C.o.t.W Chapter 128: Dawn is Breaking



Inigo fell to him knees and cried out. He cursed the silver dawn; though he did not know who they were. After five minutes of grief, he noticed a

medal lying in the grass  He picked it up and noted how on one side was the sigil of Molag Bal: a effigy of his hideous skull-like face and, on the

other, a sivler emblem of a budding fireball with tails of dragons offshotting from it.


The khajiit hastily placed the silver pendant in his bag and headed for the prison that he believed his friend was imprisoned in.


Deep within the mossy green halls of the Blackrose prison lay a prison cellblock with cells with various creatures residing in them. Some were

prisoners that the Silver Dawn had found crossing over illegally into their territories and still others were prisoners that the dunmer deemed a

threat to Molag Bal in one fashion or another.


The two Argonian threw the black and white werewolf in one of the cells, bound his hands with silver cuffs that were dangling from one of the

moss covered walls and slammed the door, an action that caused the enitre prison, spacious as it was, to ring with an echo. The argonians

laughed in concert as they exited the fort. 


Twilight awoke minutes later to find his arms were bound with silver. He whined softly as he shook of the confusion and tried to free himself,

only to have the cuffs bite as though from a particularly poisonous snake. The werewolf cast about for any kind soul who could be off assistance.

His eyes fell upon a sunset-skinned khajiit curled up in the corner of her cell. He howled out as softly as he could to avoid unwanted attention. 


The khajiit leapt to her feet; fur stuck out at odd angles.

"Yes, what is it you want. you want Amahka to help you, yes?"


The werewolf looked from his shackles to her and whined. Amakha threw up her hands in frustration.

"Out with it!" She shouted. "Do you want me help? Speak up... unless cat's got your tongue."


Twilight glared at her. She apologized. She knew those glaring eyes from somewhere, but, for the life of her, she could not place them.

"Sorry, you can't..." She then noticed his blue eyes. "Waait... you were the one that helped me... us escape for Cidhna mine, aren't you?" 


She bent down, unrolled her lockpicking kit and set to work unlocking the door. It swung open. She crossed the room and repeated the process on

the werewolf's cell. In the scattered sunlight cast into the cell by scattered arrowslit windows, she saw the cursed manicles that looked like they

were crafted from the very moon itself. 


She muttered some word as a tiny spark was brought to life in her outstretched palm. It spread out until lightning form between he hands. She

fired the energy of a thousand storms toward the silver shackles. She grinned to herself as she saw the lightning magic crackle on the shackles 

What the khajiit did not forsee was the magic seeping into Twilight's body like darkness absorbing every ounce of sunlight until it cries out of

the burden of keeping all that hoy energy contained. The khajiit looked on as the poor werewolf flopped onto the hay-strewn ground and

thrashed about like a fish on a hook. As the cosmic energy coarsed through his veins, he transformed black into his Argonian form.


Hasir lay on the stone ground, beads on sweating adorning his forehead. Amahka looked concernedly at him and began looking for the key for

the shackles. Not finding one, she withdrew a lockpick from her sleeve and inserted the pick in one after the other of the shackles. 


Hasir fell onto the floor like a dead fish with it bindings cut. The khajiit found a bucket in the corner of the cell and, not finding any water to fill

it up with, threw it at the Argonian's head. There was a resounding 'Thunck' as wood hit bone and, to Amahka's relief, the Argonian got to his



He looked up to see who his assailant was. A pained expression crossed his face.

"Amahka, we've got to stop meeting in places like this." He said, rubbing his sore head "Ow. Why in Oblivion would you throw a bucket at my



Amakha screwed her face up and stuck her tongue out at him.

"I saw no water so I though that would be just as effective."


Hasir was about to argue about the bucket further but thought better of it. 

"What am I doing here?" He said, cofused.


Amahka told him about how she saw some scaly people drag a werewolf into the fort but for what reason, she could not be sure.

"Hasir, what would your kind be doing betraying you?" She asked


Hasir looked perplexedly at her and shrugged. After thinking on it a bit, a thought came to him.

"I heard that Molag Bal is ridding Tamriel of werewolves because of some 'unholy reunion.'


Hasir told Amahka all she needed to know about the ill fated wedding without going too much in deatil. She agreed with him that it would be

best to sweep the topic under the rug, or, at least the hay as he worked out a plan on how to sneak out of the fort without being seen.


Amahka looked at him with a knowing grin. Hasir could only guess where this was headed.

"Hasir, do you remember the spell I cast back when we were escaping that horrible mine?" The argonian nodded.


Amahka glanced toward him and a ball of white light erupted to life in her upturned hand.

"I can cast that again so we can slip past the guards unseen..." Her face fell, "That is, if it's what you want. We can either do the spell or find

another way out of here... your choice."


Hasir massaged hiss arms were they were encased in the grip of moonlight and thought about all the possible solutions to their present


"Hmm... we could steal the key from one the guards around here; pickpocket it and they would be none the wise. Obviously the spell will help

us achieve that then we can escape further into the swamp, back to Lilmoth usinng something Veexith told me about...." He let the thought

marinate for a bit; trying to find the right term, "Ah yes, he called this mode of underground transportation rootworms."


Amahka's face screwed up in disgust at this rather unorthox mode of travel.

"Rootworms? What in Alkosh's name are they? Is that a disease you lizards have?"


Hasir shook his head and laughed. He had no idea how little outsiders knew of his race's culture, or indeed how little he knew about it.

"Rootworms are a mod of undground transiit system that we Saxhleel use, er, according to Veexith. He told me that the soil in which the worm

rests is so viscous that a being-Saxhleel or otherwise-cann literally sink into the belly of the worm and then, safely caccooned in its stomach

juices, it is borne swiftly away-whether as to escape or otherwise-to the destination that the 'passanger' wires to the worm via shared telepathy

between the man, mer, whoever and the worm." Amakha listened with disgusted amazement. "Then, when one reaches his our her destination,

the 'passanger' must push up through the worm and break out of the mud like a spider through a spider's web. At least, that is what Veexith

told me. I apologize if I misconstrewed any information."


Amakha sat on the straw, wide eyed, as she took in Hasir's every word. She was, however, confused by certain aspects of his story.

"So what you are saying is if we manage to sneak past these guards a giant worm will come a disgest us anyway? Gods, that sounds horrible."


Hasir chuckled at the khajiit disgusted expression.

"Yes, it doees sound a bit grim doesn't it? It was told the worm shuts off it gastric juices when 'passengers' are inside them so, Veexith assured

me as I am assuring you, it will be perfectly safe. Now ready to go ahead with the plan?"


Amahka nodded and enveloped her and the Argonian with the familiar 'light-headed' feeling that he felt back in Markarth. He glanced at

himself and then at the khajiit who had just faded into the iron forest. Amhka and Hasir crept silently toward the exit; trying their best to avoid

detection, even though Hasir knew the guards would not spot them. 


They were halfway to the doorway to exit the makeshift cellblock when the Argonian hissed for the khajiit to hide behind one of the pillars

denoting the entrance to the cells. Amahka did so and cast Hasir a worried look.

"Why have we stopped? We were almost there." She whispered in agitation. "A few more feet and we could've made it.


Hasir shook his head and gestured toward a hallway near their position. Amahka understood immeadely when she say two Argonian guards

wearing steel armor and wielding deadly spears march toward them. Hasir thought about how best to go about giving them the slip when he

noticed a table to the right of the prison entrance; his eyes sparkled with delight when he saw the same jade stone he procured in the dwemer

ruins back in Skyrim.


His borw furrowed as he thought on how the stone had come to be there. After some deliberation, he surmized the guards, who tossed him in his

cell like a hist tree that went rogue, must've taken it from him upon his entry to this forsaken place. He signalled to Akahka to advance slowly. 


The khajiit slipped and fell against a loose rock and altered the guards. Hasir hissed in frustration and he rushed forward and grabbed the jade

stone, placed it in his bag and readied his flame whip. He lashed out, catching the first guard by the throat, aspixiating and burning his flesh

simulaneously, robbing him of his voice. 


After the guards were dealt with, they exited the prison and welcomed Vexxith. The elderly Argonian recapped them about how they were to

escape the prison. Hasir nodded but Amakha looked like a tree who looked like it would fall with a slight breeze, not having a clue what the plan



Hasir groaned as a perculiar looking brown worm with red accents adorning its head and body emerged from the mud not to far from them.

Amahka nearly topple over in fright.

"Ew... what in Alkosh's name is that!?" She asked, horrified


Veexith smiled as he explained what Hasir had imparted to her earlier. Still not convinced, and a bit creeped out, she sink into the viscous mud

and was enveloped by the creature's clear airsac. Within the creature's digestive tract, she could faintly hear the Argonian slid into a worm next

to her.


As the worms slid through the mud and much like Hackwings hiding from hungry Wamasu, Hasir, knowing it would be a long journey to

whevere they were headed dosed off. In his sleepy mind's eye, the argonian saw yjr full gray sky of Coldharbour. He could feel the rocky terrain

under his clawed toes and he looked up to see a menacing shadow; one of a bat out of Oblivion.... or an equally menacing castle.  He shivered as

all around him lay death and decay; even the air had the stench of death about it. He glanced to his left and saw a funeral parlor type building

and to his right a tree with a burning corpse hanging from it. Beyond the tree, he saw, was a decrepit looking mausoleum. 


He blanked the mausoleum and the funeral parlor as an invisible force guided him onward, toward a menacing looking building with its maw a

flaming. Again, Hasir shivered as he took in the strange cross-like symbols adorning each hellish tower. Once inside what looked like a

cathedral ripped staight out of Oblivion itself with it demonic stained glass windows and banners of Molag Bal blowing in the non-existent

wind. The argonian ignored this rater unsettling occurance as he ascending some stairs and walked down a corridor flanked by the same

demonic stained glass with creatures that seemed to be staring into his very soul


The argonian hid behind a one of the pillars intermittently lining the corridor as four dragur walked past, wearing jet black armor with

elongated skulls on them, same as the one he'd seen back in the book on Skryim. The argonian nearly jumped out of his scales when the entire

cathedral became thick with a low voice.

"Minions, someone's here that shouldn't be, find the trespassor and bring him to me! Lord Bal commands it!"


Hasir knew that standing still would be a death sentence. He made a mad dash for one of the staircases leading to the upper level as the draugr

closed in, following the voice's commands. Sweat dripped from his forehead as Hasir had to quickly make a decision: be dead as a doornail or

fly free as a canary on the season that revived all that is dead. He made the decision a bit later than he'd hoped, however, when he felt a slimy,

boney arm coil around his throat like a snake.


The next second, Hasir was led out onto a windswept terrace and up some stairs to an eery looking throne room. Hasir gasped as he beheld, not

Molag Bal for whom he was expecting, but the Doomstrider. The black khajiit smirked, waved his henchmen away and snapped his finger. It all

happened so fast: bright crison exploded outward and coated the room like fresh paint. 


Hasir awoke, drenched in sweat, not dead but still traveling to an unknown destination in the digestive juices of the rootworm. Hasir glanced

over, through the worm's body and saw another Argonian riding roots; moving through the mud at breakneck speed. Hasir screwed up his face

as he thought on where the Rootworms were taking them. He felt the dirt fly by as cloud would if he were a bird in the sky not a worm in the



The argonian tried to remember what Veexara had said about 'pushing up' when they reached their destination. He wondered when they would

get there, to Blackmarsh. Hasir thought no more of this as he closed his eyes, drifting off once more as the rootwoom raced through the mud and

over roots; growing wilder and more unkempt as the 'underground express' thundered its way toward Blackmarsh.


Hasir awoke hours later and stretched like a giant snake uncoiling itself. Hasir felt the worm undulate beneath him as he was pushed forcefully

from the creature as magma is violently thrown from Red Mountain. He fell face first into the mud and looked up to see a giant fortification that

was a farcry from what he was hoping for.


He glanced att the ramparts; dreading what he'd see, unsure if it'd be friend or foe. Two argonians, one black scaled and the other forest green,

stood atop it, eyes narrowed looking at the mud covered Argonian as if he were a scrib that somehow scuttled its way here from Morrowind. 


Hasir got to his feet, flicked the mud from his face and body and saw that both Argonian wore gray plate aromor covered in greenery. He screwed

his face up, trying to ascertain who they were, when one of them spoke in a booming voice.

"Halt, who goes there? Are you friend or foe. Answer quickly lest we get in seriously murky waters." 


Hasir raised his hand above his head and gulped, his tail lashed aboout axiously,

"I-I was just passing through... must've lost control of my worm..."


The argonian narrowed his eyes more dangerously at Hasir,

"I'll not ask again... friend or foe?"


Hasir cursed himself for not being more to the point.

"I am a friend and a, well, not a marshborn exactly. I was born here, that part is true, but I went off to Akavir to train..."


The forest green Argonian held up a hand; losing patience.

"Enough. We did not ask for your life story... you may pass." 


The huge stone doors opened and the Argonian walked through. Hasir expected Gideon to be just like any Lilmoth. Instead of buildings on stilts,

spread haphazardly throughout a tribal village, he found more Imperial fixtures than he did at Lilmoth. Towers, forts and a more fortified exterior

dominated the city whereas Lilmoth wasclearly indicative of the resident Argonian warding off the invading Imperials. Here, the Saxhleel seemed

to welcome the invasion force. 


Hasir wondered how he got into this mess int the first place; he should be back in Lilmoth not in this Imperialized swamp village. He thought

about what Hircine had said about trying to gain allainces from every province on Tamriel to aid him in his, nay, all of Tamriel's mission to rid the

land of Molag Bal. He knew he had a better chance here than in Lilmoth where they care little about the troubles of outsiders.


He decided to bite the arrow and speak to who was in charge.


He walked past an aromor stand that, he saw, sold the mirror-like leafy armor that he'd seen upon his

unexpected arrival here. He found the two Argonians sitting at a table near the merchant stalls. He took the

empty set and smiled at each of them.

"We met earlier in a less than promising position. My name's Hasir, and you are?" He gulped as the Argonians stared at their drinks, seemingly

lost in thought. He repeated the greeting.


One of the argonians glanced up, saw him and smiled.

"Sorry about the less than stellar greeting." He said, chuckling sheepishly, "Keshu the Black Fin is wary of new 'visitors' ever since Molag Bal

threatened to steal her soul since she denied those foul vampires to gain access to the Hist Tree."


"Hasir face screwed up in thought. He steppled his clawed hands on the table.

"I appreciate your apology. Tell me, why would this 'Keshu' whoever in Hircine's name that is, fear that Molag

Bal might take her Hist Tree?"


The two argonians glanced at each other and then at Haisr.

"Who is? Eggkin, have you been hit in the head by a stray histseed? Keshu the Black Fin in Blackmarsh's chief strategist. She is the one responsible

for organizing all of Blackmarsh's forces for battle. There are a few outliers that resist her call to arms when the situations demands but if they get

killed, it would be their own damn fault, wouldn't it?"  He said, laughing heartily. He stopped when Hasir shot him a scathing look.

"Eggkin, forgive us, we've not introduced ourselves, for that we erect the spine of apology. I am Iron-scales and my brother in arms here is forges



Hasir smiled and told them his name. With them all aquianted, he asked them why Keshu is afraid of Molag Bal and why she shouldn't take the

fight to his otherworldy citadel. Iron-Scales slid the mug across the table to Hasir. The Argonian took a sip from it, hissed appreciatively and

listened as Forges-With-Scales told him about how Molag Bal stole Keshu's husband away from her and threatened to have vampires poison the

Hist trees, the very lifeblood that gives Argonians meaning, if she ever came for him.


Hasir gripped the mug while he pondered his next question.

"Forge, Iron, you guys never told me about Keshu. Who is she?"


Forges-With-Scales shot a concerned glance to his brother-in-arms and asked if the 'ojel' was serious.

"I told you arleady, Keshu is the military commander of the whole of Blackmarsh. She is in the fort that lies

near the market if you would like to join up."


Hasir pondered on this for a while before speaking.

"Sorry guys, I am not the military type, sure I'd help here and there when needde but me? Taking orders? I don't think so. I mean, don't get me

wrong, I'll gladly help Keshu if she needs it but I want to be a free Saxhleel. I would rather go whichever way to wind blows me than being bound

by some obligation. I meanlook at the An-Xileel. They have power but I don't want it, I have never wanted power. I would much rather

attempt to overthrow the established order than be a part of it." He pasued, giving this time to sink in to the

Argonian's marshy minds. "I would gladly go see Keshu but only for her help for fighting for the greater good."


The two Argonians stared blankly at Hasir for a time. The black-haired Argonian drank the rest of his beverage, wiped his mouth on his sleeve got

up and thanked the two Argonians. He strode toward the fort where, no doubt, he would find Keshu, and he'd tell her that he'd rather not join her

army. He did not know, though, if that was the foremost thought on her mind. 


The two Argonains he was talking to earlier placed their half-empty mugs on the table and crane their necks as they watched their egg-kin

disappear into the leaf-patterned door.

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