C.O.T.W Chapter 67: Mechanical Mystery

  • The Bronze khajiit nodded. Hasir expected the khajiit to speak normally, but the noise came, instead out of a small horn,

    "My friend, it has been so long, last time we spoke was before my soul was captured." When he spoke, a mechanized vocal pattern

    was heard. The metal cat's arm beckoned Hasir to follow him. Hasir slunk along and they both stepped over the threshold. Upon

    entrance Hasir was hit in the face with the scent of a house that had not been cleaned for millenia. Blankets of dust were draped

    over light fixtures and floral patterened furniture. vines of dust cralwed up the eqaully foral pattern walls. Once Hasir got past the

    dirtiness of the place, it had a rustic charm about it that was rarely seen in many of Tamriel's more modern homes. 

    Hasir spotted Aela at the top of two carpeted curved staircases that lay one the other side of a door; Hasir prayed to Kynareth

    that it did not lead anywherre awful. Carefully, Hasir ascended the steps-almost as if he was afraid they could collapse at any

    second-to the second level where he saw three doors-but where they lead to, he did not know. Alea was Hasir snuck up behiind Aela

    and made a soft hissing noise,

    "Er, what are you staring at?" He asked her. Aela worddlessly gestured to a huge clock that was hanging on the wall opposite. Hasir

    scoffed at this seemingly unimportant object, which had three mechanical hands that rotated around its white and bronze face-the

    three clock arms were unlike anything Hasir had ever seen.


    The three hands on the clock told the hour, what year is was, the day of the week and the month. Hasir pointed at the faroff clock

    and sniggered,

    "This will be handy if we ever forget where we are in space and time." Feeling Red inside her, Aela punched the irritating reptile in

    the shoulder, earning a soft hiss in return. Hasir turned his head in her direection and wordlesslyy asked her what that was for.


    Aela scowled at him, placing her hands on her hips,

    "That was for being an insufferable prat." Hasir sighed and told Aela that she needed to lighten up and not take everything so



    Hasir sighed as his tail slipped between his legs,

    "Erm, Aela on risk of being hit again, I figure I should tell you that I found Inigo." He expected Aela tto start swinging again. She did

    not, she just stared at Hasir with a look of curiosity on her face. She asked him how the khajiit could be here if he is laying on a

    stone bed in a temple in Whiterun.

    He shrugged, saying he had no idea. He guessed that this place had to have a library which held the answers he sought. He turned

    his head in Alea's direction as a wide smile broke across his face,

    "Aela do you want to see if we can find that library? She hesitated for a bit before answering, "Hasir, I would love to, Hircine knows I

    would but I have to find his totems that were stolen from White River chapel, see you later, yeah?" She sped off towards the

    entrance and left Hasir all by himself in the old, dusty manor.


    Hasir hissed angrily to himself,

    Okay, I guess it is up to me to find the library then," He said, a bit sullen. As Hasir moved down the steps and in the direction he had

    hoped was the library he clung to walls like barnacles to a capsized boat because he wasn't quite sure if this manor was deserted or

    not-disregarding the bronze khajiit-like figure he had seen earlier. Hasir took slowly shallow breaths as he inched slowly toward a

    door at the end of a long hallway, he froze when he heard the door open, he glanced quickly in that direction; a man and woman

    wearing the same armor that the khajiit wore when he had met him came out of the room-which Hasir guees was a kitchen judging

    from what little he could seee of the room as the half man, half machine beings closed the door behind them. Hasir expected them

    to make a clanking noise and they walked towards him; they did not, their footfalls sounded normal.


    When the man and woman had passed where he stood, Hasir ran to the end of the hall and was about to open the door when, out of

    the corner of his eye, he saw a perculiar looking key. Hasir picked it up and examined it; it looked like a rusted dwemer key, but

    where the hand should have been was an engraving of a door.

    "Strange, the mmetal men must've dropped this, I must return it to them." He said


    He reverentially placed the key into his pocket and was about to walk in the direction that he knew the mechanical pair had gone in

    when he held the key up to the door they had just vacated seconds before. Out of nowhere, a bronze keyhole appeared on the door;

    He looked around wildly as if he was doing something illegal and making sure no one was around and inserted the key in the lock.

    He heard numerous metalic clicks. He placed a clawed hand on the bronze door hand and turned it.

    Hasir gawped at the giant marshland that the door opened onto, how in Tamriel did I get here? he thought as he stepped over

    the coobblestone threshold letting the door shut firmly behind him. Hasir did not dare venture to far because he was unsure if the

    door would stay there indefinitely or not. When he was sure the door would not disappear, he walked over to a mud house near the

    marsh where he appeared and saw an Argoian male watching two small Argonian children swimming in the marsh,

    "Come on K'haira, you can swim faster than that, pretend a slaughterfish is chasing you." The boy Argonian was syaing to his sister.


    Hasir watched this for a short while more until he heard a noise that made him look up; a beautiful Argonian adullt female came out

    of the hut, her brown eyes filled with rage,

    "Tulen, K'haira, Kul-en, quiet down please, you will wake up the egg." She said. They nodded and mournfully toned down

    their splashes and giggling.


    Hasir, unsure of whether he could be seen or not, slunk into the hut behind his mother. His mother picked up the egg and began to

    rock in back and forth in her arms. His father ran into the hut saying a storm of swirling bluish-black clouds was heading this way,

    Kassamae twisted her head around to stare, bewilderd, at her uxith-beeko,

    "Itansehk, calm down and tell me again slowly, was did you see?" She asked as if to a frantic child


    The male Argonian took severl deep breaths and began again, making sure to annunciate each word clearly,

    "Kassamae, when I was playing with the kids in the pond, I saw a storm approaching, one with bluish-black clouds that struck down

    anything-man, mer and beast, strips them of their soul, displaces them from this plane and forcibly ensalves them to Molag Bal. we

    have to get out of here before that," He gestured toward the rapid approach soul-sucking storm, "happens to us, now hurry, grab the

    kids and anything else you can't live without and load them on this cart." As he said this, he pulled a cart from behind the hut.

    Kassamae furrowed her eyebrow as something else occured to her,

    "Is that all? This cannot be everything because Molag Bal is the most devious of daedric princes, I hardly think anything will be that

    easy with Stone Fire." She said, staring at her husband as if she was trying to start a fire behind his eyes.


    Itansehk raised up his hands in defeat,

    "You're right, you are always right uxith-beeko, anyway, er, Molag Bal turns the kindest soul in Tamriel to one of the meanest souls

    on Nirn. Basically, he takes the yang-good half-of the soul, extracts in and forces in his own yang-evil side of the soul and sends it

    back to Tamriel as his champion, sowing destruction is his lord's name. His prized champion would be a champion of Arkay, or even

    Arkay himself. In short, he takes the brightest, kindest soul and defiles them until they turned into shells of their former selves,

    soulless vampires."


    He stared into his wife's impatient face and heard her foot rapidly tapping, he gulped and proceeded carefully,

    "Stop your aimless rambling you idiot, haven't you seen the storm approaching rapidly toward us? We have to leave, get out and find

    a new home, perhaps in Morrowind somewhere." She yelled at the apparently dumbstruck Argonian.


    Her husband huffed in anger and thought up a clever answer to this, 

    "What do you want me to say, that a strain of Thrassian plague was running rampant in Blackmarsh? Come off of it, Kass, the Ojel,

    outsiders, already came up with the clever lie that that cloud," He again pointed to the bluish-black storm cloud, "the Ojel yjink this

    is just an offshoot strain of the Thrassian plague." He chuckled and shook his head, "What idiots." This comment earned a

    disapproving glance complete with a snarl from his wife.

    Itansehk ushered his children to pile neatly into the back of the cart. K'haira thought of something and sped back to the hut. She

    returned seconds later bearing her unhatched brother aloft like someone presenting a cherished sword,

    "You almost left little Whats-his-name behind." She said, apparently out of breath


    Itansehk turned to face her from his seat next to Kassamae and snarled at her,

    "He can sit on the bench next to you and Kul-en, and please call him by his name." Itansehk said, groaning.


    K'hairi hissed indignantly at him,

    "And hiss name isss? What?" She asked, shrugging


    Itansehk and his wife turned and yelled at her,

    "By the hist, you are such a hatchling, his name is Hasir," Itansehk was so infuriated that he let his wife take over for him, "K'hairi

    Hasir literally means little claw in Jel and in Argonian custom, we often, if not always, name our hatchlings after body parts that

    stand out among all the rest, for his it was his least claw, so we decided on Hasir."


    K'hairi creased her forehead and her tail flopped about wildly in anticipation of the answer,

    "Were Kul-en and I named after any outstanding body parts?" She asked inquisitively. Her mother shook her scaly head, leaving the

    young Argonian girl thoroughly crestfallen.

    Hasir caught something green and scaly out the corner of his eye; it was sort of like a cross between a lizard and another breed of

    creature. There were to  of the at the head of the carriage; He walked closer to them and upon further inspection, he saw they had

    sivler armor that covered their lower jaw and continued all the way to where the tail of the beast started. he notice the at saddle as

    though they could be riding-which could be a bit challenging because of three huge iron spikes protruding on either side of the

    leather saddle.


    The Argonian looked behind him and gulped; the storm was quickly approaching them and he could barely hear the parents

    instructions to the kids as they prepared for ddeparture nor could her hear the fast paced running of the lizard steed as they ran as

    they pulled the carriage towards Black Marsh harbor so that the Argonians could exit the marsh safelly and with worry of the bluish

    black storm clouds that were rapidly closing in. 


    As the carriage sped on, it was proving hard for K'hairi to hold onto the egg because with every rock or loose tree stump they hit,

    the egg was slipping further and further out of her grip until she lost hold of it altogether and the egg fell out of the carriage to land,

    abandoned in the mud not far from the Argonians' home.


    The Argonians, particularly the parents, had no idea that part of their cargo had fallen behind. Every was unconcerned about the

    'lost' egg exxcept for K'hairi; her tail curled close to her body as she quietly sobbed and wished if she had held thee egg tigter, that

    this mishap would not have happened. She knew she had to tell her parents, but they were already a few miles from where the egg

    dropped and were steadily approaching the harbor to start their new life.

    Hasir walked oover to the egg with a mix of worry and sadness on his face as he bent down and picked up the egg; he thought there

    had to be a 'butter flyl effect' of sorts that would prevent him from interacting with his past self but no such magic seemed to be

    happening here. He cradled the white egg in his arms as he brought it back to its home and placed it in its basket. He wanted to

    watch over the egg to ensure safe hatching since there were no parents or guardians around when, from outside, he heard foot

    steps heading to this hut. Hasir did not know who these Argonians were, though he had a good idea; he had to leave quickly.


    Hasir looked back at the white egg and smiled; a tear threatened to escape his eye, he blinked a couple of times in an attempt to

    clear his eye,

    "You'll be in good claws, little one." He said as he departed back to the door, opened it and found himself back inside the manor. He

    took the key out of his pocket and eyed it curiously, what, before he had thought to be a door on the key handle was actually a

    styilized P. He wondered what the P meant but he would focus on that later; right now, he had to find the library. He placed the key

    is his pocket and set off to find the library, hopefully the library will have answers to these strange key he thought as he tail swayed

    to and fro as he searched everywhere for the libray.


    After an hour of searching, he huffed in defiance and was about to curse his efforts when a metallic male voice called out from

    behind him,

    "Sorry for the interruption, but I couldn't help but take conern in your predicament, are you trying to find something in particular?"

    She asked.


    Hasir nodded, reached his hand into the pocket of his brown miner's trousers and extracted the rusty looking key that he

    had used earlier,

    "I was wondering if you could tell me what this is and where I can find more information about it." He gave the metallic creature

    what he hoped was a sincere smile. As an afterthought, he also added, "Who or what are you? I saw at least two others just like

    you as I walked around the manor." 


    The metallic being named Lahar sighed, which would have sounded organic except that he seemed fused with some kind of dwemer

    armor, the sound escaped though a =n attchement that looked like a tiny gramorphone speaker. After a few seconds silence he


    "For the answer to your first question, the key that you know hold is called the past key, it allows you to relive momments in your

    past you may have forgotten or may need more clarification on." He said. He sighed a second time as if answering these questions

    was, in some way, painful for him.


    Hasir's tail went limp almost as if it expected what came next to be negative in some way,

    "As for the second question," Lahar said, "We are what you see before us and nothing more." He said bluntly


    Hasir begged Lahar to expand on this, Lahar sighed and abliged reluctantly,

    "We, my children and I are children of the sky gods, one child's name was carved in the flesh of the first living mortal, another name

    was hewnn out of rock and the third child's name was written in the shadow that still lingers after the sky unsuccessfully tried to

    banish it from this realm." Lahar gestured to himself, "I am the first child, my wife Lamashtu is the second and Molag Bal is the third

    that the sky gods unsuccessfully tried to banish.

    Hasir walked over to one of the spiral staircases and sat down with one foot on the current step and another on the lower step,

    "ait a minutes iif you three are linked then why in Oblivion did I hear about someone putting soul in dwarven exoskeleton to save

    them from Bal's wrath?" He eyed Lahar with great intensity, "Care to tell me that?"


    Lahar just stood there, devoid of both words and emotion,

    "Ermmm ... well ... I guess it is because we were all children ground from the same length of pipe, to coin a phrase, when

    Lamashtu had this brilliant idea to break away from Molag Bal. That, however, mad him angrier and as punishment for her boldness,

    Molag Bal called a bluish black storm cloud down upon us; sucking out our souls whilst also causing unimaginable pain. While we

    three lay there, either dying or already dead, our souls flittered before the daedric prince." Lahar made a sound like he was crying,

    Hasir did not know if he or any of the other constructs could cry.


    Lahar continued his origin story, waves off the small show of emotion with his hand,

    "Both she and I were rescued before we were eternal slaves for the lord of domination, we were saved by a very kind and

    courageous soull named Beela Karr, the only downside is hhe knows works eternally for Molag Bal instead of us. It was his soul

    Molag Bal took when he lost ours. He turned Beela Karr into a soulless vampire, forever bound to exist outside the realm of the

    living." Hasir looked at him shocked, he had not believed Molag Bal had would have such a deep hatred for pure souls, well then

    again Molag Bal was the antithesis of everything that is good on Nirn; even his realm was the size of nirn but had a sky that burned

    cold, devoid of a sun where the inhabitants that are called soul shriven would work tirelessly under his iron fists instead of enjoying

    the sun's warmth as the inhabitants in the yang side do-he did not expect Nirn and Coldharbour to be yet another example of the

    sacred symbol.  


    A crease formed between Hasir's spiky eyebrows,

    "How do you know about the sacred symbol?" He asked


    Lahar smirked and strode toward the Argonian,

    "I know this because my body was fused with both dwemer and Akavirian technoligy."


     Hasir again wore a confused expression on his face,

    "I thought the Akaviri died out millenia ago?" He asked


    At this Lahar chuckled which was an odd sound be of how metallic it sounded given he had no mouth. He walked over to a table with

    a worn map of the isle of Akavir on it. The map denoted each of the main provinces of the island and some smaller islands off the

    coast of the tiger dragon empire, 

    "Yes...and no," He saidd shaking his head, "The Akaviri died ouut this is true, but the three ancient Akaviri races endure, they are

    the Kamal, or snow hell, the Tsaesci, which translates to snake palace, the Tang-Mo or thousand monkey islands and finally,"

    He said pointing to the map of Akavir on the table beside him, "we have the Ka'Po'Tun, a peaceful race of warriors and monks," He

    turned and smiled at Hasir )at least he thought it was a smile) whose name literally translates to tiger dragon empire.


    Hasir looked at him concernedly,

    "All I see is dwemer influence, I do not see Akaviri influence in your, er, body at all."


    Lahaar frowned and opened his chest plate so Hasir could see the subject of discussion moew clearly. In the bottom left corner of

    Lahar's golden ribcage was what looked like a soul gem. When Hasir moved closer, however, he discovered that it was not a soul

    gem, but rather a red crystalline gem of some kind; The Argonia gingerly closed the breastplate, thanked Lahar for that fascinating,

    if a bit disturbing revelation and went back to sitting on one step of the right curved staircase.


    Lahar looked at Hasir and asked him if there was anything else he would like to know about him or the mansion,

    "Actually Lahar, I was wondering, erm ... how exactly did you come to be like this in the first place?"


    Lahar sat down on the right hand side staircase and cocked his head at the Argonian,

    "I am not sure what you mean, being bone and metal is what I have known my whole life, erm, after Molag Bal ended it, that is."

    Hasir shook his head and traced Lahar's dwarven form with one claw,

    "I mean, how did you get encased in metal and how did your bones get gilded?"


    Lahar rested his head on his knee, apparently thinking. Over the next few minutes, he told Hasir of the gilding process-the process

    of turning bones golden and reinforcing their strength after death and also about how specific dwarven armor was made to form

    each subject's body type after the giilding process was complete. 


    Hasir sat in complete awe of this whole process as Lahar told him all this. A question still played on Hasir's mind,

    "Lahar, you haven't told me about the crystalline heart and how one is formed." How are they formed exactly?" He inquired


    Lahar eyed him with his red eyes and hoffed loudly,

    "Erm ... crystalline hearts were crafted by Sotha Sil in order to keep his larger creations in his clockwork city in operation aftr there



    Hasir gaped at him and asked if this manor was one such creation of the clockwork god. Lahar nodded vehemently,

    "Yes, Sotha Sil did indeed create this manor for his children to live in." 


    A look of confusion crept over Hasir's scaly face as this caught him offgaurd,

    "Sotha Sil made this place?" He asked as he guesture to the manor as a whole


    Again, Lahar nodded. Hasir shivered although it was quite warm in the manor. Lahar opened his, er, mouth and told Hasir that

    Molag Bal tried to kill Sotha Sil because he thought that he was an agent of Arkay and was unjustfully stealing souls from the lord of


    Hasir scratched his neck with a clawed hand,

    Er...yeah, this is nice and all but I also have two more pressing questions." His tail snaked behind him as he asked Lahar about

    the mechanical owl and the location of the library." The dwarven male whistled a mechanical note and Hasir saw a bird comprised

    completely of metalwork and clockwork gears. It flapped its wings as it slowed to perch on Lahar's shoulder. He looked at Hasir's

    shocked expression,

    "Oh like you haven't seen a clockwork owl before." He said jokingly,


    Lahar got up and sat on the same step as the Argonian. Hasir still looked shocked as Lahar extended his arm which the bronze

    owl perched at the end of the metallic man's arm as if it was a falconer's glove. As if this would make Hasir stop his gawping, Lahar

    directed the owl to fly onto Hasir's shoulder.


    The Argonian winced a bit as the dwemer owl dug its claws into his scaly shoulder,

    "Hasir, may I introduce you to Vvarden, he is not my personal pet, but rather the personal pet owl of Sotha Sil himself. The

    clockwork god wanted to giev Vvarden a meaningful home since he was busy running his clockwork city at the time


    Lahar looked at Hasir who was busy stroking the dwemer owl's blade-like wings. Vvarden's blue 'eyes' met Hasir's own and they

    became fast friends. With introductions out of the way, and the owl safely back on Lahar's falconer's glove-like gauntlet. Hasir

    asked his second, and arguably more important question,

    "Do you, er, know where the library is? I have research to do for the mages college." He lied


    Lahar cocked his head as this caught him a bit offgaurd,

    "Library, what exactly is a 'library?" He asked, confused


    Hasir sighed and his mouth formed the word 'blothead' to the carpeted steps. Hasir gave a forced smile even though his anger boiled

    inside of him like a fire inside a cauldron,

    "Library, L-I-B-R-A-R-Y," He spelt out the letters slowly as though the dwemer mechanoid male was a slow-witted child, "is a place

    where one can find tons of books arranged by subject or author on shelves." He looked at Lahar disdainfully, "now tell me you don't

    have one of those." He said mockingly, crossing his good arm across his chest.   

    Lahar's optical actuaters dialated as they fell upon the Argonian broken left arm in its light tan leather sling,

    "Er, do you want me to fix that? I can fit you with an arm of dwarven make, I would not want to, oh what is the phrase? Step on

    your toes?"


    Hasir raised his good hand and shook his head; saying that he wanted a skilled healer to take care of it, not an inexperienced

    dwemer mechanoid. Lahar took great offenes to this but conceded to defeat nonetheless, knowing full well he should try not to

    overstep his boundaries with the Argonian. After several paiinful minutes of silence, Lahar told Hasir where 'the great book place, at

    least, that's what he called it, could be found. Hasir thanked Lahar, got up, which was a laborious feat because of how he hadd to use

    his tail as a way to steaddy himself so he did not fall onto his face, and sped off in the direction of Lahar's pointing finger-towards

    left-most door on the manor's second floor.


    Upon climbing the steps he was met with a floor that looked almost identical to the one below, except for the fact there were no

    arched hallways running paralell to the main room. It had the same pink floral-patterned rug covering the floor for starters-that,

    however was where the similarities ended-it had three doors, one in three of the compass directions. The Hasir started to open the

    eastern door when he heard a soft metallic voice behind him,

    "Greeting, I am Lamashtu, I presume Lahar told you of me?" She said, herr red ocular actuators fixed on the Argonian


    Hasir's grip slackened on the doorknob a bit,

    "Yesss, he told me about you, why do you ask?" He answered sheepishly


    The female mechanoid drew closer to him and siad that that is of no importance, 

    "I overheard you are looking for the library? That door there," She pointed to the door Hasir was about to open, "That leads to the

    mage's study, which is kind of like a library except that also it has a alchemy station and enchanting table not just bookshelves, the

    truth is we do not have a library; the mage's study is the closest thing we have." With that, she gave a slight grin, if you could call it

    that and walked down the steps.


    Hasir gave this due consideration and pushed the door open. His eyes were met with a circular room full of floor to ceiling 

    bookshelves hugging the outer walls of the room-what caught his attention immediately was not the bookshelve but the apparent

    lack of any alchemical or enchanting tables. That woman needs her bolts tightened Hasir muttered under his breath.What he did see

    in the middle of the room were more bookshelves arranged in a circle just like the other bookshelves. He wandered around the

    room, looking for any books that could explain what in Oblivion is going on.


    After an exhaustive hour of looking and failing to find the right books, his eyes fell on a curious object sticking out of a book that was

    browning and its cover torn away like some unwanted missive from the penitus oculotus rulebook; he wrenched the strange object

    from the old book and held it gingerly before his eyes as if it were some ancient treasure from Blackmarsh, examined it,

    "I had not expected a key to be here." He said, more to himself than to anyone else


    While Hasir was star struck by the key, there was movement in the room, suddenly the room was thick with the disembodied voice,

    "Ah, I see you have found another key. What does it fit I wonder?" It said 


    Hasir scales turned white as a bedsheet and he started sweating as if the room was a furnace,

    "Hello, who's there? Show yourself!" He yelled into the darkness of the room as he turned around and pocketed the key. He nearly

    jumped out of his scales as he stumbled and fell in a nearby bookshelf. Lahar stood as he offered the fallen Argonian his hand.


    Hasir smiled sheepishly as he took it and stood up,

    "By Hircine, Lahar, you nearly sent me to Oblivion...er, what are you doing here?" He asked, raising a spiky eyebrow


    Lahar said he heard a sound of metal being displaced from one of the bookshelves in the mage's study. Hasir craned his head and

    angrily told him to speak in words that he could understand. The dwwarven mechanoid apologized and held out his hand

    and asked if he could see the key that the Argonian procured; Hasir obliged and put his hand in his pocket and withdrew the shiny

    bronze key. UUpon doing so, his eye caught onto something parcular that, like the previous key, formed the key handle; where the

    handle should've been was a small two dimension version of a dwemer puzzle cube.


    Lahar nodded and told Hasir that thee key is called the key of hidden knowledge. He extended his hand toward two bookshelves on

    the western side of the room. The Argonian took this as a sign that he was to try the key on the bookshelf-but which one? Hasir

    walked over to the bookshelves, tail swaying all the way and held the key up to the bookshelf; immediately a bronze keyhole seemed

    to appear out of nowhere. A scaly hand fumpled with the inner tumblers of the lock until he heard a clink. Hasir leapt back as if burnt

    by an invisible fire and heard the sound of a large stone being rolled back from some unknown tomb. Lahar smirked to himself as

    Hasir looked in awe at the room which was full of yet more bookcases arranged the same way as the previous room.


    He moved closer to the now open spot where the twin bookcases stood seconds before and once he was well into the room, the

    bookcases slid back into place. In the distance Hasir could hear soothing yet unsettling music coming from a faroff music box. Hasir

    tried to put this tune out of his mind and continued to search of the books he needed as before him more bookshelves seemed to

    rise like  skyscrapers to the ceiling. Hasir called upon his inner wolf as he sniffed the air-as if that would help, to his surprise it

    didn't; if anything it made him seem fooslish.


    Hasir resigned to the fact that he had to search the bookcases for the books, He snaked though the rows loooking closely at each

    books. Oh hircine, there must be a better way He thought as he looked at each book in turn, nearing the end of the row of

    bookshelves, he was about to give up hope when fortune streak; near the end of the row he hard a sound like someone whispering

    to him; he followed the saound to a bookcase standing among the others that encircled the room's outer wall. Hasir thanked Hircine

    and Kynareth as he shot a clawed hand out and pulled each book off of the shelf, one by one until his eyes fell on the books; each of

    them had golden lettering running down the spines of the brown books: Souls: A complete guide to living with them and restoration

    , The little known abilites of earth and marsh and The mystery of the dwemer.

    Hasir grabbed those three books and brought them over to a small square bronze metal table with similarly colored chairs, sat down

    and pulled the first books off of the stack he had set in the middle of the table. A skeleton in a metallic shell dominated much of the

    book's cover,

    "This wll probably shed light on the strange keys and dwemer men I've been seeing." He said as he cracked the book open and

    started to read, "In a bygone age of Nirn, before there were men, mer or beasts there, were the dwarves, who are now known as

    the dwemer; they were children of Sotha Sil, the clockwork god. He created the clockwork city and was so impressed with his

    creation and yet so saddened because there was no one to share his creation with that he took dwarves from the nearby mountains

    and instilled into them the knowledge of created machinery and automatons to populate the clockwork city.


    The clockwork god also intilled the knowledge of creating advanced defense systems for his city." Hasir looked shocked but continued

    reading as he found this interesting, "Sotha Sil knew the dwarves were getting on in age and would die soon, so he fashioned the

    dead dwemer golden suits of armor and a crystalline heart-it functions like a soul gem in that if the soul is destroyed, the gem, or

    heart in this case, is destroyed. Sotha Sil knew that this would happen so he used a dwemer gilding machine to strengthen their

    bones tenfold and, not only that but it also made them nearly indestructible before the hearts are inserted and the deceased dwemer

    are encased into suits of armor. 


    Hasir shut the book, set it aside and was about to start the second book on the stack when he heard the whispering again. He

    followed the noise until he came to a bookcase near the back of the room. He waalked around to the back of the bookcase and

    noticed a bronze section among the wooden backing of the bookcase, He furrowed his brow as he dug at the bronze plating among

    the wood and finally, after five minutes of digging at the differenlty colored portion of the back panel, he extracted yet another key.

    This key, Hasir saw had a heart as the key's handle; He decideded it was time to go back and see Lahar. 


    He pocketed the key and retrieved the books ffrom the square table, placed them in his bag and went back into the manor's foyer.

    He saw Lahar ascending the steps and flagged him down. The dwarvem automon stopped and eyed Hasir,

    "Yes, what is wrong?" He asked. Hasir showed him the key he had found in the library annex. Lahar's opitical actuators went wide as

    he examined the key like a miner cherishing some ore he had found before making it into armor. He told Hasir that the key is called

    the key of heart's desire; Hasir asked what it did. Lahar told him that the key unlocks a portal to the holder's heart's desire. 


    Hasir laughed causing Lahar to scowl at him. Hasir quickly apologized and told Lahar the thing that had been weighing on his mind,

    Erm... Lahar, when I was in the library annex I found three rather interesting books." He said, holding up three fingers, "one in

    particular talked about your kind, the dwemer.


    A 'puzzled expression' grew on Lahar's face. his optical actuators told more than his mouth could,

    "Oh? What did this book say?" He asked


    The Argonian removed the book in question from his bag,

    "The book told me that you kind, the dwemer are children of the clockwork god, Sotha Sil annd aslo about your curious metal bodies

    containing a soul gem-like heart."


    He walked toward and around, the dwemer, tail trailing behind him as he did so,

    "It also describing how he created this manor as a sanctuary of sorts to house the souls freedom from Molag Bal's grasp." He

    chuckled as he pictured Molag Bal throwing a temper tantrum over his lost souls.


    As Hasir was describing what the dwemer book said, Inigo came up the stairs,

    "My friend, I overheard you talking and, er, well, when my soul was trapped by that witch Anise, I lost all sense of time and space,

    as such, I have no recollection how I ended up here. All I can remember is a lightless blue and black sky and a bright white light

    and suddenly, I woke up in this metal body," He said, turning to the Argonian, 'grinning sheepishly.' 


    Hasir wanted to try to heart's desire key to find out what it did but he already knew what he wanted; to see Inigo's soul restored.

    Hasir smiled weakly and assured Inigo that together, they will find a way to get his soul back, even if they had to scour the very

    depths of Oblivion to find it. He also told Inigo that he found a book during his sojourn to the library annex that might be of

    assistance in the matter.

    Hasir and his metallic feline friend descended the steps together as the Argonian quickly browsed the book for a way to return his

    furry friend's soul. Hasir let out a cry of triumph as soon as they reached the bottom of the stairs,

    "Inigo, I think I found a way to restore your soul." He said, "By the hunting grounds, this is complicated, I can make neither tails nor

    scales of this."  he said frustrated


    Inigo walked over to the stressed Argonian and placed a metallic paw on Hasir's shoulder in an attempt to calm him down,

    "My frend, it's fine, I can learn to live with his new body, you don't need to retrieve my soul." He said sweetly


    Hasir sat down on the bottom most step of the carpeted curved staircase with his tail poking out between his legs like a rabbit hiding

    from a wolf,

    "No, Inigo I really do have to do this because I have to beat him," He began crying like a hatchling deprived of his sap, "if I don't, I

    will be forever labeled as a failure to my race." A cloud of dust scattered to the four winds as he sprawled out on the last two steps

    of the staircase. 


    Inigo sat down on the step next to Hasir and looked at the Argonian rather sternly,

    "My friend you are not a discredit to your race. Why are you so upset? Molag Bal is a threat to all of Tamriel, not just Black Marsh."

    He said as he picked helped the distraught Argonian to his feet.

    Hasir nodded gloomily and then remembered something. His hand flew to his pocket and closed around something metal,

    "Inigo, I am such a hatchling, I forgot I had the heart's desire key." He said, smacking himself in the forehead


    He glanced at Inigo whose metallic forehead creased,

    "Wha? You didn't know about the keys? I thought all children of Sotha Sil knew."


    Inigo shook his head, signalling he had no clue,

    "Sorry my friend, every empty shell but this one." He said chuckling.


    Hasir cringed and told him to not do that again because he found that to be a tad creepy. Inigo apologized and told the Argonian until he

    gets reunited wih his body, the Argonian will have to live with the creepiness. Hasir did not hear him but got up, walked down the steps

    and held the key up to the door between the split staircase; as before, a bronze keyhole appeared on the door. Hasir inserted the key

    and flung the door open.


    A beautiful sight met his reptilian eyes; a beautiful hilllside full of dragontongue plants and stone temples a far as the eye could see.

    Hasir was too wrapped up in the beauty of the scene, he failed to see Inigo behind him,

    "Erm...my friend, why are you staring at a field of flowers?" he asked confused


    Hasir hissed a sigh and looked at him indignantly,

    "Inigo, will you stop playing the joker for one second?" 

    Inigo threw his hands up and apologized. Hasir apologized for being out of line, reached into his bag, extracted the books of souls,

    turned to the page of ingredients and showed it to the metallic cat,

    "Inigo, this key," He said brandising the key with his free hand, "can open doors to wherever or whatever your heart desires most. All

    the ingredients in this book,":He jerked his head toward the book, "are in the hills of the thousand monkey island. Inigo said he only

    saw one island. Hasir scowled at him and punched him in the should; a sharp pain traveled up Hasir's arm as he yelped in pain.


    Hasir sheugged off the pain and stepped through the open door. The door started closing; Inigo stood there with cob webs coating the

    gears that made up his brain. He was worried that he would cease to exist if he stepped through that door. The door was almost

    completely closed when the gears finally did move. Inigo opened the door and stepped through it, knocking into Hasir and sending him

    sprawling into the field of dragontongue flowers.


    Hasir picked a flower and placed it in his bag. He consulted the book and saw he needed dragontongue, blue mountain flower, daedra

    heart,  hanging moss and imp stool. He told the bronze khajiit that he will have to scour Skyrim for the rest of the ingredients.

    Inigo scratched his metallic neck and asked if they can stay here a bit longer; Hasir shook his head,

    "Erm...Inigo, we can always come back here later," He sighed angrily, "We have to find the other ingredients and then we can,

    maybe, come back." 


    Inigo opened his mouth to argue but knew his reptilian friend had to restore his soul to it's rightful place. Inigo hung his bronze head

    and followed Hasir as he purposefully led the way back to the manor. As soon as Hasir was over the threshold, the door swung shut.

    Hasir looked back and pushed the door expecting to see the beautiful Akavirian courtyside but instead saw a storeroom full of

    dwemer machinery, struts, dwemer ingots and some crates lining the walls. Turning back around, he looked at Inigo with a confused

    expression. The bronze cat merely shrugged as he followed Hasir out of the manor, almost getting whipped by his tail as he walked.