C.o.t.W Chapter 109: Tails and Scales

  • Hasir's walwa Forager slowed as it neared the Whiterun stables. His companion slowed as they noticed him looking sorrowfully at the

    city of Whiterun. He was at a crossroad, he wanted to make the armor but knew if he set foot inside the city without Kodlak's

    permission he would be in trouble. 


    Inigo glanced over to him with a worried expression on his face.

    "My friend, what dries your scales?" He asked.


    The Argonian looked away from the city and sighed, 

    "It's nothing. Let's find someplace to camp for the night." Inigo nodded and cast around for a suitable place to make camp. He found

    a khajiit camp, the one where'd they'd met Hasir's sister, and suggested they would lay low there until morning where they would

    think of something.

    They got to the camp around late afternoon. Hasir looked arounf the camp and all the khajiit sitting around a still burning fire. Inigo

    and, despite Hasir's best efforts to hold him back, approached them and sat down. Hasir and Affraji shook their head and joined



    Inigo eyed the khajiit and, seeing a khajiit with a rather unusual metaalic blue mark on her face, glanced over to Hasir.

    "Who is that, my friend?" He whispered, pointing to the female khajiit.


    The Argonian shrugged and said she was just a friend he'd met during his short imprisonment in Cidhna Mine. He told him that she

    was the only person outside of Whiterun that he had told of his lycanthropy. When Inigo inquired about this, the Argonian said that

    Kodlak forbade any of the companions to divulge their condition to anyone outside of Whiterun.


    Hasir looked away from Amahka and saw Vajhira. Disheartened, he walked over to the two khajiit and sat on the one of the logs that

    sat around the fire on which all the khajii sat on. He looked worriedly at the two khajiit,

    "Amahka? Vajhira? What in Kynareth-I mean what in Hircine-why are you out here?" He spluttered. The khajiit looked at him and

    said they were not allowed inside the city. Hasir scoffed at this ridiculous idea, "Come on, Amahka I get but why you, Vahjira? I

    thought that you were accepted in Whiterun now. You even told me so when you welcomed me into the city when I felt out of place,



    Vajhira took a nearby stick and threw it into the fire; satiating the glow embers.

    "Well, I am allowed to traverse the secret passage between the Jorrvask training yards and the twin equine chapel but the guards

    and the patrons there, they still cast me looking of both fear and disdain whenever I go in, almost as if they are afraid to catch my

    fleas... or something." She said sniggering to herself, What a stupid thing to worry about... I can imagine them itching constantly

    and using edges of building as scrathing posts."


    Inigo looked over to her, confused. He had no idea if humans could get fleas or not.

    "You don't have fleas, do you? I thought fleas were only attracted by those with fur?" He asked her inquisitively.


    Amahka shook her head and laughed,

    "Of course I don't have fleas."


    She looked back at Hasi; wanting to continue her story baring any more interruptions,

    "Anyway, when the citizens saw me, they called for the guards and had me chucked out so I had to come and 'live' here, in the camp

    these fine khajiit had enough common decency to give me." Her face suddenly grew darker, "Those stupid cityfolk thought I came

    into their town to sell stolen goods." She gave a slight giggle, though out of mirth or nervousness Hasir did not know. "They foolishly

    surmized that I was using the passageway near Jorrvaskr as an escape route to my 'thief's den'." She laughed again, "How wrong

    those idiots were..." She sighed, dropping her gaze to the fire, "Still, wishing the whole city to take arrows to the knees won't help

    alleviate my situation." She buried her face in her hands, sobbing, I am a housecat with no home, no one wants me.." 


    Hasir and Inigo looked on as murmers of ascent echoed around the campfire. Hasir and Inigo exchange glances. Hasir looked at

    Vajhira and smiled,

    "What if I talked to the guards of Whiterun on your behalf? I can get them to arrange houses for you and Amahka inside the city. If

    that doesn't work, you can always come live with Inigo and me in my estate located near town. It's the least I can do."

    Vajhira's mouth stretched wide in a satisfactory smile,

    "Thank you Hasir, you are too kind." She hung her head again, "You see, Amahka and I came here from the desert land of Elsweyr."

    She looked across at Affraji and Inigo, who nodded, knowingly and returned to her train of thought, placing it back on the tracks,

    "Affraji, Inigo and I are not related, nor am I and Amahka. We only share the same race but I am sure all the khajiit here has felt the

    sting of Imperial scorn." Hasir and Ingo's eyes met; they nodded as though they knew what the khajiit was talking about.


    Vajhira smiled, divided up the fish she was cooking over the fire, smiled warmly and continued,

    "When the Imperials came into the continent of Elsweyr, they looked down on Khajiit as those of a lowly station and were afraid to

    touch them as if they feared getting dirty." She hung her leopardine head, "Not too soon after they came to Elsweyr, they set up

    camp and forced the khajiit to conform to their ways. A few khajiit stood against them trying their damndest to perserve their ways,

    my mother among them." She placed her heads in her hands and sobbed, "My mother never came home. My father told me later

    that night that  the protestors were set upon by those Imperial bastards. They killed them all." She said through gritted teeth.


    Hassir reached a hand out and grasped Vajira's hand,

    "I-I'm sorry for your loss. If you don't mind me asking, what happened next?" He asked.


    Vajhira wiped her eyes and nodded. She was pleased to have someone who was sympathetic to her plight,

    "Thank you. Your understanding means a lot. As for what happened next... I was wisked away to a heretofore unknown location

    that only my father knew." She gulped, "He died spiriting me away, shot in the back by one of the Imperials."


    Hasir looked at her; desperate to connect her experience with a similar experience of his,

    "I know how you feel. I had a similar injustice down to me. I, along with my Argonian brethren, was detained for 'being different'."

    The Argonian let these words hung in the air, like a strange silence before a storm. The leopardine khajiit urged Hasir to continue.

    The Argonian smiled and all too easily obliged, "At the end of my unaif and unjust detainment, I and my brethren stood against, and

    killed, our dunmer jailors." 


    Vajhira nodded and told Hasir that his story had touched her heart. Amahka parroted this. Hasir smiled, got up and stretched,

    "Well, we should turn in. Tomorrow we have an early day. I will make good on my promise." The khajiit surrounding the fire got up

    and went to their respective tents. Hasir, Affraji and Inigo went back to the large tent, laid out their bedrolls and feel asleep.

    The next morning, the Argonian got up and went out to the fire that had long since died and sat on one of the logs, staring into the

    fire. Inigo opened his eyes and, noticing that his friend wasn't there, went outside and sat beside the Argoinan. The smart blue cat

    glanced at his friend who was looking forlornly in the non-existent fire,

    My friend... I-er-how are you going to go about doing to task you set for yourself last night?" Hasir's shoulders rose and fell and his

    tail rose and fell lamely like an almost dead snake, "I don't know, Inigo, I think I am going to sneak into the city tonight and procure

    a place for Amahka and Vajhira."


    Inigo thought for a while and came up with a solution, smiling at Hasir,

    "You could always go straight to the Jarl and beg him to house the banished khajiit." He suggested.


    The Argonian spun around and snarled at him; making the khajiit bristle like a scared Afiq,

    "You know I can't do that! The minute I set foot inside Whiterun, Kodlak will be on me like fleshflies on Wamasu dung. Not to

    mention the guards. In case you forgot, I killed the preacher, Hiemskr, in cold blood! They will want my head!"


    Inigo changed tactics; thinking on an idea that would not upset the Argonian further, nor send him into incomprehesible hysterics,

    "Welll... there is always the chapel. We go there in the cover of night, sneak into the city via the passageway to lead to Jorrvaskr,

    sneak into the dragonreach prison and lay low until morning when we head up to the main hall there and speak with the Jarl." Hasir

    narrowed his eyes at him. He gulped, either that or we can vist the Jarl iinside his chambers and ask him that way.


    Hasir walked over to Inigo; obviously lost in thought,

    "Tempting offer but why don't they just stay in my house near the city? They are outcasts after all, though no fault of their own, and

    will be booted out of the city faster than you can say 'werewolf'." He shook his head, "That has 'bad idea' written all over it. My idea

    is better. There will be no bloodshed and we'll have two-perhaps more-very happy khajiit. It's a win for both parties." He said,



    Inigo nodded as he and Hasir went inside the tent to find all the khajiit and Xelzaz sitting around a wooden table set with plates

    containing fried thrush eggs, juniper berry juice, toast and a moonsugar wine Hasir had never tried before. Feeling quite hungry,

    Hasir and Inigo sat between Vajhira and Amahka and helped themselves to a bit of everything-even going so far as to try the

    moonsugar wine.


    Hasir looked over at Inigo, who was happily sipping his wooden cup of wine while he gazed at Hasir who lent back in his chair not

    touching his cup,

    "My friend, what's wrong? You have that far-off look again." He asked sauntering over to the Argonian while continually sipping his

    cup, "I see you haven't even touched you wine. Is it too bitter?" He inquired. He scrutinized the Argonian; his pumpkinish eyes

    roving over his figure, trying to ascertain what he was feeling, what he was thinking. 


    The argonian shook his head while staring at the ceiling of the tent,

    "No, the wine is great, it really is. It's just... I am still wondering if I have enough beds for five khajiit as well as you, Inigo." He said

    in a worried voice.


    Hasir's eyes flutter downward suddenly as an idea came to him,

    "Hey, You don't suppose that Xelzaz can brew up some invisiblity potions?"


    Inigo reached across the table with a purplish-blue hand, grabbed the wine bottle and hit Hasir over the head. Hasir try to bat the

    bottle away with his hands. After suceeding to grab the wine decanter and tossing it against the wall, Hasir got another bright idea,

    one even better than the last,

    "Inigo, ignore my previous idea, I've a new one. What if Xelzaz can transfigure us into Whiterun guards so we can escort the two

    khajiit into the city. If not, than we can... steal some guard uniforms and we can always pass ourselves off as guards." He suggested


    Inigo sighed and sat down beside Hasir. He slapped the Argonian in the forehead for his stupidity,

    "My friend, do you think it would look wierd that it would look odd to be fish swimming against the sea of uniformity?"


    Hasir groaned and rolled his eyes,

    "What in Oblivion does that mean? Try again, in common Tamrielic." He said


    Inigo took a deep breath and tried again, in a slow voice that he would use for a insolent khajiit,

    "I said 'wouldn't that feel odd if two guards with tails were visible among imperial or breton guards'?"

    Hasir's tail swayed swiftly from side to side. He quickly hid his excited howvere as his mind caught another fish in the sea of thought,

    "Inigo, this is nice and all, helping the khajiit but shouldn't we get some shut eye? We've an early morning and a long road's travel

    ahead of us if we are to complete the prerequisites needed before we can fully attack Krovaxis... you know, the schematic and focus

    crystals that K'hairi spoke of?No only that but I've got to find a way to get back into the companions' good books."


    Inigo smirked and patted Hasir on the shoulder. He was happy to see his friend finally coming to his senses about all of this and

    listened intently as Hasir told him of the debt he has to pay the citizens of Whiterun as that was the only way, he said, to reenter the

    ranks as a companion.


    Inigo turned to the Argonian after a hearty drink for his cup and saw that all too familiar thirst for adventure in the Argonian's eyes.

    "What do you plan to do, you can't simply walk up to each citizen in turn and ask if they have work for you. You are not the thane,

    my friend. Erm... even if you did wish to attain such a status, you'll be ousted before you get to the Jarl's longhouse."


    Hasir smirked, got up and walked to a side of the tent with a bookshelf on it.

    "You foolish feline, I am not going to enter the city, I am going to help out at one of the farms and, hopefully, complete enough tasks

    on that farm that, in doing so, that will hopefully equate to helping the citizens of Whiterun." He turned away from the bookshelf and

    face the khajiit, "Your idea of becoming the thane is brilliant, maybe I can go into the city and convince the jarl to give me the tittle,

    though I may have to work for it first."


    With that, he left the camp and headed along the path to the city gates. Once inside the city, he blanked all the merchant stall and

    headed up to the cloud district. When he stepped over the threshold, two guards on opposite ends of the hall flung themselves at

    him and attempted to restrain him. He quickly wriggle out of their relatively weak hold and cast his flame whip that turned the

    otherwise cool hall into an oven. 


    The guards leapt back as if burnt. A femal guard walked up to the Argonian and scoffed at the shocked guards.

    "Are you lot guards or milk drinkers, divines save us."


    She put a hand on Hasir's shoulder and told his to sheathe his spell, he did so. Hasir glanced at the female guard outfitted in the

    Whiterun guard uniform.

    "I guess they let just about anyone join the guards these days," He said barking a laugh


    The female Imperial ignored this apparent dig at her sex and smiled coyly,

    "Well yes and no, I had to convince alot of pople, those in the guard especially, of my aspirations. It... was hard, especially because

    they did not think a female was fit to be a guard. They, the male compenets of the garrison, subjected me to take a test no other

    man would dare take because they thought I could not handle the real thing." She grinned and laughed, "You should've seen the

    looks on their faces when I proved them wrong." She looked at Hasir and cursed, "My name's Lydia, nice to meet you." Hasir retuned

    the gesture.


    Lydia glanced at him, her eyebrows raised, half wondering why he was here and if there was anything she could help with.

    "Hasir, why are you here? I heard you killed the preacher in the city. He was so annoying. It was about time that something was

    done about that that blithering idiot. I was getting tired of hearing him preaching about Talos as though he was the only god in

    existence, as though none of the other gods existed at all." She said scowling. "If I had to guess, would you happen to be here to

    apply for the position of Thane?"


    Hasir raised his spiky eyebrows as his jaw hit the floor. He did not know who told her of this but he was quite impressed.

    "How did you know that? Did someone tell you?" 


    Lydia giggled and punched Hasir in the shoulder which made the Argonian wince.

    "No one told me, I could tell what you came here for the moment you stepped into the hall. Come, let us speak to Jarl Balgruff and

    see what he has to say."


    She lead him past the firepit and up to where the Jarl sat. Upon seeing the Argonian, Balgruuf jumped to his feet and unsheathed his


    "What is he doing here?" The Jarl asked, outraged, "I thought he was banished for killing the preacher, Hiemskr." Lydia waved him

    down and explained why the Argonian had come back. "Very well," The jarl said, slumping back onto his throne, "Let us hear why

    you came back, Hasir but don't pull anything funny or my guards will run you out of town."


    Hasir approached the throne and bowed his head,

    "My intentions are honest. I have no desire to lie to you, though, Hiemskr was asking for it." Bolgruuf unsheathed his sword and

    pointed it at Hasir threateningly. The Argonian moved the blade away from his neck, "I apologize if I struck a nerve, but that is not

    the reason I came here. The real reason I came here is to both request that the khajiit obtain shelter in your city and to ask that you

    bestow upon my the title of Thane."

    The jarl stared at him for a few seconds as if he were something disgusting he wanted to be rid of as swiftly as possible,

    "Why should I let those flea-bitten vermin into my city? There is likely to be war between them and the Nords if I do. Do you

    understand that the Nords and khajiit don't see eye to eye and consider the cat-folk to be beneath them? No, I cannot in good

    conscious do that." He fell silent for a time, thinking on something, "This thane position you speak of, it turns out I do need a thane

    in my court." He rubbed his chin in thought, "Tell you what, if you help a few people in Whiterun. They could be people you've

    wronged in the past. If you do that than I can see about both you offer of housing the khajiit and the possiblity of making you the

    thane of my city."


    Hasir's face brightened at the possibilty of making both Vajhira and Amahka's drearms, and even the rest of the khajiits' dreams,

    come true.

    "Jarl balgruuf, thanks for hearing me out. Wait until I tell Vajhira and the khajiit, their tails will be tied in knots!" He said excitedly.

    The Jarl frowned at him as he leaned over and whispered something to Irileth. Hasir strained his ears to see if he could hear the

    hushed conversation but, even to his supernaturally enchanced hearing, he could not make neither tails nor scales of what they were

    saying. Irelith bowed respectfully and left the hall.


    The argonian raised an eyebrow and asked the Jarl what he and his housecarl was taliking about. The jarl weighed the question in his

    mind for a bit before answering.

    "I've sent Irileth to Jorrvaskr to tell Kodlak about the title you wish to obtain." Hasir asked why on Tamriel he did that. Balgruuf

    leaned closer to the Argonian, "Tell me if I'm wrong, but, Irileth and I were wondering if you wishing to become Thane has anything

    with getting back in with the Companions?" The shocked Argonian cocked his head to the side and asked the jarl how he know that

    as he did mention anything to him nor Irileth about that. The jarl stood up and sat down in one of the chairs flanking the long table

    on the right side of the firepit. Hegestured to the chair across from him, Hasir sat down.


    Balgruuf placed his hands on the table, tented his fingers and looked at the Argonian,

    "Hasir, I know because Kodlak came to dragonsreach after your temporary suspension." He gave a slight chuckle, "Well, that all

    depends if you do all the tasks set forth for you." The argonian's eyes narrowed as he thought about what the Jarl was saying. He

    finally spoke aloud the words he was thinking, "Balgruuf, are you saying that Kodlak has been watching me this whole time? That he

    has some secret agenda for me before I can obtain my proper rank again? Do he want me to, er, help Severlo Pelagia replenish all

    the crops I stole?"


    The jarl was about to say something else when the door banged open and in walked Irileth with Kodlak right behind her. Jal balgruuf

    smiled and gesturing Irileth to the chair next to his and Kodlak the chair next to Hasir. Jarl Balgruuf explained the situation to Kodlak

    but the harbinger held up a hand to silence him,

    "That's enough Balguuf, I've already heard the story from your housecarl. Hasir is this your motive? Do you really think that

    becoming thane of Whiterun will really help you in returning to Jorrvaskr to rejoin the ranks of the companions?" Think he knew what

    came next, Hasir tail hung limply behind him but was caught offguard when Kodlak smiled at him rather than being mad with him,

    "Hasir I thinking becoming thane is a wonderful opportunity to hel the people of Whiterun. If you remember, I told you that if you

    helped some people in need, you will quickly regain not only the honor of the companions but also my gratitude." He cast a sideways

    glance at Balgruff and smiled.  He got up and left the hall. 


    Balgruuf got up and gestured for the Argonian to do the same,

    "Hasir, don't you have people to help? Best get to it."


    Hasir left the hall with his tail swaying like a snake that caught a mouse after much turmoil and hardship. As he was about to push

    the door open, he thought of something. He glanced over his shoulder and called back to the Jarl,

    "You'd better hold up your end of the bargain."  with that, Hasir left Dragonsreach and stepped out into the city of Whiterun.

     Hasir walked down the stone steps, tail swaying stiffly. He walked towards the tree in the center of the city and sat down on one of

    the many benches that encircled the tree, placing his bag by his feet. His tail coiled on the bench next to him as there way no hole

    for it to poke through. He fussed with it trying to make it feel as comfortable as possible but ultimately gave up as he became lost in


    "How in Hircine's name will I assist the people? This city is small and familiar but at the same time it feels so large and alien. I mean

    I have yet to meet the majority of the citizens that live here. I only known those in Jorrvaskr, dragonsreach and the alchemy shop

    that Arcadia runs." He said, counting on his fingers. "I suppose I can also venture outside in the plains to see if the people there

    require any assistance."


    He smiled and got up, seeing those places as a good place to start. He was about to go into to Arcadia's alchemy shop when an idea

    struck him as he stopped and looked at the Gildergreen; its bark white as snow and its branches looking as dead as ever.

    "Hmmm... I could go see Danica and see if she needs help." He picked up his leather backpack, slung it over his shoudler and

    headed for the temple of Kynareth. 


    Danica was dressing an injured farmer's wounds when she heard a knock at the door. She placed her tools on the stone slab and

    went to answer it. She let out a groan of despair when she saw the Argonian standing there beaming at her.

    "What do you want Hasir, can't you see I'm busy?" He peered inside the temple and saw medical supplies laid out on one of the stone

    beds. He apologized and Danica closed the door. The sly Argonian stuck out his foot to stop the door. Danica rolled her eyes, "Look, I

    am very busy, can you come back tomorrow and we can discuss whatever it is you want then?" He said it couldn't. The imperial

    gestured him inside and shut the door.


    Hasir saw that the temple hadn't changed from the time he'd met Ceralyne. A memory came to him of her, not wanting to show tears

    in front of the Imperial, he quickly wiped them away. His eyes fell upon the ingored farmer and immediately recognized him as the

    man who ratted him out to Kodlak. He blanked him, trying to shut out his incessant moaning and turned to Danica.

    "Danica, why is Severio Pelagia here?" She eyed him as she continued to wrap his leg with what looked, at least to Hasir, like damp

    cotton. He lent closer and saw that she was using the same thing she had used on him to heal the man as well. She looked over

    her shoulder at him and said that Severio's farm was attacked by a giant. 


    Danica's face brightened as the injured man stirred,

    "Good news, he is awake so you can ask him yourself." She said grinning


    The man's eye fluttered open and looked down at him leg, fighting the urge to vomit and the pressure increased as each layer of wet

    wisp wrappings was appiled, laced intermittently with leather straps for added stability. The man groaned and glanced to his left. He

    nearly fell off the slab when he saw Hasir. 


    Frightened, he turned to Danica while pointing at the Argonian,

    "What is he doing here? Hasn't he done enough damage to my farm?"


    Hasir grimaced and backed away slightly as if stung by the man's words,

    "Hircine's claws no, I am actually her to amend my ways... er, pay a debt to you." He looked down at Severio's bandaged leg, "Mind

    if I ask, did the giant break your leg?" Severio glanced at Hasir as if no qeustion could be stupider. Surely, the Argonian could

    connect the dots with what Danica was doing.


    Anger flooded Severio's body but he took a deep breath to contain himself,

    "Yes, he did. For some reason, the giant ventured near my farm. I thought it was going to attack my crops, my apple orchard or my

    chickens, so I ran inside, grabbed my sword and faced the giant. I swung at the stone-skinned creature only to have my sword break

    on contact. It was then that I knew I messed up. The giant swung its tree-like club and broke my leg in three places. I know I had to

    do something, so I hailed a carriage and asked to driver to take my to Whiterun; once there, I hobbled all the way up to the Temple

    of Kynareth and... well, the rest you can see for yourself."


    Hasir said the man shouldn't haved egged the giant on, he was doing no harm. He also asked the man what he could do. Severio

    shifted his weight, as much as he could without suffering jolts of pain.

    "Argonian, can you look after my farm? Well, look after it for as long as I am here, please?"


    Hasir nodded and left the temple.

    He knew that looking after a farm was not part of his plan but he wanted to help in any way he could. He wondering if wild wolves

    or sabretooth tigers would attack the farm and if they did, he would have to be properly outfitted. He knew he could not fend any

    threat to Pelagia farm off with armor that he could barely move in; let alone fight in. He kned he had to see Adrianne and ask her to

    use her forge. He was thinking of using the skyforge but if he was spotted by the harbinger then he would get tossed out of

    Jorrvaskr, possibly for good. He let this idea float away like a boat on water and headed down to Warmaidens. 


    As he approached warmaidens, Adrianne, the owner of the shop was busily working the forge while he guessed her husband was

    inside selling armor or something. The argonian shrugged and walked over to Adrianne. He laid out all the dragon scales and bones

    he'd gathered upon a small wooden table that lay beside the forge. The Imperial walked over to the table just as Hasir finished

    placing the two deer pelts. 


    He grinned at her as she picked up a scale and examined it. His tail did a quick dance behind him as he waited patiently for her to

    speak. After she placed the scale on the table and scrutinized his wares, she finally did so.

    "Hasir, how did you come by these?" She said gesturing to the items on the table. 


    The argonian lent the empty backpack against the table.

    "I killed some dragons for the scales and bones. As for the deer pelts, I killed a stag and a doe. I skinned them myself. All these

    ingredients are required to craft dragonscale armor." Adrianne gawked at him; she thought that the ingredients for such an armor

    would be harder to obtain. "Yes, you heard me right." Hasir said nodding, "Dragon. Scale. Armor." He said, greatly annunciating each

    word. "I require your forge so I can craft the armor as well as... er, three days to assemble the armor." Adrianne told him that he was

    free to use anything in the immediate vicinity to complete his task. Hasir beamed at her. Adrianne returned the gesture and went

    inside her shop. 

    Hasir began by tanning the two deer hides at the tanning rack. When he had enough leather strips, he laid them beside the scales

    and bones and spilt the water trough into three parts and set the bones in one section, the scales in another and the leather strips in

    the third. Over the next few days, Hasir left the bones, scales and leather strips in the partitioned trough until they had softened.

    Once they had become sufficiently pliable, he worked the scales fitted the dragon bones and tied them together with the leather

    strips. At sunset on the second day, The scales and bones began forming the shape he had envisioned. He worked the armor until he

    had made a set of boots with a matching green cuirass with ivory spikes and inlays. He removed one after the other from the

    workbench using tongs and dipped them in the nearby stream. When cooled to his liking, he lent them against the tanning rack to



    He went back to the workbench and worked the armor some more until he fashioned a matching set of spiked gauntlets. He repeated

    the process that he had done with the previous bits of armor. Once those parts cooled, he stripped out of his heavy armor, stowed it

    into his bag and put on his new armor. Seeing he had a surplus of leather strips, bones and scales, he made a set for Inigo. He also

    made two dragonbone axes, a dragonbone sword and worked some scales to form a shield. He tossed the shield and weapons in the

    stream and, after a few seconds, picked them up and laid them on the cobblestones to dry.


    Hasir picked up his newly created axes, sheathed them and stored the dragonbone sword and the extra set of armor into his bag and

    pushed the gate open. He wondered where the exact location of Severio's farm was but saw Inigo and Affraji coming up the

    cobblestone path toward him. Inigo saw the new armor and circled it like a dog would a new toy.

    "My friend, where did you get the snazzy new armor? You look like a dragon in human form."


    Swelling with pride at being praised, the Argonian thanked the smart blue cat.

    "Thanks Inigo, I got a surprise for you; three actually." He reached into his bag and extracted a dragonbone sword, a shield and a

    matching set of dragonbone armor.

    Inigo took the armor, sword and shield from Hasir and stripped out of his old and dirty hunting ground outfit and stepped into his

    new dragonplate armor. 

    "You can turn around now my friend. Well? What do you think?" He asked as he swung his dragonbone sword in the air. "Nice

    sword. The dragonscale shield isn't half bad either, but I must ask... why didn't you fashion us any helmets?" He also asked about

    the two axes on the Argonian hips.


    Hasir eyed the khajiit if he'd eaten a bad sweetroll, which given Inigo's proclivity for sweetrolls wouldn't be that far field. 

    "I don't like helmets. I like giving my spikes, the ones on my head not the armor, room to breathe. I thought you'd be the same way

    with your ears so I didn't bother with the helmets. As for my axes, I don't do well with a sword and shield or two handed weapon so

    that left me with only one option." Inigo asked the Argonian why he doesn't use other weapons.


    The Argonian waved the khajiit's question away as if it was a troublesome fleshfly. 

    "Now, I didn't say I was averse to different kinds of weapons. I just meant that I will use various weapons for training purposes only.

    When I am out on a mission, I will stick to my two axes. Of course, my opinion bears no weight on you; you can use whatever

    weapon you like. It wouldn't bother me one bit if you decided that your proficiency with a bow trumps your skill with a longsword." 


    Inigo unsheathed his ebony bow and compared it against the dragonbone sword.

    "Is there any chance that he make bows out of dragonbone? I feel my ebony bow feels a bit weak compared to the shiny, new

    dragonbone sword." He thought, frowning as he studied his new sword.

    As if on cue, Hasir took out a bundle of furs and handed them to Inigo. He looked perplexedly at Hasir.

    "My friend, I have enough furs to survive a cold winter's night, thanks anyway." He smiled uncertainly as he tried to forced them

    back into Hasir's hands.


    Hasir huffed in anger and pushed so hard that Inigo nearly fell over. The khajiit sighed in defeat and opened the bundle of furs. His

    eyes sparkled as they beheld twenty arrows in a brown quiver with a dragonbone symbol on it and an equally beatuiful ivory weapon

    punctiated by 'dragon teeth' that decorated the edge of the bow.


    He picked it up, slung the quiver over his shoulder, nocked an arrow and shot it toward a grazing doe fifty feet away. The doe keeled

    over and Inigo ran towards it and extracted the arrow with a satisfactory grin.

    "Wow! This bow is amazing." He said glancing over his shoulder at the Argonian. "It definitely beats my ebony bow by a wide



    Haisr ran at a majestic stag grazing a few short feet from the fallen doe and ripped through the creature's jugular with his two axes.

    The poor creature fell to its knees and pleaded, with wide eyes, for him to end its suffering. Feeling pity for the stag, Hasir sliced

    through the stag's neck with his twin axes. 


    He hissed pleasantly as he saw, first hand, the axes' deadly speed and precision. Hasir wiped off the blood-stained axeheads and

    sheathed them. He removed his knife from his bag and started skinning the fallen stag and doe. When all the spoils of the kill was

    gathered, he folded the pelts, placed them in his bag and started walking toward Severio's farm with Inigo behind him.

    They got to the farm around midday. Undulating fields with crops as far as the eye could see: wheat, corn, carrots and lettuce met

    their eyes. Beside the expansive field was a typical woodwork house with a small apple orchard on the right side of the house. Inigo

    saw a lone khajiit working the crops and approached him. 

    "It's nice to see another of my kind in Skyrim, but are you aware that slavery was outlawed in Morrowind not too long ago? You know

    you can be free if you want to, right?" The khajiit ignored him as if he didn't hear the blue khajiit, or perhaps he could not hear him.


    Inigo cupped his hands around his mouth and raised his voice,

    "You are the master of your own fate. No one will stop you if you choose to do something with your life and not be a slave to

    another's will and desires. If you want to escape this oppressive atmosphere, no one will stop you."


    The khajiit turned his brown-furred head, stood up, walked over to where Inigo stood and whacked him on the side of the head with

    his trowel,

    "Of course I know that, idiot," He said with a snarl, "Maybe you should learn you facts before making rather outlandish assumptions."

    He gestured to the crops he was tending, "I chose to stay here and tend these crops moron. Well, to be clear, I harvest the crop

    and there are, in turn, made into breads, stews and soup by Xhiak-xi." Inigo and Hasir looked at each other, thoughly confused. 


    Hasir scrutinized the khajiit as he leant against the house, folding his arms. Judging from his brown slacks and blue shirt, the

    Argonian guessed that the khajiit either moved here from Elsweyr or he had worked in some fancy clothes shop in Skyrim before

    getting this job.

    "Who is Sheem-la? Is she your wife? A fellow slave?" He sniggered, unaware of his rudeness


    The khajiit narrowed his eyes dangerously,

    "No. How dare you insinuate such a thing!" He thundered, "Zayirr would never submit himself to be a slave. This one is no

    indentured servant. He performs tasks of his own free will."


    Hasir scoffed at him. The brown khajiit scowled at him,

    "A likely story. What about Sheem-la, is she free?"


    Zayirr could've strangled the Argonian for his inpertinence. He took a deep breath; cooling his emotion.

    "The argonian, Xhiak-Xi is indeen a free lizard. She came here from Morrowind," He tail coiled and uncoirled nervously behind him,

    "She did become captured by dunmer, however, and was forced to work at one of their mines." He looked at the moronic Argonian,

    who rolled his eyes, "Don't look at me like that." The khajiit snapped, "She was a slave but she killed her captors, escaped and went

    looking for a new life in Skyrim."

    Hasir glanced at him; thinking the khajiit was pulling his tail.

    "Really? Why didn't I run into her then?"


    Zayirr burst out laughing as he saw Hasir's clueless face.

    "No, not really. You scalebacks will believe anything. This one was just joking."


    Hasir snarled at this indignant remark and strode up to the brown khajjit,

    "It's bad enough I get treated differently by Aela. I don't need any more helping of rascism added to my plate." He turned and

    walked away but Zayirr picked up his spade and  poked the Argonian in the back with it. Hasir whipped around, swung his tail

    around; the khajiit landed hard, kicking up dirt. Hasir rounded on him and unsheathed his flame whip.


    The khajiit looked utterly terrified a he stared in what, to hiim, to be a shard of Oblivion and cringed as the mad Argoian swung it in

    a wide arc; catching the crops on fire. Zayirr gasped as he watched all his hard work go up in flames. Zayirr glanced wildly around to

    see if anyone would come to his aide. After noone moved to assist him, he look up into the sky and started praying. 


    Hasir laughed maniacally as he raised his fiery whip. The khajiit before him felt the heat coming both from the Argonian as well as

    the living weapon and grabbed a nearby rock to protect himself. Inigo, who was conversing with Xelzaz, saw this unsettling scene

    and ran towards Hasir, waving his hands above his head,

    "My friend, what on Tamriel do you think you're doing? He insults you and you burn his crops? Wouldn't it be best to just have let the

    insult run off your shoulders?" He said, sweating a bit from the whip's heat. Hasir shrugged.


    Inigo gestured to the field of burnt carrots, corn and other crops and took a deep breath.

    "My friend, you have a lot of work to do." He looked accusingly at Hasir, "because you alone, no one else, committed this deed and

    you have to atone for your actions." Hasir hissed indignantly at him. Inigo strode over to Hasir and pointed angrily at him, "My

    friend, don't be like that. You have to set things straight so you will go and see if there are any stores that sell seeds, especially

    ones whose packages that look like the ones that we saw when we first approached the farm.


    Hasir growled with rage at the blue khajiit and stomped off to the city gates. With Hasir gone, Inigo passed by the burnt vegetable

    field, put an arm around Zayirr and lead him to the house, knocked and entered. Inigo gestured to the Argonian stirring a pot of

    soup over a steadily roaring fire.

    "Is this the Argonian you were talking about?" He asked perplexedly. Zayirr nodded and waved the light green Argonian over to the

    table by the door. Inigo and Hasir saw this as an invitation for them to sit down, they did so. Sheem-la introduced herself to the

    khajiit and Argonian. 


    Inigo's eyes darted between the amber Argonian and the brown khajiit, mouth agape,

    "You two look remarkably like my foster parents. They were an Argonian and Khajiit too... er, only... the other way around; male

    Argonian and female Khajiit. There names were Da Vinci and Leah." Zayirr's face fell; assuming they were dead. Inigo chuckled a bit

    and waved his hand dismissively, "No, they're not dead. My foster parents are very much alive. They are in Riverhold where they

    remained when Fergus and I'd left to seek our destinies."


    The amber Argonian lent over the table and eyed Inigo concernedly.

    "Inigo, who is Fergus?" 


    Inigo smiled at her; always ready to inform and enlighten the people of Tamriel about his past and his family.

    "Fergus is my brother," His smile faded, "I mean he was before he died as he was helping my parents sort out a caravan that was

    set upon by bandits." Inigo thought of something, "Fergus and I were adopted in an orphanage in Riverhold. My mother, Attalla

    stored my brother and I in a cave she'd found; putting a letter describing our situation in between us."


    Sheem-la and Zayirr's eyes met; they did not have an inkling about what Inigo was talking about. Inigo saw this and guessed they

    were about to ask about his birth mother. Hasir glanced toward Inigo and saw a tear glistening on his friend's face. Inigo saw this

    and hastily wiped his eyes.

    "Attala was my mother. She fell ill just we celebrated our second birthday. Corprus is a horrible, horrible disease... drove her mad as

    it ravaged her body; making her a walking corpse. She was just like everyone else infected with the 'divine disease,' their brains

    slowly deteriorating before their loved ones. My mother must've contracted the disease when she traveled to Morrowind. Like all the

    poor victims, my mom barely recognized us in the final stages of the disease."


    Sheema-la eyed Inigo, a tear falling down her cheek like water from a stalactite.

    "If she died, how in Oblivion did she send you away?"


    Inigo shrugged and guessed. He was not prepared for this. He almost always had an answer for questions, except this one.

    "Dunno, I guess her intuition told her it was the right thing to do. The village we were born in was going to kill me anyway." Both

    Sheem-la and Zayirr looked at one another, worried, "I was born under a 'bad moon.' It is referenced in many Elsweyrian tales. A

    khajiit born in the dark of night under a bad moon shall suffer from blue tinge of fur." He recited as if burned into his memory, "That

    unfortunate soul must be spirited away swiftly or be put to the sword."


    The Argonian shared her concern and asked if Fergus suffered the same fate. Inigo beamed at her, happy to have someone who

    shared his love of storytelling.

    "My brother did not suffer the same fate. He and I were born mere minutes apart, so he was born just as the sun was just about to

    blanket the world in darkness."


    Zayiir reached over and grasped Inigo's hand in his own. Sheem-la told the khajiit that she hoped that Fergus's demise doesn't weigh

    on him too hard and that he should not let the shadow of death blot out the sunlight and if he concentrates he can break through the

    overwhelming doubt that comes with it.


    Inigo thanked her and Zayirr and said that he would talk more but he wanted to make sure that his friend found the seeds to

    replenish the fields of vegetables that now lay blacker than the deepest pits of Oblivion. Sheem-la and her husband waved good-bye

    to the khajiit as he pushed the door open.

    Hasir walked up the cobblestone path and over the wooden drawbridge and entered the city. He walked past warmaiden's and

    headed straight for Arcadia's Cauldron because he knew she'd possibly have the seeds he needed; after all, she did, he knew, have

    flowers for use for alchemy purposes.


    He entered and Arcadia looked up from her counter; where she was organizing her alchemical ingredients.

    "Hello again. How can I help you?" She asked


    Hasir walked, with purpose, to the counter; his tail swishing behind him,

    "Do you have any seeds?" He asked as he drummed his claws on the counter, "I require them to fix a mishap."


    Arcadia leaned over the counter and asked the Argonian what sort of mishap. Hasir's left leg gave out a little; he staggered slightly.

    The alchemist stared at him concernedly. Hasir walked over to the table in the corner and sat down and told the Imperial that it was

    just an old injury he sustained many months ago.


    Arcadia set down the blue mountain flower she was in the middle of categorizing and walked over to the table and sat down opposite


    "Care to tell me the tale of how you recieved that injury?" Hasir shook his head and told her that she would find it boring. Arcadia

    grasped the Argonian's claws and said she wanted to know.

    Hasir took a deep breath and stared at the alchemy station behind the Imperial.

    "Fine." He said, looking bored. "I was hunting some silver hand members in a cave when one of them shot a bolt through my tibia. I

    was in my werewolf form," Hasir said to a shocked Arcadia, "I, er, was in my black and white lupine halves at the time. When, hours

    later, I was in my Argonian form, my mate Rakel found me pale as a sheet, obviously from the loss of blood, and tied a plank to my

    leg after she fitted the shattered bits of bone together and assisted me to the Temple of Kynareth."


    He gestured to his leg as he discussed the matter with Arcadia. The sound of scraping chair legs startled the Imperial alchemist as

    Hasir stood up and gestured towards the shop door.

    "I would love to stay and talk more but I've a task to complete. By the way.... er, if you don't have seeds here do you know where I

    can find some so I can fix my error?"


    Arcadia told him that one of the vendors in the market district, Carlotta Valentia, is the vegetable merchant. You might ask her or her

    daughter, Mila. Hasir stopped at the door and turned to the Imperial. She strode toward him and said she was going to same way

    because she had to talk to the Jarl about something. "Carlotta sells, to my knowledge, pea and carrot seeds as well as corn and

    wheat kernals as well as a plethora of fully grown vegetables." Hasir smiled, thanked her and walked to the Whiterun market as

    Arcadia proceeded past him to the steps leading to the wind district.  

    Hasir walked to the small market at the foot of the stairs that led to Jorrvaskr and saw that the flags that decorated the market days

    previous were gone and that no one was boasting their wares for sale. He shrugged as if this did not phaze him, however, at the back

    of his mind, he was dissapointed about not getting the chance to get some wares at half-priice like he said he was going to do.


    He looked up and saw the moon beginning to come out. Hasir was unconcerned of this because he knew the ring he had enough

    sense to fit onto his finger minutes before would keep the best lurking within him at bay. He walked closer to the vegetable stall and

    smiled as he saw Carlotta's daughter, Milla playing with a doll with a little blue dress staw-like hair,

    "Mila, do you know where you mom is?" He asked as he lent over the wooden surface of the stall. Hasir looked intently at Mila who

    shook her head.


    Hasir hissed in disappointment. Mila heard this and gestured to the house behind the stal.

    "She's inside. If you want to, you can get her." Hasir shook his head and said she should do it instead.


    Mimutes later, Hasir got up and smiled as a woman in a tan dress approached the stall. She gestured to her wares and asked the

    Argonian what he would like. Hasir smiled at her,

    "Hi Carlotta, doing well?" Hasir asked smiling. The imperial shrugged. Hasir nodded; his finger tapping his chin as if in thought, "As

    you can guess I didn't come here to exchange small talk, I actually came here to buy seeds. Do you have carrot and lettuce seeds as

    well as wheat and corn kernels?" He asked, frowning at the stunning lack of seed packages on display.


    Carlotta nodded, disappeared below her stall and brought out a small wooden box of assorted seeds and kernels. Hasir riffled

    through the box cut into three sections, found what he was looking for and gave the Imperial the required gold.

    Hasir thanked Carlotta, pushed the city gates open and walked back toward the farm. He saw Inigo and Zayirr walking towards him,

    eyeing the seeds in the Argonian's arms. The Argonian walked over to the burnt crops, took the spade that leant by the side of the

    farmer's house and began replacing the destroyed crops with the seeds he'd gotten. With all the seeds depleted and the pits of earth

    filled, he scooped the spare dirt onto the open mounds. He found a bucket lying near the garden, filled it at the nearby well and

    poured a small measure of water over each of the earthy mounds.


    With that done he went inside to wait for the vegetables to grow. The two khajiit looked at each other and went inside after him.

    They saw Hasir sitting at the table eating a soup that the female Argonian, who was sitting across from him, had made. Inigo and

    Zayirr took the empty chair; Zayirr took the one close to the fire and Inigo the one next to Hasir. The blue khajiit spotted the light

    green Argonian slide a book across the table. Hasir picked it up and looked at the title,

    "Sheem-la, what is this for?" He said waving the book at her.


    Sheem-la looked at him, smiling sweetly.

    "You told me you wanted to know more about Molag Bal and his minion." She gestured to the yeloow book in Hasir's claw, "I think

    this book will help shed some light on their background and why they are doing what they're doing.


    Hasir's eyes bore into hers and pounded his fist on the table.

    "I already know the reason. They are pissed about the 'unholy union' and see to destroy Hircine's children' because Molag Bal

    believes we, er, I mean I, or, more specifically, my kind, caused some kind of befouling of the bloodline." He thundered back.


    She sighed and gestured Hasir to sit down again.

    "Well, that book further explains their motives. It is called The incident at Necrom. I think you'll find that that book will help you

    greatly in your fight against both Molag Bal and his followers, who, I understand, are also destroying nature to kill, as you say,

    'Hircine's children'." She gestured to Hasir's backpack leaning against the table, "I also strongly recommend thoroughly reading the

    books you acquired from the dwemer mansion."

     Hasir gawked at Xhiak, not sure who told her about that,

    "Why?" His finger prodded the air between them, "Did someone tell you about them? If I find them, I will personally silence them."

    He lent back in his chair, "I bet it was Lahar." He muttered. 


    Inigo waved his friend down and explained the situation.

    "Relax my friend. I told her. I thought she'd help you find out about why you gained that ability you now possess."


    Sheem-la nodded and said what Inigo had said was true. She told Hasir that she to possessed the same power. She gestured the

    Argonian to follow her and she would tell him what she was talking about. Hasir did and gasped as Xhiak transformed from an

    Argonian into a fox with fur white as snow and eyes brown as the dirt in just under two seconds. 


    Hasir gawked at her and Zayiir came over and gingerly stroked the fox's white fu.

    "How did she-? I didn't-What in Oblivion?" He was unsure what was more amazing - that she could transform into a fox or that she

    could transform faster than he could. He thought that Hircine, if she did worship him, could only govern werewolves and he left the

    other creatures to someone else. He also thought she somehow obtained one of Hermaeus Mora's black books to learn such

    forbidden knowledge."


    The arctic fox looked up at the brown khajiit and cocked its head. Zayirr nodded as if he understood and turned back to Hasir.

    "I know what you're thinking and to put your fears to rest, she did not gain the ability from any black books that Hermaeus mora

    posessed but from kynareth." His faced fell, "at least I think that's where she got it from." Hasir looked at him, unconvinced. Zayiir's

    face broke into a smile, "Did you know Hircine's wolves see Kynareth's foxes as prey?" As if by coincidence, Hasir heard low growling

    to his left. He unsheathed an axe and sneaked to the apple tree near the farmhouse.


    He watched as the wolves leapt at the poor creature. The fox saw this and darted for the trees; yelping with fright as the wolves tried

    to bite it's tail. Hasir raised his axe and threw it as hard as he could. The ivory axe head gleamed in the sunlight as it soared through

    the air, cartwheeling as it flew toward its target. One of the wolves whined as the axe penetrated its skull. The other wolf, unphazed

    by his fallen comrade, advanced on the frightened fox. The argonian expected red liquid to issue forth from the fox's neck but was

    not prepared for what happened next. Zayirr ran at the wolf, yelling like a madman as he decapitated the wolf with his sword. Blood

    did spray on the fox, Hasir saw, but it was the wolf's blood, not the fox's. 

    Zatirr smiled at the fox who barked with acknowledgement. The arctic fox transformed back into the female Argonian who giggled at

    Hasir. Inigo strode over to Zayirr who set to watering the newly planted crops.

    "Are you going to tell Hasir how she can transform or is she?" He whispered


    Zayirr gestured Inigo to move back so he did not squish the vegetables.

    "She'll tell him, don't worry." He sighed deeply and set the watering can beside the spade, "I just wouldn't feel right if I told him. I

    have absolutely no idea how she got that ability to be honest. Did she get it from Hircine or something or someone far darker? I've

    no idea nor do I have an idea how her ability meshes with Hasir's if he does have the same thing. I also don't know how necrom

    coincides with his quest." He said shrugging 


    Inigo saw Xelzaz relaxing against the trunk of the apple tree and called out to him.

    "Hey, Xelzaz! Know anything about a city called Necrom?"


    The telvanni Argonian shook cocked his head and walked over to the blue khajiit.

    "No, Inigo, I don't think I do. I was born in Blackmarsh and when I was old enough whisked off to Port Telvannis. The penninsula lies

    off Moorowind's coast and as such I've never seen or heard of such a place." He shivered, "Such a place sounds downright ghastly."


    Inigo sighed as he and Xelzaz walked to the house. They gestured to Hasir, Zayirr and Sheem-La to join them. Inigo pushed the door

    opened and waved them inside. Inigo went to work combining various ingredients from shelves as he made soup for all of them while

    The three Argonians and the brown khajiit sat at the table. Inigo smiled as he brought over four hot bowls of potage le magnifique

    and a bowl of the same for himself as well. 


    He sat at the table and watched as the Argonians and khajiit devoured the soup. When they'd finished, he gatered up the sppon and

    bowls and brought them to a washbasin fill with water to soak. He returned to the table and sat down. Sheem-la cleared her throat

    and explained how she was able to turn into a fox as well as the book.

    "Years ago, when I was a young Argonian, barely older than six, I was contacted by a seeker." Both Inigo's and Hasir's eyes went

    wide; they had never heard of seekers before and were eager to know more. "The seeker told me that he saw within me a thirst for

    knowledge. He told me that his master oversees a library full of forbidden knowledge. He also told me of how his master's realm

    holds vast rows of knowledge that one can peruse if they wish but all of it comes at a terrible cost. He said people who go to that

    realm are often trapped wandering the halls endlessly until they simply go mad with all the 'knowledge' they have attained and

    forever anchor themselves to his realm. They grow slimy tentacles where their head and feet were as well as long, thin slimy hands

    and are clothed in robes made of the realm's knowledge-sucking tentacles, forever bound to his service."


    Hasir gasped so loudly that Xhiak's train of thought got de-railed. She looked at his, eyes narrowing. Hasir saw this and gulped.

    "Sorry, but...erm... you wouldn't be talking about Hermaus Mora would you?" He asked, his eyes darting wildly about. "Not that I

    know about him, it was just an observation to come from..." His voice trailed away pathetically as he sank back into his chair.


    Xhiak stared, wide-eyed, at the mystic Argonian. She did not know how someone who barely know of Hermaues Mora or his realm

    could piece her words together into such perfect imagery.

    "That's exactly who he was talking about. Are you...? No, you couldn't be. Have you been to Apocrypha before?" She asked, curious.

    Hasir shook his head as he tried to explain away the astonishingly correct guess of who she was referencing. "Well then." She said,

    smiling slyly, "If you haven't been there, how do you explain how you have so much knowledge about Hermaeus Mora, hmmm? Do

    you perhaps have one of his black books in your house near Whiterun?" She asked, getting more heated with every word she spoke.

    "Perhaps you created a place you can go where you can read its forbidden knowledge and be transported to his realm?"

    Hasir looked at Xhiak, sighed heavily and rolled his eyes.

    "I only meant that I heard about him by Miraak." Sheem-la's expression softened as she sat back in her chair, content with his

    answer. She did not understand if he did indeed see Hermaeus Mora's servant; either this was true or it was just some crazy dream.

    She told Hasir to read the Incident of Necrom book that she had given him on their first meeting and, with hope, he will find it

    invaluable in his fight against Molag Bal.


    Hasir smiled, cocked his head to this side as if he were pondering on something and asked Sheem-La about how she obtained

    forbidden knowledge.

    "Sheem-La, perhaps you are the one who ventured in Apocrypha and have neglected to tell me." He said, huffing angrily as he eyed

    her across the table. Seeing no way out of this, Xhiak sighed and told Hasir that she did get assaulted by one of Hermaeus Mora's

    tentacles and, in doing so, was teleported to Apocrypha; though come to think of it, she did not know if she was really there or if

    she'd percieved Apocrypha being there when, in fact, it might've been an illusion brought on by the penetration of the tentacle

    tapping into her thoughts, sucking every ounce of knowledge she had before tossing her shriveled brain, along with her lifeless body,

    aside when it would yielded no more inkling of knowledge.


    Perhaps, though, she was really there and she had percieved the tentacle-sucking sensation wrongly. She did not know as, she told

    Hasir, that it felt real; that she could see the innumerous stacks of books along with those floating in the air as if blown by an

    invisible wind, smell the acrid stench of the pools of water-like ink and of the realm itself, hear the foul breathing of the seekers and

    feel the slimy tentacles that protruded out of the inky pools.


    She smiled as if pained still by the tentacle, real or not, that had penetrated her mind, reached into her bag and extracted a book

    black as night with intricate black lines that criss-crossed each other and put it on the table. Upon closer inspection, Hasir could see

    that atop the crisscrossing lines lay a title embossed in black ink interwoven by a dark green outline: Epistolary Acumen. Hasir stared

    at it, shocked. Even his hand seemed unsure as he reached out slowly to touch it.


    He quickly withdrew his hand and stared at Xhiak in surprise. He asked her if she had procured this in Apocrypha; she nodded.

    "This was the book from which I obtained the knowledge to shapeshift into a fox."


    Hasir looked at her, a bit scared and asked if there were any drawbacks to using such a power. When dealing with daedric princes

    there always were. He told her about how his uncle willingly joined Hircine as one of his loyal hounds and he was still planted in the

    maze in the Hunting Grounds to be hunted by his own kind. Perhaps, Hasir thought, this was a rather poor comparison as the

    wolflord did relish in the thrill of the hunt and, as such, did not present any unforseeable drawbacks. 


    Sheem-la merely shrugged. She did not know the best way to explain the potential drawbacks. In the end, though, she knew she

    had to tell Hasir how she got to Apocrypha and also how her mind shapeshifts along with her body.

    "Hasir, there may've been details I neglected to tell you." She said, biting her lip out of uncertainty. "I used this book to get into the

    realm of Apocrypha." She said, gesturing to the center of the table. "I did not want to do it," She added quickly, "The lure of the

    untold limits of knowledge that could be gained by reading such a book was tempting."


    Hasir and Inigo looked at each other, scared. They knew where this was going to end. Hasir looked at Zayirr, who had a stoney

    expression about him; almost as if he knew as well but didn't want to tell the female Argonian out of fear what she might do.

    Sheem-la smiled slyly as if she knew what all three of them were thinking.

    "I knew, from watching the Argonians' dealings with the hist, that such connections were... detramental but, something inside me

    wanted to know the secrets of that book even though my mind was screaming for me not to do it, to be wary of the reprecussions. I

    decided to shut my mind away for a little while and read the book. Upon opening the book, a tentacle unfurled from the pages; two

    actually. One latched onto my head like it was trying suck my brains out through a particularly slimy straw while another kept me

    tethered to the pages of the book." 


    Hasir swallowed his soup which had threatened to burst from his mouth like a freeflowing stream as he imagined her brain

    getting sucked through a green and slimy straw. She giggled as she saw Hasir's pained expression and pressed on with her tale.

    "While I was being held like a reptilian puppet, Hermaeus Mora permitted me to venture into his realm, my mind did anyway, while

    my body-well you know."


    She looked at Hasir and Inigo who urged her to continue. She smiled. "When my mind entered Apocrypha, it beheld a realm that

    was so beautiful that I know mortals would indeed go mad upon seeing it. Pools of inky water with tentacles the color of vomit

    shooting out of it and thrashing about, stacks of books high as the eye could see, grated black bridges crossing the inky pools

    connecting the islands of the realm. Strange books that could be used to reach different parts of Apocrypha could be seem with tall

    plant-like lanterns that loom over the books like the great eye did his realm and tunnels formed by forbidden books were

    everywhere. Some of them even stretched like an accordion if stood in long enough; giving the illusion of being longer than they

    actually were."


    Hiasr scoffed at this rediculous notion. Sheem-la pushed the black book closer to Hasir and said if he didn't believe her that he

    should take a look inside. Hasir grabbed the strange book and stuffed it inside his brown backpack.

    "Yeah, maybe later. Right now I've too much on my plate to go chasing fireflies." He grinned at the female Argonian's livid face.


    Sheem-la swore in Jel and shot daggers at the insolent Argonian. "It's no scales off my back. You can do what you wish with that.

    Throw it into the deepest pits of Red Mountain for all I care." She said, scathingly. She took a few deep breaths to calm herself down

    and tried to recenter her frantically fuming brain. "Right. Anyway, as I beheld the bizarreness of the realm, I noticed pages flutter

    around my ankles. I grabed a few of them and tried my damndest to decipher them but they were all in a language I did not yet

    know. I riffled through the mile high stacks of books but could make tails nor scales of them. Finally, I managed to find one that was

    in Tamrielic. I read it, and, I started to shrink grow white fur over my body and tail, my muzzle shorted and became whiter, my face

    become unrecognizable. I walked, a bit unsteadily over to a pool of inky water, looked down and shrieked, though it only came out as

    a terrified yelp."


    Both Hasir and Inigo roared with laughter.

    "You... yelped? Did he turned you into a dog?"

    Zayirr told them to stop making fun of his mate. Both the argonian and khajiit apologized and let Sheem-la continue.

    "It was then that I heard this voice in my head. It said that I sought the forbidden knowledge but that my mortal mind would

    explode with the weight of it and, that despite turning me into a fox that was quite unlike  his other 'followers' he saw potential in

    me, and on hat token, decided to turn me back into an Argonian but with the option of shapeshifting into a fox. He did this because

    he delved into my mind and saw openness that he'd not seen in other mortals who seek the forbidden knowledge of his realm for

    themselves. He said I was more keen to share the knowledge with others when he saw I was not of a closed mind myself and, thus,

    had no desire to use it for my own selfish needs."


    Hasir took out the black book ; apparently bored by the female Argonian's words. He cracked it open and gave a yelp of fright. A

    long, green tentacle shot out from the page and attempted to probe the Argonian's brain. He slammed the book shut and

    look, frightened at Inigo. The khajiit looked up and yawned hugely.

    "My friend, what is the yelling about? I was enjoying a good dream about smashing spiders." He said sleepily.


    Hasir hasilty stuffed the book back into his bag.

    "It was nothing Inigo. I was just, er, frightened by a spider in the pages of that book." Hasir said nervously. Inigo's eyes followed his

    hand and narrowed as if not fully believing him. "I squished the spider though." He lied. Inigo's eyes became narrower and more



    Hasir sighed in defeated and told Inigo the truth, seeing no point in beating around the bush.

    "Alright Inigo, here's the truth. I didn't see a spider, I saw strange symbols of unknown origin flitting about on the pale yellow pages

    of the book. I also saw," He shuddered as he thought this, "I also saw a long, green tentacle the size of a silt strider's leg erupt from

    the pages of the vile book and it attempted to penetrate my brain."

    The male Argonian gulped and closed his eyes as he groped into his bag for the black book, along with another book, and placed

    them on the table. He lifted the black book gingerly off of the stack as if it was electrically charged and slowly opened it. Hasir saw

    the tentacle lash out at him again, but this time did not shrink away from it. It latched onto the top of his head. The terrified

    Argonian could feel his thoughts being sucked out like they were being forced through a small dwemer tube. Another tentacle shot

    out from the page a wrapped itself around Hasir's shoulders like an extremely slimy snake.


    Hasir could see an image of a snowy landscape flash through his mind along with a rather fuzzy image of the realm Sheem-la spoke

    of minutes before, and vanished just as soon as it'd appeared. The tentacles extracted back into the book; leaving Hasir thoroughly

    confused. He asked the female Argonian why the book didn't work for him as it did for her.


    Xhiak smiled, laughed and shook her head.

    "You have to be on Solstheim for the book to work." He looked sidelong at the female Argonian; uncertain of what she meant.

    Sheem-la opened her mouth to talk but Zayirr cut across her, telling Hasir about how his mate read the book and did not suffer the

    same fuzzy images of Apocrypha as Hasir did. She saw Apocrypha as clear as day. 


    Sheem-la cast her husband a scathing glance and said she wanted to tell him the tale first hand not through a third party.

    "Go boil your tail, you daft fool, I wanted to tell him!" Zayirr sank low in his chair, a bit ashamed. She beamed with appreciation.

    "Right. As I was going to say before that housecat interrupted me, those books only work on the snowy isle of Soltheim."


    Hasir eyed her in confusion,

    "So, there's more than one?"


    Xhiak nodded and launched into her tale once more.

    "Yes, there are more than one; seven in fact. Anyway, enough of my rambling, when I used the book, I got teleported to the realm of

    the ones who knows." Hasir mouthed the words 'the one who knows', giving her a questioning look. 


    Sheem-la shrugged and said that it was one of Hermaeus Mora's monikers. Hasir nodded and gestured for her to continue. "Thank

    you Beeko. Your kindness is like sun on my scales. If you read the book when you're not on Solstheim you get a brief glimpse of the

    island along with a a flash of Apocrypha and the tentacles retract into the book and thus deny you any further insight.

    Hasir, Xelzaz and Ingo thanked her, got up, slung their bags over theirs shoulders and waleked to the door. Sheem-la looked at them

    in mild dissapointment.

    "You're not staying? I have more to tell you about Hermaeus Mora." Hasir shook his head and said he, Inigo and another Argonian

    whom she hadn't met have duties to attend to.The female argonian nodded glumly and wished them luck in whatever obstacles they

    wish to overcome. 


    Once outside, Inigo turned to Hasir and inquired what the next step was going to be.

    "My friend, just so you know you're juggling to many things at once. Wouldn't it be better to focus on stopping Molag Bal first and

    then worry about rehousing Vajhira and the khajiit mage?"


    Hasir looked from where Xelzaz sat, his nose in a book about achemy, to Inigo,

    "Inigo, if I did stop Molag Bal first and go through that portal, I might never return to ask Balgruuf if Vajhira and the other khajiit can

    buy houses in the city. I have my priorities. Besides Molag Bal can wait." Inigo looked at the Argonian in disbelief; putting Molag Bal

    last? he could hardly believe his ears. Hasir sighed deeply, "I'm sorry Inigo but you heard the Jarl. If I am to be thane of Whiterun, I

    am required to help two or maybe three people iron out their problems. I already helped Severio with his problem, I may have

    inadvertanty caused it true, but, I fixed it. Now I have to see if Arcadia or Belethor have a problem that needs fixing. You can go on

    without me or you can come with me, your choice."



    At that moment, Xelzaz closed his book, stood up and walked over to the other Argonian and put an arm around Hasir's shoulder.

    "We'll help you in whatever you need of us, right Inigo?" He said, glancing over to the furious khajiit. Inigo grumbled a reply. Xelzaz

    grinned, "Then it's all settled. Lead on."


    Hasir lead the way up to the Whiterun gate and pushed it open.

    Once inside the city, the two Argonian and the blue khajiit made a beeline to Arcadia's Cauldron. He knew she always had work to be

    done and was grateful if someone could take some of the weight of her shoulders. Hasir stepped into the familiar shop that smelt of

    the aroma of various alchemical ingredients and walked up to the counter.

    "Arcadia you look prettier and prettier each time I see you." The imperial blushed and asked Hasir why he was here.


    Hasir raised an eyebrow.

    "What? I'm not here for a task. I just wanted to see you, to smell the intoxicating aroma of the ingredients in your shop." Arcadia

    huffed in impatience and crossed her ams. Hasir took this as seeing through his bullshit. He sighed and told the alchemist that he

    was here to fix any problems she may have.


    Arcadia unfolded her arms and leaned on the counter.

    "Belethor stopped into my shop the other day and requested for me to make a fortify health enchanment, a drain fatigue

    enchantment and a resist magicka enchantment." Hasir looked at her as if she was crazy, he could not do such a thing. He thought

    enchantments were learned from an area of magical study and that no layman of such a craft could just whip them up.


    Arcadia eyed him and nodded, as if reading his thoughts.

    "Yes, you need some magical training to do this. Luckily we have a court wizard here that can teach you the spells you needs to

    weave the enchantment into the weapons and armor. Both of which I am sure Adrianne can provide. After you're done with the

    enchanted weapons and armor, you'll bring them to Balgruuf so he can ascertain your handiwork. Also he needs it for his housecarl

    to make duplicate for the Imperial soldiers." She shrugged, "Who knows, Kodlak might catch wind of these good deeds and let you

    back into the Companions. Now, off with you, Adrianne awaits."

    Out in Whiterun, The confused argonian turned to Inigo. The khajiit asked what dries the Argonian's scales.

    "Inigo, I don't even know where to start." He said, "I mean weave an enchantment? How in Oblivion am I supposed to do that? Not

    only that but I also have to ask Adrianne for weapons an armor so I can apply the enchantments to them and then," He said

    exhasberated, "I have to take the enchanted armor and weapons up to Dragonsreach." By Hircine, talk about a tough job. I just hope

    that Balgruuf finds my work adequate. I also have no idea what he is going to do with them." 


    Inigo saw the Argonian's tail thrash about like a skeever in a trap and knew that the Argonian was way past above his scales in work.

    He was about to say that he just had to take deep breaths, that he was overthinking the whole thing when Xelzaz put a hand on

    Hasir's shoulder to stop the Argonian from spiralling in Oblivion.

    "Hasir, I have made my fair share of enchantments during my time working for Lord Dreth in Port Telvannis. I also know of a capable

    wizard by the name of Farengar. If he can't help you make sense of this, than I'll teach you." Hasir turned his head toward Xelzaz

    and told him that he had a deal. Xelzaz smiled and they made their way to the shop by the Whiterun gate. 


    Adrianne saw the argonian approaching and gave him a cheery wave. She was bent over the table, busily organzing the armor and

    weapons her husband had given her. She got so lost in doing this that she failed to see Hasir and his companions standing on the

    other side of the table.


    Hasir's eyes narrowed as the sun glinted off of the armor and weapons. The argonian looked at the weapons; even testing out their

    rigidity. He placed them down again and looked at Adrianne.

    "Adrianne, did Arcadia talk to you? Erm... I mean, I received a job from Arcadia." He said; his tail flapping about nervously


    The female Imperial looked up from her work on the table.

    "She didn't tell me. Would... you mind enlightening me?" She asked

    Hasir told Adrianne everything he knew about the job that Arcadia wanted him to do. He glanced downward and muttered about how

    he was unsure how he was going to pull it off. Adrianne glared at him and sighed heavily.

    "You need to just pick a weapon or set of armor and weave it with whatever enchantment you want to put on it."


    Hasir glared, deadpanly, at the armsmistress. 

    "That really gives me a boost of confidence." 


    The female Imperial and the Argonian bartered over the weapons and armor on the table. Hasir pondered on what enchantments

    Arcadia had told him.

    "Well, weapons like sword, axes and two-handers work well with the absorb fatigue enchantment whereas, these," Adrianne said,

    moving over to an assortment of armor, "can work exceptionally well with the resist magicka and fortify health enchantments." Hasir

    bought a rather exquisite looking nordic longsword and a full set of Nordic armor. 


    The Argonian thanked her, put the items into his bag and walked toward the Jarl's longhouse with Inigo and Xelzaz following him.