Straag Rod: Book 1, Part 2, Chapter VI: Sibling Rivalry

  • It was utter chaos when Kodlak Whitemane and his Shield-Siblings exited the city. Passing guards were escorting frightened citizens to the city gates.  Thick was the veil of smoke, bright the glare of flame, and heavy the smell of fear.  They traveled through the masses of evacuating people like salmon swimming upstream, and Skjor flashed Kodlak a look of concern, his jaw clenching.


    “Hircine’s spear...”  The Veteran cursed between his teeth. “I haven’t seen shit like this since the Imperial City…” He let his voice trail off and Kodlak answered the Veteran by quickening his pace.


    Were there dead? Were there bodies to bury?  These questions formed in Kodlak’s mind as they passed the thick stream of people and the burning buildings. Not every part of Whiterun was protected within the city’s ancient stone walls. As they heard the screams and wails from frightened gentlefolk, he saw...


    Charred remains. There were dead and Kodlak swallowed, remembering how Snow Bear had mourned the dead from the Watchtower. How he went with Captain Caius after being made thane to tell the families, to offer comfort, to honor the fallen with tales of their bravery.  And how he went on, journeying to High Hrothgar. The resilience he had. You’re almost like a Nord, you know that, old Mer, Kodlak thought as he walked.  His brow furrowed and he suppressed the wave of envy. The love/hate between two grey littermates. It’s deep-seeded. Did they want him to be a Nord?  Hmph, perhaps that is the problem. Every Nord’s dream… An Elf’s nightmare.



    Their faces were grim at the destruction before them and Kodlak looked at the sky briefly as he continued on with his Shield-Siblings.  Through the smoke he could discern patches of bright blue with only thin wisps of white moving quickly. A steady breeze. No rain would come and the fires would burn long today.


    “The rain did nothing to stay the dragon’s fire.”


    The words of the poor Mer. Not so envious now, are you? Kodlak felt a tug at his arm and whirled rapidly to see a guard, covered in black soot, his grey eyes watering from his sweat and the ash.  The same soot that had covered Snow Bear on the fourteenth.


    “By Talos, you’re here, Harbinger!” the guard exclaimed. “We had not the time to send you word before the beast made his first pass!  Thank you, thank you!”


    “It is our duty.” Kodlak answered with a sudden, stern frown. What?  You did not think we would show up? You didn’t show up for the last dragon, old man.


    “Of course, Harbinger.” The young lad glanced uneasily behind him before reaching to herd citizens towards the gates, only for his attention to then be turned towards the stables, as if he suddenly remembered himself.   “The Thane! The Thane! He will want more able-bodied fighters. We are trying to regroup before the beast comes back. Go see him! Go see him now!” He then clasped Kodlak on the arm and smiled, his eyes brimming with hope. “Talos Almighty has answered my prayers! Between the mighty Jorrvaskr and him, that dragon’ll be stopped!” And the guard rushed past them to aid Gwendolyn, who had tripped, scooping her in his arms to carry her the rest of the way to the city’s gates. Gwendolyn, Kodak’s eyes widened. They were evacuating all the way from Battle Born’s farm?  


    “Quickly, Shield-Siblings!” Kodlak barked, no longer walking, but running when they heard the roar shatter the sky.


    They found Snow Bear—guard had called him the thane—near the stables, readying  a  large band of archers, his face flushed from the heat of the dragon’s flame, his silver-white hair and plated armor already streaked black with the dragon’s charcoal and smoke. And his expression.


    He knew lives had already been lost. The Elf was hiding it well, but Kodlak motioned to the Circle to stop.  Vilkas almost went forward, but Aela held him back and Kodlak warned the lad with a look.  Vilkas nodded and all of them turned their attention to the Elf. He was not aware of their presence yet.  Äelberon was studying the sky, his red-orange eyes blazing, his jaw set.  You are angry, old Mer, Kodlak observed, his own eyes narrowing.


    “It is circling now, men,” Äelberon began, watching carefully for another pass. “He is toying with us...” He nearly growled the last line and Kodlak could only imagine what he was thinking, that the events of the fourteenth were flashing before his eyes.  His failure with the dragon at Lost Tongue. The Mer huffed in disgust and then turned to a guard, touching him on the shoulder.  “Are the spearmen ready, Asgan?” He asked quickly.


    “Yes, my Thane.”


    “Good, I am not sure yet whether or not it will pierce dragonscale, but it is worth a shot. Material?”




    “Material of the spike, lad.” Kodlak saw Skjor’s eyebrow raise at Snow Bear’s word choice. He was using Nord terms for weapons. “What is its construction?”


    “Steel, my Thane.”


    Kodlak watched the old Mer chew the inside of his lip, the brow lowering. “Hmm, perhaps aim between the scales. Or…” He stopped as if an idea had crossed his mind and he gave the guard’s shoulder another pat.  “They are vulnerable at the wing junction. Where the wing joins the body. Aso the belly, like any other beast.” Kodlak saw the smile then cross his lips and the guard instantly relaxed. “Let us show the bastard some real Skyrim spear throwing, as the heroes of old, eh Asgan?”


    The lad nodded enthusiastically “Yes, my Thane.”


    “Good then. Relay the word to Captain Caius, lad. Go, quickly, and tell him to mobilize. I will bring the archers shortly. Let us beat this bastard’s next pass. It will rue its delay, treating us like we are mere insects...”


    The boy nodded and bolted away just as another guard stepped into place.


    “Status of the evacuation, Torbar.” Äelberon asked, still readying quivers of arrows for the other archers, still checking the skies, still checking the mass of moving citizens, and through it all, he could still tell guards apart.


    “My Thane,” Torbar started, still catching his breath.


    “Breathe, friend.” The voice was low and steady amidst the flurry of activity all around them.


    The young Nord nodded, took a deep breath and continued. “Most of the citizens have been moved to within the city walls.” Äelberon made a quick scan of the surrounding farms and stalls that dotted the exterior of the city to confirm the Nord’s words, blinking away the smoke from his eyes. The eyes then narrowed and Kodlak turned his head to follow the Elf’s glare.  The Caravan.  They were hastily trying to gather their supplies, some of their stores already burning.   He stopped the guard and pointed to the Khajiit.


    “And the Caravan?”


    The guard bent his head. “My Thane, they are Khajiit. They are not allowed in the city. Rules. They are thieves and cutthroats—“


    The Altmer scowled. “They are also great pashas and noble warriors…” he hesitated, as if touched by a sudden deep grief, his eyes briefly going elsewhere. “And fine friends.” The grief disappeared and he glared at the guard, but the anger wasn’t directed at the lad. “Confounded rules! Dragons do not abide by rules! Bring them into the city, damn it! I will not see them die like that.  If the Jarl complains…” The Elf set his jaw and Kodlak could smell the lad’s sudden nervous sweat.  “He can take it up with me personally.” Kodlak raised his eyebrows, he knew Jarl Balgruuf very well, and his Steward even better.  The Imperial wasn’t going to like the defiance and would definitely communicate that to the Jarl.


    The guard nodded. “Yes, my Thane, it’ll be done.”


    Kodlak’s jaw dropped. The guard said yes?  It was now quite obvious that the guards held Snow Bear in high regard. There was good reason, for the Elf was no casual observer of the battle, there was no making life and death decisions from the comfort of a throne. Instead, he was in the thick of it, with the Whiterun guards, ready to die with them. Äelberon gave the guard a reassuring pat on the shoulder and winked, “When the dragon is dead, Torbar, no one will be complaining, eh?”


    “No, my Thane.” Torbar shook his head.


    “Then get those fast legs of yours moving and evacuate Ri’Saad and his group into the city.”


    “Aye, my Thane.”


    “That is a good lad.”


    “Proventus isn’t going to like that at all.” Skjor muttered in Kodlak’s ear.


    “As Snow Bear said, he’ll deal with it.” Kodlak whispered back.


    “And you are going to throw him into that situation?” The Veteran retorted. “He is a stranger to our lands. Doesn’t know our ways.”


    “Each man his own, Skjor.”


    Skjor frowned at the remark. “Shield-brothers should have each other’s backs.”


    “And we are here, yes?” Kodlak answered quickly before clearing his throat of the smoke and raising his voice. “I heard you could use some extra hands…”


    Snow Bear turned when he heard a familiar voice in the smoke. And Kodlak saw it immediately. I’m getting good at reading you, High Elf. That jaw tightened just a bit, but I saw it. Those eyes narrowing just a tad. Those nostrils on that hawk’s beak of a nose, their nearly imperceptible flare.


    Snow Bear was not pleased.


    Well, I don’t give a shit. I’m the Harbinger. Best you get used to it, new blood.


    The Elf saw the Harbinger, followed by Aela, Skjor, and the twins.  Kodlak watched him acknowledge them with a slight nod and a brusque gesture to wait as the old Mer continued distributing arrows to a guard. Another dragon roar made everyone tense. Vilkas and Farkas furrowed their brows at the Elf’s curt greeting, but not the Veteran.


    “He’s ignoring us.” Hissed Vilkas.


    “Leave him be.” The Veteran suddenly snapped, making Kodlak give him a sidelong glance. “Wait your turn.  You’ve never known battle like this. This is not a bandit bounty. This is…” Skjor gritted his teeth, crossing his arms over his chest. “Something else.  Besides, he’s Thane. He outranks you and the guards expect him to lead.” The Nord raised his eyebrows and gestured for Vilkas to walk towards Äelberon. “But if you want to take over and fight this dragon, be my guest.” Vilkas was silent, left scratching the back of the neck at the Veteran’s hard words. “Thought so.”


    Kodlak leaned towards Skjor and whispered. “A little hard on the lad?”


    The Veteran watched the dragon and frowned. “No, I don’t think so. We cannot just rush into this. This creature, It’s huge, Old Man. I’ve never seen anything—“


    “I know.” Kodlak nodded.


    “He’s got spearmen and archers.” Farkas grumbled behind them. “I don’t use any of those weapons.”


    “Keep quiet.” Vilkas warned.


    “Harbinger?” Aela asked. “Do I?” She was hesitant, waiting for him.


    It was a concern in the back of Kodlak’s mind.  Of all of them, only Aela was an archer. Snow Bear did not expect to engage the dragon at close quarters, the spearmen and archers told them that clearly. When was the last time you picked up a bloody bow, old Man? You don’t remember, do you?  That’s how long.  Each of the Shield-Siblings had their preferred weapons and Kodlak had never pressed them to diversify. Other Companions in the past had wanted them to, but there was never really a need. They worked together. One Shield-Sibling would complement the other. It was the way it worked.  Until Snow Bear came. Snow Bear, who used a bow, a bastard, a shield, alien magicks, and now was training with Vilkas on the great sword. A walking arsenal. His past as a hunted Mer making him paranoid with his desire to simply know how to fight. Fight in any way he could. To survive.  To endure.  His word, ‘endure’.


    “Take these, Honthjolf.” The Mer continued, handing another guard a quiver of arrows.


    “Infused with frost again, my Thane?” The young Nord spoke, intelligent brown eyes visible under his helm.


    “Aye, infused with frost.” He then sighed. “Not the birthday you expected, eh Honthjolf?” The Elf asked.  He knew their birthdays already? Did this Mer not sleep, spending time with them instead?  Aye, Kodlak knew guards, but it wasn’t the same. A polite nod in the market or in Dragonsreach, but birthdays?  “I am sorry.” The Elf continued.


    The Nord guard chuckled as he slung the quiver to his side and Kodlak noted the strength in the lad’s forearms and shoulders. A formidable archer. “My thane, we bring this bastard down, it’ll be a great one.” The lad then growled and lifted his helmeted head slightly, as if defiant. “We’ll give this one what we gave the one at the Watchtower.” This one had been at the Western Watchtower with Snow Bear.  


    “When we get through this, the drinks will be on me.” Äelberon pledged. Kodlak saw Farkas and Skjor grin, making the Harbinger roll his eyes.


    “I’ll hold ya to that, old Mer.” the lad replied, abandoning the thane’s title to treat him like a friend.


    It was Äelberon’s turn to chortle before dismissing the guard with a flick of his wrist, and Kodlak saw the laugh lines crease. “Aye, I know what makes a Nord happy. Now, get out of here, Honthjolf, and wait with the rest of the archers. I will speak with all of you shortly.” He replied, pointing to a gathering of city guards. Ten had gone to do battle with the beast of the Western Watchtower. Kodlak frowned, this was much more than ten. Three dozen perhaps? Kodlak wasn’t sure. Spearmen with Captain Caius. Archers. And… Kodlak’s eyes widened. The Dunmer woman from the Huntsman. Je—something, he couldn’t remember.  Her grey skin was darkened from the heat and her leather armor already sported scorch marks, her bright red eyes were on the sky, following the dragon. Slung to her side was a quiver of Snow Bear’s arrows and Kodlak understood what had been done. The Elf had taken her over them.  Used a hireling over his Shield-Siblings.




    Drunk, Kodlak, drunk on mead. Drunk on wine. Drunk. Drunk with the Beast Blood. So drunk that he’d rather use Ex-Morag Tong. Oh, Kodlak didn’t remember her name, but he sure as Shor’s bones had heard the gossip surrounding her from Olfrid Battle-Born. A dark assassin over your own Shield-Siblings?  Kodlak clenched his jaw, feeling the anger heat his face. He felt a nudge at his arm from Skjor when the Mer finally faced them, his eyes expecting. Or were they challenging?


    Don’t think for a moment that I do not have anything to offer you…



    “Shield-Brother?” Kodlak began, controlling his rising temper. “Jorrvaskr answers the call to aid.”



    Äelberon grunted, letting out a gust of air like an old bear. He knew they were there the entire time, Kodlak did not have to open his big mouth. So you did it, eh Old Man, completely disregarded what I told you after the Western Watchtower? Now I have to watch the dragon, make sure my family is safe, and that one of you does not lose control in front of the guards, while I’m worrying about them as well and making sure they get out of this alive. Auriel’s Bow! As if I do not already have enough pressure. His head was throbbing from it already, but he managed a smile. That it was laced with sarcasm was not lost on the old Man. You know me, eh? Good, aye, I am pretty pissed at you.


    “I see.” Came the clipped reply, watching the old Man bristle at his tone, those light grey eyes daring him to protest.  Daring him to send them straight back to Jorrvaskr in front of the guards with a flick of the wrist like an old Telvanni wizard lord would dismiss a slave.  The younglings, for all their experience in the Circle, looked a little unsure, but the Veteran had one of his smirks, knowing the old Man as well as Äelberon did. Jorrvaskr was a stubborn lot and the guards did not have the luxury of time for him to formally argue with Kodlak Whitemane. He nodded slowly and the old Man grinned like a wolf who had just shouldered and snarled his way to the top place at the kill.  You are so eager. You won’t be when you see that son of a bitch vomit fire at you.


    Speaking of the son of the bitch, the damn beast still circled the sky above, but oh, did he have a surprise for it and his Shield-Siblings were surprised by the menacing look he cast upon the smoke-smothered blue. Best take out your frustration with your Shield-Brother on the dragon. He had not yet been to Farengar. No, he smiled darkly, he had not yet been.  He would fight magicks with magicks.  Artifact be damned. The Staff of Hasedoki was a tool. A tool Whiterun desperately needed and Äelberon thanked Auri-El that it was put on his path. But enough of prayer, it was time to act and there was one in Jorrvaskr he knew he needed, letting his features soften a bit, remembering their conversation by the Mead Hall’s grand hearth, when he promised her a bow. One day, I will make good on my promise, Shield-Sister. There is never time for anything anymore, he thought sadly. He took a quiver and spoke to Aela. “Your weapon, Shield-Sister, Orcish in make? I had one some time ago. Fast on the draw. That is good.”


    “Aye, Orcish,” She replied. Vilkas glanced at the Harbinger, his brow furrowed in confusion while Kodlak continued to mask his anger. Äelberon saw the tension. Aye, I’m giving orders, youngling, and no, Kodlak does not like it, not one bit. But unfortunately, your Jarl saw it fit to make me thane, so now we are here. Äelberon’s eyes found Skjor’s, seeing that grey eye twinkle. You are enjoying this, eh, Veteran?  He could tell that Skjor was sympathetic, not minding Äelberon’s leadership in the situation. They shared a nod. Military always understands fellow military. His eyes then returned to Aela’s weapon, noticing its glow, like fire.


    “It glows,” He remarked, scrutinizing the weapon, “Enchanted?”


    “Yes,” She replied, “A flame enchantment.”


    He chuckled. “What is the Nord saying? Fight fire with fire? Well, now you will have some ice too.” He handed her the quiver. “Take these and may the Hunt guide your aim, Sister. Please, join the other archers.”


    Aela immediately found the group of assembled archers, nodding at Honthjolf and Jenassa in turn. She knew the Dunmer. It did not surprise him. Äelberon had passed the Dunmer mercenary walking away from the Ram’s Head Tavern just before the dragon made its first pass. A promise of five hundred septims was worth an Ex-Morag Tong and the Bosmer brothers had told him of her skill with a bow when they fletched Äelberon’s arrows at Skyforge. He was surprised she agreed so readily, but the fire in her eyes spoke volumes. She wanted to spill blood, specifically dragon blood, having observed the events of the Wester Watchtower.  Spill blood, Äelberon cleared his throat, among other things. The She-Elf was strange, to say the least, a mysterious creature, saying something about them making “dark art together.” Äelberon had seen a lot in his two-hundred and forty-three years, but her tone of voice and the fleeting scent of her apparent arousal, sent a little shiver up his spine. She is excellent with a bow, just keep that on your mind, old Mer, and ignore the other bits.


    Äelberon scanned the sky again, the dragon still circled overhead. Still toying with them, allowing them to prepare a counter attack. Its supreme arrogance giving them the time they needed. He left his Shield-Siblings standing and quickly walked to his horse to unload his crossbow and a bandolier of bolts. Äelberon then let his finger trace the pattern on her saddle for a few precious seconds. Allie turned to face him, no sneering teeth this time, just her brown eyes. She needed a good clean and her armor oiled. Rest, she needed rest, not dragons. His back was turned to them and he did not care. He gave his girl a pat on the rump and then reached to rub Koor’s ears. The little one needed these things too. He had been waiting by his sister so patiently, waiting for his master to act. He brought the dog’s head to his armored thigh and held him for a moment. “You stay, alright?” He whispered. A snort from his boy, but when he let go, the husky made no move to protest. “And watch your sister, eh little one?” A soft sigh from the animal and Äelberon chewed the inside of his lip, feeling the sting in his eye. Damn animals. Damn family. Damn caring. He cleared his throat before turning to face his remaining Shield-Siblings, his face turning into stone, becoming unreadable, becoming Altmer.


    “Can any of you use a crossbow?” he asked, raising an eyebrow at Kodlak.  Skjor quickly raised his hand and nodded before Whitemane could react.


    “I haven’t since my days in the Great War, but when I did, I was good with the weapon.” Äelberon tossed the weapon and the bandolier to Skjor, who caught both deftly.


    “Save your bolts, you will have to time your firing precisely. The beast will only be weak to damage when it is struck by elemental magicks. When you see an explosion of lightning or frost, that is when you fire. But not before. Now join the group, my brother, and thank you.” Skjor nodded as he made his way to the group of guards, strapping on the bandolier as he walked. He did know the weapon well and that relieved Äelberon.  The guards also perked up significantly when the Veteran, his wolf armor standing out in the sea of yellow cloaks and capes, joined their ranks and he responded with his playful smirk and rough clasps of their necks in true Nord fashion. Their growls and cries for a good battle with Jorrvaskr’s best echoing. Skjor… a legend in Whiterun. It reminded Äelberon of how Larethian guards used to greet a certain old, grizzled captain of theirs when he appeared among their ranks. The Slayer of Bet.  


    Äelberon turned to the final three, crossing his arms over his chest and he brooded. More legends from Jorrvaskr. The twin wolves and… Whitemane. The Harbinger.  Grey, but then, so are you, old Mer. He did not have much time, for he could sense the beast. It wanted to fight. It wanted him. To end him. All the preparation occurred in a blur, a flurry of time, and his head hurt from the constant pressure.  Not a marksman in the bunch, he sighed. There was such great risk to this. They better be damn sober or the Old Man would never hear the end of it.


    “Vilkas and Farkas will take spears.” Kodlak’s sudden words got Äelberon’s attention. He saw Vilkas open his mouth like a fish gasping for breath and Farkas’ gaze was directed at the group of spearmen clustered around Captain Caius, as if staring at them would suddenly grace him with knowledge of the weapon.


    Äelberon furrowed his brow. “I have never seen—“  He began.


    He knew he had his tone, but…


    “You have only been with us a short time, Snow Bear.” Kodlak interrupted. “You know little of our ways. Give the twins spears.” The old man tilted his head to the side. “Or do you want to continue wasting time?”


    Now he felt like exploding. I would already be fighting this dragon if you hadn’t showed up! It was what he wanted to say. That, and punch the old man. His hands were, however, tied. Turn them away and see the Whiterun guards further demoralized at his perceived belittling of Nordic tradition. Fight with them and Gods, risk… everything. Werewolves were that way. Farkas had changed in Dustman’s Cairn. It did not take much for him to succumb to Hircine’s call and he could smell it in Kodlak. The keen desire to do battle. The desire to prove himself, and part of Äelberon understood. They were the Elder, past their prime, but at the same time, not quite feeling it yet. They were not like Vignar, who was now content to recall his youthful adventures over a game of cards. It made Kodlak risky in this fight, even more so than Skjor and the younglings.


    “Farkas and Vilkas, go with Captain Caius.” Kodlak commanded with a smile when Äelberon met his previous words with silence. He saw the twins proceed immediately to the Captain, taking their spears. Kodlak had won this argument too. “This leaves me.” Kodlak stated, coming closer. Invading Äelberon’s personal space on purpose, his wolf armor a contrast to Äelberon’s silver plate. “So? Spear or Bow?” he asked and Äelberon could smell it, the mead.


    “Pshaw! I know you can wield neither, Old Man.” Äelberon snapped, stiffening his shoulders to grow taller while he wrinkled his nose. “How many did you have to get through this morn—“


    “Don’t you dare test me, Billy goat.” Kodlak warned, responding to the aggression.


    “And do not lie to me!” Äelberon hissed, beginning to lose his patience. “You know neither weapon. The twins certainly do not know how to wield spears.” His eyes shot towards Farkas and he frowned, when he saw the boy. “For Auri-El’s sake, Farkas is even holding it wrong.”


    “Want to test that assumption?” The Nord whispered harshly. “Here? Now? While the dragon makes a pass? While more lives are lost?” Äelberon could see Kodlak’s face redden and he pointed a finger at him, shaking it. “You don’t know me!”


    “I think I know you better than you think.” Äelberon turned back to Allie to compose himself and saw the slate grey staff with the ivory rings. The staff. He needed to decide what to do with the staff, not waste time figuring out what Kodlak could or could not do.  “I think I know what you want from this.” It slipped out and Äelberon knew he was asking for it.


    Glory, glory was what Kodlak wanted. To recapture his youth. You are not young anymore and neither am I.  Our days are past, but do not envy my position, old Man.  If you think I want this, want to be this Dragonborn of Nord legend, for an instant, you are utterly mistaken. He wanted to say it aloud, but Äelberon kept silent.


    “Do you now? Well, want to know what I think?  I think that under all that Altmer stoicism, you are bloody scared to death. Scared of losing again, so you shut yourself out. Retreat to your den of isolation. High in the cold mountains away from everyone that can feel pain if you fail.  You don’t have to be alone, Snow Bear. Let your brothers and sisters fight with you. Let us be a pack, litter mate, and…” Kodlak looked uneasily at the guards who were waiting. “Give me a bloody weapon before people begin to wonder what’s wrong.”


    “Fine.” Äelberon replied, retrieving the staff. He let his eyes go dead, dead to hide his simmering that the old man was perhaps right in his assessment, and when he turned to face the old Man, the Nord seemed taken aback by the lack of emotion. The coldness of his stare.  He extended the staff towards the Harbinger. “Know staves?”


    Kodlak drew his own blade quickly, the steel flashing, Eorlund’s supreme craft clear at every edge. “You think I can’t wield this?  Is that it? So you give me a weakling’s weapon?”  


    The Altmer let a disapproving frown creep over his features and he definitely sported his now famous tone.  “As far as I can recall of your Nordic history, the mages Shalidor and Gauldur also call Sovngarde home.  Wield both, dumbarse. We need magicks as much as we need steel.”


    Calling him dumbarse, was not such a good idea. You keep getting into trouble, old Mer.  


    Kodlak opened his mouth to explode, the hand ready to take a swing, but the dragon’s well-timed roar cut him off. He sheathed his sword roughly and extended his hand. “I know how to use a staff.” he replied coldly, the light grey eyes boring into his.  


    “You better.” the Elf grumbled, breaking from the Nord’s piercing stare before handing him the staff. He then quickly removed his amulet of flamebane and waved it before the Nord. “Take this too. It will protect you.”


    “No. You are weak to magic, I say—“ Kodlak started.


    “I am your Thane, you will do as I command!” The Altmer growled harshly, shoving the amulet against Kodlak’s armored chest. The old Nord took it with bluster, hastily putting it on with a chain of curses. “Now go, and join the rest.” He finished, the tone of his voice lower, sadder than he expected.  Before the Harbinger could pass him, however, Äelberon suddenly stopped him with a heavy hand on his shoulder, no longer able to mask his worry in front of his litter mate. Äelberon leaned closer to Kodlak and the words were now private. Words of weight and of old age. And on the eve of battle, not necessarily a good thing. “Aye, I am scared, old Man.” He admitted bitterly. “The presence of my Shield-Siblings, here, at this moment is both a good and a terrible thing. Good, because you do me the great honor of fighting by my side, but terrible in that I go into this battle now with the burden of worry.  Perhaps it will drive me, I do not know. All I do know is I cannot bear lose another family, and I will do everything in my power to protect you. You have made this much harder for me, Kodlak Whitemane, Harbinger of the Companions, my friend and Shield-Brother. But ‘tis done and I will not turn you away. I cannot turn you away, for I am a Mer of honor.”


    The Nord’s features softened and Äelberon felt a strong hand clasp his forearm. He forgot how much power the Nord still had in his grasp. “Let me help you, old Snow Bear. Let the bear finally leave his mountain solitude. Let him leave his lonely winter’s den. Run with my pack and together, we will see this dragon fall. You and I. As brothers.  Old grey little mates.”


    Their eyes locked. No, he was not yet Vignar and Äelberon could not deny Kodlak Whitemane his desire for glory. “Let this be our forty orc berserkers then.” The Elf replied, remembering their words on the fourteenth.


    “It shall be so.” Kodlak whispered, echoing the words of Äelberon’s initiation.


    Straag Rod, Book 1 ToC

    Part 2, Chapter VPart 2, Chapter VII


11 Comments   |   Ben W and 10 others like this.
  • Ebonslayer
    Ebonslayer   ·  October 30, 2017
    I completely forgot what that staff does, I think it summons a mage but I could be mistaken. Can't wait to see it in action anyway.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  April 29, 2017
    I'm not sure what to make of this... That's not a bad thing by the way.
    On one hand we've Albee preparing his force to tackle the dragon. Kodlak butting in with his force and the two of them wrestling for command. 
    Kodlak and Albee are o...  more
    • The Long-Chapper
      The Long-Chapper
      I'm not sure what to make of this... That's not a bad thing by the way.
      On one hand we've Albee preparing his force to tackle the dragon. Kodlak butting in with his force and the two of them wrestling for command. 
      Kodlak and Albee are on a collisio...  more
        ·  April 29, 2017
      I think it's a strange situation in the companions. First time they have ever taken in somebody into their ranks with that much military experience. He's also been alone so long, so he just does his own thing. Ah Albee. 
  • Teineeva
    Teineeva   ·  February 13, 2017
    Old people am I right? There's no rime or reason to them, I'm just waiting until one of them starts going senile at this point. :P

    As to Albee constantly critiquing the dragon's arrogance; isn't it just another show of arrogance...  more
  • The Sunflower Manual
    The Sunflower Manual   ·  February 13, 2017
    Well, at least they had sense enough to make up before the fight.
    • The Long-Chapper
      The Long-Chapper
      The Sunflower Manual
      The Sunflower Manual
      The Sunflower Manual
      Well, at least they had sense enough to make up before the fight.
        ·  February 13, 2017
      Yeah, lol, well, it's not like Albee wanted to fight in the first place. Kodlak sort of showed up and didn't listen and all that. 
  • Singer of the Make Way
    Singer of the Make Way   ·  February 13, 2017
    They bury their feet into the sand, stubbornly pushing against each other when they should beware the Duneripper sleeping under their feet. Whose winds are true? Traditions or progress? The Serpent is waiting for his moment, his fangs are poison and they ...  more
    • The Long-Chapper
      The Long-Chapper
      Singer of the Make Way
      Singer of the Make Way
      Singer of the Make Way
      They bury their feet into the sand, stubbornly pushing against each other when they should beware the Duneripper sleeping under their feet. Whose winds are true? Traditions or progress? The Serpent is waiting for his moment, his fangs are poison and they ...  more
        ·  February 13, 2017
      lol, I think Albee knows about the Duneripper. 
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  February 13, 2017
    I think Albee is pretty worried about a lot of things, the guards included.
  • A-Pocky-Hah!
    A-Pocky-Hah!   ·  February 13, 2017
    Meanwhile the guards are busy worrying about the dragon looming over their heads.
  • Exuro
    Exuro   ·  February 13, 2017
    They're worse than two billy goats butting heads X-D
    So, technically next chapter with the dragon fight could also be called sibling rivalry