C.O.T.W Chapter 66: Totem Thieves

  • The next day Hasir got up, got dressed and proceeded up to the main room of the hall where the companions and whelps were, he

    guessed, busy eating breakfast. Hasir was about to open the doors when Kodlak approached him from behind,

    "Hasir, forgive me, but, I have been told that you have a certain affinty for cooking." He said


    Hasir whipped around, hissing loudly with pain as his still mending tail slammed into the wooden door; the leather cast split open,

    "Sorry? I-, what? Who told you?" He spluttered


    Kodlak explained his line of questioning again. Hasir told the harbinger that he did not have time to cook; he told Kodlak that he had

    to find out why Faolchu wants to get souls for Molag Bal. This fell on deaf ears as the harbinger told the Argonian to get up to the

    main hall and go to the kitchens and ask Tilma to teach him how to cook the delicacies that the many nords of Jorrvaskr came to


    Hasir expected the room that Tilma had dragged him into to be more grandeous, like one of those kitchens found in the Imperial

    Palace, or the stories he had heard of them. Hasir felt let down as his eyes darted from the small cooking pot in one corner of the

    room joined by wooden cabinets set upon the wall next to the pot used to sore hebrs, meat and other spices and ingredients. Below

    the cabinets were various loose cooking ingredients set on wooden racks on a long wooden counter. 


    Hasir turned to Tilma and pleaded with Tilma that he did want to be Jorrvaskr's cook; he totd her that he had to rescue his friends,

    "Tilma, please, I don't see my cooking as a profession," He barked a laugh when he saw Tilma's dissapointment, "besides, I have

    other things to think about first." She jerked her head towards the wooden doors. Hasir took that as his cue to leave. He thanked the

    maid for her kindess and promised her he would return in a few hours after he got some ingredients from the market stalls. He

    wondered if the Market Day was still going on.


    He walked to the doors leaving Tilma in his wake and out into the late afternoon air. He had to decide what to do first: did he check

    on his friends and lover or retrieve cooking ingredients for the maid? He decided the best course of action was to go to the temple

    and check and see how his friends and mate were fairing.

    He approched the door and opened it. He positivel beamed when he saw Danica pinballing between the Argonian, Nord and Khajiit. He

    walked over to her and looked down at the khajiit laying on the stone bed,

    "So doc, how is he? Tell me straight." He said sighing and folding his arms on its rough and cold surface


    She frowned, giving Hasir cause for concern; she walked over to a cabinet and pulled bits of a broken soul gem off the shelf, carried

    them over to the stone bed and laid them down, 

    "I did every spell I know but, Hasir, I am no alchemist," She turned to him grimly, "You have to prepare yourself for the possibility that

    he may never wake up." She put a hand gingerly on the Argonian's shoulder. "I even tried to pull his soul from wherever it is now but to

    no avail." She nodded to the broken black soul gem before them.


    Hasir turned away from her and wiped a tear from his eye. He knew this would happen; he had to stay positive about this whole thing

    and not think about the grim alternativ. He gestured to Khash and Rakel,

    "What about their condition? How are they doing? Better than Inigo, I hope." 

    To that end, the imperial healer did have good news; She smiled and nodded, lightening Hasir's dark cloud somewhat,

    "Khash is recovering nicely from her affliction, now that I knew what is causing it."


    Hasir scrutinized her wearily,

    "Yeah? What is causing it then?"


    The Imperial said that Faolchu attempted to turn her to his side by placing a bit of him into her but her wolf form rebelled against him

    so that is why she was for lack of a better term, 'all wolf.' Think of it as a lycanthrope's fight of flight response, just as human have such

    as response, Lycanthropes have it vut when they feel threatened, the wolf comes out while the human conscience is locked away; that

    is what is referred to as 'advanced lycanthropy.' 

    Hasir raised a spiky eyebrow,

    "How do you cure it? Did the book give you any ideas?"


    She nodded and told Hasir that in order to loosen the wolf's hold on her mind, he would have to go out and retrieve four plants known

    as poisonbloom, gleamblossom, nightshade and Namira's rot. Hasir asked her where to find these plants and how to mix them. Danica

    told him that he had to grind each plant carefully into a fine powder as too much of either plant could muddle the potion and it would

    not have the desired effect; Hasir didn't understand. Danica scoffed and shoved a sheet of parchement in the Argonian's clawed hands,

    "What's this?" Hasir asked as he looked bewildered at the piece of parchment


    Danica mimed reading the piece of parchment, making Hasir even more confused. In a huff, Danica stomped over to him and hit him

    over the head with her hand,

    "You idiot! I was telling you to read the paper." She said, fuming


    Hasir asked Danica where to find the plants. She told him that all four plants can be found growing in the open; she did not know the

    exact locations of them, however. Hasir sat down on a chair by the stone bed where Inigo lay and reread the mixing instructions; he

    called out to Danica when he found what he had passed over before,

    "Hey Danica, over here, I may have found the locations of the ingredients." Danica came over from where she was tending to Rakel's

    scratch and clapped him on his shoulder, looking pleased. 

    Hasir left Danica sitting by the motionless khajiit and walked to the middle of the temple and examined the bright silver cut on

    Rakel's neck, His long, scaly fingers traced the silver cut and yelped as if burned by hot water. He frowned and examined his hand, it

    had a red mark similar to when he was burned by the mirror all those years ago. 


    He sighed and muttered to himself about not learning from the first time he touched something silver,

    "You stupid hatchling, you should've known by now that silver burns werewolves, hsss!" 

    His heard a voice behind him, startled he whipped around,

    "You had better get started looking for those ingredient." Danica said, grimly


    A worried look crossed Hasir's face; He looked at her, fearing the worst,

    "Why? Do we have a time limit? Are their conditions worsening?" He asked, gesturing from the Argonian to the nord and his feline



    Danica sighed and shook her head,

    "No, it's nothing like that. We only have a few days to harvest the plants, so we'd better get cracking."  She said


    Hasir knew thought this was a bluff but as he saw the Imperil's screwed up face he knew it was not. Hasir got up from where he sat,

    took the parchment from his pocket, unfolded it and smiled at Danica,

    "Okay, I'm ready, let's go." With one last glance at Rakel and Inigo, Hasir left the temple with Danica


    Hasir was the last to leeave the temple, he barely had time to shut the door when Aela ran up to him; she was a mess, her hair,

    usually well groomed was in such a state that Hasir could have sworn she just rolled out of bed had she not had her ancient nordic

    armor on and her oil-based facepaint was as equally messy; it extended far below where it should've been in three, giant smeared


    Hasir's voice stuck in his throat as his eyes took in the hysterical nord; What worried him most was her eyes, truly horrifying,

    "Hasir, you'd better come with me, Right now!" As she said this, the Argonian could see she was close to tears. Hasir couldn't guess

    how horrifying the situation was that he was about to be waist deep in. He had to run a bit to keep up with Aela's long strides; after

    several minutes, they made it to the trapdoor.


    Aela opened the heavy metal door and disappeared into the darkness, closely followed by the clueless Argonian. After striding

    through the winding torch-lit passage, they finally emerge on the northern bank of the white river. Both the nord and the argonian

    entered the horse structure after Hasir pressed the hidden button. When the Aela and Hasir got to the bottom of the white marble

    stairs, she smirked to herself as Hasir just gawped at the broken wolf door,

    "What!? How did this happen? The chapel has a hidden button, plus no one knows its location besides the companions." 


    Aela placed her head on his shoulder and cursed aloud,

    "The only thing I can think of is someone gave the person the location of the chapel, I hope it was none of the companions." She

    said, mournfully. 


    Hasir's eyes, wide with shock, darted between the wolf door and the nord standing next to him. He smelled blood on the air, either

    Aela was pulling his tail or this was really happening. The Argonian approached the door and sniffed around for anything unususal;

    missing stones, blood, anything out of the ordinary. After a few minutes of studying the door, his tail fell; his face followed suit. 


    He could not find anything unusual about the door; Aela walked toward the door, transformed and pushed the button with her paw;

    When she heard the rumble of stones she transformed back. Aela entered the massive chapel after Hasir. Hasir stood stock still as

    his eyes roamed over the entire chapel and suddenly fell on the alcove near the altar where the totems should have been.


    Aela accidentally trod on the Argonian's tail. Hasir looked at her darkly and whipped his tail away for under her boot,

    "What in Olbivion do you think you're doing? hsss!" 

    Aela was about to explain when a loud voice boomed around the chapel,

    "My hounds, come to my shrine, I have news about my totems" Aela strode over to the statue and knelt before it and soon, after

    getting over his disbelief Hasir joined her with head bowed and tail snaked out behind him. They patiently waited for the statue to

    elaborate on this; it stayed silent for a bit and then the spirit of Hircine stepped out of the stone and spoke, "Greetings hounds, I

    know, or suspect on, the being or beings who stole my totems." 


    Both Hasir and Aela looked at each other shocked and mouthed a few words of surprise to each other. The aspect of Hircine laughed,

    "Yes, I sense your astonishment, but, I expect you already know the answer."


    Aela jumped to her feet and yelled at the spectral stag,

    "Damn you Hircine! Quit the deception and tell us already, my wolf hungers for blood."


    Hircine trotted up the head and his blue eyes bore into hers,

    "Watch your attitude; I gave you the power of the wolf and I can take it away just as easily." He said threateningly


    Aela gulped and took a step back from the stag and apologized, saying she did not mean for her wolf to get so hot under the collar.

    Hircine looked at Hasir while expaining the situation because he did not want Aela to have another 'Blow up'. He explained who took

    the totems while blanking Aela's enraged expression.

    "The forsworn!?" Aela said shocked as she sat down next to Hasir in one of the high backed benches by Hircine's shrine. Hasir

    wrapped his tail around Aela's leg, The female nord buried her head into Hasir's tan miner's shirt and peppered it with tears. Hasir

    looked down and her and asked who the forsworn were. Aela just glared at him and extracted his tail from her leg.


    Aela shoved him of the bench, causing Hasir fell to the floor with a loud 'thud' that reverberated around the mostly empty chapel

    followed by a hiss of pain; signaling that the Argonian had fallen on his bad arm. The only people in the chapel besides them were

    the Khajiit priestess, Valjira and the rest of the circle members except Kodlak. He looked at her like he wanted to punch her,

    "What in Oblivion was that for? I was concerned for you."


    Aela bent down and helped the Argonian off of the cold stone floor, sat him down in the bench and explained the situation,

    "The forsworn used to be devout followers of Hircine until Anise came into the picture and told them that they will be rewarded with

    great prestige if they abandon Hircine and worship Molag Bal. What Anise failed to tell them, however was that she really just

    needed them to obtain the totems of Hircine to ressurect the werewolf that turned from Hircine and began to worship Molag Bal."

    She saw Hasir out of the corner of her eye, gawking at her.


    Aela turning around and raised her eyebrow at him,

    "Oh I'm soory, did you not understand, let me explain it again." She said mockingly


    Hasir glared at her, then he heard the same booming voice, asking him and Aela to visit the shrine of the wolflord,

    "My hounds, come to me, I have important information about your task that lies ahead of you." Loyal as lapdogs, the nord and the

    Argonian ceased their 'silent argument' and walked over to the shrine. Hircine, or rather the ghostly stag, Hircine explained that the

    forsworn believe that by stealing my totems that they will ressurect the werewolf, Faolchu, who Molag Bal brainwashed against me.

    You must not allow the 'ritual of resurrection' to be completed. Go now." 


    The cyan stag faded back into the statue. Hasir and Aela knew this was their cue to leave and search for the totem thieves. Hasir

    walked over to the nord brothers, Farkas and Vilkas and motioned for them to follow him. They screwed up their faces as they

    wondered where they were going. 


    Hasir hissed angrily at this and shot daggers at them, showing his extreme hatred for being slowed down,

    "Both for you, keep you mouths shut until we get there, Xuth!" They did as he asked but only because they feared the Argonian's



    Aela soon joined the Argonian and her brothers, she cast one last gglance at the statue of Hircine before they ascended the steps

    and found themselves outside the two great horseheads. Aela barked her orders to her brothers,

    "Farkas, Vilkas, I want you to go to the Whiterun stables and buy use," She gestured between the four of them, "four horses, got it?"

    She asked, her temper rising for every second the inept brothers stood there


    Farkas and Vilkas just stood there, waiting for her to elaborate on the reason they needed four horses. In her impatience, she mimed

    biting the male nord nearest to her; Vilkas yelped and took off in the direction or the walled city behind his shield brother.


    Boh Farkas and Vilkas knew that they would be much faster on four paws than two legs. After the transformation from man to wolf

    was completed, coal and shadow, their wolf forms, shot toward the city like speeding arrows. when they reached the Whiterun gates,

    it was already nearing mid afternoon. Seeing that the coast was clear, the two nord transformed back and walked to the stables. The

    stablehand who was busying tending to the horses, looked up and smiled,

    "Hello and what can I do for you this fine day?" Farkas was about to hand him gold, but before he did, Vilkas punched him hard in

    the shoulder; Farkas cried out in pain, Ow! why'd you do that?" Vilkas' cold glare said more than any words could've done.

    whimpering like a lost wolf pup, Farkas withdrew and let Vilas explain the situation.


    After he said his piece, Vilkas handed the stablehand a pouch of gold, thanked the stablehand and took the four horses back to

    where Hasir and Aela stood. Farkas joined him and when they got there, they saw Aela standing there with two magnificent black

    horses with different colored manes.


    Farkas and Vilkas looked from her to the two steeds with stupified expressions on their faces,

    "What's all this? you mean to tell me we went to the stables for nothing?" They asked, still in shock


    Aela roared with laughter upon seeing their expreesion,

    "Yep, you two are even more dumber than Kodlak gives you credit for." She said as she mounted her horse. Hasir did the same as

    Aela; she sniggered and went to help him with his steed as he had missed the saddle and landed with a thud down by the horse's

    left side.


    Aela ran over to him and held out a hand; in fury, he batted it away and hissed at her,

    "What in Oblivion is on this saddle? grease?" Aela sniggered as she said it would be silly to grease up the saddles and that he, the

    Argonian was just bad at riding; Aela thought about this and rectified her previous statement by said the Argonian is downright

    horrible at riding, or at least mounted up.

    Hasir cast her a mischievous grin and sneered at her,

    "I suppose you can do better?" He said, a note of disbelief in his voice 


    Aela ran up to her horse jumped and landed perfectly in the coal-colored steed's saddle and stuck her tongue out at him. Hasir's 

    eyes went wide with shock as he folded his arms and scoffed,

    "Show off! You're the pack leader, don't you have better things to do than show off to those of us who haven't grown into our fur



    Aela was about to apologize when she saw Hasir spur his horse onto the city of Whiterun,

    "Where exactly do you think you're going? She asked, appaled, "We need to retrieve Hircine's totems!" She wore under her breath


    Hasir did not hear her as he had one thing on his mind: he had to make sure Ceralyne was ok. He sped along the dirt road and

    galloped over a stone bridge by the outskirts of the city. It seemed like mere minutes had past since Hasir left the White River

    chapel; the fact was that Hasir galloped so fast that time seemed as much as a blur as the scenery as raced toward the city. He

    smiled as the city finally came into view.

    The stablehand who was feeding the horses in the stable when he heard the galloping of Hasir's horse as it neared the stable. He

    looked up and grinned as Hasir dismounted and explained why he was there. The stable assistant raised a hand,

    "You don't need to explain yourself to me, Hasir." He said


    The Argonian nodded, made sure his horse is in capable hands and fast-walked towards the city. He pushed the huge wooden door

    open and made a beeline to the temple of Kynareth. He rapped on the door with his scaly fingers, the door was promptly answered

    by a particularly conufed Danica,

    "Hasir, what in Oblivion are you doing here? Her worried face broke out into a mirthful grin, "By the gods, Hasir, you should rent a

    room here, given the time you spend here." This did not amuse Hasir in the slightest.


    His nostrils and eyes flared as he wanted to curse Danica out. He tried to take a deep breath. He asked as politely as possible for

    Danica to move out of the way and she did as she was asked. He saw Ceralyne sitting up on the furthest bench from the door. He ran

    over to her and asked how she was feeling. She smiled and turned to face him,

    "We have got to stop meeting like this." she said, giggling. 


    Hasir chuckled, lent close to her and kissed her on the cheek. The high elf was taken aback, she had thought that Hasir said he

    already had a girlfriend; had he left her in someway, either good or bad? Is this kiss out of nerves? She did not know. 

    Aela, Farkas and Vilkas left the chapel iin the early hours of the evening galloping at speed along the eastern bank of the Whitefish

    river. Their destination, they knew was the coven where Hircine's most devout followers lay in shadow. Aela led her shield brothers

    along a bridge to the western side of the river, toward the city of Morthal, no sooner had they reached the city that they saw

    something out of place set back against the mountainous border of the city. They had to do a double-take to make sure what the

    saw was real.


    A manor of stone whose walls were bisected with dwarven pipes stood behind a stone wall partioned with a stone archway with

    wrought iron gates blocking entry. The manor itself stood out against the bleak mountain surrounding it. The pipes were likewise

    spread across all of the manor like an unfinished puzzle-the main entrance and the greenhouse-like wings of the manor. Aela was the

    first to see it and she  gawked at it; not believing something so hauntingly beautiful could exist in a snowy wasteland. Aela wanted

    so much to explore this  dwarven-stone marvel, to see what secrets lurked behind those doors. 


    Vilkas and Farkas gently pushed Aela onward, saying that they could explore the odd house later, for now they needed to find the

    totems of Hircine.


    Aela nodded solemnly and, together they galloped onward toward the coven. Unseen by them, mists obscured the manor and when

    Aela and her shield siblings looked back, all they saw was a wide expanse of mountain range. They tried to remember where the

    manor was, but it was impossible to differentiate the mountain illusion made by the mist from the very real mountains surrounding

    it. Just when the companions thought the manor was an illusion caused by their tired bodies, an owl construct supposedly made by

    the dwemer flew through the 'mountainside' and landed near the three horses.

    The bronze bird folded its mechanical wings and gaped its beak; instead of a human voice coming out of it, this voice sounded

    mechanical as if a thousand gears weere turning at once,,

    "Only those whose knows where it is can rediscover its location. Have faith and it will show itself again" With that said, the 

    the mechanical bird took to the sky again and flew back toward the 'mountain side' where it vanished without a trace.


    The three companions sat in stunned silence as their horses snorted and dug at the ground, Aela was the first to break the silence,

    "What in Oblivion was that about?" She said, gesturing toward the manor, "just where did the manor come from...and that bird, what

    was that about?" She paused, looking thoughtful for a moment, What in Oblivion did the bird mean by 'only those who know where it

    is will rediscover its location'? She glanced at Farkas and Vilkas and saw they were as equally stumped with the owl's words as she



    Hasir sat next to Crealyne on the stone bed while drumming the base with his heels,

    "Ceralyne, you know I already have a mate right?" He asked her.


    She hestiated for a bit and then nodded,

    "I know that, but erm, why did you kiss me then, friends are only supossed to shake hands or hug not, She wiped her cheek with

    her hand, kiss on the cheek, that is crossing the line." Hasir looked at her to see if she was joking or not; he had a hard time

    reading other people's emotions, especially if they are genuine and are betrayed by a straight face. 


    She roared with laughter when she saw his face, apparently she could read him like an open book whereas he was given only a page

    out of the "Book of Ceralyne' everytime he wanted to know something about her,

    "Did you not get any histsap when you were a hatchling or are you just slow?" Hasir hissed in indignation at this apparent jab at his

    psyche, the elf merely sniggered at him, "Calm down, will ya? I was only making an observation, you don't have to go having a hissy

    fit over not getting enough of your mother's hist sap."


    Hasir huffed, folded his arms across his chest and turned away from her,

    "For your information, my mom left my when I was a small hatchling. So, no, I never got any of her 'hist sap'." He said after minutes

    of silence. He turned to her and frowned while his tail hung limply over the edge of the bed, my egg ... fell of the cart while my

    parents fled from Blackmarsh before the Tharassian plaque hit; I was left to hatch alone in my birthing hut with no one around to

    care for me or provide me with some semblance of security. Luckily, a Argonian named Drujeeta and her husband had found me and

    took me on their ship to morrowind; there, I was taught how to hunt, fish and generally live a normal life, something that my birth

    parents never gave me."


    Ceralyne looked crestfallen; She was only trying to have fun with the stubborn Argonian, but after he told her his heartwrenching

    backstory, she felt truly horrible,

    "I'm, erm, sorry to hear that," She wanted to console Hasir more but decided not to push the evnvelop, so she changed her

    approach, "My parents lord and lady Athaen of the eye of the queen, where killed during a pirate raid on our village." She then

    formed a fist and thumped it on the stone bed so hard it made Hasir yelp. "That damned khajiit, Affraji and her crewtortured my

    family for information on the whereabouts of the Alinorian treasure vault." Hear this, Hasiir's tail slammed down angrily but the

    Argonian remained silent, when they would not give them the location, the pirate captain, a slimy furball named Affraji and her two

    most faithful crewmates would have them executed.


    Hasir turned to look at her, his tail snaked out behind him,

    "What happened to your parents? Were they executed along with the others?" 


    The elf slowly shook her golden-haired head,

    "No, they were not, instead they were taken to the king of Alinor and were ordered by the pirates to tell them the location of the

    king would suffer an unfortunate 'accident' later that night."


    The Argonian's tail danced to and fro behind him. This tale had every he wanted: pirates, possible treasure and torturu, he put his

    scaly head on the elf's shoulder and look dreamily up at her as he asked if they caved in or not. The elf shook her head,

    "My parents stood resolute in their silence. Affraji was having none of this so she grabbed my mother, put her scimitar to the elf's

    skinny neck and, once again, demanded for the treasure. Ceralyne spoke in a raspy Elsweyrian accent,

    "Give Affraji the treasure or she will ensure this man lives as a widower." She slid her long finger across her neck, causing Hasir

    to gulp rather loudly

    Hasir asked what happened next. Ceralyne, heart heavy with grief told him,

    "Well, my dad, weak at the knees at the prospect of losing his golden-skinned wife, gave the khajiit the location to the vault. On the

    nimblest paws, the khajiit were out of there before the king could think of call the royal gaurd. 


    Hasir looked like someone had poured water on the fire in his soul,

    "What happened to your parents Ceralyne?


    Tears obscured the elf's vision as she recounted the aftermath to the Argonian, even though she did not want to,

    "For good measure, before leaving with their ill-gotten gains, Affraji and one other decapitated my parents with pinpoint accuracy; it

    wass amazing, yet incredibly sad at the same time."


    She put her head against Hasir's chest and began to cry; the Argonian's face screwed up with disgust as he felt his miner's shirt get

    soaked with tears,

    "I'm so sorry," He said "Is there anything I can do?" She lifted her head and thought for a moment, "Actually, yes, have you ever

    skinned a khajiit before?


    As if on queue, the temple doors flew open and, silhoutted in the waning afternoon sky, was a khajiit outline wearing some kind of

    long trenchcoat. The figure entered the temple and strode right up to the altmer, instinctively, Hasir threw himself in front of her,

    "If you want to hurt her you have to get through me first." He removed the ring, it clattered to the floor and he transformed into his

    wolf form. Twilight's lips pulled back as he snarled at her.


    The khajiit took a step back as if she were afraid of catching rabies and then smirked as if she found something,


    "Ceralyne control your pet." Ceralyne, too, looked coldly at her. Affraji sniffed in indifference, "You think Affraji was looking for

    revenge? No, she is just here to check up on her feline friend. How is he doing today?" She asked


    Ceralyne shrugged, still eying her cautiously if she were a bomb,

    "How should I know? Ask him yourself." The elf let out a cold, high laugh, oh that's right, you can't." She smirked at the khajiit's

    shocked face.


    Affraji walked over to the khajiit and placed her hand on his forehead,

    "Filth, don't you fucking touch him, I will not have another death on my conscience." She unsheathed her elven longsword and

    launched herself at the khajiit, she dodged this, causing the blade to get stuck in the stone bed. Beads of sweat formed on the high

    elf's forehead as she heard the growling khajiit approaching from behind. Ceralyne bore all her weight on her sword in an attempt to

    wrench it free. 


    Afrraji removed her cutlass from her hip sheath and swung at the elf's head. In one fluid motion, the elf turned around and brought

    her sword up to intersect the khajiit's blade,

    "What's the matter? Did you run out of moonsugar?" Hearing this, the khajiit pushed the sword away and delivered a lightning fast

    axe kick to the elf's face. She tumbled across the temple floor, crashing into the wooden cart that Danica lleft out a couple days

    before. Potions and spell books flew to the four winds; the contents of the potions littered the temple floors around where Ceralyne



    Affraji strode over to her and raised her cutlass with an evil glint in her eye,

    "Prepare to be reunited with your parents." She purred into the elf's ear. Ceralyne thought the cat was sincere in ending her life and

    was fully expecting it. She shut her eyes tight and feared the worst when she heard a dull 'thud' as the sword slammed into one of

    the cart's wooden legs. 


    Ceralyne opened her eyes a saw the cutlass sticking out of the wooden leg just inches from her head and the looked up at the

    khajiit, a bewildered look etched onto her face. She had fully expected the khajiit captain to make good on her threatening promise,

    she had not expected the khajiit to show mercy towards her.

    The khajiit bent down, smiled and offered a hand to the elf, she took it and stood up,

    "Can we start over? To be honest, Affraji never wanted to follow in her parent's footsteps." She said quietly


    This was met by confusion on Ceralyne's part. She had no idea what in Oblivion the khajiit was talking about. She asked Affraji why she

    did not want to follow in her parent's footsteps. Affraji sighed,

    "My parents were the most feared parents in all of Elsweyr, they wanted Affraji to follow on with their legacy when they died, but Affraji

    wanted to become a privateer not a pirate."


    Ceralyne looked even more confused at this, not knowing the difference. She voiced this concern to Affraji; she smiled and explained

    the difference,

    "A pirate is, er a low down scoundrel who pillages villages, murders innocents and rob other ships for their own benefits whereas a

    privateer is a swashbuckler who sees pirates as thieves and relieves them of their ill gotten goods and returns them to their rightful

    owners ... think of it as a sort of Robin Hood of the seas. Affraji wanted to break free from her parent's legacy, She wanted to still be a

    pirate but instead of needlessly killing or kidnapping innocents, she would instead do so only if she needed to. She looked at Ceralyne's

    nonplused face, smiling at her, Affraji will also do pillaging and robbing only if the situation warranted it."


    Ceralyne looked at the khajiit confused,

    "So ... wait what!?" She spat, "How can you still be a pirate if you abandon everything a pirate stands for?"


    Affraji shrugged and purred an answer,

    "Affraji is a pirate in title only, not deeds, she thought it best for her to join a thieves guild, so as to pillage from a house of a person

    who is rich beyond their means. Affraji does not needlessly steal like her parents did, they wanted to steal from your house; seeing

    many riches to gain even though Affraji's parents were very well off." She eyed the high elf almost daring her to attack, "This one's

    parents wanted no witnesses to remain alive. Her parents went to the palace where they knew the elf and her parents were and

    dragged them back to the ship, to murder them." The khajiit's eyes filled with tears, "Affraji was brought back to the ship to witness

    their murders."


    She slumped next to Inigo and thumped her fist on the bed next to the blue khajiit's unconscious body repeatedly, 

    "When the head of the Renriji Moari found out," The khajiit burst into tears, "They ordered Affraji parents' own crewmates to bind them

    in rope, tie achors to their legs and throw them overboard. The crewmembers of the ship, that was passed onto me, surmized that this

    one's parents would either drown or be eaten alive by one of the many sea creatures that lurked in the Elsweyrian sea."


    Affraji looked frighteningly back at Ceralyne and walked over to her,

    "You now know why Affraji does not wish to be a full blown pirate like her parents." Ceralyne nodded as she did, finally understand.


    Hasir walked over to where Inigo lay put his scaly hand on the khajiit's forehead. Immediately, a strange, cold sensation wormed its

    way up his arms and settled into his brain. He was flying over land and sea towards Morthal until he stopped at an illusion of a

    mountain, in his mind's eye, he could bypass the illusion and saw a manor of stone and metal. He soared past the triangular

    structure with a piping sticking out of it and entered the mansion. The mansion was quite a sight to behold; it looked like the interior

    of an eighteenth century mansion complete with old fashioned pictures and dust-laden furniture. Going further, Hasir saw many

    dwarven armored beings. He surmized these beings were souls of some kind-which was mostly true because the beings, he saw

    upon closer inspection had no bodies but where mere gilded skeletons in dwarven armor.


    From the aerial view he had of the manor's interior, he saw an empty dwarven shell with the likeness of a khajiit. Hasir had no idea

    of this was Inigo or not when he soared back over the land in reverse until he was back in his own mind again. Hasir's hand flew

    away from the khajiit's head as if he was shocked. Hasir's eyes flew open,

    "What in the name of Tamriel was that?" Hasir asked shocked


    Hasir eyes opened and closed a couple of times to make sure that he saw exactly what he thought he did. Was that Inigo in that

    empty shell? He thought.


    Hasir did not know nor did he knew where the manor came from or even if it was real. He did not know about his newfound ability,

    maybe there was a book or something in the clockwork castle that would shed some light upon it. He did know, however, that he had

    to find out more about the manor and its inner workings. Hasir left the temple, strode down to the Whiterun stable and rode off with

    his horse toward the city of Morthal, where he knew the manor was situated, hidden by a strange illusion.


    Hasir sped off through the Whiterun fields and thought how his wolf form would permit himself to be there at a faster pace than he

    horse could run. He dd not employ this idea as he was not certain if Twilight could even outrun his horse because he was, in the eyes

    of the Companions of Jorrvaskr, a whelp. Hasir shook this idea off and continued galloping toward the city where he knew the three

    nords were, mostly he judged this by the smell that his enhanced nose had picked up over the many miles between Morthal and his

    current location in Whiterun.


    Hasir leapt off his horse, bent low to the ground and placed his scaly hand on the dirt like a magister would do to seek out the

    location of certain magicks. The same strange sense, like the earth was linking itself with Hasir's nerves, came to Hasir who had half

    expected this sensation even though it was still unpleasant. He still had no idea about the ability's name and how he came by this

    strange 'link to Nirn.'


    Once again, in his mind's eye, he could see the feilds and sky rush past him as if he were a wolf steadily gaining ground on its

    hapless prey. He saw the port town of Morthal along with three nords walking on its cobblestone paths, he even heard the heavy

    footfalls the wolf bootss trampled each stone in turn, his ears picked up the wind blowing through the trees and the birds twittering

    among the branches of said trees. He also heard the clanking of metal against leather as the companions' weapons swayed in their

    sheathes as they walked, occasionally brushing their armor.


    Hasir stood up abruptly as the vision faded; the green Argonian again swore in surprise and shock as he scurried toward the horse,

    which was grazing peacably in the grasses near the Whiterun stable. Hasir got onto his horse and galloped in the direction of



    The lizard and horse arrived at the edge of the city by mid afternoon, Hasir pulled on the horse's reins to slow to a stop when he

    beheld  the false mountain. Hasir called out to the companions but they did not hear him so he tried again; after the fifth attempt

    Aela turned around and headed back to where Hasir's voice originated from.


    She gestured to her shield brothers,

    "Hey morons, move your asses, Hasir needs us." She turned her head to see that Vilkas and Farkas were busy skipping stones in the

    small sea where boats could be seen bobbing on the surface.


    The female nord rolled her eyes,

    "You can play with the boats later, Hasir needs us, hurry up!" She yelled loudly. They burst into action, getting on their horses, who

    snorted indignantly as they did not like having their meal of grass interrupted. Aela laughed as her shieldbrothers were almost

    bucked from the horses as they, as was said, were not at all please about having their meal interrupted. After several seconds, the

    brothers got their steeds under control and trotted toward Aela's position. 


    Farkas, Vilkas and Aela's horse's stop beside Hasir's own horse as they saw the Argonian sitting stock still while looking at a grey

    mountain that was riddled with snow. Farkas and Vilkas looked bewildered at this because they thought it was really wierd that

    anyone would be so taken by a seemingly barren mountain. They did not know what lay behind this illusion, they thought it was just

    a normal mountain; they had no idea that within this 'mountain' lay a curious marvel: a manor of machine and stone.


    Hasir and Aela were inexplicably drawn to the illusionary mountain as if pulled by an invisible hand. The horse riders shivered as they

    passed through the illusion; they both felt as if they were being plunged into the deep end of some icy pond. Once the illusion was

    broken, they stood before a gate of a massive manor. They dismounted the horses which they had then led inside the massive

    bronze gates. They left the horses at a stable near the left side of the manor. Aela walked up to the manor entrance.


    Hasir held a hand to stop her,

    "Aela, what if this is a trap? better go softly." He hissed under his breath. Aela nodded and clung to the eastern wall of the courtyard

    of the manor. She approached a door, tried it and found it to not budge despite her throwing her whole weight on it. Hasir, hidden

    near the left edge of the manor's courtyard gave a muffled shriek as the main door to the manor opened and a metal man, or was it

    a khajiit? Hasir could not be sure, patrolled up and down the courtyard, obviously looking for intruders; at least that's what Hasir's



    Hasir signaled for the nordic female to sneak by the mechanical being and enter the manor proper. The nord furrowed her eyebrows

    and wordlessly voiced her concern for him. The Argonian said he will try and subdue the man. When the man, well, khajiit got closer

    to the Argonian, Hasir was about to crack it over the head with a discard dwemer pipe he had found when the khajiit-like being

    turned his head in Hasir's direction. Hasir gasped as he saw the pumpkin-like eyes...he knew those eyes,