C.o.t.W Chapter 129: Against Expectations



Hasir cast his light spell and, as the tiny ball of light hovered inches from his palm, he moved deep into the fort; expecting to be set upon by monster at any ime. He gave a great sigh of relief when his fears seemed to be unfounded. As he rounded a corner, he saw a black Argonian who was flanked by two black-scaled Argonians holding imposing looking spears and outfitted in .


One of the Argonians spotted the intruder and walked down the steps wielding a silver spear. Hasir seemed unphazed by this show of agression as the Argonian narrowed his eyes and hissed a warning at him.

"What's this? An uninvited guest? Begone or else I'll add another set of scales to my list.


Hasir ginergly prodded the spear with one finger; directing it away from his throat.

"Easy eggkin. I am here to seek an audience with Keshu the black fin."


The argonian guard shot daggers at Hasir,

"I'll allow it but you'd better watch your back. One slip-up and I'll gut you faster than a Wamasu guts a



Hasir walked past, rolling his eyes and approached the stone throne. Hasir bowed. The black Argonian eyed his

with interest.

"Keshu, I have come here, not to join your army, but to warn you of the threat that fast approaches. Molag Bal,while not a threat of your people specifically, is a threat to all of Tamriel and, as such, I require your aid."


The female Argonian nodded to one of her guards who understood the meaning of the gesture and set off for


"Hasir, is it?" Keshu said as she walked toward the green Argonian, "My soldiers told me to expect you. I must say, I erect the spine of sorrow, I had hoped to have another masrhblood in my ranks. None the less," She said, sighing, "I respect your choice and I will not force you to do things you do not want to do." 


Hasir cast a worried glanced to where the second Argonian guard stood. Keshu smiled knowingly.

"I sent him to Lilmoth to inform the An-Xileel of my choice. They, as you can clearly see, I won't do anything without their approval. I can tell that is not the answer you wished to hear." She said, answering his loud hiss.

 "You can relax, Eggkin, I have only vaguely made them aware of the reason for which the tree grows and not

its real purpose." She said, talking him down.


Hasir's tail whipped about impatiently behind him while staring her down. He had to know if Keshu could be

trusted and was not concealing her true purpose.

"Tell me, Keshu the black fin... if that oss your real name. Are you sure you sent your guard to the An-Xileel to request aide and not to inform them of some intention to work against Molag Bal?" He asked as he whipped

out his bow and trained it on her neck.


Sweat pour down her scales like raindrops moisting a dry tree trunk, she raised her hands as if in surreder and

nodded, wide-eyed.

"I have been speaking the truth, I swear it. I did not ask for Molag Bal to put me in such an auspicious positionto thwart you. By the hist, I didn't. I have been speaking the truth."


Hasir lowered his bow in acceptance of her words.

"Keshu can you ever forgive me? I wanted to believe you, Hircine knows I did. Something in the back of my mind was reminding me you may've been a traitor sent from Coldharbour. I had to check to see if your words were genuine."


Keshu chuckled as she cast a knowing grin at Hasir.

"No worries. If I was in the same position as you and another had my seat, I would have done the same." She shook her auburn-leafed head. "No, I did not do as you feared I might've done nor am I a servant of Molag Bal. I destest him as much as you do; hopefully, I need not remind you the reason." Hasir shook his head.


Keshu nodded. "Okay." She said as she ascended the stone steps. "The reason that I sent my guards to the

An-Xileel was simple; at least for me it was, however you feel about it may differ."


Hasir's tail thumped on the ground as he narrowed his eyes in frustration.

"Stop being so damn cryptic and tell me the reason... hsss!"


Keshu looked taken aback by the show of irritation.

"Calm your scales. I'll get to it. I just wanted to, er, set up my story." Hasir narrowed his eyes at her. "Okay, okay, no need to get hostile." She said, taking a defensive position. "The reason is... ah, I remember. I sent my guard to ask the An-Xileel if they would send more aid to assist you in your arduous quest. I have my guards here but we can always do with more scalebacks so we can assure victory against the father of vampires and domination."




The argonian accepted this rather valid reason for Keshu doing this and stopping snarling at her like a rabid dog.

"Thank you Keshu." He said bowing slightly. "Forgive me for my unorthodox behavior. I see now that your

reasons are true to the cause and not, as I suspected, of a darker nature."


Hasir scratched his neck, fixing her with a bemused espression,

"So, er, do you know when your guard with return with an answer from the An-Xileel?"


Keshu screwed her face up and thought at length.

"I expect to hear from him very shortly."


Just then a sound of leaf on stone could be heard. Both the black and auburn-haired Argonians turned their

heads towards the source of the noise and saw the guard that was sent to the An-Xileel for aid. His tail hung

limpy like a dead snake as he walked toward the stone steps and walked toward the black fin leader."


Hasir's tail danced anxiously behind him as he watched Keshu's face turn from one of confidence to despair.

"What did they say?" Hasir asked, "Are they going to send aid or are we stranded on an island with hope of



Keshu eyed the Argonian with grim pretense.

"Hasir, I don't know how to say this." She said, sighing. "The stubborn rulers of your village care more for their

own troubles than they do of the plight of the entire coninent. They do not care about impersonal struggles

such as the one that is between you and Molag Bal. They only care about their homeland and will not assist

other race that they percieve as a threat."


Hasir swore under his breath at this rather disheartening news.

"Xuth, I knew this would happen." He turned to face Keshu and placed a hand on his chest. "I apologize for

uttering foul language in your presence. I knew that the hardheaded An-Xileel would not sympathize for the shared cause I laid out before you like a well-made meal." He stepped back and thought for a bit. "Keshu, I would be glad to take up the mantle where they have, unfortunately, failed. I will gather forces for Blackmarsh myself if it comes to that. I am, after all, the one Hircine entrusted with this task."


Keshu smiled, stood up and placed a hand on Hasir's shoulder.

"Your stout heart is admirable, but do not feel you have to bear this hefty burden by yourself. We are all here to help if you need us. Do not feel like you need to shun ask for help for your own hubris."


Hasir looked at her with wide eyes and laughed.

"Inigo is usually the one to draw me out of my shell, so to speak. I would've never dreamed you to be a philosophical type."


Keshu told Hasir that she was not trying to be philosophical and merely trying to tell the green-scaled Argonian that it is unhealthy trying to piece together to puzzle himself."Hasir, sometimes you need other people to look at the puzzle from different perspectives instead of trying to think you are the only one who knows its solution.


Hasir gawked at her, open-mouthed. Keshu told him to stop looking as though this was his first this in these


"Why must you native Saxhleel always speak in riddles and methapors? You lot are starting to sound like Shegorath."


Just then, a man in a purple and orange suit appeared beside Keshu. The black Argonian nearly leapt out of her scales when she saw him.

"My apologies scaled one." Shegorath said, bowing. "Didn't mean to scare ya." He turned to Hasir. "Riddles and meetaphors? Is that all you think I

am? Maybe I should take my business elsewhere and never mind about me helping ya then." He said, huffing louding.


Hasir narrowed his eyes as he studied the daedric prince.

"Wait, what? Did I hear right? You want to help me?" He chuckled, "Forgive me, but I don't remember tellingyou my plan. I also didn't think you like Hircine or Molag Bal?"


Sheogorath uncrossed his arms and faced him.

"I don't. Stuck up, the lot of 'em. I only came here because I thought I might ease your burden, little mortal." He said, smiling.


Hasir eyed Sheogorath with curiosity.

"Help me? How can you possibly help me if you don't have a dog in the fight?"


Sheogorath laughed,

"A dog in the fight? You don't think...?" He shook his head. "Mortal, you are forgetting what I am. I am a daedric prince. I can provide you support like that." He snapped his fingers to emphasize his point. "Let's just say I can 'even the playing field' with my own forces added into the mix."


Hasir merely nodded and waved his hand vaguely in the daedric lord's direction.

"Yeah... okay, fine, let's do that." Completely blanking the daedric lords put out face, he turned to Keshu and the guard. "As I said, I am sorry about your.... er, misfortune with the An-Xileel.Well, I am off to-" Hasir groaned as he saw the companions sitting at a stone table not far from the throne. "By the nature gods... who invited them here?" Keshu told him they explicitly asked if they could help in his quest. 


Hasir turned to the table and sighed exhasberately.

"Thanks for the concern Keshu. These three," He said, gesturing to the harbinger and the two nord brothers. "The one I don't understand, here being here, that is, is Aela. I get the other three being hardened warriors, but Aela!?" He asked, shocked. "I see various holes in the reason you asked her here: one being she is noteven outfitted properly, much less that she's a girl and two, she hates my guts." He turned to Keshu oncemore. "I'd go as so far to assume that she despises every Saxhleel in the land of Black Marsh." 


Aela leapt form her seat, unsheathed her dagger and, like an arrow shot from the legendary bow Zephyr, she

shot at Hasir, pinning him to the ground; dagger pressing into his neck as if it where a fish waiting to be


"What the hell did you say about me? Since I'm a female, I am not qualified to be here? Let me tell your

something mister thinks only about himself, I have just as much reason to be here as every other soldier and

just as much reason to fight. Yes, I do hate every stinking Saxhleel in the fetted cauldron of a land, but I am a

companion and as such, I will take any job if the gold is good. Leave my personal feelings and biases out of

this, you stupid lizard."


Aela released the pressure from Hasir's neck to avoid turning him into a filet and cocked her head towards

where Keshu sat and apologized. Keshu shook her head. Satisfied, Aela yanked Hasir up by his collar and,

sheathing her dagger, went back to sit with her brothers in arms.


Hasir looked at her, shocked. He'd never knew the female Nord to be kind; but then again, there might've been guards watching. The Argonian went over to Keshu and bowed his head in apology.

"I am sorry that you had to see that. Aela... she does not take kindly to our race or culture. She and the argonian's don't see eye to eye ever since her mother was killed when one of our race did nothing. She has here convictions though, for me, I scarcely believe it."


Keshu walked up to the green Argonian and patted him on the shoulder while shooting the Nord a scathing look. Hasir smiled at her for the kind gesture all while visualize actual daggers emanating from the black Argonian's eye and, swift as arrows, pinning the Nord to the opposite stone wall while they skkewered her eyeballs like squished grapes.


Hasir glanced behind him, wide eyed, as he heard pained chirps and yelps from outside the fort. He prised Keshu's hand off of his shoudler, held up a hand as Aela proceed to get up from her seat and, silently as a snake, disappeared through the door. 


A marvelous yet gruesome sight met his eyes. Vines were sprouting through the ground, spreading every wich way like a undecisive child that lost his way and the fort was sprouting leaves just like a hatchling sprouting feathers. He heard incessantly chirping as various types of bird burst through the front gate like a hurricanes. The soldiers, thinking this was an atttack of some kind, swung at the creatures, started cutting them up like an Argonian slices fish.


Hasir, horrified at this unneccesary bloodshed, gestured for the guards to cease all action. The vines starting swaying with an insible wind and then a gust of wind burst through the front gate and molded the vines into a woman-like shape. Hasir stood transfixed at this odd sight. After some thought, he came to the conclusion who this woman must be. He sank to his knees.

"Greetings, lady of all that is good in nature. Green lady, I am forever your servant. May your winds guide me."


When the woman spoke, a strong force, like that of a hurricane, erupted from her lips.

"Greetings, Hasir, my child. I have news. I take it your 'friends' will not take me kindly in this form." She said as she gestured to the soldiers plastered to the walls by the snake-like vines. "That is why I must take on a form more suitable for the environment I now find myself in."


With a slight creaking noise couple with the rootworm-like roaring of galeforce winds, she sought out a new host. Moments later, the fort door burst open. There, framed in the doorway, stood Keshu, or at least, the shell of Keshu. Forest green eyes stared out from sockets that previously held jet black ones.


The 'thing' that inhabited Keshustrode to the gawking Argonian and playfully caressed him with her long black nails.

"Is this form more suitable?" Hasir nodded. "good, now, I've a message to impart... two, in fact. The first message is that I regret to inform you that your furry friend has been captured and imprisoned in the same fort you escaped from not long ago." 


Hasir gulped hard as Kynareth ran a razor-sharp finger across his throat.

"...and the second message?"


Kynareth smiled in a way that made Hasir's scales turn white.

"I have found you another possible settlement for you to search for recruits in." She frowned as she thought on something. "Sorry, I meant my brothe found... please, don't shoot the messenger. I am merely a dog who is delivering a bone that, Hircine, my 'master' if you pardon the metaphor. Anyway, he told me to tell you that to the south of Morrowind lies a village name Lukiul Uxith. There you will find an argonian named Elder seven-bellies. You may have to complete a task for him to grant you his sword in the ever-looming battle."


Hasir looked at her confused, and a bit disgusted.

"Elder seven-bellies? Gods, what a horrible name!" the entity within Keshu's shell looked taken aback. "sorry. What, er, task do I have to perform? clearing out a dungeon? fighting some impossible huge monster?" He asked hopefully


Kynareth shook her 'head.'

"I dunno. He might have you fight a member of his village to prove your worthiness or have you find, and return, a lost member of his village... perhaps a member of his clutch?" She said, eyeing him like a dog whose tail had been stepped on. But, that is water under the bridge, for now. Perhaps you should go to Blackrose prison and rescue your friend first?"


Hasir nodded abruptly as he heard the familiar rush of wind and, much like a tree breaks free from frost, Keshu awoke.

"Hasir... what am I doing here? I was in the fort and, before I knew it, it was being possessed by some demon." She looked at him, confused. "My mind was full of branches that stretch out with thought that were not my own. Tell me what was going on because I haven't the faintest idea."


The green Argonian proceeded to tell her of how Kynareth, the mother of everything natural, told him, through her shell, how he was to go to a village far to the north and recruit creatures much like himself, lukiuls. 


Keshu eyed him as if he had a strange daedric creature on his back; Hasir shrugged.

"I hardly understand it myself but, if I am to suceed in this, I think should go there. I am not sure what to expect... or even if the lukiul are loyal to another ideal different from my own. She also told me to venture to a fort to rescue my friend. These thoughts are battling each other like Nords on the battlefield to try to influence my one way or the other. I think the logical explanation would be that I go to the fort, rescue my friend and then deal with whatever is at this vllage."


Keshu smiled.

"Sound like a good place. I'll leave you to it then."


With that, she said fairwell to the Argonian and went back inside the fort. Hasir turned away from the entrance, toward the porticullis that marked the city's entrance, gave a mighty yell and transformed. 


Twilight glanced over his shoulder at the fort, gave a small whimper and set off for the fort.

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