C.O.T.W Chapter 75: In Deep Water

  • As the carriage traveled over cobblestone, Inigo relaxed his hands and turned to Affraji,

    "Ermmm... my friend, where are we going again?" Affraji shot Inigo a furious look which made the blue khajiit recoil somewhat.

    "Figure it out yourself, moron." She yelled, sniffing in defiance. Inigo gave a small yelp and recoiled again. Affraji apologized; telling

    Inigo that she did not sleep in five days. Inigo nodded, saying he understood and gestured that she was free to lie down on her seat,

    stretch out if she needed and take a much needed catnap.


    Affraji kissed Inigo on the cheek and fell asleep. Ocheeva giggled softly as his fur began to turn a bright shade of crimson. He hid his

    face behind his hands so that the old Argonian could not see this, but to no avail. Ocheeva leaned over to Inigo and whispered

    something in his ear,

    "You like her don't you Inigo?" The khajiit's eyes darted this way and that, trying to find something else to talk about to through

    Oheeva off of his scent. Ocheeva smirked a little, "Oh come on, I see the way you look at her, the way you fur turns a slight shade of

    red whenever you and she are close." She sat back in her seat and giggled again.

    Inigo studied her with furrowed eyebrows. He definitely had no idea what she was going on about,

    "My friend, I don't know what you're talking about, Affraji and I are just friends nothing more." 


    Ocheeva snorted and threw up her arms in exhasberation,

    "By Sithis, what a load of kwama dung." She said, crossing her arms


    Inigo eyed her suspiciously and was about to yell at her for not hearing him fully when Bjorlam lent over, one hand holding both

    reins and said quietly so as to not wake Affraji,

    "We'll be in Windhelm in twenty five minutes or so." Inigo acknowledged this and lent down to wake the sleeping khajiit when an

    arrow struck the side of the carriage. Inigo looked around frighteningly; all he saw was vast expanses of grass and trees with no

    indecations were the arrow had come from. The khajiit leapt out of the carriage, walked around to the side of the carriage, extracted

    the arrow and sniffed it.


    He screwed his face up while he studied the arrow,

    "I can't say I've seen an arrow like this before." He muttered under his breath, "and my parents taught me all about archery." Hot

    breath bombarded the khajiit neck like some steam from a hot spring, "What's that?" A voice said. Inigo spun around startled and

    found Ocheeva standing a few feet from him, "Divines, Ocheeva, you nearly scared my fleas away."


    He looked down at the tiny bug flitting about in his jar and growled,

    "Mr. dragonfly, what's the use of you if you cannot warn me about an oncoming eaversdropper. Do that again, my yellow friend and

    I'll rip your wings off." 


    Ocheeva considered the khajiit's strange behavior silently before speaking,

    "Inigo, er, who are you talking to?" She asked, confused

    The khajiit stopped his conversation, looked up and waved it away as if it was of no consequence,

    "I was talking to no one my friend, you must've been hearing things."


    Ocheeva said she was not hearing things and went to grab the jar. He jerked away for her and insisted they had better things to do;

    they had to descern where the arrow had come from. Ocheeva subsided and hissed something under her breath. Inigo did not

    hear this as he quickly glanced around to see if he could discern were the arrow had come from. Off in the distance, he saw two

    stone towers connected by a huge stone bridge. 


    He beckoned Ocheeva over to him and pointed toward the towers,

    "Ocheeva we had better get back in the carriage." 


    The elder Argonian turned her head and cocked it in concern,

    "Why do we have to do that? I doubt the ar-" She was cut of as an arrow whizzed closley by her ear; she gulped, "point understood,

    let's go." 


    They scrambled onto their seats and fell silent as the carriage driver crunched the cobblesttone road down to the tower's base. As it

    neared an opening with a staircase that led up to the interior of the tower, Affraji and Inigo leapt out of the carriage informing

    Bjorlam to keep an eye on Hasir and to inform them if his situation changes. Affraji and Inigo sniffed the air,

    "I smell bandits on the air my friend, stay close." Hasir looked up and saw men and women oufitted in fur armor


    She glanced at Inigo with a smirk stretching across his reptilian face and punched Inigo payfully, if a bit too hard, in the shoulder,

    "Really, Inigo? Are you sure your eyes and you nose haven't switched functions?" Inigo blinked stupidly at her who just stood

    there grinning.


    Inigo almost smelled steel on the air along with the scent of warm fur. A sowrd was at his throat before he could take another step

    forward. He did not feel fear even if he wanted to; the khajiit was too beautiful. Affraji looked at the love sick khajiit and waved a

    hand in front of his face,

    "Hello? Nirn to Inigo, don't frateernize with the enemy, for Hircine's sake, kill her!" Affraji shrugged and decided he had better do it

    himself because the khajiit, he assumed, was a lost cause. The Argonian unsheathed his weapon and sliced swiftly through the

    khajiit's neck, severing the unfortunate creature's head. 


    She took a tan cloth out of her pocket, wiped the blade clean and then pocketed the cloth. She motioned for Bjorlam that the way

    was clear, she and Inigo assumed their seats once more and sped off toward Windhelm anew. The carriage traversed bridges and

    roads that cut through hills as it drew ever closer to the snowy city. Inigo listened


    Inigo glanced over to The unconscious Argonian and sighed mournfully, "My friend, you are a magnet for pain much like my fleas are

    attracted to my nice warm fur." He knew that talking to the unconscious Argonian was as foolish as stabbing a spider even after it

    had died. 


    The horse slowed a little when it descended the slope near the bridge outside the city and working its way around to the dock area of

    the city; Affraji sighed with relief,

    "Thank the mother cat this one's ship is still moared safely." She turned to Inigo and Ocheeva, "We will bring the Argonian onto this

    one's ship, once he is there, Argonian and blue khajiit," She gestured to the aged Argonian and Inigo, "along with Affraji's masterful

    alchemical skills will hopefully nurse him back to health, yes?"

    The horse reared causing Bjorlam yank the reins to calm it down, turned to the travelers and told them that this is as far as he can

    take them; they thanked him each in turn and headed off toward Affraji's ship, with Hasir being dragged by the two khajiit.

    Ocheeva led the way, given Afffraji directions, to the ship and led the way up the brown gangplank to the main deck.


    Affraji pointed to the main mast and told Inigo that he should place the unconsious Argonian against it while she unlocked the door

    to her quarters. The key pulled the tumblers back as the key slid easily past them and, hearing a click, Affraji grabbed the bronze

    knob and turned it. She peered inside her quarters; thinking about where she was going to perform her alchemy. Having a place in

    mind she ran back and beckoned Inigo to pick the unconscious Argonian up,

    "Inigo, Ocheeva, pick up the scaly lizard and follow Affraji," She said, gesturing to the two of them and pointing at Hasir, "bring the

    Argonian to the hold of the ship; this one will perform her arts."  


    Inigo and Ocheeva dragged Hasir toward the opening only to see Affraji's tail disappearing from sight. The cat manuevered through

    the maze of hallways and doors; the khajiit and argonian followed her until she stopped at a door at the rear of the small hallway.

    She was about to open it when she heard a muffled yawn behind her.


    She whipped around to see Hasir slowly open his eyes, blinking them multiple times; he glanced at the khajiit and the argonian

    holding him,

    "Inigo, Ocheeva, what am I doing here?" he asked as his hand flew to his head and held it as if it was a very delicate kwama egg,

    "By Hircine, my head feels like it had been hit by an iiron warhammer." He eyed the leopard-like khajiit with sheer confusion, "what

    are you up to Affraji?" He asked furiously. 


    Affraji told Hasir that she was going to heal him because he had been impaled by a silver blade. The formerly unconscious Argonian

    pointed to the silvery wound on his shoulder and grinned,

    "Don't talk to me like I am a hatchling you stupid cat." Hasir shot back at Affraji. The leopard khajiit made to grab the Argonian and

    instructed the other Argonian and khajiit to do the same. Hasir shrugged them off and gave them a look that could've burnt them to

    a crisp, "I can walk perfectly fine." Hasir said as he ripped their arms away; one step towards that door proved nearly fatal as the

    Argonian went head over tail, bouncing down the wooden stairs like a scaly bouncy ball.

    The other three followed the Argonian down the stairs. Inigo glanced at Hasir and sniggered,

    "Smooth," He said, elbowing the Argonian in the ribs. "real smooth, my friend."


    Hasir looked at Inigo and struggled to his feet; frowning at Inigo and informing him that the silver wound still hurt fiercely. The

    Argonian opened his mouth to say more but he started to pitch forward, grasping the wooden pole near a door for support. Inigo

    screamed as the Argonian's grip slipped on the pole and fell against the nearby wall, unconscious. Inigo helped the Argonian up and

    stepped aside as Affraji unlocked this door and ushered Inigo and the elderly Argonian inside and shut the door. 


    The blue khajiit's eyes went wide as he saw a room two times the size of one in the mead hall in Whiterun. In the middle of the room

    was an extra long wooden table riddled with silver plates, tankards and a flagon. Inigo had no time to look around, however, as

    Affraji nudged his and pointed to the long table with a black claw; instructing the khajiit to clear of the table to make room for the

    unconscious Argonian.


    Inigo did as she asked; grabbing the white table cloth and wrenching it fast, sending the silverware falling, with a clatter, to the

    wooden floor. Inigo looked sheepish as he confessed to Ocheeva who gave him a fertive glance that he had not meant to do that,

    "I only meant to wip the cloth fast, only to leave the silverware perfectly intact and standing." Inigo grimaced and put hands in his

    pockets, "Although that did not happen, I am complete rubbish at magic tricks."


    Ocheeva furrowed her eyebrows at him, 

    "I'm sorry, what? By the nines, Inigo, what on Nirn are you talking about?"


    Inigo turned scarlet, his tail tucking itself safely between his legs,

    "It's...nothing my scaly friend, forget I even mentioned it, let's just get on with it shall we?"


    Ocheeva nodded as she and Inigo hoisted the unconscious Argonian onto the table. Affraji came over behind the aged Argonian and

    whiispered to the leopard khajiit to go and retrieve some leather strips, leather, caltrips and wisp wrappings. The khajiit nodded and

    strode over to a far corner of the room; riffling through a brown box on the alchemy table that contained multiple medical

    implements: several tongs, leather strips, wisp wrapppings and leather.


    Affraji's face screwed up as she decided how many of each she would use; finally, she grabbed three leather strips, a pair of

    tongs and three pieces of wisp wrappings and went back over to the table.

    She set the medical supplies on the table in the order she had gotten them and, as an afterthought, grabbed a bottle of Cyrodiilic

    brandy and set it upon the table as well. Affraij turned to Inigo, who stood next to her and averted his eyes from his unconscious

    friend and gestured for him to get out of the way. Inigo scowled at her and did as she asked; backtracking to the main deck and out

    into the cold Windhelm air. 


    Inigo looked thoroughly crestfallen as he sat in the snow; his head in his hands. A small voice in Inigo's head told him that Affraji did

    not throw him out but instead wanted to have some space to breathe and practice her art. The khajiit wiped his steady droplets of

    tears away with his sleeve as he worked his way over to the water's edge, found a suitable looking stone for the purpose he had in

    mind stone and brought it over to a clearing near the bridge to the city and struck his ebony sword against it. He struck harder and

    harder until the sword tip blossomed into flame.


    He placed the sword tip in the middle of the sticks surrounded by a circle of stones. The fire blew out almost immediately when a

    wind cold as an ice wraith. Inigo threw his sword down and cursed, then cursed again when he realized his sword lay in the snow five

    inches from him,

    "Damnit, now I have to light it again," He grabbed the stone again and sighed, "oh well, it is all water under the bridge, er, so to

    speak." He said glancing at the water that did indeed flow under the city bridge


    The blue khajiit repeated the steps he had done before putting the sword into the middle of the sticks while cupping his free hand

    around the developing falmes to ensure it did not encure the wrath of the ice wraith again. After that, he crafted a makeshift tent out

    of a few leather strips he took out of his bag along with a bedroll he had positioned at the small mouth of the tent and plopped down

    on iy; glancing out into the dancing ember of the fire.

    Inigo looked up at the rapidly darkeneing sky and shivered; a friendly hand reached out from behind and comforted him. She new all

    too well what he was feeling.

    "Inigo, I understand." She whispered as she hugged him, "Affraji is, well, she just likes to do things that she likes by herself without

    any interruptions, she's funny like that." She said uttering a small chuckle. Inigo looked at her, scoffed and said that she only knew

    Affraji a couple days ago. Ocheeva chuckled to herself and stared into the dancing embers jsut as Inigo was.


    Ocheeva smirked at the smart blue cat,

    "Well, I am going to bed, you staying up?" 


    Inigo nodded and he said good night to Ocheeva as she lay down on the bedrool positioned further back in the tent and promptly fell

    asleep. The khajiit sighed as he looked into the still burning fire,

    "Mr. Dragonfly, do you think Affraji hates me?" The small voice came to Inigo''s mind again. Inigo nodded as though he had

    understood the small bug, "Yes my friend, I will try not to be so hard on myself. Now let's go inside the tent a get some sleep." He

    said, yawning hugely. "I could use a catnap, we can go to the ship tomorrow and see how my friend is faring." He trudged back to

    the tent and fell asleep.


    The next day, Inigo and Ocheeva woke, packed up the tents and bedrolls; Inigo walkedd over to the fire and saw that the embers

    have died out overnight. He sighed and traipsed back to where Ocheeva stood,

    "Ready to go back to the khajiit ship?" He asked. She nodded and walked back to the gangplank that led up to the main deck of the

    ship and was about to open the door when Inigo told her what he had heard the small dragonfly tell him seconds before.


    Ocheeva could not comprehend what her friend was telling her. To affirm her doubts she looked the khajiit dead in the eyes and

    asked him who this dragonfly was,

    "Erm... Inigo? Who is this dragonfly you speak of?" She asked, her face screwed up as if some redimentary idea eluded her,

    "furthermore, how can you understand him?"


    Inigo groaned,

    "By the nine divines, Ocheeva, I-" He stopped and composed himself into a calmer state of mind, "Sorry, I was, er, getting ahead of

    myself; this dragonfly, or Mr. dragonfly as he prefers to be called as he does not know his past name, in the bug flitting about in this

    jar," He pointed to the jar on his belt with a sly grin. "As for your next question, I can hear him in my head."


    Ocheeva scratched her head,

    "Inside your-" She started, looking shocked


    "Head, yes" Inigo finished for her, waving a hand vaguely in the air, "I was able to hear him ever since I discovered him along with

    other bugs of various shapes and sizes in the home of a wicked witch in Windhelm." Ocheeva did not want to press the matter

    further as her mind was reeling just by thinking about it.

    The Khajiit opened the door and stepped inside shrugging when Ocheeva gave him a reproachful look as he knew she was still

    trying to wrap her head around the fact that Inigo talks to a bug that only he can understand. She thought this seemed a little odd

    when they had discussed it a few minutes ago; she shrugged it off and continued down the hallway and a flight of stairs until she

    reached the door to the room where Affraji was working feverishly to cure Hasir of the sorry state he was now in, Ocheeva behind

    him and wrenched the door open. 


    Affraji was about to administer the last piece of wisp wraps over the wound she had used the tongs to extract the bits of silver blade

    when she froze and looked at Inigo as if he were a deer caught in the carriage lights and pointed to the door furiously,

    "Blue khajiit, this one thought she made it clear not to bother her until she had finished." He was about to say something but Affraji

    slammed the tongs on the table which made Ocheeva jump, She closed her eyes and gestured for him to stop talking, "Fine, khajiit

    and Argonian can stay, just... don't bother this one while she works, understood?" 


    both Inigo and Ocheeva nodded, sat in two chairs nestled in the far back corner of the room. They both gaped in awe as Affraji

    ripped back the wisp wrapping bandage and administered some mead on the wound the clean it of any remaining foriegn objects.

    With two-thirds of the bottle empty, she screwed the cork back on the bottle and redressed the wound with three fresh strips of wisp

    wrappings which she retrieved from the alchemy table. 

    Inigo started breathing hard, trying not to faint; his skin became cold and clammy as a dead body as his mind fought to stay

    conscious. He turned to the elderly Argonian who jokingly said something about Hasir's scales being a bit pale when she heard a loud

    thud. She turned around wondering what the noise was and shrieked as she found Inigo lying on the wooden floor, unconscious. The

    Argonian groaned, furiously fanning the khajiit with her scaly hand.