U.O.T.W. Chapter 304 Guiding Light



    The instant Aela ran for the door, Kul-et could have died. They had their differences and squabbles but Aela was one of the bravest people she had ever met. She was afraid of nobody, even the Harbinger felt her wrath at times, let alone a Dragonborn. But Kul-et learned there and then that everyone had their fears. The few times she had seen Hircine and Aela together she knew, Hircine was Aela’s. She regarded him as her master, one who she had to obey. The fact that Aela had ran, didn’t make Kul-et feel angry towards her. Kul-et was afraid of Meridia, and that Daedra Lord wasn’t half as bad or as ruthless as Hircine was. No, Kul-et didn’t blame Aela at all. Instead, she blamed someone else.


    She stood still and silent as she looked around the corridor. There was minimal light thrown out from a few candles, lit at points along the corridor and down the steps which led into what could best be described as dark, dingy ruins. Rubble littered the floor, making the way forwards difficult at best. To make matters worse, there was a thick unnatural black mist which seemed to seep out of the very rock. Kul-et found herself choking on it a few times so she did her best to stay out of its trails. By her feet, laying on the ground, were two desecrated corpses which were obviously just thrown to the wayside and two burial urns were kicked over.


    Kul-et waited for a few minutes, severely hoping that Aela would return but deep inside she knew the Huntress wouldn’t. She just hoped that Aela would be outside praying to Hircine for Kul-et’s return. She pulled out a torch then lit it, throwing light along the corridor. Kul-et instantly felt a little securer. That was something Kodlak, the Harbinger had said. If you’re feeling afraid, lighting a torch helps, it chases away the shadows and fears. But he also said that sneaking around is impossible with a lit torch. Kul-et cursed as she put the torch out once more.
    “Damn you Sotek, you lousy thix. Why the hell are you making me do this?” She took a deep breath then carried on along the corridors and followed the stairway into the depths.


    Down the next passageway, Kul-et came across a chest in an alcove to her right but the trouble was that a portcullis had come down at some point, sealing it off and now prevented her from reaching it. To her left was a door which she tried to open. She cursed out loud as she pulled out a lock pick.
    “Oh, for the love of the divines, please be an easy one”. She spent the next few minutes trying to pick it, but after breaking three lock picks she finally heard a satisfying click. “At bloody last”. She opened the door cautiously then went to step through but all she could see was a lever. She tugged on it then heard a distinct muffled rumbling as the portcullis lifted and allowed her access to the chest. Inside it, she found a garnet which she slipped in her pack and a few gold pieces which she added to her pouch. Then she looked down the far end of the corridor but as she followed it along, a side passage came into view on the left which was initially hidden from her sight by rubble and the dark mist. Drawing a deep breath, she headed down the new passageway.


    Sotek, who had initially hidden himself on a narrow ledge, breathed a sigh of relief as he saw Kul-et extinguish the torch. He knew damn well that no matter how good at sneaking he was, following her undetected for so long with a torch’s light to contend with was nigh impossible. Darkness was his ally, and the temple reeked with it. He had watched the entrance for several minutes longer than what Kul-et had. If Aela came in and surprised Kul-et she would feel relief. But if Aela entered and saw him, all Sotek would feel would be the toe of her boot and probably her dagger in his leg. Caution was the order of the day. But now that he was satisfied he had scared her off, he turned his attention to Kul-et.


    He searched the two bodies that Kul-et had left untouched and then checked the two urns. Grumbling at the lack of attention which Kul-et had shown, he stashed in a spare pouch a sum of forty-seven gold pieces then discreetly followed her through the corridors. He muttered under his breath when Kul-et spent so much time with a lock.
    “Call me a snake, would you? That’s Aela’s privilege”. When he examined the lock though and saw that it was an Adept one, he knew she would have problems. Her lock picking skills would be something he had to address when they got back to the safety of Jorrvaskr. As he discreetly hid in the shadows and black mist, he held a cloth over his face to prevent himself coughing on the choking, thick, unearthly vapour. He watched her disappear around the corner then he continued to trace her steps.


    Kul-et followed the dark corridor to the end of the passageway which was lit up by candles on long holders. There was a short narrow walkway at the end which again turned left, but that opened to a large rubble littered chamber. In the middle of the room was a small stone platform with a dark grey pedestal sitting upon it. The pedestal itself was made of a different rock, it was far darker than the rocks and stones which were littering the floor and even the ones which made up the walls and roof. A bright beam of light shone down from a hole in the ceiling and was striking the pedestal, forcing back the black mist just as easily as the shadows. What caught Kul-et’s eyes though, was the door at the other side. She cautiously entered the room and had a quick look around. Seeing nothing else of interest, she approached the door but found it to be sealed tight.


    Sotek cautiously watched her from the corridor, just sticking his head around the edge of the threshold to see what was going on. He saw Kul-et approach the pedestal then touch it with her hand. Instantly he heard a rumbling as the pedestal rotated around. A second beam of light which came straight from the pedestal, struck the door and burst through a gap as the door opened, allowing Kul-et and then him to continue.


    As Kul-et walked through the door, the passageway ended at a stairway which led even deeper down into the depths of the temple. She drew a deep breath once more and continued down the stairwell, thankful that a few more candles were burning happily away in their holders which were mounted on the walls.


    Sotek had a quick search of the room and found a small burial urn in the corner which Kul-et had missed. Inside, was a gold ring and five gold pieces. He stored them in the pouch then once again he was on Kul-et’s tail.


    Kul-et entered a long room which had an altar at the far end. Four stone benches were laid out either side of the room, leaving a narrow walkway between them. As she made her way towards the altar, she discovered that she wasn’t alone. Two Shades moved from the other side of the altar where they were initially hidden from her view. She fired off a fireball at the first one, which staggered backwards, but it soon recovered and came straight back at her. Two more fireballs flew towards her target which staggered a second time then fell to the ground. A fourth fireball finished off the shade and sent it back to the realm of the dead. By now, Kul-et’s manna was running out and the second shade was rapidly closing the distance. Kul-et drew her bow and fired off a steel arrow at it. She couldn’t tell if it had struck her target as the arrow slammed into the wall behind it. She fired a second time just as Sotek drew his bow as well, then she picked a third arrow and took careful aim.


    Sotek aimed at the shade and concentrated. He was thankful that Aela had spent so many hours training him when they were on the plains. He knew he needed all the help he could get. He watched Kul-et carefully and timed his shot to perfection. Two arrows struck the shade at the same time, giving Sotek no indication as to whether it was Kul-et or Sotek's Dragonbone bow which had fired the kill shot.


    Kul-et was none the wiser that two arrows had struck the target. In the dim, grim darkness, Sotek’s shot went unnoticed. She just presumed that she was lucky.


    Once she was satisfied that both shades were dead and no more, she studied the room properly. She noticed two doors, one of which was smaller than the second one. It was situated in the wall to the right of the room leaving the bigger door at the far end of the room behind the alter.


    Kul-et tried the nearest door first but found it to be locked. She was dismayed to see that the lock was that of a master level, but she still tried to lock pick it. After losing three lock picks and not even having the feintest idea on the workings of the mechanism, she gave up and kicked the door. She found herself cursing out as she laid the blame squarely on Sotek’s shoulders.
    “Damn it all, Sotek you bastard. If it wasn’t for you, Aela would be here. I bet she’d bloody open it for me. You’re a waxhuthi”. She stared at the door for a few seconds then hit it with the palm of her hand. Cursing under her breath, she left the locked door and headed off in the opposite direction.


    She soon found, to her bad luck, that the other door was sealed as well. Having the lit pedestal to be her only option, she approached it. As she walked towards it, she didn’t pay as much attention as she should have. As she touched it, her hand broke the beam of light. She almost yelled out with pain and shock as it burned her hand, but when she examined the scales on the back of her hand, she found them to be intact. However, when she went to take another step, she staggered slightly due to the drain on her manna and energy.


    Once the pedestal was active, a beam of light burst outwards, striking the door. Sotek, who had been hiding in the shadows, had already sneaked over to the first door. He was in the process of picking the lock when the bright light illuminated his body. Thankfully, Kul-et was far too busy cursing his name and watching the large door. She didn’t think to turn around, much to his relief. It took mere moments for him to unlock it then he quickly retreated further into the shadows, casting his invisibility spell to aid him.


    Kul-et thought she saw a slight flash of light behind her and quickly turned around, drawing her bow as she did so. She narrowed her eyes and scrutinised the surrounding area, watchful for any hidden enemies but there was nothing there. The smaller door however was now open. She slowly walked up to it as she aimed her bow at it, ready to shoot anything lurking behind it but all she found was an empty corridor. The new passageway was clear. She approached the large door but quickly realised that there was no way that she would be going in that direction. Large boulders and stone blocks had collapsed, blocking that route completely. There was just enough of a gap for the beam of light to shine through. She turned to the small door and simply presumed that the pedestal unlocked it as it had with the other doors. As she glanced back at the large door she noticed an urn in the corner. On investigation, she found thirty gold pieces laying in the bottom. She pocketed the gold then proceeded through the small doorway.


    The room which she had just entered was a long narrow room almost like a corridor but fractionally just a bit wider. At the far end of this room was another doorway, but there was also something else. Between her and the door was another shade. It rapidly came towards her and she shot off a fireball from her hands. The ball of fire struck the shade, but the flames seemed to have little effect. She rapidly cast a second fireball but, in her urgency, she missed it, the fireball went wide and struck the far wall, exploding spectacularly but doing nothing to help her situation.


    Inside, Sotek groaned. He watched the fireball miss and knew there was little he could do to help. He decided there and then to spend a day with Kul-et and help her with her magic, after all, there was no one else in the Companions who she could turn to for assistance.


    The shade drew its sword and charged at Kul-et, who herself drew her spear. She took the initiative and struck out at it first, immediately placing it on the defensive. She thrust with the spear tip at it, but it moved to the side and deflected the blow. Within moments the shade closed the gap and struck out at her shoulder. Kul-et screamed out from the pain of the wound as the blade bit through her armour but the shade showed her no mercy. It prepared to strike her again but Kul-et wasn’t quite finished. A memory flashed in her mind as she recalled one particular sparing match against Sotek.


    She was forcing him back, one step at a time and his back was now to a wall. Having no means to use his spear, he dropped it to the ground and cast his flame Spurt spell with both hands, blasting Kul-et’s feet, forcing her away. She backed off five paces then blinked in surprise as she realised she fell into a trap. Sotek flicked his foot up, which the spear was resting on and moved forwards with lightning speed. All Kul-et could do was gulp as the shaft’s tip was poked into her left breast. She knew one thrust and it would have pierced her heart.


    Dropping the spear, so it rested on her foot as Sotek had shown her, she cast two Flame Spurt spells, one from each hand. Flames shot out from the palms of her hands, blasting the undead spirit in all consuming flames. Due to the sudden intensity of the flames and at such close range, Kul-et made the mistake of closing her eyes for a few seconds. Sotek immediately seized his chance and fired off a fireball at the shade. His destruction spell slammed into the back of the shade, helping her to bring it down. Kul-et’s eyes flicked open and she stopped her casting as her foot flicked upwards. She grabbed the spear with her right hand and thrust it with all her strength into the chest of the shade. The blow burst through its chest and Kul-et held it there as her left hand erupted into flames once more. All her focus went on her Flame Spurt spell and this was one of those times it showed. The shade screamed its deathly cry as it tried to move and lash out, but the spear kept Kul-et out of its reach. Flames enveloped it, until it’s life force was destroyed, causing the sword to fall to the ground with a loud clang but still Kul-et cast the spell until her manna failed her.


    The flames stopped which left Kul-et in near darkness once more. She drank a healing potion and then a manna one. Thankful for a split second that Sotek had done one thing for her and prepared her some potions. She found herself praising him, but her anger and fear soon turned that praise into a curse as she spat on the ground.
    “No, you made my potions, but no. Fuck you, you waxhuthi, you bastard. You said I’ll never be alone”. She felt afraid as the darkness seemed to pull at her very soul and the mist seemed to close in around her. All around she saw shadows and heard strange feint moaning as if the very room was coming alive. Fear gripped her like a vice, before she knew it, Kul-et was running. She ran blindly into the previous room but tripped over and landed with a bang on the floor. She crawled over to the alter pleading with anyone to help her, but no answer came.


    “Harbinger, Harbinger! I can’t do this, why did he make me! Sotek you bastard, you said I’ll never be alone, never! So, where the fuck are you? Veezara please, I need you! Aela damn you and your oaths, what about me, who’s there for me?” She started crying as she curled up in a ball. The passageway that would lead her out seemed darker than ever, the very walls seemed to close in on themselves, threatening to crush her. Kul-et screamed out once more. “Aela help me! I can’t do it, I just can’t”. Then she laid there in a ball listening to her tears as no one answered her. Sotek, sat at the end of the room and was mere moments from making his presence known to her, but she suddenly shouted something which made him hold back for a few seconds. “Sotek, you’re a bastard! You knew I couldn’t do this! Who’s next, Aela? Ebony? Like hell, you cunt!” She forced herself up to her feet and glared at the passage way that would take her back out but then she cast a fireball down it as an act of defiance. Sotek just managed to move out of the way before he could be spotted, but then Kul-et lit her torch forcing Sotek to hide in the shadows. She cast her healing spell which was basic for any mage, until she was healed then she headed, much to Sotek’s surprise, back to the room and proceeded to head deeper inside once more.


    Sotek smiled at her and nodded in approval. He whispered to himself, yet he so desperately wanted Kul-et to hear those words meant for her.
    “Fight your fear Kul-et. Fear is the mind killer and it cuts sharper than any spear. It hits harder than any hammer. Will is your armor, believe in your own will and it will never faulter against fear’s blows. Look behind you and believe. You are doing it... Go get them”.


    The passage at the end of the long room wound downwards, initially as a slope but then it rapidly became steps. At the bottom, Kul-et found herself facing another doorway. She carefully opened it to see a small room. On the right was a chest but it would have to wait as a shade on the left of the room had spotted her. Kul-et grabbed her spear and charged at it, swinging wildly as her anger and rage took over.


    Unfortunately, she never saw the shade in the near corner, but Sotek had. He kited it away to the steps and quickly despatched it with a few solid strikes with his Dragonbone axes, safe in the knowledge that Kul-et was too busy engaging the first shade to know that he was there.


    Kul-et swung her spear around her head and slammed it on to the shade. It blocked the blow with its sword but that didn’t deter Kul-et at all. She swung her spear sideways as she tried to strike the shade with both ends but before she even realised she had done it, Kul-et thrust the spear into the shade three times. Its sword fell to the ground and Kul-et spat on the ghostly remains.
    “Sotek you bastard, when I see you. You just wait you fucker”. She paced over to the chest and threw open the lid. Inside was just a few gold pieces which she took, then she slammed the lid and proceeded down the next passageway.


    She cautiously walked into a large room, but the thick black mist was here as well. All around, above her head, were various platforms running from one side of the room to the other in as many different directions. High above her, was a platform with a pedestal sitting upon it. Kul-et saw a shade on the far platform and took aim with her bow. She fired off an arrow which struck it, but the shade started moving towards her. She moved to a better position and fired off a second arrow. Unbeknown to her, another shade was rapidly approaching from behind as she had in avertedly moved in front of it due to it being out of her line of sight.


    Sotek moved fast and silently. Yet again he kited it away, so he could deal with the malevolent spawn. Sotek headed back down the corridor leading the last shade away. Once they were out of ear shot, Sotek attacked. He blocked the shades clumsy attack and quickly despatched the shade with two well placed fireballs then he flowed up with a few swift hacks with his Dragonbone axes, despatching the shade. Soon afterwards, he was back in the room sitting in the shadows, on a boulder, over several feet away from Kul-et.


    The first thing Kul-et did, was to try the door to her left, but once again that was sealed tight. She made her way up the stairs which were situated at the far end of the room. The staircase was basically logs placed one after the other with rope tying them together to produce a stairway. She walked along the platform which then led to the left side of the room. In front of her was a chest but just as before, a portcullis had dropped and sealed it off out of her reach. Just to her right was a door, but as she tried to open it she discovered that it was well and truly locked. She spent a few moments trying to pick it but was completely unsuccessful. All she managed to do, was break another four lock picks. She cursed out at her father, for even as a Shadowscale she struggled with the locks, but her father wouldn’t show her any techniques. She was mostly self-taught. She looked back at a platform which held a pedestal and made her way towards it. She groaned when she realised that the walkway had partially collapsed but she was nimble and athletic. With just a short run up, she easily cleared the gap and landed a perfect three pointer, both feet and the tip of her tail firmly planted on the stone platform.


    Sotek discreetly unlocked the door but held his breath as a loud click sounded out. Fortunately, Kul-et was far too intent on the pedestal to notice. He slightly opened the door to see a lever and immediately guessed that it would allow access to the chest.


    He reached in and gripped the handle then waited for the exact moment that Kul-et activated the pedestal. A bright beam of light shot out of the pedestal and struck the sealed door to the right of the room, but, thanks to Sotek’s timing, at the same time, the portcullis lifted up, giving Kul-et free access to the chest and its contents. Then, as silently as a ghost, Sotek slipped into the shadows once more.


    Kul-et looked surprised as the portcullis started to move, but she just simply presumed that it was the doing of the pedestal. Upon opening the chest, she found a bright red ruby and thirty gold pieces. There was even a grand soul gem, which she initially picked up. Her anger with Sotek was such that she cursed out at him.
    “No, fuck you. I don’t want to bloody know”. Then she threw it back in the chest. She made her way down to the lower level where the door that was previously sealed, had now opened, allowing her to make her way deeper inside.


    Once Kul-et was out of sight, Sotek quietly moved to the chest and flicked up the lid. Moments later the soul gem slid into his pack and then he climbed down and followed her through the door’s threshold.


    Kul-et found herself in a small corridor but thankfully there was no dark horrible mist. Unfortunately, however, it was very cold. Ice had formed on some of the wall and stalactites started to form on the ceiling. She opened the door to blackness, but moments later she saw the sky above her and the two moons shone down and lit up the walkway which she found herself on. She breathed in deeply of the cold night air, feeling relief and freedom. She suddenly heard her own voice yelling out as relief and shock flooded her emotions.
    “Aela! Aela!”


    Aela heard the shouting from below and looked down in the direction of the voice to see a platform nearly fifty feet below her. On it, stood Kul-et who even in the poor light, Aela could see was the worse for wear.
    “Kul-et? Oh, thank Hircine! Wait there, don’t go anywhere, please?” She scrutinised the rocks but then saw an opportunity. One quick change later and Red started leaping from one boulder to another and scrambled down the mountain towards Kul-et.


    It only took her a few minutes but Red finally managed to scramble to the walkway. Aela transformed back but before she had a chance to say anything, Kul-et ran to her and gripped her tightly in her arms.
    “Oh Sithis, I was so bloody scared. I can’t do this, I can’t”.


    Aela held her in her arms and could feel the tears as they poured from Kul-et’s face.
    “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I tried to be there for you. I just couldn’t”.


    Kul-et almost screamed at her and pulled away from Aela’s arms.
    “No, don’t you dare! Don’t you dare blame yourself. It’s him, that bloody bastard! He made you swear, he made me come here and do this, but I can’t. I can’t, and no one can help. Aela, I can’t do this, it’s too much. Help me, please, what the hell should I do? I just can’t go on”. Moments later she collapsed on the walkway. All Aela could do was sit next to her and try to give her all the comfort she could.



    Author’s Note:
    Awwwooo to one and all.
    This chapter happens to be the largest cornerstone of my life regarding writing bar starting the story in the first place. (Which was only supposed to be a small story. Thanks Aela for egging me on to write more). The cornerstone I speak/write of, for me and for U.O.T.W. is the fact that it is this chapter which breaks my 1,000,000 word count. Yes, U.O.T.W.’s posted chapters are now in the excess of one million words…
    Never in all my dreams, and Aela’s did we ever think this story would reach the gigantic story that this has become.


    It has gown so much that it is now a cornerstone in itself in T.S.C. as a monument to dreadful writing and it is with no doubt one of the reasons we have so many members in T.S.C. So many people have looked at it and thought ‘I can write better than this crap’ and they have joined T.S.C. and written their own stories, filling our little corner with so many wonderful stories, poems and ToC’s. Who said there’s never a silver lining?



    I would like to thank all my readers, past, present and future for your dedication in reading my work and all it’s errors, inconsistencies and precious lore breakages. (Even the bits which seemed odd… Ok, are odd and the plots which doesn’t make a lot of sense). Thanks for all your support and giving me your precious time to read my and Aela’s story.



    To those who have helped shape U.O.T.W. by pointing out errors… (This one is a toughie. There’s been so many people in the past who have painstakingly pointed out errors that I honestly don’t think it’s right to name one without the others, sorry Ebonslayer… Damn). To all of you who have/do point out my mistakes, both I and Aela thank you.



    To everyone who points out parts I need to work on, plot holes which I missed, and other inconsistencies like naming the wrong characters the wrong names… (Yes… I did that!) A massive thank you for all the time and effort you put in. Again, this is too numerous to mention names but there is one person that has been there from the very beginning, so I want to thank her personally.



    Lissette, as you know I battled through a lot over the last six years and this story has been a release for both myself and Aela. My story, and my writing wouldn’t have grown so much without your guidance, help and support. I thank you for all your advice and patience you have given me, and for understanding when I have sometimes blatantly ignored the advice, which I have done so from time to time.
    Thank you so, so much.



    Just so you know… This is my 1,000,000 word:-
    No, Kul-et didn’t blame Aela, nor did she blame Hircine for filling the Huntress with fear. Instead, she blamed someone else.


    Hircine… Hahaha





6 Comments   |   Meli and 5 others like this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  August 8, 2018
     Thanks everyone for all your kind words and support over the
    many months and years, helping my story to grow.

    Ebonslayer, I will get to fix the errors you have pointed
    out but there's something I need to get done first. <...  more
    • Sotek
       Thanks everyone for all your kind words and support over the
      many months and years, helping my story to grow.

      Ebonslayer, I will get to fix the errors you have pointed...  more
        ·  August 8, 2018
      Lissette, Kilkreath... Nightmare.... As for independence, I
      know I am showing Kul-et off in a bit of a weak state and as you pointed out
      Sotek does seem to be the centre of everything. This won't last for too long.
      (50 odd chapters time)...  more
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  August 8, 2018
    Congratulations to reaching such a milestone, Sotek. Your ability to keep going forward and even beyond the convential, to lead by a humble example, is always an inspiration and we all could take a lesson from you. 
    Aa for the chapter, yeah, it...  more
  • Ebonslayer
    Ebonslayer   ·  August 7, 2018
    Hircine was Aela’s. (I think it's supposed to be "Aela is Hircine's")

    Kul-et’s [magicka] was running out and the second shade was rapidly closing the distance.

    she staggered slightly due to the drain on her [mag...  more
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  August 6, 2018
    Wonderful to reach such a milestone, Sotek. Here's to a million more. I don't even know how many I have. 

    As for the chapter. Kul-et is really struggling here and I'm just surprised at this from a person who was training as a Sha...  more
  • Meli
    Meli   ·  August 6, 2018
    Sotek, I think we would all like your dedication and perseverance. But you also have a good story, you may not follow the lore of TES, but you are writing something that is both entertaining and challenges us to look at things in a different way.