C.O.T.W Chapter 69: Ancient Magic

  • After the dragon was dealt with, the Companions stood around the dragon, staring at its skeleton. After a moment of shock silence,

    Alea spoke,

    "I still don't get why a dragonknight, Hircine knows what that is, is able to absorb dragon souls." She turned to Kodlak who shrugged

     

    Kodlak was still upset at the way Aela and her brothers treated the Argonian who had tried to fell the dragon all by himself without

    proper equipment; Kodlak had to give the Argonian credit for trying. The harbinger thought it was Aela and her brothers who were in

    the wrong and not that 'stupid lizard' as Aela had come to rrefer him as. Aela put her foot on the dead dragon's jaw and turned to

    the harbinger,

     

    "Kodlak, you have to understand, we found the dragon and he felt it necessary to kill the dragon himself when it was ours to kill."

    She said adamant in her rage

     

    Kodlak looked at her with utter contempt,

    "Aela, you know that's not true, you just want to put that Argonian down for some unknown reason."

     

    Aela scoffed at this,

    "I do not, he was just in our territory, that's all."

     

    Kodlak gave Aela that owlish stare he would often give her in her youth,

    "Young lady, you and both know that is not true."

     

    Alea sighed and leapt of the dragon's jaw and stop and inch from Kodlak's face,

    "Okay, Okay, Hircine be forgiven if you have to rip my head off," She growled at him, "I just wish Hasir would go back to where he

    can from and leave that which he does not understand well enough alone." 

     

    Kodlak smiled at Aela and told her to at least give Hasir a chance, in the end she might grow to like him and find him an invaluable

    asset to the companions. She shrugged this off and said they had to get to Glenmoril Coven in order to recover the totems that the

    Silver hand stole.

     

    Aela mounted up on her horse, closely followed by Farkas, Vilkas and lastly, Kodlak. Their horses turned in the direction of the cave

    and were off, kick up dust, rocks and dirt as they galloped hard to the coven with lay a few miles to the north. Aela saw Vilkas and

    Farkas ahead of her, smirked to herself and called out to them,

    "Hey knuckleheads, how about some fun?" The brothers slowed a bit to listen to her proposal, "Let's have a race, first one to

    Glenmoril coven get a big bag of gold. They agreed and put in one hundred gold each. Aela took the coin purses and placed them in

    her bag.

     

    Vilkas and Farkas eyed her warily,

    "How do we you are being honest?" They asked. She told them that if they win they can divide up the gold amongst themselves.

    Seeing delight in them squabbling, she stuck out her tongue and sped off towards Glenmoril coven. Outraged, they sped off after

    her. 

     

    They sped off to the far northwest of Skrim and spotted Aela a few feet in front of them. She turned back to them,

    "Farkas, Vilkas, I can barely see a few inches in front of my face, the blizzard that had start just as we set out from Morthal is

    getting worse." She smirked jokingly at them

     

    Vilkas closed his eyes while he shook his head threatening to make red show hereself,

    "Aela, er, I think the adrenaline is fogging your judegement, I see no blizzard." His stomach growled, "I, however, am getting

    hungry so why down why pull off her and make camp." He gestured to the nearby camp with a fire still burning. 

     

    The three horses galloped in the direction of the camp where the nords dismounted and gave the horses food and water. Aela went

    to work taking out some venison for the three of them and took a small wood pan out as well. She held the pan over the fire until

    the chops were cooked to her liking. Once she was satisfied, she divided the three chops among three wooden plates and handed

    two of them to her brothers. and poured three cups full of water from her water skin and handed to of them to the male nords.

    Miles away, Hasir sped onward to the city of Whiterun, he had to see if  Inigo was alright. He got to the Whiterun stables by early

    afternoon and dismounted his reptilian steed and advanced to the main gates on foot. He pushed the doors and entered. Once

    inside, he ran toward the temple at the middle of the second ring of the city and, panting heavily, pounded on the temple door,

    "Hasir, thanks the divines that you're here, Inigo was asking about you, please come in." She said beckoning him inside 

     

    Hasir ran over to Inigo and embraced him into a bearhug. Inigo smiled at this reunion of friends separated by what seemed like

    planes of Obivion,

    "My friend, aren't you a sight of sore eyes." He said in joyful sobs

     

    Hasir released him and asked him how he felt. He said he was a little sore but fine overall,

    "My friend, I felt my soul sucked into the soul gem but after that I knew nothing, that is until I woke up inside a metal body

    surrounded by some other metal beings, they were getting their bone outfitted in gold as well as strengthening them tenfold. I was

    so scared, well my soul was, and soon it was my turn to see my body undergo the gilding process. It was incredible painful, I felt like

    I was going to die." He turned his feline head to look Hasir in the eyes, "then the process was completed, days passed, maybe

    years... I-I was not certain but all I knew that I was not myself in a huge empty mansion." He took a steadying breath, That was

    until you came and helped my soul return to my body.

     

    Hasir blushed and the beet-red hue left his face as quick as it had come. He told Inigo he had something he had to do and he will be

    back soon. He smiled slyly at him as he walked to the temple door,

    "Try not to do do anything stupid, ok?" He asked as he closed the door behind him

     

    Hasir was about halfway down the steps to the Market District when he heard Inigo shout from behind him,

    "My friend, WAIT!" He yelled, waving his hands wildly above his head

     

    The Argonian groaned and beckoned the khajitt to joiin him; together they walked down to the main gates and navigated their way

    down the serpentine path to the Whiterun stables. Hasir mounted onto his reptilian steed,

    My friend, are you sure you want to be doing that? Get away from it, please." He asked on his knees begging him

     

    Hasir told the shocked khajiit to mount up and follow him, Inigo did as he was asked and the two made their way to a location only

    Hasir knew. They rode until they got to Morthal; where Inigo gasped in delight as he beheld an illusion he was sure he had seen

    before,

    "My friend, that was the same mountainous illusion I saw in my unconscious mind as my soul was being transferred to the metal

    body." He said as his tail rose up and down. Hasir told him to quite reminiscing and keep going. Inigo turn his steed around and

    asked where they were going. Hasir said they were going to Glenmoril Coven, "Glenmoril Coven? Why in all the realms of Oblivion

    are we going there?" He told him that Hircine's totems had been stolen and it was his test from Hircine himself to retrieve the

    totems; if he did that, he told Inigo, then Hircine would recognize him as pack alpha and, with some luck, maybe convince Aela and

    the rest of the companions that he deserved to be a full fledged companion as opposed to a whelp.

     Aela, the harbinger and her brothers sat on the logs positioned around the orange tongues of flame in the middle and stared into

    them as if in a trance. They had over engorged themselves of venison which, even for them was too much. After a couple of

    minutes, Aela got up, strench and went into the big tent that was graciously left for them.

     

    Kodlak turned to her, a curious expression creeping over his face,

    "Aela, you're not going hunt? On a beautiful night like this, you always go off for a hunt or a run through the forest after you finish

    your meal back in Jorrvaskr, is something wrong?" He asked, his eyebrow creeping ever higher on his forehead

     

    Aela turned back to him as she pulled back the flap on the tent and sighed,

    "I...just have a lot of things on my mind, that's all, what's it to you anyway?" She asked

     

    Kodlak shrugged and said he was just wondering. Aela was about to go inside to get some sleep when she heard the clattering of

    hooves and...feet of some other creature, Aela guess it was a reptile of some kind, on cobblestone. Just from the direction of the

    sound, she could tell they were heading straight for this camp. Vilkas, Farkas and Kodlak heard it too ass they also stood up.

    Hasir and Inigo came over the crest of the hill and sighed happily as they saw a camp with a fire still burning. The went closer to the

    camp as tthey were both tired and hungry. Hasir's face hardened as did the Companions when each other's faces met. Hasir

    dismounted his steed and sk what the Companions were doing here, he had found the campsite and has claimed it as theirs.

     

    Aela stood defiantly with her arms folded across her chest and tongue sticking out at him,

    "Too bad, we found this campsite first, so finders keepers." She said in her blissfully ignorant way

     

    Vilkas caught a scent that neither belonged to the Companions nor Hasir or Inigo,

    "Aela, we do not 'own' this campsite, bandits are coming this way and I expect they are hoping to find this campsite deserted when

    they get back," He look positively frightened, "what are we going to do?" He asked her in desperation  

     

    Aela turned to him and scoffed,

    "So, they can go and find another one because this one is ours." She growled at her brother who backed up a bit

     

    Inigo interjected and said he doesn't think it works that way; they cannot just find anotherr campsite because the bandits did, in

    fact, find it first. Aela turned towardd the khajiit and gave him a scathing look but she saw truth in those pumpin-like eyes. After a

    short internal battle with her, she ordered the Companions to pack up and continue to Glenmoril Coven. Everyone heeded her orders,

    packed up and mounted onto their horses; all except for Kodlak who was staring at Aela; his owlish gaze seemed to intensify

    through the firelight,

    "Young lady, you do not give the orders here, I do, I trust you will remember that!" He threatened as he and Aela mounted their

    horses and followed the others led by Haisr and Inigo out of the camp as they continued northwest to the cave.

    This time, however, Hasir stayed back with Inigo and let Kodlak's steed take charge as he knew these trails better than anyone and

    could get there alot fast than if it was an inept Argonian leading the way. Aela rode past Hasir, eyeing him scathingly, Hasir did not

    know why but Inigo quickly filled that hole,

    "My friend, I think Aela is a little hot around the collar about you wanted to join the Companions. She probably wants the guild to

    retain its nord bloodline but I don't think she knows the Companions of Jorrvask are made up of all different race, er, barring

    Argonians and Khajiit, that is were we fit in, I think."

     

    Inigo sat back in his saddle, letting a tear run down his furry cheek,

    "That will be a history day for both of our homelands if we break the sterotype that our races, yours and mine, are meant to be

    slaves and can do nothing with our pitiful lives." He looked sidelong at Hasir, who was running alongside his frantically galloping

    horse, keeping very good pace too. 

     

    Inigo was so focused on Hasir that he failed to see a rock in the path that his horse was traversing; the horse pitched him head over

    tail to land feet from his steed, kicking up dust where he fell. Hasir sniggered as he spurred his steed on to help the fallen Khajiit,

    "Inigo, next time, pay less attention to me and more attention on where we are going." The khajiit apologized and sprayed Hasir

    with dirt, the Argonian hissed playfully, scooped a handful of dirt in his clawes and tossed it at Inigo; the dust and dirt caught Inigo

    full in the face. The khajiit coughed and returned fire.

     

    Kodlak heard nothing but silence broken only by Hasir and Inigo's childish antics,

    "By the divines, Hasir, Inigo," He yelled back as the circle members had also stopped to look. Hasir and the khajiit did not seemed to

    hear because they were too busy throwing dirt in each other's face.

     

    He yelled again, this time, Hasir and Inigo look up,

    You two are acting like a couple of idiots." 

     

    Hasir smiled at the harbinger as did Inigo,

    "That's because we are idiots, yep not a single brain between the pair of us." He grinned adding to Kodlak's frusttration 

     

    Kodlak let out a long groan,

    "Tell me something I don't know." Iningo was about to open his mouth when Kodak put up a finger to silence the khajiit, who closed

    he mouth, "I was being retoricle, now Inigo you get on your horse and Hasir, get on your, er, whatever that is," he said, gesturing to

    the lizard," and follow me." He looked threateningly from one to the other, "and I better not hear any more foolish antics between

    you to until when reach our destination, are we clear?" Both Hasir and Inigo nodded. Kodlak resumed leading the pack, and Inigo

    toward the cave.

    Around late morning, The horses and the lizard-horse came to a halt outside a cave entrance; Kodlak told Hasir as it was his test to

    prove himself to Hircine he should go first,

    "Er, harbinger, I already did prove myself to Hircine, many times." The harbinger sighed and said that this time, though he was to be

    considered for full companion staus if he, and he alone, retrieved the totems and brought them back safely. 

     

    A woman wearing black mage's robes ran at them, shouting insults a them. Hasir said he would hopefully diffuse the situation,

    "Listen ady, we justt want to go inside to, er, explore, you can grant us that at least, can't you?" Hasir asked, spiky brows furrowed

     

    The unamed witch said she did not believe him and her fingers lit up like the sky during a thunderstorm,

    "Hey, easy lady, we are just her to explore, like I said." He screamed between her barrage of obscenites and spurts of her

    lightning magic

     

    Inigo dismounted his steed and walked up to him, smiling,

    "My friend, I didn't know you were a lightning attractor, got any metal we don't know about?" He asked, smirking

     

    Haisr turned around and hissed at him, causing Inigo to backtrack a little,

    "Inigo, now is not the time for your antics, can't you see I am this close to becoming a fried Saxhleel?" He said, holding his thumb

    and forefinger an inch apart. Inigo apologized, readied An arrow and loose it straight into the woman's eye; the woman screamed as

    the arrow pierced her brain and fell to the ground. 

     

    Inigo grinned at the furious-looking Argonian,

    "What? No praise for my quick thinking or my archery skills? Also, are Argonians tails supposed to be on fire?"

     

    Hasir turned around and saw that his tail was indeed on fire. He frantically started patting his tail to try to put the fire out. He tried

    stopping, dropping a rolling but the only made the fire burn hotter. Inigo took Hasir tail and submerged it into a nearby lake; the

    Argonian hissed softly as the water not only soothed his burning tail but also cooled his temper somewhat. He turned to the

    companions and wordlessly asked if any of them had seen that, they said nothing but stood there sniggering. Hasir hissed at them,

    they stopped and followed him into the cave; Inigo followed soon after. 

    Hasir and his companions stood inside a narrow entrywa that bent slightly right with torches lining the rock walls. The Argonian

    removed one of the torches for in bracket and went into the main area of the caves. He could see doorways-three on the upper level

    of the cave and two on the lower level. It was that moment that Kodlak barked his orders to the Argonian, the Companions and the

    khajiit, 

    "Hasir, you take the middle door on the upper level, Inigo, the door to the east," Inigo asked him about him and the companions, He

    said he will take the left-most door on the upper level, Aela will take the eastern door on the lower level, Vilkas the eastern lower

    lever door and he will take the upper right door.

     

    The all set to the tasks appointed to them; each taking their appointed door. Farkas and Vilkas found a glenmoril witch in the areas

    they were tasked with searching but no totems. Kodlak fared no better; defeated, he trudged back to the main room again and saw

    what he had missed: An altar tucked far in the corner of the cave with the totems layed very carefully on it. As he neared it however,

    three figures came out of the shadows; no sonner did they raise their weapons when a shadowy figure dropped from the ceiling

    and, with impressive skill slit their throats before they could work out who attacked them.

     

    Kodlak was stunned; he did not know anyone of any of the Tamrielic races who could not only move like that but strike with such

    accuracy and ferocity. Kodlak approached the figure who was crouching over her last kill like a cat who caught a bird and was

    presenting it to its owner. It proved harder than he thought because of how little light there was in the cave. The figure, however had

    none of the handicaps that Kodlak had when it came to seeing in the dark.

     Kodlak used the stone all as a guide as he felt his was to the mysterious figure; when he got closer, he saw she was wearingg an

    outfit that was unknown to him. He had never seen an outfit like that sold in any of Whiterun's shop nor elsewhere in Skyrim. The

    figure, sensing his presence, sheathed her scimitar and approached,

    "Greetings friend, forgive my...intrusion, but those men, they were here to kill you yes?" She looked him over cautiously with her

    amber eyes, "No need to worry any longer, Affraji had killed them for you."

     

    Kodlak gasped; how could she possibly had known? Was she in league with the forsworn or something much darker? In response,

    Kodlak grinned weakly,

    "Thank you, but, erm, I do have one question, well two questions actually, the first, who are you? The second is why did you kill

    those forsworn?"

     

    The khajiit's eyes narrowed as if deciding whether to kill him and steal his valuables,

    "This one's name in Affraji, she is an...adventurer of dicerning tastes, you might say. She hails from the tiny island of Kenarthi's

    Roost. She came to Skyrim to kill theives and murders and steal from them if possible." She said in a thick Elsweyrian accent, her

    tail twiitching seductively behind her.

     

    Kodlak's eyes widened in fright and unsheathed his word, ready for a fight if worse came to worse,

    "You're a pirate? I've heard tale of Khenarthi's Roost, whole island is teaming with pirates and all kinds of n'er-do-wells."

     

    Affraji hissed as if the word dealt an emotional blow and walking slowly towards the harbinger, who took a defensive stance, 

    "Pirate is such a strong word, Affraji prefers to refer to herself as a liberator of that which has wrongfully been obtained; that and

    she wants to find her parents' killers."

     Kodlak just stared at her, momentarily lost for words,

    "Affraji is the granddaughter of the most feared Argonian pirate, Red Brammen. He was not only a pirate but a shadowscale as

    well." She gestured to the dead forsworn, "She is certain that the forsworn are in a fued with Red about something she does not

    know about; maybe that is why her parnets were killed." She shrug and snuck upstair to find the rest of the 'filthy bastard' as she

    calls them."

     

    Inigo's voice rang out from above the chamber the harbinger was in,

    "Mr. Nord, you have to come see this, I may have found something that may pertain to the totems." 

     

    Kodlak huffed loudly and ran up the mossy stone slope to the raised walkway that spanned the entirety of the cavern's left wall to

    the middle upper room,

    "By the divines I may be getting to old for this," He said, out of breath, "yes, Inigo, what have you found?" He asked as he lent on

    the left rock wall of the rocky doorway

     

    Inigo huffed loudly and gesture to the arch-like portal with aylied patterns running down the sides,

    "Why ask me, you have eyes don't you?" He asked incredulously

     

    Kodlak scolded Inigo for his harsh tone of voice. The harbinger walked into the room with actually led deep into the earth; he gasped

    as he stood into a huge subterranian cavern with paths leading away in each of the compass directions, arching over some

    underground rivers that led off to the southern part of the cave, and ending in several raised earthen platforms shrouded in

    darkness. Kodlak could hear  endless water that dripped from the stalactites hanging above him in multiple rows; he could smell

    some trace of magic some lost dead aylieds may have left behind. It was then that he found it; the portal that Inigo spoke of. 

    Inigo smiled at the harbinger and approached him; he was about to open his mouth to explain how this portal worked when it dawn

    on him that he did not have a clue how Aylied magic even worked. He just told the harbinger that he guessed this is how the being

    whom he guessed the nords below worships came from. 

     

    A being in a white armor with many bright blue crystal set into the armor set forward. Inigo and the harbinger guess this being had

    come from behind the apparently broken portal,

    "Greeting to you nord and khajiit, I am Casarind. As you can no doubt see, this portal is one of the last remaining relics created by

    my people." He walked over to the portal and stared up at the top of the portal, "We had to shut some portals down both in the

    other world as well as the one here because of the dangers they may pose to beings on Tamriel."

     

    Both Inigo and Kodlak cocked their heads at the elf as if processing his words,

    "Other world? Do you mean like Oblivion or Aetherius?" Inigo asked

     

    Casarind shook his head, disturbing him beautiful head of long silvery white hair,

    "No nothing like that, Oblivion and Aetherius are trivial compared to the world I speak of.

     

    Kodlak tried to understand this but failed; he had no idea what other world Casarind was talking about,

    Okay, what is this 'ther wolrd' and what is the threat?" He said wanting straight answers

     

    Casarind sighed and explain that in the other world there is a beast of such terrible power that he had to deactivate the portal to

    prevent him from wreaking havoc on this world as well. Koldak just stared at him; he had no idea what this load of kwama dung was

    even talking about. Kodlak sighed heavily and strode toward the Aylied,

    "Look 'aylied' better start talking now or," He unseathed his sword, pressing it against Casarind's chest, "we'll have problems,

    understood?"

     

    The Ayleid nodded nervously and took a steading breath,

    "Y-yes, erm, in the other world there is a werewolf called Faolchu whom the forsworn of this land seem to worship. He, er, is helping

    Molag Bal with draining the life from this land and its inhabitants."

     

    Kodlak pressed his sword against the aylied's chest, drawing a small amount of blood,

    "Yeah and why in Oblivion should I believe you?" He threatened, "I have my companions down there and with a single word, they

    can be up here in a flash."

     

    Casarind told them how Faolchu is Molag Bals number one servant and said the only way to face off against him in the ''other world'

    is to reactivate the portal and he said they will need to find diamond shaped blue stones around the carven. Kodlak nodded curtly

    and asked what the tomtems of Hircine have to do with Faolchu coming back? Casarind said his didn't know but he guessed they

    would be used either to assist in safe passage for the undead werewolf or they would help Molag Bal speed up the process of laying

    the planet bare-both of nature and its inhabitants.

    Kodlak and Inigo looked at each other confused. Out of the corner of his eye, Inigo saw the ayleid's eyes go from their normal shade

    of cyan, flash bright orange for a second and return to their normal color once more. Kodlak eyed Inigo in fright,

    "You look white as a ghost, what did you see?" He asked scrutinizing the khajiit. Inigo told the harbinger about how he saw

    Casarind's eyes change for a split second.

     

    Inigo stormed over, grabbed the ayleid by the collar of his armor and slammed him against the frame of the arched portal,

    "Why exactly are you helping us vampire? Talk before your head parts ways from your body." He yelled through gritted teeth. The

    scared elf struggled against the khajiit's strong grip.

     

    Before Inigo's eyes the elf's face seemed to change, his eyes glowed like an intense sunset as his cheeks became more sallow and

    his canine teeth elongated into fangs. Inigo yelped and backed away toward Kodlak, who looked bewildered,

    "By the divines, Inigo, I thought you were mad, I had no idea he was a vampire, honestly I didn't." He said apologzing to the

    shocked khajiit. They both advanced on the apparently starved Ayleid vampire.

     

    Casarind lunged at the juicy nord approaching him and Inigo saw this and ran in front of Kodlak but the vampire tossed Inigo with

    such force that he hit one of the supporting pillar of the cavern which shattered on impact.

     

    Casarind wrapped himself in the shadows of the cavern and unheard footsteps disturbed the dust in the cavern as he reappeared

    behind Kodlak and attempted to bite the harbinger's neck. The harbinger dodged this and Casarind truned into a fine mist and

    followed his every move. When he materialized again, he bit down and drained Kodlak of most of his blood. Casarind forced the

    paper white head against his chets, took of his white armor and tore open a hole in his skin and made the dying nord drink.

     Inigo screamed as he ran toward the ayleid vampire, holding his silver sword and pressed it to Casarind's throat. The vampire bared

    his fangs and flung the sword across the cavern. Casarind broken through Inigo's defenses and raked his claws across Inigo's chest.

    The khajiit's gaze fell to his chest and gasped weakly as he saw a sanguine stain suffusing his furred armor. He stumbled and fell

    against a pillar. 

      

    At tha moment, Hasir came down the ramp into the cavern; His eyes went wide as they darted from the hungry vampire to the fallen

    nord to the dying khajiit,

    "What in Oblivion is going on here?" He spluttered as his eyes fixed on the carnage. Hasir took out his slver sword, stormed over to

    the vampires, hissed loudly, accused the Aylied for killing his friend and came close to severing the elf's when a thin plume of mist

    enveloped the elf.

     

    The elf easily slipped past the raging Argonian's sword like mist on the wind and reappeared behind the Argonian; unseen by Hasir,

    the elf's eyes turned from the orange of a sunset to cool blue fame,

    "Hasir, did you enjoy your time in Coldharbour?" The elf threathened, "I hope so becuase you will soon return."

     

    Hasir gulped and turned around; seeing the flaming blue eyes, he smirked,

    "Molag Bal...how pleasant of you to join us. What, Coldharbour not enough for you? Thought you could wreack havoc on the mortal

    reaml of Mundus?"

     

    Molg Bal's puppet let out a bellow of rage at being made of of. He faced Hasir and told him that he plans to suck the life out of Nirn

    for having an Altmer vampire marry a lycanthropic Argonian. His face pulled back in a sneer as he told the insolent Argonian that the

    ancestors of the Altmer, Dunmer and Argonian will pay for trying to mix the bloodlines-specifically mixing pure blood vampires with

    mangy dogs. 

     

    Molag Bal smriked evilly as he eyed the absence of fear in the Argonian's eyes,

    "I know how much you Argonians adore nature and place great importance on your anscetors as well as those dirt elves. So I that

    maybe it's time to even the score by taking away the things you miserable insects desire most just as two of your distant cousins

    destroyed the bloodline that I deemed to stay pure foreveer by mating my creations with that of the daedra some of your lot seem to

    hold in such high regard."

     

    Once Molag Bal left Casarind to think his own thoughts again, the blanked he elf and ran over to to the dying Khajiit that lent against

    one of the support pillars. The Argonian cired out and sank to his knees,

    "My friend...I-I don't want to die." The khajiit looked paler than Hasir had ever seen him. Hasir tried to reassure Inigo, but his voice

    caught in his throat. The Argonian felt rage boil up inside him.

     

    He stormed over to Casarind, "What have you done? He was my friend and you killed him!" He hissed angrily at the vampire.

    Casarind's mouth curved into a malicious grin, "Foolish lizard, neither your friend or your harbinger are not dead, they may appear

    to be so now but in a few short hours they will rise up as a member of the undead and, on the same token, Molag Bal's servants."

     

    Hasir gaped at him and said waspishly that Inigo would not rise up as one of Molag Bal's servant because he knew him. Casarind

    sighed and said anyone who gets scratched by a vampire is doomed to become a vampire no matter how pure his soul may be. Hasir

    sighed and his tail drooped lamely behind him as he walked over to the khajiit, who was trying to staunch his bleeding. He knelt

    down, removed Inigo's armor and a golden glow lit up Hasir's hand which he had placed over Inigo's wound. Hasir growled in

    frustration as even though the wound did stitch itself up, the khajiit still stayed in his sleep-like trance.

     

    A figure approached Ingo and knelt on his left side. Hasir looked up,

    "Er, hi, I don't think we've been introduced, I'm Hasir and you are?" He asked, cocking his head in wonder

     

    The khajiit told the Argonian her name and asked if Inigo was going to be alright. The Argonian sighed and said that with a vampire

    attack as bad as this one, he might never wake up; in the strange instance that he does, he would have to treated right away or risk

    turning into a creature of the night in three days time.

    Hasir cocked his head a second time and asked the khajiit why she was so concerned for Inigo. She mulled this over for a couple

    minutes, She looked around the cavern for any excuse not to look at her friend's immovable corpse,

    "Well, to tell you the truth, Affraji is his mate." She said, smiling weakly as Hasir got to his feet

     

    As he did so, Inigo opened his eyes and groaned as he struggled to get to his feet, he failed and stumpled; falling against the pillar

    once more,

    "What did the vampire do to me?" He asked raspily as he looked from Hasir to Affraji. The Argonian smiled and told Inigo that the

    aylied vampire passed on his curse to him and the harbinger. Upon hearing this Inigo's face became red as the fires on the sky forge,

    "What? Divines damn it, I knew that vampire was lying when he said he wanted to help us."

     

    Hasir and Affraji gasped as the blue khajiit slipped back into unconsciousness. Hasir told Affraji to tend to Inigo as he went over and

    did the same for Kodlak. He found no such wound on Kodlak except for two puncture marks on his neck. Hasir had to think, fast, as

    one wrong decision could spell death for one or both of them. 

     

    Hasir slung the harbinger over his shoulder and Affaji did the smame with Inigo and they both left the cavern and returned to the

    lower level where they both told the two brothers gathered in the main lower room what they had seen. The nord brothers gasped

    with horror as they hung onto every word that theArgonian and Khajiit told them.

     

    Vilkas and Farkas understood and left the carven. Hasir hheard the clattering of hooves on the cobblestone road as he guessed they

    were going to fetch Bjorlam to borrow his cart. Hasir and Afrraji sat down on the rocky floor with their backs against the ramp and

    laid their burdens against the ramp leading up to the second level of the cavern. It well into the night when he heard a carriage pull

    up outside the cavern. Affraji picked up the indigo khajiit, slung him over her shoulder and was about to leave when Hasir stopped

    her,

    "The totems!" He said as he slapped his head. He ran to the long wooden table that lay in the corner of the cavern and quickly swept all

    three of them into his bag. He returned to Affraji, picked up the harbinger, left the cavern and loaded their cargo onto the back of

    Bjorlam's cart.

    Bjorlam asked if they were all set, they both nodded and the horse sped on to Whiterun,

    "What happened to those two," He asked, gesturing to the two unconscious forms crammed in the back, "Had too much to drink,

    haven't they? Boy, they need to lay of the mead." He said, chuckling. The Argonian shook his head and said they were retrieving

    something from the cavern when out of nowhere the khajiit and nord were attacked by a vampire.

     

    Bjorlam frowned,

     

    "Vampires, here? How odds, still with dragons once again soaring the skies, I guess anything go, eh?" He said smiled at Hasir. The

    Argonian asked the carriage driver how he heard about their pridicament, "Vilkas and Farkas, they told me, they seemed pretty scared

    too, otherwise I would have just laughed it off." Vilkas gave him a dirty look. Bjorlam's face reddened as he apologized.

     

    When the carriage came to a halt outside the stables, Hasir and Affraji got out, hefted their burdens and walked up to the main city.

    Concerned, Hasir turned back and asked how much a trip like that would cost,

    "Don't worry about it, if the roles were reversed and I was unconsiousness, slumped in the back like a piece of luggage, I am sure you

    would do the same for me."

     

    Hasir smiled and followed Affraji inside the city. Once inside, they made their way up to the Temple of Kynareth. By now, Danica, saw

    Hasir as a regular so she didn't say anything, she just let him pass. Once Affraji and Hasir put their living baggage on the beds she

    had pointed out, Danica asked them how the khajiit and harbinger came to be like this,

    "While we we in Glenmoril Cavern we were attacked by a vampire named Casarind, he was the cause of them looking...like this." He

    gesutred toward the two being laying on the stone beds. Danica said she had seen this once before and hurried out of the temple to

    go see Arcadia.

     

    As short while later, a knock sounded on the door, Hasir went to answer it and saw Danica standing there holding two vials of cure

    disease vials. She closed the door, hurried over to Inigo's table and gave one to Affraji telling her not to waste a drop and administer

    it Immediately lest he rise up a vampire. the cheetah-like khajiit nodded. Danica went over to Hasir and repeated what she had

    advised Affraji to do.

    Hasir calmy uncorked the bottle and emptied it into Kodlak's open mouth, check the harbinger's eyes every so often for any sign of

    the potion not working; to his relief, though, it started to work instantly. Danica sighed in relief as she saw at least one of Arcadia's

    potions works; the female khajiit on the other hand, was having trouble as her hand shook awfully when trying to get Inigo to open

    his mouth to administer hers,

    "Having a little trouble aren't we khajiit?" Affraji turned and shrieked, breaking the vial in the process as she smiled shamefully at

    the Imperial and then looked at the mess she made, "Affraji is sorry, please let her get a rag and clean it up." Danica scowled at her,

    scolding the khajiit for spoiling a perfectly good potion.

     

    Danica wanted to wring Affraji by the neck because she was certain the khajiit did not know what she had done,

    "Affraji, you now Arcadia does not have limitless supplies, I doubt she can make another one, what do you have to say for yourself?"

     

    Affraji frowned at her letting her head and tail hang limp,

    "Affraji apologizes but she was thinking of what if her feline friend does not wake?" Danica grabbed her by the ear and led her to a

    corner of the temple, "Do you want Molag Bal to grew stronger because that is what will happen if he gains followers

    because he already thinks mortals are idiots, do you want to give him that satisfaction?" She  hissed, scowling at her

     

    Danica said she will get a mop to clean the mess up. Affaji said she will do it as it was her mess,

    "No let Affraji clean it up, it was her mess." Danica smiled and handed her the mop. Afrraji was about to start when Danica went into the

    back room and emerged holding a broom and dustpa. Danica came over and offered the to Affraji.

     

    Affraji took the bromm and dustpan while giving Danica a confused look,

    "What does Affraji need these for?" She asked with looking oover the two items

     

    Danica rolled her eyes and groaned,

    "You need to sweep before you mop, I thought you knew that." She said, dumbstruck

     

    Affraji nodded and set to work cleaning up the glass remnants of the shattered potion bottles and then she mopped up the potion. While

    she was doing this, Danica stood there watching her like a hawk. She smiled as Affraji even replaced the mop, bucket, broom and dustpan

    back where Danican had gotten in from. Danica signd she will let Affraji sit there on Inigo's bed and pray that he doesn't awaken

    as a blood sucker. While Affraji sat there, she spent much of the night feeling sorry for herself as she watch the Imperial clean up the

    mess that the khajiit had made. Her eyelids began to droop and she fell across Inigo's body fast asleep. When she awoke the next

    morning she went down to the potion sho with a sense of purpose, asked Arcadia if she has any more cure disease potions; the

    potions mistress said she did not expect a shipment for a couple days. Affraji was feeling more and more dishearted. She walked to

    the stables, took her horse to potion shops across Skyrim, asking if they had any in stock; they said something silimar as the potions

    mistress. One, however, pointed her in the direction of the hall of the vigilants.

     

    As she neared the place where the hall was supposed to be, she smelled the acrid scent of smoke rising of a wooden ruin,,

    "Oh Jone and Jode, this one is too late, the hall is already aflame. her mare trotted back to Whiterun with the heartbroken khajiit,

    fortune smiled upon her on the second night, when she enountered a man cloaked in dark robes along the rode back to Witherun,

    "I hear you have a serious predicament, care to talk about it?" Affraji shook her head and galloped away from the strange man a fast

    as possibe. The man, however ran after her. It took him mere minutes to catch up with her.

     

    When he had finally caught up with her, he wrenched her off her horse and held her inches of the ground. The poor khajiit had

    underestimated this threat as she asked him if he would let her down,

    "Why would I let you down? I haven't had a juicy khajiit female before, I wonder how they taste." He said darkly as his eyes glowed

    red and he bore his fangs. The khajiit screamed and struggled to get free but it was impossible with the Imperial's grip, "Give up

    child, you cannot hope to best the abilities of Lord Harkon." He grinned, blood dripping from his fangs as water from a stalactite. The

    khajiit froze as Lord Harkon used his powerful gaze on her, "Be a good kitty and show me where this new vampire of Molag Bal is

    located, hmm?" She mounted her horse and led the vampire lord to the city.

     

    Lydia and the other guards saw this threat and attacked; with a wave of his hand, Lydia and the guard fell into a deep slumber

    letting them pass. He employed the same trick on any guard within the town that was foolish enough to attack him or his enthralled

    khajiit.

     

    As the sun peaked over the mountains, the unlikely duo made it to the temple door; Harkon threw the door wide and glided toward

    the slab were Inigo lay. His eyes fluttered open and before he could speak, Harkon bit into his neck and savored the sweet sanguine

    liquid. Affraji eyes became focused again as her mind broke free of his enthrallment spell,

    "Excuse me sir, who are you and what are you doing to this one's feline friend?" She asked, shocked

     

    Harkon finished drinking and turned to her,

    "What I've dome, my suculent litte khajiit, was infuse your friend with my blood. It will purge the filth from his veins and as such

    he will not have to hide from the sun but instead, walk freely as a mortal would in the beacon of light." He said, a slight sneer

    spreading across his paper white face. "With my blood in him, he will have an easier time resisting Molag Bal's pull."

    Affraji looked at him perplexed,

    "Does that mean he will have control over his own mind? Molag Bal will have a harder time penetrating it, yes?"

     

    Harkon shrugged, something like that, yes," He laughed, "not only will his have his own mind, but his will have powers that will

    prove invaluable to your quest." Affraji asked how he know what they were planning to do. Harkon spread his arms and said Molag

    Bal has wanted to suck the life out of Nirn for ages and with the daedric lord upset with the union of vampires and werewolves way

    back when, they have a common enemy.

     

    Harkon smiled as Inigo awoke,

    "Ahh, my litte feline bloodsucker, how are we feeling today?"

     

    Inigo blinked a few times to make sure of where he was. He then shielded his eyes with his hand,

    "It's a little bright, can someone please down down the brightness?" He said, confused at what was going on. Harkon said he will get

    used to it and learn how to deal with it in the coming days, "... and why do I have these constant loud noises in my head?" He said

    as he clamped his hand to his ears. Harkon explained that this too will take some getting used to as vampire lords like all vampires

    have senses far enchanced past that of any mortal.

     

    Harkon led Inigo out off the temple and into the city. He wanted to see if his blood actually did purge the filth of normal vampirism

    from Inigo's bloodstream. Harkon stepped out of the curtain of shade that the temple's canopied roof created. Inigo saw that and

    was eager to see if he was protected from the sun as well; he sstepped fully out of the shadow's protection and immediately, his fur

    started to smoke. Harkon frowned and suggested the khajiit to transfrom in his 'vampire lord' form; as hard as Inigo tried, he could

    not.

     

    Harkon frowned at this and surmized that the vampire whose blood he gave to the khajiit was so powerful that vampire lord blood

    had absolutely no effect on it,

    "Well, at least you have greater power than when you were a mortal and...glowing eyes, that has to count for something." He said

    as he had Inigo retreat into the shadows to see his glowing orange eyes.

     

    Inigo frowned at Harkon's expression,

    "Look, Harkon, I am greatfull for you 'saving' me from my fate but I would much rather live my life as a mortal rather than a

    vampire who has to kill innocent animals or people and hide away from the sun."

     

    Harkon scpffed at him and furrowed his brow,

    "Are you sure, because if you regain your staus as a lowly mortal, you can never again gain my gift." The khajiit nodded. Harkon told

    Inigo of a vampire scholar named Falion in Morthal that will purge the darkness from his blood. Inigo thanked Harkon for

    understanding. The darkness seemed to bend around Harkon as he vanished.

     

    Affraji, Kodlak and Hasir came out of the temple and stared at Inigo in disbelief; Inigo told them to step staring as he was getting

    embarrased. Afrraji and Kodlak averted their eyes in disgust, but the Argonian kept staring,

    "Inigo, why are you embarrased of this? It is awesome, I can finally have someone who matches my fighting skill." Hasir said

     

    Inigo smiled wweakly at his friend's attempt at flattery,

    "Thank you, but I already am efficient with a sword and bow, I do not want this and such I decided to journey to Morthal to rid

    myself of this curse. It'ss more trouble that it's woth."

     

    Hasir patted Inigo gingerly on the back and said if that's what he want, then he, Hasir, is right there with him. He reached into his

    bag and gave the totems to Kodlak; the harbinger denied them and told Hasir it is his job and no one elses to return the totems to

    Hircine,

    "I was attacked by the vampire along with Inigo so I shall go to Morthal with him to meet this scholar of vampires, you go to

    Whiteriver chapel." Hasir opened his mouth to argue, but Kodlak gave him his trademar owlish stare and the Argonian stowed the

    totems back in his bag, went to the stables, got his lizard steed and sped off towards the chapel.

    Inigo and Kodlak mounted up on their steeds and rode toward Morthal. Kodlak knew he had to get there fast because he did not

    want to experience Inigo's first and, hopefully only night as a servant of Molag Bal. The horses left the city behind and turned up a

    cobblestone road that ran from Whiterun to Morthal. The horses both galloped along at a steady speed; judging from this, Inigo

    surmized they would enter Morthal well before the sun even crested the mountains in the horizon. Kodlak's ears worked overtime as

    they listened for any disturbances along the road.

     

    He heard some khajiit bandits approaching them on two elegant steend,

    "Well, well, wht do we have here?" One banidit asked, "hey brother," He called behind him, "How about we kill these intruders and

    see what we find on their dead bodies." He roared with laughter at his brother's unsheating his saber from his belt. The first bandit

    did the same thing as they dismounted their horses.

     

    Kodlak and Inigo mimicked the bandits and soon metal was clashing against metal. The blue khajiit drew his bow and fired; the

    bandits fell as Inigo's arrows imbedded one after another into the bandits' chest. The bandits had no time to register what had

    happened when their bodies thudded to the ground. With that done, the nord an khajiit mounted their steeds and headed towards

    Morthal.

     

    Inigo saw the lights of the city drawing ever close; cutting through the darkness like a knife through butter. They made it to the city

    around midnight, tied their steeds to a nearby tree and dismounted and walked along the wooden planked walkway to a wooden

    shack with a non decsript wooden front door. Once inside, they saw a hooded man hunched over an alchemy table,

    "Inigo, wait! This guy might be a vampire luring you into a trap." The khajiit rolled his orange eyes at him, "My friend, you are just

    paranoid." He said, chuckling as he approached the man.

     

    Inigo guessed this shadowy man's name was Falion. He extended his hand and Falion shook it,

    "Greetings, my name is Inigo and you must be Falion." The man nodded. Falion saw his eyes, they had a bad hunger to them. Inigo

    asked if the redguard was the scholar that he heard can cure people of vampirism; Falion nodded and walked away from the alchemy

    station and toward the nervous khajiit, "I will need you to fill a black soul gem." Falion rubbed his chinn while he glanced at the

    alchemy station, "I have some empty black soul gems if you don't have any of your own." Inigo said he would require an empty soul

    gem.

     

    Falion went over to a stock of multiple soul gems and found an empty black soul gem next to some grand soul gems,

    "Do you know a spell called soul trap?" He asked, eyeing Inigo with curiosity. The khajiit shook his head. Falion told went over to a

    shelf next to the table with the soul gems and pulled a spellbook fro a stack of books and handed it to Inigo, The khajiit opened the

    book and immediately gasped as blue images leapt off the pages and dances around the khajiit for a few seconds and then

    disappeared.

     

    Inigo thanked the redgaurd and went to the door with Kodlak and proceeded to open it,

    "Oh, uh, khajiit, black souls are required to fill that gem, animals souls will not do; only men, mer or beast's souls will do." Inigo

    thanked Falion again and stepped out into the cold air.

     

    Kodlak and Inigo put their heads together to determine where to obtain a black soul and immediately thought of halted stream

    camp, the bandit camp near Whiterun. They went to where their steeds were tied up untied the ropes from the trees, mounted up

    and sped off toward the bandit camp. They passed various road signs and clattered over several arched bridges before they came

    two wooden doors each designed with a diagonal rope that held the wooden timbers together.

     

    Inigo made his steed slow and dismounted. He walked toward the door as a bandit lookout aimed his arrow directly at his heart,

    "Khajiit, stop, come no further, what is your business here?" Inigo took out his own bow, nocked an arrow and fired. The arrow

    rammed into the bandit's chest with the force of a fast-moving carriage. The bandit's body was blown back several feet. He sheathed

    his bow and walked toward the bandit camp. He tried sneak around so he could capture a bandit's soul undetected; he was nearly

    successful, then a bandit caught him, drew his sword and ran toward the khajiit. Inigo said words unknown to him and fired the spell

    at the bandit; the bandit kept running as aura of deep purple enveloped his body, Inigo nocked another arrow and fired, piercing the

    bandits heart. With him dead, purple strands of magic leapt off of the body and enveloped Inigo. With the bandit's soul captured, the

    khajiit mounted his steed and he and the nord harbinger went back to Morthal.

     

    Kodlak panicked as the sun began its ascent over the mountais, 

    "Inigo, we have to hurry unless you want to be a pile of ash when we arrive." The khajiit scoffed in indifference but increased his

    speed nonetheless. They got to the city by early evening.

     

    They dismounted they steeds, tied them to the same trees as before and walked into the redguard's home,

    "You've got the filled black soul gem?" Falion asked, "good, we will begin the 'returning of life' ceremony shortly, I will meet you at

    the summoning circle." This comment was met with confusion on Inigo's part, "Summoning circle? What does that have to do with

    me regaining my mortal status?" 

    Falion smiled and pointed them towards a local inn in the city a few doors down from the his house, 

    "Get some sleep and we will discuss it more in the morning, you must've had a long day." Inigo and Kodlak said they did and

    stepped outsitde in the frigid air and trudged along to the inn, it's sign swinging lazily in the slight breeze.

     

    Kodlak took a wolf fur from his bag and wrapped it around himself,

    "Harbinger, where did you get that lovely fur?" the khajiit asked turning to Kodlak

     

    He looked at Inigo and frowned, He gestured to Inigo with the expression still on his face,

    "Why are you asking me? You are built for this kind of weather while some of us need to brave the elemnts in other ways."

     

    Inigo scoffed at him and, Kodlak glanced in the khajiit's direction saw a look of sorrow on his face,

    "Look, Khajiit fur may look warm but trust me, it does no favors when faced with the heat of Elsweyr."

     

    Kodlak held his hands in front of his face,

    "Okay, sorry I asked." 

     

    The blue khajiit shrugged this off and suggested that they get moving to the inn that was just up ahead; he was freezing his tail off.

    They passed under the sign off the inn and went inside. The frost that seemed to cling to the two travelers like kwama dung fell

    away almost immediately as the war air from the fire wafted in their direction. They spotted a table with two chairs a few feet from

    where they stood, walked over and sat down. Kodlak said he would go to the counter and order them some drinks, Inigo nodded and

    sat back while he watch the nord walk to the bar.

    The woman eyed him from behind the counter,

    "Hello, how can I help you?" She said smiling broadly at him

     

    The nord said he would like two tankards of mead for him and his companion. The woman brought up two tankards from beneath

    the counter as well as a decanter and fill each mug to the brim. Kodlak grabbed the two tankards and thanked the woman. He then

    realized he did not get her name. The redguard smiled at him,

    My name is Jonna, nice to meet you." She said, offering him her hand in greeting, "Please, do'nt hesitate to call me if you need

    anything else.

     

    Kodlak said he would and took the tankards over, placing one in front of himself and sliding the other one across the table to Inigo.

    The blue khajiit looked at the honey-colored liquid and pushed his tankard away, frowning,

    "If it's all the same to you harbinger, I had my fill of mead for a lifetime." He then proceeded to tell the harbinger about what

    happened many months ago at the Bannered Mare in Whiterun. The harbinger did not frown or get mad as Inigo expected him to but

    understood, took Inigo's tankard, drank half of his own in a single gulp and poured the unwanted mead into his own tankard.

     

    He placed the empty tankard back on the table and smiled at Inigo,

    "There, your mead worries are solved." He said, beaming at the khajiit, "Can I get your anything else? An Elsweyrian or Cyrodillic

    beverage perhaps? How about some Elsweyrian fondue from your homeland, canis root tea and a slice of braided bread." Inigo's ears

    perked up as he heard 'Elsweyrian Fondue.' The Argonian said he was thinking about ordering himself something as well.

    The khajiit lent over the table, beaming at Kodlak,

    "Now that you mention it, some Elsweyr Fondue will definitely cure this cat's woe, go order some for me will you?" Kodlak frowned at

    Inigo and said he is not his errand boy, the khajiit can get it himself. inigo went up and ordered the fondue, tea and a slice of braided

    bread.

     

    Ingo walked over to the table, tail swaying from side to side, and set down the wooden plate and wooden cup in front of the khajiit's

    chairHasir smiled as he saw Ingio's face; He told the khajiit that he is also getting something to eat because he was hungry as a

    wamasu. He sauntered over to the counter,

    "Can I have a snowberry crostata, a raw rabbit leg, juniper berry mead and apple and cabbage stew?"

     

    Jonna nodded, grabbed the required ingredients from the shelf below the counter and went downstairs to the stove, fished a pan

    from the ooden cupboard positioned against the stone wall, set it on the stove and started cooking. A few munites later, with all the

    ordered items were prepared, Jonna placed them on two wooden trays waiting on the table against the wall as well as a cup set for

    the tea which the redguard poured from the decanter.

     

    Upstairs, Hasir tapped his claws incessently on the wooden counter as his stomach growled like a hungry wolf. The Argonian turned

    and walked away. He turned around when he heard footsteps behind him; He licked his lips in desperation as he could smell the

    aroma that wafted up from the cellar as Jonna came up and set the two trays and the cup on the table between Inigo and the

    Argonian's place at the small table.

     

    He sat down, tail hanging limp as a dead snake, and proceed to tear into the rabbit leg before him, tearing huge chunks off with his

    teeth. Inigo eyed him as he ate the aplle and cabbage stew with great zeal. The khajiit nearly spit out his food as he watched the

    speed Hasir was tearing into his meal. The Argonian nearly choked as he spotted two people sitting at a far table with their hoods

    up. Hasir told the confused khajiit that he will be right back and for Inigo to keep his food warm.

     

    The khajiit agreed. The Argonian walked over to the far table to introduce himself,

    "Hello, my name is Hasir, and who might you two be?" Hasir asked as he leant over the table as he beamed at them

     

    Hasir nearly choked on his snowberry cortata as he looked into his cold, dead glowing red eyes.