U.O.T.W. Chapter 316 The lonely Mountain

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    Night started closing in and yet the four Companions were still an hour or so away from Riften. Sotek, who was asleep, woke up with a start. He tried to gather his wits but his mind felt foggy and having found it was now dark, he struggled to focus as he attempted to work out where they were at this time of night, or even what the time was.

     

    Aela, who wasn’t overly impressed with Sotek’s lack of conversation for the near entire duration of the journey, tutted as she shook her head at him.
    “I swear, you just have to look at a cart and you’d fall asleep. You don’t even remember us leaving the plains, do you?”

     

    Sotek tried to keep up with the discussion, but he struggled with just the basics like sitting up.
    “Huh? Plains? Oh, I feel rough”. He stretched out then a loud crack sounded out from his shoulder.

     

    Upon hearing this, Aela’s face cringed.
    “Ouch, you’re in a bad way”.

     

    Farkas nudged Vilkas as he pointed to Sotek.
    “See, we said she’d wear him out one day. It’s finally happened”.

     

    “Oh ha, ha, ha”. Aela threw Farkas a quick glare but then turned her attention to Sotek. She passed him a bag of provisions and a water flask.
    “Here, eat something. We’ll be hitting Riften soon, but don’t...”

     

    The moment he heard this, Farkas’s face broke out in a massive smile.
    “Hey, Riften! They’ve got a great mead hall. I can’t wait to try some”.

     

    Vilkas started smiling as well as they both recalled their last drinking session there.
    “You remember that drinking game we played with the Thieves Guild?”

     

    Farkas burst out laughing.
    “Yes, we down three pints then chuck one of them in the canal”.

     

    Sotek’s stomach turned at just the thought of mead. He often wondered how these two Companions could drink so much and keep a clear head at the same time.
    “We’re not going to Riften, Farkas. We’re heading straight to Forelhost. We’ll see about resting up once we’re inside”.

     

    Farkas groaned out loudly and was quickly joined by his brother. Unlike Farkas however, Vilkas was prepared to argue for their cause.
    “No, we don’t need to go there straight away. It’s dark, we’ll rest up in the mead hall, ermm the inn and head out in the morning. You may have, but we haven’t slept. Think of Aela, she’s exhausted. Look at her. You’re tired aren’t ya? Say you’re knackered, please!”

     

    Aela sat back for a few seconds as she thought on what the Harbinger had told her. It was then that she realised she all too easily stepped back and let Sotek take control.
    “Farkas, Vilkas, quit your bleating, you’re acting like sheep. What’s going to happen is this, we’ll be heading straight for Forelhost like Sotek said… But no one, and I do mean no one goes in until I say so. And that most certainly includes reptiles, lizards and Scarface. So Sotek, you stay away from the entrance until I say. I’m the Pack Alpha, me. Any questions?” She said as she gave each and every member of her pack a stern glare, warning them all of the danger that would befall them if they even thought about arguing with her.

     

    Sotek stuck his hand up which caused Farkas to laugh. Aela just rolled her eyes at him.
    “What?”

     

    As Sotek spoke, he examined Aela’s features then looked at the other two. It was then that it occurred to him that the Huntress was sitting a few feet away from him, rather than with him as she usually would.
    “I’ve a question. What happened while I was asleep?”

     

    Aela leaned forwards and rested her palms on her knees.
    “I had a few words with the Harbinger last night. I didn’t think much about it until now. I’ve just had an epiphany”.

     

    Farkas knowingly nudged Vilkas with his elbow and nodded, having understood, or at least thinking he understood Aela’s meaning.
    “Ahh, right… Girl problems. You’ll be ok, we’ll look after you”.

     

    Sotek looked over to him with a confused expression.
    “You what?”

     

    Farkas pointed to Aela as he tried to explain to Sotek about what Aela had said.
    “Aela, she’s having ‘girl problems’; you know? Her monthly and the like”.

     

    Aela groaned as she shouted at him.
    “You bloody idiot. An epiphany is where someone has a big sudden insight into something, you bloody great gorilla”.

     

    Vilkas shoved Farkas as he burst out laughing.
    “You got shouted at. And she called you a great gorilla”.

     

    Aela softly growled at the pair of them as they started squabbling.
    “Enough, the pair of you. Sotek, once we make camp, we’ll have a little chat. Just you and me, but don’t worry, I just don’t need these two oafs interrupting”.

     

    He eyed her suspiciously as he tried to work out what was actually going on. After drawing a complete blank, he decided to grab the wolf by the tail and ask her directly.
    “What is it? Is it something to do with us?”

     

    Aela laughed slightly then looked across at him. She could see his eyes were full of curiosity and due to his tail twitching, she knew he was more than a little worried.
    “It’s to do with us, but not on a level you’re worrying about. It’s about us as Companions, not mates. We’re fine in that respect; great actually. But no, it’s about me being your shield sister, you being my shield brother. Aww… This is just making it worse. We’re ok, honest. We’ll talk later”.

     

    “So, we’re ok as lover’s but as Companions, I’m in for my butt getting kicked?” As Sotek asked his question, he raised a spikey eyebrow as he mentally prepared for the worst.

     

    “Quit it, we’ll talk later. Look! Riften’s ahead”. She moved across to him then tucked herself into him for a few seconds before giving him a quick peck on the cheek.
    “Stop worrying, we’re ok. Now, shut up else I’ll punch you”.

     

    A few minutes later the carriage came to an abrupt halt. Bjorlam called out to them all, as he prepared to dismount from the front of the cart.
    “We’re here. Now, you’re not going to cause any problems, are you?”

     

    Vilkas was the first to climb down off the waggon and with every step came a wave of grumbling protests.
    “Unfortunately, no we’re not. Apparently, we have to go straight to a bloody tomb. Fort… Mountain”.

     

    “Ahh well, rather you than me. I have an understanding with the dead”. Bjorlam stated as he looked forwards to a few pints of ale and a hearty meal.

     

    Aela, being somewhat curious, called out to him as they headed off.
    “What understanding?”

     

    “If She may ask!” Sotek said in jest.

     

    “May nothing. I bloody will ask, and he’ll damn well answer if the fool knows what’s best for him!”

     

    Bjorlam shouted back to her as he laughed.
    “It’s a simple one, I stay above ground and leave the dead alone. Then, in return, they stay below ground and leave me in peace”.

     

    Aela smirked across to Sotek.
    “Well that sounds kind of boring doesn’t it?”

     

    Sotek chuckled as he looked across the sky.
    “Yes, I wonder if it works with dragons”.

     

    “Well, have you flown anywhere?” The She-wolf asked as she gave him a nudge with her elbow.

     

    “No”.

     

    “Then I’m afraid it doesn’t. Come on you two, Forelhost is still a good few hours away”.

     

    Farkas looked back at the gate to Riften then grumbled as he trudged alongside Vilkas. “Riften isn’t! Man, is she a slave driver or what?”

     

    “Aww quit it, you miserable ape. Sotek, we’ll scout ahead, we’ll have our chat while their moaning like two old men”. Aela then took the lead as they followed the road towards the vast eastern mountain range. She took a few paces then half turned towards Farkas and bleated like a sheep, causing Farkas and his brother to exchange worried and somewhat confused looks at one another while the Huntress chuckled as she took the lead once more.

     

    A large solitary peak dominated the landscape, belittling the other peaks which marked the horizon and Skyrims borders to the other lands of Vvardenfell and Cyrodiil. An old, worn road, well traversed by trade, hunters and adventurers seeking their fortunes, or even their deaths, started from the gates of Riften and circumnavigated the entire mountain. This singular pathway acted as a barrier, exiling the solitary peak from the surrounding landscape.

     

    As they followed the road down into the rocky valley, Sotek looked around at the countryside. The trees were mainly silver birches which had already started dropping their leaves which littered the ground, forming a carpet of auburn, yellow and rich red foliage. The main thing Sotek noticed with the scenery was though that although there were plenty of trees, they were so far apart from one another that he struggled to call the area a woodland, let alone a forest which was so unlike the thick woody forests near Riverwood.

     

    As they made their way along the road, a small ruined tower slowly came into view as the darkness gave up the structures outline. Aela sniffed the night air and stopped. She held her fist up, bringing her pack to a halt. Farkas and Vilkas moved just behind her then slowly drew their swords as Aela reported her findings.
    “Bandits, two of them I think”.

     

    Sotek closed his eyes. He relaxed his control and his breathing slowed, allowing Scarface’s senses to come forth. He thought back about when Aela told him that he had to tap into Scarface’s abilities. The two entities working together in one symbiotic being.
    “Yes, I can almost see them. Oh, their scents so bloody strong”.

     

    Aela looked over to Sotek briefly and smiled. She could sense what he was doing, and she felt a wave of pride in him, in his werewolf, in them both. Sotek and Scarface were proving to be good students, always willing and keen to learn from her; to learn from Red.
    “Aww, is poor Scarface hungry?”

     

    “Damn right he is, and Red is as well. I can almost smell her hunger for flesh. She reeks of it”. Sotek stated as he revelled in Red’s scent. Although his eyes were till closed, he was sure if he reached out, Red would be there looking back at him. Such was the strength of Red’s smell which assaulted the Argonian’s senses.

     

    Farkas laughed at him and gave him a light kick with his foot.
    “Count to five, then open your eyes”.

     

    Sotek’s train of thought was suddenly derailed.
    “What? Why?” As he looked at the brutish Nord, he huffed. Moments earlier, Aela had already changed form and now Red was making her way towards the small ruined tower. As Sotek started his transformation, Red looked back at him. She softly and playfully growled before running off at full speed as she tried to open the gap between herself and her mate.

     

    As Red closed in on the tower, she could hear the pounding of Scarface’s paws on the pathway. The trouble was though that the bandits could hear them as well. One bandit drew his sword as he moved to the edge of the ruins. He stood on the low stone bricked wall and scanned the road that lay before him.
    “Hey, there’s something out there! Sounds like a bear I think. Oh, by the Nine! Werewolf”. He screamed out, alerting his comrade but as he turned to flee in terror, Red lept out of the shadows and snatched his arm in her maw in mid jump. He was violently dragged off the wall as Red’s momentum cleared the ruins, dragging her prey along with her.

     

    A second later the bandits screams stopped abruptly as a spray of blood splattered out along the trail. The second bandit stepped out with his sword tightly gripped in one hand and a lit torch held aloft in the other. The bandit, unprepared for so much gore, dropped to his knees as he threw up, distraught from the horror of the scene before him. It certainly didn’t help his nerves when an arm from his comrade was thrown at him after being ripped off at the shoulder. He turned to run but instead he found himself staring right into Scarface’s eyes. A second later he was thrown backwards into the tower. There was a sickening crack as his spine shattered then Scarface pulled a leg towards him and started to feed off the corpse.

     

    As he fed, Red approached him. He noticed her maw was dripping with a mixture of saliva and blood of her prey. She stretched out her arms and held her shoulders back as she howled out. Three wolves in the distance responded and howled out back at her, answering her cries. Scarface stood to full height then joined in the chorus of the hunters.

     

    He felt Red move around him. He looked down to see her step to his front. He held her in one paw as she growled at him, then she thudded her head into his chest as she held him in her paws. She stood there for a few seconds, enjoying the rhythm of Scarface’s powerful beating heart, and the taste of blood and flesh in her mouth. Then Aela changed back. She stayed there for several seconds with Scarface in her arms, fully aware that he was still holding her by her hip. As she rested the side of her face in Scarface’s chest, she saw Vilkas and Farkas approach them from the path. She could still taste the blood on her lips as she smiled across at them.
    “By Hircine I’ve got to do that more often. It feels like it’s been ages since we hunted”. She kissed Scarface’s chest then stepped back as she wiped her mouth on her sleeve.

     

    Sotek changed back, then from his pack, he pulled out four flasks of water. After he handed Aela two of them, he rinsed his mouth out with one then promptly poured the other one over the top of his head as he shook his head side to side.
    “We have definitly got to get out more. Damn, that feels good”. He stated with a look of ecstasy plastered upon his face. His eyes seemed wild and they almost burned with desire and a need.

     

    As Aela washed her face off with her second flask, she spoke softly. Her voice was almost angelic in its tone.
    “I feel so alive. How anyone could consider giving this up is simply beyond me”. Sotek gently brushed her hair to one side of her shoulder as he lovingly kissed the side of her neck. Aela shuddered slightly as she gripped his sides tightly. “Oh, stop. Stop! Damn it’s so hard to keep control”.

     

    Vilkas stayed back a bit from them, he could plainly see Red and Scarface still held a little control over Aela and Sotek.
    “Yes, we kind of noticed that. I hope you two are going to behave yourselves at the camp”.

     

    Aela turned to Vilkas then stepped back a little from Sotek as she tried to regain her emotions. Her heart was hammering in her chest so hard that she felt sure the others could hear it. As she rested her palm on Sotek’s chest she could feel his heart as well, if anything it was beating more furiously than hers.
    “We’re hunting later. I need you, badly. Or rather she needs you, ermm Scarface. Oh, what bloody ever, Red’s not done with the night. Far from it”. As she whispered to Sotek she prodded him hard in the chest, her tone was like she was almost threatening him. “And that mangy dog Scarface had better bloody well deliver, else you’re both for it”.

     

    Aela’s last desperate act of establishing control was to draw a slow, deep breath. Red though, was having none of it, she fought for control once more. Fortunately, Farkas had enough of the two of them.
    “Gaah! It’s alright for you two love sick puppies, but what about the rest of us? Aela you’re with me, Sotek watch the rear”. As he walked briskly in front, he grabbed Aela by the arm and dragged her off across the stone bridge, leaving Vilkas with Sotek.

     

    Sotek chuckled as he watched Aela struggle to break Farkas’s grip.
    “Did you say watch the rear or watch her rear? Or do I have a choice?”

     

    Aela burst out laughing then started walking slowly, she deliberately stuck her hip out with every step, until Vilkas grabbed one of Sotek’s bone spikes and dragged him along sideways.
    “Aela quit it, he doesn’t need encouragement. What is it with you two?”

     

    Sotek playfully shoved Vilkas’s arm away freeing himself from the Nord’s grip. With a chuckle he cursed out at his captor.
    “Get your mangy paws off me Vilkas, and I thought Tilma was bad enough”. As Sotek straitened his neck out, he saw Aela smiling at him from the other side of the bridge. She threw him a wink then turned back to the mountain and proceeded along the trail.

     

    Vilkas and Sotek were somewhat behind the others who had by now started their climb along the mountain pathway. Sotek strode across the bridge, trying his best to avoid gazing at Aela’s body. To distract himself, he tried to concentrate on the view to the north and his eyes traced along the horizon of the mountains. Both he and Vilkas, who was close beside him, were equally taken by surprise when an arrow shot between them, even though they were barely six inches apart from one another. Sotek had intended to shout out at the Huntress who had fired the missile at them, but his reprimand was held at bay by the unexpected loud yelping from behind him.

     

    He turned to see a wolf get thrown backwards as a second arrow slammed into it. The power of the shot sent it down a slope into some undergrowth. Aela shook her head despairingly as she growled at both Companions.
    “Wolves… Arm yourselves you pair of morons”. Upon hearing her command, Vilkas drew his sword then proceeded to charge at a second wolf as it broke from cover.

     

    Sotek’s bound bow shimmered as it materialized in his hand. He took a snap shot at the wolf, then a second arrow was released, leaving him to curse out at himself as both shots missed. A fireball quickly formed in his other hand which he launched at the rapidly closing wolf but, as what was quite the usual, he missed, despite the closeness of the target. He then drew his axe and swiped out at the wolfs head. Aela however had enough at his complete lack of ability. As the wolf leaped up at Sotek, Aela fired her bow and scored a perfect hit on the side of the wolf’s shoulder.

     

    The beast was thrown violently sideways as a second arrow struck its black furred body. Sotek however was committed in his strike, but due to Aela’s shooting, there was now no target to hit. The force of the swing caused him to spin slightly and topple sideways, as the axe, which followed through without having met any kind of resistance, threw him completely off balance. As he fell, he lost grip of the handle of his axe. The Skyforged steel axe, now free of all control, shot straight out of his hand and whooshed past Vilkas, just managing to miss his head by a few inches.

     

    Sotek hit the dirt and rolled slightly as he disappeared in a cloud of dust. Vilkas, who easily dispatched his own target, picked up Sotek’s axe which now rested twenty yards away.
    “You bloody idiot, you nearly killed me”. He thrust the offending axe into Sotek’s stomach but instead of helping him up, Vilkas just left him laying in the dirt.

     

    As Aela walked towards them both, she stuck her tongue out, blowing a raspberry at Vilkas for leaving Sotek on the ground.
    “Help him up Vilkas…”

     

    Vilkas looked back at Sotek and chuckled as he reprimanded the Huntress.
    “Your mate, not mine. Besides, you’re just as much to blame as he is, so there!”

     

    “Me?” Aela said as she grinned back at her accuser. “What did I do? Am I supposed to let him get attacked by a wolf?” She said mockingly.

     

    “No”. Farkas stated as he joined in. “You’re both supposed to keep an eye out on your surroundings and not be too busy watching each other. You done that stupid bloody walk of yours and he was too busy watching you. I’m Aela the Huntress, watch me swing my hips!” he said in a high-pitched voice as he tried to mimic Aela’s walk.

     

    As Vilkas watched his brother walk past, his face cringed.
    “Wow, look at that ass… It’s so… Huge!” Vilkas declared as he laughed at his brother’s antics.

     

    Sotek pulled himself up to his feet and chuckled as he too watched Farkas.
    “I’m up”.

     

    Aela felt her anger rapidly rise. She threw Sotek a glare, wiping the smile from his face and quelling his laughter. He gulped back at her, but he couldn’t help from smirking. To save himself from a beating, he literally dragged Aela up the mountain path.
    “We’ll take point”.

     

    Soon afterwards the incident was all but forgotten, at least it would have been had Vilkas and Farkas not been sniggering behind Aela who was now feeling more and more self-conscious with every step she took. Farkas briskly walked up to them then spoke with her about what he had done.
    “I’m sorry, really I am”. He stated as he tried to hold back a grin.

     

    Aela in her usual temper just glared at him. Neither he or Sotek was ready for her response though. She grunted out at him drily.
    “Troll”.

     

    Farkas immediately went on the defensive then turned back and headed to Vilkas, mumbling loudly with every step.
    “Hey, I don’t deserve that. Vilkas, why do I bother?”

     

    The Huntress burst out laughing as she pointed up the mountain path.
    “No, Ice Brain! Up ahead, it’s a troll”.

     

    Both Aela and Sotek drew their bows at the same time and automatically commenced firing. The troll hollered out as it glared down the path at them while its giant fists hammered against the ground as it lashed out in a display of strength. With a fearful cry, it broke into a run as it charged towards them and with every passing second it gained momentum as it closed in. Within moments the troll was ablaze from both Aela’s and Sotek’s bow enchants. It hardly got to within twelve feet from them when it collapsed on the snow laden path.

     

    Water started trickling down the trail from the melting snow due to the intense flames which had smothered the body. The crystal-clear water soon turned to red as the blood of the troll mixed with the melting ice. Aela stood over the small stream of bloodied water and tapped it with the ball of her foot. She looked down at her bow and felt some regret. Her prey fell all too easily. Things were getting too easy. Hunting was no longer a matter of skill for her but simply pointing her bow and releasing death. She wanted more, she needed more. She silently vowed to address the issue. Her bows enchantments had to go.

     

    Farkas looked over to the dead bloodied remains then snorted to both Aela and Sotek.
    “That’s just a lousy coincidence. I still think you were referring to me”. Then he headed back to where Vilkas was laughing.

     

    Earlier, clouds crept across from the skyline and had started to amass in a single blanket of grey, blocking out the stars as it slowly moved across the heavens. Soon, even the moons succumbed to it, forcing Aela and the Companions to rely on torches rather than natural light. Only when they were just about to light them did Sotek step forwards then cast his mage light spell further up the pathway. As the orb struck a rock, it bounced slightly but then illuminated the area around itself thus by doing so it allowed them all to safely continue. All Aela could do was stare at her unlit torch then fight the near overwhelming urge to crack Sotek over the head with it as he casually but smugly walked past the three of them.

     

    As they turned a sharp bend, the path became steeper. Further up the trail an old ruined tower came into view.
    “That’s it”. Aela called out. “That’s our way into Forelhost. In the tower will be a walkway. That’s our way in”.

     

    Farkas looked a lot happier than he had earlier. Gleefully he replied to the Huntress’s outburst.
    “So, we’re going straight in?”

     

    “No, you knucklehead. That’s the way to the courtyard. We’ll make camp there. No one goes inside until I say so. Farkas, I did tell you that earlier”.

     

    He grumbled to the other two then replied quietly.
    “Yea, but I was still hoping”.

     

    Aela took the lead as she made her way up the old stairway. As Sotek followed her, he noticed just how old and precarious the stairway was, let alone the walkway. It wasn’t by anyone’s standards a well-made structure, since the original parts and supports were worn away. All the walkway consisted of was rope and old rotten supports. Sotek silently thanked the Nine that the drop below was only about twelve feet.

     

    Once they crossed the walkway, Farkas and Vilkas headed straight towards an old abandoned camp, which was situated in the middle of the courtyard. Sotek’s hand shot out and grabbed Vilkas by the shoulder.
    “Wait, there’s something here”. His eyes tried to pierce the darkness but due to the moons being still blocked out by the heavy clouds he could see little.

     

    Aela looked around the yard as well, but she however had a better idea of what to look for.
    “Over there, the far end. Wraths, two of them”.

     

    Sotek’s hands burst into flames as he formed two fireballs. Both balls of fire were launched simultaneously across the courtyard and slammed into the far wall about six yards apart. The two Ice Wraiths screamed out their icy shriek as they became smothered in intense flames from the two blasts which stood them out easily from the darkness. Aela fired off her bow at one which literally exploded in ice and fire.

     

    The second one hovered in the air for just a glimmer of a second then whooshed across the yard towards Sotek. He double cast his flame spurt spell which caught the Ice Wraith full on. Flames coated it once again causing it horrific damage. It shrieked out in agony as it shot an icy blast towards Sotek. He side stepped the attack but kept his flames on his target. Suddenly there was an icy explosion as the Ice Wraith disintegrated in the blast.

     

    Both Sotek and Vilkas got caught in the icy explosion but they both received minimal damage. Truth be told the disdainful glare from Aela had hurt Sotek more for not being quicker and moving out of the blast range.

     

    Sotek looked across the yard at the furthest Ice Wraith’s body. To him, it looked like a frozen pool of glowing liquid. He wasn’t far from the reality. “Aela can you see if there’s anything to get from the corpse, if that’s what it is. I’ll organise your two brothers”.

     

    He then turned to Vilkas and, without thinking upon what Aela had said earlier, he relayed his instructions. Keep your eyes on the surroundings, Vilkas, Farkas gather some wood, I’ll set the fire. Aela, can you sort out the tents please. When they get back, we’ll get the tents up”.

     

    Aela stood there for a few seconds tapping her foot, then called out to the others.
    “Farkas tents, Vilkas sort the fire. Sotek, you and me, firewood”.

     

    Both Farkas and Vilkas stood there like statues facing each other. Sotek smirked for a few seconds then pointed to the camp.
    “You heard the Alpha, move yourselves”. Then he dropped his pack and made his way towards Aela. “Let’s go, I presume we’ll be having that chat?”

     

    “Yup, come on”. She led him past the courtyard wall to where several trees were growing. Within a few minutes they hacked down several thick branches but then Aela sat on a rock as she gazed towards Sotek. “This is nothing about you, or what you do, ok?”

     

    Sotek sat next to her then gulped loudly. He felt nervous and his throat seemed dry. Semi-consciously, he shook his flask to find it empty. He wished now that he had checked it when they passed the stream some hours before.
    “That don’t bode well. What is it about?”

     

    She cast a smile at him then tucked her head into his chest which initially somewhat surprised him.
    “It’s about me. I’ve been slacking way too much. Before you joined, I was Harbingers second, I had responsibilities and duties to the others. Even Farkas and Vilkas. You’ve taken that position...”

     

    “Aela, I never intended to push you out. Look, why don’t we...”

     

    She lifted her head up and rested her finger on Sotek’s lip.
    “Stop right there. This isn’t about me being pushed out, it’s about me standing back and letting you carry all that weight and responsibility. It’s not fair on you, so every so often I’m taking command. Until we get back, I have the responsibility, you don’t so you can relax more, while I do the worrying”.

     

    Sotek sat in silence for a few moments as he pondered on her words. What she had said about him was true but also unintentional. His mind turned to two others who were also in the same situation as them. Two others who they both knew so well.
    “Ok, tell me something. When Red and Scarface hunt, who is the leader?”

     

    “Scarface. She hates it, but he is”.

     

    “But don’t Red go off first and start tracking prey? Isn’t it Red that initiates sex? Don’t Scarface let Red have the pick of the food?”

     

    “Ermm, maybe”. Aela said as she averted her eyes. Red was the one to dart off first when it came to them hunting and she near always made her feelings known when it came to them mating. Such thoughts caused her to blush slightly and if truth be told, she didn’t know where to look. Instead she chose to just listen as Sotek resumed talking.

     

    “Neither of them controls the other one, so why don’t we be like them? We’ll share leadership, we’ll carry the burden between us”.

     

    She jumped off the rock then stood in front of Sotek and offered him her hand.
    “Deal, we’ll share leadership. Come on, let’s get the wood back to camp”.

     

    Once they got back, Sotek lit the fire then he and Aela started assembling a tent. Vilkas stood back and watched them for a few minutes before he called out to them.
    “Aela, why don’t Red and Scarface go off for an hour or so? They probably could do with the run. We’ll sort the tents out”.

     

    “Ermm, we’ll help with them. It’s only fair”. Aela replied as she cast a strange look towards Sotek. He was holding the same perplexed face and they both wondered what caused the strange comment. It wasn’t often that Vilkas suggested Red and Scarface went off together.

     

    Vilkas shook his head at her.
    “No, it’s not fair. Come here and sit down, I got a confession for you both”.

     

    Sotek whispered to her quietly.
    “Now what in Oblivion have we done?”

     

    “We haven’t done anything, but he has”. Both Aela and Sotek walked over to the fire then sat down together. Aela lent back against him as he wrapped his arms around her, inadvertently lifting her breasts as he lovingly squeezed her in his arms.

     

    Vilkas took one look at the pair of them then huffed.
    “See? That’s the problem”.

     

    Aela looked down at herself, all she could see was Sotek holding her. “Ermm, what is? We’re having a cuddle at the campfire”.

     

    “Yes, no. Damn it Aela. I wasn’t cranky earlier about the wolves, it was about you two, the way you are with each other”.

     

    Sotek glanced over to Farkas. It was obvious he had no idea what was up with his brother.
    “We’ve been a couple for nearly a year now”.

     

    Vilkas dispassionately threw a stone at a wall then grumbled to the group.
    “It’s not the way you two are, it’s... I’m seeing Rikke at the fort. Truth is, I haven’t managed to see Rikke. For weeks now she’s been busy in Solitude. Basically, I haven’t had it for bloody ages and I getting fed up while you two are like bloody rabbits”.

     

    Aela felt her face redden.
    “No we’re not, thank you. Most night’s we don’t. We haven’t slept together for a good week or so”. As she said it, she had in fact realised it wasn't true but she still felt a slight rise in anger at being ignored by her mate. She scowled at Sotek before turning back to Vilkas.

     

    “Yea, well I took my frustrations out on you two. It’s not fair. We’ll sort the tents out, so why don’t Red and Scarface go off and hunt. There’s loads of goats and the like around here. Go on, get out of here”.

     

    Aela stared across the courtyard, the need of a kill and flesh was like a magnet to her, but she fought the emotions and held them in check.
    “No, we’ll set up camp first. But then we’ll go off for a few hours. We’re here so we can go inside around midday if we wanted. Come on, let’s unpack the tents”.

     

    Within half an hour the camp was set out, by that time the sky had started to clear. Aela looked up and saw briefly the two moons in the sky.
    “It’s well past midnight. Scarface up for a hunt?”

     

    Sotek slyly whispered to her.
    “Yes, but what prey is he hunting?”

     

    “Well, a few goats, and maybe a bear if we’re lucky. And if he’s really lucky, he can hunt Red”. Moments later she changed form then after a brief howl at the night sky Red was away. Already she had the scent of prey, as her maw dripped saliva from the expectation of flesh. Scarface quickly followed her trail; within a few moments they were hunting as a pack as they closed in on a few goats.

     

    A few minutes later Farkas mumbled as he heard Red howl out in the night sky.
    “That’s Red giving a goat everything she’s got”.

     

    Several minutes later they both heard Red howl out several times in the distance. Vilkas cast a quick smile as he threw more wood on the fire.
    “That’s Red taking everything Scarface has got. The pair of bastards”.

     

    “That’s awfully quiet for her though”. Farkas said as he eyed the distant horizon in the direction of the howls. “How far away do you think they are?”

     

    “Knowing them, the other side of the mountain. They can’t half shift it if they want to”. He then passed a few bottles of mead over to Farkas. “Cheers, to the unloved”.

     

    Farkas took the bottles but then grumbled.
    “I ain’t cheering that! She loves me, I hope”.

     

    A few hours before dawn, Scarface and Red returned to the camp. Scarface threw down three deer corpses by the fire then faced the battlements. Sotek changed his form but just stood there staring at a part of a wall. Dawn was breaking and he could make something out above them.

     

    Red stopped mid pace and stared at Sotek before turning her attention to the direction he was looking at. Upon seeing nothing of interest, she gave a low growl then transformed back into her Nordic form. Now Aela was back to her ‘normal’ self, she moved alongside her mate and gazed once more to the battlements where Sotek was staring. Farkas called out to them both.
    “So, you both feeling better?”

     

    Aela nodded a few times as she felt herself grinning.
    “Yep, Red’s feeling far better, thank you. She enjoys a good hunt”

     

    Vilkas laughed as he watched Aela’s face.
    “Yes, we heard”.

     

    Aela started blushing, she lightly smacked Sotek’s arm as she turned her head to him to hide her face.
    “Vilkas, do you mind?”

     

    Farkas inspected the three deer corpses then he called out to Vilkas. “Oh, look Vilkas, we got a choice for breakfast. Do you want a Scarface special, with extra drool? Or a nice and tender Red special? That’s the one with extra bite marks”.

     

    Aela snarled at the pair of them, as she tried to hide her embarrassment by acting angry.
    “You can always have some soup. Maybe Sotek will let you have an apple, if you ask him nicely. Sotek, what the fuck are you looking at?”

     

    “Up there, on the battlements. I never noticed last night, have you been up there?”

     

    Aela looked up at where he was pointing.
    “Nope, we couldn’t get past a door, so we never finished the citadel. It’s different to the usual ones”.

     

    “There, I’m sure of it. Up there, on the battlements, it’s a word wall”.

     

    “Well, if we finish it, then you can take all the time in the world to examine the whole battlement. Until then, get some sleep”. She stated with a yawn.

     

    As they settled down for the remaining of the night, Aela backed up to Sotek then wrapped herself up in his arms. She finally pulled the tip of his tail to her chest as she cradled it in her arms, then closed her eyes as she prepared to sleep.

     

    With a sly chuckle, Sotek whispered to her softly.
    “Earlier when we went off hunting… I told you that it was Red who initiates sex”.

     

    Aela started blushing again. She jokingly snapped at him as she disappeared beneath his arms.
    “Shut up”. The next second Sotek screamed as she bit the tip of his tail. Aela unsympathetically laughed at him. “Oh, shut it, you great wuss”.

     

     

Comments

1 Comment   |   Edana and 2 others like this.
  • Edana
    Edana   ·  January 2
    Good to see you around and writing again, my friend. :) Seems your writing has tightened up a bit more too! Hope all is well.