U.O.T.W. Chapter 322 Forelhost Hits Back


    Sotek’s eyes shot across the room at the holes dotted around the altar. He instantly grabbed Aela as he tried to throw her behind him. At the same time, a multitude of tiny darts shot out from the walls. Aela swore loudly as she fell behind Sotek and landed heavily on her hands on the floor. Pain shot through her arm which she cradled even before she had sat up properly. Several darts had embedded themselves in her forearm which she had to pull out one at a time.
    “You stupid fucker Vilkas. Look next time, damn you!”


    Farkas only had a few darts strike his hand as he held it up to protect himself. Vilkas and Sotek also shielded themselves from the darts with their hands, but they received far more wounds than the other two Companions. Where Vilkas had protected his face, his palms and arms were smothered in darts which managed to penetrate the armour where it was weakest. He yelled out as he pulled his gauntlet off, in doing so various needles broke off and tore at his skin and flesh.


    However, Sotek fared even worse than he did. Where Sotek half turned as he tried to get Aela out of the way, he exposed his neck as well as the side of his torso to the deadly poisonous darts. Several impaled his side but even more had penetrated the side of his neck. He fell almost immediately to his knees as his body succumbed to the poison. Sotek grabbed a hand full and ripped them out, tearing off flesh and scales at the same time. Blood poured from his wounds but as he tried to pull more darts out, his arm rapidly became stiff. Sotek fell on his side as paralysis overwhelmed his body. The last thing Sotek saw was Vilkas, his limbs were thrashing about from the effects of the poison. Sotek’s eyes felt heavy as his breathing slowed right down. The next instant Sotek changed form.


    Even before the transformation was complete, Scarface threw himself on his back. He arched up as he howled out from the painful effects of the poison which flooded his system. Aela had already started moving towards Sotek but she froze as she stared at Scarface for several seconds. To her, every second seemed like an instant, but although Scarface was in agony, he was still howling out so Aela felt she had little choice, she turned her back to him and aided Vilkas.


    Farkas was already by Vilkas’s side but there was little he could do to help.
    “He won’t stop shaking, do something”.


    Aela grabbed her pack then hastily pulled out a vial. It was only when she tried to pull out the stopper that she realized her hand was numb. Too numb to hold the bottle. She gripped it tightly with her good hand then bit the stopper. After a few seconds she pulled the stopper out using her teeth, then she poured the contents down Vilkas’s throat.
    “That should do it, Sotek made it weeks ago. Anti poison using motherwort”.


    “Screw the alchemy lesson Aela, what about him?” Farkas angrily grabbed Aela’s pack as he started searching for a second bottle. After a frantic search, he turned to Aela to see her staring at him. He noticed there were several tears in her eyes but before he could say anything, she got up and returned to Scarface. She knelt down and held Scarface’s head in her lap, but all the while he howled out in pain. Farkas grabbed her by the shoulder as he yelled at her. “Aela, I can’t find another one, you get it. Aela? Aela, answer me damn it!”


    Aela slowly turned to him but she never looked up at his face but just stared at his feet instead.
    “There isn’t any… There’s no more, he only could make the one…” At that moment Scarface yelped out, but this time it was extremely high pitched. Aela jumped then held her ears as her face screwed up. She felt a few tears fall across her cheeks, but all she could do was hold on to Scarface and wait to see if he or the poison would win the battle that raged within his veins.


    Gradually Scarface’s breathing slowed to a steady rate, and he stopped moving. Aela looked down at his eyes, and breathed a sigh of relief as his were still open and focusing on her. He laid there for a few minutes then started getting up to his feet. Initially he was unsteady, but he dropped to all fours which helped significantly. Aela turned back to Vilkas who had by now dragged himself to the wall and was leaning against it.
    “Th…thanks. I’m glad you had those potions”.


    Aela was standing right in front of Scarface as he rested the side of his head to her chest while she held him. Scarface found it relaxing as he could hear her breathing and the rhythm of her beating heart. Aela whispered back to Vilkas as she just stared at Scarface.


    Farkas offered Vilkas a hand and helped him to his feet. Then, once Vilkas was steady enough, he approached Scarface and Aela.
    “What the hell do you mean, potion?”


    Farkas pulled him back a bit as he tried to explain.
    “She only had the one potion. Sotek changed and Aela gave it to you, you great ox”.


    Vilkas slowly walked up to Aela and held her by the shoulder.
    “Aela, I’m…”


    She turned to him, but never smiled. Instead she wiped the remains of the tears from her face.
    “Forget it. Once Scarface is ready, we’ll head out. This is as far as we go. Pack up, we’re heading home”.


    Scarface turned his head around towards the corridor then pulled his head away from Aela. He sniffed at the air then carefully headed along the corridor, keeping off the foot plate as he did so. The height of the corridor ceiling forced him to remain on all four paws which he didn’t object to as he still felt somewhat unsteady.


    Once they cleared the passageway, Aela started heading back the way they came. Scarface however, growled out at her then headed off in the opposite direction, further inside the old fort. He stopped at the top of a stairwell as Aela called him back.
    “No! Come to me, this way. We’re heading out”.


    Farkas pointed to the steps as he walked just behind Scarface. He didn’t look back at Aela but just called out to her instead.
    “He doesn’t want to”.


    “I don’t bloody care if he wants to. Scarface, come here damn you. We’ve no food, we’re out of supplies. Most of our potions are gone. Come to me, come on”. She angrily walked over to him and grabbed him by the side of the neck and started trying to pull him back, but he just headed down the steps instead, dragging Aela with him. “No… Aww damn you. Fine. If we die, I’m gonna ‘effing well kill you. Do you hear me?”


    His only response was to snap at her hand as she pointed her finger at him. She quickly pulled her hand away as she glared at him.
    “You bastard. Quit it, or Red’ll sort you out. You might not be scared of me, but I know for a fact she scares you. This way”. As she reached the bottom of the stairway, Scarface pushed his muzzle into the base of Aela’s back, shoving her violently forwards a few feet. She turned to him and slapped him across the nose. “Pack it in, you bloody moron. Farkas control him will you for the love of the bloody Nine”.


    Farkas gulped then held on the side of Scarface. He however objected by turning to Farkas and quietly snarling at him, showing all his fangs as he did so. Farkas quickly let go then backed off behind Vilkas.
    “Ermm, no. He’s your dog, you sort him out”.


    Aela stopped then looked back at Farkas with a face of disdain.
    “What the hell are you afraid of? He’s not going to kill you”.


    Farkas blankly looked at Vilkas who simply smirked at him then he looked across to Scarface.
    “Aela, he’s forty bloody stone of fang, claw and muscle. What the hell do you think I’m scared of? His bloody breath?”


    Aela growled out loudly then turned back to Scarface who was grinning at her.
    “You threatened him, didn’t you? Come here”. She grabbed the fur around his neck then manhandled him through a arched entrance which led to a large dusty crypt full of tombs. “Careful here, there could well be a couple of Deathlords”.


    Scarface shook his fur roughly, forcing Aela to let him go. Then for the first time since he changed, he stood up. He walked cautiously forwards then howled out as loud as he could as he tried to get the attention to whatever was in the crypt. Three Deathlords came around from two separate corners and started to charge towards the Companions but before anyone could say anything, Scarface was off. He ran on all four paws and swiped out at the nearest Deathlord, throwing him to the side to collide with a wall. Without pausing, he launched himself at the second one. Both front paws slammed into the chest of the Deathlord, forcing him violently to the ground. Without even giving himself time to breathe, Scarface was ripping the chest apart. Old worn bones shattered as a spray of dried rotten flesh was thrown up in an arc as Scarface’s claws tore through the armour and carcass easily.


    Aela started shooting at the third Deathlord while Vilkas and Farkas both turned to the first Deathlord who was just starting to recover from Scarface’s initial attack. The draugr who was trying to defend himself against Vilkas, didn’t stand a single chance. Every time it made some progress to get to its feet, both Vilkas and Farkas knocked the draugr savagely back to the ground. It succumbed to the constant hammer blows and crumbled on the floor where it had originally fell. Not once was the Deathlord able to defend itself. The Deathlord died without striking a single blow.


    Aela kept a steady rate of fire as she shot the remaining Deathlord. Every shot caused it to burst into flames as well as the ice damage from her bow. It staggered every so often then got to its feet and closed the gap between itself and Aela. The Huntress remained vigilant and held her footing. On the seventh hit from Aela’s bow, it dropped to its knees, but it didn’t even manage to get more than halfway to her. A large shadow hung over it, causing it to look up at Scarface’s wolfish green eyes. Scarface lifted his leg up and bought his hind paw crushing downwards, obliterating what little remained from Aela’s arrows.


    Vilkas grinned broadly as he wiped the edge of his great sword.
    “Well that was easy”.


    Aela scorned at him.
    “Yea? Well just wait till you have to apologies for setting off that bloody trap. Then, after you say sorry for that, I’ll have to sort out it with him for not helping him at all”.


    Farkas slowly shook his head at her.
    “Aela, there was nothing you could have done”.


    She instantly glared at him, showing her teeth in a snarl as she spoke.
    “I could have given him some healing potions, that would have helped him. But I did nothing!”


    On hearing her, Scarface walked over to her and gently held her in his paw. She looked up at him and tried to say she was sorry, but he just softly growled at her, like he always did when he was telling her he was ok.


    Farkas examined the bodies then pulled out a blackened shield from the back of the draugr that Scarface had killed.
    “It’s the same metal that the bow is made of. Ebony”.


    Aela thudded her head into Scarface’s chest then called out to him.
    “And I suppose you want that as well. Great, I’m in a pit of despair and guilt, while you go off and loot everything. Thanks”.


    Farkas huffed then came over to her. He gently pulled her away and gave her a hug.
    “He’s ok. He’s not angry with you. Aela, remember there was a lot going on back there. Does he look angry with you?”


    Aela held Farkas tightly, far tighter than Farkas was actually expecting. She slowly lifted her head up and glanced over to Scarface who was looking straight at her.
    “No, but that’s Scarface. Just cause he’s ok, it doesn’t mean Sotek is. Nor does it mean Sotek’s ok with me. I should have tried to help. He pulled me out the way and I did nothing”.


    Vilkas walked past her but at the same time, he slapped the back of her head.
    “Snap out of it, he’s ok. We’ve wasted enough time, let’s move”. Aela flinched from the smack and was just about to retaliate when she saw Scarface softly snarl at Vilkas. He then looked back at Aela and followed Vilkas towards the door at the far end of the crypt. She stared at Scarface for a few seconds then started walking towards the others.


    Vilkas, who was now leading the group, opened the doorway at the end of the stairwell and entered a small square room. On the right, a small stairwell rose several steps to a small platform which had an altar on it. But at the end of the room was a much wider stairway which led to a long dark passageway. When Aela entered the room, she pointed to the altar.
    “Up there’s the lever we need to activate”.


    Vilkas rolled his eyes at her as he climbed the narrow stairway to the platform.
    “Yes, we know”. He made his way towards the altar but then paused as he looked at the lever just behind it. As he turned towards the others, he groaned as they all moved away from the altar. “Oh, for the love of... There’s no trap here is there?”


    Aela’s head poked out from under Scarface’s arm while the rest of her body stayed behind him for protection. She half smiled at him as she unconvincingly replied.
    “No. Well, I don’t think so anyhow”.


    Vilkas closed his eyes as his hand pulled on the lever.
    “Great!” There was an ominous creaking as the lever’s mechanism went to work. To everyone’s relief, no poisonous darts or anything else for that matter was deployed against them.


    Aela moved from behind Scarface as she beamed broadly at Vilkas.
    “See? I told you”. She then led the group towards the other stairway and proceeded to climb the steps. Farkas stayed just behind her but Scarface was happy to walk at the back of the group. Vilkas, who was just in front of Scarface, nervously glanced over his shoulder every so often, but Scarface ignored it and just carried on.


    As they travelled along the passageway, Aela suddenly broke into a run when she approached an alcove. The sound of a white freezing mist crackled and snapped out as its icy tendrils snaked out at her and the others. She started slowing down, despite her efforts to outrun the cloud of freezing mist.
    “Damn, I forgot that was there”.


    Farkas called out to her desperately, but his heart sank as he saw a second wave of mist descend upon Aela.
    “Do something!”


    Aela snapped at him as she tried to reach the soul gem that powered the ice trap, but her limbs were freezing up which slowed her down considerably.
    “Like bloody what, you moron. I can’t ‘effing well move can I”. Seconds later yet another wave of freezing mist streaked out towards her. Aela yelled out as the icy cloud poured over her and started to burn her skin.


    The next second the soul gem that Aela was trying to reach, lifted up and flew past her. At the same time a golden glow burst out from behind her and she felt her limbs warm up. The burning from the icy blast faded to nothing as Sotek’s grand healing spell took effect. She turned around to see Sotek snatch the soul gem from the very air that it was trying to freeze. Although it was obvious by his complexion that he was still feeling the effects of the poison, Sotek managed a smile as he held out the petty gem.
    “Is this what you were after?”


    Aela frowned slightly as she walked over towards him.
    “Yes, actually it is. Are… Are you ok?” She came right up to him but never held her hands out to him. Instead her arms dangled limply to her sides.


    Sotek reached out and held her by the waist. He pulled her closer then whispered in her ear.
    “No, I need a kiss”.


    She obliged and kissed him gently on the lips but then he huffed quietly. He smacked his lips together a few times and lightly moved his head side to side as his tail thrashed about in confusion. After a few seconds he shook his head and pulled Aela close.
    “Nope, I need a second dose”.


    Aela started laughing then gave him a playful shove.
    “You always need a second dose. Here...” She kissed him again but this time she held on to him as well. “About earlier, I wasn’t thinking straight. I…”


    Sotek gently tapped her on the forehead with his index finger, silencing her instantly. He pointed over to Vilkas as he told Aela the simple truth. “The fact is that you had little choice. Vilkas was the only real option. We’re all here, despite Vilkas’s attempts as getting us all killed, but no doubt he’ll give it another go”.


    Vilkas shuffled his feet a bit as he miserably glanced over to the pair of them.
    “I didn’t know that was there, did I”.


    Aela raised her eyebrows as she scalded him.
    “Ooo, touchy. Anyone would think you screwed up”.


    Sotek slapped the back of her head, making her flinch just like Vilkas did earlier. Aela cursed out at the group.
    “Oww what the! Why is everyone hitting me, damn it?”


    Sotek leaned over to her ear then whispered so no one else would hear him.
    “How many healing potions have you got?”


    She looked a bit confused until it dawned on her as to what he was referring to.
    “Ermm three, why? Oh... ermm, yea. I panicked ok! I’m used to just worrying about me. This group thing, it’s different to what I’m used to”.


    Sotek closed his eyes as he stood there deep in thought.
    “There’ss a few thingss we’re not happy about, or ssure about for that matter. Sorry, I’m babbling. Aela, which way?”

    Aela paused for a second as she tried to work out what he had meant. She tried pressing him, but it came to no avail, he just smiled and slightly shook his head. She gave up and pointed along the corridor.
    “That way, it’ll lead up back around to a door. It’s a clear run now until we get to the well”.


    True enough at the end of the passageway was a barred door. Farkas lifted the bar then effortlessly threw it to the side. The moment Aela entered the room, she started sniggering at the linen wraps laying across the floor. Sotek recognised the room from earlier as well. He poked Aela in the side of the ribs, making her squeal, but he also added a warning.
    “Don’t you even think about laughing”.


    Aela flicked him on the nose as she threatened Sotek in return.
    “Pick on me and I’ll tell the Harbinger. I’m his favourite so he’ll tell you off”. Just to add insult to injury, she stuck her tongue out at him. Sotek stretched his neck out as he snapped his teeth together close to Aela’s face. She raised her eyebrows as she stared at him in disbelief.
    “You did not just try to bite me, did you? Really?”


    Sotek nervously stepped back away from her and quickly shook his head as he backed down.


    He started walking over towards the others but before he could take more than a few steps, Aela called out to them. “When we get to the well, I think it’s best if we rest up for a few hours. I’ll take first watch. Sotek, you got the second watch. I’ll wake you up, don’t you worry about that”.


    Farkas nodded as he smiled at Aela.
    “That sounds more like it, but I don’t suppose we got much food left have me? Ermm we?”


    Sotek turned back around and gulped as Aela stood there, glaring daggers at him.
    “You got first watch?”


    Aela simply smiled at him as she nodded her head which Sotek didn’t see as he was much more interested by far, in the way Aela was playing with the dagger in her hands.
    “And I’ve got the second watch? With you waking me up?”


    She yet again nodded as she rested the end of the dagger in her palm as she rotated the tip of the blade with her finger.
    “Yep, give the lizard a medal. He’s got it”.


    Sotek lent against a wall as he sat on a large stone block. He glanced at the others who were both smiling at him, not because that they were happy. But due to the fact that Aela was gunning for him and leaving them well alone. He turned back to Aela and jumped slightly as she was now right in front of him. She smirked slightly but then she couldn’t help but grin wildly at him. The next second she was prodding him in the chest, harder than usual.
    “Nervous? A big strong reptile like you? Surely not. Get some sleep when we make camp”.


    He got to his feet and started following the others while Aela stood there watching him. He stopped for a few seconds and tilted his head at her. “Is there any way you can say it without it sounding like a threat?”


    Aela closed her eyes for a few seconds then seductively walked over to him. After rubbing her hip against him, she took his hand and held it against her chest as she spoke softly, but in a creepy voice.
    “When we get to camp my sweet, I want you to sleep. I’ll look over you, and I’ll wake you. Sweet dreams my love, sweet dreams”.


    A loud gulp echoed across the room as Sotek stepped back slightly.
    “I think I prefer the open threats after all”.