C.o.t.W Chapter 116: Mind Over Matter

  • The next day, Hasir and the companions rose early and went to the training yard to see what Tigress and Inigo had in store for them.

    They each grabbed a weapon from the weapon racks; except for Aela, Vilkas, Farkas and Hasir who already had weapons.


    Tigress smiled as they descended the steps to the training yard.

    "Good, now we will sort out the flowers from the weeds." She said, scanning the faces of the assembled students, each with a

    weapon in hand. "I hope you lot are prepared. Yesterday, you each got a small taste of what today's main course will be.


    Hasir raised his hand. Tigress growled at him to put it down as they were not in school.

    "Why can't you just feed it to us straight instead of skirting around the plate?" He said exhasberatedly


    Tigress laughed and got into a fighting stance.

    "I'm sorry, was that too metaphorical for you? How's this for literal?" She rushed forward and swept the Argonian's leg out from

    under him. 


    Ashamed, he leapt to him feet and ran, flame whip unsheathed, at the Ka'Po'tun. She aticipated his attack and dodged aside causing

    Hasir to fly past he and slam into one of the training dummies. The impact of his bone spikes caused the dummy to vomit forth

    wooden spilnters 

    He looked up to see Tigress standing there, handed extended.

    "Sorry about that. Hopefully the dragon has no more flames in his heart." 


    Hasir got up and screwed his face up with the look of someone who ate a rotten apple.

    "Tigress, what on Tamriel are you talking about? I-" He stopped and thought this through, "I get it, Very funny. He snarled. "Keep

    talking like that and this 'dragon' will show you he still has fire left."


    Tigress nodded and held out her hand; revealing a glassy green stone.

    "If you, as you say, have fire left, take this stone from my hand."


    Hasir gawked at her as his eyes moved from her expression of confidence to the jade piece.

    "How did you get that? No doubt you nicked it while I was sleeping."


    The Ka'po'tun looked taken aback.

     "Maybe I did take it. What's it's to you?"


    The argonian snarled at her and was about to tear her apart when a hand grabbed his tail and held it firmly,

    "My friend, what are you doing? If she took the stone then maybe she had a reason to take it. Calm your inner wolf and do as she


    The argonian sighed and approached her. Tigress held out the stone but as Hasir's claws were about to close around it, she closed

    her hand and swept Hasir's leg out from under him. He fell with a loud thud onto the ground, got up and tried again. Again and again

    he failed, falling onto his tail. 


    He got so fed up that, on the fifth attempt, he lashed out at the Ka'po'tun's open palm with his flame whip. It coiled around the

    green stone and sent it spinning across the training yard floor. 


    Tigress narrowed her eyes and gritted her teeth.

    "You cheated. I only wanted you to use your hands not your stupid whip."


    Hasir stuck his tongue out at her; a gesture that would make Aela proud and crossed the dirt and attempted to pick up the stone but

    Tigress applied pressure onto it using her right foot. After minutes of Hasir attempting to prise the stone feet with his cllaws, he got

    to his fee,t unsheathed his flame whip and lashed out at the offending obstacle. 


    Hasir and tigress were blasted off their feet, landing in the dirt as a explosion like a small sun radiated from its green epicenter. Hasir

    squinted his eyes and saw, as the explosion subsided, was an Akaviri dragon. Hasir watched, in awe, as the giant serpentine creature

    formed a more Argonian-like body while still retaining his fiery orange and black striped scales. Hasir saw that this body had bone

    spikes and hair quite like his own, a black fumanchu and he had orange eyes with black vertical pupils.

    Both the argonian and Ka'po'tun stared shockingly at this rather unorthodox sight. They questioned if what they were seeing was an

    illusion or not. They only had to look down at the stone to realize it wasn't. The fiery Argonian approached them.

    "Tigress, Hasir, do you not recognize me? I am what came out of that stone." He storked his fumanchu, "I thought my serpentine

    form was ill-equipped to have Tigress assist me in teaching you the 'Whispering Fang' style."


    Tosh Raka turned to Tigress as Inigo walked up behind them and shook his head.

    "You must be mistaken. I am going to help Tigress teach this lot."


    Tosh Raka shook his head and gestured to the other combatants.

    "My deepest apologies, furred one but Tigress is my student and it is only fitting that I help her teach. Whispering Fang did originate

    on Akavir and I was the one who created it, after all."


    Tail and ears low, Inigo slunk over to the weapon racks where the Nords stood as Tosh took his position next to his student on the

    other side of the training yard.


    The nords looked questioningly at the unknown Argonian and then at Aela.

    "Great. More Argonians." She said, sighing. "You lot are popping up like kwama lately." She smiled evilly as she tighted her grip on

    her bow, "right, time to put your back in whatever hole you lot keep burrowing out of."


    Aela charged athe the Argonian, weilding her bow like a pair of daggers. Tigress attempted to block this but Aela easily broke

    through her defense; sending her crashing into one of the other training dummies. She was oblivion-bent on skinning the Argonian

    and using his scales for armor.


    Tosh Raka saw this apparantly mad nord running towards him, dropped down, grabbed her and flipped her in a half circle over his

    shoulder. Aela fell to the dirt with a thud, dust kicking up around her like excited children playing. She got to her feet, snarled and

    slashed at the Argonian with her bow. Tosh avoided each blow with the slenderness of a serpent and knocked her on her backside

    with a well-aimed sweep kick.


    Aela got up and ran at him again. She shot an arrow at him which he sensed, spun around and let the arrow fall to the dirt with a

    lightning quick jab. Aela was disheartened as she saw her hard work scattered on the floor. The orange-scaled argonian leapt into the

    air and delivered a flying axe kick to her face.

    Vilkas and Farkas saw their shield sister sprawled out on the dirt like a wolf who had its throat slit by a hunter.

    "You bastard!" They yelled in unison. "How dare you, she did nothing to you. You didn't have to kill her." 


    Tosh held up a hand to silence the raging Nords.

    "You think I killed her? Interesting." He said, walking nearer the Nords. "Whispering Fang is all about anticipation and attack." He

    thrust a closed fist towards Vilkas who readied his two handed sword. "Very good you 'anticipated' my action." He spun around and

    used his tail to trip the Nord up. "Your 'anticipation' leaves much to be desired, young Nord. Perhaps if you had more brains and less

    brawn, you would have anticipated the entirety of my attack, not just part of it."


    The nord got up, glared at the tiger-striped Argonian, sheathed her bow and took out two iron daggers and flung herself at him. Tosh

    Raka dodged Aela's strikes with deft movements and responded flurry of jabs. The nord was too busy focusing on the Argonian's

    furiously moving fists and dangerously narrowed eyes that she failed to account that her legs were unprotected. She saw this too late

    as Tosh Raka's arms grabbed both of hers and disarmed her. With lightning-quick speed, he threw her daggers aside, knocked her on

    the ground with a well timed sweep of his scaly leg, picked up one of Aela's daggers and brought it within an inch of her throat. 


    He bent down and smiled while he helped Aela up and handed her back her dagger. Aela and the companions gasped as the sky

    began to darken as though a great volcano had erupted a few minutes before.


    Hasir turned to Inigo and gestured to the sky which began to turn the color of Inigo's fur.

    "What's happening?" He asked, matching Inigo's perplexed expression.


    Hasir shrieked as various daedra the color of night rose out of the ground, bearing fangs and all kinds of unknown weapons and ran

    at the terrified Argonian. Inigo disappeared behind one of the weapon racks, unsheathed his bow and positioned it in one of the

    spaces between the weapons. He saw several undead among them and turned white as a sheet. 


    Only the three Nords seemed to percieve the threat. They ran at the intruders and slashed at the with their weapons but the

    weapons just phazed through them like a knife through scrib jelly.

    "What in Oblivion is this?" Vilkas said in disbelief, "is this some kind of test?" He asked while looking up at the sky.


    His answer accumulated in the form of a tiger-striped Argonian. Vilkas nearly fell over when he heard the scaly creature speak.

    "If you can't beat these tiny saplings how will you attempt to topple the gigantic trees lying in wait at the end of the forest? You

    might as well be waving sticks at a dog. Use what I taught you" The burly nord told him that he hadn't taught them anything. Tosh

    Raka thought of a moment, "Trust you instincts, you what you know. I only show you an alternate way to defeat your enemies when

    and if you weapons lay in pieces on the floor."


    Vilkas shook his head sadly. 

    "I have instincts, it's just... there not sharpened." He gestured over to Aela and Hasir, "They have more instincts in their whole

    bodies than I do in one fingernail. By oblivion, even my brother has more instincts than I do."


    Tosh Raka looked at him concernedly; asking about how his brother has something he hadn't. Vilkas merely shrugged and said he

    had the strength of the companions first harbinger and his brother acquired his brains, Aela... was a bitch, he knew that much but

    she had her strengths, though he had yet to see them in action. Hasir' he told the argonian was a speed demon in water and also

    had a magical whip.


    The argonian closed his eyes as if he was weighing the benefits of whether he ought to speak or not. After a short while, the fiery

    dam finally broke,

    "Use that. You've more strength in you than you know, you've just got to dig deep to awaken the sleeping wolf inside you. Pu that

    other stuff, comparing you to the others, out of you mind. You are a pearl in a ocean of rocks. Never forget that."


    Vilkas saw a flash of yellowish light forcing him to shield his eyes. He lowered his arm and look all about him. He'd guessed he'd

    disappeared back into his home of green glass. He bent down and examined the green stone but it still was split into two parts like a

    kwama egg that had hatched and knew the dragon was still out there somewhere. He looked toward the porch and saw him sitting at

    the long table, chatting with Kodlak about something.

    Vilkas tried to look inside himself for the strength that Tosh Raka spoke of but failed to call it forth. He walked over to the weapon

    racks where Aela, his brother and Hasir were busy fighting the illusory beasts of Coldharbor. He also saw two creatures join in the

    fight he'd not seen before. They, along with Hasir and the Telvanni argonian, had no trouble pushing their adversaries back to

    whence they came. 


    He ducked as bits of flaming darkness arced over him and crumbled to the dirt behind him. He watched as the the femal Argonian

    enveloped a deadroth in a wooden sheild and began battering with tree branches that seemed to spawn out of thin air. She ran at the

    wood shield, stabbed a dagger made from enchanted wood into it. The shield as well as the daedroth exploded when the blade made



    He looked to his left and saw a khajiit mage fling two bolts of living flame at a shambling soul shriven. Vilkas watched as it became

    enveloped by flame and shriveled right before his eyes. The nord walked past the middle weapon rack and heard someone or

    something shuddering behind it. He stared between the crack and saw a pair of pumpkin-colored eyes.

    "Inigo, what are you doing back here? Didn't you emerge from that, er, shrine with some kind of sword?"


    The smart blue cat's eyes brightened as he leapt up and smacked his forehead.

    "By my fleas, you're right. How could I be so stupid?" He reached down and unsheathed a sword that glistened with eternal sunlight.

    With renewed vigor, he leapt at the pack of undead monsters who shrank back because of the blinding light. The semi-feral khajiit

    sliced a straight line through the skeleton, it faded into nothingness. The khajiit did the same to the other bags of bones until they

    were nothing more than bits of bluish-black dust that faded away.


    Vilkas gripped his sword th=ightly and rounded on two wolves; a gigantic one with white fur and red eyes and one with greeninsh

    white fur extra-long tail. Vilkas and Farkas transformed into their wolf forms in order to tackle this new threat. 


    The four wolves circled around each other as if they were competing for food or territory and leapt into the air, clawing and tearing at

    every bit of flesh they could find. Coal, Vilkas's wolf, dodged as Cu'sith's tail came crashing down like a club. The black wolf saw an

    opening a slashed at the greenish-white wolf's face. The wolf howled in pain and went to counter-attack but the black wolf snarled at

    him and tore Cu'sith's lower jaw from his mouth. The wolf's tongue looled out of his mouth like something out of the creepier realms

    of Oblivion and lunged at Coal but he ducked the attack and his fangs sank into Cu'sith's heart. The wolf gave a weak howl and



    Cola stood up and glanced over to where Farkas's wolf was battling with the illusory Garmr. He seemed to be having a bit more

    trouble than Coal did with his illusory foe. He padded over and let out a small whimper as he saw the white wolf was a skyscraper

    whereas his illusory foe had been a straw hut. He barked over to the other cobatants for assistance.

    Hasir and Aela heard this and knew what to do. The others just looked at each other, stupified. Aela and Hasir transformed into wolf

    form and ran toward the huge white wolf. They circled the wolf, who towered over all except Twilight. He rose up to about Garmr's

    shoulder. Twilight used his powerful claws to tear a chunk of flesh and fur out of the wolf's shoulder. Garmr gave a yelp of pain,

    raised his other front paw and sent Twight spiraling towatf the porch. Twilight dug his claws into the dirt to stop his backwards

    momentum. He s hisnarled and leapt at the wolf, latching onto his untarnished foreleg and climbed it like a ladder; tearing chunks on

    flesh out as he ascended. Twilgiht looked as he ascended and saw the other wolves weren't even hurting the wollf. He shook this off

    as he reached his destination, clawing mercilessly at the wolf's face.


    Garmr howled in pain and, finally succubing to the tremendous bloodlloss, he slumbed to the floor and faded along with the illusory

    Cu'sith. Twilight howled, soon  joined in with the half-hearted howls of the other werewolves for their victory. Twilight and the other

    wolves tranformed and smiled to themselves as the biting cold turned to warm sunshine as the sky turned back to its normal state.


    Hasir ascended the steps and sat on the wooden bench next to Tosh Raka. Hasir put his hand on the tiger Agronian's shoulder

    causing him to jump in fright.

    "Hasir, don't do that. By the gods, you almost gave me a heart attack" The green argonian turned red as a crimson nirnroot and

    apologized, "It's all water under the bridge. I see you dealt with my test alright."


    Hasir became red as the bowl of apple on the table pointing out to the training yard.

    "That... was a test?" He said, aghast. "We could've been killed."


    Tosh smiled and offered Hasir an apple.

    "You weren't though. If you were in any danger, I would've stopped the whole simulation. Here." He said tossed the apple to Hasir

    who caught it and looked at it if it was poison. "I got you a congratulatory treat." He looked at Hasir, eyebrow raised, "You do like

    apples, don't you? Kodlak told me..." 


    Hasir squeezed the apple tightly as if it were an arrow he aimed to snap in two. The fruit exploded; sending apple juice and bits drip

    between his claws like water from a stalactite.

    "I don't give a damn what Kodlak said. What gives you the right to send us to our death before we even get to the other world,

    hmmm? Tell me that."

    The Argoina waitied for a response but it never came. Fearing he overstepped some kind of invisible line, Hasir opened his mouth to

    apologize but it was too late, the damage has already been done. Tosh Raka frowned and transformed back into his draconic form

    and began coiliing his serpentine body around the pillars of the porch and floated gracefully toward the green cracked stone laying in

    the center of the training yard and disappeared inside it.


    Hasir descended the steps to the training yard, walked over to the jade stone and held it tightly in his hand while, at the same time,

    hoping he didn't irrevocably piss off the dragon that had taught him not only how to shout but also how to defend against percieved,

    or unpercieved, threats.


    He held the stone in his clawed hand and went inside. When he entered the mead hall, he saw the companions sitting around the

    horshoe table, anxiously waiting for him to formulate a plan to assault Krovaxis. He blanked them as he walked to the room at the

    end of the room and flopped onto his furry bed. The truth was he was so angry about the exchange between him and the leader of

    the'ka'po'tun that if he divulged the real reason for his strange silent treatment to the other companions they might become cross

    with him; he didn't want to open a can of worms or, in this case, wolves with them. He had too much on his plate already. Not

    bothering to undress, he closed his eyes and let the waters of sleep carry him away.


     Hasir awoke on the banks of a lake north of Falkreath. He squinted in the bright sunlight to see if he could see any signs of life on

    the giant frozen glacier but he saw nothing. Disheartened, his tail and head drooped as he wondered what on Tamriel he was doing

    here. He looked down and saw saw a serpentine akaviri dragon resting on the lake floor with its eyes closed.


    The argonian's heart did a somersault in his chest; he thought this was Tosh Raka coming back to him like a faithful skinned hound

    to a necromancer, but something was off about this dragon. Its scales were the same shade of blue as the lake bottom not fiery

    orange as the other akaviri dragon's were. The dragon took in a somewhat earthy, reptilian scent and opened its eyes. It swiftly

    breached the surface with the gracefulness of a fish trying to wriggle free from a fisherman's hook. 


    Hasir blinked as the dragon used its powerful flipper-like feet to swim towards him. It bowed its scaly head and introduced itself.

    "Greetings Argonian. I am Ryujin. I heard through the grapevine that you had a disagreement of some kind with my brother. May I

    ask what it was about?"


    Hasir strode over to the edge of the lake so as to see the female dragon better. The sunlight glinted off of her armor-like oceanic

    scales. The argonian had to shield his eyes as he glanced up at her; a frown on his face.

    "The argument. W-we...er...well, we..." His tail curled about his in the grass, "it's stupid. I wouldn't want to bore you."


    The dragon shook her great reptilian head; never once breaking eye contact.

    "You'll not bore me. I want to hear what he said."


    His scales grew hot as if the sky had just joined with an Oblivion realm.

    "Okay. Where to start, erm... let's see." He said, stroking his chin thoughtfully, "I got angry at your brother because I was accusing

    him for sending sheep to the slaughterhouse by conjuring this illusion to 'test' us," He glanced upward at the dragon, her head

    cocked in confusion. "the 'us' I am referring to is the companions and I..." Again he looked up and saw the dragon wearing the same

    mask. "Aela, Vilkas..." He waved a dismissive hand in the air, "you know what, nevermind. I will got staright over your head in any

    case. The point is that I got mad when he said the whole thing was a test, I yelled at him and he vanished." 


    Ryujin bowed her scaly head as if admitting some foul misdeed.

    "I am sorry to hear that, Argonian. Tosh was always know to be conflict avoidant. He was always... sensitive, to a fault. Give him

    time and he shed his old scales to grow new ones."


    The argonian thanked her and got up to leave. As she prepared for slumber, her voice rang out: "Look to the green stone. Twice as

    much knowledge can be gained as we both held the same pearl in our muzzles.

    Hasir awoke, took the stone from his pocket and examined it. He had no idea what the dragon had meant about their being two of

    them encased in its glassy surface. He tried summoning them by pure willpower alone but nothing happened. Crestfallen, he

    pocketed the stone and decided to go out and check the market as he wasn't about to shirk on the promise about him getting

    something from one of the stalls.


    He stepped outside and strolled down to the market; his tail swaying gently behind him. He ppassed the market, seeing nothing of

    interest, and entered Arcadia's cauldron. When he entered the Imperial looked up from the alchemy table. 

    "Hasir, I didn't see you come in." She said, smiling


    Hasir returned the gesture and was about to enquire what she was brewing when he eyes fell on a piece of paper with black wring on

    it. An orange border encased the whole page. He went over to Arcadia and asked about it.

    "Arcadia, what'ss that?" He asked, gesturing to the paper.


    Arcadia moved over to the paper, examining it.

    I'm not sure. This Altmer wearing a black cloak gave it to me."


    Hasir asked her if she saw his face oor noticed any other distinguishing features that would help her identify him. She shook her

    head and turned her attention to the paper. He looked on as well and saw that it told of a new shop that just opened in Whiterun

    near Hlaalu farm just outside of the city gates. Hasir finished reading, saying that he would scope out the place and find out what it

    was about. Arcadia got up and said she'd go with him. 


    Hasir nodded, slipped the mysterious note into his pocket and, together, they walked to the city gates, down the cobblestone road

    and to the farm mentioned in the note.