U.o.t.W. Chapter 334 The Dead of Night

  • Scarface kept up the fast pace up until the stables came in sight despite everyone’s screaming. In all, it took Bjorlam about an hour to arrive at the mine with the carriage. Scarface done the whole return journey in less than twenty minutes.


    Scarface slowed right down for the last hundred yards. He came to a slow stop as he took the weight of the cart pushing against him, forcing it to come to a complete standstill. The occupants, extremely battered and shaken, climbed off the back as Sotek changed back to his Argonian form. Where Scarface was much bigger than Sotek, all Sotek had to do was step out of the harness as it just fell to the floor.


    Arcadia steadied herself against the cart while the others groaned from the aching of the journey.

    “Well that was pleasant”.


    Farkas moaned in response. His entire body ached.

    “No it wasn’t. Damn your hide Sotek”.


    Arcadia tutted at Sotek as she shook her head at him.

    “I meant the last few yards. Don’t Scarface know how to go slow and steady”.


    Sotek initially ignored her as he jumped on the back of the cart where the Harbinger and the priestess were checking on Red.

    “Not when his mates hurt... No. How is she?” He looked at her leg then cursed as he cast another healing spell on it. “It’s not working, I can’t heal her...” Sotek concentrated then cast his grand healing spell, sweat poured from his brow as he focused his mind on the double casting. Light lit up the back of the carriage, causing everyone to cover their eyes as the area shone like a beacon.


    Sotek felt his heart sink when the light faded and died. Red’s leg was still bleeding, and the wound although had closed somewhat, was still clearly visible. Sotek knelt beside her totally ignoring the pool of blood around him and took off his shirt. Using it as a bandage, he wrapped it around the wound to stem the bleeding. As he turned to the Harbinger and the priestess, he fought his feelings, but even so his emotions still broke through his defences.

    “I can’t heal her, I worked so hard so I wouldn’t be here, and yet again I can’t help her. Why?” Inside his heart felt heavy and his senses were numb.


    The priestess gently tugged his arm to snap him out of his gloom.

    “She’s a beast, you’re not trying to heal Aela. Reds a beast, like Scarface. We can’t help animals. Time is the best thing for her, time and care”.


    Kodlak climbed down from the cart then called out to Sotek.

    “And you can’t care for her there, take her to the Infirmary”.


    The priestess shook her head as she called out to Sotek.

    “No, take her to the temple. We’re far more used to cleaning and bandaging open wounds”.


    Sotek stared at them both for a few seconds weighing up the options available then he changed form. Scarface gently held Reds good leg then pulled her along the carriage floor, smothering her back in blood as she was dragged along. Then he lifted her up and carried her off in his arms through the gates of Whiterun.


    Jarl Balgruuf who was currently assessing the damage to the inner wall, initially shouted at Scarface, but moments later he saw Red in Scarface’s arms. He left Proventus at the wall as he headed over to the Harbinger.

    “What’s happened? Is she?”


    Kodak shook his head as he carried on walking.

    “No, but she’s hurt. We’re taking her to the Infirmary. She fell in a spear trap, no doubt placed there by poachers”.


    The priestess once again pointed towards the temple.

    “No Kodlak! He’s to take her to the temple. Jarl, you know yourself the best place for her is there. We can tend to her wounds far better”.


    Scarface just growled but he ignored her and headed towards Jorrvaskr. Kodlak breathed a sigh of relief as he, the Jarl and the priestess who had little choice, followed Scarface into Jorrvaskr hall. However, the Harbinger’s victory was extremely short lived.


    Kodlak opened the Infirmary doors to allow Scarface to enter the room, but instead he laid Red out in the main hall next to the steps Sotek and Aela would sit on. Kodlak groaned as he called out to Scarface.

    “What? No! In here, bring her in here”. As he moved towards Scarface and Red, Scarface savagely turned on him snarling loudly, daring the Harbinger to approach any nearer to Red or himself.


    The Jarl somewhat nervously stepped between Kodlak and Scarface.

    “It would seem the best place for her, is with him. Let them be for the moment”.


    Scarface sat alongside Red and gently lifted her head and rested it on his lap. He cradled her in his arms then lifted his head right up and howled out as loud and as hard as he possibly could, almost as if  he were trying to wake her.


    Everyone covered their ears, as the Harbinger shouted at him to stop, but the Harbingers shout simply couldn’t compete with Scarface’s howl. Scarface stopped as suddenly as he had started then looked down at Red who was still motionless. He rested his paw on her leg near her wound then quietly whined as if he knew just how bad the wound really was.


    At that point, the Whelps entered the hall. Each of them and the other Companions stood around Red watching for any movement, but all they saw was her slow steady breathing. Sotek changed back, but initially he just sat there, watching a small pool of blood form under Red’s leg. Kul-et boldly stood right in front of him and pointed to Red while she hollered out at him.

    “This is your fault. We all told you to get her, but you wouldn’t. We even let you talk us out of getting her. Are you happy now? Has she suffered enough now or is she to hurt more? You bastard”.


    Sotek got to his feet after gently resting Red’s head on the floor then turned to face Kul-et. He spoke softly but his authority was unmistakable.

    “Kul-et go get some linen. Sabre, I need furs, get them from my room. All of them, Sam go with him”.


    Kul-et snapped at him with contempt at his orders.

    “Don’t you dare tell me what to do”.


    Sotek leaned into her so his face was just a few inches from hers but still he spoke softly. However due to the tone of his voice, he left her little choice but to obey.

    “Get me that linen, or get out my way”.


    Following the instructions of the priestess, Sotek bandaged Red’s wound. Then he and the others rolled Red on her side so he could clean up the blood and lay down the furs Sam and Sabre collected. Only then did they move Red back in position. The last thing for Sotek to do was roll up a fur and gently tuck it under Red’s head.  


    Once Sotek was happy that Red was comfortable, he sat on his step.

    “She’s not to be left alone, at all. If Red wakes up... When Red wakes up, she’ll be in pain, scared and confused. If she changes back to Aela, then she’ll be angry, violent and to be blunt, a right temperamental bitch”. Either way, she is not to be left alone. Harbinger, you watch over her for the day. There is something the rest of us need to do. Kul-et take Farkas, go to Riverwood. See the blacksmith and visit the inn. Bring back any spare oil you can. Ebony go see the Jarl and get any oil you can. Take Sam with you”.


    Ebony looked to her left where the Jarl was still standing.

    “Ermm, the Jarls there?”


    Sotek snapped slightly at her.

    “Then it should be easy for you to ask him then. Get on with it. Vilkas take the others. Belethor, the Inn, the Drunken huntsman. Anywhere, get any spare oil. Then you get your ass over to the Greymoor Fort. Get any oil that Rikke can spare. Whatever you all can get, take it to the pit. Get a move on”.


    Sam looked back at the Harbinger feeling somewhat confused. Without thinking, he asked for clarification.

    “That’s an odd request, is he sure?”


    Sotek hissed out at him.

    “That wassn’t a requesst. Sshift it, now. Hiss”.


    Over the course of the night, one by one and in small groups, all the Whelps and Companions met at the pit. Kul-et and Farkas were the last ones to arrive with Veezara who came back with them. Initially they stopped at Jorrvaskr, where he greeted the Harbinger and sat with Red for a few minutes, despite the fact that she was still out cold. By the time they arrived at the pit, it was near midnight and both moons cast their moonlight across the plains. Sotek gazed across the landscape, but to him it felt dead. Despite the deer running around in the distance and the wolves howling on the horizon, to him the plains seemed void of life.


    As Kul-et gazed into the dark hole, she held her nose tightly.

    “Ghaa. The whole place stinks, what’s down there?”


    The next moment Sotek threw down the flasks and urns of oil which she and Veezara bought back. Sotek gripped Kul-ets arm then pulled her away from the edge.

    “Best you step back, you’ll get hurt”. The next moment Sotek himself backed off away from the pit by a few paces then he shouted as loudly and with as much effort as he possibly could.



    Sotek fell to his knees, drained by the effort he put into the shout. The fire breath slammed into the fire pit at full force like a blazing meteorite slamming into the ground. Instantly there was a massive explosion that shook the earth as the fire breath blasted the bottom, igniting all the oil which Sotek threw down there. The ground heaved under the pressure from the flames as the edges blew outwards spraying the area all around in earth and stone. Everyone ran for cover except Sotek who just lifted himself up to his feet. He stood there as earth rained down all around him.


    In the pit the fire raged fiercer than the fires of oblivion. The wooden spears cracked and collapsed as they burned within moments, some almost being incinerated  as they received the full hit of the shout. Flames shot upwards like a giant swamp light, illuminating the surrounding landscape turning night into day. Deer ran from the sudden burst of light and the roaring flames that sounded like thunder.


    As the Companions watched, the exit to the mine heaved as several supports gave way. Within a few minutes the pit was just an empty hollow after the edges caved inwards and the exit of the mine finally collapsed, sealing the exit forever. No one would ever again fall in the pit, but as he watched, Sotek felt no satisfaction. He quietly turned away then walked back to Jorrvaskr alone.


    When he was far away from all the others, Sotek turned around and watched the fire in the distance. He changed form then Scarface started running back towards Jorrvaskr. In less than half an hour later, Scarface neared the gate of Whiterun. He changed his form then headed inside and made his way towards the hall.


    Inside the Harbinger was asleep on a chair near Red. She looked no different to her previous condition when Sotek left earlier. Sotek gently shook the Harbingers shoulder waking him up.

    “Hey, any change?”


    Kodlak shook his head sadly.

    “No, nothing. I don’t know if it’s because Reds hurt or if its that mixture you gave her. Do you?”


    Sotek gently held the back of his hand against Red’s mouth so he could feel her breathing. It felt strong, and thankfully warm.

    “Probably a bit of both. That mixture I made; it was just raw ingredients so I’ve no idea how potent it was”.


    A harsh voice rang out from the other side of the hall.

    “And I suppose you didn’t think about that before you gave it to her, did you? She could be out for days”.


    Sotek turned to face Arcadia who up to now he had not noticed.

    “What are you doing here?”


    She walked over to them and stood over Red. As she explained, she checked Red’s eyes for discolouration.

    “She seems ok. Kodlak asked me to check on her, as even I thought she would be awake by now. You don’t know what effects those ingredients would have on her, do you? Five bloody lots you gave her, what the hell were you thinking?”


    Sotek slammed his hand down on the table hard. He turned to them both as he shouted out at them.

    “I wasn’t thinking, all I was doing was reacting. You weren’t there listening to her, I was. Even you can’t judge how much to give her, look at her. Twenty stone of bloody muscle, with her metabolism, even you can’t judge the length of a potion’s effects. All I knew was she had to be put out. So that’s what  I did, damn you, damn you all. Get the hell out”.


    Sotek pushed past her as he went to the infirmary for some clean linen wraps. Then he lifted Red’s leg and proceeded to clean the wound again and replace the bandages. Only afterwards did he slump down on his step and look back at Arcadia.

    “She won’t wake up. She should be awake by now,  but she just lays there”.


    Kodlak held Sotek by the shoulder as he gently shook him.

    “Go get some sleep, you’re exhausted”.


    Sotek nodded but after he rose to his feet, instead of heading downstairs, he picked up a fur and sat alongside Red where Scarface sat earlier. After kicking off his boots, he covered himself up in the fur and rested Reds head on his lap. Only then did he lean back against the pillar and close his eyes. As he sat there resting, he spoke to Arcadia. “I’m sorry for snapping at you, I’m not myself at the moment. Thanks for all your help”.


    Arcadia gave him a smile then made her way to the door.

    “That’s alright, try to get some rest. You are no good to her in this state”. As she left, she signalled to the Harbinger with a simple nod of her head. She then left the hall, after checking that Kodlak was indeed following her outside.


    Once Kodlak closed the door behind himself, Arcadia whispered to him. “He’s right of course. With her weight and the rate her body burns energy, there’s no way of judging how much or how long any potion would last. Then like he said, he has no idea what strength his mix was. To be honest. I would have done the same. I’ll check with you in the morning and see if there’s a change”. As Arcadia walked off, she suddenly stopped. “That’s a lie”.


    What is?” The Harbinger asked as he whispered out to her.


    When I said, that’s what I would have done. I have no idea what I would have done, in that you can be thankful that he was there to give her something after all. It won’t kill her, but  she could be sleeping for a few more days. When she wakes up, she’ll be hungry”. With that she smiled then headed off home.


    As Kodlak watched Arcadia walk down the steps he whispered quietly to himself.

    There’s not many a day when I’m not thankful. Oh Sotek, Aela...I should bang your bloody heads together”. His eyes then fell upon the gate. He stood there muttering as he watched the Whelps and Companions pour through it, not like a squad of soldiers, but more like a disorganised mob. All he could hear, even from that distance was the group as a whole.

    “Ah here comes the rabble. Quiet damn you all, you’ll wake the town”.


    Vilkas who was marginally in front apologised as he hushed the others. “Quiet there, Sorry Harbinger”.


    “I presume he did it”.


    Vilkas nodded as he pointed across the battlements.

    “Yes and then some, it’s nothing but a dip in the ground now. Surely you saw it?”


    Kodlak raised his eyebrows as he softly answered.

    “Saw it? I was with the Jarl on the battlements. The flames were so bloody high we couldn’t miss it. Come on all of you inside and keep it down. Kul-et, a word. Stop pushing Sotek”.


    Kul-et’s jaw dropped as she stared at him with disbelief.

    “It’s his fault she’s hurt”.


    Kodlak held her by the arm as he quietly spoke to the group.

    “It’s no one’s fault. He didn’t intend on her getting hurt and she would have run. Stop pushing him, he’s not one to be messed with and you’ve gone too far already”.


    “Not one to be messed with? I’m not a common Whelp, Harbinger. What he done with that chair in what? Five, six blows? I can do in four. He needs to back away from me”. The reality was Kul-et knew she was no match for Sotek, but her blood was up, and she wasn’t one for backing down.


    Kite coughed nervously.

    “You need to back off”.


    Kul-et turned angrily to her. She felt her temper flare up again, but she kept it in check.

    “Oh? Why?”


    Kite looked at the Harbinger with wide unblinking eyes.

    “He, ermm... He exaggerated somewhat”.


    Kodlak gave Kite his full attention as he held her by the shoulder. He looked right in her eyes as he waited for an answer.

    “What do you mean?Exaggerated somewhat?”


    She shuffled about nervously but then turned to Kul-et as she replied.

    “He only hit it the once”.


    Farkas smiled as he slapped Vilkas’s back.

    “I knew he hit it less than five times. It only takes him four to destroy a training dummy”.


    The Harbinger sighed as he opened the door.

    “Inside, and keep the noise down”.


    When they entered the hall, a deathly silence fell upon them as they saw Sotek asleep against the pillar with Red’s head resting on his lap. Soteks head was slumped down with his chin resting on his chest.


    Ebony’s heart felt for both Sotek and Red as she looked down upon them.

    “Aww, bless them. He does worry about her you know, and he loves her, despite how she treats him and what he says”.


    Kul-et stopped alongside Ebony and looked down at Red and Sotek. All she felt was contempt. She blamed herself for talking Sotek into forgiving Aela when he was not ready to but a part of her felt that he had twisted her words and took advantage of Aela’s mental state. That was something Kul-et hated and found herself unwilling to forgive.

    As she walked past, she kicked Soteks foot, waking him rudely up from his sleep.

    “Oops sorry”. Then as she walked off, she smirked all over her face.


    Downstairs Veezara pulled Kul-et aside.

    “What the hell was that for?”


    Kul-et pushed Veezara away, then she headed to her room, not particularly caring if Veezara followed her.

    “It was an accident, are you coming or not?”


    Sotek never let on that he knew it was intentional. He just stretched out then closed his eyes and fell back asleep as if nothing happened.