C.o.t.W Chapter 111: Soul Smithing

  • Hasir's mind was nothing but a whirlwind of swirling images for the longest time. After a few seconds, the whilwind of images slowed.

    He found himself standing in the temple of Kynareth, but not as he knew it. He glanced around him and saw that a shadow of sorts

    had fallen over the temple. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary - except for the extra gloomy atmosphere, Hasir looked toward the

    altar on which Khash's body lay. He edged slowly toward it; a tear forming in his eye when he saw the little Argonian wrapped in her

    burial tapestry. 


    Hasir placed his hands on the portion of the tapestry containing the Argonian's head and was expecting to feel scales but his clawed

    hands sank through bone that seemed to have already undergone the decomposing process.


    He leapt back as the tapestry began to move as the Argonian cradled within it sat up. Hasir screamed as a rotting reptilian hand

    poked out from the tapestry and slowly removed it, revealing a half decomposed reptilian head. Khash's remains sat up and faced

    the mal Argonian. He had to fight the urge to vomit as he stared at his deceased egg-sister's remains. Her sockets had rotted away

    to reveal bone; one of which had an eyeball hanging from a nerve that had all but rotted away. Her remains shambled towards Hasir

    with an unnatural hunger. 


    The frightful Argonian scuttled backwards, like a spider evading a broom, eyes focused on the rooting corpse, fleshing hanging off of

    her face and snout like a bunch of corprus weepings. He bumped into the opposite bed and clamped his eyes shut as the Argonian's

    rotting teeth sank into his neck. Hasir's high-pitched screams filled the temple's silence as his eyes rolled back into his head.

    Hasir woke up and, once he had stopped screaming, felt for bite marks on his neck. When he was satisfied there were none, he stood

    up only to see Inigo staring at him in shock.

    "My friend, why must I always find you in a particularly awkward state?" He asked, eyeing him with his pumpkinish eyes.


    Hasir looked at the khajiit perplexedly.

    "What do you mean?"


    Inigo sat down on the bed and placed his hands on either side of Hasir. The argonian shrank back in fear that Inigo might kiss him.

    "I mean that whenever I hear a certain reptilian vocalization of fear, I rush to your side to find you covered in sweat." 


    The khajiit scrutinized Hasir as he told Inigo about his rather odd nightmare. Inigo was about to respond when there was a knock at

    the door. the khajiit turned and saw Anuma-La standing with Affraji in the doorway. They beamed at Inigo as they walked over

    toward Hasir bed.


    Hasir leapt off of the bed and looked perpexedly at the Argonian and the khajiit.

    "What are you doing here?" He asked, staring from Anum-La to Affraji, "Anum-La, you should be putting me in the harbinger's good

    books. What happened?" The female argued shifted her weight, apparently unsure of how to answer.


    She opened her mouth but Affraji put a clawed finger in front of her muzzle.

    "Anum-La was telling Affraji about how, while in the main hall of Jorrvaskr, she'd overheard one of the nords taalking to the court

    wizard from Dragonsreach."


    Hasir looked at her; an interested look on his face.

    "Farengar? What did he want with... who did he talk to again?" He asked, confused


    Affraji smiled bashfully at the Argonian.

    "The court wizard talked to Farkas about another court wizard in Windhelm named Wuunverth the Unliving and he, Farengar, believes

    that the aged Imperial is actually a sleeper agent for Molag Bal."

    Hasiir looked surrupticiously at Inigo as if he expected him to deny this. He merely shrugged. He had no idea that, or even how,

    Molag Bal could plant a sleeper agent in Skyrim. He wondered if the daedric prince had placed him there to keep an eye on him; to

    find out where he loyalties lie and toward which prince; Molag Bal or Hircine?"


    To answer his confused look, the leopardine khajiit shook her head.

    "Affraji does not know to what end the sleeper agent is here for nor what he hopes to accomplish but she does know one thing for

    certain. After argonian finishes whatever business he has, he will accompany Affrai to Windhelm, yes?" She added, looking from

    Hasir to Inigo and back again. Begrudgingly, Hasir nodded, gestured to Inigo, inquired if he was coming and ask her how to are to go

    about this endeavor.


    Affraji became ost in thought for a time and nodded.

    "Yes, blue khajiit can come. What we are doing is we sneak into Windhelm under the cover of darkness. Steal into Wuunverth's

    quarters while he is sleeping and I kill him with her bare claws, either that or her ebony scimitar; whatever Affraji has on hand."


    Hasir thought hard about this. He knew he had business to take care of first and knew that devating from it would have dire


    Affraji, don't count your flea until they hatch.I've still got to convince Kodlak to let me back in, retrieve items from Hircine knows

    where" He gestured to Inigo "Not to mention he still needs to be cured of vampirism."

    Inigo turned and shot daggers at Hasir. He recounted the tale for the inept Argonian as the events seemed to be lost to his scaly


    "Yes but the soulgem that was supposed to cure me of that exploded and killed Falion because of the Doomstrider, remember?" 


    Hasir reached into his leather bag and extracted a purple gem and grinned at Inigo.

    "Of course I remember. I procured this little beauty for that exact reason."


    Affraji walked over to his, grabbed the soulgem out of Hasir's hand and examined it under the warm, orange glow of a bed-side


    "This one was expecting to find a soul flittering inside, yet she sees none. Just out of curiosity, whose soul do you plan to trap?"


    Hasir smiled and faced Affraji, eying the black soulgem,

    "I've already trapped a soul... while you were going to Jorrvaskr, in fact."


    Affraji cocked her head to the side and inquired as to whom the soul belonged. Hasir walked over to her a tapped the gem with his


    "I trapped Khash's soul." There was an audible gasp that rang through the room at this rather odd sentence. "Look," Hasir said,

    sighing, "I can spare you the details if you want. It is a pretty long story." The onlookers shook their heads. Hasir sighed again and

    began the tale of how he trapped the little lizard's soul.

    Hasir sat on the bed near the door and gestured everyone to gather around so they coould hear clearly.

    "It was Khash's dying wish for her soul to be used to do the world some good and it did not feel right for her to return to the Hist in a

    land that never really felt like home for her." Hasir's tail lashed about lazily behind him, "She always thought of Wrothgar as her

    home; where her adopted father was from. Orc warriors, as well as other Wrothgarians,  believe that if they weave the souls of the

    dead into their weapons that it not only grants them extra power in battle, but it also allows them to honor their dead in battle so

    their ancestors may share in the blood of their foes."


    Inigo looked perplexedly at Hasir wondering what this had to do with the soulgem.

    "This tale is interesting but what does this have to do with Khash?"


    Hasir held up his hand and told his feline friend to calm his fleas and that his mind works in mysterious ways.

    "I'm getting to that, hold on. Anyway, that's what the Orcs did. Modach, Khash's adoptive guardian, taught her the funeral rite as

    well. He thought that her having enchanted weapons and armor would make people forget she was born without a tail. People still

    made fun of her for it but at least now she could defend herself. Not only did she weave souls for that purpose but she also found

    that becoming directly involved with such a task would help her find out more about the customs and ancestral beliefs of her new



    Inigo glared at Hasir. He was tired of his scaly friend going of on tangents that he thought were not connected.

    "Get to the point. How did the souls not escape the metal casings of the weapons and armor or get burnt off by the intense heat

    required to craft said weapons and armor?"


    The flustered Argonian pointed to a nearby chair and told Inigo to sit down, be quiet and wait for him to finish his tale before asking

    questions. Inigo did so.


    The argonian smiled and continued,

    "Inigo, stop jumping off topic... hsss!" Hasir walked toward the chair in which Inigo sat, "I was merely just trying to describe, in my

    own way, how the soulgem will be used to cure you coupled with a little backstory how Khash, when she was alive, liked to do things

    for the greater good and her fascination of the Orcs and how they weave souls into bits of metal in order to make them 'live forever',

    er, so to speak."


    Inigo nodded and smiled, not wanting to say anything else to upset the Argonian further. Hasir told Inigo that he should go to

    Morthal and find someone else to cure him of his vampirism now the Falion is dead. He stood up, pu the soulgem into his bag and

    followed Affraji out of the room. Hasir sighed and sat down in the chair Inigo had just vacated and turned to Anum-La.

    "Well, with that done, what say you and I head to Kodlak's room and find out if my deeds were satisfactory enough to earn me a

    place in the companions again." Anum-La beamed at him and asked if this was his way of inviting her out on a date. Hasir looked

    taken aback at this abrupt statement, "What? No, by Hircine, slow down. I hardly even know you and you want to hit on me?"


    Anum-La sniggered as she studied the male Argonian's disgusted face.

    "Relax." She said, "I was just kidding. Who spit in your hatching pool?" She said jokingly as she turned to face the door. "Again... I

    was just joking, lighten up."


    Hasir shook his head as he rolled his eyes. He followed Anum-La out of the room through the cavernous undercroft to Kodlak's room.

    She grinned at him as she pushed the door open.

    Upon stepping over the threshold, Hasir's mouth fell open; he did not expect Aela to be in the room, much less sitting at the corner

    table shooting the breeze with the harbinger. He glanced at Anum-La who was just as shocked as he was. Silently as he could, he

    crept to the bookcase in hopes that he could overhear their converstation without being spotted.


    Hasir slowed his breathing in an ateempt to both calm himself and ascertain clearly what the two nords were conversing about. Hasir

    couldn't help but realize that the harbinger's usual owlish gaze was replaced by one that is reminiscent of a old wolf with deep regret.

    "...I feel the call of the hunt growing stronger every day, Aela yet my body grows weaker with every passing moment. The slip up I

    had when that khajiit cut me with her knife is a testament to that." Kodlak heave a sigh, "There's no denying it I'm getting on in

    years. I'm not as young as I used to be. I can feel my wolf eating me from the inside, resenting the fact that it can't get out as often,

    as freely as Red can. Before the beast devours me, I ask that you, or another companion, end my suffering." 


    Aela stared at him; apparently seeing her own demons reflected in the old man's eyes.

    "Sir, I know that being a nord and a lycanthropy is, in theory, a battle of contradictions, but..." She looked away from him to where

    she thought someone was lurking out of sight. Hasir had to hold his breath as he knew werewolves had keen hearing. She shrugged

    and turned back to the forlorn harbinger. "Putting aside my feels in the matter, you've got a point. You're body cannot contain a

    ravaging beast, at least, not in the state you're in. You're an old nord who wants to spend eternity in Sovngarde, drinking with the

    heroes of old, not in some dank, smelly forest you feel you scarcely belong."


    The harbinger thanked her and looked to where Hasir stood, hidden. He smiled as if something funny or brilliant had ocurred to him

    and turned back to Aela.

    "Aela, I think this coversation is no longer private." He said with a smirk. "Come on out Hasir. My nose may be a dried up raisin but I

    can still smell wet lizard from a mile away."

    Hasir stepped out from behind the bookcase looked thoroughly confused. He had no clue how Kodlak could've smelled him. Kodlak

    motioned the Argonian to sit in the chair beside him and Aela. The argonian sat down only to be given a look of deepest loathing

    from the female nord. Kodlak shot Aela a dirty look and waggled his finger at her.

    "Aela, for once in your life can't you put personal feelings aside?" Aela apologized, feeling ashed to have be caught by the harbinger.


    Kodlak smiled and turned to Hasir, whose tail was squirming nervously in its wooden confines.

    "Hasir, I sense you want to speak to me about rejoining the companions and I sense another question burning in your mind. Well?

    Don't stand, er, sit on ceremony, out with it."


    Hasir told Kodlak about the sleeper agent for Molag Bal operating in Windhelm as a court wizard and asked about whether the

    harbinger would see fit to reinstate him as a companion. Kodlak looked at him scrutizingly. Hasir feel incredile unease wash over him 

    like a wave. He felt as if the harbinger was looking into his soul.

    "Hasir, I spoke with Arcadia, Adrienne and, while still not out of the temple yet, Severlo and they told me that you did surprising well

    in your duties as Thane." Hasir opened his mouth to say he wasn't interested in that. Kodlak held up a hand, "Balgruuf told me that

    you didn't want the position for yourself so you performed the tasks to help two of your khajiit friends fight rascism and secure

    places of residence here." He beamed proudly at Hasir, "Sacrificing yourself for others is an admirable trait and, upon talking to those

    people I mentioned before further, I am proud to name you companion once more." He shot a warning look at the excited Argonian,

    "Just don't let me catch you killing any citizens of Whiterun."


    Hasir thanked Kodlaak and was about to leave to go back to his room when Kodlak called out to him.

    "Hasir, one more thing, what was it that you said about a sleeper agent?"

    The argonian told Kodlak all he knew about the sleeper agent operating in Windhelm. Anum-La and Xelzaz came in at that moment

    and stood beside Hasir, making his train of thought crash spectacularly.

    "I was the one who told him about the sleeper agent." Anum-La said. "I had overheard one of the nords, Vilkas, I think, talking

    to Farengar about another court wizard he believed to be a sleeper agent put there to spy on the hall of Jorrvaskr. I also thnk he

    means for the wizard to spy on Hasir and use him to force Hasir to denounce his loyalty to Hircine; by any means neccesary."


    Kodlak's brow furrowed as the female Argonian said all this.

    "Interesting." He said, apparently deep in thought. "I'd like you and Hasir to go to Windhelm to find out what this sleeper agent's

    ultimate motive is and report back to me with any findings you may have." Anum-La nodded but Hasir groaned and told Kodlak about

    his other obligations. Kodlak stared at him disapprovingly."One must weed out the hornets before cleansing the nest." The

    argonians turned to leave but Kodlak stopped them, "One more thing, talk Inigo with you." 


    Anum-La nodded but Hasir told the harbinger that Inigo was going to Morthal with Affraji. Kodlak acknowledged this and waved as

    the hree Argonians left his study and prepared for their journey to Windhelm to thin the weeds, so to speak.