A Nightblade’s Adventures in Wrothgar
After seeing the futility of the fighting in the Imperial City and the constant three-way war of Cyrodiil for a couple of months, I, Velaeria Vitalia knew it was time to go find something more fulfilling to do. Anything that actually might reach an endpoint or, at least, show progress to a new direction would do nicely. That’s how I found myself heading to Wrothgar.
I met up with the caravan on the border of Wrothgar only to find a remnant of them still alive. The Winterborn had attacked. I heard enough about Reachmen invading, the rebuilding of Orsinium, and unrest amongst the clans to not be surprised. I still had a letter to turn in to confirm I had accepted the invitation to help. That could wait because these people needed help right this moment.
According to Eveli Sharp-Arrow, the Winterborn had attacked and stolen the cargo. Then Chief Bazrag showed up and attacked the Reachmen, forcing them to retreat up the mountain. Since there was nothing more required by the survivors still on the road, I headed up the hill with my blades out. I could have snuck up with my bow, but what fun would there be in that? Some close-quarter fighting out in the brisk mountain air sounded fun after so much sewer fighting in the city.
I caught up with Chief Bazrag, who seemed to have little appreciation for the Orc claiming to be king. He gave me information about the leader of the Winterborn, one Urfon Ice-Heart. I didn’t meet that leader in this battle, but I dispatched plenty of his minions and recovered some supplies. There wasn’t much I could do for the Orcs caught in a cave and frozen to death. That totally ruined the atmosphere of what would have been a spectacular place to rest and look over the rugged lands of Wrothgar. It made the mountains I knew from home seem like foothills in comparison.
Chief Bazrog appreciated my help, but he hated the idea of us outsiders receiving invitations to come help. We stuck our noses in all the wrong places. Even after saying all that, he asked me to track down the Orc betrayer that had sold information about the caravan’s itinerary that allowed the Reachmen to know when to attack it. I think he hated the greedy betrayer more than nosy outsiders. I never found Orcs appealing to hang out with, but then again I’ve seen this disdain for outsiders in every race I’ve met on Nirn.
On the way to Orsinium, I met Namadin, a bookseller. Unfortunately while fleeing the Reachmen, the beasts hauling his cart spooked and a lot of the cargo and some friends went over a cliff. Worse, one of those people had all the paperwork that gave him authority to set up a bookshop in Orsinium.
After finding a safe way down the cliff, I come across Travofia, who was alive and well. She said that the harpies had snatched Jaeloreh. Of course, the person who was kidnapped was the one who had all the paperwork. I’ve dealt with harpies before and had no issues purging more of the stinky birds from the world. I did just that as I climbed around the cliff and onto a rock outcropping above a cave. I had met a fellow interested in locating a whistle to control Durzag that supposedly was in the cave, but he would have to wait while I saved lives. After rescuing the booksellers, I thought about going back for the whistle.
Unfortunately, I found Jaeloreh dead in a harpy nest. The paperwork was in a pile of debris near the body. Harpies never cared much for paper and books, so if some enterprising adventurers could get into a main harpy nest area, they’d find a lot of the loot simply lying about the unfortunate souls that the harpies had decided to eat for dinner. I did not have the ability to drag Jaeloreh’s body out, but I took everything worthwhile from the body to return to the living.
Once the booksellers were safely on their way to Orsinium, I turned back to that foul cave that the crazy Dunmer, Githrano, dared not go. I wasn’t surprised at that since most Dunmer like having someone do their dirty work for them. It didn’t mean I had to give him the whistle, however. I went back because it was a new place to explore before I finally reached Orsinium.
The Dunmer was right about it being foul. Most of the durzogs I met I had to kill. I did find a whistle in a pack at what was an abandoned camp. I tested it on a durzog who seemed happy for a very short time. It wanted to gnaw my leg off once the effect wore off. I slammed my swords into it a couple of times each to get the creature off me. So, the whistle only partially worked. I stuffed it in my pack and continued through the cave. The beastmaster herself attacked me near the only route back out. A worthy fight occurred and in the end, I walked off with all of Nikolvare’s treasures, including her enchanted whistle and a bunch of durzog pelts I could sell.
Orsinium contains a maze of buildings in various stages of construction. There is no such thing as a straight street anywhere unless it runs along the side of a large building. None of the buildings even line up with each other, and often they’re attached at odd angles. Balconies, ramps, and stairs lead to doors on various levels of this jumble. Some of the insides of the buildings made even less sense. I went in one business, down a few stairs and around a curving hallway through what ended up being a bar to get back onto the streets. It made the disarray of the Imperial City and its sewers seem like a well-organized city. Of course, Imperial City truly was magnificent and well planned before the Daedra were let in. Maybe the Orcs had some smarts. With a maze of a city, who would muster all the manpower needed to control it?
I finally found the Greedy Gut, and the bartender told me how to find smelly Gulag. Actually, the remains of his odor had my nose twitching even as I acquired my information. Worse, I could track the fellow outside in the streets. The bartender mentioned he worked with Khajiit merchants and likely acquired his foul stench by using one of their products.
In short order, I found the Khajiits. Even they agreed Gulag’s smell lingered like an unwanted house guest. I thought my eyes would be watering too much to see by the time I got to Ufgel’s Bathhouse. Thankfully, the smell had dissipated some since he was downstairs in one of the baths. I confronted him about his betrayal. Sure enough, he had padded his pockets with some gold so that he could sell his elixirs cheaper to help people. It was odd logic since some would have died and others could have starved with that decision. I wanted to stick a blade through his egotistical, noxious hide, but that would ruin the entire bath for everyone. I made sure both he and the proper authorities knew about his letter to Urfon Ice-heart. He didn’t seem to care, and even told me the supplies went to Frostbreak Fortress. I had no idea what the guard would do to him. Honestly, I did not care.
So, I finally located the place to hand in my invitation letter. In the process, I met the High Priestess Solgra of Trinimac, who welcomed me to the city. Then as if being sneaky, an older Orc woman came up behind me, supposedly to do the same. She was Forge-Mother Alga. She seemed unimpressed that Solgra took so long inviting the outsider to the city. Orc logic eludes me. Anyway, the high priestess went off to the temple. It seemed the Forge-Mother only wanted her around to revive old traditions.
I made my report about the caravan, the traitor and the supplies that were taken to Frostbreak Fortress. I received an earful from the Forge Mother about how the clans were untrustworthy to deal with the problem. Things had to be fixed so everyone could be united under her son, King Kurog. She babbled on about how everyone should follow Trinimac instead of Malacath. To top it off, there was not a strong standing army due to clan tensions, and a lot of the able-bodied warriors were away from the city helping the alliance. I bit my tongue to keep from telling her that most of them probably got sent to waste time and die uselessly in Cyrodiil for whatever the Daggerfall Covenant expected to get out of the place. Despite all this craziness, it appeared it could be unraveled unlike the issues of the Imperial City. A group of mages should create some diabolic magic bomb and blow the Imperial City off the face of the planet, not that the Daedra weren’t trying to pull it into Oblivion.
With all of this information and the rambling ideas they generated in my head, I rode off to Frostbreak Fortress to find it under siege. It had to be a half-baked setup if the Reachmen could get men out and supplies in. It was yet another reason that explained why the Daggerfall Covenant were the weakest of the three factions on the Cyrodiil front. I managed not to smirk about that when I reported to King Kurog, himself.
My first impression of the king was not good, but it was accurate. I think his mother even had hinted at his lust for food and fighting in her ramblings. He gnawed on a leg of some beast and punctuated his speech with flourishes of the half-eaten bone. I bit my tongue again and let my actions prove a few points to these half-witted Orcs. I took my meals elsewhere, thank you.
So, the king had even told Urfon Ice-Heart that they were finally coming for him, the last of the Reachmen commanders. Great! Orcs and their desire to beat on their enemies face to face with all their cards showing would make this a lot harder. The harpies were aiding the Reachmen, and there had to be disgusting hagravens around, too.
I wandered the camp a bit and found Chief Urgdosh leading troops catapulting large rocks into the walls. He claimed the Bretons had to have had Orc crafters help build it. After all, the walls had proven solid thus far. To get rid of the harpy nuisance, a group of fighters had been sent into fray with an elf, none other than Eveli, to get her up to a good spot where she could mark the aeries with her arrows so that the trebuchets could take out the harpy nests. Another party included group alchemist who understood Reachmen magic so he could concoct a potion to destroy the briarheart monstrosities. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about those creatures before the war ended.
I was sent to assist Siege Commander Dulph who was working directly on the harpy issue. The harpies attacked as soon as I approached him. There was a way to sneak around to the left or go through the harpies to the right to join the battle. I fought right through the harpies, which King Kurog relished as much as that leg of whatever he was eating before this bird-brained adventure truly started. At least he slashed the harpies left and right of us. The screeching creatures fell without clutching on to either of us, thankfully.
We discovered Sergeant Rorburz trapped in a tower. He wasn’t sure where the group was with Alinon, the alchemist. Eveli was with him. The king and I helped get her up two towers. We lost one of our fighters to a harpy on the second tower, but Eveli marked both aeries. The burst of flames as the trebuchets destroyed the nests was impressive.
After fighting our way through the fort, we found Alinon. He explained just what a briarheart was and how to defeat it. Briarhearts were formed when a seed was implanted into a Winterborn’s corpse. The seed would feed on the body and turn it into a zombie. These smaller trees fed a larger, central tree. Inside the fort, we found saplings growing out of dead bodies. The Reachmen magic corrupted nature, and the tree-like creatures were foul-looking. I had to destroy as many saplings as I could to help weaken the main tree. Since briarhearts were made of wood, I hoped the thing would burn as fast as the harpy aeries did. The entire tree and root had to be destroyed or the corruption would invade nature like a plague.
While I was chopping through the saplings, Eveli guarded Alinon while he brewed some alchemical concoction with nothing more than some ingredients found in the area and what was in his pack. I’m pretty good at alchemy, but messing with elixirs on the spot in a hostile fortress could cause a disaster. His potion could kill him rather than the magical corruption of nature for which it was designed.
In the process of burning saplings, I found Vilum, a Reachmen, bound and in a cage. He was ready to become the next briarheart warrior. Being chosen for that was a precious gift and he had lived for the honor. I sure didn’t want to be turned into a monstrosity, let alone receive any gift from a hagraven other than her dying at the end of one of my weapons. I asked, “You’re kind of angry, aren’t you?” He called it righteous rage. I called it insanity. I left him in the cage.
I went back to our party and found Eveli but not Alinon. She went off to harvest some moss he needed and when she got back, he had disappeared along with his satchel. It didn’t take long to find him in a cage suspended over a roaring fire. He said he managed to find some moss himself, and the elixir was in his bag, wherever that was. Wonderful! I let Alinon and Eveli argue how she was going to shoot the cage down to save him. I had an elixir to find. I laughed when she told him he just had to tuck and roll when the cage fell into the fire
Let’s not forget I still had King Kurog in tow. Yes, in tow. He was following me, not the other way around. Somehow in our trek to find the main trunk of the briarheart, I learn a great deal about what the king planned for the Orsimer. He wanted them all to worship Trinimac and give up on Malacath. Trinimac believed in honor, truth and unity, while Malacath was definitely a god of war. However, he compared getting the clan chiefs to work together to trying to feed salad to a Bosmer. I think he underestimated the chiefs, and his rough-handed ways certainly didn’t help. At some point, I might actually figure out this area and its Orcish politics. It didn’t seem any odder than Imperial politics, although there was a bit less sophistication and intellect involved. Wait, scratch that. Imperials decided to side with Daedra.
I can’t remember where I found the bag with Alinon’s elixir, but I do remember coming upon the tree. It looked leafless and gnarly. I set it on fire and used the elixir on it. The hard part was keeping the Reachmen and their tree healers away. If it weren’t for them, the thing would have burned gloriously that much faster. The enemies had found a safe spot to stand out of reach while healing the briarheart through the roots. It turned into a grueling fight that lasted about five times longer than I wanted it to. I felt like I had been rolled down an avalanche in Skyrim by the time the Reachmen gave up and the tree died.
The fight went on. Urfon Ice-Heart was still alive further in the keep. King Kurog told me rumors about the Reachman. For one, Urfon’s veins supposedly flowed with ice, and he could freeze an Orc with the flick of his wrist. I decided the fellow was just really good with ice magicka, but I didn’t disabuse Kurog of his notions. Killing Urfon would speak louder than words.
Actually, the fight proved a big letdown. He died faster than that stinking tree, and I didn’t even get frostbite. However, I did earn the trust of an Orc king. Kurog claimed he had not fought alongside anyone he trusted since he became king. I wondered how he became king in the first place. I think he just claimed it one day and managed to hold on to the title while the clan chiefs squabbled. His reign looked pretty flimsy and tenuous to me.
I discovered that Alinon and Eveli were alive, and we returned to Orsinium.
It wasn’t long before I was summoned back to the throne room. King Kurog was furious when the three chiefs at Court would not give up Malacath worship for him. Chief Targak was killed. Bazrag and Dular walked out alive - for now. The king claimed most of his meetings included dissenters. I kept my mouth shut on my disapproval of his methods.
Shortly thereafter, an attack broke out in the city at the Temple of Tinimac. I was given the honor of saving the people because I was expendable, and the king got blamed if things went wrong. At least, that was what Forge-Mother Alga stated. I saved people because they needed saving, not because the king’s egotistical mother said so.
Captain Zugnor was outside the main entrance to the temple and annoyed that a group stormed into the castle before he could stop them. Then, all the civilians in the area stood around gawking and getting in the way. Zugnor’s men weren’t getting far banging on the door. With the city being a maze, there was probably some other secret way in, but he had no idea where it was. I was not impressed that a captain of a city guard couldn’t even make the effort to know the city he guarded. My opinion of Orcs dropped a notch.
Eveli wanted to hit the two shifty-eyed Orcs hanging out in the back of the onlookers. I told her not to worry about them, but she didn’t listen.
I ran off to find the other way into the temple because it sounded like there was serious fighting going on inside. I found it by going all the way around the temple and the mages guild. The mage’s guild was built on the top of part of the temple. Even the museum seemed lumped into this building hodge-podge. I avoided some of the enemy Orcs by taking the higher ground. Two of them met a quick demise before I finished climbing the stairs.
I walked down the steps to a back door into the temple. I startled a priest of Trinimac named Rooghub who was just standing there watching for anyone from the other direction on his level. He would have been dead if I had been the enemy. People so easily forget about all the ways an enemy can approach.
He told me that the Malacath fanatics were using Chief Bazrag’s name, but the priest didn’t believe this, since he believed Bazrag to be an honorable Orc. He went on to say the other priests were being held in the rectory and that the commander holding the priests had the rectory key. To get there and get the key, I had to avoid the torch bearers. That sounded easy enough. After all, I had just defeated Urfon Ice-Heart and a vile briarheart.
I didn’t even break a sweat as I slashed through the incompetent guards on the way to the rectory. Priest Uugas told me High Priestess Solgra had put a sword in one of the guards before running to the back where other priests needed help. I like any person of faith who also knows how to handle a blade.
I found Mazogug the Bold holding the high priestess captive. They had attacked the temple to humiliate the king for being unable to protect his own people. Mazogug soon died at my feet.
The high priestess also had known Chief Bazrag as an honorable sort. His forts were ravaged, and his traditions had been threatened. She didn’t know if that would have changed him enough to be responsible for this fight or not. Either way, the information on the skirmish had to be given to the King and Forge-Mother.
The captain and his guards finally broke through the front door. Together, we cleansed the temple of the remnant of fanatics. Outside, I found the Forge-Mother. She took the information in stride and told me the clans had to unite under her son. She put a military presence in and around the temple to protect it. I did not entirely agree with that, but I was the outsider.
A messenger named Talviah Alioria, complaining about being used only as a messenger despite all his supposed skills, told me the king wanted to see me in the throne room. Since I saved his Temple of Trinimac from an attack, he thought I would be best person to convince the clan chiefs to come to a moot. It had to be the chief, or the king would be insulted. I had to convince three clans to meet: Clan Tumnosh, Clan Morkul, and Clan Shatul. The king had a grievance against all of them since they weren’t supporting the city building.
The farther I went in this adventure, the more it resembled a spider web of intrigue. Maybe this mission would prove as futile as trying to save the Imperial City, except for the fact that Orcs don’t repopulate endlessly out of dolmens to replace the ones killed.
I headed off to Clan Shatul, the herders of echatere, who were supposed to be supplying the city with the animals to feed the residents. I talk to Glagosh upon arriving and learned Chief Ogzar was on his deathbed. A giant had bashed his head in.
An Orc named Laurig wanted to take revenge on the giant for the chief’s grave injury. I discovered Laurig always wanted to be chief, but he never challenged Ogzar since the chief was a friend. Other Orcs found this a weakness. I stayed out of the political chatter and just helped with the fighting. Maybe killing the giant wasn’t the best idea, but it did save the Orcs from having to worry about any other attacks. Laurig was annoying while tracking the giant because he would not shut up. He kept insisting that we were lost and said numerous other inane things. Once we found the giant, I enjoyed an exhilarating fight. Having lived in Skyrim for a long time, I had expert knowledge on how to fight him. I toyed with the giant a bit and even Laurig felt like he had some fun in the battle.
The chief’s mother, Yazara, was set to select the candidates (one of which included Laurig) to become chief. Another clan member, Ulghesh, returned from the city. He claimed he could be a good chief, but Yazara wanted to know if he could put the needs of the clan before himself. Would he have the wits and skills to help the clan with echatere herding? She sent him off with the laziest echatere, Scamper, to find a snow truffle. Yazara planned on putting it in the poison that would kill her son, and snow truffles were his favorite. After all, he was just about dead, and he had to be completely dead so that the next chief could be selected officially.
I helped Ulghesh find the snow truffle. It took two of us to get Scamper to do anything. I found a good truffle spot, whistled, and then Ulghesh gave Scamper a swift kick. The beast laid down every time it checked a truffle spot as if the short run had worn it out. It was, at least, the fifth spot before a truffle was dug up by Scamper.
Ulghesh turned out to be the exiled daughter, Ushruka. She wanted to be the next chief. I really didn’t like either her or Laurig due to the one shirking responsibilities of becoming a wife and the other never having the guts to fight a friend to become clan chief. Yazara had this idea that one should be given a weaker weapon and if they could win that way, then they really would have proved their worth. I hated doing it, but I gave Laurig the weaker weapon hoping his honorable spirit could also win a fight. Ushruka won. Honestly, she would probably lead them better than Laurig anyway.
Then, one of Chief Ozrag’s wives decided to blame another wife for his demise. Maybe Galgosh does worship Boethiah, the Daedric prince of murder, as I learned in a book I found in her tent, but things didn’t add up entirely. She was out singing in the night per Lugbagg and she claimed she was chanting in hopes of the mammoths near her would think she as a giant and leave her alone. There was an accusation about Galgosh’s weapon being found with the chief, but Galgosh said he took it because it was quiet while his makes a lot of noise. Most of Rogzesh’s anger had to do with Galgosh not being there when the chief was injured more than anything else. In the end, I convinced Rogzesh the two should work together and not pass accusations on how their husband really died.
Next, I made the trek to Morkul where I met Chief Alzug. His family issues prevented him from wanting to bother with the king. Actually, I think the chief just wanted his wife to stop yelling at him. I’m not sure about these Orc chiefs with their multiple wives. Most of them seem unable to handle one wife, let alone more.
I found Forge-Wife Lazghal to get more details on the issues at hand. Their older, head-strong daughter had run off to Morkul Descent to search for some relics she’d heard in old tales. I got an earful about how Ashaka was overlooked as Forge-Wife to the king and her younger sister had acquired the honor. Of course, Lazghal punched Forge-Mother Alga and forged the tooth that fell out into Ashaka’s first dagger hilt. I nearly smirked since I wanted to punch the Forge-Mother myself. Actually, if she had not been around, Kurog would never have had a reign lasting for longer than it took him to utter the word “king.”
I found Ashaka, who was looking for the Hand of Morkul. She was quite sure it was through the stone door in front of us that lead into Mokuldin. She found it more amazing I was there because her mother thought she was in danger. I ignored all the comments about how the two seem to have a lack of communication as we entered a chamber with three statues honoring fallen heroes of Morkul. To open the door to Morkuldin itself, the braziers in front of each statue had to be lit in the correct order. I read the plaques on each, but I had no clue which should go first. I’m sure my mentor, Marcus, would have had a comment or two about my lack of intellectual prowess if he were there. I simply guessed and the second try was correct. So much for really knowing what “Burned in ice, and a stone marked thrice” meant.
Then we found Hand of Morkul tightly gripped in some interesting stone work as if on display in a museum. Ashaka recited yet another piece of old Orc poetry: “Endless breath and untold rage lets purest heart release the hand.” It didn’t take her long to figure out “breath” was probably a bellows and “rage” was the forge itself.
Activating the bellows was the easy part since it was near the hand, and only a couple of the animated statues came to life to stop me. Finding the forge, on the other hand, led me past a lot of statues, and at times two or three of them woke up to attack. They were definitely a strong deterrent to restarting this forge for some reason.
Then I had to face off a gargoyle. These creatures are never fun. I put them a notch above a troll when it comes to battling them. They have very similar fighting tactics, but a gargoyle is made of stone. Trolls at least have the courtesy to bleed. I had a few tender spots by the time I dispatched him and pulled the lever to start the forge. I relish a good fight, and I pondered why I’m so battle prone while the mechanism lowered itself to produce the contact needed to reignite the forge. All I can attribute it to is having been orphaned young and left to my own devices on hostile city streets. Too bad that the prowess I had gained over a few short years fell far below that which was needed to break the Imperial City from Oblivion’s hold.
Ashaka had one last thing she had to do to free the Hand of Morkul. It turns out that in the poem, the word “heart” can also mean “blood.” Ashaka cut her hand, and as her blood dripped on the mechanism, it began unfolding itself until the hammer was freed. As Ashaka picked it up, she realized something. The old poem was not about honor lost, but honor gained by burying the clan’s greatest shame beneath a mountain of ice. It was a warning to stay away from the Hand of Morkul.
I saw how crestfallen she became due to this as if she had found something great only to see how tarnished it had become. I convinced her to embrace the past, and she even suggested a different way to use blood for the working of the forge. In the past, the blood from the enemies of Morkul had helped fuel the workings of the forge. It was something one would rather not want to keep using considering the cost. Who needs another reason to kill their enemies? Maybe she could figure out another way to make it work, but at least, her clan knew the truth now.
On a more comical note, this whole adventure and returning the Hammer of Morkul to the clan actually solved whatever family issues the chief had. I did not bother to ask what that really meant. I’m sure the women really run that clan, anyway. The chief decided he could go to the moot to see what the King had to say now that he had a lot of his own problems resolved.
I had one more chief to convince, so I went on another trek across Wrothgar to Clan Tumnosh. They were the quarry masters and were supposed to be the main supplier of stone for the rebuilding of Orsinium. When I arrived, no one was working the quarry, and Forge-Wife Kharza was spewing something about being unable to find a certain tall elf. The elf had claimed he could increase their production tenfold, but now it had stopped completely.
Chief Ramash and his strongest warriors had gone into the strange fog that had occurred in the quarry. They ran out again due to a lot of clawing, slashing and cutting from something they could not clearly see there. Considering how badly they were beaten up, no one else dared venture near the quarry. He knew the elf had unleashed this mess. He would only go to the king’s moot if I helped clean up this mess. So be it.
An Orc named Ghorn told me the high elf immediately went into a cavern to check it out as soon as the miners broke through the rock and discovered it. Pipes inside released steam, and that probably caused the fog.
I found Hunt-Wife Bolger there, but her daughter, Shabon, had gone further into the area. She knew the high elf had some type of rod that could control the constructs, and he had said something about a control machine inside somewhere.
It turns out they had broken into a Dwemer ruin, and I was not surprised to find Neramo inside checking things out. Worse, Neramo had known without telling them the details. He had found what he was looking for: Mzindyne. An orb of illumination would unlock the control center. A good deal of electricity would short everything out, but I did not suggest that. I do know a high elf sorceress that could do it. She may have wandered back to Auridon when things went downhill for a certain group of crusaders, who had spent most of their time in Skyrim.
A lot of constructs found their demise due to my finesse with a blade that got under their armor shells. After some time, I found the room with the crazy looking dwemer machine. I couldn’t figure out how it lined up, but after some trial and error, it did what Neramo needed it to. I looked that thing over for a good fifteen minutes and honestly, it looked like it should not have been working at all.
I went outside before Neramo and talked to Forge-Wife Khara. Neramo showed up shortly thereafter with three dwemer spiders in tow. I knew she already wanted to wring his scrawny neck, but I expected her to leap at him then and there. Don’t ask me how, but I convinced her to work with the constructs in the mines until the clan regained its strength due to the losses that opening the ruin had caused. I told her that making Neramo finish his job and the clan keeping control of the ruin could be his blood price for the damage and death he caused. She relented in her decision to kill him for now and agreed to the new plan.
Chief Ramash kept his word to attend the moot and hear the king’s fancy words, but he made no promises beyond that. It seems he was not the only chief that thought the king was full of fancy words. King Kurog could claim the title of windbag in my book.
Of course, with that thought in my mind, I was off to Orsinium to see the windbag once again at his private inn. He was glad I convinced all three and went on about how it was of no importance that Chief Bazrag was not going to attend. I found this a bit disconcerting, but then again I was talking to an egotistical lout with a mother who had expectations set too high for a son like him.
I found the overzealous Eveli outside the inn stating that High Priestess Solgra wanted to see me about some rescue mission. It had to be kept secret, and Eveli would be helping me. I like the little wood elf, but some day she’s going to step into a hornet’s nest and won’t escape in time.
Our mission was to save a chief of unknown identity from the Rosh Vakh, a radical group of Trinimac extremists with whom the high priestess didn’t agree. If the extremists gained power, it could turn out badly for all Trinimac followers in Wrothgar and ruin the king’s chances of unifying anything. She didn’t want the king to find out about our covert operation, or he’d march an army there causing far more bloodshed than necessary. So off to Fharun Stronghold I went, knowing the wood elf would be there already.
Not much was known of the Vosh Rakh other than they were a fairly new organization and wore masks when they met. Their goal was to force Trinimac down everyone’s throat and kill those that did not agree. That did not fit in with what I had learned of Trinimac. It contained no honor, for one. Even this group’s purpose could depend on which chief they actually held captive.
Eveli left me an arrow path to follow to her hiding spot. She found out about a large prison but had not found the way in. The Orcs were big talkers, so some eavesdropping and snooping around would probably produce the answer. I found a clue in a note about the well leading into the place. After creatively acquiring a rope, Eveli lowered me down into the deep hole. All my skulking about over the years proved worthwhile and made it all too easy to sneak by Orcs. Now if I just could sneak by Daedra this easily, things would go a little differently in the city.
After I walked through a tunnel, I discovered a dungeon where the inmates were running amok. I dispatched several of them by the time I found Chief Bazrag tied up in one of the cells of his personal fortress. It was a good thing I found him alive, because we weren’t going to be able to go back up through the well. Neither Eveli nor the rope were waiting for us when we made it back to the opening. In the process of saving him, I learned he had nothing to do with the attack on the Trinimac temple. He declared that he had his hands full here with the Vosh Rakh.
I could see how two were needed to get out of part of the dungeon. The door to the first room holding some of the worst criminals was locked. To open it, we had to turn levers that actually released both the prisoners and poison gas. I had to kill the prisoners that escaped their cells in order to stop the gas. That certainly was an interesting strategy to keep people in. I wondered what kind of magic went into the construction to know when the enemies were dead so the jailers could turn off the gas. Maybe the Chief had to do more than one thing with each lever, and he bought time while I killed the inmates.
The next trap system nearly killed me. I should send someone a bill for alchemical components to replace several potions and cover the costs of a ghastly armor repair. I despise floor spikes, and this trap had four levers to manage. Three levers were in the entry room, and one was located in the hall beyond that. To add insult to injury, it had a bloody timer on it. I was never so glad to have learned alchemy and a magical shield spell more than when I ran through that mess. Marcus would be facepalming at my lack of intellect when it came to getting through this puzzle, but sometimes things just don’t click fast enough.
Once we escaped that miserable trap, we had access to the main fort and were clear of further danger except for whatever Vosh Rakh remained. Bazrag decided he should kill me now that we escaped, but Eveli showed up. I’m not sure how this plan came about, but Eveli snuck Bazrag into Orsinium while I talked to his wife, Ulsha. Eveli finally had an adventure she did not relish, and I found out that Ulsha’s story corroborated Bazrag’s claim that he didn’t even know about the attack, much less participate in it. Ulsha would contact me in Orsinium when she had news.
I was trying to get my armor repaired when Shield-wife Razbela showed up in a huff summoning me to the king immediately. He was angry, so everyone was on their toes. I decided he could wait long enough for me to be presentable. If it turned out he had anything to do with the crazy Vosh Rakh, I would rip his head off personally and let the Orcs find a new king.
What I found out was not good at all. The king knew Eveli had returned to the city with Bazrag. He hoped I would not turn traitor, too. I thought to myself that if I ever did turn on him, he’d be dead before he had time to worry about it. I had stopped caring what happened to him at this point since things were getting downright fishy around here.
I had to wonder about people that wind up being messengers in this city. None of them were Orcs, which was odd. This latest one had a letter from Eveli and told me something about the beginning of every thought being the most important or something like that. As soon as I read the note, I laughed. The first letter of each sentence gave me the real message along with the secret words, “Orcs don’t smell.” At least, Eveli proved clever even if she was rather hyperactive and overly romantic about things. I find Eveli and Bazrag by going through a secret passage broken through a wall in the basement of the inn. The narrow hallway led up to what looked like yet another inn or the dining area of some rich Orc.
High Priestess Solgra knew it was Bazrag we would be saving. If he had died, a civil war would have started. Someone wanted to frame Bazrag and get him off the battlefield. Finally, this crazy adventure made sense. However, things were far from over and definitely not resolved.
The Vosh Rakh had something bigger planned, and I had to go to the old Trinimac temple in the west of Wrothgar to figure it out. I refused to go alone, but I had to convince Eveli to help me. She didn’t know what side she was on in this fight anymore after all the lies she had been told. I honestly didn’t blame her. The political intrigue of any race can make a person’s head spin. Also, if being a hero was easy, everyone would be one. She agreed with that thought, and I think reality finally sunk into her head about heroes in life verses the ones in the stories she liked so much. Now if life could be as easy as in the stories, I’d be one very bored nightblade. Some of this adventure had already been too easy other than the conflicting information and that spike trap.
Off I went again for another ride across Wrothgar. I know I covered a good deal of the area on this adventure, and I hoped that I could take some time to really check it out further when the political intrigue got sorted out. I found Talviah, Flies-in-Wind and Eveli not far from the entrance, but we needed disguises to get in. Eveli sounded like her old self as she explained some of the Vosh Rakh had traveled by her place but had run into some issues. I managed not to laugh as she explained how they probably stumbled into an echatere mating ritual. The noise had been terrible. I could imagine that, since I’ve seen two of these beasts head butting each other before. It’s not quiet and watching was enough to make my head hurt.
I snuck down and saw that these echatere had indeed killed the Orcs that had blundered into the area. I used a stump one of the Vosh Rakh was sitting up against to block the line of sight to the closest beast. I snagged the amulet I needed and backed out of there without incident. Learning to sneak and skulk about can lead to accomplishing goals safely, although I’ll admit that I’ve assassinated a few Daedra worshipping Imperials. Obviously, we did not kill enough of them before we had to flee for our lives.
Talviah went with me while Eveli and Flies went as a second group. The place was huge. It turned out the meeting Tal and I would walk into was actually a trial to pick those that would go on some mission. To learn about this mission, we had to go through the trial. Tal was ready for this because he felt the need to prove himself due to who his parents and sister were. They had all done great things in the Somerset Isles. I hoped he was up to it.
Elder Alzag told us about agents lurking about the city. This test would either kill us or allow us to be sent on the mission. The first part of our test included passing through a gauntlet of Vosh Rakh and opening four switches in time. I failed the first time when I miscalculated a sweeping strike from some ferocious Orc wielding a greatsword. I fell off the maze of ramparts during the duel and could not get up to the last switch in time. Thankfully, I got to try again without them replacing the ones I killed. That made me complete it quickly. I killed the Orc that made me fail the first time for good measure, and because he was a fanatic standing in my way.
Once inside, it was Tal and I and no others from the trial. About eight Vosh Rakh stood in two loose lines on either side of me once I walked into the main room. I was ordered to kill Tal to prove myself or fight all of them instead. Well, killing Tal wasn’t going to happen. I leaped at the closest enemy as I pulled out my blades. The fight got pretty intense as more and more of them joined in. Two casters made things worse. Somehow, I got out of that fight with less damage to myself and my armor than those stupid spikes. No one lived to tell me what the orders were, but I found a note. There was always a note. One can never expect underlings to remember everything correctly without writing it down for them. I stuffed the note in my pouch knowing the attack was indeed in the city and probably had to do with the moot.
We all got out alive. Eveli headed into the city ahead of me to meet back up with Bazrag. I wasn’t far behind after doing a little further cleanup of some Vosh Rakh. I found some people they had captured and were torturing to convert. There was no way I could leave them in that predicament, so I rescued them. That delay, however, made a huge difference. Bazrag and Eveli had been taken into custody according to Mulzah, who was angry about being kicked out of her own inn by a squad of soldiers. I had the choice of stealing the key from Sergeant Vulmen or investigating a guard meeting down near the stables.
I headed to the meeting hoping to gain some information and snuck by all the outlying guards. I even found another copy of the key in a backpack near the captain. I swiped before they saw me. Unfortunately, I was seen as I tried to sneak away from them. I killed them all on the way to the captain. I bet they didn’t expect attacks from the supposedly “safe” side.
I reported to the king again and told him about the Vosh Rakh infiltration. I even asked about Bazrag and Eveli. He said he wanted to talk to me privately in the dining hall. I found his mother there instead. She was the one ordering the Vosh Rakh to do exactly what needed to be done. I knew I didn’t like her very much. Worse, she used magic on me to make me stab myself. I passed out wondering if I’ll live through this one. Luckily I did.
I regained consciousness with Shield-Wife Razbela watching over me. She had healed the worst of my injuries and bandaged the rest. She would not let me die after what I had done to help her people, but she definitely agreed with her husband’s plans. She told me how to get Bazrag and Eveli out of the dungeon, but after that I had to leave. Somewhere in the mix of getting Bazrag and Eveli out of the dungeon, I ran into both shield-wives again and had to kill both of them or die. At least I found another note proving this whole plot to kill the chiefs was done to clinch Kurog’s rule as king. I had to find the secret tunnel from the temple to the palace to stop it.
I had a quick meeting outside with Bazrag and Eveli. They decided they would recruit more help while I went to the temple to help the high priestess. I arrived just after some soldiers had chased the high priestess up the stairs and out of the temple. Priest Uugus had never seen her react in such a way and could not believe the temple had been attacked a second time. This time the attackers only chased after Solgra.
I jogged up the stairs and found her alive but out in the open on the wall’s edge. It would have been a great place to contemplate life and enjoy the view if enemies were not lurking about. She told me that the entrance to the tunnel was in the library. Then an arrow flew true and struck her. She ordered me to get the assassin as she collapsed. I had a bit of a run to get up to the area above us and back from the wall’s outer edge. When I did, the assassin gave herself up. I’m still not sure why I let the killer go other than I must have wanted King Kurog and his wicked mother to know that I was coming for them.
I went back inside the temple to find Solgra had died from the assassin’s arrow. I felt remorse for such a loss but could not dwell on it. I went to the library where Bazrag and Eveli join me. We searched through books to find any clues about the passage. I found a fiction book called ‘The Battle of Orsinium’ that contained the riddle needed to open the passage. It used three clans stating which was to each side and above him. I did not bother trying to remember who he was, but there were three cubes that could be spun to show one of four faces to the front set about this huge head at the back of the library. I had to figure out which symbol went with which clan. After some more digging, I found a book about the clans and made note of their symbols.
A few minutes later, we spun the cubes to have the correct emblems showing and the head moved just enough to reveal a hole with a ladder in it. We quickly climbed down and fought our way through the tunnel to the castle. We battled fighters to reach King Kurog and his mother. I manage to kill her first. Kurog called on her magic despite her death to help himself in the fight. His extra strength and abilities on top of my battle fatigue and injuries nearly killed me The king was a big cheater. I finally finished him off, but I wanted to keel over myself afterwards.
Bazrag was upset about how Kurog forced this choice on everyone on top of the loss it caused. He wanted to stay for a few moments of quiet time, so Chief Ramnash led me into the palace proper.
Bazrag talked to the other chiefs about how to proceed in a way that would keep the peace between all of them. He also wanted to give Kurog a proper burial to remember him as who he once was and not the tyrant he had turned into. I gathered everyone together, and some of them were people who I had worked with on this adventure. Kurog ordered me to bring out a bottle of his favorite ale along with the heroes. Everyone agreed to come. While I was gathering these people together, an Orc named Bizra quipped that her friend would plop a brick hearing about this. I laughed. That was when Bumnog showed up. I remember helping his friends and him with harpy issues a couple times in some of my wanderings. I’d gotten around to far more places in Tamriel than I thought.
Finally, we had the funeral where I was the official lighter of the flames used in the ceremony. Bazrag explained later that orcs usually burn the dead and use the ashes to make weapons or armor in remembrance. He told me he was going to redo the throne with Kurog’s ashes in it so that he’d remember how much of a pain in the butt the dead king had been. Also, Bazrag would remember what to do and what not to do as a king. Yes, the chiefs figured Bazrag should be their king as they got back on their feet after this mess, so that they could, at least, show a strong face to the Daggerfall Covenant and anyone else.
I was no longer needed and could go on my way to new adventures helping others. Despite the loss of some good people, this adventure had turned out with an ending that could become a bright beginning for the Orcs of Wrothgar.
About the Author
Althea joined Gaiscioch back in October of 2009 and has been here ever since with only a few month hiatus between Warhammer and Rift. As soon as she knew they were in Rift, she jumped ship to Faeblight and has followed them onward through every chapter since with a few side games thrown in for spice.
She has been an avid player of RPG style games since 1980 when she first played Dungeons and Dragons. Since then she has created her own tabletop gaming world used with various rule sets as D&D progressed. Once she could get online she played MUDs. Her MMO days started with Everquest and have moved through over a dozen games with some lasting only a month's time in her life and others going for years. She has tested several games from the perspective of a disabled gamer with hand issues due to her multiple sclerosis.
When not writing about or playing games, she can be found writing novels, reading and doing various art projects. She also writes items based on her faith and is working on publishing a novel. She also does editing for a gaming developer.
About Elder Scrolls Online
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