C.o.t.W. Chapter 105: Welcome to the Pack

  • As the Argonian and the companions stepped over the threshold, Aela asked Hasir what he was going to do. He told her his plan and

    parted ways with them and went down to the undercroft. The other companions nodded and sat at the table by the fire and hailed the

    bar maid for some mead.


    Hasir traversed the long hallway, feeling the soulgem weigh heavy on not only his own soul as if feeding off of it, but it was also

    affecting his thoughts. What if Kodlak's body rejects the soul? He thought, What if the Soul Cairn did irreversible damage? Hasir

    shook the self-doubt off and kept walking. He pushed the door open and entered. 


    He crossed the room sat at the table with the vacant shell of the harbinger, extracted the essence extractor from his bag and set it

    on the table, took the soul gem out of his bag, set it in the metal cradle and proceded to wind the crack. As before, purple light

    extended from the soulgem and the pincers but was trying desperately to cling to the crystalline surface. The argonian gritted his

    teeth as he cracked with all the strength he could muster. After several seconds of sweating and swearing in Jel, the soul detached

    from the gem. Hasir plucked the snowy-white soul from the mechanism and examined it closely before placing it near Kodlak's

    lifeless form.


    The soul floated there for a moment, flickering like a flame on a windy day, before it shot into the harbinger's chest; restoring life to

    broken body.

    Hasir's tail flopped to and fro happily behind him as he saw Kodlak open his eyes.

    "Hasir, by the gods, what happened?" Kodlak asked, looking around confusedly


    The argonian told him of how the Doomstrider soultrapped him and deposited his soul into the Soul Cairn for delivery to Molag Bal

    directly. He told him that he destroyed floating gems and went to kill the black khajiit hiding in the high elf's body, but he escaped

    before the Argonian could finish the job.


    Kodlak asked what happened the the high elf.

    "Harbinger, Ceralyne is dead." He said sadly. He felt his tail droop like a dying flower, "Once the Doomstrider took over her body, her

    esssence... by Hircine, Kodlak, h-he killed her, I will never forgive him for thisss!" He hissed angrily.


    Kodlak felt something heavy drop into his stomach at this unsettling news.

    "What a shame. I rather liked that elf." He said, rather hollowly


    Hasir put a clawed hand on Kodlak shoulder and stared hard into the harbinger eyes; urging him to not lose hope.

    "Kodlak, we must not live in the past. Here and now, the present, that is what counts. Let her death not be in vain. We've a job to

    do." He said, standing up. Grinning, he offered a hand to Kodlak, "Come on, let's get up to the main hall. The companions are

    waiting for us."


    Kodlak nodded and walked with Hasir up to the main hall; all the while thinking to himself that Hasir's armor looks a bit worn and

    could use a ew set.


    Hasir and the harbinger arrived in the man hall and the room turned to look at Kodlak as he sat in the chair by the fire. The excited

    talking and cheering soon died down silent as Kodlak raised his hands for silence.


    Kodlak rose from his chair and pointed out the Nords, Khajiit and Argonian that saved him from a possible eternity of torment.

    "Aela and her mismatched companions saved my soul, quite literally, from Coldharbor by Molag Bal's icy grasp. They are warriors

    with true honor and the hardiness of a Nord." He raised his mug of mead as Hasir, Inigo, the nords and the entire hall did the same.


    Kodlak drank from his mug and continued; his booming voice ringing throughout the hall.

    "Tonight we shall drink to their noble deeds." He paused, seeming to be ruminating on something, "After this, Farkas, Vilkas, and Aela

    will meet me in the yard for the purpose of training the imperial whelp and the inept Argonian. After that..." He sighed, "We have

    another surprise for Hasir and Inigo."


    The hall erupted as sounds of metal on wood could be heard as everyone, except for Ria who looked at her mead like it might attack

    her, banged their tankards on the long table; droplets of golden liquid spilling onto the pristine table surface. Tilma looked over and

    saw the nords getting her polished table all dirty and shook her head; muttering about how she had just wiped the table down.

    Kodlak looked at Timla's scowling face and chuckled,

    "Relax old girl, they're just having a bit of fun."


    Tilma stormed over to where Kodlaksat and jabbed him in the chest with her finger.

    "You call getting mead all over the table I toiled day and night over fun?" She turned away from him and scoffed, "Hmph, you know

    nothing of how much back-breaking labor cleaning is, you crazy old buzzard!"


    Kodlak shrugged this off and lent over to Hasir.

    "Hasir, I want you to meet me at the Skyforge. Eorlund has a surprise for you." He whispered. Hasir looked over to the other

    companions and the Imperial whelp and asked if they could come too. Kodlak shook his head stating it was a special reward for what

    he did in the Soul Cairn.


    Hasir looked taken aback at this. He at least wanted the Imperial whelp to get some experience in smithing; a field he felt she might

    excel at.

    "Harbinger... I-I I'm honored, but wouldn't the companions and Ria like to help mark this momentous occasion?" 


    Again, the harbinger shook his head and said that this was for his eyes only and not for whelps that have not yet realized their

    strength, let alone raise or hold a sword. Hasir said he would be willing to take her under his wing and show her how to wield a

    sword and personally train her. 

    Kodlak chuckled and said he liked the Argonian's tenacity. He nodded his head and agreed that Hasir should train the Imperial whelp.

    The argonian gestured to Ria and they followed the harbinger through the double doors to the training yard. The Imperial sat on the

    topmost step of the porch as the Argonian and the harbinger walked up the ramp where Eorlund stood; busily working the forge.


    Eorlund put his hammer down on the anvil, turned and smiled as he saw the harbinger.

    "Kodlak, to what do I owe this pleasure?" 


    Kodlak told him that Hasir, the nords and the blue khajiit saved his soul from the Soul Cairn. The blacksmith turned to Hasir and


    "Ah yes, Kodlak told me you would be coming." Hasir raised an eyebrow; wondering how in the realms of Oblivion the harbinger told

    him if his soul was returned only a few minutes ago. Eorlund laughed and said that Vilkas told him. He gave Hasir a halfhearted

    smile and went back to working the forge and pounding pieces of armor in a shape he deemed worthy.


    He smiled at his handiwork and brought the pieces of armor over to Hasir; inspecting his battered armor.

    "Viilkas told me about your deeds. He also said you needed a new set of armor." He inspected the Argonian's worn armor, shaking

    his head, "your cuirass is beyond repair, greaves and boots are busted. The leather straps are broken in multiple places. I can either

    repair them; for a hefty fee, or if you don't have the gold, I can give you... this."


    He walked Hasir over to a table with pieces of armor on it. He gestured to the armor; a cuirass with a wolf's head near the top of it

    and furred steel gauntlets, greaves and boots.

    "Do you like it?" Eorlund asked, studying Hasir's expressionless face. Hasir nodded and grabbed the pieces of armor. "Now, go

    downstairs so you can get suited up in the new armor then we can see how well you do in training with it."

    Hasir went back to the undercroft, lent his armor against his bed and undid the leather straps on his old armor. He laid it against the

    foot of the bed and put on his new wolf armor; pieces by piece. He looked around for a mirror so he could see how he looked; not

    finding one, he walked up the stairs, took a steel shield and waraxe from the weapon rack at the top of the stairs and walked out into

    the training yard. 


    He saw Aela, Farkas and Vilkas standing in the center of the yard; weapons drawn. He ignored them and turned to the Imperial

    whelp sitting on a chair near the double doors.


    Hasir smiled and asked the Imperial if she was ready to train, she nodded, disappearing into the hall to grab a sword. She came out

    and saw Hasir practicing on one of the training dummies. The imperial laughed as Hasir was missing more than he was hitting wood.

    One of his blows cut deep into the dummy's chest. He gritted his teeth as he tried to remove the axehead.


    After several, unsuccessful, attempts, he placed his shield against the steel axe and tried prying it out, but to no avail. Aela saw him

    struggling and sneered. Losing none of her former contempt for the pitiful creature.

    "Ha, I know it. The idiot can't even remove an axe. I knew that the previous training was a fluke. He must've cheated and used a

    fortify strength potion."


    Farkas walked over and helped the Argonian free the axe, grinning at him and saying that shields are better used for blocking not

    prying things out of dummies. Hasir smiled at him and nodded, knowing he would've broken his shield if he'd kept at it. Vilkas told

    him not to mention it and that he wanted to prove his 'sister' wrong; that Argonian are welcome in a city that looks down upon

    them; and khajiit as well. 


    Aela called over to Farkas, whom she thought was conspiring with the Argonian.

    "Hey! Vilkas, what're you doing? Are you trading our training secrets with the filthy lizard? Get back over here, ice-brain." She

    had to yell the threat because she'd thought Vilkas hadn't heard her. Vilkas yelled back the he was helping the Argonian extract his



    Aela laughed at this as she walked over to the porch and sat on the middle step; thinking they made the perfect pair.

    "Don't let me spoil anything." She said, screwing her face up, "You two lovebirds continue what you're doing. You too are perfect for

    each other being that you both are cold-blooded. Wait, scratch that, one is cold-blooded and the other has a cold headed, meaning



    She couldn't finish her dig at their personalities, however, as Hasir was upon her in seconds, snarling and pressing his axe against

    her throat.

    "Why don't we start the 'training' right now then? You and me. The whelp and the other companions can wait. You know Aela, over

    the month you've said so many insulting things to me. and I don't appreciate it. Apologize. Now."


    Aela looked unflichingly into his blue eyes as she stood up, moving the axe away from her throat with her finger.

    "I don't have to apologize to a slimy snake like you. Now, go slither on back into whatever stink-hole you crawled out of."


    Hasir snarled at Aledd an swung his axe at Aela's head. The nord ducked, unsheathed her dagger and stabbed him in the knee.

    Hasir's axe fell to the ground with a 'clang'' as he clutched his knee. Aela sneered and said that she knew all Argonian were spineless


    Hasir cast a healing spell on the open wound and lashed out at her with his shield. Aela was kocked back by the force of the strike 

    She gripped her steel dagger tighter and ran at the Argonian. He blocked this with his shield and raked his axe across her face,

    spraying blood over the cobblestones. 


    He smiled evily as her saw he mouth drop with disbelief.

    "There. Now you have even more scars to acommodate that ugly face of yours." He said, chuckling


    Kodlak walked down the ramp to the training yard. His face contorted with rage as he saw the Argonian and Nord going at it. He

    hurried to them and spread his arms out bewteen them. He called for the two combbatants to calm down, urging both Aela and Hasir

    to sheathe their weapons. 

    "What in Oblivion is this? You are supposed to be training, not trying to beat each others' heads in. Explain yourselves. Now!" 


    He glanced from the Nord to the Argonian for an explanation. No one spoke. Kodlak frowned.

    "Very well. If no one offers an honest explanation, I shall be forced to hand out punishments." 


    Aela sheathed her dagger and looked into Kodlak's owlish eyes and smirked. 

    "Harbinger, the Argonian attacked me without any provocation at all." Seeing Hasir's angered expression thrilled Aela


    Hasir grabbed his axe and ran at Aela, teeth bared. Aela slashed at Hasir with her dagger. Kodlak whipped out his sword. Kodlak

    tripped the Nord and pressed his sword firmly against her throat.

    "Aela, you're supposed to be training, not beating each out to a pulp! Now, you and Hasir settle your differences without weapons.

    Some people actually want to train."

    Hasir saw Rakel and Ria sitting on the porch. He walked up to them and asked if they saw the fight. 

    "We saw it. Why does Aela hate you so much?" Hasir shrugged and said he hadn't the foggiest even though she explained how she

    felt numerous times.


    Hasir went inside the hall and grabbed a steel sword from the rack, handed the Imperial whelp the sword and walked down to the

    training yard together. Ria readied her weapon and eyed Hasir, who stood across from him with his axe and shield drawn. Ria snarled at

    Hasir and swung her sword. Hasir blocked the blow and swung his sword at her. She side-stepped this, ducked Hasir's shield bash and

    slashed at the Argonian who lifted his shield as her sword harmlessly bounced off of it.


    The imperial whelp wondered if she should be training Hasir because she arrived at the mead hall before the Argonian. Hasir screwed

    his ace up and sheathed his sword and shield. He drew his dragonbone bow and nocked an arrow. Ria's eyes went wide as she eyed the

    arrow trained on her.

    She gulped; tears steaming down her face.

    "A-are you going to shoot me? I thought we were friends." She shrieked as Hasir loosed the arrow and ran toward the training

    dummies. Hasir chased the scared Imperial around the training yard; shooting arrow after arrow at her. She ran behind the wooden

    dummy as the dummy frze solid as an icicle. 


    Hasir knocked another arrow and peered around the dummy.

    "Ria, do you really wanted to be unprepared for combat out there, in the wilderness?" He asked, studying her facial expression, "what's

    going to happen if you spot an enemy out of range of your sword?"


    Ria stepped out from behind the dummy and unsheathed her sword. She ran at Hasir brandishing her weapon at him. The Argonian

    cringed, bringing his bow on an impulse. The imperial whelp increased the pressure on the dragonbone bow. 


    Hasir glared over his bow at the Imperial whelp,

    "Why are you doing this?" He assked, teeth gritted. Ria yelled something about not being told archery was part of their training,

    "Enemies will not announce what attack thy will be coming at you with. You need to expect the unexpected. I thought this would teach

    you that you shouldn't rely whole heartedly on just one weapon, have some variety. Now stop being a damned fool and relieve some

    pressure on my bow for sake of the wolflord and the nature goddess, please." 


    Ria's expression softened and tried to extract her sword but the bite of the weapon was too deep. Ria knew if she pulled the weapon

    out too fast than the Argonian's bow would break. She wiggled the blade her sword so that the blade would seperate from the

    polished white bone; or so she thought. The imperial extracted her weapon too quickly. The momentum that she had accidentally

    garnered with the quickened extraction brought the sword downward, cutting the bow in twain.

    Hasir looked from his broken bow to the furiously sobbing Imperial and back again. Saddened, he sheathed the arrow and placed the

    bits of the broken bow in his bag. Ria expected him to be mmade with her, but he just smiled at her. He took off his quiver, placed it

    into his bag aand unsheathed his sword. Ria, fresh from the incident, readied her sword again as Hasir ran at her.


    Kodlak sat at the table on the porch and watched as the Argonian and Nord went at it, making a sort of dance instead of training in

    the proper way.Kodlak cheered as Ria swung her sword, tripping Hasir up. He glanced from the Argonian and saw Vilkas and Farkas

    attempting to block Aela's dagger. 


    Kodlak walked down the steps to where the Argonian lay with Ria's sword pressed to his throat.

    "Are you supposed to be traning her? Looks to me like its the other way around." Kodlak said, laughing as he helped Hasir to his



    Hasir glanced up at Kodlak who smiled and said they, the Argonian and the Nord, can finish training later. Hasir groaned but followed

    Kodlak into the hall nonetheless. Hasir sat opposite Kodlak at the long table and poured a tankardful of mead from a decanter at the

    middle of the table. Kodlak did the same and took a sip from his tankard and eyed the Argonian over his tankard of mead. Hasir

    began to ask what he was doing there when Kodlak thrust his hand into his bag and extracted a map very similar to the one Hasir

    had - this one did not have markings all over it - and smoothed it out on the table.  

    Rakel and Affraji came upstairs and sat down beside Hasir and looked at the map in awe. Kodlak got up and strode back and forth in

    front of the fire,

    "Hasir, I have no doubt that you have a map quite like this." The argonian nodded. "This one, I daresay, is cleaner," He said, a slight

    smile curving his aged face, "anyway, enough stalling, I heard you may have a way to get into Krovaxis, the only question is...where

    is the entrance?" He eyed Hasir wonderingly.


    The argonian got up and pointed to an island in the sea of ghosts. He knew the temple was on the island, but it precise location was


    "Harbinger, I believe that the entrance is somewhere around here," He said, making a small circle with his clawed finger, "I gathered

    as much from what I saw in Bromjunaar Sanctuary. We can set off immediately if everyone is ready." He said, grinning at Kodlak. 


    The harbinger asked Hasir if he had the neccesary components to enter the temple.  the argonian patted his bag,

    "Yep, I have them in here; the round bluish-black key and all nine masks."


    Kodlak smiled and placed the map back into his bag and pushed open the training hall doors, called out to the other companions

    and was about to tell them to start packing for a journey to Krovaxis when he thought of something. He still had another surprise for

    the Argonian. 

    Hasir wondered when the Kodlak would get the other companions; for all he knew, Molag Bal could be moving his plan further into

    fruition. He had no patience for deviation from the current task. After waiting, impatiently, for sveral minutes, Hasir went out to the

    training yard to see what was keeping the Harbiinger When he stepped onto the porch, he saw Kodlak and the companions standing

    in a circle. 


    Hasir, wondering what this was about, advanced slowly towards the harbinger,

    "Erm, excuse me harbinger but what is this all about?" Kodlak turned to him, smiled and said this was to be his initiation. Hasir yed

    him uncertainly, "Initiation for what? I thought I already was part of the companions. By oblivion, I'm already a fully fledged

    companion, come to think of it, what more could you possibly need?" He glanced around at everyone, "Why is everyone gathering in

    a circle?" He asked, eyebrow raised.


    Kodlak smiled at him and gestured toward Aela, Farkas and Vilkas,

    "You wear the official armor of the companions, of the circle but are not yet one of us. Join the circle and then you will be." Kodlak

    said as he extended as hand. Vilkas, Aela and Farkas began chanting 'one of us, one of us' over and over again.


    An unaesy expression crossed the Argonian's face as Hasir thought about turned around and heading for the hills as he thought this

    was some sort of daedric cult btter suited for the fiery realms of Oblivion rather than in a mead hall. He thought this was likely the

    work of Sheogorath but Kodlak dragged a finger across his throat as a signal for the three Nords to stop their chanting.


    As the chanting died down Kodlak lled Hasir to the table on the porch and sat beside him. Bewildered, Hasir looked at the Habinger,

    "Kodlak, are you trying to lure me into a daedric cult or something? Vilkas and Farkas, they...."


    Kodlak smiled and waved this concern away as if it wasn't important,

    "Hasir, the circle is no more a cult than the chapel of the wild hunt is." Scanning the Argonian's worried face, he changed taciics,

    "Erm...bad exampe, er...the circle in a subsect of Companions who are werewolves. It is a well-kept secret that only the Companions

    of Jorrvaskr know of."


    Hasir lent forward, curious to know more about this so-called 'circle.' Kodlak laughed and headed back to the three nords, gesturing

    to Hasir, saying that he doesn't have to join if he doesn't want to. The argonian got up and walked over to the nord; complete the

    circle. He looked at the nords, all outfitted in the standard armor - all, except for Aela.


    Hasir turned to Kodlak and asked why she ad a different armor on than the rest of the circle,

    "Aela is... different than the rest of us, lean on her wolf side a bit more heavily. She is a free spirit as is her wolf and as such,

    chooses armor that makes her feel...free." Hasir nodded and ssaid he knows the feeling of denying his wolf his freedom as well. He

    shared Aela's need to be free. He, however, thought he would look foolish in such a skimpy set of armor.


    Aela scowled at this remark and yelled at him for his arrogance,

    "Hasir, you idiot. Such armor wouldn't fit your body. It might fall off with how slimy you are."


    Kodlak again called for calm and Aela became silent as Kodlak introduced the Argonian to the circle.

    "Friends, a new soul enters our sacred order. The circle,, as a concept was coined by by harbinger Krnil Long-Nose as a way of trying

    to overthrow the false harbingers of Jorrvaskr. Ysgramor first shunned the idea; stating that the false harbingers are a neccesary

    evil but after being talked down by Krnil, he thought the idea to be brilliant. They defeated the usurpers and the circle remained,

    only allowing true warriors to join." He looked around at those gathered, "We, at the mead hall of Jorrvaskr, aim to keep that

    tradition alive as we accept a new soul to join with us as we honor our proud history."


    Kodlak lookd at the Nord twins and smiled.

    "Farkas, will you atest to this Argonian's bravery?"


    Vilkas nodded and raised his sword skyward in a gesture of good faith,

    "I will. I have witnessed Hasir bravery first hand and will gladly take up arms against him."


    Kodlak smiled at Hasir than asked Farkas' 'brother' the same question,

    "I would fell his foe gladly with him at my side."


    Kodlak nodded and raised a white eyebrow at Aela who looked as if she wanted to be somewhere else at the present moment.

    "Yeah, sure. Don't expect me to come running when that slimy moron messes up... I don't do babysitting." Kodlak asked if she

    meant 'if' he messes up. Aela shook her head rather vehemently, "No, I stand by what I said, when the slimy lizard messes up and,

    make no mistake, he will and I'll laugh me ass off when it happens. Have you seen that amor he's wearing? I could run circles

    around him before he so much as lifts his axe."


    Kodlak groaned and asked Aela when she will warm up to the idea of having an Argonian in the guild.

    "Forget it Harbinger, I will never be okay with a swamp rat like him joining. He should be out on the street with the other beggars or,

    even better, the filthy cats outside the walls." 

    Kodlak was about to tell Aela that she shouldn't be so close-minded to other races just because Katria died at the hand of an

    Argonian but pushed the matter aside as another, more pressing matter showed up in the form of an Imperial male, coming down

    the steps towards the harbinger.

    "Greetings Proventius," He said, enveloping the Imperial in a hug, "Does the city's court wizard need me?"


    The imperial shook his head and pointed at the Argonian,

    "Hasir? why? do the Jarl need to see him?"


    Hasir looked from the Imperial to the harbinger and then to the cobblestone,

    "What does he want with me? I've never been summoned anywhere before." He looked toward the harbinger, "to be honest

    Harbinger, I, well, I have always gone through my life as a shadow. No one notices me. Most days, I feel like I'm invisible. Everyone

    seems to overlook me because they think me weak or incapable of anything. When I entered this hall, I even got criticized for

    wearing my sword wrong." 


    Hasir's thoughts turned to Aela,

    "Even Aela thinks I am no good, sensed it the moment I entered the mead hall. Aela is right on one thing, though," He said shifting

    his armor for a more comfortable fit, "My armor is slowing me done." 


    Kodlak went over and placed a caring hand on the Argonian's shoulder and said that he only feels that way because of the voice in

    his head saying that he will never amount to anything and that he should try to focus on more positive things, like his numerous

    accomplishments like being succssfully inducted into the inner circle of the companions.



    Hasir nodded and wiped his eyes on the cloth the harbinger had handed him,

    "Thanks Kodlak, I needed that," He said, smiling, "I guess Inigo was right when he said 'never let your emotions get you down.' My

    parents also share yours and Inigo's advice."


    Kodlak agreed that what Aela said was true; he did need to get a new set of armor. Kodlak saw the Argonian fall on his tail numerous

    times during his training. Kodlak noticed that, while he knew Hasir was going easy on the Imperial whelp, it was more due to his

    heavy armor than his own lack of training. Hasir wondered what his armor had to do with this. Kodlak told Hasir that he might

    perform better in light armor. Hasir looked bewilderingly at the grey-haired harbinger. Kodlak waved this away and released the

    Argonian's shoulder. He gestured for him to follow the Imperial. 

    He walked with Proventius up the stairs and out into Whiterun. Once outside the hall, he and Proventius walked up a set of stairs

    that bisected a pond Hasir'd seen before. A tear came to his eye as he thought about Ceralyne. He promptly wiped the tear away

    when he caught Proventius looking at him. He showed Hasir the grand building that stood at the top of the stairs. Hasir gasped as he

    saw a doorway and a wooden arches set over a stone pathway that lead to a magnificent building that he'd seen a couple of months

    ago that he remembered dominated the cloud district of the city.


    The imperial led the way up the stairs with Hasir followed  him; tail tucked between his legs like a snake needing shelter from some

    unknown hunter. He gazed in awe at the intricately carved pillars and arches and passsed through the doors after Proventius.