A/N: And here's the next Chapter: this time, I managed to fit two quests into one chapter. Ready? then let's go!
Disclaimer: I don't own the Elder Scrolls series, only my original concepts.
Chapter 18: Proving Honor
After a decent night's rest, checked in with the senior members of the Companions for work. I found out that Farkas was looking for me. I searched him out, and checked to see what he needed.
"Greetings Farkas, you were looking for me?" I asked.
"Yes, we've had word of a troublemaker right here in Whiterun," said Farkas, "I don't know what the fight is about, but it doesn't matter. I need someone to go out there and look tough to scare that milk-drinker into submission".
"Hmm… alright, I'll take the job," I said.
"Good, your target is Armen, right here in town," said Farkas, "Remember, you're only supposed to rough him up… I don't want to hear about a killing, understand?"
I nodded to him and stepped out of Jorrvaskr. I found my target almost immediately. Stepped up to Armen with empty hands.
"Armen, I am here to resolve your dispute," I said.
"You won't intimidate me that easily!" Replied Armen, raising his fists.
I quickly blocked with my own, and then retaliated with a swing of my own. Mine was successful, and put Armen off-balance. I stepped in and swung again, knocking him to his knees.
"Okay, Okay!" said Armen.
"You know what have to do," I replied.
"I know… I'll go apologize right now," said Armen.
I stepped away, returning to Jorrvaskr. I went inside and found Farkas waiting for me by the door.
"It's done," I said.
"Yeah, I saw," said Farkas, "good work. Oh, and Skjor was looking for you. He should be out back in the training area".
I stepped into the training area behind Jorrvaskr and easily found the scarred older nord.
"You wished to speak with me?" I asked.
"Yeah, I've been keeping an eye on you," said Skjor, "It's good to see you've been setting in well. But now I've got some real work for you. About a week ago, a scholar came to Jorrvaskr, and told us where we could find a fragment of Ysgramor's Blade. We want you to go retrieve it for us. If you can recover it, we will consider you a full-fledged member of the Companions. Your destination is Dustman's Cairn, northwest of Whiterun. Farkas will be your Shield-Brother. Now, get going".
I turned around to go find Farkas, only to discover he was already waiting for me.
"I guess you already heard about our goal?" I asked.
"Yeah, are you ready to go?" asked Farkas.
"Yes, let's head out," I said.
We walk down the hill through the city of Whiterun. As we approached the gate, I overheard a conversation between a couple of Redguards about some woman they were searching for. My attention was caught, but I was busy at the moment. Farkas and I exited the city, and headed down the hill to the outer gates. From there, we trekked cross-country to the northwest. It was a fairly short hike, and the only opposition we came across were a few wild animals, though I did spot a large campfire with a group of giants milling around it, along with a few mammoths. Anyway, it wasn't long before we arrived at our goal, a tomb entrance sunk into the ground. Farkas and I descended the stairs and entered Dustman's Cairn.
Inside, we descended more steps, fight our way past a few skeevers along the way. We wound our way through the first few chambers before arriving in a larger, cavernous chamber. I performed a quick check of the chamber. There we a couple portcullises, both solidly locked, thus eliminating those paths for the moment. There was also a third nook in the wall of the chamber: this one was open and had a lever inside. I stepped towards the lever but paused in the doorway and looked up: there was another portcullis. This was obviously intended as a trap, but I didn't see any other choice.
"Farkas, hang back for a moment," I said, "I'll pull the lever and trigger the trap".
With that, I stepped over and pulled the lever, causing the portcullis to slam down behind me. It also opened another portcullis nearby.
"Good catch," said Farkas, "but now you're stuck… hold on, I get you out…"
While he was saying this, I saw an unfamiliar group of warriors sneaking up behind him.
"Farkas, duck!" I shouted.
My warning came just in time. Farkas ducked and rolled away just as the warrior swung his blade.
"We knew you would come here, beast!" said the warrior, "The Silver Hand will hunt you down wherever you run!"
"Who said anything about running?" said Farkas.
He then backed towards the gate I was stuck behind, and released a bestial growl. He then hunched forwards and began transforming! He grew taller, his ears became those of a wolf, and fur sprouted all over his body. Farkas raised his lupine head and lunged at the warriors, who had now identified themselves as the 'Silver Hand'. The rest of the battle… Suffice it to say that the lycanthrope that was Farkas tore the Silver hand to shreds. For a moment, I could just stand there, mouth agape.
'Well that explains the strange feeling I got off of him,' I thought.
"You alright?" asked Farkas, his voice surprisingly clear despite his form.
"I should be asking you that question," I said, "How'd you do that?"
"It's a… special gift granted to certain members of the Companion," said Farkas, "We call it 'Beast Form'. Now, hold on for a moment, I'll get you out of there".
With that, he ran off to the left. A couple of seconds later, the gate preventing me from leaving slid open. I stepped out of the alcove and was met by Farkas, now back to his normal self. I stepped over and examined the equipment that our attackers were using. I turned out to be cheap armor and silver plated weapons… neither were better that what I was already using. We then continued deeper into the tomb, moving quietly to avoid disturbing the Draugr.
Unfortunately, the Silver Hand weren't being nearly as cautious. As a result we were attacked by both the Silver Hand and the undead. Anyway we fought our way past them, going through first a series of overgrown passages, followed by crumbing hall. Farkas and I battled our way through our foes, both living and undead. Soon, we reached the iron door to the lower crypts. As we entered, I felt an odd pull within my spirit… something was calling me forwards.
In the first section of the lower crypts, we found ourselves on a bridge with fences on either side. In the room down below, we saw the Silver Hand fighting against the Draugr they'd foolishly disturbed. I decided it would be best to hang back for now and let our foes settle their differences. Eventually, the Draugr managed to overwhelm the Silver Hand. That was Farkas and my queue to head down there. We descended a set of stairs and followed the hallway as it looped down into the lower part of the crypt. Farkas and I charged in side by side, and hacked into the remianing Draugr at the same time. After we cleared the chamber, we took a moment to examine the chamber. I noticed that the door leading forwards was solidly locked, in appeared rather difficult to pick. I then spotted that the dust coating one of the room's many urns had been recently disturbed.
I checked inside the urn, and sitting right on top of its contents was a key! I took the key with me and tried it in the lock: It turned with ease. We opened the heavy doors and emerged into what appeared to be an alchemical lab. We moved on into the adjacent hallway, finding the direct path to our goal was blocked by a collapsed tunnel. Instead, we entered into the rough-hewn tunnel… one clogged with spider webs… big ones.
Farkas and I sliced our way through the webs, and came into the spider's lair. Unsurprisingly, a group of Frostbite Spiders descended from the ceiling, including one particularly massive one. We hacked into them, Farkas with his blade, and me with my sword and Flames spell. After we defeated the Spiders, we continued forwards, fighting off a few more Draugr on our way to the final chamber. When we entered the final, I noticed that the walls were lined with sarcophagi. On the altar at the far end of the room, was what appeared to be a fragment of a weapon… from its shape, it was most likely part of a large axe. This had to be our goal. But the moment I saw what was behind the altar, I lost focus on my surroundings: There was a word wall!
I stepped slowly towards the wall, with Farkas follow behind me, looking confused. I stepped right up to the wall, and felt everything around me seem to fade away. I then read the words engraved upon the wall.
"Qethgol vahrukiv kiir jun Jafnhar, wo los ag nahlaas Yol do lot dovah Lodunost," I said, "This stone commemorates the child king Jafnhar, who was burned alive by the Fire of the great dragon Lodunost".
Then, as had occurred several times before; the knowledge of a new Thu'um burned itself into my mind.
'Yol… Fire… Fire Breath?' I thought, 'Now that will be useful!'
"Uh… what was all that about?" asked Farkas, "why was there energy flowing out of the wall just now?"
I concentrated for a moment and put the spiritual energy I'd absorbed from Sahloknir towards my newest ability.
"You aren't the only one with strange powers, Farkas," I said, "Let's just get that artifact and get out of here…"
I picked up the weapon fragment lying on the altar. The Draugr apparently didn't like that, since they broke out of their sarcophagi as soon as I picked it up. It seemed like a good time to field test my newest Thu'um. I stepped towards the Draugr and took a deep breath.
"YOL!" I Shouted.
With that, a gout of fire shot from my mouth, striking the Draugr. I then rushed in started hacking away with my sword. Farkas and I fought hard together to take out the Draugr, but it seemed that for every on that fell, another replaced it. Eventually though, after we fought off about twenty Draugr, an exit open up on the upper section of the chamber.
It seems that behind one of the sarcophagi was an access tunnel. Farkas and I trekked up the tunnel. We soon came to a hidden door that lead us back into the tomb's entrance. From here, it was only an easy hike back to Whiterun.
Back in town, we headed up the hill to Jorrvaskr. We found Skjor in the training area once again.
"You've returned," said Skjor, "do you have the fragment?"
"Of course," I said, "here it is".
I handed it over, and then watched as the other members of the Companions came out to join us, forming a circle of judgment, with Farkas moving to stand next to Kodlak.
"We come together to judge whether this warrior, the Argonian Shouts-at-Sun, is fit to join our ranks," said Kodlak, "Who would speak for him?"
"I will speak for him," said Farkas.
"Would you raise your blade in battle alongside him?" asked Kodlak.
"I would do so with all my strength," replied Farkas.
"Would you stand in his defense?" asked Kodlak.
"I would shield him with my life if necessary," replied Farkas.
"And would you raise a mug in his honor?" asked Kodlak.
"I would gladly do so," replied Farkas.
"Then I am honored to officially induct our newest member," said Koldak, "May he bring glory to the Companions".
"Thank you, Harbinger," I said.
The Companions then returned to their usual positions. Meanwhile, I headed down into the living quarters of Jorrvaskr, and lay down on one of the available beds. I then turned my thoughts towards Lokhunnonvul.
"Lokhunnonvul, I think I found out what that odd feeling I got from some of the Companions is about: they're lycanthropes," I thought, "They seem like good people, though... what do you think?"
"I thought as much," replied Lokhunnonvul, "All I can say is trust your instincts. You may need to do things that go against what you'd normally do, but do not stray from the road you walk. Krosis, it nearly slipped my mind: I need to tell you about an unusual mural I found here at Highpass. It shows a Dovah what is chained up but not imprisoned, and it has a prophecy relating to you… to paraphrase, it says that to defeat Alduin, you must unbind your power and unfurl the wings of your soul".
"That's… certainly saying something," I thought, "For now though, I'll continue working with the Companions… it's still better than working with Delphine!"
"Ha! You're certainly right about that," Lokhunnonvul replied, "Anyway… as always, use caution Dovahkiin, You still have some distance to go before you can truly stand up to Alduin…"
With that, the connection closed for now, leaving me to continue down the path laid out before me.
A/N: And there we go! Next time: The First Seal is broken. See you then!