C.o.t.W. Chapter 102: From Shadow Unto Crystal

  • Hasir tried to moved his tail out from under the Doomstrider's foot; after a few tries, he pulled it free and whipped it upwards in an

    arc, catching the khajiit in the face. The argonian hissed as he sheathed his sword and conjured his flame whip. The Doomstrider

    cast a worried glance at the whip and reminded Hasir that they are standing in a room made mostly of ice.

     

    Hasir seemed not to hear this as he lashed out with the whip, fully intending for the khajjiit's head but accidentally caught the ice

    wall behind him instead. The ice wall and those surrounding it began to melt. Hasir continued to fight although he knew what he did

    was foolish. He knew what fire did to ice and this was no different.

     

    Hasir and the doomstrider stared each other down like a wolf stares down it's prey. Hasir looked around the room and swore as the

    ice continued to melt. A thought invaded his mind and pestered him incessantely that if he did not get out soon he would drown.

    Hasir shook this thought of and focused at the task att hand. He did not know if the Doomstrider had killed his elven friend or sent

    her soul to some kind of purgatory - a holding cell of sorts - before Molag Bal saw fit to pick away at the soul.

     

    Getting tired of this unending game of cat and mouse, he smiled darkly,

    "Well, Hasir, it's been fun, but my master is calling me." With those words, he turned into black mist and rose up through the ceiling.

     

    Hasir hissed angrily at the retreating mist,

    "That'ss not fair, come back and fight, you coward." He turned on his heel and left the lighthouse to join up with his friends.

    Aela, Vilkas, Farkas and Rakel sped towards Winterhold. They rode up a path that winded up the mountain that the city stood on

    and, reaching the mountaintop, dismounted there stead and headed for the College. They were stopped at the foot of the ramp that

    lead to the College by an Imperial female wearing robes of one of the four schools of magic,

    "Halt, go no further. It is treacherous to pass as you can no doubt see, our once proud city has been rocked by a great surge of the

    sea that desimated our city not too long ago."

     

    Aela eyed her furious as she unsheathed her bow and nocked an arrow,

    "I don't care, we're on a tight schedule, now," She said pulling the drawstring back, "Can we enter or not!" She snarled as the

    Imperial cowered with her hands protecting her face.

     

    Aela huffed as she sheathed her bow. The Imperial thanked her and got to her feet,

    "Now, that was rude." She said, straightening herself, "This is a College of magic, leave you weapons sheathed, please." Aela

    apologized but did not lose her harden stare. "Good, now, my name is Faralda, what is your business here? Do you have an

    appointment with one of our master wizards?"

     

    Aela shook her head and stated that she was looking for a khajiit named J'zargo. Faralda nodded and said he could be found at the

    College,

    "Excuse my forwardness, but why are you looking for him?" She asked, forehead creased

     

    Aela jabbed Faralda with an arrow while sternly staring at her,

    "I hardly think that is any of your business, now let us pass... or else." She formed a fist to show that she wasn't joking.

     

    Farlada gulped hard and allowed her and her siblings to pass.. They walked past three empty basins filled with blue liquid, across a

    bridge that looked like it was two heavy footfalls away from collapsing and found themselves in the College courtyard.

     

    Aela saw a high elf wiaard with silvery grey hair, clothed in bluish-green robes who was deep in coversation with the Imperial the

    companions had seen at the bottom of this bridge. Aela hid behind the statue of the great mage, listening intently but secretively.

    She knew Faralda was, no doubt, discussing the location of J'zargo. Aela growled as she thought of Faralda's traiterous actions. Just

    as she was going to jump out from behind the statue and tell Faralda off for divulging that which wasn't her business, red hot rage

    stole over the female Nord as she realized the Faralda might be telling the elf some information he can take to his master.

     

    Aela leapt from behind the statue which had a column of strange blue light coming from it and drew her bow,

    "Hey elf!! Going to run off to your master? Got juicy information to tell him?" She asked, inching closer to him

     

    The high elf shook his head and lent against the doors leading the the lecture hall; lowering her bow with one golden, long-fingered

    hand.

    "Listen here, Nord." He said matter-of-factly, "I am not your enemy," He yawned and stretched, "What can I help you with? I doubt

    you have come all this way only to shoot the breeze with me, So... state your business." The Altmer said, smiling, "Where are my

    manners? The name's Ancano, advisor to the archmage." He said, proffering a hand to the female Nord.

     

    Aela shook Ancano's hand and grinned; though she still had her reservations about him, knowing what their master had in store.

    "Nice to meet you, Ancano." Aela said, "I-how in Oblivion did you know what we came her for?" She asked, taken aback

     

    Ancano laughed and grasped Aela's shoulder, causing Aela to look up in confusio,

    "You poor, niave child. Word travels fast around here. Between classes, the students and teachers here like to gossip and it was

    through that gossip that I heard about you looking for the khajiit mage who thinks himself higher than anyone else at the college.

    But what are you seeking him for, I wonder?" Her asked, studying her eyes as if they held the very secrets of Aetherius itself.

     

    Aela told him to mind his own business and she walked to the other side of the courtyard where her brothers were busy sparring

    against one another. As she approached, they look up expectantly,

    "Well if it isn't miss hot head, do you find anything useful for our search for Kodlak's spirit?"

     

    She balled her fist up and shook it at him; adding a growl for good measure,

    "Keep talking Icebran and I'll give you a hot head." She said, her anger raising. Vilkas swiftly apologized.

     

    Aela cast them threatening looks to not dare laugh when she told them this; they took that dare seriously,

    "I just finished taking with the high elf mage, Ancano and I learned that a khajiit that goes by the names of J'zargo lives

    somewhere in the college. We have to figure out where."

     

    Both Vilkas and Farkas offered suggestion as to where the khajiit could be found, only for both of these 'suggestions' to be shot

    down quicker than a wooden training dummy felled by a fireball. Aela saw an old, balding Imperial walking towards the tall vertical

    part of the circular building with a stack of books in his arms Aela approached the man with the pretense of helping him with his

    unweildy stack of books and spelltomes.

     

    The old man gawked at her. Aela forgot herself for a moment and introduced herself.

    "Where are my manners? I am Aela of the companions and you are?" She said, looking at him inquisitively. The Imperial said it was

    an honor to meet her, "Nice to make your acquintance, my name is Tollfdir, I am the master wizard here at the college. I teach

    Destruction magic, you do know what magic is, don't you?" He asked curiously. Aela nodded, even though neither she nor her

    brothers have ever read a spelltome. 

     

    Pushing this thought aside, Aela cut to the chase,

    "I was wondering if you know where J'zargo is?"

     

    Tolfdir frowned and his brow furrowed,

    "I'm sorry, I can't talk about my pupils... Instructor-student confidentiality." He said, lookking at Aela unapologetically, "However, if

    you help bring these books and tomes to Urog Gro-Shub, our resident librarian and then attend one of my lessons on runes that I'm

    having this afternoon, I am sure you shall see J'zargo and ask him whatever questions you may have for him." 

     

    This was more than Aela could've hoped for. She agreed and togetther, the Imperial and the Nord carried the books to the large

    doors, pushed them open and went upo a spiral staircase to the Arcanum.

     

    The orc greeted them and told them to place the books on his desk,

    "Ah Tolfdir, nice to see you again and I see you've a new apprentice."

     

    Tolfdir shook his head, chuckling a bit,

    "She isn't a part of the college, she just wants to find out some... information."

     

    The orc looked at him uncertainly. Toldfir waved this away and asked about the book and tomes. Urag smiled and waved his hand in

    the direction of his desk - a long wooden structure with multiplemagical instruments scattered upon it, "Over there would be

    fine." Tolfdir and Aela set the books down and thanked the orc for his hospitality, "By the way, do you have a moment?" Urag asked,

    "I have these pamphlets about magickal safety that I would like handed out."

     

    Toldfir glanced at the sky, guessed it was past noon and politely declined Urag's request,

    "Sorry, Urag, I really wish I could help you but I've a lecture to get to." They left the dejected orc and went back down the staircase

    into the lecture  hall.

     

    Aela entered the high cielinged room behind Tolfdir and gasped as she saw she was in a huge circular chamber with tall windows

    spaced intrmittently throughout. She also saw four 'mage eye' symbols surrrounding a giant electric-blue floating orb suspending in

    mid-air over a platform in the center of the room. Aela wondered what this orb was and made a mental note to ask Tolfdir about it

    later. She watched as the Imperial took his place at the forefront of the room. As she walked, Aela saw a multitude of students,

    among these students, she saw the khajiit the high elf mage spoke of, an orange-furred khajiit wearing a tan and green robe. Aela

    guessed was the standard uniform for anyone entering the college for their first term. 

     

    She saw Tolfdir split the students up into pairs. She wondered why in Oblivion he did this as, in her experience, hunting together was

    better than splitting the pack. She eyed the elder wizard with amazemnt as he gestured to different areas of the many windowed

    chamber, barking instructions att the students,

    "Now, everyone, fan out and give everyone room to practice." He said, seperating his hands, "I don't want anyone to get injured on

    my count." He said with a slight chuckle.

     

    The student did as Tolfdir directed, each standing on one of the four eye symbols of the floor and faced Tolfdir. J'zargo asked what

    spell they were going to learn. Tolfdir raised an eyebrow,

    "Well, J'zargo, I see your eagerness to become the best mage in Tamriel never fails. Erm... let's see." He took out some notes and

    perused them quickly, "Last lesson, we studied rune spells, I thought you lot can show me if you can conjure these..." He eyed

    J'zargo's glowering face warily, "Just as... a refresher, so I know your magical aptitude hasn't waned any. Once, you've mastered

    that, we can move onto our next lesson. Wards." He glanced around the room, "To prove your efficiency with runes, I want you to

    cast them on the giant orb in the center. Right, off you go."

     

    J'zargo raised a hand in the air. Tolfdir looked at him and sighed exhasberatedly,

    "Yes J'zargo?" He asked, thinking he already know the pompous khajiit's answer

     

    The khajiit puffed his chest out rather importantly and he smiled slyly, 

    "J'zargo can cast runes in his sleep, give us something harder."

    Tolfdir glowered at him; Ever since the khajiit entered the college, he exuded, Tolfdir felt, a lazy and arrogant attitude,

    "J'zargo, stop being an entitled, ignorant asshole and take the damn test!" He thundered, "Else I'll test one of my shock spells on

    you." He smirked darkly, "Now, do you really want that?"

     

    J'zargo shook his head glumly. Tolfdir nodded and gestured to the orb in the center around which the students were gathered, 

    "Right, you lot!" He said, looking at the four students, "aim your selected spell at the sphere." 

     

    J'zargo and the other three stundents faced the electric blue orb in the center and cast four seperate spells. Aela rolled her eyes,

    Niave spellcasters. She thought as she unsheathed her bow and nocked an arrow. Aela loosed the arrow; it sped through the air and

    thudded into the sphere. The arrow hit at the same time as the spells. The impact caused a crack to form along the sphere's meridian.

    Aela smirked as she saw blue liquid oozing from the orb as the color faded away. The students and Tolfdir began berating the female Nord

    and said that the orb was the focus point of all magic on Skyrim.

     

    Aela groaned. She didn't understand all the fuss,

    "You can't be serious!" She yelled, hands on her hips, "you lot are overreacting, it's only a crack. It's not like it's going to-" Aela's

    next words died in her throat as a large blue void appeared inside the crack. It widened as the orb collapsed onto itself and

    disappeared into the void. 

     

    Tolfdir strode over to Aela and pointed her in the chest while glaring at her angrily,

    "Don't you realize what you've done?" Aela shrugged, "You've doomed us all, Nord."

     

    Tolfdir and the students stared at the magical void as several tiny kwama forager-like creatures began spilling out of the tear in

    space-time and fled to all regions of winterhold.

    "Great, now I, along with the other high ranking mage officals, have to round up these magical anomalies because you thought my

    students were trying to destroy the center of magic!" He yelled, pointing at her

     

    Aela asked him, loudly, about his promise to help find J'zargo. He stared, gobsmacked, at her,

    "You have eyes don't you? He is right in front of you, ask him yourself." He turned and stormed out of the hall.

    Aela stared at his back as she fired off a few choice swear words in his direction, most of which she wouldn't dare say to his face.

    She turned and walkd past the still shimmering magical void and approached J'zargo. The khajiit stopped staring into the void when

    he felt a finger poke him in the shoulder,

    "Hey, Nord," J'zargo said, glaring at Aela, "J'zargo is not a scratching post, state your business or be off, J'zargo has more important

    matters to attend to, so be quick about it."

     

    Aela asked J'zrgo what he knew of a realm called the Soul Cairn. J'zargo grinned,

    "Know it? J'zargo had been studying that place for years. Tolfdir tries to keep J'zargo's mind on matters of the college because he

    believes J'zargo is wasting him time with such endeavors but he can eat his words because that knowledge finally has a purpose.

    This one can help Nord. Just tell J'zargo what she needs."

     

    Aela told him about her harbinger being trapped inside the soul cairn and how she wanted to get him out of there before Molag Bal

    can rip his soul from that 'container realm' and make him the daedra lord's slave for eternity. J'zargo nodded and led Aela out of the

    Hall of Elements, across the courtyard and through one of the doors near the courtyard entrance. 

    Aela crossed the threshold as J'zargo walked around the strange column of light and up some stone steps. Aela gazed in awe at this

    place, figuring how in Nirn this place was allowed to exist? How did the college exist? Was it merely formed from a tear in the fabric of

    Tamriel's reality? Aela did not know but followed the khajiit as his tail whipped out of sight. 

     

    Upon reaching the second floor, Aela saw the continuation of the blue light column. Her eyes followed it upwards only to see it

    disappear into the ceiling. She opened her mouth to ask J'zargo what the blue light was but she remembered that this was a magical

    college and shut it promptly. 

     

    J'zargo poked his head from his room and beckoned the female Nord over to him,

    "Khajiit has found this book. He has had it ever since he entered the college." He said, nonchalantly, "Tolfdir and the other mages

    tried to take away any book considered contraband upon inspection but J'zargo had to hide this one well." He said, waving the

    purple book in Aela's stunned face. Aela accepted the book, thanked J'zargo and brought it down the stairs and out into the

    courtyard where Vilkas, Farkas and Rakel were still practicing their swordplay.

     

    She went over to them. Farkas nearly impaled his brother as Vilkas gawked at Aela and the spelltome,

    "Aela, you've found it? but... how?"

     

    Aela glanced at Vilkas and snapped,

    "Mind your own business, ice for brains!"

    Vilkas huffed angrily and leant agaist the mage statue and glared at Aela. He always hated it when she call him 'ice for brains' or a

    hundred of equally insulting names. He wished he had brains like Farkas. He was the quick thinker, he could think his way out of any

    fight, any situation. He, on the other hand, got the muscles, he could, no matter the situation, beat his adversary with overwhelming

    power. He knew Aela was smarter and tougher than her twin brothers but that didn't mean she had to be so condescending to him.

     

    Aela glanced over to Vilkas and crouched behind a nearby rock, readying her bow. Farkas walked over to her; raising an eyebrow,

    "What is that idiot up to now?" She muttered. She motioned for Rakel to wait for them at the mead hall. The nord nodded and left

    for Whiterun.

     

    The male Nord looked at her; his face twisted with fear,

    "Aela, what are you planning to do with that? Put it away, now!"

     

    Aela glanced at Farkas and roared with laughter,

    "Relax, I was just going to scare him." She said with a shrug

     

    Farkas bit his lip as his shield sister pulled back the drawstring and fired. Vilkas dived behind the statue as the snow around the

    statue started to get peppered with arrows. Vilkas emerged with a serious look on his face,

    "Aela, what are you playing at?" He asked, hands over his head as arrow flew around him

     

    Aela approached Vilkas and thrust the purple book,

    "As I said, I was just fooling around." She said laughing, "Anyway, that is either here nor there." She thrust the book at him, "I

    found this. That wierd cat J'zargo lead me to it. The sooner we get Kodlak out of that place, the better."

     

    Vilkas raised an eyebrow and looked at her,

    "Who are you and what have you done with Aela?" He laughed as he saw her face slowly redden

     

    She growled; forming a fist and punching him so hard in his stomach that he became winded. As her 'brother' struggled to breathe,

    she took the book from his grasp and wrenched it open. Runes that made no sense to her leapt off of the page and danced around

    her and Vilkas. Farkas walked over and likewise got enveloped by the mysterious glowing symbols. 

    A moment later, the three Nords fell through utter blackness filled only with purple skulls and purplish-black gems. As they fell

    through this new crystalline, skull infested void, they saw a huge purple beam shoot out of one of the gems. Aela's eyes went wide

    as, no matter how hard she tried to change direction, she, they, could not escape their fate. They knew they Doomstrider would

    come for them sooneer or later; why fight it?

     

    The three nords watched as the purplish-black light enveloped them; enshrouding them with a blanket of cold coming from nowhere;

    a shroud of death. Aela closed her eyes, not fighting her impending doom but, rather, accepting it without a fight. She felt her soul begin

    to seperate from her body. Aela opened her eyes, expecting to be in Sovngarde or, at the very least, inside the black soul gem that

    was emitting that purple light, but, instead, found herself and her two brothers in a dark and dismal realm. She looked up expecting

    to find a crystalline ceiling but what she saw made her hair stand on end - the sky was a bluish circle with a black interior - just like

    those soul trap spells she remembered Tilma showing her from a book she'd borrowed from Urog in her younger days. 

     

    Vilkas looked skyward and shrugged at the seemingly unremarkable sky then looked at Aela and shoved her a bit,

    "You honestly can't believe everything you hear about her; her brains are adled."

     

    She growled at this dig at the Jorrvaskr maid and stabbed her shield brother with an arrow,

    "Vilkas, don't let Kodlak hear you saying that, else he'll tell Tilma and you'll be tossed out of the mead hall." She said. 

     

    Vilkas huffed in annoyance and shivered as though the realm were blowing cold air down his neck,

    "Fins." He said glumly. He looked around, blew into his hands and rubbed them together vigorously, "How'll we find Kodlak in this gods

    forsaken place?"

     

    Aela smirked and nudged him in the shoulder,

    "How do you think? We're werewolves moron, we use our noses." She said, transforming into her red lupine form and sniffing about. Her

    brother, likewise, transformed into their grey wolf forms.

     

    Hasir found Inigo and Xelzaz sitting on a rock by the lighthouse waiting for him. He smiled uneasily as they asked how the capturing of

    the Doomstrider went,

    "I found Ceralyne but the Doomstrider got to her before I could." He sat down as Inigo made room from him, placing his hand in

    Hasir's claw, "She befell the same fate as Kodlak. I tried, I really tried." He said, as fresh tears soaked Inigo's fur as he hugged him.

    Inigo said they will do their best to find them both.

     

    Inigo looked up and squinted as he saw something on the rock to the side of the lighthouse. It was in the shape of a khajiit-like

    being. Inigo groaned,

    "Why is she always showing up where she's not wanted?" He asked, sighing indignatly

     

    He tapped Hasir on the shoulder and gestured towards the rock. The argonian looked in that direction. He gasped,

    "Where in Oblivion does she keep coming from?" He asked Inigo, "I wonder if she shows up just to help us when we are in dire

    straigh and, when the situation is settled, disappears again." 

     

    Tigrees snarled as she walked over to them,

    "Nice to see you too. Forgive me, but Tosh Raka sent me." She said, breathing heavily

     

    Hasir folded him arms and looked at her unbelievingly; raising an eyebrow,

    "Oh really? What does the giant rat want now?"

    Tigress looked at Hasir and Inigo with a stern face,

    "You might find this a bit odd but he thinks the Doomstrider is a dragon."

     

    Tigress looked at the Argonian with a scowl as he chuckled,

    "The doomstrider isn't a dragon, he's a khajiit" He said, clutching his sides

     

    The Ka'Po'Tun shook her head in disgust,

    "No. Tosh told me that the Doomstrider is a dragon. He theorized that Alduin's real iidentity could in fact be the Doomstrider since

    Tosh tells me that he cousin sows destruction everywhere he goes and also absorbs souls." Tigress poked Hasir in the chest, "If he's

    not the Doomstrider, and it seems like a plausible explanation, then I'll eat my tail."

     

    Haisr chuckled to himself as he thought on Tigress' explanation; however false it appeared, it did have two things in common with the

    khajiit: destruction and absorbing souls. What he did not know was if Alduin was, in fact, working for Molag Bal or just destroying

    worlds and absorbing souls for the fun of it.

     

    Tigress said the only way they'll know for certain is when they get the final word from the Augur of Dunlain. Inigo, Hasir, Affraji and

    Xelzaz stared at her. The ka'po'tun was shocked they had not heard of him, especially since she knew of him through Tosh Raka.

    True, she hadn't actually seen what he looked like but she met Hermaeus Mora once. She'd think the Augur would look like the

    daedric prince of knowledge, except without all the eyes and tentacles.

    He yawned and lay down in the snow, tail wrapping around himself. Inigo walked over to his scaly friend and placed a hand on the

    slumbering Argonian's shoulder,

    "My friend is right," He said, looking at Tigress, "We can worry about this tomorrow, for now," He yawned, "We can all use a little cat

    nap." They all settled down and slept sooundly all except for Hasir.

     

    The sleeping Argonian was busy dreaming, or rather having a nightmare about, the Doomstrider. His subconscious miind was

    piecing together a plausible explanation of what the doomstrider would look like as a dragon. He soon found himself pulled into the

    dream as if he were living it; if it were another vision bought on by his connect to the hist. He saw he was standing in a familair

    realm where strange tree stood in the swmapy grasslands as if they felt at home there; eithr that or they werre resting their roots

    are a long journy, Hasir guessed the former was true because he'd been in this realm before but for a completely different reason.

     

    Hasir sniffed the air and a familar scent wafted into his nostrils. IHe exhaled with delight. The realm smelled the same way it had

    when he had found himself in the realm back when he was in Jorrvaskr. He also smelled another fammiliar scent. He loowered his

    snout to find his senses weren't decieving him. A cyan Argonian, the same one he'd met the first time he came here, was

    communing with the Hist tree he also remembered seeing. What he didn't know, however, was what she was seeking guidance for

    this time. He approached her slowly, much like a hunter stalks a deer. 

     

    The cyan Argonian did not look up as Hasir drew ever nearer to her, not wanting to disturb whatever trance she may be in. Hasir

    tapped Teetaka on the shoudler. She jumped in fright and her train of thought got momentarily derailed, looking around wildly for

    the interruption,

    "Hasir, I did not expect you to be here." She said as the realm slowly retuned to its normal colors. Hasir asked her what she was

    doing. She said she was just communing with the saxhleel ancestors about something. Hasir opened his mouth to ask her

    something else when Teetaka shook her head and asked him why he came here.

    Hasir drew a deep breath and raked his claws lightly against the bark of the hist tree,

    "Teetaka... the reason why I came here was because..." Hasir gulped as his tail took refuge between his legs, "I doubt you know the

    Doomstrider but I was told its true identity." Teetaka gave no recognition of this name even though she know of Molag Bal, "Right

    then, erm.." Hasir bit his lip while his tail uncoiled behind him, "The Doomstrider is his, Molag Bal's, servant."  Again, Teetaka did not

    show any sign of recogniton. 

     

    Haasir took his claw away from the tree and approached the basin that stood a few feet from both the tree and the cyan Argonian.

    He breathed the vapor issuing from the green liquid in the basin and approached the tree. Smirking at the cyan Argonian, he placed

    clawed hand on the knotted tree bark. The ghostly Arrgonian's tail swished from side to side as she watched Hasir's body tense up

    as though he were channeling the spirits of nature. Out of curiosity, She walked over to the tree, placing a transparent cyan hand on

    the bark next to Hasir's scaly hand,

     

    The moment she did that, her mind swarmed with images as though they were a bunch of fleshflies. The 'fleshflies' slowed down

    enough for her to see the images clearly, The tree, she knew only connected with living Saxhleel and she had no stake in events she

    could no longer take part in, but her hand remained on the trunk as if it were stuck tight with invisible hist sap. Teetaka became

    horrified as the images became far darker in tone than she could've imagined. In one fluid motion, she wrenched her hand away

    from the trunk, allowing the images to fade, and turned to Hasir who hadd his eyes closed. The only part of his body that moved was

    his tail; it whipped quickly from side to side.

     

    She placed her hand on the living Argonian's shoulder. She allowed herself a way into his mind and saw what he saw. She was in a

    college in a land that she had never journeyed to, when she was alive. Teetaka moved though the courtyard of the College of

    Winterhol to a hall that, moments before, the Argonian had passed through. She followed the Argonian down a set of steps and

    through a trapdoor. As she emerged, she wondered where she was but had no time to look around because the Argonian walked

    through the underground cavern, turning this way and that. Teetaka saw the Argonian turn near a room dominated by a strange

    hand structure and a circular platform. She ignored this and followed Hasir down a passageway to a brown door which he opened,

    turned left and went down a short passageway.

     

    Teetaka crouched and followed him, remaining hidden behind a fallen rock. She peeked out as Hasir ascended some short steps to a

    plynth that, at first glance, appeared to be empty. Hasir stood staring at nothing for the longest time then, out of nowhere, a giant

    glowing, blue orb lit up the entire cavern. Teetaka struggled to hear what the Argonian was saying. The opportunity was ripped away

    from her as the scene changed. Now she was standing with the green Argonian in front of a stood wall that extended from floor to

    celing and from wall to wall in an ancient temple. The two Argonians gased as they saw a silouhette of a black khajiit. They drew

    closer to inspect it but the silouhette changed to become more draconic or perhaps it was more akin to a soulgem.

     

    Teetaka was abruptly ripped from the Argonian's mind as she saw Hasir panting; sweat pouring from his forehead. He laned agaisnt

    a rock to regain his bearring. Teetaka looked at him; bewildered,

    "Teetaka, I saw..." He began but the fmale Argonian merely nodded, "yes I saw it too but what was that? Can Hist trees really divine

    the future? What was that shadow on the wall in the temple and the shadow cast upon it?" The ghostly argonian shuddered, "Give

    me the shivers, that did." 

     

    Hasir said that he did not know, but he did know the entity to talk to about it though he'd thought of talking to Tosh Raka about what

    he'd just scene. Deeep in his gut however, he knew the Augur of Dunlan would be able to shed more light of the subject of who the

    Doomstrider reallly is." 

     

    He thanked Teeetaka and the spirits of the Histt tree as the realm began to fade. He opened his eyes, squinting because of the

    intense sunlight that was magnified by the snow surrounding him and got up to find his comrades sitting in a small circle around him

    with Tigress sitting on the raised edge of thee great stone bridge.

     

    Hasir got up, immediately walked over to her. She screwed her face up as he looked at her, thirsty for information.

    "Tigresss, ccan you tell me about the Doomsstrider?" He hissed, "Don't leavee anything out, mind, I'll know if you do." He said

    pointing a threatening finger at her.

    Tigress took a deep breath and gave herself time to organize her thoughts in a rational order,

    "Okay, I assume you've heard of the Soul Cairn?" She asked, eyeing Hasir with her big yellow eyes

     

    Hasir nodded but then got confused about something. He inquuired as to what this had to do with the Doomstrider.

    "Hasir, you poor, niave Argonian. This has everything to do with the Doomstrider. Long ago before Nirn was even thought of, there

    existed only the void. Out of that void, three forces crawled." Hasir yawned hugely and said he already heard this story, to which

    Tigress growled and slapped Hasir on the cheeked. He hissed and rubbed his sore cheek, "Good, now with that overgrown crocodile

    silenced, I can teel my story." She said with relief. "As I was saying, three forces crawled forth from the void: Aedra, daedra and a

    much older race; that which is only known as 'the darkness.' Now, it is unknown whether 'the darkness' manifested in mortal bodies

    or not. What is known about them is that they deeemed human bodies weak and incapable of sustaining their power, so they fled to

    a realm known as the Soul Cairn, where they live as giant crystalline structure, erm... what their proper name is is unknown but

    those of us on Nirn who do know about them know theme as 'the ideal masters.' Now, for whatever reason, whether to perform a

    task for Molag Bal by procuring soiuls for him or whether they intend to create Oblivion on Nirn, I have my suspisions that one of

    them descended from their crystalline bodies to traverse this plane once more. Eager to gain souls for his master and destroying 

    Hircine and all his children hold dear."

     

    Tigress eyes bore into Hasir's blue eyes,

    "This being's name is the Doomstrider, one of Molag Bal's servants." 

     

    The argonian blanked his companions and the Ka'Po'Tun as he got up and approached the stables. Inigo got up and approached

    Hasir's reptilian mount,

    "My friend, where do you think you're going?" He asked

     

    The argonian helped him up on the reptilian steed; telling him that he was going to the College to consult the Augur of Dunlain to

    find out who or what the Doomstrider was. Inigo was busy settling himself in when Hasir sped off in the direction of Winterhold.

     

    Inigo uprighted himself, tapped Hasir on the shoulder and inquired as to their destination,

    "My friend, were are we going?" He had to yell because of the rapidly rushing wind

     

    Hasir yelled back that they were going to Winterhold but beyond that, he witheld any further information. Inigo pointed ahead of him

    to something his scaly friend couldn't see. An arrow fired from an unseen bow. Hasir yanked the reins hard and narrowly avoided the

    oncoming arrow. He gasped as bandits drew their weapons and drawing their bows.

     

    Hasir's nostrils flared as he smelled an unwelcome scent on the air. He could smell a bandit camp with a store of silver weapons.

    Inigo leapt off the steed and advanced on the group of bandits.

    "Let us pass... now or you'll regret it." He said, drawing his ebony bow and nocking an arrow

     

    The bandit leader raised an eyebrow and laughed,

    "You? take me on with that bent stick?" He said, laughing, "I'll run you through before you so much as fire that."  

    Hasir crept past the only two bandits guarding the camp to the rear of the camp. His nostrils stung with the stench of silver and lit it

    aflame with his flame spell. The smoldering silver alerted the two bandits plus some he had not seen. He drew his sword just as one

    of the bandits loosed an arrow. He quickly sidestepped the arrow as he rushed at the bandit. The bandit used his bow as a blade as

    he brought it down. Hasir bared his fangs as he blocked it with his iron broadsword. The bow shattered into bits of wood.

     

    Hasir, sensing an opening, stabbed the bandit through the opening of the armor under his arm. The bandit screamed as hot, fresh

    blood soaked the bandit's armor. He followed this up with a quick slash at the bandit's neck. The imperial bandit tried to staunch the

    flow of blood. The imperrial male's color drained as he fell on the snow-covered ground. The other bandit, hearing the cries of his

    fellow bandit, ran  at the Argonian, a silver sword clenched in his hand.

     

    Hasir became sick to his stomach as his nostrils became overwhelmed by the scent of silver. He ran fullout at the bandit who, in turn,

    ran at the Argonian. The sword pierced the Argonian's side before he could even deal the killing blow.

     

    Inigo could smell fresh blood on the air and ran toward his friend. He began staunching the wound as the red liquid constinously ran

    through his bluish-purple fingers. Inigo tried a healing spell but he only know a basic healing spell; he knew that a much greater

    healing spell would be needed to heal the wound, not even a healing potion would work.

     

    He brought Hasir over to the reptilian steed and lifted him on it and sped off toward the city on top of the mountain nearest them;

    Winterhold