C.o.t.W. Chapter 101: Edge of the Abyss

  • Hasir and Amahka awoke, caught a few fish from the icy stream and cooked the salmon over a fire he had relit. A few minutes later,

    Inigo's nose twitched as the scent of cooking food tickled it. He opened his eyes and nudged Xelzaz who lay in the tent next to him.

    The Argonian stirred and asked Ingio what was up. Inigo gestured to the steadily burning fire. 


    Xelzaz's eyes lit up and his mouth watered as he saw the fish, He looked at the khajiit,

    "Breakfast! Gods, I'm starving, I could eat a mammoth," He said, licking his lips

    When they all had their fill of fish, Inigo and Amahka went over to wake Aela, Vilkas, Farkas and Rakel but were dismayed to find 

    their beds empty.


    The blue and tan khajiit's brows both furrowed as they looked from the tents to Hasir and Xelzaz. They walked over to the fire,

    sighed and sat down. He could hear the two Argonians talking in hush tones and sniggering.


    The khajiit smiled and leaned closer to better hear what they were talking about. Hasir stopped immediately when he felt warm

    breath on his neck,

    "Yes Inigo? can I help you with something?" He asked through clenched teeth  


    Inigo tried to hide the fact that he was eavesdropping by stretching as if he had had a refreshing catnap,

    "Nothing, my friend, I'm just stretching." He gestured over towards Aela's tent, brow furrowed, "Do you know where Aela and her

    two brothers went?" Inigo had hoped Hasir would know this, but he just shook his head and resumed the conversation with Xelzaz. 


    Hasir nquired as to what he and Xelzaz were talking about. Inigo stood up and walked towards his and Hasir's mount which was

    grazing on some hay at the stables near the stone bridge.

    "My friend, put it out of your mind, it's not important." He gave the Argonian and worried glance, "What we should be focusing on

    right now is if your friend, the high elf, is still alive... if the Doomstrider did not get to her."


    He picked up a stone and threw it into the icy water. Hasir thought the stone would freeze when it made contact with the icy water

    but, to his amazement, the stone sunk without a trace. The other khajiit turned his head, looking worried.

    Hasir walked over to Inigo and placed a clawed hand on the khajiit's shoulder,

    "Inigo, listen to me. I have a strong feeling in my scales that Ceralyne is alright." he chuckled, "It will take more than an

    agent of Molag Bal to take her down." 


    Hasir handed him a piece of leather from his bag. Inigo smiled and dabbed at his pumpkin-like eyes,

    "Thanks my friend." He said, handing the leather cloth back to Hasir, "You may be right, the elf will fare fine on her own... but I still

    think that we should go to the lighthouse and see for ourselves."


    Hasir and Inigo walked over to the stables, handed the stablehand the gold required and got onto the lizard. Once mounted, they

    looked over and were shocked to see a brilliant wolf the same color as a storm atronach standing next to them with Amahka astride

    it. Xelzaz thrust his hands into his pockets and told Hasir that he was going to Whiterun to see what the Companions had gotten up



    Hasir's yes narrowed as he scrutinized Amakmahka's mount,

    "Nice mount, did you have to kill any antronachs for that?" He said sniggering


    Amahka shook his head,

    "Nope, summoned it. It was a simple spell." He turned to Hasir, eyes narrowing, "I doubt you, a magically inept liizard, would

    understand." He said, tail coiling and uncoiling behind him.


    Hasir laughed mockingly at this,

    "My lizard will obliterate that pile of rocks."


    A thought suddenly ran through Amahka's mind like a speeding carriage,

    "Fine then, let's make a race of it. First one to the lighthouse is the winner. We will see which mount is better."


    Hasir eyed the brilliant wolf and snarled,

    "You're on!" 

    The Welwa ravager dug its claws into the snow. Hasir could hear the deep breathing of Amahka's wolf mount who did the same.

    Hasir began the countdown and no sooner did he finish when they were off; tearing through the snow, paws beating frantically like

    their riders' hearts as each one tried to outpace the other.


    They had to dodge rocks and trees to avoid crashing and giving the other an unfair advantage. Amahka saw an opening in the tree

    between them and their destination and took this time to shoot past Hasir and stop feet in front of him. Hasir failed to see this and

    ran into the makeshift roadblock.


    Both he and the Welwa Ravager tumbled head over tail; landing in the snow, causing Amahka to laugh. Hasir 'smiled' maliciously and

    started transforming before Amahka's eyes. She stared, wide-eyed, at the transformed werewolf,

    "Hasir, I thought we agreed to race to the lighthouse on horseback. This is completely unfair!"


    Twilight smirked wolfishly and darted off toward the lighthouse; leaving the shocked khajiit in the dust. Upon reaching the

    lighthouse, Twilight lent against a rock; stopping to catch his breath. Twiligh howled out at the night sky and shrunk in stature until

    he regained his reptilian form.


    Moments later, Amahka approached the lighthouse and dismounted her magical steed. She walked over to Hasir wearing an angry

    expression. Hasir looked at her and shrugged,

    "You didn't say anything about using my wolf form. I just thought I would give you a taste of your own medicine." Hasir looked at

    her and sneered, "Think you got the upper hand, didn't you?" 


    Amahka gave Hasir a playful shove,

    "Hasir, you are a moron. Next time, play fair and don't cheat!" She said threateningly

    Inigo walked over to the sly Argonian, still leaning against the rock,

    "That was amazing, my friend. You should have seen her face, it was hilarious." He said, roaring with laughter


    Hasir grinned at this and thought of Amahka's face when he had transformed into a werewolf and 'cheated.' Inigo nudged him in the


    "Hasir, you look like an idiot." He said, chuckling


    Hasir's train of thought got derailed and he glared at the khajiit; he dicided that instead of geetting offended he would fire the insult

    right back; albeit with him own unique flare,

    "you dare call me an idiot?" He assked shocked, "You are so idiotic that your stupid face cracks every mirror it comes across." 


     Hasir stopped chastizing th hapless blue khajiit and, together, they walked over to the lighthouse door, which stood ajar. Hasir told

    Inigo, Xelzaz and Amahka to stay put while they investigat The blue khajiit protested saying he thought they would venture in

    together but succumbed to silence once he spottedd the Argonian's stern expression. He cautiously opened the blue-green door and

    stepped inside. a room with a bookcase leaning against one wall and three chairs met his eyes. Hasir saw a stone fireplace sitting

    against another wall. On the mantle were a strange urn and a torchbug in a clear, glass jar. Hasir undid the urn's lid, reached in and

    extracted a small  key. The firelight reflected off of its sleek, golden surface so it looked more like a sigil stone of Oblivion than

    normal key. 


    He sniffed the air; a strange scent of cold mixed with wet fur assualted his nostrils. He looked to his right and saw a small hallway

    with two door andd a set of stairs leading to the upper parts of the lighthouse. Hasir followed the scent to a blue-green door where

    the scent was strongest. He pushed the door open, only to find it locked. The argonian removed the key from his pocket and pressed

    it to the door. A keyhole appeared out of nowhere, growing ever larger when they key drew closer.


    Aela, Vilkas and Farkas stabled their horses at the stable near the city and went inside. As they made their way up the stairs to

    the meadhall, they had a suspicion that something was wrong. This was confirmed when Tilma came running down the mead hall

    steps screaming aboout someone called the 'Doomstrider.'


    Vilkas smirked andraised an eyebrow at this rather bizzare action,

    "Calm down old woman, did the Doomstrider steal your mop?"


    Tiilma looked shocked at this and brandished a rolling pin at him,

    "Old woman? I'll show you 'old woman'." She said, whacking Vilkas with her weapon


    Vilkas threw his hand above his head to try to ward of her furious blows,

    "Hey, whoa, easily you crazy old bat. I just wanted information, not a pummeling." Tilma finally lowered the rolling pin but only after

    she got some good whacks in.


    Tilma sighed, eyeing Vilkas wanly,

    "Vilkas, do you want to know why I fled the mead hall?"


    Vilkas nodded, followed by Farkas and Aela. Tilma told the three Nords that she was cleaning the tables in the hall when she heard

    frantic yells emanating from the undercroft. Tilma turned to Aela and smiled at her, "Aela, when did you get here? anyway, when I

    got into the undercroft proper, I saw blue and black smoke coming from under the harbinger's door. Panicked, I burst into Kodlak's

    study and saw a black khajiit with red eyes yelling at the harbinger about something. It was about Hircine and his 'filthy dogs' I



    Vilkas and Farkas looked at each other darkly and shook their heads glumly,

    "Tilma, I think I know where this is going. Er, mind if we, Farkas, Aela and I see Kodlak?"


    Tilma bit her lip. She was on the fence of telling them the truth or not telling them and having them find out for themselves, In the

    end she decided upon the former,

    "I'm afraid you can't see Kodlak because his soul was trapped by the black khajiit and is now residing in the soul cairn."


    Aela frowned and looked confused, She had three ideas in her mind and each were jockying for the ability to be heard, 

    "The soul cairn? I've heard of that place... but why didn't his soul go to coldharbour and be tortured like all other souls tarnished by

    Molag Bal's servant? On the same token, why wasn't his soul being bartered upon in Fargrave?" 

    Tilma told him that Kodlak's soul hadn't been tarnished by Molag Bal and she said it was not destined to be picked apart by

    marketgoers in Fargrave. She cleared her throat and told the male Nord that people who get soul-trapped go straight to the Soul

    cairn, a dreary plane of existence inhabited by ghosts, watched over by mysterious floating gems known as the Ideal Masters. She

    told them that appointed a dragon known as Durnehviir the actual overseeing of goings on of the realm. 


    The three Nords looked at her with confused looks as if they couldn't wrap their minds around what she had said. Tilma sighed and

    gestured them inside,

    "The concept went straight over you heads didn't it?" She asked with a huff, "You knuckleheads need to read more instead of

    mindlessly hitting stuff with you swords. Aela has more brains than you two morons combined." She gestured to Vilkas and Farkas

    who were sitting on the wall near the mead hall, "still, she is far too wild to seetle down and read a book."


    She gestured them inside again and, relunctantly, they followed her into the mead hall, where they sat around a small table that lay

    in the corner of the hall. She got up, grabbed a flagon of mead and an emptytankard from the long table by the fire and set them

    between herself and the male Nords, who eyed the containers suspiciously. Vilkas raised an eyebrow,

    "Thanks tilma, but, we're not thirsty. Maybe later when the other guys get back."


    Tilma glared at him and slapped Vilkas for his apparent stupidity,

    "I was not going to pour you a drink, how thick are you?" She asked. "These," She said gesturing to the empty steel colored flagon

    and tankard, "are for clarifying the point I put to you earlier. For all intents and purposes, let's say this flagon is Coldharbour now if I

    pour some of the mead or 'liquid soul' from this flagon in this tankard, or 'soul cairn,' The tankard then contains the 'soul' until I pour

    it back into the flagon, get it?" She asked both male Nords.


    Collectively, they shook their heads, causing Aela, who was unnoticed until that moment, to groan,

    "You thickheads, what Tilma is saying is that the Soul Cairn acts like a 'holding pen' for Coldharbour, it is where the souls go when

    the Doomstrider soultraps them." 


    Vilkas and Farkas both had confuesed looks eteched on their faces. Aela groaned heavily at her brother's absent, or more accurately,

    empty-mindedness. Tilma used this moment to speak up again,

    "Aela's right," She said, nodding in her direction, "We need to go to Winterhold to discern if we can find a person there who can tell

    us how to get there. I know there is an entrance in a laboratory in a vampire stronghold here on the island, but I would rather not let

    Molag Bal know our location: much less, give his 'children' another reason to despise us."


    They nodded as one, got up and looked, curiously at Tilma who got up and took the flagon and tankard, put them back on the long


    "Tilma, are you not coming with us? You had the idea to go and save Kodlak's soul; after all you saw his soul get trapped."


    Tilma shook her head and said she had to clean becayse she did not want Hasir and the others to come back and see the hall in such

    a state.


    Aela and her brothers nodded solemnlyand walked out the main door and out the city gates. The wind whipped their faces as they

    made their way to the stables, paid Bjorlam for three horses, mounted their individual steds and headed towards the city of


    He walked a long winding spiral staircase that descended even deeper into the lighthouse. The deeper he went, the more an icy cold 

    tore through his scales. This was not a shiver of fear but one of cold; it felt as though someone had forgotten to pay the heating bill.

    Icicles hung from the far end of the room and below it was a chair with a bound and gagged yellow-skinn elf seated upon it. 


    Hasir combed every inch of the room and saw no sign of the Doomstrider. Just then, a plume of black smoke appeared behind the

    chair and solidified into a black-furred khajiit, who eyed him maliciously,

    "Thought you would come to save your friend, what a pity."


    Hasir stared a the Doomstrider and snarled,

    "Enough games, why is Ceralyne here?" 


    The doomstrider smirked and shrugged,

    "Well, I had to lure you here somehow... and, here you are." He said, calling up his soulfire


    Hasir conjured his flame whip and lashed out at the Doomstrider, only to have the black Khajiit disappear and resolidify right next to

    the shocked Argonian,

    "Now is that anyway to treat a friend?


    Hasir snarled at the black khajiit saying he was more of a fungus, a parasite sent to dampen the world than a friend. The black

    khajiit smiled a patted Hasir on the shoulder, saying that he is sorry Hasir feels that way. He shot the soulfire at Hasir who deftly

    ripped through the bluish-black flame with his whip casuing the Doomstrider to laugh. Hasir's eye's narrow as he wondered what was

    so funny.


    The doomstrider glared at Hasir and sneered,

    "You hounds are all the same, a brawns and no brain? Doo I really have to spell it out for you? I brought you here to rid the world of

    two pathetic lost pup!" He yelled, his voice echoing around the cavern. "That's right you walked right into my trap, now I will trap

    your worthless souls just like I trapped your harbinger's soul." 


    Hasir growled and flung himself at the Doomstrider, pinning him against the far wall with his claws. Hasir hissed something in Jel as

    his eyes bore into the Khajiit's red ones,

    "Why did you do that? Hircine is the one your 'mastter' wants, leave Kodlak out of this!"


    The doomstrider smirked as Haisr unsheathed his iron sword,

    "What are you going to do with that?" He asked, laughing maniacally, "Kill me?"


    He faded into black smoke just as the Argonian's sword was slashing

    downward, He rematerialize a short way behind Hasir as he watched the Argonian cut into stone. "Foolish argonian. like I said, I am

    beyond your skill." 


    Hasir conjured a fireball and flung it at the Doomstrider who miscalculated the trajory and was blasted in the wall by the stair. With

    the khajiit momentarily incapacitated, Hasir ran over to Ceralyne and proceeded to cut the ropes binding her with his sword.


    With Ceralyne freed from her gag and bonds, they went over to a table where they found a myriad of nots strewn across it. Hasir

    riffled through them and found what he was looking for: a note describing way to open the blocked entrance to Krovaxis and another

    note depicting the exact location within the vile temple of the second portal to the other world. 


    The black khajiit got to his feet just as Hasiir was stuffing the notes he deemed most useful, the ones depicting the portal and the

    other one describing how to get into Krovaxis, into his bag and join the high elf, who was scrambling for the exit. the Doomstrider

    growled, conjured the soulfire and flung it at Haisr.


    Hasir's yell made the elf look back. Her eyes burnt with rage as she saw the Argonian's terror reflected in the bluish-black fireball

    slowly closing in. Ceralyne transformed into her wolf form and positioned herself between the Doomstrider and his prey. She pulled

    her lips pulled back and eyes narrowed. She stood her ground as the soulire came closer and closer. The soulfire seemed to decipate

    the Doomstrider's mind was aparently ocuupied. Hasir, taking advantage of this quickly ran behind the khajiit and drew his sword.


    Seeing this, the Doomstrider laughed mecrilessly as his eyes filled with hatred at the creature that stood before him,

    "Forget the Argonian, my master will reward me quite handsomely if I skin her alive or... I can just get it over with quickly."


    The Argonian was about to swing his sword when the black khajiit caught him out of the corner of his eye and lashed out with his

    tail, knocking Hasir on his tail. The argonian watched in horror as the golden wolf was slowly enveloped by the soulfire.


    Hasir got to his feet again and growled at the Doomstrider who dodged a fireball cast by the angry Argonian,

    "You son of a bitch! Why did you kill her? She did nothing to you."


    The khajiit laughed and stepped hard on Hasir's tail,

    "You must be stupider than you look, I sent her Soul to the Soul Cairn to remain there with the soul of that pitiful 'harbinger' you

    werewolves love so much. After that," He said, smoothing his fur, "Well... I guess only Molag Bal knows what happens next."


    Hasir hissed as waves of pain shot to his brain as he struggled like a caught fish to escape. The Argonian gritted his teeth and

    attempted to bite the Doomstrider which was made more difficult due to the awkward position he now found himself in.