UotW Chapter 342 Rift Between Friends



    As they made their way down the pathway towards the rope bridge to High Hrothgar, Aela slowed up slightly, allowing Sotek to walk beside her. Such were the natural rhythm and ambiance between them that neither party realised that they had started holding hands. They were still holding hands when Aela started swinging her hand back and forth in wide arcs, until she suddenly let go of him. She looked at him with a surprised expression then simply sped up and started walking in front. Sotek gently tried to pull her back slightly so they could talk.

    “Are you ok?”


    She kept on walking as she talked over her shoulder at him.

    “Yep, I’m fine. Why?”


    He tried his best to keep up with her, but like the first time he saw her walk off after she and the others killed that giant when he first met them, she set a fast pace to follow.

    “You seemed to go off suddenly”.


    “Off? Off what?”


    Sotek quickly decided he had enough, he darted forwards and seized her arm.

    “Aela, stop. Let’s talk, just you and me”.


    Aela slowly turned around and looked straight in his eyes. She tenderly held his cheek in her palm as she whispered to him.

    “Sotek, there is no us; no you and me. Now I know it’s hard for you, no. No, I don’t because I’ve never been in your situation. I don’t want to upset you, I really don’t. I’m doing this because I don’t want to cause you any more hurt. Now please, enough. You said on the plains that morning that you would go along with whatever I wanted. I want you to find someone that really loves you, like I can’t. If you respect me and care for me then that’s what you’ll do. So, do you respect and care for me?”


    Sotek found his own emotions claw at him, he tried to bury them, but his eyes betrayed him.



    Aela wiped a single tear from his face then she gently smiled at him.

    “Find someone else, I’m no good, not to anyone, and least of all to you”. She then continued along the pathway hoping the matter was dealt with, but Sotek wasn’t quite ready to lay them both to rest. 


    Sotek stopped walking then called out to her.

    “I was hoping... I was hoping when we came here and you learnt to control your anger that we would have a chance to try again. I was hoping we could sort things out, but we don’t do we? We’re finished”.


    Aela looked over her shoulder a second time then called back to him.

    “Yes, Sotek. We’re finished, there’s nothing left but friendship now, I hope we can still be friends”. 


    Sotek looked towards the west over High Hrothgar and slowly nodded. He wiped away a few tears from his face then in a broken hushed whisper, he answered her.

    Yes, we’ll always be friends. Shield Sister”. With some emotional effort Sotek sped up to catch up with Aela, he gave her a weak smile, but quickly turned away so she couldn’t see his face. The rest of the journey to High Hrothgar was uneventful but very strained. Neither one of them said a word. 


    Once they stepped inside High Hrothgar, Sotek straight away pointed to a table.

    “Get some food inside you, then rest up. We got a busy day tomorrow”. Angier started to approach him, but Sotek just held his hand up dismissing him straight away. “Not tonight, we’ll speak tomorrow I promise”. Without waiting for a reply from Angier or even Aela, Sotek headed off by himself to the study. 


    The moment Sotek entered the study, he sat down at the small table which had been his home for the last few days. The three books which he had based his research from were stacked up on his left and several parchments that contained Soteks hastily written notes, were spread out on the tabletop. He looked down at his work which looked almost like scribblings from a child. They reminded him of simpler times when he was younger. 


    Sotek picked up a book and opened it to a random page, but as he tried to concentrate, his mind just went blank. The words in front of him meant little if anything, so after a few seconds he slammed the book shut and tossed it on the table. With his elbows firmly planted on the tabletop, he rested his head in his arms. The walls around him seemed to close in and the darkness from the far side of the chamber trailed off as it tried to envelope him. His eyes closed tightly trying desperately to shut out the darkness, almost making him shake with the force in which he used to keep them closed. Sotek’s head slumped down on the desk as he wrapped his head in his arms and he sat there, alone in the chamber as he wept.


    The moment Sotek went off towards the study, Aela sat at a table to eat. She picked up a roll and studied it for a few seconds then went to bite into it. The moment however the smell of the food hit her nostrils, Aela’s stomach turned. She dropped the roll on the plate then looked across the table. Just to her right was a bowl of apples. She picked one up then held it in her hand. A single tear dropped from her face and landed on her arm, surprising her. She growled at herself for showing any sign of weakness then got up from the table and approached the study, carrying the apple in her hand as she went. 


    From the far side of the study, Aela could see Sotek slumped down over the desk. She slowly approached him, right up until she could hear his quiet sobbing. At that point Aela froze, she just stayed there rooted to the spot, completely unable to advance towards him anymore, for the fear of him venting his hurt on her. Aela turned around and discretely headed off to where she had slept the last few days. She coiled herself up in a ball then tightly closed her eyes. Quietly, she cried herself to sleep.


    Later that evening, Angier gently shook Sotek waking him up.

    “You haven’t eaten. Here, you need to keep your strength up”. Angier then placed a plate with some bread and cheese on the table along with a selection of fruits and berries. 


    Sotek blinked a few times as his senses came around then he thanked Angier for his hospitality.

    “Thank you, I’m going to freshen up first”. Sotek went to the washbasin and submerged his face for nearly a minute. As his gills were also submerged, he was in no hurry to resurface any time soon. Besides, the cool water soothed his sore eyes as the water washed away any reminders of his tears. Sotek threw his head back and shook it side to side, shaking off any excess water, then he sat at the table and ate his basic but extremely welcomed meal.


    Afterwards, he sought out Angier, who was softly chanting with three other Greybeards. Sotek stood to the side where he was easily spotted, but then he just stayed there patiently waiting. After a minute or so, Angier approached him. Sotek didn’t waste any words and came straight out and apologised for his attitude over the last few days.

    “Angier, I haven’t given you or the other Greybeards the respect you or they deserve. For that I’m sorry, it’s no excuse, but things have been rough lately. Emotionally, I’m not at my best right now”.


    Angier brushed his apology aside, and just smiled warmly.

    “We know things have been rather difficult. Sometimes you’ve had little to go on and had to accept a lot on a faith which you know nothing about. I spoke to Paarthurnax earlier. He’s pleased with you, with you both". 


    The moment Sotek heard Angier speak of Paarthurnax, he felt more assured. It was almost like the time when the Harbinger told Sotek off then in the next breath, praised him for his actions. Having Paarthurnax’s approval meant far more than simple words. With new energy Sotek returned back to his study and relit the lamps there, then he buried himself in the books as he battled between them to try to seek out the information he wanted from within the volumes of knowledge.


    After a few hours of study, Sotek made significant progress towards his aim of understanding the third word, Grohiik. A few facts had revealed themselves to him which helped significantly towards his understanding of the dragon tongue, and specifically to the shout Aela had been taught. Armed with such knowledge, he was slowly placing together the shout until he hit a stumbling block. He muttered to himself as he gazed down a hallway to where Aela slept.

    “Damn it Aela, where’s that book of yours?”


    He made his way to the area where Aela herself had studied, but despite his systematic searching, he couldn’t find it anywhere. Having become stuck with no other course open to him, he approached Aela, who was asleep. He sat beside her and gently shook her.

    Aela, Aela. That book, where is it? I need it”.


    Aela stirred from Soteks whispering and gentle shaking, but she literally exploded, shouting at him.

    “What the hell are you waking me up for? I was asleep, it’s night for fuck sake. I told you earlier, we’re done. Leave me the hell alone”.


    Sotek snapped right back at her.

    “I know we’re bloody finished, you told me that earlier. I got bigger things to do than pester someone who don’t want to know me, ok? Now, I’m bloody sorry it’s night, but I need that book. I’ve looked around for it and I can’t find it. I can’t even find your pack”.


    Aela grabbed her pack from the other side of the bed and thrust it straight into Soteks chest.

    “Here, take the bloody thing. It’s a lousy excuse to try to talk to me. ‘Aela I need that book’. Is that the best line you can think of? I expected someone of your intelligence would’ve come up with something better”.


    Sotek stared at her for a few seconds then calmly opened her pack. The book he needed was right there on top of the other items, along with the odds and sods Aela had kept. Instead of pulling the book out, Sotek indiscriminately tipped the entire contents over Aela’s head, then he threw the pack at her and calmly picked up the book.

    “I’ve found it, thanks. Good night”. He then headed back towards his table, leaving Aela gobsmacked, smothered in her pack’s contents.


    The Huntress, once she recovered from her initial shock, screamed out at him.

    “You asshole”. She waited for a response, but nothing came back. Not even a whisper of sarcasm. “Oi, lizard, you hear me?” Aela waited for any sort of answer, but all she got back was silence. After several seconds Aela’s temper raged out of control. “You spawn of a slug bastard, you will answer me, damn you”. She burst into Soteks study area but he wasn’t there. Neither was he in his bed. As she looked around High Hrothgar for him, her anger turned to a desperate loneliness.


    While she searched, she happened to pass Angier who said nothing in the way of greeting the Huntress. He did however raise his hand and point to the courtyard. Aela opened the doors to be beset on by the mountain’s wrath of snow and icy blizzards battling the yard. Sotek was there in the middle of the courtyard wearing his black boots, his old trousers and a shirt while he swung his spear around him.


    Whenever he struck an imaginary foe, he would shout out three words. At one point in the middle of a manoeuvre, Sotek stopped and turned to look at Aela as he caught her in the corner of his eye, but then he turned back round ignoring her presence and shouted out again as he lashed out three times with his weapon.

    “Jusk Iisk Grohiik”. 


    Aela started walking over towards him and he instantly turned around to face her. Expecting Aela to give him trouble, Sotek got in the first strike. He swiftly, but lightly kicked the point of his spear which was resting on the ground, lifting it up in an arc before thrusting it forwards, towards the Huntress’s face. The tip of the spear lowered slightly, with just barely a foot of space between the point and Aela. Sotek stared coldly along the shaft of the weapon before lowering it further to Aela’s chest.

    “If you came out here to fight, then you can piss off down to Whiterun, he has too many problems at the moment to deal with you”.


    Aela slowed down as she approached him.

    “I’m sorry, I thought you were trying to talk, or something. I don’t know”.


    Sotek shook his head disappointedly. He huffed back at her then pulled his spear towards him and let it hang loosely in his hand. He stared at her for a few seconds before resting the butt of the spear on the ground so that the shaft was resting against his side.

    “Yes, well. Now you know better. He disturbed you because He needed the book”.


    Aela found herself stuck in an unwinnable position.

    “I’m sorry. I misunderstood the importance. She held her hand out to him in open friendship, desperate to sort things out between them. “Friends?”


    Sotek hissed as he stared at Aela’s hand.

    “Can we be friendss?”


    Aela kept her hand outstretched as she looked at Sotek right in the eyes. “I hope so, because I certainly don’t want you as an enemy. I have enough of them already. Friends though… I only have one. Won’t even have that if you say no”.


    Sotek took her hand and shook it.

    “Friends, again. But he tells you this Aela, once we get back to Whiterun, he’s having a break from you. We’re under each other’s feet and that’s hard to deal with. Once we get back to Whiterun, we spent a lot more time apart”.


    Aela nodded but something in the tone in Sotek’s voice made her feel a whole lot less secure than she had done in a long time. It hit her hard and she felt sick but she held firm and swallowed her feelings, burying them deep within her. She knew the situation was hurting him, but Kodlak was right; all she was doing was destroying their friendship. If she had to be alone for that to survive then she would pay the price. She just wished Sotek didn’t have to pay as well.

    “Agreed, but for now, tell me about this shout. What does it do?”


    Sotek yelled back. He tried not to let his feelings run wild, but he was too tired and emotionally unbalanced.

    “The shout! What’s it do? I’ll tell you what it does. It makes my throat dry from all this shouting! That’s it”.


    Aela huffed at his response.

    “I’m only trying to help; there’s no need for sarcasm”.


    Sotek slowly turned to face her as he hollered back.

    “Sarcasm? Oh, that’s not sarcasm; this is sarcasm. The whole bloody point of the shout is to make my bloody jaw ache. I told you that’s what it does, like I told Angier what it does. And the only one that seems to know what it actually does is a god damn bloody dragon sitting up there! Will he tell me? No… he bloody won’t. Why? Because he’s being a bloody Bormahnu”. 


    Aela stepped back until Sotek’s rant was over then she approached him once more.

    “Finished your temper tantrum? Good. How did you learn the three words? I don’t recognise two of them, but they pull me in. You know? Like a magnet? Who told you about connecting the three words?”


    Sotek sheepishly looked back at her.

    “Ermm, no-one; not exactly”.


    Aela walked right up to him then started tapping her foot as she stood there.

    “What does that mean precisely? How do you know they go together?”


    Sotek poked himself in the chest.

    “I know in here. Trust me, they go together”.


    Aela’s jaw nearly dropped, she stared blankly at him.

    “You honestly don’t know if they go together or not? Are you serious?”


    Sotek desperately nodded.

    “They do, they just don’t seem to do anything”.


    Aela stared up at the heavens for the scantest of moments before growling back at him.

    “You didn’t know the difference between Clear Skies and Storm Call. I trust you Sotek, but not your knowledge of the Dragon Language. That… you know very little of”. She leaned back against a pillar as she thought about it for a few minutes. She stared up at the moon as her mind ran around trying to work things out. “Ok, what do the words mean?”


    Sotek’s tail curled between his feet, instantly telling Aela he was hiding something. Aela’s foot started tapping again, except this time it was far more rapid.

    “What do they mean? Slug!”


    Feeling somewhat embarrassed Sotek shrugged.

    “I don’t know, do I! Grohiik means wolf, but I can’t find the other two words meanings”.


    Aela gave him a slight shove.

    “You moron. Right, we’ll go inside and try to work out what they mean. Then we’ll have an idea on what they do, if anything. Come on you…  bloody reptile”. She grabbed his arm then dragged him inside. 


    Between them both, over the course of the next few hours, Sotek and Aela eventually found the meanings of the other two words but even so, despite trying hard to shout them, all Sotek could achieve was for his jaw to ache. Aela sat on a small wall with a fur wrapped around her as she tried to approach the whole thing again from a different direction.

    “Right, the first word. Sotek are you sure they go together?”


    Sotek huffed at her then nodded slowly.

    “Trust me, they go together. They all relate to each other and we only found that out since we learned what they mean. All three of them form a shout”.


    Aela sighed then she started again.

    “Right, first word, Jusk, that’s claw. Iisk is Fang and Grohiik means wolf. Do you think it should summon a wolf?”


    Sotek shook his head. The very idea seemed utterly pointless to him.

    “No. Why would a dragon need to summon a wolf?”


    Aela rolled her eyes at him.

    “Ok, well maybe it’s supposed to turn you into a wolf, but it can’t”.


    Sotek looked at her oddly.

    “What? Like a morph spell? No that’s stupid; not a dragon shout. Why on earth would a dragon want to be anything else?” It was at that point when Sotek gave up. “Get your head down, we’ll have a lie in and head up to Paarthurnax around midday. Go on, get some rest”. He ushered Aela inside where they both grabbed a few furs each and crashed out on the stone floor. 


    Late the next morning, Sotek’s slumber was disturbed by, what seemed to be in his dream, an earthquake. He briskly awoke to find Aela’s foot resting on his hip as she stood over him. She rocked him back and forth once more just to make sure he was awake. She peered down at him and spoke.

    “Hey sleepy head, come on. We’re off to see Paarthurnax to solve the riddle of the useless shout”.


    Sotek groaned as he stretched out.

    “Gaah, is it morning already?”


    Aela grinned as she grabbed Sotek’s pack.

    “Actually, it’s closer to midday. Come along… lazy reptile”. Aela pulled Sotek to his feet then tugged down on his jaw. The next moment Sotek had an apple shoved in his mouth. “There, breakfast is served, lets go”.


    Sotek took a bite of the apple then pointed to his bare feet.

    “Can I get dressed first?”


    Aela looked down to his reptilian clawed feet then started laughing.

    “Oh, if you must”.


    Just as the afternoon set in, Aela and Sotek reached the top where Paarthurnax was waiting. He stood near the pathway staring intently at the pair of them.

    “You both bicker and argue like children”.


    Sotek grinned sarcastically.

    “To you we are children. You’re thousands of years old and we’re what? In our early twenties?”


    Aela tutted at Sotek as she walked past him.

    “Don’t start, I need to focus”.


    Paarthurnax smiled broadly as he switched his attention to Aela. “Indeed, and you have a shout to master as well Dovakin. But first, mediation. Come Aela, meditate with me”.  Paarthurnax turned around then headed off towards the word wall. He flapped his wings a few times, lifting himself up off the ground and landed right on the word wall. As he closed his eyes, Aela laid out a few furs. She knelt down in front of the dragon and closed her eyes as well while at the same time she controlled her breathing.


    Sotek slowly headed towards the path and looked out to the north as he mentally prepared himself for the journey back to Whiterun. He knew Red would have problems hunting, but he wasn’t quite sure how Aela would handle that fact. He thought it best if he expected the worst, so that’s what he did. He fully expected Aela to lose it big time the moment she fully realises Red’s not the huntress she used to be.


    Soon after Sotek jumped slightly as Aela began her shouting.

    “Drem Ro Grohiik”. 


    Sotek composed himself then headed off to Paarthurnax who was sitting near Aela waiting for him. 

    “So Dovakiin, what have you learned so far?”


    Sotek kicked out at a small rock. He watched it bounce across the ground to eventually roll off the edge of the mountain.

    “What have I found out...What besides the fact that Aela don’t want to kno...”. Aela snapped her head around and stared at Sotek. Her eyes fixed on him intently and seemed to burn through him. “Sorry, Aela I’m sorry. I didn’t focus on the frost shout. That shout Aela uses, Grohiik? Are Jusk and Iisk part of it? Aela don’t think they go together”.


    Paarthurnax looked over towards him slyly.

    “And you think they do?”


    Sotek shook his head.

    “No, I know they do. I just don’t know if they are a proper shout. I’ve tried them but nothing happens”.


    Paarthurnax shook his head for emphasis.

    “That is because it is not a shout Dovakiin”.


    Aela cursed out at Sotek.

    “I knew it, what a waste of time”.


    Sotek stared at them both as he stood there silently. He felt an overwhelming feeling of confusion.

    “But I feel more focused when I shout it. Not like when I shouted my fire breath, you could feel the power it had. There’s no power in this one but I really feel more focused”.


    Paarthurnax sighed, his soft words fell on Sotek’s ears, but even then Sotek was still adamant.

    “Grohiik does not belong to a shout. It’s a word, that is all. Then again Dovakinn you are somewhat different to others.”


    Sotek quickly followed him groaning out loudly.

    “Here we go again, just talk straight for once. What do you mean different? Because I’m an Argonian and not a Nord? It’s to do with the Nord legend, isn’t it?”


    Paarthurnax blew a lung full of air at Sotek, almost knocking him over. Wearily the dragon turned around and glanced over to Aela.

    “Do either of you know what happens to you when you become a werewolf?”


    Sotek moaned out then leaned against a large boulder.

    “Here we go, more bloody questions and no answers. To become a werewolf, you either get bitten and survive, not much chance of that by the way or you drink the blood of a werewolf. I drank Aela’s blood... Red’s blood”.


    Paarthurnax’s tail swiped out at Sotek, forcing him to move out of its way rather rapidly.

    “I said what happens, not how you become one”.


    Aela walked over then stuck her hand up.

    “Your soul, it shares its existence with a wolf spirit. So, in effect I have ermm two souls? Aela and Red”.

    Paarthurnax nodded excitedly.


    “Oh, thank the heavens, someone who knows what they are. Yes, Aela, you have two souls”. He then looked back at Sotek as he pointed to Aela with his clawed hand. “Most wolf spirits share control. It jumps from the person to the wolf when they change form. Aela’s spirits however, for some reason, are out of balance. Only when she’s calm is Aela in control”.


    Sotek walked right up to Aela and stared at her right in the eyes.

    “So when Aela’s temper flares up, it’s not Aela lashing out. It’s Red?”


    Paarthurnax nodded.

    “Scarface, he waits just beneath your skin, waiting for you to allow him some control, whether its full control or just so you can use his senses. Aela can’t do that, she doesn’t have that option. Bizarrely it is Red that allows Aela to take control. She stands back and lets Aela take control because when Aela’s calm, Red’s bored”.


    Aela growled out at him.

    “That’s ridiculous”.


    Paarthurnax laughed loudly.

    “Sotek, do you not feel Red’s presence in her growl?”


    Sotek turned away from Aela and watched Paarthurnax as he snaked around the pair of them.



    Paarthurnax lifted his head up angrily, His clawed feet slammed into the ground making the ground shake as he shoved his face right into Soteks chest, stopping when he was barely an inch away.



    Sotek walked away from the pair of them but after a few paces he stopped.

    “I can feel Red there when Aela flares up. I can smell her scent. I thought it was just Aela using Red’s energy when she’s angry. Why does Red have that control over her?”


    Paarthurnax headed back to the word wall then after taking off, he circled them both and came to a rest on the word wall. He looked down at Aela as he shook his head.

    “I do not know. That shout I taught her, it is to help with Aela’s control over Red and her temper”.


    Sotek gently held Aela in his arm. As he held her, she rested her head in his chest, she felt him lean over her and gently kiss the top of her head. At that moment Aela felt at peace, and safe. So much so that she closed her eyes and just loosely held on to him. Sotek however, awkwardly moved away once he realised what he did. He headed to Paarthurnax to put some space between himself and Aela. Aela’s illusion of safety came crashing down around her, and she once again felt vulnerable to the dangers of the world.


    Sotek cautiously turned back towards Aela, half expecting a savage reprimand, but Aela was caught up in her own confusion. As she never said anything to him, Sotek left her alone and continued his conversation with Paarthurnax.

    “What has all that got to do with this other shout?”


    Paarthurnax started laughing.

    “You still don’t know? Very well, shout”.


    Sotek blankly stared at him.



    Paarthurnax moved closer then whispered to him.



    Sotek shrugged his shoulders then shouted.



    Paarthurnax shook his head as he blankly looked at Sotek.

    “She’s right”.


    Sotek turned towards him.

    “What? Who’s right?”


    Paarthurnax chuckled as he rested his head alongside Aela.

    “Aela is. You are a moron”.


    Aela burst out laughing but then she tugged Sotek’s arm.

    “He means use the shout you idiot”.


    Sotek huffed at her, then shouted out a second time.

    “Well why didn’t he say so? Jusk Iisk Grohiik”. As before his focus seemed to strengthen. The murky clouds in his head faded allowing him to see and hear sharper, or at least that was how it appeared. The reality was his senses were the same, something he was all too aware of. “I feel more focused. I can home in on Scarface’s abilities more. They seem better but they are not, are they?”


    “No Dovakiin, they are not. Aela has two souls. Her Nord soul and her wolf spirit. You do not have two”.


    The moment Paarthurnax said it, alarm bells started ringing in Sotek’s mind. He stared blankly at the dragon and shook his head at the mind-boggling realism.

    “I’ve three? Argonian, Dovakiin and wolf? So, this shout simply drowns out the others? It allows my wolf spirit to be more dominant? But this shout doesn’t actually exist?”


    Paarthurnax turned around slowly so he could face Sotek.

    “Yes, but do not look so disappointed. Kerb your enthusiasm Sotek. There’s nothing else I can teach you... yet. Go home, go back to Whiterun and prepare your armour. You both done well. Aela I would have a word, Sotek wait for her at the path. When you are ready come back, I’ll have more to teach then”.


    Aela watched Sotek head off then she approached Paarthurnax.

    “This is to do with Sotek isn’t it?”


    Paarthurnax discretely nodded.

    “Yes. He has a thirst for knowledge and power, despite his attempts at ignoring it. Unlike you though, he has balance. The three maintain an understanding of their roles within. They know when to break free, and when to let go. However, Jusk Iisk Grohiik…”. Paarthurnax paused as he watched Sotek pace back and forth along a stretch of pathway. Each step crushed the snow.


    “Be cautious with him. There is a shift in power, I feel it and soon he will feel it too. That shout, Jusk Iisk Grohiik…. It has awoken Hircine and set him on a path, one which he wants Sotek to follow. I fear Sotek will go all too willingly. Should that happen, you will have to decide whether to go with Sotek or lose him”.


    Aela felt slightly confused at that remark, she decided to put Paarthurnax in the picture.

    “Lose him? We’re not a couple. Red and Scarface are yes. But we’re not. We’ve split up, it’s better that way”.


    Paarthurnax burst out laughing.

    “Yes, it’s an odd path you set yourself on, but it makes no difference. What is, is. And what will be, will be. Sotek can say he’s not the Dovakiin until he’s old and pale green. But he is a Dovakiin. You’ll realise soon enough. Keep up your meditation and practise your shouts. Red will loosen her grip on you, and you four would all be all the better for it. Go, he’s waiting, and his curiosity grows with every second”.


    Aela cast a look over towards Sotek. He was pacing up and down as he looked back at them both. She chuckled slightly as she watched him go back and forth. Aela started laughing at him.

    “He’s like a wolf prowling around sniffing at some prey”.


    Paarthurnax nodded.

    “Or a wolf at the entrance of his cave, waiting for his mate to return”.


    Aela snapped straight back at the comment.

    “I’m not his mate!”


    Paarthurnax just gave her a knowing smile.

    “Oh, sorry”.


    As Aela headed back towards the Argonian, Sotek stopped and watched her walk towards him. Something near the word wall took his attention. He thought he saw a silhouette but when he focused on the wall, there was nothing there.


    Paarthurnax rested his head under his wing, disappearing from sight. His wing lifted back up so Sotek could see him. Paarthurnax glanced at the wall and puffed a breath of air at it, scattering the snow.


    At that moment, Sotek was sure he heard it. A single, crying howl.


    A howl of a wolf.




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