C.O.T.W Chapter 87: Four Seasons In One Day

  • When The Argonian emerged from the portal, the overwhelming metallic, earthy scent that came from the cavern overwhelmed him.

    He snorted out his nostril like an animals trying to reassert its senses. The cavern was spilt in two with a dirt path sloping downhill to

    the left and a bronze door set into the stone on the right. 

     

    The Argonian walked to the door; hearing the portal close behind him. He headed from the door; testing the door, pushing it in

    hopes that it would yeild to the pressure and open at his command. No such luck, the door stood resolute as ever, 

    "Damn, why won't this thing open?" Hasir asked to no one in parrticular as he through his weight against it again

     

    He stopped, realizing it would lead to bodily damage if he were to continue. He knelt down, unslung his pack, set it on the ground

    and fished around in it for his collection of lockpicks. Smiling to himself, he felt cold metal in his claw as he removed a lockpick and

    inserted it into the cold metal lock of the bronze door and rotated the pick, careful not to put so much pressure that the pick

    breaks, and heard the satisying 'click' as the pick successfully released all tumblers.

    Hasir grabbed the side of the doors and was about to open them to see what lay inside when he heard the shimmering of a second

    portal just feet from him. He whipped around to see Tigress skid to a halt about an inch from one of the cavern walls. She looked at

    him with a bemused look,

    "Tosh Raka thought you'd get lost, so he sent me to assist you in your task." She said as her eyes flashed menacingly. 

     

    Hasir crossed his arms and rolled his eyes at this; obviously the dragon thought his egg spent too much time in the shade,

    "Look, I can handle myself. Go back and tell that overgrown snake I don't need help... from anybody." He said indignantly.

     

    He stopped and cocked his head a little to the left,

    "Erm... Tigress, who is that with you?"

     

    Tigress shrugged and said that it was just her, and that there was no one else with her. The Argonian shook his head, grabbed the

    golden hand hand and yanked her forward,

    "Do you call this nobody?" Hasir said, gesturing to Ceralyne. Tigress grew red as a turnip, "I just thought that, you know, you might

    need some assistance. You never know what you'll face, so I thought you might need backup, well Tosh Raka said it, not me. I was

    just content to have you handle this on your own, but, you know that old dragon, wise beyond his years and all that..."

     

    Hasir put up a hand and furrowed his brow,

    "Sstop, jusst sstop pleasse." He hissed, "Do you...call this...nobody?" He asked, mouth curved up in a snarl

     

    Tigress shrugged and again tried to proved her reason for being here. She knew, however, that whatever reason she had would be

    lost on Hasir.He would just let the topic circle purposefully back to Tosh Raka anyway,

    "Look." Tigress said angrily, "We are tried to keep you from getting yourself killed, you have no idea what you're about to face. It

    could be Molag Bal's entire army for all I know."

     

    Hasir scoffed at her. He had to clench his fists to stop himself lashing out at her or her elf friend,

    "Go back then, tell your flying snake that I've got this under control, Go and tell that overgrown furnace, Go on, leave."

     

    Tigress' eyebrow furrowed and her lips curled into a snarl; her eyes burned red as the scales on Tosh Raka's hide,

    "I will not stand idly by as you insult the most powerful Ka'Po'Tun... not to mention most powerful Akaviri master nirn has ever

    seen." 

     

    Hasir leaned againstt the door frame and laughed at her,

    "Master? Master of what? Surely not master of controlling lost little hatchlings as if they were sheep with no mind of their own." He

    averted his gaze and fixed it instead on the portal behind her, "I already told you, I don't need anyone's help."

    The argonian bowed his head, allmost as if he were listening to something. The ka'po'tun and the elf found this behavior rather odd.

    Despite their their whispering, Hasir focused hard on the possible location of the Doomstrider. The familiar sense of freedom came

    over him as he and his wolf became one. He felt the soft earth beneath his claws and suddenly he could see the cavern, brighter

    than before as he saw through Twilight's eyes.

     

    The vision wound its way down the dirt path, through the cavern and through some dwemer ruin Hasir had never seen before until it

    stopped and centered on a black khajiit talking to what looked like living elements: fire, wind, frost and earth, all wearing some kind

    of armor with skulls them. The armor looked like ebony but he could not be sure. Each of these walking elements had an identical

    skull-shaped helmet fashioned in the same metal as the armor.

     

    Hasir blinked to reatune his senses and got up from the dirt floor. Tigress and Ceralyne ran to him, thinking he neede a healer,

    "Hasir, what happened? Are you okay?" Tigress asked, checking his eyes for any sign of concussion. Hasir nodded and looked at the

    high elf who seemed as through she just saw something quite dreadful.

     

    Hasir gestured towards her with his thumb,

    "Erm... Tigress, what in Oblivion is she staring at?" He said, panting like a thirsty dog

     

    Tigress thought on this but shook her head,

    "Think nothing of it Hasir, she thought you were have a siezure." She screwed her face up in thought, "As a matter of fact, I did too."

    She frowned and turned her lamp-like eyes on the Argonian once more, "I'd not seen an ability like that before and I''d wager

    Ceralyne never did either. Care to tell us what that was about?"

    Hasir told her of what he read when he'd found some curious books on the subject back at the dwemer manor. He told her that he'd

    thought the ability was his wolf trying to get out of its cage. Tigress frowned again and shook her head,

    "Hasir, the ability you speak of, now that I think of it, does not mean your wolf is struggling against the bonds of your mind but

    rather your are in tune with your wolf."

     

    Hasir looked at her skeptically and shook his head,

    "Wha-I don't quite follow." He said, scratching his head in confusion 

     

    Tigress groaned. She told Hasir that the ability was not found in those that worship both the wolf and mother nature. She stopped

    and thought about this while Hasir stared in disbelief,

    "Argonian... the ability I speak of is called, in Akaviri, 'Xue Bu Ding'." Hasir looked at her as if she'd cracked her head hard on a rock.

    She sighed and translated, "Oh, sorry about that." She said sheepishly, "I forgot not everyone is fluent in Akaviri, er, the common

    tongue translation wolf be either bonds of blood or blood bond."  Tigress creased her eyebrows, "Yes, I suppose that woulld be a

    near exact translation."

     

    She waved the thought away with her hand. She turned to face Hasir with an inquisitive look in her eye,

    "Anyway, did you find out anything interesting?"

     

    Hasir told her of the dwemer machine he'd only hear about the previous day on Solstheim. Tigress brow became more and more

    furrowed as Hasir told her about what he'd seen next,

    "Tigress, I saw the Doomstrider preparing the machine for... something," His spiky brow furrowed than he snapped his fingers as an

    idea came to him, "That must be the weather witch Tosh Raka told me about. He must be using it to assist Molag Bal with his plan

    to purify Tamriel by purging it of all that he deems unclean, meaning nature. He must be doing this because he fears werewolves

    killing off his children's food supply, and by extension, Moal Bal himself, either that or Hircine and Molag Bal have some kind of

    hidden grudge against each other that he has yet to inform his followers."

     

    Tigress aasked the Argonian if he'd seen anything else. Hasir nodded and told the Ka'po'tun that he saw the Doomstrider instructing

    four 'aspects of nature' what to do if anyone is foolish enough to attempt to halt 'his lord's work' or so he calls it." Hasir finished with

    a slight shrug.

    Tigress nodded toward the path that vveered oof to the left; leading deeper into the cavern,

    "You might what to put that ability on the back burner for now, you never know, it just might prove useful." She gestured to him as

    she was halfway down the slope, "Come on, we should find out exactly what Molag Bal plan is, straight from the horse's mouth."

    She motioned to Ceralyne to follow and two Argonian and the elf followed her as they entered in a long stretch of cavern with a

    stone and earth walkway on one side and a ramp of dwemer make leading down to the water, out of which rose a dwemer machine

    of somekind. That is probably just to aid in the upkeep of the cavern Hasir thought.

     

    Tigress' voice broke the thoughtful silence,

    "Hasir, look, a bridge." Her brow furrowed, "Only question is how do we lower it? I see no lever that lowers it." She pointed to a

    stone doorway up a set of stone steps. "Hasir, why don't you andd Ceralyne go and investigate?" 

     

    Hasir did as the Ka'po'tun asked, gestured to the high elf and, together, they investigate the large room with dwemer pipes spanning

    the room's ceiling and wall. Hasir and Ceralyne followed the pipes until they came to another section of the large dwemer ruin. Hasir

    quickly dispatched the dwemer spiders roaming the area and walked up a set of steps,

    "Hmmm... this lever looks suspicious, I wonder what happens if I pull it?"

     

    Hasir grasped the bronze lever and pulled. The sound of dwemer machinery works told him he did indeed do something. He glance

    over to the far right where the elf had just killed two dwarven spheres and likewise pull a lever atop an identical set of stairs. The

    two adventurers meet back on the central platform and traversed the steps and the newly formed pathway together.

     

    Hasir and Ceralyne navigate back to where Tigress stood still trying to ascertain how to lower the bridge before here when it began

    to lower enabling the three adventurers to press forward into a beuatiful room for the cavern with earth wall on either side of them

    and a set of stone step ahead of them.

     

    Hasir looked to the top and saw another room but no clear cut way how to get there. He looked around until he found a lever; he

    pulled it and the familair sound of stones grinding one against the other was heard. The trio went up the stairs and found themselves

    face a locked door. They ignored the door and headed left where they heard the crackling of thunder.

    The trio beheld a massive storm swirling above them and four sets of stone steps, ultimately leading to the same location. They

    ascended the steps to find a door blocking their path. They pushed it open and found themselves in another cavernous room with

    long, thick dwemer pipes spanning the ceiling with the storm, more defined this time, between them. A central column of pipes

    extended from the center of the room. Other pipes ran from those pipes into four seperates room Hasir was about to walk on when

    he head an immovable object.

     

    Tigress flung out an arm to stop him; the Argonian looked at her bewildered, 

    "Watch you step Hasir, you don't want to become a crispy Saxhleel, do you?" She said, with narrowed eyes

     

    Hasir uttered a low grol, but knew she was right when he looked down and saw lava bubbling like boiling soup over an open fire. He

    tore his eyes away from the lava and instead he and his companions walked a narrow path that lay next to the pool of lava, having

    to dodge the intermittent bolts of lighting that would occasionally come out of the stormy sky above.

     

    After he and his companions reached the end, they heard Hasir let loose a gutteral snarl. They wondered what was wrong and were

    about to ask the unsettled Argonian when they looked up and saw, standing under a crossection of thin dwemer pipes, stood

    a black khajiit and, standing between the four pipes were four spriggans; each made up of nature itself. 

     

    Tigress and Ceralyne stared in shock at the four elementals; it was just as Hasir described when his reptilian soul and his wolfish

    soul merged into one. They gasped as they saw the Doomstrider siphon energy from himself into each of his corrupted spriggans. 

     

    Hasir ran towards the Doomstrider despite the elf and Ka'po'tun's pleas not to. The spriggans formed a shield of shadow magic

    around themselves and Hasir saw that the Doomstrider had vanished. Hasir did not look were he was going in his rage, collided with

    the shadow shield and fell hard on the concrete floor.

    The trio stared downward at the puddle that used to be the Doomstrider-before he shared his body to create four corrupted forces of

    nature. It rose into the air as if pulled by invisible cables, took on the visage of the black khajiit and laughed, an eerie sound that

    filled the cavern-this was mixed with the buzzing of the corrupted guardians of kynareth so it sounded more otherworldy than it

    needed to.

     

    The doomstrider's visage just floated there and smirked as he watch the Argonnian's fruitless attempts at playing the hero,

    "Oh, it is fun watching you mortals. You think you have answers for everything, every twist and turn put in your path heading to the

    salvation of your, er, already doomed planet." The formless mass flung himself at Hasir, knocking the argonian to the ground, "Well,

    guess what?" He hissed in the bug-eyed argonian's ear, "You don't, not this time. Molag Bal and I are already two steps ahead of

    you. There is no way you can interrupt our plans." It said, roaring with laughter. 

     

    After this exchange of words, the formless mass disentigrated. As if by their own accord, the corrupted spriggans went to each of

    the fours room in the gigantic main room which Hasir and his companions now stood in.

     

    Hasir got to his feet and took a moment to better attune himself to his surroundings; four rooms laying situated on the eastern,

    western, northen and southern quadrants of the main room. Hasir stranded his ears, for lack of a better term, to hear any identifying

    marks as to what these doors might be; he stilll had no idea where he was. After a few seconds of hearing nothing, he heard four

    different sounds emanating from each room: birdsong from the eastern room, the sound of fresh leaves cascading from the west:

    from the south, he heard the distinct jingling of teetering icicles and from the north-east, he could hear the sound of a burning

    furnace.

     

    Still Hasir looked bewildered as he continually tried to discern what these room had in common with the 'weather witch' in the

    center; if that is what it could be call as there was no central machine in sight,

    "Honestly Hasir, you can be so stuipd at times," Tigress said, shaking her head, "Isn't it obvious? This," She said gesturing to the

    ruin as a whole, "is the weather witch... So these doors are the four seasons and the conduits to shut down the machine must be

    located somewhere in those doors.."

     

    Hasir cocked his head to the side as if he were a pupppy who did not understand a command his master gave,

    "Four season? I don't under-" Tigress groaned in exhasberation, "The four seasons: Winter, Fall, Spring and Summer." As she said

    each one she pointed to a doorway. "Do you get it now?"

     

    Hasir shook his head. Tigress groaned again,

    "Argonians... not a single brain cell among the lot."

    Hasir turned to Tigress and motioned to her with one clawed finger to walk towards him. She did as he asked and had to jump

    back immediately as Hasir lunged toward here mouth agape. She wacked Hasir on the snout after it closed on thin air. Tigress

    scolded him and said she was just kidding.

     

    Hasic scowled and crossed his arms,

    "Well, I'm not laughing am I?" Tigress muttered something about how Argonians can't take jokes. The black-haired Argonian looked

    at her angrily and jerked his head toward the door, which moments before, the four elements flew through; one to each season, "If

    you are done acting childish, can we please get on with trying to shut down this damn machine please."

     

    Ceralyne looked around the ruin and spotted four slots on the midsection of the machine that almost shared the exact compass

    directions of the doors,

    "Hmmm... interesting," She said, walking up to a set of concealed stairs, "We have to figure out how to activate these stairs." She

    turned to Tigress "So, er, is the machine in that room up there? If so, how do we reach it?"

     

    Tigress groaned at Ceralyne's sheer stupidity,

    "You stupid elf, I already told Hasir this, now I have to recount this for you too? Akatosh help me." She sighed heavily, trying to stop

    her from doing something she might regret. This so called 'machine' you speak of is the whole damn ruin, now how are we supposed

    the shut down a whole damn ruin?" She looked at Ceralyne, who shrank away from her scalding gaze, "any suggestions?"

     

    Ceralyne thought for a moment,

    "Well, we would have to get the conduit from each season and place them in each slot hidden somewhere in its respective season."

     

    Tigress rolled her eyes at this at this,gave Ceralyne a cursory glance and shook her head in disgust,

    "Gee, ya think? Let's get those conduits and shut the machine down before we all become as simple minded as this high elf."

     

    Hasir was halfway to one of the doors when he turned around and gave the high elf a quizzical look,

    "Crystals? Now, how on Nirn did you find that out?"

     

    Ceralyne gestured to the Argonian and Ka'Po'Tun to come join her at the 'weather witch.' They did as she asked and gathered around

    the it and told each of them that she overheard the Doomstrider telling the elemental spriggans to keep 'something' safe. It was

    after they finished conversing that the spriggans went their seperate ways; one to each of the huge bronze doors. 

     

    The Argonian screwed up his face in thought,

    "So whatever this thing is that these four spriggans have, we have to get it back and put them in their respective slots in the four

    seasons?" He tented his ingers on the cold metal of the pipe's midsection and leaned towards Ceralyne, "Just, er, one question,

    how in Oblivion are we sopposued to find out what these thing s are that they took? Go through four doors with three of us?" He

    gestured from himself to the elf and the Ka'po'tun, "In case you've forgotten, high elf, there are four door and only three of usss.

    How are we sssupposssed to chasse after all four spriggansss at once? Clone ourselvesss?" He looked, mad as a frog in a fire, from

    Ceralyne to Tigress, "Tigress, care to offer any suggessstionsss?"

     

    Tigress froze and offered the only suggestion she could think of,

    "We can... I dunno, brainwash the Doomstrider and have him go through the fourth door?"

     

    Ceralyne shot Tigress a scathing look and shook her head disapprovingly,

    "Tigress, I am shocked, use mind control on the Doomstrider? Not only is that dangerous but also incredibly complicated and, what

    is to say the black khajiit's mind will not be resilient? Even worse is the great chance that anyone foolish enough to try it will be

    sorrier than a hackwing stuck in the jaws of a Wamasu?"

     

    Tigress and Hasir stared at the high elf dumbstruck, 

    "Well, we can't just split Hasir into two and have his guts spilling everywhere, can we?" 

     

    Everyone fell silent at this, not wanted to add any more fuel to the fire or to envision this rather disturbing image. Ceralyne broke

    the silence by creating another portal; through which stepped a muddy green Argonian.

    Mere-Glim looked around at the large room with a bewildered look onto his face,

    "Erm... Ceralyne, why did you summon me?"

     

    The high elf told the muddy green Argonian about the ruin, the crystal conduits and their plans to stop Molag Bal destroying nature.

    The argonian nodded and positioned himself opposite of Hasir with the elf and Ka'po'tun opposite. Mere-Glim inquired about the

    crystal holders and how they factored into the plan.

     

    After all was said and done. Tigress pointed out which door she wanted each person to go to so they could begin the search for the

    crystals,

    "Hasir, you take the door with birdsong coming from it. Mere-Glim, you go to the door with the golden glow and intense heat

    coming from it and search there. Ceralyne, you go through the western stone arch way where the door with multicolored leaves

    surrounding it is and I will go to the door with the soul crushing cold coming from it, surrounded by snow and ice.Now, everyone,

    you've got your assignments, get to it." When she finished, everyone ran to their designated seasons.

     

    Among the birdsong, Hasir could hear the Doomstrider laughing,

    "You fools, you think you can wrestle the crystals from my spriggan's hands? Ha, they are stronger than you can imagine." Hasir

    stopped as if he hit an invisaible wall, all he could do was see his comrades entering their respective seasons.

     

    Hasir stood before a door with grass and trees surrounding it; it even had a vine stretching from the northwestern edge of the door.

    He pushed it open and stepped over the threshold and found himself in a room that was a wierd mixture of forest and dwemer ruin.

    He could smell the fresh scent of spring all around him; mixed with these wonderful scents was one he could not quite place. He

    walked toward an adjacent alove, pushing vines the size of snakes aside and trampling the grass that sprang up everywhere and

    found an edge of a piece of paper situated beneath a rock.

     

    He pulled the paper free and read it,

    "Spring's Symphony is home to many creatures but the most peculiar of all is the rock spriggan. Where did it come from?? Is it really

    earth given form or someting much darker?"

     

    Hasir found up the piece of parchment and stowed it in his bag. He pressed on through the greenery-filled room, gazing in awe at

    the many beautiful animals frolicking without a care in the world. He wanted to stop but knew he had to keep going; he had to find

    whatever the Doomstrider had entrusted the rock spriggan with and take it back, by any means nessecary. 

     

    Hasir was waylaid by a interlacing wall of vines, blocking his way forward. He looked to a stone arch leading to a side room... and a

    spriggan. The Argonian's mind swam with possible solutions to this problem: he could light the vines ablaze with his fire whip or

    flame breath but a voice inside his head told him that this recourse wouldn't work. 

     

    He drew his sword and went looking for the spriggan and had to dodge it claws attack and the bear it had summoned. Seeing his

    opening, he plunged the iron sword deep into the spriggans stomach. The buzzing of insects stopped and the corrupted forset spirit

    slumped to the floor.

     

    He went back to where the vines were and saw them unravel. Unseen by Hasir, a second batch of vines pulled back from another

    doorway. On his journey through this newly revealed corridor, he was waylaid only a few times as he fought normal spriggans who

    thought he was there to defile their realm; spriggans are Kynareth's creation after all and he didn't want to fight one unless he had

    to. 

     

    He realized his wolf's nose could smell out the conduit better than his reptilian nose could; he got to his hands and knees and

    became more lupine. Twiliight sniffed the ground and upon picking up the scent followed it down a long hallway and into an open

    room. Theye were many scents around and this momentarily disoriented Twilight but he caught the scent again and followed it over

    a bridge that crossed a river of putrescence.

     

     He thought nothing of the foul smell rising from that cesspool and continue forward, up some stairs, turned left entered another

    room. This room was massive and had a path spiraling upwards though a giant tree. Twilght walked up the curving walkway and

    entered a straightforward hallway at the end of which was a gigantic circular room that smelt of flowers beginning to bloom. He

    walked over to a patch of grass to relieve himself. 

     

    He turned around and yelped as a rock whizzed by him, narrowly missing his right ear and thudded into the wall behind him. Twilight

    howled, turning from beast to reptile in a fraction of a second. Hasir unsheathed his iron sword and ran at the intruder. He heard the

    sword grind against rock and then the snapping of the blade. He tossed the useless pieces aside and unsheathed his lava whip. He

    raked it along the creature's rock hard body, orange sparks dancing as it ground agaist stone; it made impact but no damage was

    done. 

     

    Hasir retreated a safe distance to work out a plan and than he took a deep breath and expelled a great gout of flame from his

    mouth. The flames hit the stone creature which Hasir found out to be the earth spriggan he saw earlier, and to his dismay the earth

    spriggan just absorbed the damage. 

     

    Hasir looked taken aback by this. He berated himself for being such an inept hatchling,

    "Sstuipd reptile, you sshould know already that sstone iss not affected by fire...hsss!"

     

    An idea formed in his head. He took a deep breath,

    MUL QAH DIIV

     

    The familiar blue and orange aura surrounded Hasir but instead of absorbing it like a regular dragon soul, it formed a hard, dragon

    bone-like casing around the Argonian's body, "Yeah, now this is more like it," He said, looking at the impressive armor, "Now prepare

    to feel my wrath you living hunk of rock.

     

    FUS RO DAH!

     

    The stone spriggan was blasted apart , the pieces scattering to the four winds. Hasir smiled to himself as the armor and the power

    associated with it abated. His smile fadded immediately, however, as the rocks began to rise in the air and reform; not only that but

    his body took on a deep bluish-black sheen. 

     

    Hasir moved into a fighting stance; unsheathing the whip once more,

    "What in Oblivion?" He said, tightening his grip on the whip so much that his hand began to sweat, "I have to fight this too?" He

    groaned, "Very well then, come on, you bitch." No sooner did the Argonian run at the strange creature then it disappeared into thin

    air. Hasir had just enough time to grab a glinting object that fell from the creature before it disappeared ccompletely, a crystal shard

    the color of dark green grass.

     

    Hasi pressed on moving passed another open vine doorway turn left, went down a small ramp, rounded another corner and saw a

    sheer dropoff with the conduit below. The Argonian jump down and placed the crystal. He navigated his way back outside to

    Vardnknd's starkiller gallery, excepting to see something happen but nothing did.  He wondered how the other three were getting on

    in their seasons.

    Mere-glim dodged gouts of hot steam as he traversed through this scalding hot part of the ruin. He looked to his left and saw a dead

    mercenary with a note lying near him; Glim picked it up and read it,

     

    To any person attempting to brave the intense heat of Summer's Chords, it is a fool's errand. Your only hope is to find the conduit

    and disable it before the flame spriggan finds you and you befall a grim fate like mine. 

     

    Glim took heed of this poor soul's warning and entered the dungeon. Immediately, the Argonian was hit by temperatures exceeding

    150 degrees farenheit. In a small alcove addjacent to the main room filled with magnificent stone pipes with dwarven designs on

    them. Glim thought they could be writing but he could not be sure as he could not read ancient dwemer. He saw an alcove on the

    right side of the doorway he used to enter. He walked over to it, tail swaying cautiously side to side. 

     

    Mere Glim could smell incredible heat coming from this room; he wondered where the heat was coming from. He saw a table across

    a medium-sized bridge with pools of lava on either side. He walked across the bridge, careful not to fall into the lava far below. The

    Argonian thankfully made it across without having his scales get so much as singed and saw three tomes, each with an emblem of a

    hand with fire emanating from it depicted on the cover.

     

    He walked over to the table,picked up the book and saw strange symbols dancing on the pages of each book he read. When he leant

    in closer, they jumped off the pages and began swirling about him like some ethereal blizzard.

     

    Mere-Glim smiled happily as he put each tome in his bag,

    "These spells, whatever they are, similar to the shout, will no doubt aid me in beating the sweltering heat of this place."

     

    He tested ach spell; one such spell caused a ring of frost to rotate around his body, another cause frost magic to appear whever his

    move his handd, adjacent to the ground and the last spell caused a strange daedric letter engraved within a pentagram of sorts to

    appear of whichever surface he was facing. He smiled satisfactorily to himself and exited back into the main area.

    He cast the frost claok spell and was amazed at how well it protected him. He came to a intersection of pipes, one path of pipes

    leading to the left and another continuing straight; seeing nothing of interesting in the left path, he decided to continue going

    straight-which ultimately opened up into a large room with a circle of vertical grates in the center of the room and pipes leading off

    to the western side of the room.

     

    Glime glanced in the direction of the pipes and saw that five atronachs of living flame were patrolling the area. He contemplated the

    other options and seeing no other course of action, he made his way, carefully out on the pipes and readied his frost rune. 

     

    He placed one underneath each of the flame atronachs. He had to find the conduit before, as the dead man's note said, the flame

    spriggan finds him. He got so blindsided by this thought that he failed to see that he was standing very near one of his runes.

     

    He came into his mind, looked down and swore,

    "Oh shit, I knew I should have placed the runes further out."

     

    The blast near knocked him into the lava far below the pipes. He gripped the edge of the pipe whit his claws and he tried pulling

    himself up by his hands. One of the flame atronachs whom the trap did not work on floated over to where Glim hung on for dear life

    and hurled fireball after fireball at him.

     

    One of the fireball signed a few of the scales on the Argonian's hand, causing him to emit a loud hiss as he let go of the pipe, still

    hanging on with his left. He called the ice spike spell to his right hand and, aiming like an expert spellsword, the Argonian skewered

    the flame atronach; carrying so much force behind it that the atronach fell over the pipe on the opposite side.

    Glim managaed to pull himself up and smelled the air; it smelt like a winter storm had passed through-which was not only unlikely

    but also impossible because of the intense heat that dominated the area. Glim ignored this and walked down the pipes, using his tail

    to balance. He saw three open stone pipes: one ahead of him and two on the left and right. The Argonian walked toward the pipe

    staraight ahead; but just as he was about to enter the stone pipe, he heard a strange buzzing behind him. He wiped around and

    flung an ice spike at the intruder who deflected it with a wave of its hand.

     

    The Argonian snarled at the intruder and spun arounnd using his tail as a weapon, attempting to trip up the flame spriggan. To his

    surprise, the spriggan caused it and wrenched it hard. 

     

    Mere-Glim smirked as he saw the writhing tail, flopping like a fish out of water on the cold, hard metal,

    "Nice try bitch, but we Argonians can regenerate lost limbs." As he said this, a small pink tail burst out of his hind quarters and was

    quickly regrown to its previous size and covered in green scales. The flame spriggan buzzed even louder and flung a fire ball at Glim.

    He dodged the fireball with the quick agility that only Argonians possess; it whizzed past him, smashing into the wall behind him. 

     

    Mere-Glim cast his frost cloak spell and slowly advanced on the flame spriggan, smirking. He smiled in triumph as the spriggan's

    body hardened as the frost did its job. The argonian punched the dead spriggan, sending the now charred bits into the lava far

    below.,

    "Try coming back from that you moron."

     

    After he finished, he saw a crystal the color of a yellow sun rise from the lava. It fell with a dull thud on the section of pipe that

    Glim stood on. He picked it up, carresing the smooth crystalline surface with his claw and darted towards the pipe, now vacant, that

    the spriggan had burst out of moments before.

     

    He stepped into the pipe and saw-a short distance ahead-the conduit of summer. He placed the crystal in the conduit and knew he

    had just shut down that portion of the 'weather witch.' He smiled to himself for a job well done and traced his steps back to the main

    room of the Vardnknd gallery where he met Hasir.

     

    He smiled at Hasir and clapped him on the back,

    "I assume you had similar luck in Spring's Symphony, or am I wrong on that count?"

     

    Hasir nodded and both he and Mere-Glim wondered how Ceralyne and Tigress were faring.

    Tigress gazed in awe at the dying grass that stood before the metal door, walked towards it and stepped inside. She traversed the

    magnificent dwemer hall and the went steadily downwards and lead to a fallen mercenary. She found a note on his body,

     

    Woe be you if you fell to the wind spriggan as I have. Will you met my fate, or will you overcome it and make it to the end of

    Autumn's Bell without a scratch? Only time will tell, time... and you proficiency at magic.

     

    She pocketed this note and continue onward. She gasped as he eyes beheld an impressively decrepit farmland which many different

    colored bundles of wheat. Ceralyne saw a spriggan made of wind floating amont the wheat. Ceralyne crouched in the tall grass;

    careful to not be spotted.

     

    Ceralyne looked to her left and saw a gated dwemer door and six dwemer refineries, three on each side of the door,

    "Hmm... I wonder what goes in those," She gazed around at the oddly colored wheat, "though, I have a good idea."

     

    She snuck aroud the dying farmland gather all the colored wheat that she saw: Blue, Green, Red, Orange, Yellow and White; and

    placed them into her bag. Once those were gathered, she ran over to the wheat refineries and put the corresponding bundle of

    wheat into each one, removing the gate from the door. 

     

    The high elf noticed some movement and blowing of wind behind her and turned around. She unsheated her sword and raised it to

    attack, but the four of the winds blew it right out of her hands, landing, with a clang a short distance away. The elf thought awhile

    and conjured a stone atronach and sent it forth to to battle with the wind spriggan. Ceralyne had to shield herself and the stone

    atronach exploded; its body flying towards the elf who dodged just in time as the rocks lay, lifeless in the decrepit farmlands. 

     

    The spriggan became more and more enraged and started turning black as night and summoned four giant cyclones. This gave

    Ceralyne an idea,

     

    She sighed happily,

    "Ah, this makes things better." 

     

    She conjured a bolt of light to her hand and flung it hard as she could at the darkened wind spriggan; she groaned as the bolt rapidly

    changed direction and slammed in a rock wall to the side of the fark. She heard a soul like rushing wind; either the wind spriggan

    was laughing or doing something far darker.

     

    Ceralyne saw in dismay that the soul sucking tornadoes were steady moving to her position. Ceralyne had to think quickly to avoid

    certain death; a ball of light shone brightly a few inches in from of her outstretched hand,

    "Well, this is it," She said, disheartened, "This is how I met my end."

    She closed her eyes; expecting to become soul-tra[pped at any moment but instead of feeling soul crushing darkness, she felt

    nothing. Her golden eyes fluttered open and saw the tornado decreasing in size as the light shone on it. She smiled and did the same

    on the other tornadoes.

     

    With the tornadoes gone, she conjured the light spear again and flung it at the spriggan; this time, it stuck. The spriggan screamed;

    sounding more like a howling wind rather than a normal spriggan scream and was disbled long enough for the high ekf to conjure

    her ball of light and jammed her hand straight into the torso of the forest creature. It writhed and howled but, all the while, the light

    ate away at the darkneed winds that made up the spriggan. 

     

    Ceralyne knelt down and search the ground were the spriggan was seconds ago and closed her long, golden fingers around a crystal

    the color of a setting sun. With that spriggan dead, the elf ran through the wheat, toward the unhindered dwemer door, opened it

    and inserted the crystal into it. 

     

    With that accomplished, the high elf retreated back to the main room, joining Hasir and Mere-Glim; they knew that all the fate on

    Nirn rested on Tigress' shoulders.

     

    Tigress ignored the biting cold of this part of the ruin and pressed onward; her master having trained her to make her hide hard

    against the elements. She venture down the hallway that led straight to a second room with a path made of stone that wound

    upwards like a corkscrew. Tigress walked up the path; her eyes falling on a dead mercenary. She searched the body and found a

    not,

     

    My brother said there was a great treasure trove hidden somewhere around here but he mentioned nothing of the bone chilling cold

    contained with this portion of the ruin, my brother... I know not what happened to him. Surely he didn't met the same fate as I have

    at the hands of the frost spriggan that stalks this season. 

     

    Tigress folded the note up, put it in her back and continued up the stone spiral. Her eyes grew wide as she beheld a grreat blizzard

    that dominated the next area,

    "Hmmm... I wonder if the frost spriggan is behind this." She thought

     

    She tore her eyes away from the swirling blizzard above her, crossed the frozen lake flanked by dwemer grates on all sides. She had

    to sttop quickly as she exited the area lest she fell in,

    "I wonder how far down this goes." She said uncertainly, "Oh well," She said shrugging, only one way to find out." 

     

    She felt the wind rush past he as she fell, splashed into the frigid water and pulling herself up on dry land. she looked and breathed

    a sigh of relief,

    "Glad that was cold water not hot lava," She said, chuckling

     

    Tigress passed through the doorway where, before it icicles hung down like cold stalactites. She went up the stairs before her to a

    hallway that stretched onwards like the extremely long hallway in the pelagius wing. She walked cautiously down the hallway, fearing

    for a fight to come from anywhere; no enemy emerged-as she thought, it was, after all, winter and winter symbolizes death, not

    only to the seasons, but to all creatures great and small. She reached the end of the long hallway and rounded a corner after the

    other when she came to a ledge with a door below her.

     

    She jumped into the water and pushed the great bronze door open. She emerged from the water and walked up the winding path

    and came to yet anothe dropoff. Without thinking, she fell into the water. She glanced around and didn't see an exit to the next

    section anywhere,

    "Where in Oblivion am I supposed to go now?" She said, sighing in exhasberation

     

    She smelled the air and swam off to the north-western side of the room; ducking under the water only to emerge on the other side

    seconds later. She navigated the two rooms after and continued to climb the spiral paths up the room in which she'd thought the

    conduit would be. 

     

    Tigress sensed a cold wind, colder than the ruin itself, turned around and saw the frost spriggan advancing on her. As it advanced

    the spriggan turned black as shadow and split in four identical copies, just as metal does when too much heat is applied. The four

    spriggans closed in on Tigress. The Ka'po'tun crouched and brought her hind leg around in a circle, knocking them all to the floor.

    Fire and light erupted in her paw and attempted to defeat them, one after the other. 

     

    She frowned as she saw them all stand up and advance on her again; thinking fast, she conjured akaviri wind combined with

    Akatosh's holy light, and in quick succession, delivered four very fast, very deadly stream of hurricane-type winds to each of their

    torsos. The spriggans crumpled at her feet.

     She watched in awe as four parts of a single icy blue crystal seemed to float like blird on the wind above Tigress' head and fused

    together; Tigress stretched her arms toward it as if accepting some great gift from Akatosh himself. The crystal floated down like a

    feather into her opened paws.

     

    Delighted, she ran to the conduit room-located to the back of the dwarven path-and enter it. Her orange and black striped paw that

    was gripping the crystal like a literal lifeline. Tigress pressed the crystal in the dwemer mechanism and retraced her steps back

    through the frozen portion of the ruin to the main room of the dwemer ruin.