. 

    Aela jumped up and rushed over to the unconscious Argonian with a deep gash in his forehead. She stood up forcefully and shot

    daggers at the her shield-brothers and shook her head in extreme disapproval; she knew her brothers were stupid, but she'd never

    thought they would sink this low.

     

    She stared at the armored jackals who stared blankly back at her as though this was amusing to them,

    "You guys sure are thick, why would you even give mead to someone who, as he said and I quote, 'I had never tried the stuff

    before'?" You two," She said angrily, pointing at each of the brothers, "are fucking morons. Now help me get him to the undercroft

    before Tilma finds out." The nord siblings did not move, Aela cast a scathing look in their direction, "Did I stammer? Do it now before

    we all feel the business end of Tilma's mop!"

     

    The brothers scrambled off of their chairs and hurried over to Hasir gasping his arms and legs, hauling him like he were an entire

    crate of mead, over to the steps and headed down the stairs to the cavernous undercroft. When they entered the undercroft, the two

    nords turn right toward a door at the end of the hall near the bedroom where most of the whelps slept. Farkas tried to turn the knob

    but it did not budge; he ran at the door and rammed into it with his shoulder; he yelped in pain as he bounced off of the door,

    "Brother, your shoulder is better suited for swordfighting." He said, falling onto the floor, laughing 

    Farkas received a sharp punch in his already bruised shoulder for his brash, and stupid, action. A jingling of keys forced them to turn

    around as they saw the mead hall maid approaching them, grinning. She looked over at Farkas, who was still rubbing his shoulder

    vigorously,

    "So, I heard fthrough the grape vine that you guys have enounter the nortorius 'locked room'." She said, smirking at them

    flirtatiously

     

    Farkas and Vilkas set Hasir on the bench near them and asked Tilma why the room was classified as 'the locked room.' She sighed

    and was about about to answer them when she saw the paralyzed form of Hasir just thrown on the bench as if he were a discarded

    bit of lumber. She rounded on the two nords who were obviously trying to hide something, brandishing her mop at them,

    "Ok, someone explain what is going on here... now! If no one admits to doing it then I start cracking skulls." She tapped her mop

    handle as if it were a billyclub, "So no one has anything to say? Right then, batter up!"

     

    Farkas and Vilkas's hands fle instinctively to the their heads as the handle rapped them smartly on their heads,

    "Ow, stop it, you daft she witch." Farkas said as he looked at her in shocked betrayal


    She stared at him like an axe murderer staring down her next couple of victims, complete with the murderous intent in her eyes,

    "Tell me what you did and maybe if it is of sound reasoning I will consider lowering my weapon, so...what...exactly...happened?" She

    punctuated each word with multiple blows from her mop handle.

     

    Vilkas stared at his brother who just stared back equally as dumbstruck as he was; After a few minutes of this, Farkas broke the

    silence into pieces tha shattered all around them,

    "Okay, so what happened was Hasir had never tried mead before and we thought it would be prudent to let Hasir give the mead a go

    since he had never tried the beverage before much to Aela's disapproval and he drank it and, as expected, he got drunk

    immediately, falling forward and smacking his head on the table in the main hall." He turned to his brother and muttered something

    inaudible to Vilkas, who sniggered,

    "Farkas, I am apalled at you, calling Hasir a 'milk drinker'." Tilma fumed, "Just because his alcohol tolerance is different to yours

    does not mean you can pull pranks like that on him or call him hurtful names behind his back.

     

    Farkas was stunned. How could the maid hear as well as the companions do? But then he remembered; she had been with them

    ever since they were children. She also knew that they would often like to pull pranks on the other people at the mead hall. Farkas

    shrugged as Tilma asked them why they need to get in the bathroom so badly, the nord said that Hasir might come out of his

    unconscious state if they dunk him in the bathtub; upon hearing this, a wide grin broke out on Tilma's lined and aged face,

    "A bath would be a good antidote for a drunken lizard, not perfect mind you, but good, carry on." She said as she moved past them

    and unlocked the door.

     

    They thanked her; She smiled to herself as she disappeared to the hall's upper floor. Making sure the coast was clear, Vilkas

    took a quick glance behind him and, seeing that it was safe, grabbed the Argonian and proceeded into the bathroom.

    As Vilkas and his shield brother passed by the door with nordic symbols carved into the wooden frame, Vilkas his hand across it;

    feeling the bumps and cravaces in the wood. His brother made a sound, Vilkas looked in his direction; he had never been in this

    room before with an ancient dragonclaw-footed tub with a wolfhead-shaped shower head with similar if not smaller wolf heads on

    the tabs for the water. Farkas and Vilkas looked at each out and smiled conspiratorially; they swung Hasir back and forth like a

    reptilian pendulum and heard a loud clatter as the Argonian's body made contact with the metal tub. Vilkas sniggered as he made

    his way to the 'hot' tab and turned it on.

     

    A few moments later, the air was thick with loud hisses and screams that reverberated around the room. After a few horrible

    moments, the sounds stopped, Hasir took a few rattling breaths as he edged away from the hot water and clung to the edge of the

    tub like soap scum,

    "By the hunting grounds! You moronsss, have you tried to poissson me?" He asked, hissing at them in anger. The nords backed

    away toward the back wall to try and get as far away as possible away from the Argonian as his fiery temper.

     

    Hasir hopped out of the tub and advanced on the nords that were doing their best deer in carriage lights impression. They expected

    the Argonian to flay them alive. He summoned his flame whip iin his hand, forcing the two nords to cower; Hasir grabbed the knob

    with the whip and attempted to turn it off. Instead, the knob flew off like a cork of a bottle of flin. Hasir's eyes went wide as he saw

    the water level rise within the tub. 

     

    The Argonian smelled it before he saw it,

    "Oh shit, well, that doesn't sound good." The water had evelated past the tub's limits and began spilling over the edges and started

    the flood the bathroom.

    Tilma heard the sound of rushing water somewhere in the undercroft. She rushed downstairs to see what it was; she found Hasir

    sitting in the pool of water that spanned from the tub  to the wall where the nords still cowered. She looked from the nords to the

    carefree Argonian, lips pressed tighly together,

    "By the gods, how did a foot deep hole appear in the bathroom floor?" The petrified nords pointy two trempling index fingers at the

    soaking wet Argonian. She rounded on Hasir like a hawk on a nest intruder; the two nords were allowed to leave and eat their dinner

    that was waiting for them in the main hall while she stuck out a hand, blocking Hasir's path as he attempted to walk out behind

    them. 

     

    She stared indignantly at Hasir who attempted to shrink in the dirt floor,

    "So, Hasir, the two nords suggested that you did this, well? did you?" She asked, her chin upturned

     

    Hasir gulped loudly and nodded. Tilma lent down and grabbed a handful of Hasir's hair causing him to cry out in pain,

    "Due to your ignorance, we either need a you to craft a new handle of the tub or find a way to hammer the original handle back on."

    Hasir muttered something under his breath. Tilma asked angrily what he had said; Hasir told her and was unprepared for what the

    maid did next. Tilma raised her mop high in the air and hammered Hasir's skull with it several times. She raised her broom again

    and the Argonian was afraid she would hit her again so he summoned the lava whip again, gripped it in his hands and lashed out at

    the maid's broom, snapping it in half.

     

    Tilma stiffened as she stared unbelievingly at him,

    "What in Oblivion did you just do? Answer truthfully or else I will get my mop." She said, threateningly

     

    Hasir hissed a sigh, lowering his head in defeat,

    "I snapped your mop with my fire magic, the same magic I used for flooding the bathroom."

     

    The maid was livid; she asked the Argonian to explain the 'fire magic' of which he spoke. Over the next few hours, Hasir explained

    the ancient akavirian art of battlespirit which he had learned from his master on Akavir. He told her that's what the beings trained in

    that art are called.

    'Dragonknight?' What's that? a special breed of dragon?" Tilma stared bug-eyed at Hasir, hoping he would answer. After a long

    silence, he did; he told her all of the battlespirit elements used to create a dragonknight and the rigorous training involved. Tilma

    looked thoughtful at all of this,

    "Hmmm... interesting you say something about training because tomorrow you will start your weapons training." Hasir gaped at her. 

     

    "Wasn't 'the trial of the new bloods' my offical training?' He asked her inquisitively

     

    She waved her hands in front of her head, laughing mirthfully,

    "No, that was only the trial to induct you as a whelp to the companions, think of it as an entry test." She said, smiling at him, "this is

    no test you will undergo, but part of a training regimen that all companions undertake... at least that's what Kodlak told me." She

    said, rubbing her temple with a finger as if trying to remember something, "Anyway, enough talking for now, off to bed with you."

    She looked confused at Hasir's raised eyebrow, "Ermmm... you will be sleeping in the whelps' bedroom for now, until we can get you

    a more permanent room here in the hall. Now off you go."

     

    Hasir made for the exit but Tima stopped him and said he can rest after he mopped up the bathroom up. It took almost the whole

    night, mostly because he had to do it with one arm, but Hasir was finally finished. The maid looked it over, smiled and released him.

     

    Hasir thanked her and bounded off for the whelp's bedroom situated near the bathroom. Hasir eyes widened as he saw the room

    with its six or seven furred beds and two dressers: one on the far side of the room and the other next to where Hasir stood. Hasir

    glanced over to it and found a green apple on top with a note attached; Hasir picked up the piece of parchement and read it. Since

    you missed dinner, here's an apple, Vilkas. When he finished reading, he set it down and hissed appreciatively,

    "Thank Hircine and Kynareth for this." He picked up the apple and bit into it; it tasted savory and sweet, being berated by Tilma

    somehow made the apple taste that much better.

     

    He suddenly felt dreary but at least he wasn't hungry anymore. He walked over to one of the furred beds and flopped down into it,

    too tired to undress. He removed his arm from the sling gently so as to not feel any jolts of pain and set the length of leather on the

    nightstand beside him. The events of today weighed heavy on his minds including what Tilma had told him about them starting

    weapon training tomorrow. He rolled over and fell asleep. 

    A strange realm swam behind Hasir's closed eyelids, he felt himself falling slowly toward the land, Upon getting closer, Hasir saw that

    it was Tamriel and yet somehow it wasn't. It had swamps and mountains, the same as the Tamriel province known as Blackmarsh

    but, at the same time, it had otherwordly trees that stood on their roots which vanished underground where Hasir guessed they

    burrowed through soil that lay deep beneath him; the trees had thick bark were thick as a man's thigh, from Hasir's position in mid

    fall, could see lights among the tree branch and could hear voices whispering within the bark, were they trapped? How am I hearing

    them? Did the mead have lasting effects? Hasir thought; he didn't know whether this was the truth or not. 

     

    As he got to his feet, he beheld the beauty of the realm; the lights that Hasir saw before were actually small bioluminescent

    creatures gliding along the branches of the trees. As his eyes adjusted, Hasir saw, six miles to the north, a huge tree with branches

    reaching skyward like ancient Argonians praying to Sithis. Hasir wondered if this was a dream as he looked down and moved his left

    arm; he found it no longer broken. At that moment of expecting pain and finding there wasn't any left no doubt in Hasir's mind that

    this entire thing was a dream.

     

    Hasir looked left and right; mmore thick-trunked tress stood on each side of him standing on their roots like the far north tree had

    done. Next to the trees Hasir saw some reptilian beings sitting in a semicircle around each tree standing in a straight line leading to

    the point where the tree Hasir saw before stood. Hasir looked back to the beings sitting around the tree to his right. These

    'Argonians'-though they looked nothing like any Argonian Hasir had seen-were wearing some rather odd tan robes with tribal

    symbols on them outlined in bone and other adorments.

     

    Hasir inched closer to the semicircle, careful to stay out of sight, and saw the Argonian in the center had a strange helmet on its

    head; everyone else around the lizard had paler looking tan robes in contrast to the bright tan robe that the center Argonian had.

    Hasir heard the faint whispering again and he ripped his attention away from the tan robed beings and followed the sound to the

    large tree Hasir had first seen on his descent.

    Upon reaching the tree, one of the Argonians tending to it looked up,

    "Greetings friend, what brings you to this particular realm of Oblivion?"

     

    Hasir furrowed his brow,

    "I'm sorry... realm of-?" He was at a loss of words, the only realm he had seen was the hunting grounds and this was a farcry from

    the grassy fields and endless mazes

     

    The female Argonian bowed deeply and noddeed,

    "Oblivion, yes, "she said, presenting the realm as if she was a reptilian tour guide, "this is the realm of the hist-at least that is the

    common tongued name for it-in our native language of jel it is called 'Thtithil Uxith' Which translates to 'egg-nest' which is

    essentially the same thing." The cyan shade walked closer to Hasir, "This realm is hidden to Lukiul and Mahleel." Hasir stared at her

    apparently not follwing. Her cyan cheeks turned a lovely shade of crimson, "that is what we Saxhleel call humans. She craned her

    neck, studying him up and down, "So you must be neither, ermmm... how did you get here exactly?" 

     

    Hasir shook his head in denial; Hissing in annoyance, running a hand down his face

    "Look, we can flap our gums all night but I have a reason for being here,"

     

    He turned and pointed to the tree next to her,

    "Er, what is that tree beside you?" He asked

     

    She stared at him in shock and placed her hands on her hips, Hasir was amazed to see that they did not go through her hips,

    "By the hist, you really don't know your homeland very well, do you?" She said, shaking her head

     

    Hasir shook his head again in denial. He had no idea what she was getting at and he still was no nearer his goal that when he had

    got here nor was he any nearer to knowing what that tree was called. The cyan spector bowed again as she had introduced herself to

    the shocked Argonian,

    "Xuth, where are my manners? I am, er, was called Teetaka the sap speaker of the dead-water tribe." She turned to the tree and ran

    her cyan-colored hand over the rough, sand-paperish surface, "I was killed when Mehrunes Dagon invaded Blackmarsh in the

    second era; the hist transformed everyone in my time to take on the forces of Oblivion but they missed a few Saxhleel-myself

    included-moments later, I was buried at the foot of my village hist and I was reincarnated a few moments later."

     

    The living Argonian groaned and slid his hand down his face again,

    "I was looking for help not your entire fucking life story." He spat at her angrily

     

    The cyan spector apologized and conjured a basin with some strange amber liquid in it and instructed him to drink deeply; Hasir did

    so. The realm seemed to brighten, Hasir found he had to shield his eyes as the realm grew exponentially brighter. The tree moved

    upon its roots towards Hasir, or at least in Hasir's drugged state, thought it had moved.

     

    The tree spoke to him-well actually the ancestral spirits within the tree did,

    "Greetings Hasir, as you may or may not be aware, Molag Bal is gathering souls for something we have not of yet been informed;

    We do know, however that he is threatening the hist trees of Blackmarsh as well as the ones here in Thithil Uxith. He has a nord

    woman working for him helping him procure souls presumably to settle some score with Arkay; if he succeeds in ripping the souls

    from these trees, the entire race of the hist and that of the Argonians will cease to exist, you must not let that happen."

    Hasir looked at the hist tree indignantly and gave a soft hiss,

    "I already know of this plan; the reason I came here is because I need to try and stop this before it starts."

     

    Hasir gazed at the bright green hue that the drug outlined the hist tree in and waited for the tree to start talking again, but it just

    stayed silent for the longest time before finally speaking,

    "We all do, do not think you are alone in this, all Saxhleel are a part of the hist, don't forget that. I don't think you know that Anise

    wasn't Molag Bal's only, if not easily expendable, servant he also had another, more loyal servant that he uses to terrorize Nirn." 

     

    Hasir's brow furrowed as his mind soaked this knowledge in like a sponge,

    "So... what you are saying is Anise isn't his only servant?" Hasir stared at the trunk of the tree with a look of concern, "who is this

    'more loyal servant' then? what is his name? is it Angof Gravesinger?"

     

    The ancestors shook their collective heads- as if a tree could shake anything more than its leaves; They told Hasir about a breton in

    the first era who served Molag Bal since the first planemeld. Hasir asked who this servant was and the ancestors denied him again,

    "We shall not give the satisfaction of saying its name, to us as well as almost everyone on Nirn, that name strikes fear in everyone

    who hears it." Hasir scoffed at this denial, he swore under his breath, "Hircine curse you, why can't you give me a name?" He

    thundered back at the hist tree. 

     

    There was no response, Hasir asked the tree again but the bright colors were fading; he turned to Teetaka,

    "What happened? did I say something wrong?" The late sap speaker shook her head and told him that the potion's effects only last a

    short while before they are extinguished once more. Hasir shrieked as he felt that familiar falling sensation, except in reverse. He

    saw the realm along with the hist, the swampy atmosphere as well as Teetaka fade into memory-where they might have been all

    along. 

     

    Hasir awoke with a start along with a sharp pain in his arm as was aware that as he was in his 'dream,' he was flailing wildly in his

    sleep, his broken arm hit the nightstand, sending waves of pain shot up his left arm. He opened his eyes once more, got up

    stretched and refashioned the leather sling, letting his left arm flop like a dead fish into the sling and went up to the main hall.

    Hasir gasped as he saw Aela, Farkas, Vilkas and the harbinger sitting two chair apart from each other around the table; when he

    approached, the companions looked up at him and smiled,

    "Good morning, sleep well?" The harbinger said, getting up and striding to meet him, "today we will start your training." He called

    over to the three companions, "Farkas, Vilkas, Aela," He barked, "can you come here please?" He asked

     

    They did as he asked and he pointed to the large oaken doors that led to the training yard,

    "I need you to take Hasir out and see what he can really do, last time was not sparring that was pure luck, any poor fool can wave a

    sword or axe and land a hit fifty percent of the time." Kodlak dismissed them with a wave of his hand, "Now go, train him well and I

    will have four mugs of mead waiting for you when you return."

     

    Hasir was about to follow them but Kodlak stuck out an arm,

    "Not yet, Argonian, you need to first learn proper footwork and sword play before you even think about taking them on."

     

    Kodlak lowered his arm and Hasir went out to the deck but instead of going down to join the others on the cobblestoned training

    ground, he sat down in a chair by the mead hall door and echoed their swordplay. He mimicked slashes, stabs, parrys and blocks.

    His feet soon joined his hands as they did the same dance as the nords were doing; When the nords pivoted so did Hasir, when the

    nords moved backwards while blocking the others' attacks so did Hasir; he mimed every part of the practice fight with rapidly

    swinging arms and feverishly working feet. 

     

    When Hasir felt confident in his abilities, he joined the fight. He raised his fists and goaded Vilkas, who was his first oppenent to

    attack him. The nord reading his sword and shield,

    "Ok, Argonian, give mee you're best shot, I'm ready." He brought his sword down but Hasir deftly sidestepped this attemt; Farkas

    did not have time for a second attemp, however, when a scaly fist hit him harrd on the head. One down, two to go He thought as he

    readied himself for Vilkas's assault.

     

    The burly nord readied his two handed skyforge steel sword and rushed at the Argonian, his sword arched sideways forcing the

    Argonian to bend over backward to avoid the deadly blade. He knew this attack would go on for a while as he knew the greatsword

    was arguably and effective but really slow weapon. Hasir slipped under the blade and spun around quckly; Vilas felt flat onto his

    back. Two donw, one to go Hasir thought as he faced Aela's snarling face.

     

    Aela nocked an arrow onto her bow and trained it on Hasir,

    "You may have got past my brothers, but I will be a best of a different color." She said, snarling

     

    Hasir did not cower as she expected him to. He cast his fiery whip and grasked it with his hand and dared the female nord to make a

    move. Aela fired the arrow with pinpoint accuracy, Hasir lashed at the spiraling arrow and the two halves fell to the wayside. Hasir

    smirked as Aela's face screwed up in anger. She got down onto all fours and transformed. Red growled at Hasir as Argonian and wolf

    circled one another. Red lunged at Hasir; she gave a yelp as Hasir's fiery whip raked against her silvery underside. Red flopped down

    as pain flooded her eyes. The she-wolf wouldn't go down that easily.

    She ran at Hasir and attempted to knock the whip from his hand when Kodlak stormed out of the meade hall,

    Aela, No! dammit you innept she-wolf what in divines are you doing?" Kodlak growled. Aela transformed back and walked forcibly

    towards Hasir and grabbed him by the throat. Kodlak looked on frightened as she threatened to squeeze the life from Hasir as if he

    were an orange.

     

    Kodlak bounded down the steps, drew his sword and pointed it directly at Aela,

    "Aela, let him go, NOW!" He said in the same tone of voice he used when she was little. Slowly, Aela lowered Hasir to his feet and

    rounded on Kodlak, eyes still aflame.

     

    Kodlak crossed his arms and tapped his foot as though waiting for a confession,

    "Care to explain what that was about young lady?" Aela tittered nervously, "What's so funny?" Kodlak asked her

     

    Aela's face straightened up again as she started to think more rationally,

    "N-nothing, ahem, erm, harbinger I did what I had to do because Hasir cheated." Kodlak raised an eyebrow in comprehension, "He

    used magic in a training session that was supposed to be only bows, one and two handed swords."

     

    Kodlak looked at her as he heard Hasir gasping for breath, 

    "Supposed to-? Aela, neither you nor I set any rules for this or any training session."

     

    He told her that magic was a perfectly acceptable tool to be used no matter where that magic was gotten from.  His eyes bore into

    hers,

    "There was, however, no need to transform, you, young lady, need to watch that fiery temper of yours lest it get you into trouble, or

    worse, killed."

     Aela growled at Kodlak but relaxed a bit after he ran his finger down her nose like he did when she was young; that was enough to

    make her see reason. Kodlak gesturedd toward Hasir and asked Aela, sternly, to apologize, Aela did so but resentfully,

    "Ermm... sorry about ... well, you know." Hasir stared at her as if someone died and she did not know it, "Sorry about, Err, attacking

    you for using magic." She managed with a smile

     

    Hasir waved his hand dismissively in the air,

    "Don't worry about it-" He began, butt then remembered the dream he had had the night before. He called out to her; the nord

    stopped in the midst of walking away and turned in his direction,

    "Yes, what do you need? There is a mug of mead with my name on it in the hall, so better make this quick." She said, agitated from

    being away from the honeyed liquid.

     

    Hasir told her about the dream he had had the night previous and about the ebast who, according to the hist, was helping Molag Bal

    obtain souls for his war against Arkay. Aela gaped at him, stupefied. She did not realize that Molag Bal had any servants; she didn't

    even know about Anise. Her forehead creased as she let this thought marinate inside her head but no matter how mmuch it cooked,

    the thought did not merry with her recollections.

     

    Hasir strode over to a chair near the small, square table, sat down and invited Aela to sit next to him, she said she would in a bit;

    she had to go itside to get something. She went inside and returnedd with two grey tankards of meads which she placed before Hasir

    and herself when she had taken her seat again,

    "Er, Aela, is this a good idea? Do you really want me to pass out again?" He asked, pointing at the foaming tankard in apprehensioin

     

    Aela told him to stop being an idiot and man up plus she said mead will make the weak whelps into storng warrios; obviously this

    was a lie but Hasir took the bait anyway and drank. He had multiple thoughts swimming in his mind and wanted to see if Aela's

    thoughts were quick enough to reel them in before they swam away.

    Aela tented her hands on the table and looked into Hasir's eyes like Kodlak would if he were reading a person's soul,

    "So you asked me alot of questions, beffore I answer I have one for you, what in Oblivion is a hist?"

    Hasir spent the next thirthy minutes telling her all he knew of the intelligent race of trees and their connection with the Argonians.

    Aela lent back in her chair, hands folded behind her head, as she listened to this rather fascinating story. When he finished, she

    answered his questions,

    "Well, erm, I do not know of a 'realm of the hist' but I do know that Anise lives in a cabin a bit northwest of here, but I fail to see

    how she can be tied up with a daedra." Aela shook her head at this, "anise is a sweet old lady," Hasir look at her oddly as if she

    werre a succulent fish he wanted to eat, "granted I've never seen or met her. Tilma would tell me stories of her whenever my

    mother, Katria would go on dwemer expeditions with the archeologist guild."

     

    Aela adjusted her position in her seat while staring intently at Hasir,  

    "Now as for this servant that Molag Bal had before Anise, my mother told me something about it. She became lost in thought for

    awhile before brightening up again, "It was a bedtime story she used to tell me; the story was called the tail of Faolchu the soul

    stealer. In the story, there was a bosmer thief that stole valuable artifacts from the rich aristocrats and gave them to these poor

    noblemen he encountered on the road.

     

    Hasir closed his eyes as Aela told the story and was teleported into the very pages of the story itself. He could see the bosmer

    stealing from the rich and traveling long winding roads to return the treasure that the noblees had wrongly stolen from them. As

    Aela turned pages in her mind, so did he; the peasants' homes were replaced by a stony crypt surrounded by a ton of dead pines.

    Hasir saw the bosmer thief open the crpyt door as instructed by an old witch he had seen on the way to the crypt, Shee had told him

    that within were mountains of gold, jwels and other gems that she had pilfered from the rich just for him; Hasir watched in horror as

    the thief descended the steps. The witch cackled as the door creaked shut behind the thief. Hasir saw the hulking form in the corner

    of the crypt before the thief did. 

     

    The creature unfurled itself, the thief screamed and scrambled to unlock the crypt door but the crypt door did not budge. The stone

    door silhoutted the creature's seven foot frame and the thief named Fargoth turned on the spot to see the creature's rotting face

    inches from his as flecks of saliva dripped on the cold stone steps. He usheathed his six inch long white claws as equally rotten as his

    face and slashed the thief's chest open; Fargoth's eyes went wide as, instead of blood, a clear blue fluid seemed to flow free from his

    chest. 

     

    Fargoth asked between gasps of breath who the creature was, to that end, a wide grin spread across the creature's face,

    "I am called Faolchu the soul stealer." Fargoth stared at his twisted muzzle as the life was rapidly leaving him, "No need to say

    anything, I can tell you are overtaken with gratitude. Your soul is perfect to aid lord Bal in the fight against Arkay." 

    Fargoth was about to say something but as sooon as a single syllable left his lips, his head lulled lifeless onto his shoulder. Aela

    closed the book and Hasir's mind snapped back to reality,

    "What happened to the thief and who was that creature standing over his broken corpse?" He asked frantically

     

     Aela drew a heavy sigh and looked intently at Hasir,

    "That creature was a werewolf name Faolchu." She stated

     

    Hasir looked at her stupidly,

    "Who?" He said, trying hard not to act like a dumb hatchling

     

    Aela groaned, slid her hand down her face and shook her head at Hasir's sheer ingorance,

    "Faolchu was a breton who got turned by Hircine who got corrupted by Molag Bal." Aela lent closer to the Argoian who grimaced at

    her, not wanting to tell her she was making him uncomfortable, "Molag Bal coaxed him into his service by telling him that Hircine

    was not who he said he is; that he was making followers just so he could rule over Tamriel and that if challenged, he would use his

    hounds to quell any rebellion." She caressed Hasir's cheek with her hand, "Faolchu did not know who to trust, Molag Bal or Hircine,

    but something that Molag Bal rang trued to the werewolf so he pledged his loyalty to Molag Bal." Aela leapt up on the table and

    crawled closer to Hasir, "Molag Bal could sense some betrayal in the breton's actions so he killed him and resurrected him as a slave

    to his will." Aela lent close to Hasir and kissed him.

     

    Hasir got up and backed away from the ravenous she-wolf,

    "Aela what the fuck are you doing? you know full well I have Rakel and you have Inigo so, er, what in Oblivion are you doing? I

    thought you just wanted to tell me the story of Faolchu not attemp to make a move on me, Xuth!" He yelled at her while stomping

    to the mead hall door and slamming the door behind him; the force of it caused his mug to tip over and spill all over the chair and

    the steps leading to the cobblestones like an amber lava flow.

     

    Hasir stormed down the stpes and saat on the second step, tail curled around him as if it were a snake. Hasir could here the

    footsteps of Tilma, the mead hall's resident maid; she sat down next to him, placing her hand on Hasir's cheek, using a finger, she

    wiped a tear threatening to slid all the way down his face,

    "Why all the waterworks?" She asked

     

    Hasir did not want to answer as he was sure she would not understand. Tilma took the hint and patted him on his leg, smiling at him

    before she got up and resumed her daily chores she had to do to keep the mead hall of Jorrvaskr looking pristine and free of dirt.

    Hasir sighed mournfully, got up and went down to the bedroom where all those who have not attained full companion status slept.

    As he neared the door, however, the undercroft vanished.

     

    Hasir closed his eyes as he felt that same sensation of falling in reverse, he felt his chest tighten as the darkness seemed to

    envelope him whole. Hasir did not want to open his eyes because he felt sick to his stomach. He heard the wind whistling though the

    trees. He opened his eyes seeing that he had fallen on grass; he got up and saw the marsh water, the same water that he had fallen

    into in his dream. His mind went back to that dream as his thoughts coiled around it like a snake trying to pick out where the dream

    had exactly happened. He finally plucked the thought free of the 'thought tree' that had blossomed in his mind, different thoughts

    blooming on each of the branches as though they were leaves, as he finally figured out where he was. He was in the realm of the

    hist or 'Thtithil Uxith' as it was known in the native language of the Saxhleel.

     

    Hasir looked bewildered; he had no idea why he was here, did the hist summon him for some reason? Hasir tried to shake this

    thought of as he turned on the spot and walked through the grass toward the spot where she had seen the deceased dead-water

    tribe's sap-speaker moments before,

    "Hello, Teetaka, doing well?" Hasir knew he had said something incredibly insensitive as she cast a dark glance at him. Hasir gulped

    and apologized. Teetaka groaned and told Hasir that adressing dead Saxhleels as such is very insensitive. Hasir asked how people

    address dead Argonian so she told him,

    "Ermmm... it would be prudent to greet us with 'hello, how are you' or 'how have you been doing?' never, I mean never adress us as

    'Hello doing well?' do you get it now? We are very sensitive to our livelihood."

     

    Hasir stared at her and roared with laughter,

    "Livelihood? you do know you dead, right?" Teetaka shot him a incredulous look, Hasir blushed and his tail slunk between his legs   

    "Er, sorry about my insensitiveness, why have you summoned me?" He asked

     

    The dead Argonian shook her head indicating she was not the one who summoned him and touched the hist with her long cyan

    fingers. She told him that the hist summoned him, not her. Before Hasir drank the amber liquid as he had done before, The deceased

    Argonian asked the living Argonian if he knew they story of how the Saxhleel came to be, Hasir shook his head. 

     

    Teetaka launched into a tail of the Saxhleel origin tale, or moreover, the abridged version,

    "Before Saxhleel existed, Bllackmarsh was home to numerous ancestor lizards, the hist and a number of other dangerous creatures.

    One of the ancestor lizard made its nest within the hist tree that it had made for its home, overtime the lizard and the hist

    developed a symbiosis of sorts. The hist telepathically called the lizards back to the trees as they buroughed themselves into the

    thick soil at the foot at each of the hist trees. In the soil, the lizard and the hist seemed to form a link; the hist's roots became full of

    hist sap and flowed toward the lizards as their legs and arms elongated, heads became triple their normal size and their spines

    straightened forcing them to stand and walk upright."

     

    Teetaka beamed broadly at Hasir and gestured to the dirt colored basin standing on a column made of hardened moss,  

    "There you are then." She said, punching Hasir lightly in the arm, "that is the story of how the Saxhleel were born. Now go drink up,

    the hist wants to speak with you."

     

    Hasir was about to submerge his hands in the clear liquid when Teetaka shook her head and pointed to the pool of equally amber

    liquid,

    "Before you do that, you'd better bath in that first." Hasir looked at her with the presumption that death had not only affected her

    body but her mind as well. She shook her head as she pointed to Hasir tail still encased in the leather cast, "Scoff if you must but

    you need to submerge yourself if you want that injury to heal completely.

     

    Hasir did not know whether or not she was speaking the truth, but he took off his clothes and put them beside the pool in neatly

    folded squares. He shivered slighty as he felt the cold water-like substance wash over his scales. He felt tthe sap soak into he broken

    tail, mending the broken bones as if it was no more than a broken stick. A few seconds later, the hist tree began bleeding the same

    amber liquid as the pool he now waded in as the dragon statue had done back on Akavir. Hasir opened his mouth and licked the hist

    ssap with his tongue, he heard a small voice insde a voice inside his head, do not drink more than your fill of hist sap, or you will find

    yourself incredibly ill. Hasir did not know where of even if he had heard tho riddle uttered aloud before, but, did not take head of this

    warning as he continuously laped up the sap. 

    Hasir, however, suffered hallucinations because he had inadvertantly licked too much hist sap. But these hallucinations were not

    detremental as most hallucinations were. Hasir felt excruciating pain as his body seemed to lengthen. He gritted his teeth again the

    pain,

    "ARRRGH! What is happening to me?" He screamed, tears streaming in his eyes

     

    Teetaka grinned broadly,

    "Nothing, the hist is punishing you for drink more of your fill of sap, that's all." She watched as he writhed in mid air as the pain was

    so immense that he fear he might split apart due to the intense pulling and the pain of his skeleton stretching as well. He screamed

    for a painful six minutes before the pain suddenly subsided and he lay, curled up in the fetal potion on the ground, whimpering like

    an injured wolf pup.

     

    he clawed his way to the pool's edge and peered down at the amber liquid. An Argonian he barely recognized looked back a him. He

    was still the same, there was no doubt about that but his body was undoubtedly older, as if many years had passed in a blink of an

    eye.

     

    Teetaka shook her head for a few minutes, no doubt preparing to clipped the Argonian on the back of his head for his cheekiness,

    "Hasir didn't I tell you not to drink more than your fill of hist sap?" Hasir shook his head saying she had never said anything like that.

    She, however, marveled at Hasir's new, lengthened body, "Fourteen years in a single moment, must've been painful, that should

    teach you for not taking Saxhleel history into account. But I have to admit," She said as she walked around his new body, "Both the

    hist and the gods seemed to take it easy on you. it could have been much worse."

     

    Hasir looked into the sap pool again thinking that his new body was not a punishment but a gift of the nature gods, but he could not

    be sure. Teetaka grabbed him by the arm and ripped his away from the hist sap and told him to drink from the earthy basin. Hasir

    did as he was instructed and saw, once again, the realm get bathed in the bright colors just as before. 

     

    After a short paause, in which Hasir could only here the tweeting of birds and the buzzing of insects, did the hist tree finally speak,

    "Teetaka, this was not due to any fault of the Argonian, but, instead, what my sap did to Hasir and his biology." It said 

     

    Teetaka looked perplexedly up at the tree,

    "His what?" She asked incredulously

     

    The  hist tree told the spectral Argonian as well as the now much older Argonian who had ceased his sobbing and got trembling to

    his feet about how its hist sap mixed inexorably and accidentally with his werewolf blood and that caused his body to undergo a

    painful transformation, not as painful than a werewolf transformation, but painful nonetheless. The tree also told him that Hasir's 

    mind also saw many strange things; visions of many years that flew past him in a blur as his body stretched like he was on a torture

    rack. 

     

    Teetaka laughed as she tried to guess what the visions were,

    "So you're saying is that this 'mix of hist and wolf' caused this Saxhleel growth spurt?" She asked it incredulously

     

    As if to answer her question, the spirits of the hist tree appeared causing Hasir to gasp. Teetaka crossed her arms and chuckled as

    though this 'seeing of spirits' was second nature to her. Hasir's eyes went wide as he saw four long dead Argonians: two adult aged

    Saxhleel, one teenage male Saxhleel and young hatchling, no older than five.

     

    Hasir saw his ancestral kin clearly, more or less, for the first time. He approached them, tail tightly tucked between his legs; the

    spirits caught him by surprise, he did not know that the voices he heard were actually dead Argonians. He did, however get one

    thing right: they were trapped inside the hist, but that was the farthest his knowledge of the hist went,

    W-who are you people?" Hasir stammered, eyes darting from the dead sap speaker to the four dead 'apparitions' before him

     

    The elderly Argonian held out a clawed hand; Hasir went to shake it but instead furrowed his brow in apprehension,

    "Nice to, er, see you?" He tried so hard to hold the llaugh in that threaten to escape his scaly lips; Hasir failed in his efforts and fell

    on the ground, rolling about in laughter. Teetaka looked hurt as she thought this was a great emotional and 'physical' blow to both

    the elderly shadowscale and the transparent sap speaker. In reponse, she cast the thoughtless Argonian a reproachful look.

     

    Hasir went beet-red and raised his hands in defeat, 

    "Sorry if I was so unempathetic, So what did you want to tell me then?" he asked after he got up and dusted himself off

     

    The elderly argonian named Talks-to-Shadows told Hasir that he must follow his clutch's footsteps as most, if not all of his egg-kin

    even the reincarnated ones were all shadowscales and she did not sense the shadow on him nor did she smell any sign of the

    brotherhood on him either.

     

    Hasir gasped and nearly stumbled over the tree's roots that felt over the swamp land like long fingers of fog,

    "What!?" He spat, shocked, "I had never heard about my egg-kin being shadowscales."

     

    The elderly shadowscale nodded and from how he held himself, she guessed that he was not born under the sign of the shadow and

    wondered if his egg had been hatched under a different star sign instead; though she could not put her claw on it. She scanned Hasir

    with ghostly eyes Hasir guessed had one been blue or green but had long since lost their color. Hasir asked the elder how she and

    her children had died. At this, she roared with laughter,

    "Xuth, your egg had spent to much time in the shade, these are not my children you moron." Hasir's eyes narrowed in anger, The

    elderly Black-tongue giggled as she saw his face, "Erm ... sorry about that, anyway, these," She said, walking to each member and

    gesturing to them in turn, "are my descendants, my son, Saxtoh, his wife, Xasha, and their little hatchling son, Xedrian." 

     

    She lowered her head in shame and motioned for Hasir to come close as she told him of their demise, 

    "many, many seasons ago, when stone nests ruled all of murkmire and the An-xileel was at its hieght instead of some backseat

    politicians as they came to be known in your time; a werewolf named Faolchu came to Murkmire looking for souls for Molag Bal;

    what he planned to do with them we did not know. Many Saxhleel, myself included, prayed to the hist for guidance; we sat there for

    a long time hoping something beneficial would come of all of our praying and pleading. We had hoped it would absorb us into their

    roots, morphing our dna to make us stronger to fight this new threat, alas they did not." She looked mournfully at Hasir, his nodded

    grimly as he understood where this story was going, "The hist did nothing but stood by and watched us get murdered by Faolchu." 

     

    Hasir looked at her concerned,

    "So Faolchu killed you?" He surmized

     

    She shook her head, signaling something far more deadly,

    "No, egg-kin, he did not kill us, no he did something far worse, he stole our souls along with the souls of our ancestors, thus causing

    the hist tree in our village to shrivel up and die; without the hist, my village''s inhabitants soon died out as well."

     

    Hasir looked at her in stunned silence. He thought the Argonians could thrive without the hist; he was sorely mistaken,

    "I-I'm sorry for your loss." He said softly

     

    Talks-to-Shadows thanked Hasir for the kind sentiments. She told him that soon after her demise, her body was placed in the hist

    tree's soil to be absorbed into the root system to start the reincarnation process but the hist was already too damaged by the

    forceful extraction of souls that her body, instead of undergoing reincarnation, was carried away on the waters of time.

     

    She turned to the hist tree and carressed its rough bark, feeling the ssouls within,

    "Our village was not the only one to feel Faolchu's wrath; countless other Saxhleel and their hists also fell to his wrath. Molag Bal has

    stolen that which is most precious to us, our very way of life. So I ask this of you Hasir, shadowscale or not, you must help the

    Saxhleel, both dead and alive in ridding the world of both Faolchu and Molag Bal, for they are nothing but blight upon not only this

    land but all of Tamriel." 

     

    Hasir caught a glimpse of Teetaka and his dead Saxhleel ancestors before he felt the realm slowly fade out; He opened his eyes and

    he saw the mead hall swim in view. All that had transpired seemed to drive his anger for Aela from his mind; at least temporarily, he

    turned back the way he had come and went back to the main room where he found Timla standing there with a mop and bucket.

     

    Hasir walked up to her, smiled and held out a clawed hand in her direction,

    "It was my mess, let me clean it." He eyed her with his blue eyes; she did not know what he was getting at but handed over the

    mop and bucket all the same

     

    Hasir opened the mead hall doors that lead out onto the porch and sure enough, his nose was overwhelmed by the strong scent of

    spilled mead. He glanced toward the table and saw Aela still sitting there looking sour after his actions a few minutes previous. He

    smiled at her, grabbed the mop and dipped it into the bucket and went to where the mead spill was, he set to work mopping up the

    mead and squeezing the contents in the bucket. When he was done with that, he caught sight of the mug tossed aside like a toy

    after a child threw a tantrum.

     

    He picked up the mug and placed it back onto the table, screwing his face up into what he hoping was an apologetic look,

    "Aela, about last night, I just lost my head, when you kissed me I got abit hot-headed and did some thing I shouldn't have." 

     

    She shook her head and told him to forget about that as it was water under the bridge or, mead on the stairs, as it were. Hasir

    hissed in relief and told Aela what he had just seen.

     

    Aela crossed her arms on the table and laced her head on top of them while she listened to Hasir, who took the seat opposite her.

    Hasir explained everything he had seen and heard in the vision that he had in the mead hall.. Aela nearly fell out of her chair when

    she told him he had seen the spirits of his ancestors,

    "So, what you are saying is Faolchu wants souls for Molag Bal?" She asked him when he had finished; he nodded, "why does he want

    them though, that's my question." She said confused, "... and what did your ancestors have to say about all of this?"

     

    He shook his head much to her dismay,

    "Aela, that is irrelavent to the task before us."

     

    She pressed him further for answers. After several minutes of back and forth, he hissed a nervous sigh and told her,

    "Alright, xuth, you make a perssuasive argument, erm ... my ancestors, er, they ssaid that I must stop Molag Bal and Faolchu before

    they destabilize the very fabric of Nirn." he looked at Aela, who was trying to keep her inner wolf locked away in its cage despite its

    attempts at freedom. He knew this news did not sit right with her. He, however could not put his claw on the reason.

     

     Aela heaved a sigh as told Hasir the story of how her mother died,

    "Hasir, do you know about how Katria died?"

     

    Hasir guessed it was a rock fall or a khajiit pushed her off the cliff that killed her, Aela groaned and shook her head,

    "No, lizard brain, anyway I did some more digging and it turnes out my mom did not die from a khajiit pushing her; well, yes she

    did, but it turns out that khajiit was actually a werewolf sent by Faolchu to Skyrim to gather souls for Molag Bal."

     

    Hasir looked as though he was going to fall out his chair any second. His mind was working overtime trying to see exactly how

    Faolchu fits into the events of his past and also how he fits into others' pasts as well. Hearing this confirm his suspicions about the

    breton werewolf and all of the sudden, his, Faolchu's backstory also makes sense. He looked up at the sky, yawned and reitred to his

    room. Aela did the same.

     

    While Hasir slept, he dreamed of an Argonian hero going to coldharbor and stopping Faolchu and Molag Bal. Before fighting Molag

    Bal and Faolchu, the Argonian hero had to take out both daedra and undead werewolves. Hasir tried to dream of other, more happier

    things, but still the dream persisted.