C.o.t.W Chapter 108: The Cold Soul

  • The three companions exited out of the cave. Hasir looked back at the cave door which had became solid stone once more. He

    mourned the loss of Faolchu and didn't think now that he was deserving of the horror with which the companions of Whiterun spoke

    his name mere months before. Hasir and his companions walked over to the sleeping tree andwalked over to where their steeds

    waitedbesides a small pond and  Xelzaz placed a hand over his eyes to shield himself from the sun as he saw a figure cloaked in

    darkessleaning against a tree.


    Xelzaz saw the feline figure work her way around the tree and advance toward him. Terror ripped through his body like if he were

    struck by lightning. He saw the khajiit draw her sword, swung it toward his head and stopped inches from his neck. She smiled as

    she saw his hocked face and sheathed her sword,

    "What you thought this one was going to kill Argonian? No, I only came to accompany Argonian on his journey. You are going to

    Ironbind Barrow to find a weapon, yes?" Affraji said. Xelzaz nodded. She smiled, "good, now we should be off before Molag Bal has a

    chance to move against Argonian and Khajiit."


    Xelzaz looked at her confused. He did not know what Affraji had meant by this,

    "Why? Has he sent another wave of Silver Hand to intercept us or is the Doomstrider on the move?" 


    Affraji stopped walking. Xelzaz looked at her, shielding his eyes as the sun glinted off of the yellow buckles of her trenchcoat,

    "Yes and no. He is amassing more than the Silver Hand. He has hordes of vampires under the Doomstrider's control." Xelzaz looked

    at her, raising an eyebrow. She cursed under her breath, "Forgive me, the Doomstrider is Molag Bal's lieutenant; his, er, left hand

    khajiit. He controls Molag's army from the Hollow City as Molag Bal lies in wait at his massive castle." 


    Hasir and Inigo soon caught up with Xelzaz. They asked the Argonian who he was talking to. Xelzaz gestured to her and introduced


    "I know who that iss, idiot!" Hasir snapped. Xelzaz looked taken aback by this, "Erm... sorry. What are you guys talking about?"


    Xelzaz told him that Affraji was telling him about the incoming dangers we may face at Ironbind Barrow where 'the weapon that

    breaks the barrier' lies. Affraji turned to face Hasir, "Hasir, greeetings. This one was telling Xelzaz about Molag Bal's castle, a

    grotesque place known, at least to her knowledge, as the Forbidden Citadel. He said it was located deep within Coldharbour; so deep,

    in fact, that the ice would turn to fire." Affraji also asked if she could accompany them on their journey.


    Hasir smiled, mounted onto his reptilian steed and gestured ahead of him; silently telling her to lead the way to the barrow. He had

    questions about Molag Bal's castle; how big it was, where in Coldharbour it was located and, perhaps more importantly, how she

    knew if this 'castle' if such it could be called. Had she been a prisoner there before he knew her? Hasir thought it would be best to

    ask Affraji about this later.

    Hasir and his companions rode north of the Sleeping Tree camp and rode past a cave that rose up from the ground like a great

    chasm in the very maw of Oblivion and saw a two giant cliffs with icicles cascading over them making them look like the ice-ribbed

    castle on Solstheim. The cliffs rose on either side of the road that the Argonians and khajiit rode down.


    Hasir felt an unnessecary forboding as he scanned the sky. The next moment, Hasir's eyes went wide as an arrow soared through

    the air toward him. The Argonian leapt off of his steed, conjured his bound bow and hid behind a rock off of the path as a fresh hail

    of arrows rained down on them like a flurry of ice spears. 


    Hasir leapt out from the rock and loosed the arrow; it sped toward the icy cliffs and he heard a dull thud as the arrow found its

    mark. He turned to his companions and smirked,

    "If you lot ever want free archery practice, now is you chance." He said as he gave the signal for Inigo and Affraji to fire.


    Hasir lowered his arm and walked over to K'hairi and screwed his face up at her,

    "K'hairi have you... have you learned how to use a bow?" She shook her head. Hasir looked around and found a dead draugr at the

    foot of the right cliff face. He put his foot on the draugr's chest as he tried to pull the bow from its dead hands. Hasir finally got it

    free and handed his egg-sister the bow, "Here you go. You can use this one. We'd better keep the bows out in case we run into any

    more ambushes." 

    K'hairi loooked, shocked, from the bow in her hand to Hasir and wondered if he would take a bow from an enemy as well,

    "Egg sister," He said, putting a caring hand on K'hairi's shoulder, "I don'tt need an actual bow. I have my magical bow I can conjure

    whenever a situation akin to this arises." He turned her around and smirked, "Though I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to get my

    hands on a another dragonbone bow... preferably one that doesn't break." He said, thinking back on how Aela recklssly ruined his.

    He still had the pieces in his bag as a reminder. "I suppose a nice ebony or daedric bow would do nicely as well." He said. K'hairi

    looked at his, lauged and said if she finds one, she would definitely lt him know.


    He mounted on his steed and followed the khajiit and Argonians out of the icy cliffs expecting lots of dangers but finding none. Affraji

    led the way to a small camp close to another, albeit smaller, icy cliff. She dismounted her horse, which she had led over to a nearby

    tree and tied up, held up a hand, signalling her companions to wait until she had the situation and the bandits scoped out. 


    She sneaked towards the camp, careful not to spook the bandits; lest there was an all-out brawl. Affraji darted between the rocks

    like a rabbit trying its damndest to hidee from a hungry wolf. Her lamp-like eyes peered out from a cluster of rocks under an

    overhang and drew her bow, rested it on the rock that faced the camp and drew the drawstring back.


    Inigo slid off of his horse and investigated the camp. He found two bandits; an Argonian and a Redguard. approaching him. With

    quick thinking, Inigo hid behind a tree and made sure to hid his tail as well. The Argonian sniffed around for any disturbances but

    could only smell the campfire, the air and the grass around him.


    The redguard woman placed a hand on his shoulder, her face screwed up

    "Beem-ja, there is no one there, come back to the camp." 


    The Argonian shook his companion off of him,

    "I know Selma but..." He began but the rest of his thought was cut short when an arrow flew from the rock formation to Beem-ja's

    left. Beem-ja unsheathed his steel sword and deflected the arro; it fell to thee dirt with a dull 'thud'. The argonian wheeled around

    and called for whomevr loosed that arrow to show themselves.


    With the Argonian distracted, Inigo took this chance to show himself, draw his ebony sword and cross swords with the redguard


    "How dare you sneak up on us you filthy cat!" Selma snarled. Inigo yelled at Affraji that their cover was blown and that stealth was

    no longer a viable option. Affraji put her arrow back into her quiver, drew her cutlass and leapt out of her hiding place.


    Seeing this, Beem-ja snarled and narrowed his eyes,

    "So, you are the ones who almost decapitated me. Showing your face will be the last mistake you ever make."

    Affraji ran at the Argonian and dodged out of the way as Beema-ja's sword was brought down in a swift downward arc. Affraji drew

    her bow and fired at the advancing Argonian. The arrow deflected off of Selma's blade as she moved to block it. Affraji's eyes

    narrowed as she prepared to fire agai but, off in the distance, she could heard someone running at her and yelling something



    Hasir leapt off his reptilian mount as he heasd a fight breaking out in a nearby bandit camp; the sounds of arrows and clashing

    swords could be heard above the howling, frigid wind. He conjured his bound bow and sneaked toward the camp; trying his best to

    muffle his footsteps. He darted between rocks and patches of grass as he steadily made his way toward the camp.


    When he reached the camp, the combatants paused and looked, frightened, at the Argonoian. The Argonian fell to the ground and

    started convulsing as fur erupted all over his body as scales retreated, his arms and legs burst outward as the Argonian rose into the

    air; towering over the shaking Argonian bandit like a fox would to a kwama forager. 


    The black and white werewolf scanned the scene, eyes narrowing as he saw the blue khajiit attempt to impale the Redguard while

    she had her guard down. Twilight dropped to all ffour paws and ran at him and knocked the sword from him hand. The next thing

    Inigo knew, he was being pinned against a nearby rock. Inigo cowered as white, hot saliva dripped onto his hunting ground outfit. 

    Inigo cowered and closed his eyes as he thought the werewolf would finish him off then and there.

    "Why are you like this? Viscous and bloodythirsty as a wolf yet, as an Argonian, you wouldn't hurt a flea." He opened his eyes and

    stared into Twilight blue eyes, "Begone wolf and give me my friend back... NOW!" He thundered angrily. He could feel the pressure

    lessening as Twilight looked almost apologetically at him and transformed back.


    Inigo sighed and flexed his hands and arms,

    "Much better, what has gotten into you lately?" He gestured toward his head, I think the werewolf has gotten to your head. Best sort

    it out and quick before you get lost inside all that fur!" He thundered; leaving Hasir to sit by the unlit fire.


    Hasir went over, sat down and cast his flame spell on the dry logs pile up. Inigo sighed with relief as the air suddenly became a bit

    warmer. Inigo smiled with outstretched hands ready to accept the fire's warming heat.


    Hasir did not look over as he was busy mulling over in his head what Inigo had said. He was right with one thing: ever since he had

    gotten the blessing of the wolf, his behavior has been nothing short of erratic. He was short-tempered with everyone, icluding Aela,

    though he'd thought that she deserved it. He decided to talk to someone about this before it ate him up inside.


    He turned toward the blue khajiit and smiled,

    "Inigo, sorry if I've been... quick to anger. Ever since the nord Infected me in Solsthiem, I have been... well, there really is no better

    word for it... a bastard, as well as a rotten friend, can you ever forgive me?" He asked smiling at Inigo; hoping he would reciprocate.


    After moments of awkward silence, the smart blue cat came over to Hasir and hugged him.

    "You don't have to apologize, I get it, you have anger issues." He shrugged, "So what? Doesn't everyone? Aela especially. That bitch

    needs to get hit on the head by a giant's club." He said, sniggering


    Hasir frowned; releasing himself from the embrace, and stared at Inigo,

    "Why do you think that? Wouldn't that kill her?"


    Inigo told his reptilian friend that if Aela were to get pummeled by a giant's club, it might knock some sense into her or it might

    destroy the few brain cells she does have. They both looked at each other and doubled over with laughter. After their laughter had

    subsided, he told Inigo that the same thing that is happening to him happened to his grandmother, Ocheeva; albeit at a much slower

    rate than her own descent into madness.


    Affraji came over with three dead rabbits and set them down in the snow. Inigo and Hasir stopped talking and looked at her,

    eyebrows raised.

    "What?" She asked. She skinned the rabbit and handed one to Inigo and Hasir while keep one for herself, "Affraji thought she would

    go and hunt for some food. Dig in before the rabbit gets cold."


    Hasir sniggered at this. Affraji stared at him and asked what was so funny.

    "Affraji, you do realize that were are in a frozen wasteland right?" 


    Inigo had joined in on this joke as well, 

    "Affraji, what my friend here is trying to say," He said, trying hard to keep a straight face, "is right after you shot the rabbit..." Affraji

    glared at him and snarled forcing Inigo to rethink his train of thought before iut got derailed a second time, "Wait, before you bit my

    head off jsut... hear me out. The rabbit would have keeled over in the snow and the elements would've done the rest."


    Affraji sighed and nodded. She snatched the rabbits from Hasir and the blue khajiit and cooked them before handing them back.

    Hasir looked at his as if it had spoiled,

    "Ya know, I could've eaten this thing raw. Cooking it just run the fun of feeling hot blood run down my throat." Affraj told Hasir to

    deal with it, stuck her tongue out at him and resumed her seat on the left side of the fire. 


    Beem-ja and the redguard walked towards them, carrying mugs of mead they had gotten from their tents. Hasir smiled at Beem-ja

    and offered him his uneaten half of the rabbit. He shook his head and said he was happy with mead. Salma got to her feet and

    inquired as to why the stranger have come here.

    Hasir, finished with his rabbit, got up and cleared his throat; deamnding the redguard and Argonian's ateention,

    "Salma, we are looking for a weapon that will melt ice. I believe we can find such a weapon in the barrow close by here."


    Beem-ja cocked his scaly head at Hasir, unsure of his meaning,

    "Salma and I, well Salma has nothing to do with it but, I seek that weapon for... it's not important. Couldn't you do the job equally

    well with another weapon with a fire enchantment on it? I mean you could still retrieve the weapon but save it for whatever lies

    beyond the ice. That is my observation. You can take it or leave it."


    Hasir pondered this and nodded. He thought if he could obtain the weapon the he could, at the very least, study the enchantment or

    use it to enchant a weapon of equal quality at a forge,

    "Very well, lead on. If we're lucky, I can procure both that weapon and another flame enchanted weapon as well."


    Beem-ja nodded and led the companions and the redguard to the barrow. When they got to the door, he bade the Argonian and

    Khajiit to proceed with caution for this tomb was once a proud nord city ruled over by a powerful warlord, Guthrik. He and his nordic

    warriors were a force to reckon with, devout followers of Molag Bal. Now they are nothing but restless undead and the once proud

    city a ruin, a shell of what it once was. We have to go quietly to avoid attracting unwanted attention. 


    They turned left and entered through a cave cut into the side of the mountain that opened onto a narrow cavern with walls and floor

    covered in ice. Inigo remarked on how lovely the cavern was and inadvertantly bumped into Hasir and Affraji sending them hurtling

    down the slippery slope on their backsides. Hasir and Affraji got up and glared over their shoulder at the sniggering blue khajiit.

    "What? It was not my fault. Mr. dragonfly... h-he..."


    Hasir turned around and grabbed Inigo so hard that he lost his footing and slid all the way down the icy slope. Hasir bent over and

    helped Inigo to his feet. Inigo thanked Hasir but the Argonian held up a hand to silence him.

    "You do know Mr. dragonfly is dead, don't you?" He said rather disgruntled


    Inigo nodded glumly. 

    "I know, my friend, I know..." He said


    Clicking and scuttling could be heard further down the carven. Beem-ja thrust out an arm and stopped the Argonian and the khajiit,

    who both glared at him.

    "Better go careful here lest you want to become a spider's dinner." He whipsered just in cause the frostbite spiders could hear.


    Inigo's eyes lit up at the word 'spider' and began struggling against Beem-ja's arm,

    "Let me at 'em. I have been itching for a good spider smashing."


    The blue robed Argonian shook his head and Inigo saw blue lightning erupt from the Argonian's hand and heard tow painful pained

    screeching as the lightning caused the spiders to convulse horribly. Once the spiders were dead, Inigo swore. He wanted to do it

    himself, not have a scaly outsider do it for him. 


    Inigo, Hasir and Affraji followed Beem-ja and his redguard friend into the cavern and met another spider. Salma raised her sword and

    ran at the spider. Inigo's eyes grew red as an Oblivion gate and ran at the redguard,

    "Noooo! You shall not steal my glory!" he yelled and knocked her into a nearby rock. Salma hit heard head hard causing a huge gash

    to open up above her eyebrows. Blanking the redguard's blood soaking the rocks, Inigo unsheathed his ebony sword and attack the

    spiider's legs. Inigo jabbed his sword through the spider's head, silencing the poor creature's struggle.


    Inigo had no time to celebrate, however, when Beem-ja yelled so loud that Inigo was shaken out of his jubilance.

    "No! Salma. who did this? If I catch whoever did this, they'll be sorry." He said through clenched teeth. He bent down and draped the

    redguard over his shoulder while he led the two khajiits and the other Argonian into a large room with a ramp on the left side of the



    Hasir cast his bound bow spell and fired an arrow at the spider making its way down the icy ramp. It gave a short squeall and fell,

    unmoving, on its back by Hasir's feet. He blanked the dead spider and walked into another section of the cavern behind Inigo, Affraji,

    and Beem-ja. He almost ran Beem-ja who had put Salma down as he gazed in awe as they gazed upon a giant stone structure that

    was, Hasir guessed, the entrance to Gathrik Gaulderson's tomb.


    Stone steps cut into the stone bedrock led up to a unfamilar building. The structure had a large curved stone arch that served as its

    ceiling and three 'windows' carved out of the dark grey stone as well as two braziers hidden bethind two supporting wall of the stone

    building that bathed it in an otherworldy orangish glow.


    Beem-ja groaned as the two khajiit ran ahead of him; not knowing or caring what dangers await.

    "We'd better get up there, Salma, before those two get into trouble."


    Beem-ja hefted the unconscious Redgyrad onto his shoulder as he walked up the steps that the building sat atop. Hasir and Inigo ran

    up the steps and was met with a gate blocking their way into the tomb. The redguard and Argonian ordered everyone to fan out to

    find a way to open the gate,

    "Everyone, fan out. There must be a switch that unlock the gate." 

    They did as Beem-ja ordered and looked around the area for a switch or some sort of release that would cause the gate to raise.

    Hasir saw, on the opposite end of the large platform two alcoves. He instructed Affraji and Inigo to search the left one while he

    searched the right one. Hasir crept over to the alcove where a chest was waiting, just begging to be opened. He got out his lockpicks

    and set to work picking the lock. He grinned as he heard the telltale 'click' and throse the lid open to find some gold, some potions

    and a steel battleaxe. He stored the gold and potions into his bag and weighed the battleaxe in his hands, giving it a few test



    Hasir held the battleaxe in his hands and went over to see how the khajiit were faring. Affraji giggled as she recounted Inigo's near


    "Khajiit almost got sucked in that hole over there. Affraji had to intervene to save the poor creature. However, he did managed to

    pull the release before falling, so, thank the mother cat for that." 


    Hasir knew Affraji was telling the truth, even though Inigo's face was not ready to admit that. They heard a slow rumbling noise as

    the wooden gate ascended, permitting them access to the nordic tomb. Beem-ja told his companions to go on and that he would

    catch up with them. Hasir nodded and led the two khajiit into the tomb. With them gone, Beem-ja focused all his might, his magicka

    on a healing spell. His hands glowed yellow as he laid them on the redguard's wound which stiched itself up. With her wound healed,

    he poured the contents of a flask he had taken from his robe and tips the contents down her throat. A few seconds later Salma

    opened her eyes.


    Her eyes roamed across the desolate landscape and found her friend who was smiling sweetly at her,

    "Beem-ja, what happened? All I remember is heading straight for the spider when the blue khajiit attacked me."


    The argonian reassured her that everything was alright,

    "Salma, your father... his dying words were 'protect my daughter' and that is what I intend to do. I will have my revenge on that

    arrogant blue khajiit one way or another. As sure as Coldharbour, II will see him destroyed for what he did to you, I swore an oath to

    you and he has sullied that out when he attack you." Salma asked what he was going to do.


    Beem-ja shook his head. He told Salma heard a tale of a black soul gem hidden somewher in the ruin.

    "I don't know, but there is a weapon that other Argonian is looking for. If I can obtain that weapon and a black soul gem, also said to

    lie within the ruin then I can hit the stupid khajiit with that weapon and trapped his soul inside the purple gem.

    Both he and the redguard followed the other companions through a short corridor. Hasir pushed open the door at the other end and

    saw a circular room with a grate covering a hole in the middle of the room. Inigo heard two coffin lids smash into the floor. He turned

    his head to see two rotting skeletons with blue light burning in their empty sockets. They advanced slowly toward the quivering

    khajiit. Hasir turned around as the blue khajiit rushed past him and hid behind a fallen pillar in the corner of the chamber. Hasir and

    Affraji drew their weapons and ran at the draugr. The steel battleaxe bit into the draugr's knee and it fell to one knee. Hasir glanced

    to his left and saw Affraji's ebony cutlass had skewered the undead being through the side of his neck causing the creature's life

    blood to flow freely.


    Once the draugr fell dead to the floor, he returned to his own draugr. His eyes narrowed as he yelled out and buried the battle axe in

    its chest. He had no idea of the weapon's power but he did not expect the battleaxe to do a ton of damage to the cheature's

    ribecage. Hasir put his foot on the head of the battleaxe, wretched it free and sheated it again.


    When affraji had sheathed her own weapon, he smiled at her and gestured toward the small corridor that lkay ahead.

    "Come on, we'd better keep moving. We've a weapon to find." Affraji nodded and then noticed his new weapon on hisa back, "Oh,

    this?" Hasir said, smiling, "This is just something I found when rummaging in a chest, I'm not much for two-handed weapons but

    damn is it powerful. The ice enchantment makes enemies slow down so they can make easy prey. I like when the odds are evened; if

    only slightly. 


    They turned and followed Salma and Beem-ja down further into the tomb, unaware of the Argonian's ulterior motive. Hasir and

    Affraji walked past a horizontal slit carved into the stone which a chest could be seen behind it and heard a squeak as a skeever fell

    dead near them.


    Inigo grinned at Affraji, who had retreated far from the disgusting creature.

    "Affraji, why so scared? I thought that all khajiit like Skeevers, even so much to cook them."

    Affraji gave a small whimper daring not to look at the skeever,

    It is true, khajiit love the vile creatures, this one, however, does not."


    Inigo shook his head, walked toward an alcove and took some gold and scrolls from a chest, pocketed the gold and put the scrolls

    into his bag. He gestured to Affraji as they made their way ever onward. Affraji followed Inigo but dared not look at the skeever.

    They walked down some steps and crossed a stone bridge. Affraji glanced downward and saw Hasir and his companions in the room

    below. Affraji heard yet another blood-curdling scream as her eyes met a rotting corpse. She heard a second scream and a thud as

    the blue khajiit fell to the room below. Inigo gave a yelp of fear as the draugr fell over the bridge and landed a few inches from him.


    The tan khajiit descende the wooden steps and reunited with Beem-ja his companion and the other Argonian and the scared khajiit.

    Beema-ja put his hand on one section of the double-grilled door and pushed. They looked up and saw they were now in the circular

    room that the grill in the room they had entered looked down on. To the left, two lids crashed to the ground causing a shapeless blue

    mist to form a bow in Hasir's hands. He drew the ethereal bow back and loosed an arrow. The arrow sped through the air to slam

    into the draugr's chest. It keeled over sideways. The other draugr, seeing its companion dead, ran at the Argonian. Hasir drew his

    bow back but it faded into mist. He unsheathed his battleaxe and raised it above his head but blue lightning shot past him to strike

    the draugr, causing it to twitch uncontrollably, seize up and crumple to the floor. 


    Unseen by everyone, Beema-ja saw a chest sitting in the corner of the room and opened it to reveal a few gold some scrolls and a

    purple soul gem. He took the soul gem out of the chest and examined it; the gem reflected in his eyes,

    "At last, I found what I came here for, well except from a weapon to activate the soul gem's power."


    Hasir turned around and called out to Beem-ja. I was then that he saw the strange purple gem. The argonian's eyes filled with fear,

    "Beem-ja! What in Oblivion do you think your doing? Drop that gem right away! Its power is that of Molag Bal, the prince of



    Beem-ja made to drop the gem but slipped it into his pocket. Hasir cursed under his breath. The companions and Khajiit followed

    Beem-ja as he led them down to a large porticullis. Inigo drew his sword and went to strike the helmet but Beem-ja thrust an arm

    out to stop him. 

    "I wouldn't do that if I were you; too many traps in this place. One wrong move and you could end up skewered."


    Inigo knew the Argonian's meaning and nocked an arrow into his ebony bow and shot the helmet off of the pressure plate. Nothing

    happened for a monent, then, as Beem-ja had predicted, large spikes quickly protruded from the floor and cieling. No sooner did the

    spikes appear than they disappeared again. When the coast was clear, Beem-ja went through the open porticullis with the others

    following him. 

    Hasir, Affraji and Inigo's eyes beheld a huge room with a horseshoe-like platform dominating the upper section of the room with a

    draugr sitting on a throne made of black stone. Beem-ja turned to his kin and smiled darkly; likewise his cool demeanor had changed

    rather dramatically as he removed the gem from his pocket,

    "Well done you lot, you led me to the one thing I desire most; a way to seek revenge on the stupid, ignorant blue khajiit!" Hasir eyed

    him and snarled as he ascended the stone steps and swore for his short-sightedness. He chased Beem-ja as he ran at the draugr

    warlord; lightning shooting from his hands.


    Hasir conjured his bow and shot arrow after arrow at Beem-ja who hid behind the throne, wrenching the battleaxe from its stoney

    prison. An arrow narrowly missed Beem-ja's tail as his leapt down, held the soul gem aloft and gripped the soul sucking weapon with

    his other hand. Affraji came up behind Gathrik, quickly beheading him and yelled at Hasir to save Inigo at all costs. Hasir, not fully

    knowing why Beem-ja wanted revenge on the khajiit leapt down and faced the powermad Argonian.


    Beema-ja ran at the blue khajjit, the battleaxe raised above his head, ready to strike. Inigo responded in kind with his ebony sword

    and ran at his attacker. Inigo swung the sword in a wide arc, slicing through air. The steel battleaxe with a red tint around thee edges

    bit into Inigo's side. The khajiit groaned as a purple sheen began enevolping his body. Hasir's eyes went wide with terror as a thin

    purple mist stretched from the khajiit to the gem clutched in Beem-ja's outstretched claw. Hasir, seeing his chance, jumped into the

    air and brought his battleaxe down on Beem-ja's head. 


    Salma Saw this act as if it happened in slow motion: the axe coming down and blood spurting out like a fountain out of the top of

    Beem-Ja's head as he collapsed to the floor with Hasir standing over him, grinning like a madman, holding the bloody battleaxe aloft

    as if it was some grotesque treasure. She ran down the stairs toward the reptilian 'madman' and bashed her shield into Hasir's

    forehead sending him skidding across the chamber floor.

    Inigo fell forward as the link with the black soulgem was broken. He snatched the black soulgem from the dead Argonian's hands and

    stored them in his bag. Inigo smelled blood on the air and saw his Argonian friend laying spread-eagled near a pillar with a gash on

    his forehead similar to the one given to the Redguard. He knelt down beside the unconscious Argonian and a dim yellow light

    emanated from between his clasps hands. The light brightened as he moved his hands over the wound on the Argonian's head. Hasir

    opened his eyes and got to one knee rubbing his forehead. Inigo glanced at him in a caring way,

    "Are you okay my friend? That was a pretty bad bump you got there. I did all I could to heal you. I-"


    Hasir held up a hand; silencing the khajiit's nonsensical stammering,

    "It's okay Inigo, I'm fine. Quick think on your part, if it wasn't for that healing spell of yours... I most likely would be in much worse



    Inigo chuckled at this and said that it was quick think on Hasir's part that he ended Beem-ja's rain of terror. Hasir's triumphant smile

    faded as quickly as it came, however, her a sound like a raging bull alerteed them to the Redguard's presence. She ran at the

    Argonian, sword drawn,

    "You killed the only family I ever knew!" She yelled, eyed popping madly, "Beem-ja was my protector! My father entrusted my safety

    to him when he died of corprus!"


    Inigo and Hasir stood up and immediately tried to think of a response to this,

    "Salma... w-we didn't know. We should've..." They offered, rather pathetically


    The redguard advanced on them sword swung upward in a high arc,

    "Ask? No, you didn't. Why liisten to my woes? I am just a lowly bandit, right?" She glared at them maddeningly, "Well, his blood is on

    your hands. Now, your blood will coat my blade." As she said this, an arrow struck her in the chest. She dropped her blood with a

    'clang' as she stumbled backward. Hasir ran forward, took the blade and rammed it through her heart. Hasir smiled satisfactorily as

    the Redguard toppled to the floor; lifeless as a wooden doll. 

    Affraji looked on Horrified as Inigo and Hasir ascended the stairs by the dead Redguard, past the throne of the dead draugr and

    found a blue chest with brass fastenings. Hasir told Inigo they'll split whatever was in that chest later, for now, he had better things

    to take care of. Inigo was unsure of what his friend meant by 'better things' but followed him to a wall carved from stone that had

    dragon claw marks strewn all ober it. Inigo surmized that these 'marks' were actually words. One words in particular glowed bright

    as a hot flame. Inigo gulped and hid behind one of the stone walls as Hasir slowly walked towards the structure; as he walked his

    dragonknight half told him that he did not need shouts as he already had the spirit of a dragon inside him. Not paying heed to the

    voice, he walker closer to the glowing word, hearing the chanting of long dead dragonpriests


    Inigo peered out out from behind his safehaven and as he did so, he saw blue and orange mist extending from the word and

    envelope the Argonian's body. Inigo stared as the wprd began to fade. Hasir walked back to where the khajiit stood. The khajiit

    gaped at him,

    "My friend, did you just absorb... whatever that was? Does that mean that you dragonborn? How does the... thing work? What does

    it do?


    Hasir told the khajiit to calm do as he only was equipped to answer so many questions at one time,

    "Inigo, ease, otherwise you'll become as dead as those draugr." He said with a chuckle. "Okay, one, I am not dragonborn... at least I

    don't think I am. I am a werewolf and a dragonknight, that is enough, don't you think?" He laughed again, "besides, I don't think my

    body can hold anymore 'greatness. As for the shout I think it translates as 'fiem' which means fade." 


    Inigo asked the khajiit if he could show him the word in action. The argonian said he would try. He took a deep breath,



    Inigo gasped as the Argonian's entire body took on a ghostly blue color. Hasir walked toward the throne and disappeared through it.

    Inigo clapped loudly as Hasir walked back through it and become solid again,

    "Whoa! My friend, that will come in handy." He exclaimed, eyes wide with excitement

    Inigo and Hasir scrambled down the wooden logs and was met by the tan khajiit,

    :Affraji, how good of you to join us." Hasir said smiling, "Beem-ja betrayed us, turns out he was a disciple of Molag Bal he-for

    Hircine-where were you?" He spluttered lamely. Affraji told him that she was waylaid by some draugr that blocked her way. She told

    him that once she'd finished with them, she could tell the Argonian had gotten what he came for.


    Hasir looked at her and nodded as his hands traced the stones in the wall near a wooden gate, searching for a release.

    "Well, yes I did come for this but my intention was to disenchant this and place the enchantment on a much more capable weapon, I

    don't do well with two handed weapons. I feel more capable dual wielding or weilding a sword and shield, or if nothing else, then just

    a bow. I am an Argonian of simple taste you might say." His hand found the chain and pulled it. As if on command, the gate

    ascended and the Argonian and two khajiit soon found themselves in a round stone chamber with a wooden staircase spiraling

    up the left side of the chamber chamber. 


    Hasir, Inigo and Affraji walked up the spiraling staircase and found a small tunnel with stone steps cut into a narrow alcove. Hasir ran

    up the many steps and cloodiede with the door, half expecting it to open. He bounced off of it like it were made of rubber and landed

    on the steps with Affraji stared at him as she made her way up the steps. She bent down and helped the dazed Argonian to his feet. 


    Inigo sniggered at the Argonian and shook his head as he pushed open the doors. Affraji went through the door. Hasir made to follow

    her but the blue khajiit placed a caring hand on his scaly shoulder,

    "Next time, push the door open. An open door reveals more than a solid wall." He said smiling as he patted Hasir's shoulder as he

    followed the tan khajiit. 

    Hasir shook this off and went through the door. Inigo found the next door blocked by a wooden bar. Inigo looked sideways at the

    argonian who had caught up with them, took a deep breath and let loose a thunderous shout,

    "Fus Ro Dah!"


    The wooden door vomited bits of wood and metal outwards and over the mountainside. Inigo watched as the wooden and metal

    missiles slide down the thin metal archway below the cliff's edge and let loose a low whistle,

    "Smooth. You could've tried opening the door instead of acting like a idiot."


    Hasir glared at him with a deadpan look and stepped out into the fresh mountain air. Inigo and Affraji bumped into him, forcing the

    Argonian's hand to cartwheel as he maintainined his balance. As he regained his balance, he saw a black shadow. Hasir retreated to

    the wall, forcing Affraji and Inigo to plaster themselves on the wall. Hasir's eyes went wide as the dragon turned in a wide arc and

    headed straight for the ruin. Hasir gasped,

    "I've never seen one before but Kodlak told me about a dragon he classed a legendary and this dragon flapping its wings before the

    mountainside matches its description: purplish-black scales, purple veined grey membranes extending from thin black arms ending

    in black, sharp claws and a bone-colored underbelly."


    Hasir concentrated as blue mist flowed from his hands; but just as the mist began form into a coherent shape, Inigo placed his hands

    on his, causing Hasir to get distracted.

    "My frend, Don't you think we'd need help first, I mean, Affraji and I, we've never faced a dragon before. What if we miss our target

    and the beast flame broils us?" He asked nervously


    Hasir shook this off and gestured to the dragon now soaring around the ruin.

    "Inigo, keep your fleas on for Hircine's sake." He snapped back irritatingly. "I will teach you lot, don't worry, but not here. We just

    have to wing it and see how we do." Despite his friend's reassuring tone, this did nothing to alleviate the khajiit constant fear of

    being served as the dragon's dinner. Hasir went on to tell them the basics of archery and to envision their huge scaly target as

    nothing more than a giant wooden training dummy.

    With only a narrow path seperating them for either a nasty death due to the pointy rocks below and a firey demise with the dragon

    closing in Hasir knew they had to fend for themselves and learn quickly or die trying. After all, he knew thee best way to train

    someone was for them to figure it out on their own and offering advice when needed. The drago came straight at them spewing huge

    torrents of flames that scorched the rock wall. Affraji fumbled for her bow, found it and almost dropped it in her haste to fish for her

    quiver. Taking a deep calming breath she extracted an arrow from her quiver, affixed it to her bow and fired. She fired in quck

    succession. The arrows impaled the dragon in the wing joints, tearing through flesh and bone. The dragon gave a deafening roar as it

    tried to keep airborne but quickly relied it was losing altitude. It flew in a downard siral to land on the frozen earth some feet below



    Hasir gawped at Affraji who sheated her bow blushed.

    "Affraji, you were brilliant... and you said you've never shot a bow before." He said in disbelief. "Finding a dragon's wing joint with

    such pinpoint accuracy and shattering them is no easy feet. You must have exquisite eyesight. Tell me, who trained you?" Affraji said

    nothing be shifted her weight from one foot to the other. Hasir walked up to her and smiled slyly, "come on, who was it? Did your

    father teach you?" 


    Affraji exhaled slowly, looked at the Argonian and nodded.

    "Yes, this one's father trained her. When Affraji was a kitten living in Gonfalon Bay in High Isle, my family lived most of their life on a

    ship;. We raided villages, stole valuables from people who had more than their fair share and, in some cases, took hostages. She was

    told that she had to fight back to protect their treasures from other pirates who'd like to steal it for themselves. Affraji was just a

    young kitten you understand and as such, did not fully grasp the ramifications of what she was doing. She knew, whether she liked it

    or not, she had to listen to her parnets, lest they got wise and disowned her."


    Hasir put and arm around her to comfort her, she smiled glad to have someone who sympathized.

    "Thank you, friend, that means a great deal that you sympathize with this one's troubled past. Anyway, bacak to her story. Affraji's

    parent's gave her a bow and showed her how to use it. They said it is better to be a pirate who can fight and hold his or her own

    instead of a pirate who knows nothing. As Affraji's father said, 'it's best to stand and fight than to wind up dead.' She shrugged, "So

    there you have it, I don't know what kind of story you were expecting, but, there it is anyway." Her expresssion changed from one of

    saddness to one of pure anger, "WHat are we waiting for? Let's finish this."


    Hasir watched and Affraji unsheathed her bow and slid down the stonework archoring the ruin to the moutain and landed, catlike, on

    the ground it front of the dragon.

    Hasir saw this and followed suited, except his attempt at a slide was more him bouncing painfully off of the stone archway and land

    spread-eagled in the snow. All three of them drew their weapons and ran toward the dragon. Iingo ducked behind a rock, unsheathed

    his ebony bow and shoot at the dragon. The arrows bounced off of its scales as harmlessly as if they were a bunch of Teeba-Hatsei

    balls bouncing off of a Wamasu's tough hide.


    Hasir looked from the dragon to the blue khajiit and sniggered,

    "Inigo, you do know that the arrows need to penetrate the thick hide." He shook his head, walking over to the rock were he hid,

    "next time try the fleshy bits of the dragon." He said, laughing much to Inigo's annoyance. Affraji was darting between rocks as she

    narrowly avoided sparatic gouts of flame and ran at the dragon, her ebony cutlass raised above her head. 


    The argonian used this distraction to conjure his ethereal bow and spotted an apparent weakness in the dragon's tough scales. A soft

    fleshy bit was exposed upon the dragon's neck, giving the argonian hope that they might be able to claim victory. With the bow fully

    materialized, he sighted down the arrow shaft and fired. The scaly beast saw this all too soon as he turned his horned head toward

    him. Hasir saw red flame build up inside his throat, with small flames shooting from both sides of his snout. The Argonian leapt aside

    as a huge stream of fire spread out across the snow, melting the snow near Hasir. Hasir rolled out of the way and shot the ethereal

    arrow at the dragon's neck.


    The dragon tried to breath fire again but felt too weak to do so. Seeing their chance, Inigo leapt out from his hiding place and ran at

    the purple dragon hacking every bit of scale he could reach. There was a sickening sound of steel slicing through scale as Hasir

    jumped back, shocked, as the dragon snout split in two, blood spraying the snow, rocks and trees in front of it. Affraji unsheathed

    her ebony bow, trained it on the center of the beast's chest and fired. 


    Inigo looked on, shocked, as orangish-blue mist flew from the dragon's burning skeleton to the confused Argonian. His mouth fell

    open as the corpse continued to burn as the last tendrils of mist had been absorbed. Affraji and Inigo looked at Hasir not believing

    what what they had seen. Hasir looked at them, bewildered. He did not know why people saw those having the soul of a dragon as

    being something to gawk at.


    Hasir, ignoring their stares, went to work looting the dead dragon. He found three dragon scales and two dragon bones as well as

    some gold. He tossed the gold into a coin purse hanging from his belt and the dragon components in his bag. He crossed through the

    crunchy white snow to where he had left his steed. The two khajiit knew they had a mission to get on with and standing there

    gawking at a dead dragon did not help matters.


    As they rode back to Whiterun, he smiled to himself, he could finally start his work on the dragonscale armor he'd been

    painstakingly gathering ingredients for.