C.o.t.W Chapter 103: Scholarly Insight


    Inigo sped onward towards the mountain, casting around wildly for a pathway up to the city but only saw a bare impassable

    mountainside. He glanced back at the argonian whose wound poured out fresh blood across the saddle. Inigo wondered if his friend

    would make it to Winterhold. He heard hooves behind him and smiled as he saw Affraji next to him on a magnificent horse She

    asked the blue khajiit if she could help in anyway.


    Inigo nodded and gestured to the Argonian behind him,

    "Yes, as a matter of fact, I could use your help. You wouldn't happen to have a healing ption would you?"


    Affraji rummaged in her bag and smiled as she pulled out a small vial. She tossed it to Inigo; who grinned,

    "Thanks." He said, smiling. He helped Hasir sit up, uncorked the potion and poured it down his throat. Both he and Affraji looked on

    in amazement as  the potion seemed to flush out whatever he had in his system and stitch up the Argonian's wound.


    Hasir looked at Affraji and Inigo and then aaat the blood on the saddle; He face screwed up in disgust,

    "Eurgh! that bandit... did he do this?" Both khajiit nodded. They asked the argonian how he'd gotten the wound. Hasir shook his

    head saying that he will regail them with the riveting tale at another time and looked at the mountain before them. He looked from

    Inigo to Affraji asking how in Oblivion they were to climb the mountain without a clear path to guide them. They all put their heads

    together and thought of some climbing gear like ice picks or ice grippers they could put on their feet but Affraji smiled and rode her

    horse around until she saw, near a stream, was a path carved out on the side of the mountain. She gestured the Argonian and

    Khajiit to follow her.

    The reptilain mount performed well on the snowy path; much better than either the Argonian or Khajiit could've hoped. It was as if

    it as at home more in the snow than in the swamp. The extreme cold did not seem to bother it either as it powered on through the

    snow without slowing. 


    Wheen they got to the top of the winding path, they found Affraji astride her horse waiting for them underneath an archway half

    sunken into the snow. They, all three of them, galloped through the city; while the khajiit only had eyes for their destination, Hasir

    was busy looking around at the dismal looking ruins of a village and wondered to himself what could've caused this. 


    About ten feet on, the trio stopped before a grey-stone bridge. Hasir looked to his left and saw a bridge with no apparent supports

    leading to a circular white building with a huge tower piercing the sky. Hasir gussed if this was a collogege, that was the lecture hall.

    Hasir gasped as he thought he would find the rest of the city but only saw nothing below the College but a steep dropoff to the sea



    Hasir turned back to the bridge and dismounted; so too did the two Khajiit. Inigo was about to crack a joke about mages being

    commpletely inept when a female altmer garbed in a blue and tan robe approached them. She looked down her nose at them and


    "Three more come to this place? Not long before did others... wariiors by the looks of them came to requst entry to this College. I

    will put to you the same test I gave them. First, however, I must askm what is it you expect to find within the College?" she

    apogolized for her bad manners, "forgive me, my name's Faralda, I am one of the destruction mages here."


    Hasir said that he wished to speak with the spirit they call the Augur of Dunlain. Faralda nodded and said that such a spirit could

    indeed be found inside the College grounds. She looked uneasily at the Argonian,

    "That tests I mentioned earlier..." Hassir held up a hand to stop her and said, rather brashly, that he would pass any test she put to



    Inigo stared at Faralda and apologized for his friend's thick-headedness,

    "I'm soory miss, my friend is rather hardheaded, why, if he did not have us, he'd destroy your bridge..." Inigo looked from the

    bridge, that looked a sorry state, and back to Faralda with wonder etched across his furry face, How exactly did the bridge get like

    this? There was a full city here at one point, true?"


    Faralda waved the topic away as if it were a bothersome fly,

    "That topic is neither here nor there. My test for you lot," she said, gesturing to Inigo and his comrades, is... you must cast a spell at

    this symbol in front of me." She indicated the 'eye with sun rays' symbol on the bridge and pointed at Hasir, "You, argonian, you

    seem the most magically minded of the group, cast a... hmmm... I know, see if you can cast a frost spell on the eye. I am eager

    to see if you can." 


    She stood aside as Hasir said a few words and grinned as a cloak of frost erupted around him. Hasir smiled as both the symbol and

    the Altmer's eyes lit up. She stepped on the bridge to congratulate him, "Very good, Argonian, you have natural magical aptitude;

    aptitude, I must say is not regularly seen in your kind. Very well, you may pass. Now, for your friends... can they pass the test as


    After Hasir passed, she tested Tigress and Affraji, who passed with flying colors and joined Hasir. Inigo, on the other hand, snarled

    at Faralda while he whipped out his bow,

    "I am an archer; plain and simple. Now, are you going to let me join my friends or do I have to send you, in pieces, down to the icy

    waters below?"


    Thoughts flooded Faralda's mind; she thought of calling the guards, odds are she'd be dead before they made it. She knew they'd

    have to come from Dawnstar as Winterhold guards weren't readily available. In the end, she admitted defeat and let Inigo pass;

    smiling. he stepped over the bridge and joined his friends in the courtyard.


    An altmer mage was busy talking to Tolfdir about something. Uppon passing though the open gates, he turned to Inigo and inquired

    who that tall, yellow-skined mage was. Inigo glanced at the altmer and growled,

    "Best stay away from him, my friend. Altmer. Always think they're mightier than everyone else. I think that 'holier then thou'

    attitude is an excuse justt to pad their already inflated ego." 


    The altmer finished what he had to say with the old mage and just noticed three visitors coming to visit the colege no doubt, or so

    he thought. He approacjed them, screwing his face up in what he thought was a warm smile but to Inigo, it seemed more like a

    malicious sneer. He though the Altmer was going to dominate them or force them to his way of think. In a fit of rage, Inigo broke off

    from the group and flung himself at the supposed threat. 


    The altmer recoiled a bit as he saw the snarling khajiit unsheath his bow and firing an arrow. It thudded near were he stood, robes

    billowing in the chilling air. The blue khajiiit swore as he missed and reloaded for another shot. The altmer prepared as well by

    conjuring a sword out of thin air that cut the arrow in half as it sped towards him; cutting it clean along the shaft. 


    The remains of the arrow fell, useless, to the snow as he actually did sneer at the khajiit and fired an ice spike at the blue khajiit,

    who zigzagged through the snow as the icy spears thudded into the snow, missing him by mere inches. Not wanting to be outdone,

    Inigo unsheathed his ebony sword and, with a yell of unbridled fury, flung himself at the Altmer slashing wildly at him; the altmer

    weaved in and out of view as the khajiit's weapon slashed through the air. The altmer caught Inigo in the chin with a well-aimed

    punch and, as the khajiit hurdled through the air, dislodged the weapon from his grasp and tossed it aside like an unwanted toy.


    Affraji ran over to Inigo, waving her hands above her head; anger in her eyes,

    "Inigo, you moronic furball, can you see he was just trying to welcome this one, Inigo and Hasir into this place?" She snarled,

    gesturing around her, " "Why not use your heart next time instead of being stubborn and let you hate lead your emotions." She

    ssaid, helping him to his feet, "Next time think before acting, yes?


    Inigo nodded and apologized to the Altmer as per Affraji's request. The high elf accepted his apology and smiled. Inigo sheepishly

    scratched his neck,

    "Erm... sorry about before, er, can we... start over? Hi, my name in Inigo and you are?"


    The altmer bowed as if he were a submissive wolf to a more dominant alpha. The altmer grinned, showing his brilliantly white teeth,

    "I am Ancano, the head magister of the College of Winterhold, hatred of my race aside, I am delighted to meet you and you

    companions and am happy to help in whatever way I can."


    Inigo nodded and asked Ancano if he knew where to find a book that will help him defeat the Doomstrider. Acano glanced at him,

    scowled and said that he did not know of any such book. He said he had to deal with other matters, leaving the blue khajiit in the



    Disheartened, He sat on the plinth of the mage statue in the courtyard. He sighed and put his head in his hands. Hasir walked over

    and sat beside his feline friend and looked at him concerned,

    "Inigo, what's up?"  He asked, letting his tail coil about his friends leg as it were giving him a hug.


    Inigo looked at Hasir and grinned wanly,

    "I-it's nothing, my friend..." He began, twisting his tail in his hand


    The argonian looked at him and placed a clawed finger under Ingio's chin,

    "Inigo, relax, I have that book you're looking for." 


    The khajiit looked perplexedly at his friend. How could he have known about the book? Did he somehow procure the book already?

    Inigo gawped at the Argonian as he reached into his bag and extracted a black leather bound bookwith the title that Inigo saw

    before; what he hadn't seen however, was a blackish-purple gen that stood beneath the title. The argonian grittd his teeth as he

    tried to keep his soul from becoming encased within the crystalline structure. 


    At around late afternoon, the Argonian was finally able to open the book without any ill effects. Inigo listened intently as Hasir read

    about how, like Tigress said, was a part of powerful sorcerers that ruled over Tamriel long before Alduin came to the land of Skyrim.

    He also read that the Sorcerers were called the Ideal Masters, the forerunners of Mannimarco and his worm cult. The ideal masters,

    he read, that they alone knew of the 'unholy union' that happened some years before. This caused the leader of Solitude at the time,

    Padomay send a faction of soldiers and necromancers to dispatch the Ideal Masters; one by one, they were soultrapped in huge

    crystalline structures and cursed to oversee the Soul Cairn and doomed to forever become slaves to Potema's will.  

    Inigo looked sideways at Inigo,

    "My friend, this is all well and good but what in Oblivion does Potema have to do with this?"


    Hasir said he wasn't done. Inigo fell silent, allowing the Argonian to continue, 

    "Despite Potema trapping the Ideal Masters, including the Doomstrider, in colossal black soul gems, the Doomstrider was able to

    break free of his crystalline prison through an event call the Soulbend. the doomstrider and those imprisoned in the soul gems broke

    out of the Soul Cairn and took over the Solitude castle, thereby trapping the wolfqueen and her guards' souls via magical fire but at

    the great cost of his own brethren's lives. The souls of the wolfqueen and her guards were then trapped in the very soulgems Potema

    had trapped him and his brethren in."


    With that, Hasir closed the book and turned to Inigo with a quizzical look on his face,

    "That's odd, I was half expecting this book to tell us where he could be found, not just his origins." He said as  he got up and headed

    in the direction of the big building at the rear of the College.


    Hasir know he had to gain entry into the soul cairn because maybe there may be a library located in that realm that contains more

    about the Soulbend, The battle between Potema and the Doomstrider's forces or, at the very least, some books about how soul gems

    were formed and used.

    Inigo noticed his scaly friend wasn't by his side so he went to look of him. He entered the large building and saw the Argonian talking

    to  someone at the very end of the hall. He approached tapped Hasir on the shoulder and asked who the Argonian was talking to. the

    Argonian just then noticed the khajiit was there and introduced Tolfdi,

    "Inigo, this is Tolfdir, I was asking him if he knew how to get into the Soul Cairn. He told me that one of his student, a khajiit named

    J'zargo let Aela borrow a spell tome from him. He also told me where J'zargo was to be found so we could see if he has any other

    tomes of the sort."


    Inigo and Hasir waved to Tolfdir as they left, finding themselves in the courtyard where the leopardine khajiit and Ka'Po'Tun were

    busying testing their magical skills on wooden targets. Hasir gestured to Tigress and Affraji to aprroach them as he and Inigo

    gathered aroound the mage statue with the blue magiccal light emanating from it.


    As they moved into position, the leopardine khajiit and the Ka'Po'Tun inquired as to way Hasir had called this improptu meeting,

    Hasir drew a deep breath,

    "I've may have found a book that can send us, Inigo and I, to the Soul Cairn. We will find out all we can about the Doomstrider and

    the gem Potema 'unsuccessfully' trapped him in," He sighed, hating himself for what he had to say next, "Affraji, Tigress, I need you

    to go back to Jorrvaskr."


    Tigress and Affraji looked at him, concerned,

    "Go back? why? Khajiit has done nothing wrong." Affraji said, disappointed


    Affraji glanced at Tigress who was just a put out at this request as she was. Tigress begged with Hasir to let her come, saying that

    she had trained hard for moments like this. Tosh Raka trained her, she said, for, any upcoming battles they may face. Hasir shook his


    "I'm sorry Tigress, maybe in future battles you may help me but for now, I think it's best for you and Affraji to wait for us at the

    mead hall. If anything happened to you lot under my watch... I-I'd never forgive myself, I still have nightmares about what

    happened to Ma'kara, now, please, no more protests and go wait at the hall."

    Tigress was about to argue but Affraji grabbed her and lead her away toward the exit, over the bridge and down toward Whiterun.

    With them gone, Inigo broke into fresh sobs. Hasir looked confusedly at him,

    "What's wrong with you?"


    Inigo looked at Inigo and snarled. Hasir had to hide behind the statue to avoid Inigo's snowballs,

    "You inept hatchling. You didn't see Ma'kara die right in front of you did you? No you did not! So stop pretending that you know

    about something that you don't!" Inigo thundered, pelting Hasir with snowballs. Hasir covered his face as he moved towards one of

    the doors he was sure led to the dorms. He tried apologizing to Inigo; but these seemed to fall on deaf ears.


    Inigo turned and yelled towards the rapidly retreating Argonian,

    "Go on then, slither away and don't you dare let me catch you spewing lies like that ever again." He was outraged; Hasir was not

    with Inigo as Ma'kara died, or had he? Inigo did not know.


    Hasir approached the dorm he expected the khajiit scholar to be in. His tail swayed side to side as he ascended the grey stone steps.

    He snuck slowly to the edge of the stairs so as to not be yelled at if he was interrupting the mages' beauty sleep. Cautiously, he

    peered from his hiding spot as he heard footsteps coming down from the landing above him. He'd expected it to be the khajiit he'd

    been told about but it was Tolfdir. 


    Hasir leapt out from his hide place and waved at Tolfdir, who smiled and waved back.

    "Tolfdir, I didn't expect you to be in here, I was expcting..." 


    His voice tailed away as the old mage held up a hand for silence,

    "I know, J'zargo. Unfortunately, he isn't here, he went down to the midden to consult with the Augur of Dunlain about something."


    The argonian screwed his face up, trying to draw up a picture but at that moment his brain was like a blank bit of parchment,

    "The Augur of Dunlain, never heard of him. Erm... who is he?"


    Tolfdir sat down and patted the step next to him; Hasir sat down and listened intently as the old mage told him about him.

    "The Augur of Dunlain was once a breton mage, his proper name is unkonwn, but he came here and studied all the ways of magic;

    soon enough, his knowledge, that of magic and beyond, surpassed what I and archmage Savos Aren could teach him. He transcendd

    his mortal body to become a being of pure energy. In time, though we realized there would be creatures who would use the Augur's

    knowledge for evil, so to provent that, we, Savos, Faralda and I, thought of a place where the Augur could llive, far away from those

    who would use his knowledge for ill will and the midden was born for that very purpose.


    Hasir chuckled. He thought of a great ball of energy being locked in a cage. He could hardly call that 'being safe.'

    "Forgive me, but I fail to realize how three mages can erect an entire chamber with just their minds." 


    Tolfdir waggle his finger at the clueless Argonian, saying that just because someone can't se something that the idea can be

    dismissed entirely. Hasir's tail slid between his legs as if hiding from the bite of Tolfdir's words. Hasir got up, thanked Tolfdir for his

    insight on the Augur of Dunlain and headed up to the second landing. 


    Tolfdir frowned as the Argonian was almost out of sight,

    "Hasir you do know your going the wrong way don't you. The midden is down here. Wait you stubborn reptile!" He yelled as the

    Argonian's tail whipped out of sight. Hasir reappeared and walked down the steps with Tolfdir and stopped at a rather rusty looking

    trapdoor. Tolfdir grabbed the iron handle, lifted it and led Hasir down into a maze of chambers beneath the college.


    Hasir was about to ask the mage where he was until Hasir's vision adjusted and he could see for himself. He turned to Toldfir and

    asked him if what he knew of Molag Bal's temple of Krovaxis. The elderly scholar said to hold all questions until the Argonian met the



    They move further into the cavernous maze, past rooms Hasir had seen during his vision, courtesy of the Hist he'd communed with,

    past the hand with a strange daedric symbol on its palm and finally to a door. Tolfdir put his hand on it and pushed. A brick-walled

    corridor met Hasir's eye as realization came crashing down on him,

    "Tolfdir,, I've been here before, when I communicated with the Hist tree, let's see if I remember the way... erm... right, I think and

    after that straight and then we will enter into a large room where the augur waits for us."


    Tolfdir followed the Argonian as he clearly knew the way. The argonian approached the giant blue orb and saw a khajiit kneeling in

    front of its pedestal. Hasir waved and was about to open his mouth to greet the khajiit when the khajiit pulled his tan hood over his

    head, stood up, grabbed his books that sat beside him in a pile and left the room, not knowing or caring that he'd left one bend. He

    must've gotten through books from somewhere within the college Hasir thought and he walked over and picked up the lone book. Its

    title shone in the bluish light that the Augur cast around the room: Beyond the realms of Death.


    Had J'zargo wanted to become a necromancer? Did he just want to surpass everyone in the magickal arts like the Augur did? Hasir

    shrugged this off and knelt before the Augur. Hasir had a million question to ask this beacon of wisdom. After minutes of wracking

    his brain, he settled on two questions that occured to him.

    "Erm... hi, I am Hasir, I don't think we've met, properly, that is, but, er, I've two questions: one, do you know anything about

    Krovaxis and how I might go about entering said place? Two, do you know how to enter the Soul Cairn?"


    The glowing blue orb fell silent as if it didn't know how to answer such questions. Hasir's tail thumped on the ground. As if on cue the

    Augur spoke,

    "I have not been to the temple of Molag Bal but if you arrange the masks in a particular pattern the door will be revealed. As for the

    second question look at the book clutched in your claw." 


    Hasir looked at the blue light and snarled,

    "Some Augur you are." He said, disheartened


    Tolfdir asked Hasir how it went. Hasir snarled his digust at him.

    "Just a bunch of cryptic bullshit!" He said, sitting down the edge of the augur's platform as he resting his head on his crossed arms

    and looked down and the stone floor, "Just like Hircine, it seems that even the augur thinks I won't understand anything." 

    Tolfdir walked over and sat down next to Hasir; smiling at the distraught Argonian. 

    "If you really think on it, he did give us some valuable information. Come on, let's see if we can use this spell tome to rescue your

    friends and harbinger? Who knows? Maybe we can foil Molag Bal's plan as well."


    Hasir nodded and followed the mage, tail still drooping behind him. They left the chamber back to the College. Once back in the

    dormatory, Tolfdir looked on as Hasir opened the spelltome. He saw dancing blue symbols surround  him. He felt a weightless

    sensation wash over him as the symbols enveloped him.