U.o.t.W. Chapter 341 Where the Hawk Flies

  • In High Hrothgar, Farkas sat at a table and politely smiled, despite his feelings, as his food bowl was filled with a mixture of cabbage, turnips, carrots and peas. He was a simple man who required simple meals, but the Greybeards were pushing him. He missed Tilma’s cooking and his stomach rumbled when he thought back to meals of hot potatoes and fish smothered in butter. Roast vegetables served with Tilma’s toad in the hole puddings. Kul-et’s trays of cakes. He peered into the bowl once more and fished out a soggy lump of green. He couldn’t tell if it was cabbage or something else, all he knew was that it was… Green. As he stared at it, his stomach rumbled a second time for something more… Substantial.


    Once they both ate, Farkas and Vilkas headed back up the mountain to check on Sotek and Aela. As they got close to the top however, Farkas groaned when they both heard Aela’s voice echo down the mountain side. 

    “It’s no bloody good, you bastard. I don’t feel any different, I’m still feeling wound up. How is this crap supposed to help?”


    Sotek started laughing as he turned to Paarthurnax.

    “Well, you did say we had forever, and this is only day two”. Paarthurnax’s singular response was to roll his eyes.


    Aela immediately snapped at him.

    “Don’t you roll your eyes at me, you ingrate”. She suddenly turned around to see Farkas and Vilkas standing there staring at her. “Oh, great! Now it’s the goon squad”. Mere moments later, a snowball smacked her on the side of the face. She whipped her head round to see Sotek preparing another missile.


    “You bastard”. Seconds later all hell broke loose as Aela actively engaged Sotek in a snowball fight. Aela suffered the worst initially because of Sotek’s natural strength, as he was able to throw harder. But she soon turned the table on him when she started running along, scooping up snow as she went. Now she was a moving target, Sotek’s accuracy fell way off the scale.


    Aela couldn’t throw as many snowballs as Sotek due to her moving around, but she was hitting him far more. Sotek decided to use numbers so he threw two at once. Aela just managed to see them coming towards her but her reactions nearly proved disastrous when she nearly slipped.

    “Whooa! That was close”. She turned to look behind her, then burst out laughing as she saw Paarthurnax who got hit in the face by Sotek’s snowballs.


    As she laughed Sotek threw a third one and scored a direct hit. Aela screamed from the shock the launched herself at him knocking him to the ground. The next moment Aela pinned him to the floor and promptly smothered his face in snow. Sotek didn’t shake the snow off, but he just laid there with Aela sitting on top of him, but then he blew the snow away from his mouth. Aela carefully wiped the snow away from Soteks face so all you could see was two green eyes looking up from the mound of snow which covered Sotek. Aela burst out laughing at him then helped Sotek to his feet.


    She felt Soteks hand and was surprised at how cold he felt.

    “You’re freezing, go cast your flame spell on that boulder and warm yourself up”.


    Instead of complying, Sotek released the straps to his chest armour and threw it to the side. He then shook himself a bit to loosen his limbs slightly.

    “No thanks, I’m ok. Mind you I’m also hungry. Farkas could you two go back to Hrothgar and bring us some food please? Doesn’t have to be anything special, just a small basket with some fruit and a few rolls will suffice. we’ve got a lot to get through today. Right young She-Wolf, are you ready to try again?”


    Aela smirked.

    “What? Snowball fight or meditation?”


    Paarthurnax started laughing.



    Aela started chuckling as she sat on the furs. She slowed her breathing as best she could, but she kept laughing every so often.

    “Sorry. Here we go”.


    A few hours later Aela still tried to concentrate on the task at hand, but she just couldn’t get the feel for it. It didn’t take long for her imagination to start playing her up.

    “I’m a hawk, I am a hawk”. She tried to see herself as a hawk flying over the landscape in perfect freedom, like Paarthurnax asked her to. However, she suddenly feinted surprise. “Wait! What’s that? Oh, crap; it’s an arrow. Aggrh”. She leaned over and fell to her side flapping her arm like she was a wounded hawk. “Help! I’ve been shot”.


    Sotek burst out laughing as he watched her. He then turned to Paarthurnax.

    “We’ll give her a week then throw her off the mountain. Either way she’ll see what it’s like to fly or fall. It doesn’t matter which because she won’t be a problem anymore”.


    Aela glared at him.

    “You dare”.


    Sotek simply laughed as he pointed at her.

    “You can’t talk, you’re a wounded hawk remember”.


    At that point Farkas returned with a basket of food.

    “Here you go, it’s not much but still. I’m heading back down, try to behave guys”.


    Sotek watched Farkas head back down the pathway then spoke to Aela.

    “We’ll give it a day, just to make sure we’re ok, then they can head back down to Whiterun. They’ll need to tell the Harbinger we’ll be here for a while longer. When we’re done, Red and Scarface can hunt the route around from Ivarstead. We’ll see how Red’s leg is...”. Sotek’s voice trailed off as he played through the route Scarface would take Red on. His mind snapped back to reality when Aela picked up a roll. He leaned over towards her and promptly snatched it away from her.

    “You can’t eat that, you’re a hawk. Go dig for worms”.


    Aela gave him a shove then pulled the basket towards her.

    “I’m an injured hawk, I need care”. She then looked over towards Paarthurnax. “Why a hawk anyway? It’s hard”.


    Paarthurnax grinned as he nodded at her.

    “Yes, it is, for some. But it’s freedom, no troubles, no problems and difficulties seem insignificant, when you’re flying free”.


    Sotek nodded as if he really understood.

    “There are no storms where the hawk flies, for he flies above the clouds”.


    Paarthurnax’s eyes opened wide.

    “Yes, that’s it. Exactly it, I couldn’t put it better myself”.


    Sotek intently stared at Aela for several seconds as a thought played through his head.

    “Paarthurnax, we’re werewolves. Have you encountered many werewolves before?”


    “No, not many. Werewolves are far more interested in hunting mere prey than meditation or study”.


    Sotek smirked at the response.

    “I know just what you mean. I’ve an idea”. Sotek moved the basket away then motioned to Aela to kneel down as she did before. He knelt alongside her, but with a good foot or so of distance between them both. “Aela had a nightmare once. It haunted her for a while, and it’s extremely powerful. I know, I had the same nightmare”.


    Aela suddenly turned towards Sotek shaking her head.

    “I don’t want to talk about this”.


    Sotek held his hand up to her dismissing her instantly.

    “She also had a dream, now that was in her own words was magical. She loved that dream. So that’s what we’re going to do. Aela, close your eyes, slow your breathing and listen to my voice”.


    As he spoke, he and Paarthurnax watched Aela carefully. Her hands trembled slowly as the nightmare plagued her mind, but Sotek calmed her down so that her breathing became slow and deep.

    “Aela, imagine, you’re a young wolf, no older than a cub. Your senses are sharp, you’re light on your feet, fast, nimble. A worthy huntress. Look down at your paws, describe them”.


    Aela’s voice started trembling as her nightmare started to take hold as if it seeped out of the void of her mind.

    “I’m scared, I don’t like this”.


    Sotek shifted closer to her, to the point that she could feel him there, besides her.

    “Aela, your surrounded in snow, its winter. Can you not feel the coldness of the air? Concentrate on the temperature, can you not feel the icy touch of winter?”


    Aela became calmer as her imagination took hold, easily dispelling her own fears with each moment that she listened to the Argonian beside her. She slightly nodded.

    “Yes, there’s snow everywhere”.


    Sotek leaned over to her and whispered softly.

    “Can you feel the breeze of the wind on the mountain?” He then gently blew across her face.


    Aela’s nose twitched slightly as she softly replied.

    “Yes, yes I can”.


    Sotek cast a wink at Paarthurnax then turned back to Aela.

    “You slowly take one step forwards, then you look down. Describe yourself. What do you look like?”


    Aela’s breathing was deep and slow while her heart beat steadily.

    “I’m red all over, except my chests thick silver fur”.


    Sotek chuckled slightly, then he resumed his tuition.

    “Look besides you, are you alone?”


    Aela’s head turned slightly as she imagined her surroundings.

    “There’s trees, thick grass protruding through the snow, large rocky terrain. We’re high up on the mountain. You’re there with me. You are smothered in thick black fur. Thick black fur, your handsome, strong. You stand so proud”.


    Sotek nodded then finished his aid to her meditation.

    “In front of you, there’s a rabbit. Can you smell it?”


    Aela nodded as her breath quickened.



    Sotek whispered one single word then sat back in silence.



    Aela gave off a slight snarl, as her body lurched forwards a few inches. Her breathing suddenly became rapid, like she was panting, then a few minutes afterwards her eyes shot wide open. She sat there as still as a statue.

    “Wow. That was amazing. I was there, I could feel everything, the wind on my face. The ground under my paws. That’s incredible, you were there, you ran alongside me, and we hunted together”.


    As she turned to Sotek she suddenly fell silent as she noticed he was meditating as well. She sat there listening to his breathing change from slow to rapid, then it eased off again. Soon afterwards Sotek casually opened his eyes. He blinked a few times as he refocused on his surroundings. He turned to Paarthurnax and smiled.

    “Flying may give you freedom, but liking what you do is happiness. And there’s nothing better than a good run”.


    Aela grabbed his arm.

    “Let me tell you about mine. We were both there on the mountain. A rabbit ran past so we both gave chase but it was a sly bastard. We eventually caught it. You bit it on the back leg then bang we were on it, the two of us feeding from the body. Amazing”. As she spoke, her breathing rapidly increased, but then she turned to Sotek excitedly. “Now it’s your turn, what did you see?”


    Sotek sighed then crossed his legs as he started telling her.

    “Nothing like feeding so don’t be disappointed. Just remember, it’s about calming the spirit, not ruffling the fur. It started off as it always does, with the moon, a blood moon, lighting up the sky. You’re a young red pup, red all over except for a bit of silver. I’m black, as black as the void except I’m darker, and a quarter your size again, but with rich green, emerald eyes. You rolled on your back and reached out with your maw as you tried to playfully bite me. I yapped back at you and we began chasing each other between the mountain trees and rocks”. 


    Sotek paused for breath as Aela sat there stunned.

    “We chased each other? We were playing? Like Scarface and Red does?”


    Sotek nodded then smiled.

    “Well yes, but Scarface and Red play adult chases. We were cubs. There was a small overhang where you curled up, then I laid besides you and we slept, sharing each other’s warmth. That’s it”.


    Aela looked gobsmacked.

    “That’s it? What the hell do you mean that’s it? All we done was kill a rabbit, there’s no way you saw all that”.


    Sotek laughed as he got to his feet.

    “I’ve been meditating since I was small, with practise, you’ll get better at it. But you must try to come out of it peacefully. Sleeps the better choice. Always try to finish sleeping. Rather than something intense like feeding”.


    Aela walked up to him as she studied his tail.

    “Tell me again that you saw all that?”


    Sotek smiled then looked at her right in the eye.

    “I saw everything”. Aela saw his tail was straight, and still. Not one single flinch or twitch. A sure sign of him being calm and honest.


    Aela shook her head.

    “I still don’t believe it”.


    Paarthurnax came up to them both.

    “You have done well Aela, considering that was your first time. How are you feeling?”


    Aela paused as she allowed her senses to settle.

    “I feel... in control, I feel myself as a whole. I’m at peace... Fucking hell it works”.


    Paarthurnax groaned at Aela as she swore, but Sotek gave him a nudge.

    “Hey, we have eternity, small steps. She might stop swearing in ten, maybe twenty years”.


    Somewhat startled, Aela covered her mouth with her hand.

    “Oops sorry”. She then started laughing.


    Paarthurnax had a sly look when he leaned over to her.

    “Bormahnu. Repeat it. Bormahnu”.


    Aela tried but she got tongue tied.



    This time, Paarthurnax laughed as he shook his head.

    “Bor-mah-nu.  Bormahnu”.


    Aela stopped laughing then controlled herself. She breathed in deeply then spoke it slowly.

    “Bor-mah-nu. Bormahnu. Bormahnu. I got it but what does it mean?”


    Paarthurnax gave Aela a wink.

    “It means fatherless”.


    Aela and Sotek looked at each other with equal confusion. Aela thought about it but then gave up.

    “But I have a father? Oh”. She stated as the true meaning of the word struck her. “It means Bastard... Oops sorry”.


    Paarthurnax shook his head once more.

    “Now, shout”.


    Aela looked at them both with equal confusion.

    “You want me to shout Bormahnu?”


    Sotek burst out laughing as he watched Paarthurnax roll his eyes at Aela.

    “No, you silly mare... He wants you to shout DREM RO GROHIIK”.


    Aela chuckled to herself.

    “Don’t call me a silly... You Bormahnu”.


    Sotek creased up as Paarthurnax stared at Aela blankly.

    “Now you’ve done it. You’ve created a monster”.


    That evening Aela talked with some length to Farkas and Vilkas, about what happened that day, while Sotek happily sat at the side-lines and watched her explain everything to her brothers. Eventually she started yawning then she just went off and found somewhere to sleep. Farkas and Vilkas came over to Sotek, but Farkas was scratching his head.

    “I never understood half of that. She certainly seems different”.


    Sotek readily agreed.

    “Yes, she does. She feels more in control than what she has done for months. We’re going to stay here for a few more days, then well make our own way back. You two can head back in the morning and tell the Harbinger we’ll be making our way to Jorrvaskr in a few days’ time”.


    Vilkas immediately felt uneasy.

    “What? The Harbinger said you two must split up. She’s just starting to feel in control, don’t go confusing anything. Give her a chance...”


    Sotek raised his hand to stop Vilkas.

    “We spoke earlier. We’re just going to work on being close friends. Red needs to get out and hunt, and the best one to go with her is Scarface, after all they’re still together, the Harbinger knows that. He also knows I’ll look after her. Get some sleep, in the morning you both head back, she’ll be ok. I honestly think things will be fine from here on”.


    As the two brothers headed off to bed, Farkas whispered to Vilkas.

    I’m not so sure about this”.


    Vilkas shrugged his shoulders. Between the two brothers, it was always he who took the lead but right now he didn’t know what to do, or even think.

    Me neither, but he is. We’ll do as he asks, he deserves that”.


    The next morning true to their word, both Farkas and Vilkas set off heading back towards Whiterun, leaving Sotek and Aela behind to continue with Aela’s training. Throughout the day Aela practised her meditating and shouting of her three words, while Sotek pleaded with Paarthurnax on the final word of Aela’s shout Grohiik.


    By mid-afternoon, there was a noticeable change in Aela’s shouting concerning the power and energy from when she first shouted the day before. Both Sotek and Paarthurnax was pleased with Aela’s progress. Paarthurnax went on to explain that everything had its own energy, a life force, and it is that which the Aura shout and other detect life spells feed upon. He also told Sotek about his shouts and the fact that some shouts feed off that energy, that was why sometimes Sotek felt weaker after using certain shouts like the fire breath.


    Sotek himself was quick to see the advantages.

    “Does that apply to dragons? If a dragon uses it’s flame breath shout? Is it momentarily weaker right afterwards?”


    Paarthurnax nodded.

    “Yes, well thought out, Dovakiin. Indeed, we are. Many shouts drain our energy. This you will discover for yourself. But now it’s your turn. Fo Krah Diin”.


    Sotek groaned as he shook his head.

    “I said last night I’m done. No more”.


    Aela slumped down on her furs.

    “And here we go again.... Change the tune Sotek. Scarface didn’t beat that dragon near Forelhost. We didn’t, you did. Sotek the Dragonborn. You beat him, so if you don’t stand up and fight, who will?”


    Sotek looked around desperately.

    “I don’t know do I. But what if one day you then have to fight me?”


    Paarthurnax laughed as he scrutinized Sotek.

    “You’re not like the other Dovakiin’s”.


    Sotek huffed then mentioned what he heard from the night before.

    “He is too arrogant, he’s too violent. Your own words... Hang on, what bloody path?”


    Aela got up to her feet then joined them both.

    “Sod the path, what other Dovakiin’s? Wait… Kite! There’s a Khajiit that joined our ranks, we call her Kite. She spoke of a Dovakiin, he threatened to cut her tail off”.


    Paarthurnax nodded as if he really understood and even knew of the Dovakiin Aela had spoken of.

    “Yes, the Imperial. He’s a true Dovakiin. Powerful, capable, domineering. He doesn’t question his capabilities, he’s confident and sure of himself. Maybe a little too sure of himself, then again maybe not”.


    Sotek perked up instantly.

    “Well, this is good. Yes? That’s a good thing. Get him to fight, get him to stand... Aww crap...”


    Aela paused as she turned to him.



    Paarthurnax nodded to Sotek as if he knew what had entered Soteks mind.

    “Yes, he’ll bring a darkness over Skyrim, a plague of night”.


    Sotek walked over to the edge of the mountain and stared across the plains.

    “He’ll destroy everything won’t he? That’s the path you spoke of. You don’t want me to join him, you need me to defeat him... Aww fish biscuits… As Kite would sometimes say. What makes you think I’m so different?”


    Paarthurnax stared at the word wall, as if remembering ancient memories.

    “You’re not the first Dovakiin to shout at me, but you are the first to come back and apologies for it. You’re the first to refuse more power because of your fear as to what you will become. You will have to make a choice, fight or die”.


    Sotek started laughing.

    “What, there’s no join him option?”


    Paarthurnax shook his head.

    “It’s too late for that, he has already joined someone else”.


    Sotek sighed as a thought entered his head. ‘Here we go, this is the crunch’.



    Paarthurnax looked out towards the northeast. Sotek stood alongside him and stared out at the horizon. Slowly Paarthurnax turned his head towards Sotek.



    Aela nearly screamed out on the spot.

    “Ulfric? That son of a bitch?”


    Paarthurnax instantly interrupted.

    “Kul Monah Dok”.


    Aela looked over towards the dragon.

    “Kul Monah Dok? What’s that?”


    Paarthurnax grinned.

    “See if you can work it out. Son... Mother... Dog”.


    Aela thought about it for a few moments then laughed.

    “Ulfric, you Kul Monah Dok. Son of a bitch”.


    Sotek sat there for a few minutes as he thought things through.

    “How many? How many Dovakiin’s are there, here in Skyrim?”


    Paarthurnax curled up against the word wall, as he answered.

    “There are three. One on the island to the east. Vvardenfell. She is always watching. Watching, waiting, allowing someone the time they need to grow, to learn. Then there’s the Nord, who will bring death. Then, there’s you”. Paarthurnax stated as if he was summing up Sotek’s abilities. The dragon yawned then settled down, tucking his head under his wing.


    Aela got up then tugged Soteks arm.

    “Come on, he’s tired we’ll come back tomorrow. You have to stop this crap about not being the Dovakiin. That Nord, he’s a mad bastard, you need to talk to Kite”.


    Sotek shook his head.

    “No, I don’t. He sided with Ulfric, that tells me all I need to know. Tomorrow, I’ll start tomorrow. Whatever happens Aela, don’t you stop being my friend. I need you. You remember that”.


    Aela gave him a hug then grabbed hold of his hand and gently pulled him along the pathway.

    “I’ll never forget it, and if I do then Red’ll remind me. She always does”.


    Sotek stopped then slowly turned back towards the dragon.

    “Who is ‘she’? A Dovakiin in Morrowind? Wonder if Quentarii knows?”


    “Who’s Quentarii?” Aela asked in a half curious, half jealous tone.


    Sotek tutted back at the Huntress and gave her a slight hug.



    “You? You have a mother?” Aela asked as she chuckled.


    “What do you think? I didn’t hatch from an egg!” Sotek replied sarcastically.


    Aela hollered out in laughter.

    “You’re an Argonian. Actually, Sotek… You did!”