U.O.T.W. Chapter 173 Wings of Darkness


    Night now reigned over Skyrim and had banished the dim evening light, filling the plains with darkness and shadows. Shrouded in the obscurity of the emptiness of the plains, the Companions and Whelps secured the horses and prepared to continue their journey on foot along the trail that would lead them up the mountain.


    They all knew that Ice Wraiths and trolls inhabited these snowy regions and the horse’s scents would draw such creatures out. If they were to reach the peak without being detected, then such battles would be best avoided; if they could be avoided at all.


    Vilkas took point as he knew the mountains far better than his brother or the Huntress. Aela knew the plains better than anyone alive but once a pathway trailed beyond the outskirts of the tundra she was clueless.


    Farkas fared no better, after all he had little interest in either. His own forte were villages, towns and cities. Or, if the truth is to be told, of the inns and taverns in the villages, towns and cities. Whatever the distinction was, it was of no help to them here.


    Aela, who happened to be trudging up the pathway a few feet behind Vilkas, was pleased when Sotek caught up with her. After checking on Farkas who was behind everyone else, the Argonian had made his way through the pack to catch the Huntress up. Once he was beside her he regulated his own pace to hers so they could travel together. For the sake of conversation, she gave him some words of encouragement although they both knew it was for the benefit of the Whelps.

    “We’ll be near the top in about an hour. I’m just glad the moons are bright else this would have been a lot harder as you’ve banned us from using torches”.


    Apprehensively, with self-doubt gnawing away at him, Sotek weakly smiled back at her. They all knew surprise was vital if they were to succeed in their attack. Having the Whelps in strategic positions to shoot was vital if it was to be a success. Once the dragon knew they were there they wouldn’t have the time to organise the pack. His confidence was supplemented just by Aela being there; it was something he was thankful for.

    “I’m just glad you’re here. I really wasn’t looking forwards to doing this without you”.


    Aela whispered to him sullenly, expressing doubt in her own worth in the grand scheme of Sotek’s plans.

    Oh please; I know you love me and all that crap but how the hell am I supposed to believe that you need me here? You can kill them on your own; Scarface has already”.


    Having heard Aela’s lack of confidence in her voice, Sotek looked in himself and thought upon her words. He smiled back at her and nudged her in the side with his elbow.

    Yes, but answer me this. Does Red really need Scarface there when she hunts?”


    Aela stopped for a second, causing the Whelps to come to a halt while she looked back at the plains. Leaving the befuddled Whelps behind, Aela continued her route. She sped up her pace so the others couldn’t hear the conversation. Keeping her voice low, Aela replied.

    “No she doesn’t… but”.


    Sotek nodded in agreement and loosely cuddled her with the one arm.

    “But it isn’t the same; is it?”


    Aela gave a sultry smile and lightly shook her head.

    “No it isn’t. She likes him being there”. She gave him a brief smile then started speeding up to the point where she was almost snapping at Vilkas’s heels.


    A few minutes later Sotek suddenly grabbed Aela’s shoulder forcing her to stop. Feeling somewhat annoyed at his transgression, she turned around to look at him.

    “Now what?”


    Blanking her, Sotek scanned the skyline behind them. He whispered to the few Whelps who happened to be the closest and quickly passed an order down the line.

    “Everyone stop; Silence!”

    Within a few moments the line came to a halt and everyone stared into the night sky. Even with the benefit of the two moons, no one could see anything. Sotek stood there for a few minutes watching the skyline while his sensitive ears listened to every sound from the Whelp’s breathing to the breeze blowing through the mountain range.


    He tried to pick out any sight or sound to justify the feeling in his gut but there was nothing there.

    “Sorry, guess I’m just jumpy”. He said apologetically.


    Knowing Sotek wasn’t prone to flights of fancy, Farkas discretely spoke to Vilkas.

    “He’s picked Aela to be his mate and then he says he’s jumpy? Yea right!”


    The trouble with that comment was that Farkas never took Aela into consideration. She had moved position further down the line to try and locate anything. All she managed to do was overhear her brother. Breaking the silence, she walked up to him, poking him in the chest.

    “And what the hell is that supposed to mean?”


    Initially he was worried she would hit him but then he regained his composure.

    “It means he thinks there’s something out there. Knowing him, there probably is”. Turning back to the Whelps, he warned them to be on alert.

    “Everyone get ready”.


    Sotek took a few more paces then stopped again. He turned once more and scrutinised the skyline then he cautiously proceeded along the pathway. He continued walking and stopping just to walk on again until it got to the point where no one knew whether to follow him or prepare for a fight. Finding himself alone as everyone had by now fell back several feet due to his behaviour, he called them towards him.

    “Come on, shift it you lazy bastards”.


    Vilkas took one step forwards then saw a blue mist form in Sotek’s hand. Seconds later conjured arrows flew over Vilkas’s head and disappeared as into the night sky while he dived for cover.

    “Bloody hell! Watch it!”


    A second later a piercing, screeching roar echoed over the mountain as an arrow hit the dragon that had been hovering above them.


    Although Sotek had let loose what seemed to be an irregular volley of arrows, he had a system in place to locate the dragon. Now he knew its location thanks to the glowing arrow which hit it, he faced the task of lighting it up for everyone to shoot at.


    This was easily accomplished by casting his large fireball and launching it across the sky. The destructive spell hit the dragon perfectly, lighting it up in the night sky. Flames coated it giving it the appearance of a flying demon sent from the plains of Oblivion.


    Such a sudden apparition struck fear and terror in the ranks of the Whelps and their cries fed the fear within each other causing them to fall back. Knowing he had mere seconds to rally the pack before it turned into a rout, Sotek yelled at them, pointing straight at the dragon.

    “Bring it down; fire!!”


    Thankfully Aela had already started shooting it. Each hit with her enchanted Dragonbone bow caused flames and ice to burn and rip into the beast’s scales causing the creature to screech out in pain.


    Seeing her as the biggest threat, it swooped overhead at speed then turned upwards and climbed the night sky. Aela had a fix on it and she tracked it with ease. As it started to dive down towards her, she fired off a series of arrows, again lighting up the dragon.


    It turned in mid dive and hovered above her so it could use its own weapons against the Huntress. Its intention was to shout using its fire breath. The Huntress below had no cover and the dragon enjoyed the thought of her screaming as her clothes and hair burned as the weak skin peeled off as she was incinerated.


    Aela wasn’t as prone as the dragon thought. She had hunted them often with her mate and they were a team. Each one having a part to play. Just as it was going to release what it was sure to be a burning horrific death upon its opponent, Sotek himself shouted.


    One thing Sotek learned; his shouts were weaker than dragons due to him having much smaller lungs. This was a double edged sword for he could shout quicker as well. Easily beating the dragon in the race to shout, Sotek used his force shout; disrupting the dragon’s own attack perfectly.

    “Fus Ro!” The shout hit the dragon, momentarily stunning it while Aela kept shooting arrow after arrow.


    It tried to climb but it was too sluggish to get any speed. Each second more and more arrows tore into its side and wing as the Whelps had now rallied and joined Aela in shooting.


    Not knowing who to deal with first, the dragon turned towards Sotek who was standing on a boulder. He cast two fireballs but he never threw them. Instead he held them up high in the air, allowing the others to see and to make himself out to be a target.


    Aela had by now gathered all the Whelps and the two Companions around her. All the arrows they launched travelled in a dense group and shattered the exposed wing of the dragon. With a cheering cry of victory, Aela threw her fist up and yelled.

    “Yes!! It’s down. Keep firing! Farkas, Vilkas; You’re up”.


    The ground shook and quaked causing several Whelps to fall to the ground. They were initially terrified as neither one realised what had caused the earthquake. A cloud of earth was thrown upwards in what seemed to be an explosion as the dragon slid across the ground, tearing down trees, throwing up rock and earth.


    It came to a stop a few feet away from Sotek and lifted its head to blast the Argonian with fire as he drew his axe and shield to charge. Spinning around, Sotek bashed the dragons mouth with his shield and followed through with a savage strike with his axe.


    The attack moved him to the side of the dragon’s maw causing the flame breath to miss its target. Flames tore up the mountain side igniting trees and shrubs, scorching the earth and shattering rocks as they fractured and split from the intense heat.


    Both Vilkas and Farkas attacked from one side while Aela and the Whelps fired at it. The three Companions, Farkas, Vilkas and Sotek switched to the beast’s neck, hacking and smashing through scales and flesh. Unable to defend itself due to its prone position, the beasts head crashed down on rock as the neck went limp and lifeless. With its death cries still lingering in the air, the dragon took one long final breath then died. Tendrils of its life force snaked out as its soul was torn from its body.


    The white icy mist of the dragon, it’s soul, coiled around Sotek as his own body shook from the energy as he absorbed the soul, adding the dragon’s knowledge and power to his own. As the soul was sucked from the body, it left behind an empty carcasse which erupted in flames. As the corpse burned, it lit up the entire mountainside until only the skeleton remained.


    All the Whelps cheered at each other, most of them breathing sighs of relief then they started examining the skeletal remains.


    Farkas shook Sotek’s hand, congratulating him on their victory. The mood was jubilant and excitement filled the air as everyone cheered and applauded one another.


    The only one who didn’t share in the celebration was Aela. She quietly moved down the pathway several feet so darkness could shroud her and prevent anyone from seeing her damp, depressed spirit.


    Sotek made a point of praising her for rallying the Whelps so quickly. All through the fight, even when she organised the pack, she never once stopped firing. Finding her by herself, he slowly approached her with an open hand.

    “Well done Huntress. Yet again you’ve proved yourself to be the Archer of Skyrim”.


    Aela never turned her head to look at him, in fact she looked away so she wouldn’t have to see his face. As she replied she sounded withdrawn and upset.

    “Don’t call me ‘the Huntress’. All I’ve done is proved what a bitch I am. I kicked off and lashed out. Over what? A pissy dragon which we killed easily? I’m so, so sorry Sotek. I’ll never doubt you again. I expected worse; I overestimated how bad it would be; I’m sorry for making such a fuss”.


    She took a sharp inhale of breath when she felt Sotek’s hand hold her arm. He was about to pull her close when they were interrupted by Farkas who was holding two scales and a dragon bone in his hands.

    “Hey you got three of each; Vilkas has the others”. He stopped short as he noticed Sotek’s face. He now looked as miserable as Aela did. “What’s up with you two? We did it; you were right. No one got hurt and we killed the dragon!”


    Sotek ignored him and glanced up the mountain path. He was plagued by Aela’s words which was so powerful, they caused him to react. Leaving Aela, and Farkas behind, he cut a path through the Whelps and began making his way further up the trail. Calling out to Vilkas, he asked everyone to wait.

    “Stay here! I’ll be back in ten minutes”.


    His mood wasn’t lost to Aela or Farkas. As he was the closest to her, Farkas took it upon himself to send the she-wolf after her mate with the express orders to find out what was troubling him so much.

    “Follow him. See what’s wrong”.


    “What? What could be wrong? Except me as usual”. Even as she spoke she watched Sotek as he made his way along the path.


    Farkas wasted no time. He took hold of Aela’s arms and forcibly turned her around so she was facing the pathway then he shoved her forwards, sending her on her way.

    “Something’s wrong. Go find out what”.


    Where the trail twisted and turned as it snaked its way around the mountain, Aela lost sight of Sotek. She soon found him by the edge of the trail looking out across the plains.

    “What’s the matter? I thought you would have been pleased. We did it and you proved me wrong”.


    He glanced over to her dismissively, almost shooing her away from him.

    “You should be with the others”.


    Ignoring the tone in his voice, Aela stood her ground and moved alongside him. She didn’t want to abandon him a second time that day nor was she prepared to.

    “No, I should be with you. I made that mistake earlier, I’ll not make it again. Talk to me, what’s up? Is it that the dragon soul inside you isn’t happy we killed a dragon?”


    Sotek chuckled at her comment and shook his head as he grinned back at her.

    “What? No that isn’t how it works. You’re right you know, I expected the fight to be harder; we both did. That dragon, that was a green one. Green dragons are the weakest. So, answer me this Huntress if you will be so kind; How did it dominate this mountain?”


    Aela shrugged at the question and replied as best as she could although her answer was too vague to be of any use.

    “Maybe there’s not so many as you thought. Or it could be the case that there are no others around here to claim this mountain”.


    “Perhaps; go tell Vilkas to bring everyone up but warn them to be quiet. Get your tail back up here to me as fast possible and as silently as you can. Let’s make sure this mountain is clear. I’ll wait for you here”.


    Aela started heading back down the trail but her concern for Sotek going off by himself and heading into trouble caused her to check that he would wait.

    “You promise you’ll be here?”


    Sotek nodded at her, laying her anxiety to rest.

    “Yes, I swear I’ll hang on”


    A good ten minutes later Aela returned. Sotek couldn’t help but be impressed at how fast she could move while being quiet. He thought back to when the Whelps were crossing the plains and all the racket they made. Filled with admiration, he checked she was prepared to face whatever was ahead.

    “The others on the way?”


    “Yes, they’re following behind. Tell me, do you honestly think there’s another dragon at the top?” As she asked, she scanned the pathway which led further up the mountain. The way ahead was as black as night itself but her night vision, boosted by the beast blood could easily make out the rocky hazardous terrain.


    Sotek took a few steps along the trail before looking over his shoulder. His voice seemed sad yet the underlying resolve was undeniable.

    “Yes, yes I do. The dragon we killed was a small weak one. Do you really think it’s capable of dominating an entire mountain range? I hope I’m wrong... but I doubt it. Let’s scout out and see what we can find”.


    Gradually as they made their way up the mountain side, the two moons, Masser and Secunda began their own journey passing the peak of The Throat of the World Mountain and began their descent. By the time the two Companions, Aela and Sotek arrived at the stone stairway leading to the summit, dawn was mere hours away.


    Greeting their arrival was the cold wintery gusts of wind, snow which lay crisp and undisturbed and at the far end of the plateau stood untouched by age and the environments, a wall.


    Having seen them before, Aela pointed it out to Sotek who was too busy scouting the surrounding area to notice.

    “Hey, there’s a word wall”.


    Sotek, who was examining a pile of bones which were humanoid in origin, looked over to where Aela was pointing. He cast his mage light spell, throwing the glowing orb towards the wall, lighting it up.

    “Yes, that’s what Farengar called them; plenty of bones too but no dragon. I guess that must have been it. Farengar got it wrong. I thought the threat was far greater than what it is. Guess I was wrong as well”.


    “Yes, but you are a slimy reptile. What do you expect?” Aela twisted round to see Vilkas grinning back at them. Farkas and the Whelps were just behind him, all squished together in a tightly packed group. Seeing the plateau was clear of dragons and other creatures, the pack split up and scattered as they explored the surrounding area. A few Whelps gathered around the word wall and examined the carved writing although they couldn’t make heads or tails of it. The Imperial Whelp traced her finger along one of the carved symbols and questioned Sotek about it.

    “What’s a wall doing here? What do these symbols mean?”


    Aela decided to feed her curiosity. The Imperial girl had a sensitivity which irked the Huntress on many an occasion but there were times when the girl seemed to have the naivety of a child. Aela walked over to her and explained about the wall and the markings.

    “It’s a word wall. These markings are etched by dragons I believe. Maybe slaves made them, not sure to be honest. These are words, dragon shouts. All these symbols form the dragon language. Ermm....”


    She scanned the wall for a few clawed symbols that she recognized so she could point them out to the curious Whelp.

    “Here! This one is ‘w’. This is ‘u’... Here! ‘l’ and... yes! ‘D’. Now if you write these four symbols together, they make ‘Wuld’. Sotek’s ‘whirlwind sprint’ shout.


    Without thinking, the Imperial girl enquired about Aela’s near fatal injury which she had several months ago.

    “Is that the shout Sotek used when he nearly killed you?”


    Feeling a dark mood form behind her, Aela turned around to see Sotek's solemn face as he scrutinized the Whelp. Leaving her question unanswered, Aela moved to where Sotek was and she flicked him on the nose.

    “Don’t! We’re past that". She then turned back to the word wall and smiled as an idea formed in her mind. Calling out to the Whelps, she snatched Sotek’s hand and began leading him to the wall.

    “Here! All of you watch this. He hasn’t been near it yet. When he moves towards it you’ll see him absorb the word like he did the dragon soul”.


    Upon seeing Sotek’s reaction to her earlier question, the Whelp decided to leave it alone. Her head buzzed with curiosity though so she asked a different one instead.

    “Is that what happened with the dragon? He absorbed its soul?”


    At that point, Sotek managed to break free from Aela’s hand. He walked over to the Whelp and, to her surprise, responded to both her questions.

    “Yes, it was the ‘Wuld’ shout which I used against Aela. That’s in the past now. As for the word wall, yes you’re quite correct. That’s what happens when I kill a dragon. Dragons are immortal but when a Dragonborn kills one and absorbs its soul, it’s dead, permanently”.


    “Does it hurt? It looks like it does”. She asked.


    Sotek just laughed at her and shook his head.

    “No it doesn’t hurt; it certainly feels weird though”.


    Aela stated shoving him towards the wall, eager to give them an example of what Sotek was talking about.

    “Go on, show them”.


    “I’m not a freak sshow”. Sotek hissed as he tried to fend her off.


    Aela drew her dagger and lightly prodded him in the leg, forcing him towards the wall like she was herding cattle.

    “Right now you are; shift it”.


    Begrudgingly, Sotek walked up to the wall and as soon as he got close to it, a small section of wall started glowing in a bluish haze. As he neared the wall, trails of blue mist pulled away from it and were drawn into his body. The closer he got the more intense it became until a word appeared then it was ripped from the wall and absorbed by him.


    Sotek fell to one knee and tensed his body up to fight the dizziness so he could regain his footing. Without giving him a chance to recover, Aela came up to him and nudged him in the side.

    “Well? What does it do?”


    The Argonian held on to her waist and pulled himself up, using her for support. Shrugging, due to feeling somewhat fuzzy, he answered as best as he could.

    “Zun... Disarm I think. Maybe it tears annoying Huntresses arms off?”


    Aela playfully snarled a warning as she waved her dagger in his face.

    “Try it and Jorrvaskr will be one Argonian short. Well, not a whole Argonian short; there are parts of you I’ll like to keep around. Test it on the Whelp here. On second thoughts I think it’s best if you don’t. You might be wrong and send her flying off the top of the mountain. I’d hate to have to explain that to the Harbinger”.


    She took one last look along the Horizon then ordered Sotek to give the appropriate signal for a successful attack.

    “Regardless to that; the mountain’s clear. Sotek, send the signal as soon as you can and we’ll make a move. It’ll be gone dawn by the time we get back”.


    The whole pack started their descent along the trail, leaving Aela and Sotek alone to cover the rear of the group. Sotek was the last to move; he was eventually dragged off by the hand as Aela tugged his arm like it was a piece of rope.


    They were half way across the top of the mountain peak when a strong gust of air blasted them in its icy tendrils as it blew up snowflakes, dust and dirt. The blast of cold air came from nowhere, catching them both unexpectedly. Before they could recover, there was a horrendous bang as the ground shook and quaked, causing the Huntress to fall to her hands and knees. Sotek staggered sideways and managed to support himself by using Aela to lean on. He held her armor tightly, preventing both her and himself from falling on the ground.


    He forcibly pulled her up to her feet and turned around to find a dragon right behind them; a dragon that was far larger than the previous one they had managed to kill.


    Purely on reflex, Sotek struck out, punching the dragon on the snout with his fist.


    The dragon pulled its head away in astonishment. Feeling a sense of indignation at being struck by such a pathetic specimen, it took a deep breath and prepared to shout using it’s fire breath.


    Seeing the clear evident threat to himself and his mate, Sotek shouted back before the dragon could complete its attack.

    “Fus Ro!”


    He gave Aela an almighty shove sending her sprawling along the ground, out of harm’s way as the dragon’s head darted forwards. As Aela regained her footing she yelled in indignation at Sotek’s initial attack.

    “You stupid reptilian snake! Use your axe you stupid bastard”.


    Despite the urgency and the imminent danger he was in, Sotek chuckled back at her. Drawing his axe and shield, he vainly tried to defend himself as best as he could while the dragon tried with all its strength and guile to bite him in half.




8 Comments   |   The Wolf Of Atmora and 7 others like this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  December 1, 2016
    Oh hell.... 
    I deserve a few teeth marks in the tail for this one...
    *Lowers head in shame.
  • Ebonslayer
    Ebonslayer   ·  December 1, 2016
    The trouble with that comment was that Farkas never took Aela into (consideration).

    The destructive (spell) hit the dragon perfectly, lighting it up in the night sky.

    This was a double (ed...  more
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  November 6, 2016
    THe sheeeeet just got real. A fist, makes me laugh. Silly Sotek. Excited to see how this one goes. 
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  November 6, 2016
    Found a few errors when I read it to Aela. Fixed them.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  November 5, 2016
    Yes; but there are good reasons for it. I just hope I don't alienate her from the readers before the facts come to light.
    This is actually one of my biggest fears so if anyone feels this is happening then please tell me before it's too late.
    <...  more
    • The Sunflower Manual
      The Sunflower Manual
      Yes; but there are good reasons for it. I just hope I don't alienate her from the readers before the facts come to light.
      This is actually one of my biggest fears so if anyone feels this is happening then please tell me before it's too late.

      Edit: I re...  more
        ·  November 5, 2016
      I don't feel that she's reached that level yet, since you've done a good job of blending in some endearing moments as well. That's how I see it, at any rate.
      • Sotek
        The Sunflower Manual
        The Sunflower Manual
        The Sunflower Manual
        I don't feel that she's reached that level yet, since you've done a good job of blending in some endearing moments as well. That's how I see it, at any rate.
          ·  November 6, 2016
        This lets me breathe easier. Thanks for the feedback Harrow.
  • The Sunflower Manual
    The Sunflower Manual   ·  November 5, 2016
    I swear, Aela's mood swings are something else.