C.o.t.W Chapter 123: A Realm of Possibilities

  • Hasir fell head over tail through darkness. He fell through a sea of colors. It almost looked like the Argonian had leapt through the

    painting in Chorrol instead of a portal. Trees rushed past him and sharp spear-like branches scratched his armor. He did not even have

    time to register where he was before he fell on lush grass with the force of a kwama forager getting trampled upon.


    The Argonian heard movement close to him. He got quickly to his feet and drew his sword.

    "Is anyone there? Come out." He snarled, "show yourself! Now or else I will start swinging at thin air."


    The wolflord waked out of the trees to Hasir's right with, the Argonian had to shield his eyes to avoid being blinded, a shining white

    stag; an earthy saddle upon its celestial body.


    Hasir gaped stupidly at the stag as it was led toward him by Hircine.

    "By Hirc... I mean, by the gods, is this the present you alluded to?"


    Hircine nodded. Hasir circled the stag, tail rising and falling like a starving snake finally granted a juicy mouse. He ran his hand over

    the pale white body, half expecting it to sink through his diamond pure body. After his thorough, and joyful, inspection, Hasir strode

    over to Hircine, beaming.

    "Hircine, this is... really nice." He said, hesitating a bit. Hircine eyed Hasir with intense contemplation. Hasir shook his head to rid

    himself of selfdoubt and furrowed his brow, "What is the occassion? The old life festival has already passed."  

    Hircine eyes bored into Hasir's. The argonian did not know the meaning behind Hircine's expression. 

    "My hound," he said warmly, "The hunter does not ask the deer how it leaps or the bird how it flies. The animals do what they must

    to fit their role in the whole of creation. You, too, must draw from this analogy. Do not ask why or for what occassion a present is

    given. Be grateful for that which is given, ask not its purpose or the giver's alterior motive." 


    The argonian stared at the pale white stag and had to dodge out of the way to avoid being skewered by one of its antlers. He did not

    want his visit to the Hunting Grounds to be cut short by him being served as dinner.

    "Right... erm, sorry about that." He said, sheepishly. "So, er, does he, she, er, it have a name?"


    Hircine shook his head and looked sternly at the Argonian who cowered like a skittish rabbit from a bloodthirsty wolf.

    "No, my hound. It is not my duty to do so." He gestured to the Argonian, "You must be the one who names him."


    Hasir walked around the stag and looked to Hircine for suggestions.

    "Can't you, er, give me suggestions for names?" He asked


    The wolflord sighed and, not sure if this would break his 'non-interference' pact, nodded.

    "You can either name him after one of my aspects or you can go by the color of his fur, his eyes, his antlers... there is really no right

    answer and I'm sure there is a myriad of options you can choose from. Do one that really speaks to you."


    Hasir nodded and, thinking, he circumnavigated the teardrop transparent stag.

    "Right, ok, erm, how about Katsura? It's nice, earthy and has a sense of power to it."


    Hircine pondered on this for a bit. Looking about himself as if he was trying to guage comparison from any trees in his realm of


    "Katura? Hmmm... Interesting." He said as he repeated the name silently to himself. "Yes, I do believe Katsura is a perfect name

    befitting a perfect stag such as this." Hircine's boney brow furrowed, "Tell me this, how did you come up with Katsura, if I may ask?

    The only reason I am asking is because you've reached far beyond the scope of obvious names, into a ball of tangled yarn and

    random plucked out a rose."


    Hasir told Hircine about how, the last time he journeyed to Akavir, he spotted the most beautiful grove with Gingko and Katsura trees

    and that the brances of the Katsura trees were branches that looked like the truncated horns of a stag. He also told the wolflord that

    he notices how sturdily built the tree was; firmly rooted into the ground like the sturdiness of a stag's body and the hooves of the

    stag the roots."


    Hircines cocked his head in consideration of this newfound idea.

    "My hound, never have I thought that a stag was like a tree. Now that I have it explained, I guess it makes sense. Katsura is

    yours. treat him well. He is part of my hunting grounds after all. Just know, that when he travels with you on your many journey yet

    ahead, so to will you take me. He is one of my aspects. May he carry you with the swiftness of the wind towards wherever you path

    may lead you."

    Hasir smiled and said that since that was all the wolflord wanted that he would be leaving, though, he did not know where the exit

    was. Hircine read his worried expression and gestured to a glowing green portal far off in the distance.

    "The exit is through that portal and up some stairs, but first, I've another gift to share with you."


    They walked through the forested part of the realm, past glittering waterfalls and tall tree until they came to a spot where five tree

    sat close together supporting a wooden house that had a wooden latticed ramp leading up to it. Hasir's eye went wide with awe when

    he saw it.

    "This is your new home. Kynareth and I made it for you, well, your Khajiit friend helped us built it. Oh and K'hairi was in charge of

    the blueprints." Hasir stood frozen to the ground like a ice sculpture; one that was promptly melted with the wolflord's warm 'smile'.


    Hasir could not help but admire the exquisite architecture; from the wooden paragulas that dominanted the outdoor seating area to

    the granite effiges of the wolflord and the lady of Nirn.Hircine gestured up the ramp that was flanked by to lizardine totem poles.

    "Go on, have a look around. Immerse yourself in its beauty. We can discuss your future plans when you've had an eye and heartfull."


    Hasir, his tale flopping about wildly, like a snake about to feast on a mouse, walked up the ramp. Hasir looked around the entryway

    of the house amazed at what he saw. A table stood in the far corner of an ivy-covered section near a small 'garden' if that is what it

    could be called; a patch of grass with a firefly flitting about. Out of the garden grew a giant stone flower which looked oddly like the

    earthmother, Kynareth.


    The Argonian saw, on the other half of the wooden platform bisected by the ramp, an area dominated by a rug the color of the desert

    depicting various stages of moonrise and an altar that looked to be carved from the very trees themselves. A flag depicting the proud

    stag; the symbol of the wolflord, rose, like the bloodmoon, from the platform. His eyes went wide as he beheld a granite effigy of the

    wolflord himself. He moved on, gazing in awe at the reed bar that dominated one corner of the house and the various wall hangings.


    He ascended a ramp and his mouth dropped open as he beheld a tiny gathering area with various lights and furnishing.

    "This area might come in handy if I ever need to hold a prayer meeting to honor the nature gods." He said, as he passed under the

    arch made up of lizard-headed pillars trapping a stone snake." That or Inigo, I and maybe my eggsister and the companions can

    come up here to marvel at the sheer majesty of the hunting grounds." 


    Hasir walked over to a still burning fire surrounded by chairs that looked like they were ripped straight out of Blackmarsh itself and

    sank down on one of them, smiling to himself.

    "I think Hircine, Kynareth and whomever else designed this house outdid themselves. This is better than I could've hoped for. I has

    everything; an area for cooking, a dining area overlooking the hunting grounds, an area to relax in and not one but two statues to

    pray at plus areas to leave offerings. I cannot wait until Inigo, K'hairi and the companions gaze at this wonder," He throw up in his

    mouth a bit at the thought, "even Aela might find this warm and cozy. Knowing her and natural settings."

    He got up and walked down the ramps to where Hircine stood.

    "Hircine, I love what you and Kynareth did. The house, it's everything I could've hoped for. The house just feels like it is a part of the

    hunting groundss. It feels like Nirn birthed the house just for me." He said, beaming.


    Hircine leant his spear up against a rock and knelt down next to the Argonian. Hasir looked at the wolflord as a wolf unsure of his

    master's motives. The wolflord rethought his motives and picked up the spear holding it out to the Argonian.

    "My hound, before we part, take this spear as well as the stag. These I give you in hope that, with these, you can quieten the storm

    in Coldharbor before it gains full strength and it threatens all of Tamriel."


    The argonian stared at him, uncertain of Hircine's meaning or his intentions. Hircine closed Hasir's claw around the spear, reading

    perfectly the confused expression.

    "My hound, I, erm..." He fell silent as the wind blowing through the trees and then, grasping a thought out of thin air, his 'eyes' lit up

    with the fire of knowledge once again. "My hound, the reason entrust these items to you is because you next task in your journey to

    end Stone Fire's reign of tyranny is to gather allies from every providence of Tamriel. Some may join you willingly but others might

    resist... until you show them that your logic in doing so is indeed sound."


    Hasir thanked Hircine and  asked him about the stag graing feet from him.

    "Hircine, what shall I do with Kasura? I doubt he'll be able to leave."


    Hircine eyed him with wonder and concern. He cursed when he realized what the Argonian meant and at his own stupidity.

    "My hound, a wolf must've run away with the rabbit that is my mind for a moment. I apologize." 


    Hircine spent the next minute teaching Hasir a spell to summon the stag. Pleased with his progress and aptitude, the wolflord bade

    Hasir give the spell a shot. Hasir concentrated; forming a mini portal in his scaly hand. He held it until it was the size of a small sun

    and released it. To his amazement, the stag disappeared and reappeared some feet away. Hircine beamed and bade Hasir farewell.


    Hasir's tail flopped about happily as he walked toward the old structure that he noted when the Argonian requested an exit. He

    passed through the forest until he saw a portal that looked like it was made from nechanted fire, stepped through it and vanished. He

    had to close his mouth to avoid swallowing the poisonous gases of Peryite's followers as he felt the flame lash their serpentine tongues

    all over his scaly body. He wondered if the fiery demons would burn his soul or pass through unharmed.


    After many minutes of floating through curtains of shadow and emerald flame, he emerged into an abandoned fort-like structure with

    a staircase winding into Aetherius; that's what Hasir thought at least. He got up from where he fell and glanced at the fire from

    whence he'd come, primarily at the strange obelisk with the incomprehensible writing adorning it. He could not, for the life of him,

    read nor comprehend the daedric language, nor did he have a guide to assist him with translation. He took a length of leather the

    same height as the rock from his backpack, pressed it to the stone and rubbed the charcoal wrapped in the leather on its rough

    surface. He surmized he could always go and ask Scruut to translate its meaning.


    He worked his way up the staircase, gazing all about him in wonder at the glorious architecture. He made a mental note of the small

    room and thought it would be a sort of guest room whenever someone comes to his new home. He ascended the stairs and saw long,

    warm fingers of light caressing the stone ground as if from an estranged lover. Hasir broke through the light and headed straight for

    the iron handled wooden door nestled at the end of this fort that must've looked really magnificent during its hayday.

    The argonian pushed the door open and marveled at the sight before him: a forest dominated by trees that he'd never seen before

    stretching skyward as if they wanted to forsake their earthly anchor and soar skyward toward Aetherius. He placed a palm against

    his temple and glanced skyward.

    "I wonder how time passes in the hunting grounds." He asked himself. "It must be after dark. I should set up camp. I'll ride for

    Lilmoth in the morning."


    As the two moons hung in the sky, watching him like two great eyes of Aetherius, Hasir set to work gathering wood from the nearby

    trees. When he'd gathered enough wood, he picked a suitable spot to make camp amongst some pine tress and lit the fire with his

    flame spell that he wouldn't be caught dead without; especially in a dark unfamiliar wood.


    With that done, he reached in his backpack, which he rested against a nearby tree and extracted a bedroll he'd packed when he'd left

    for the Blackmarsh stables. He unfurled it near the warm heat of the fire and promptly fell asleep. 


    His visual screen was blank for a time and then, as they had done many nights previous, they 'opened' on a cliff overlooking a vast

    and desolate wasteland that looked as though it had suffered some kind of blight that had blown over from Red Mountain. Blackened

    tree and valleys drained of color spanned as far as the eye could see.  Hasir then saw various shadows scurrying in the dying valley

    below, choking it and its inhabitants of life until it resembled a shadow of its former self, a skeleton.


    He wondered how the creatures had got here and who they were. His scaly eyes studied the valley, constantly scanning for any clues

    that stood out; none did. The argonian screwed up his eyes and saw, in his mind's eye, a being with blood red eyes and an insatiable

    thirst for blood. He opened his eyes just as one of the creatures had spotted him, a scaly desert following their destructive dinner

    and closed in to sink their dagger-like fangs into his neck.


    Hasir's eyes flew open as he jolted upright, shielding them from the harsh sunlight. He made a note to go see the Blackmarsh

    wisewoman, if they had one and have he decipher the dream to see if it held any meaning to his current quest. He thought of his

    mom and how she would decipher the dream. He also thought of his eggsister. An idea struck him. He sprang to his feet and thought

    long and hard about who he wanted. Feet from him, a white portal opened in one of the trees and an Argonian dressed in brown

    robes pattern with bone marking stepped through and walked, tail swaying behind her, to her son.

    All Hasir could see when him mother advanced on him was fires engulfing the towering mushrooms and them sinking down into the

    dirt like scribs in dung. The Argonian's forehead creased as he thought on something, finally coming to a conclusion, his tail disturbed

    various leaves and other detritus as his tail fell like a sledgehammer thrown down by an angry orc.

    "Mom, what in Hircine's name are you doing here? Shouldn't you be attending to the wishes of Kynareth or the Telvanni or whatever

    you do in Morrowind?"


    Kassamae shot daggers at her son and waggled her finger at him. He saw this gestured and softened up considerably.

    "I informed my tribe that you called for me. Besides, the telvanni will be fine on their own for a little while. Also, the telvanni towers,

    even though they are fungi, will not burn as easy as a box of flint will. Put that out of you mind for now. I assume you did summon

    me and not another well versed Argonian?"


    Hasir noddeed and said it was indeed she he called. He wondered how she could see into his mind, read it like a book. He guessed

    she had more talents than she was telling him.

    "Yes, I did summon you. I did so because I had this dream...nightmare...whatever, anyway, I saw Tamriel except it wasn't. Shadow

    beings with eyes as bright as red suns roamed the land where they sucked the valley clean of its energy. Trees and the ground began

    to become like a painting devoid of color and they saw me and starting sucking up my blood like it was some kind of beverage." 


    Hasir and Kassamae walked to copse of pine trees a few feet from them, sat down. He pulled a deer pelt from his bag and drapped it

    around them both to defend against the agressive biting wind. Kassamae looked at her son with those milky white eyes. Her tail

    coiled around her son's leg like a snake.

    "Hasir, it seems to me that you are scared of what is to come for Tamriel and you are questioning your 'borrowed' role of harbinger."

    She uncoiled her son's tail from her ankle and looked thoughtfully at him. She got up and walked to the edge of the grove of trees.

    Hasir walked behind her; his tail cutting a trail through the leaves. 


    She stared blankly across the undulating valleys toward Blackmarsh.

    "You've a duty to perform. A duty to rid all of Tamriel of this insidious creature, Molag Bal." She turned toward him. "I see you've

    been to see Hrcine." He looked at her; narrowing his eyes in confusion. "Oh, don't be such a hatchling." She laughed. "Kynareth, or

    rather the hawk aspect of her, told me all about your encounter with the wolflord. She gifted me with the gift of foresight, after all. I

    used her gift to see that you somehow procured a mount.... and a new house." She narrowed her eyes as she imagined what her

    son's new house must look like and gave a sound like mountains shivering off excessive snow. "I would love to visit it sometime. For

    now though, you've got to go to Blackmarsh to visit your childhood home in Stormhold.


    Hasir eyed her with an ateempt of comprehension.

    "How do you know I mean to go there?"


    Kassamae shrugged; she forgot her son swam in murky waters while hers where clear as the ice blanketing the Jerral Mountains.

    "Just... a lucky guess, I suppose." Hasir nodded and charged and released an oceanic blue orb of swirling energy. Kassamae gasped

    when she saw a cyan stag seemingly leap out of thin air and canter towards her. Her mouth hit the floor as she gestured to the stag;

    nonplused. Hasir laughed as he looked at his mother, envisioning a dumbfounded slaughterfish, and hoisted himself up onto the



    Hasir snapped the reins as they sped off toward Lilmoth. As the stag's hooves beat the cobblestone, Kassamae called out.

    "Hasir, slow down." She said nervously, "I don't want to become a pancake on the cobblestone." She narrowed her eyes at him,

    "What's your hurry anyway? Take your time. We will have a greater probably of getting there in one peace. Slow down Dammit!" She

    hissed angrily.


    The young Argonian glanced back at her. Kassamae shried and covered her eyes; begging Hasir to focus on the road instead of

    making coversation with his passenger. Hasir laughed and shrugged.

    "Katsura knows the way, besides I have information that I wish to tell you." Kassamae gulped as she saw the ground whizzing passed

    beneath them and tightly held onto her son. Hasir hissed painfully as her claws dug into his scales.

    "By the hunting grounds, don't you ever trim your clawsss?" He hissed at her. She giggled and lessened her hold. "That'sss better."

    Hasir said, hissing in relief. "The reason I am rushing toward Lilmoth like an Oblivion-bent dremora is because I am to round up allies

    from all the provinces of Tamriel if we are going to have any hope of winning against Molag Bal.He is doing the same. I feel it in my



    Kastura sped onward toward Lilmoth; Kassamae wondering about Hasir's sanity. She worried that Molag Bal had tricked him

    somehow. Either that or Sheogorath had held his brain hostage and instilled in him a false sense of purpose.