U.o.t.W. Chapter 333 The Bigger They Are

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    Sotek’s eyes slowly opened as they struggled with the mornings lamps. He reached over and turned the one by the bedside table down, so he could look around the room more. Beside him lay Aela, still asleep. Sotek watched her for a few minutes as she lay there. He went to lean over her and kiss her but he stopped himself. Anger still raged inside him, a flame of hatred although small, took hold. Feeling angry with Aela for what she did, and with himself for sleeping with her, knowing how he felt inside, made Sotek feel sick. He grabbed his trousers and shirt then quickly but quietly got dressed before he headed off upstairs.

     

    A few minutes afterwards Sotek entered the main hall to see everyone else at the table eating breakfast. Kite sat between Ebony and Kul-et, no doubt the pair of them had taken her under their wings. As Sotek sat on his usual step he noticed the pile of broken wood from the training area. His anger tore at him even more so, knowing that once again he lost his temper.

    “Harbinger, I owe you a chair”.

     

    “Ah, so that’s what it was. And how many times did you hit it, hmm?” As he waited for an answer, Aela entered the hall. Sotek’s tail reacted to her presence by lifting up and slamming down hard against the wooden flooring. Aela knew that was a sure sign of Sotek feeling angry. She had hoped they would talk downstairs, but she knew in her heart that was not to be. She sat in a chair facing him and poured out a glass of water, totally ignoring the food laid out.

     

    Sotek watched her for a few seconds then gazed at the others.

    “Five, maybe six times. I can’t quite remember”.

     

    Kite’s eyes shot wide open as she found herself caught in Soteks gaze. She managed to break away from his view to only fall prey to Aela as she stared at her intently. Aela discretely shook her head at Kite, telling her to be quiet. Kite’s eyes darted around the room tying to find something else to look at but then Kodlak called out to her.

    “Yes Kite, did you wish to add to Soteks remark?”

     

    She quickly turned to look at Aela, but Sotek intervened instead.

    “I slept with Aela last night. I shouldn’t have, but my emotions took over. I’m still angry with you, Aela. Last night I used you and that isn’t right. I need to apologise to you”.

     

    Aela suddenly felt sick, she didn’t look at Soteks tail, she didn’t need to. It lifted itself up and thudded down every few seconds. That in itself told her what she needed to know. Sotek wasn’t angry, he was fuming.

    “No you don’t. I need to, yet again. I keep screwing up with you, and then I apologise. But then I screw up again. Every time I mess up and lash out at you, but you always forgive me. Then you carry on like it never happened. Well it did happen. I keep saying it and yet here we are again, well no more. I swore an oath to you, I swore that I would never hit out at you again. I broke my oath, so I release you from yours”.

     

    Aela got out of her chair and walked up to Sotek, she rested her hand on the side of his cheek as she looked into his eyes.

    “Find someone who loves you more than anything else, Sotek. Find someone who loves you more than I possibly could”. Tears started streaming down her face as she turned towards the Harbinger, then her voice whispered out to him. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry”. Before anyone could say a word, Aela ran out the main doors. Sotek sat there staring emotionless at the fire pit while everyone else stared at the entrance, but then Red howled out as she ran as fast as she could along the street towards the ramparts. Three guards scattered as Red shot up a ramp to the west then leaped over the battlements. Within a few seconds, Red was running hard across the plains.

     

    Farkas got up then signalled to the others.

    “We’ll find her”.  

     

    As one the others got to their feet but then Sotek stopped them in their tracks.

    “No, leave her”.

     

    Kul-et came over to him angrily.

    “You’re annoyed with her, that’s fair enough. She’s upset and alone, she doesn’t think straight when she’s emotional, you know that. We’ll find her and bring her back. You wait here if you want, but we’re going to get her and bring her back. Help or get out of our way”.

     

    Sotek grabbed Kul-et by the arm and pushed her into the wall. He held her there tightly for a few seconds before releasing her.

    “Kul-et, egg sister, you have to listen to me. Please, listen all of you”. Sotek walked away from the door and sat  back down, leaving Kul-et and the others to decide on whether they would listen or go off looking for Aela.

     

    Fortunately, they all returned to their chairs, Sotek watched them one by one sit down then he addressed Kul-et.

    “Aela, Red. It doesn’t matter at the moment who’s out there, but I tell you that Red is. She will head to Red’s home. She knows the grounds there, she knows the prey that grazes the land. Red will run around and vent off energy and steam. She’ll burn herself out then when it’s night Aela will light a fire there. She knows  where some scrolls are as we hid them there, so she can start a fire. She’ll have food and be warm, hell there’s even a good few furs there. Tonight Aela will curl up in a ball and cry herself to sleep, but if she gets cold then she’ll change to Red. Ok?”

     

    Kul-et stared at the door as she listened, but once Sotek finished she pressed home her argument.

    “And she’s emotional. You know she can’t think straight when she’s emotional. She’ll get hurt”.

     

    Sotek sighed as he shook his head despairingly.

    “If you, any of you go out that gate... She will know, she’ll pick up your scent and she’ll run. To where? The cave we hid in months ago? The bear cave? Where will she run? Leave her where she is, she’s close to home, and safe. In a day, maybe two she’ll head back. We’ll both say sorry and we’ll sort things out. But if you go out there you will just make things worse, then where will she go? Where?”

     

    Kul-et slumped down staring at Sotek. She knew he was right, but she felt so useless.

    “So what the hell are we supposed to do?”

     

    Sotek shrugged.

    “I’m heading off to the forge to work on some scales, I suggest you all train”.

     

    Kul-et sat there horrified at Soteks response, she snapped as she felt anger rise up inside.

    “You bastard”.

     

    Sotek sighed then pointed to the Harbinger.

    “Ask him, ask the Harbinger. He wants Aela to come home as much as you do, Kul-et. But he’ll tell you I’m right”.

     

    Kul-et stormed over to him and gave him a shove.

    “That should have been ‘as much as you do’. But you don’t, do you? You want her out there”.

     

    Sotek snapped and shouted back.

    “Damn right I want her out there! Right now I don’t want her near me and I don’t want her here”.

     

    Ebony took Kul-et by the arm and pulled her away, she glared at Sotek as she shouted in Kul-et’s defence.

    “Asshole”.

     

    Sotek paused and nigh on instantly calmed down.

    “What? Ebony, if Aela was here right now we’d fight. Then, I expect, Red and Scarface would fight. I don’t want that. I want her here with me. But right now I want her on the plains so she can calm down. Now everyone of you, Kodlak, you as well. Do you really want Aela here, right now?”

     

    Everyone stopped as they all stared at each other. Sotek watched them all one at a time, then walked over to the table and picked up an apple. He took a bite then swallowed it as he headed towards the door.

    “I didn’t think so”. Then, without another word, he made his way to the forge.

     

     That afternoon, while Sotek was working with a few Dragonscales and studying the effects of different cooling temperatures, he found himself staring across the plains. Kul-et called up to him as she watched his eyes scan the horizon.

    “Any sign of her?”

     

    Sotek responded without thinking.

    “No”. He quickly looked back at her, then pointed to a training dummy. “Get on with your axe training and stop distracting me”. He then turned back to the scales, but Ebony, Kite and Kul-et all smiled to one another when they saw him scan the horizon a few seconds later.

     

    An hour afterwards, the whole of Whiterun heard an awful high pitched howl echo across the plains, quickly followed by a cascade of sickening yelps. Everyone in the training area froze, even Sotek, but then the hammer he was holding thudded on the stone laid ground as he transformed into Scarface. With a piercing howl, Scarface ran full bore down the slope and launched himself at the wall by the steps of Jorrvaskr.  

     

    Kodlak threw open the main door to see Scarface thunder along the grass by the temple and throw himself into Whiterun’s outer defence wall. His claws tore into rock and stone as he pulled himself over the wall and ran across the battlements. The Harbinger closed his eyes as he heard guards yell out and scatter as Scarface, who was still running at full speed, smashed his way through various defences and barriers. Within a minute Scarface was running north, following the high pitch yelping as he tracked Red’s trail.

     

    All the Whelps and the remaining Companions ran around Jorrvaskr and met the Harbinger at the door. He barked out his orders as he headed down the steps.

    “Farkas, Vilkas, horses. I hope that’s not Red”. Although he said it, instinct told him it was, and she was badly hurt.

     

    Within a few minutes Farkas, Vilkas and the Harbinger were riding north as they trailed Scarface. His tracks were easy to spot due to his size and the fact that his claws tore at the earth with every step, despite the rocky ground. As they approached the north tower a guard called out to them. “What the hell is that racket?”

     

    Kodlak looked northwards where the old mine was. He could easily tell that was where Red’s location was due to her yelping. With each step they took, the werewolf’s pitiful cries were getting louder and louder. The Harbinger found himself having to shout at the guard as he pointed back at Whiterun’s walls.

    “Go get the carriage. Get Bjorlam to bring it here. Hurry”.

     

    Farkas looked just to the East of the mine and saw Sotek standing on the brow of a small hill.

    “There’s Sotek”. Without waiting for the others, Farkas rode over to him. Even before he got near, he could tell that’s where the high pitch yelping was coming from. “What the hell you doing? Help her damn it”.

     

    Sotek franticly yelled back at him.

    “Stop! Leave your horse there. It’s a pit, she’s in a bloody pit”.

     

    Farkas dismounted then carefully approached Sotek. As he stepped closer, a large hole, previously hidden by the tall grass around it, came into view. The base of the pit was filled with various lengths of spikes, cut from thick tree branches. The size of the branches was only good for killing one thing, mammoths. Stuck between them was Red, who was yelping in agony. Farkas carefully made his way to the edge then felt sick as he saw a large spike stick out of Red’s leg.

    “Oh, fucking hell”. He turned around when he became aware of the other Companions approaching so he flagged them down, making them stop.

     

    Sotek tried to climb down but the ground crumbled, making him back off. “I can’t get down there. Scarface can’t either, there’s nowhere to land if he jumps”.

     

    Kodlak made his way to the edge and instantly agreed.

    “We need rope, and the horses”.

     

    Sotek felt a fear enter him. It gripped his heart as he forced himself to try to cut out the yelping. Red looked petrified, her eyes were full of terror and agony.

    “I got to get down there, I’ve got to”.

     

    Vilkas grabbed his arm and pulled him back.

    “That’s a twenty-foot drop, you’ll kill yourself, or Scarface. Then what  help would you be. There’s another way though, through the mines”.

     

    Sotek cast a quick glance at the mines and shook his head.

    “That’ll take too long”.

     

    Kodlak grabbed his arm and pushed him towards the mine entrance. “And it’ll take half hour to get some rope. Scarface can get to her within ten minutes. Shift yourself”.

     

    As Sotek ran towards the mine, he bizarrely turned around then headed towards some large rocks. He kept stopping every so often then shouted out.

    “Yes, got some”.

     

    Farkas yelled at him as he tried to get Sotek to speed up.

    “What the hell are you doing? Change damn you. What the hell are you looking for?”

     

    Sotek angrily snapped back at him.

    “Farkas, shut the hell up, yelling isn’t helping damn it. Talk to her. Try to calm her down”.

     

    Kodlak took one more look at Red then nodded back to Sotek.

    “We’ll try to calm her. Sotek, when you reach her, don’t let her change, she mustn’t change”.

     

    Farkas yelled back as he pointed to Red.

    “Why the hell not? If she changes then we can lift her”.

     

    Sotek stopped then watched them at the edge of the pit. Questioningly, he called back, confirming Kodlak’s orders.

    “Harbinger? Don’t let Red change?”

     

    Kodlak looked back at Sotek with despair.

    “It’ll tear her leg off. Do not let her change”.

     

    Less than a minute later, Sotek entered the mine and started making his way through it. Every so often he stopped to pick certain toadstools. Within ten minutes he found the exit which led to the spike pit. Red’s high pitch yelping was deafening, and Sotek couldn’t hear a single word the others were calling down to him.

     

    Instead of talking to Red, Sotek mixed the two ingredients together in a bowl he found at the mine, before mashing them together with a rock. He quickly searched around the ground until he found what he was looking for, a puddle of water. Sotek skimmed it, capturing some water in the bowl. Only then did he approach Red, despite the others who were now yelling at him.

     

    The moment Red saw him, she started to try to move as panic set in. Sotek shouted out at her, but it had no effect. She just yelped even louder. It took Sotek several seconds to reach her but the moment he got to her, he grabbed her head forcibly and pinned it backwards, forcing her mouth open.

     

    By now the others had arrived, except for Vilkas who was getting the rope. Kul-et shouted down at Sotek, screaming at him.

    “What the hell are you doing?”

     

    Kodlak looked on helplessly as Sotek forced Red’s head back even further, like he did when they fought in the training yard. As Red franticly tried to free herself, Sotek managed to pour the mixture he had made into her mouth. Near straight away, Red’s yelping quietened, then after several seconds she turned all sluggish. Sotek kept hold of her until she swallowed all the liquid. The others watched in silent horror as Red’s limbs went limp and her head rolled to the side.

     

    Red lay there quiet and seemingly lifeless as Kul-et screamed at Sotek. “You bastard, you killed her”.

     

    Before Sotek could yell back at her, the carriage rode up near the hole. Kodlak flagged it down then breathed a sigh of relief when the priestess and Arcadia climbed off the back.

    “Whatever happened? Vilkas was going frantic”.

     

    Kodlak pointed to the hole where Sotek and Red were.

    “Aela, her wolf form Red, she fell down the hole. It’s not good. Sotek gave her something”.

     

    The Priestess looked on with concern.

    “Soteks down there as well?” She peered down the hole then gasped in shock. “Oh, by the Nine. Sotek, is she?”

     

    Sotek looked up and saw the others peering down at him.

    “Oh, thank Hircine for you two. No, she’s out cold. I don’t know for how long though”.

     

    Arcadia saw the bowl laying next to Red then a single thought ran though her head. ‘Oh please be alive’. She shouted down to Sotek who held Red’s head in his lap.

    “What in Oblivion did you give her? Kodlak said you gave her something”.

     

    Sotek yelled his reply as he glared at a certain Companion.

    “Yes, no thanks to Farkas having a go at me. Rock Warbler Egg and Blisterwort”.

     

    Arcadia looked somewhat confused as she glanced at Kodlak.

    “Rock Warbler is for health, and Blisterwort as well. The thing is, you don’t mix them together because they... Oh… Clever”. She called back down to Sotek, curious to the quantity of the mix. “How much did you give her?”

     

    Sotek growled out at her.

    “This is no poxy time for an alchemy lesson. Four bloody eggs and five Blisterwort portions”.

     

    “Don’t you yell at me Sotek! You hear me? Answer me, damn it”.

     

    Sotek finally snapped as he shouted out at the top of his voice.

    “I can’t answer without yelling, you stupid fucking bit...”

     

    Kodlak shouted back to him before he and Arcadia started arguing. “Sotek that’s enough”. He then turned to Arcadia and initially shouted to her.

    “Arcadia? Oh, damn it all, Arcadia, what does the mixture do?”

     

    Arcadia stepped back as the Harbinger yelled, but quickly explained what Sotek had done.

    “He’s a clever one alright. They both make a healing potion, but you never mix the two because they drain your stamina. She’s had five doses. She’ll be out cold for hours”.

     

    At that point Vilkas rode up to them and handed over various lengths of rope while Farkas had headed through the mine to help Sotek at the bottom of the pit. Kodlak threw down some rope while the Whelps tied the other ends to the horses.

    “Rope coming down”.

     

    Sotek and Farkas tied the rope around Red’s torso and limbs but then the priestess called down to them.

    “Sotek, Scarface will have to lift Red up off the spike. There’s no other way. Now listen, when she’s free, you’ll have to heal her leg as fast as possible. There will be lots of blood, lots. Ok?”

     

    Sotek’s shoulders dropped then he shook his head at her, at that point he was completely stressed out.

    “Great, and how the fucking hell do I lift her as Scarface and heal her at the same fucking time?”

     

    The priestess’s eyes nearly popped out as she yelled back angrily. “Don’t you swear at me you bastard! Oh, my gods I swore, that infernal reptile made me swear. Oh, the Nine forgive me”.

     

    Kodlak could not help but chuckle as he pointed to Sotek.

    “Don’t worry, I bet Hircine himself swore a few times after dealing with that rascal. He has that effect on most people, but I have to be honest, I never thought he would have you swearing”.

     

    Kul-et called over to them as she steadied the horses with Ebony and Kite.

    “We’re ready”.

     

    Upon hearing this, Kodlak nervously called down to Sotek.

    “We’re all set, you ready?”

     

    Sotek changed form, then Scarface moved to position. He gently held the side of Red’s face and growled softly before moving to the side. Scarface forced his arms under Red then started to lift her slowly off the spike.

     

    As he lifted Red up, Ebony moved the horses slowly keeping the strain on the ropes while Farkas maintained constant communication with the Harbinger.

     

    Slowly Red’s torso was lifted clear but as the priestess predicted, the moment Red’s leg became free, blood poured out of the wound. Sotek changed form then quickly cast his healing spell on Red, hoping the spells effects would work on Aela’s werewolf form. Being more animal than human, the spell never took a proper hold, but it did slow the blood loss.

     

    As Red was lifted higher, Farkas shouted out franticly.

    “A ropes breaking, Ebony, pull the horses together! Ebony!”

     

    Where the horses were pulled separately, a few ropes became slack. That in itself spelled disaster for the other ropes when the load became too much. Without any warning, just as Farkas had feared, a rope snapped, sending Red falling back down upon the spikes.

     

    Fortunately for Red, the moment that Farkas yelled out, Sotek had changed back into Scarface. He grabbed Red in mid air and managed to prevent her falling upon three spikes. Due to her weight and his bad positioning though, a sharp pointed trunk tore through Scarface’s arm, pinning his arm in place.

     

    Scarface howled out in pain as he fought against the spike and Reds weight which pressed his arm further down the spike. The Harbinger looked down and saw Scarface’s arm which sank down even further. Red herself was now half a foot away from several spikes.

    “Pull, pull her up”.

     

    Farkas called up at him.

    “We need more rope”.

     

    Kodlak turned to Ebony and shouted at her.

    “Ebony, pull her up, now! We have no choice, he can’t hold her”.

     

    The horses pulled once more and lifted Red up away from Scarface. He howled out in pain as he lifted his arm off the spike, which made Farkas block his ears.

    “Bloody hell”. Luckily though, Scarface’s regeneration rapidly took effect and almost immediately the wound started to heal over. After several seconds it wasn’t bleeding at all.

     

    Kul-et stuck her head over the side and shouted down at him.

    “Sorry, my fault”.

     

    Scarface responded by savagely howling at her. She gulped then cast a quick look at the priestess.

    “Charming, I said sorry and everything”.

     

    Gradually, Red was hoisted towards the top of the hole, but just as she reached the edge, two more ropes snapped. Red slowly started rolling sideways as the ropes heaved under the strain of her weight.

     

    Kodlak yelled out to anyone who was near at the time.

    “Grab her, she’s slipping!” The Harbinger, along with two Whelps, aided by Vilkas, grabbed hold of the ropes and Reds arms to try to hold her but they gradually started sliding towards the hole.

     

    From out of nowhere a large brown arm forced its way passed Kodlak and grabbed hold of Reds good leg. Moments later, Red stopped sliding as Kite’s werewolf form pulled for all she was worth. Ebony turned to face her and let go in shock.

    “Bloody hell. Oh crap”. She quickly grabbed hold once again, but no matter how much they pulled, they were stuck.

     

    Kodlak started to panic as he felt the ground below him crumble, he called behind him at whoever was at the horses.

    “Pull now, or we all go. Pull”.

     

    Kul-et tried to get the horses to move but no matter how much they tried, they couldn’t shift Red anymore. Instead, a third rope snapped, causing Ebony to scream out. Farkas looked on helplessly, but Scarface had enough. He jumped at the earthy sides of the hole and tore out massive foot holes as he clawed his way to the edge. At the same time, great pawfuls of dirt were thrown down and clumps of grass splattered against Farkas, forcing him further inside the mine until he couldn’t see what was happening.

     

    All of a sudden, the bank gave way and everyone screamed out as the edge dropped three inches. Ebony shouted out a second time as Red was torn from her grip. She looked on helplessly as she screamed. “Red, Aelaaa!” Her scream however was dramatically cut short when Red started moving upwards over her head. She and the Harbinger turned around to see Scarface lift Red up by her good leg right over the top of them. Scarface snarled out as his arm and legs bulged from the effort, but he managed to lift Red up high enough to clear the edge, then he unceremoniously dropped her to the ground.

     

    Ebony screamed a second time as everyone was suddenly pulled backwards away from the hole.

    “Eeekkk!” She started swearing uncontrollably as the ground finally collapsed and a great clump of earth fell in the pit.

     

    Kodlak shouted down to the bottom, fearing for Farkas but the Companion yelled back, informing the Harbinger that he was ok. Fortunately for him, he was in the mine due to the earth falling on him from when Scarface had climbed out.

     

    Kul-et and Kodlak stared at Kite’s werewolf form which was a mottled brown, but she in return just stared at Scarface. Scarface looked at all of them then snarled as he picked Red up and laid her down with a great thud on the cart.

     

    Kite changed back to her Khajiit form but even then, she just stared at Scarface. He lent down to her height and peered into her eyes, making her step back a few feet.

    “He’s, he’s... Gulp”.

     

    Kodlak stood alongside Scarface then tapped him on the arm.

    “Well done, let’s get her back. Oh, my heart”.

     

    Sotek changed back then tensed his arm which got skewered by a spike and started moving it around. “

    Arm feels stiff. Are the horses ready?”

     

    Vilkas checked the harnesses but then Bjorlam called back to them. “One horse is lame. It’ll be ok but one horse can’t cope, it can’t pull that weight”.

     

    Sotek looked at the Whelps then nodded.

    “Fair enough. Kul-et, Ebony, Kite, Sam, Sabre... Walk the horses back to the stables. Take it easy and don’t rush them”.

     

    Kite looked at the cart and scratched her head.

    “But don’t we need the horses?” Sotek answered her back by smiling slyly.

     

    Once the horses were free of the reins, Sotek stepped in front of the cart. He then called out to Bjorlam.

     

    “Strap me up. Everyone else get on and hold tight. I’m not responsible if you fall off”.

     

    Kite called out to him as she watched the others climb on the cart.

    “You can’t pull that”.

     

    Sotek smiled as he nodded.

    “I know, but I’m not going to try”. The next moment he changed form again. Scarface dropped to all fours and let Bjorlam nervously strap him to the carriage. Every so often Scarface would snarl at him, which made him more anxious.

     

    When they were ready, Bjorlam cracked his whip, which instantly annoyed Scarface. He turned around then growled heavily at him.

    “Oops sorry, old habit. Ermm giddy up? What do you say to a werewolf to get them to pull?”

     

    Kodlak rolled his eyes then held on tight after motioning the others to do the same. He looked towards the front of the carriage and called out a basic command.

    “Scarface, home”. Scarface snarled in response then took the weight of the carriage. Initially he just kicked up dirt and stones but gradually the cart started moving forwards.

     

    The Whelps, who were now a few minutes ahead of the cart, were discussing Kite’s werewolf form.

    “You’re a werewolf? I wouldn’t have guessed. Did the Harbinger know?”

     

    Kite shook her head.

    “No, what with everything, I never got the chance to say about it. Will he be angry?”

     

    Ebony shook her head.

    “No, Aela and Sotek are werewolves. But there will be some issues. Nothing to worry  about, but don’t do what Red and Scarface do, you won’t be allowed to. They’re ermm… A special case”.

     

     

    Kite looked back at the cart and shook her head.

    “He’s big but he’ll never pull that wagon”.

    Kul-et winked at Ebony and Sam.

    “I bet you twenty gold he can”. Moments later several bags of gold exchanged hands as they all made their bets.

     

    Less than a minute had passed when Kite whispered to Kul-et.

    “See, I told you he couldn’t”.

     

    Kul-et frowned as she turned back, but then a smile broke out on her face.

    “Yea, you did, didn’t you?”

     

    Within thirty seconds they heard a rumble as Scarface ran as fast as he could, pulling the cart along at what seemed to be an alarming speed. Everyone on board was being thrown about while Bjorlam screamed out. “Slow down, damn you! I’m sorry, I forgot. Stop!”

     

    As Scarface ran past the Whelps, they laughed as they saw Kodlak hold on for dear life. But what was more amusing was Farkas.

     

    Farkas yelled out as he struggled to hold on to the priestess. He angrily turned to Bjorlam.

    “You whipped him, didn’t you? Oh, you moron”.