C.O.T.W Chapter 85: Beyond The Veil

  • Tigress left the outlaw's refuge to find herself in the city district again. Even if she did follow Madam Whim's directions to the letter,

    she'd no doubt get turned around or lost as the city was massive.  She navigated the district, walked up some stairs and headed

    west of the city. Tigress smellled the scent of soul magic, she followed the scent to a large mansion and saw two necromancers, one

    quat and the other tall and slender. She hid behind a pillar so as to not arouse suspision.


    She peered around the pillar to find the tall hooded man striding out to a doorway with something in his hands. The Ka'Po'Tun didn't

    have any trouble trying to discern what it was because tiger-dragons as well as the khajiit of Elesweyr excel when it comes to being

    able to see in loow light situations of almost complete darkness she kept to the shadows as she followed the necromancer  through

    the door. 


    Tigress's fur bristle a tad when she entered the room-a cavern housing a collection of sorts-Along one right side of a cavern was a

    square display case filled with gems that looked like had been disused for centeries; every one had a faint patena of dust on the gem

    faces. She walked the bit north of the soul gems and saw another display case filled with what looked like water. Inside the liquid

    were several glowing whitish-blue orbs-Affraji guessed these were the souls,

    "Why are they here?" She wondered, "and who could be so vile to do such a thing?"


    Tigress ignored the souls floating in the liquid and went deeper into the cavern. She was thankful to have pristine vision at night

    since the cavern was plunged into near darkness. She could see a black gem in a circular bracket on a white stone plinth where

    purple strands of energy flowing from it. 


    Tigress strode forward to touch it, but when she was within five feet of it, a voice echoed unnaturally loudly in the cavern,

    "Isn't it beautiful, here is my collection of souls I procured from... well, that is not important."


    Tigresss snarled at this rather cheery view of an obviously devasating situation,

    "Show yourself, you coward, fight like a man," She smirked playfully, "or would you prefer to stay hidden in the shadows like a



    A tall man stepped out of the shadows followed by a portal, through which stepped the other man,

    "A Ka'Po'Tun soul, can't say I've one of those." He smiled darkly, "Your soul will make a wonderful addition to my collection." He said

    gesturing to the shiny blue orbs floating in the strange solution. 


    Tigress leapt at the two necromancers and raked her unsheathed claws across the spot where the tall necromancer was minutes

    before. Tigress unsheathed her sword and ran at the squatter necromancer, who saw the danger too late, and got ran through by her

    Akaviri sword. The necromancer spat up blood as he fell to the floor like a wooden board, still and unmoving. 


    The Imperial bellowed with rage and conjured a flaming blue skull; which arched through the air towards the Ka'Po'Tun. Tigress

    dodged this just in time. It flew past her and exploded outwards in a ring of fire, scorching the cavern floor. The explosion forced

    Tigress to shield her eyes against the blaze.

    The remaining necromacer swore at her; filled with rage that she had felled his cohort,

    "Molag Bal curse you, Ka'Po'Tun, he was my brother-both of blood and in arms-and you killed him." He gestured to the fallen

    necromancer, "his name was Cezar." Tigress asked who he was, " You have the unfortunate pleasure of pissing off Kraexor the

    Unfathomable. May you forever burn in the coldest flames of Coldharbor." With that said, he vanished into thin air.


    Tigress went over to the display case containing the tarnished soul gem, unsure if these gems could even hold a soul due to the

    abuse they had obviously been through. She lifted the lid, undid the clasp of her bag and scooped the soul gems inside. She strode

    over to the case cotaining the soul; unsheathed her claws and smashed the glass, unclasped her bag and cast a soul trap spell on all

    the souls, making them fly into their gem prisons. 


    With that done, she slung the bag on her back and advaced on the black gem once more; trying hard to remove it. Trying hard as

    she might through, she could not. She even tried raking he claws across the streams of purple energy and found them transperant,

    unable to be affected in any way.


    She gave up and looked skyward, trying to determine the origins of each of the energy streams. She saw four seperate dwemer

    conduits located on an upper ledge of the cavern connected to each of the strands. She circumnavigated the cavern until she found a

    ramp that led to the upper lavel. Tigress walked to each conduit and shattered each of them with a well-placed swipe of her claws.'

    With the last coduit destroyed, the energy around the gem dissipated. Tigress ran down the ramp, tail dancing happily behind her

    and removed the black gem from the gray receptacle,

    "Time to return you to your home, we need our friend back." She said, overcome with joy upon as her claws gently carressed the

    obsidian gem's surface.


    Putting the gem in her bag, she focused all her might on her destination, manuevered her hands in a circular pattern in the air and

    stepped through the portal.


    When Tigress got her bearings, she took the black soul gem out of her bag, walked over to Affraji's body that lay against a fallen

    pipe and gently jabbed it with the soul gem; she had expected the same exact thiing to happen with the denial of soul transference

    but instead stared in wonder as a beam od light bright as the sun itself erupted from the gem. It arched through the air like a

    hackwing and shot towards the khajiit's chest, lifting her into the air as the white light filled her body, making it glow like a tree on

    the New Life's festival. 


    After several seconds of weightlessness, the body slowly lowered to the ground; landing with a muffled thump on the buish grey

    dirt. Tigress's mind reeled nervously as she eyed Affraji's body for any sign of life. After a few agonizing moments, the khajiit slowly

    opened her eyes. The K'apo'tun overcome with haappiness to see her friend alive ran over and help the khajiit to her feet.


    Affraji thanked her, brushing the dirt from her coat that had accumulated when she was dragged here. She smiled at Tigress, who

    looked dumbstruck. Affraji looked utterly bewildered; thinking that Tigress with be uttely beside herself with the return of her friend,

    "My friend, why does Ka'Po'Tun not show gratitude for the return of Affraji?" She asked


    Tigreess opened her mouth to say that she indeed was happy to see Affraji whole again but she stared past her; fixed on a point the

    khajiit could not see. The Ka'Po'Tun told the khajiit that she saw many unfathomable things that she couldn't begin to comprehend in

    the Oblivion realm known as fargrave.


     Affraji cocked her head too the side, Tigress was right, she could not've guessed what horrors she'd seen in Fargrave,

    "Fargrave? Is this a newly discovered realm of Oblivion?" Affraji furrowed his forehead, "This one does not know and what, may she

    ask, are the horrors that the Ka'Po'Tun saw?" 


    Tigress sighed; she knew that Affraji would find out about the horrors sooner or later,

    "Affraji, you don't really want to hear about what I saw in fargrave." She said sheepishly,


    Affraji stared hard at the Ka'po'tun, almost as if trying to force the answer out of her, as if by magic or mind reading,

    "Oh, very well," She said, sighing in defeat, "Odds are you'll find out sooner or later. In the... er.... let me start at the beginning."

    Affraji crossed her arms and nodded, sitting down against the pipe, "Okay," Tigress said, taking a deep breath, "When your soul was

    taken by the evil khajiit, I made a portal to Fargrave. A... er... market of sorts where people do business of the exchange of souls.

    Affraji's face softened, "I caught the scent of your soul in the eternally starry sky which I followed to the outlaw's refuge in the city

    where I met a dark seducer named Madam Whim."


    Affraji did not know who this 'Madam Whim' was as she hadn't met her before; by Oblivion, she had not even set foot in fargave

    before, the city that was known as 'the crossroad of Oblivion' or that was how it was referred to during her kitten years. Tigress

    scratched her head and said she had not heard fargrave being referred to as such before, even though she had been in the realm. 


    Affraji bade Tigress continue and apologized if she'd been rude to interrupt her. Tigress shook her head, saying it was fine,

    "When I got inside the Ouutlaw's Refuge, I met Madam Whim, who does business with people... for the right price." She smiled

    conspiratorially, leaning against a vertical pipe leading to the ceiling. She laughed at Affraji's dumbstruck face, "You should see your

    face, it's hilarious." 


    Affraji scowled at her, clearly not wanting to give Tigress the benefit of the doubt,

    "Erm... anyway, I, er, traded a sigil stone for any information that I could get about the black soulgem containing your soul. She

    pointed me to a house that she runs in the city known as the house of whims. Once I got there, I enncountered a gigantic black

    skeever with gree accents known as Arox the Mutilator and he pointed me to a mansion west of the city district. That is where I met

    two necromancers, killed them, grabbed some tarnished soul gems and multiple souls, then I saw it."

    Affraji looked shocked; she was hanging onto every word the Ka'po'tun said,

    "What did Tigress find? Hopefully nothing dreadful?" She said, worried. Tigress nodded glumly and said that she saw a black soulgem

    with thin tendrils of energy leading off from it in three directions. The spotted khajiit asked whose soul it was and to whom the soul

    was going to.


    Tigress walked over to her sat down and grasped her hand in her own,

    "Affraji, take a deep breath, what I am about to tell you might be a bit jarring." The Khajiit did as Tigress asked


    Tigress bowed her head as if in prayer, 

    "It was your soul Affraji, your soul that was getting energy drawn out of it. Had it succeeded, your soul would've been lost. I am very

    grateful that I retrieved your soul before further damage could be done to it." Tigress rubbed her chin, "As to whom the soul

    would've gone to, I shudder at the thought. I hope it would not've gone to Coldharbor for Molag Bal's sinister collection." 


    Affraji smiled and said she was glad that Tigress reacted with such quickness before something untoward happened. Tigress bent

    down and asked if Affraji could walk. 


    In response, Affraji looked sidelong at the Ka'po'tun,

    "Yes, this one can walk, why does Tigress ask?" 

    Tigress shrugged and went to the end of the room, weaving her hands in the air like a wizard conjuring some kind of otherworldly

    being; The khajiit got up, hobbled over to the spot that shone blindinly white as the brightest star in the sky. In the center, Affraji

    could see a shimmering boat that she'd guess was in Windhelm where she was incinerated; she wondered were her killer was as

    she'd seen neither hide nor tail of him in the undulating image. 


    Affraji gasped as the Ka'po'tun stepped through the portal. The khajiit gasped as she ran toward the glowing portal and looked

    behind it; expecting to see Tigress laughing at how follish she was to fall for such a trick but she was nowhere to be found. Affraji

    shrugged in an imitation of the ka'po'tun and stepped through the portal, whose surface rippled as if she was stepping through

    water. After moments of blackness and near suffocation, she emerged on all fours, beads of sweat dancing on her forehead, on the

    wooden floor of the ship. She caught her breath, stood up and cast around the ship's hold, hoping to find the Ka'po'tun, but she only

    saw the argonian, altmer and the nord.


    They looked at her as if she had just found a way to cheat death. Which she had, in a manner of speaking. She got up, gesturing to

    the spot where the ashes were minutes before, though to Affraji it seemed more like hours, ago and called over to Mere-Glim,

    "Argonian, where did the ashes go? This one thought ashes stay behind when something is burned, yet this one sees no ashes, why

    is that?"


    Mere-Glim put his hand on Affraji's shoulder and shook his head, making his spines fly about wildly,

    "I don't know Affraji, if they were normal ashes from a normal fire I could tell you, but those," He said, gesturing to where, moments

    before, the purple fire burned, "clearly aren't normal flames, I suspect they disappeared a few minutes after you did. Trust me, I

    want to get the bastard as much as you do, but we've no idea where he went."