After polling the citizens of Markarth, and taking some time to reflect upon it myself, I have decided that Whiterun, with its central location in Skyrim, is the next logical place for me to train. I don’t waste any time getting out of Markarth, but before it’s out of my sight completely, I turn around to take one last look at the city that’s given me my life back.
Ghorza mentioned an Orc stronghold not far from Markarth, so before I go to Whiterun, I’d like to check it out, to see how my brethren have adapted to life in the north. However, something else doesn’t want me to check out the stronghold. And that something is a sabrecat, blocking the only path there.
Why couldn’t it have been a bandit blockade? At least with bandits I could have bribed my way through. There’s no bribing a sabrecat, though. Unless…
Success! My bribe worked. I paid the sabrecat with a few arrows and he let me pass right on by. I’ll have to remember that. A minute of walking later, and the stronghold of Dushnikh Yal comes into sight, and I enter through the gates. I see someone wearing the head of a bear and briefly panic, thinking that it might be a Forsworn. But as I approach, An Orc woman turns to greet me instead. I should have figured. The Forsworn must be too weak to kill bears, hence why they only wear deer clothing. All deer do is run away when you attack them.
Her name is Murbul, the stronghold’s apothecary. I decline her offer to buy Orc poisons but talk to the Chief on her recommendation.
Chief Burguk reminds me a lot of my father. He is way too concerned with fighting, and entirely too sure of himself. So sure, in fact, that he challenges me to a fist fight. Not being an idiot, I choose not to fight with the Chief. Of course, when father was on the mead, I didn’t always have that choice. I was always quick, but father was usually able to catch me by grabbing hold of my long hair, which is why I started shaving it all off. Yes, I am bald by choice. Maybe one day I’ll be ready to grow it out again. I compliment the chief on his stronghold, and take leave of him so I can see the rest of it. I see a female Orc blacksmith tending to her forge and it makes me miss Ghorza.
Gharol is the forge-wife of Chief Burguk, one out of three wives he has. This is why Ghorza told me she didn’t want to live in a stronghold. She didn’t want to become a forge-wife to some Orc chief. It is a detestable tradition. Monogamy may not be perfect, but polygamy just complicates things too much. To make conversation, I ask Gharol if she ever trades weapons to the Nords. Her answer is that it seldom happens. She tells me that Orc weapons are very personal things. She says anger, regret, pride are all things that get put into their steel. I am fascinated and touched by this concept. This is a side of Orcish blacksmithing I have never been exposed to. Now I want to make my very own mace from my people’s steel. I have so much that I could pour into my work: determination, resolve, happiness and sadness, loneliness, hope, fear and love, just to name a few. I shall harvest the Oricalchum ore from the mine here in the stronghold, smelt it into ingots, then I will transfer my essence into the metal and craft a beautiful mace that is the product of my life’s journey up to this moment.
I hurriedly collect as much ore as I can carry, and take it to the smelter. I have many ingots, maybe enough to even craft a new set of armor. When I try to make my mace at the forge, I find that I just can’t get it right, no matter how hard I try. I simply do not yet possess the necessary skill to bend this metal to my will, no matter how intensely I want to. No matter, though. My skill at smithing has only risen since coming to Skyrim, so I know that one day soon I will be wielding my mace aloft with the blood of
many bunnies my enemies painting its shiny green metal. When my skill is high enough, I will journey back to this stronghold to forge my mace.
I’m not too impressed by the chief of this stronghold, but thanks to coming here, I have rediscovered a little of what it means to be an Orc. Perhaps I had gotten too out of touch with my roots. Perhaps I was trying to. But I realize now that it’s unwise to try to abandon who you are at your very core. Though I may not always act like it, I am an Orc. An unconventional, occasionally cowardly Orc. I’m even starting to see the appeal of living in a stronghold. Everything you need is in here. What you can’t find within its walls, you can hunt and scavenge from the vast lands around it. There is a certain beauty to its simplicity.
I am reluctant to leave my fellow Orcs after getting back in touch with my inner-Orc-self, but Whiterun is waiting. Before I leave the stronghold I speak with the Orc who has been furiously hacking away at a training dummy the whole time I’ve been here.
Ghorbash the Iron Hand is his name. He tells me he misses his days of wandering the corners of Skyrim. Maybe that’s what his constant hacking is about; dealing with the stress of being cooped up here. I can’t say I miss my wandering days too much, but I also wouldn’t want to feel obligated to stay in one place. In a moment of inspiration, I ask him to travel with me, and tell him about my plan to retrieve King Olaf’s Verse from Dead Men’s Respite. Ghorbash tells me he couldn’t, that it would dishonor the place the chief has made for him, but I hear the longing in his voice. I resort to using my unparalleled logic. But you just said you missed traveling. A few moments go by, but then he admits to talking in circles and tells me, “My axe is yours.” Just like that, I have a willing participant to journey with me, and not one whose loyalty I have to pay for. All I had to do was remind him of something he’d already said. With my brain and his brawn, Dead Men’s Respite is looking less impossible now. But just like the mercenary I met in Markarth, it is not time to have traveling companions. When I feel I am ready, I will come back and hire the mercenary, and gather up Ghorbash.
After leaving the stronghold and traveling for some time, I run into another Orc, and some of his handiwork.
I don’t know how he’s done it, but this bad ass of Orcs has managed to kill two sabrecats in up-close combat. I had to use arrows and stay way the hell back to take down the only sabrecat I’ve killed. Needless to say, I’m pretty impressed. But after talking to the old Orc, I don’t know what to feel. This aged Orc is still highly formidable, and still has many years left he can live, but requests that I face him in combat so that he may have a good death while he still can. When I decline, he gets mad and tells me to go away so that I don’t interfere with anyone that comes along that can offer him the death he is waiting for. Even if I think I stood a chance against such a stout warrior, I don’t think I could ever bring myself to kill someone for such a reason. That is another Orcish belief that I just don’t agree with. I personally am not interested in throwing my life away any earlier than I have to. It is with much perplexity that I step back onto the road.
I have been so engrossed in my own thoughts that I hardly noticed the darkening sky. I am tired, hungry, and need to find somewhere to stay for the night. And as luck would have it, I spot what looks to be an inn across the river. I follow the road till it crosses over and confirm that it is indeed an inn. I’m starting to get suspicious of all this good luck.
I have stumbled across Old Hroldan Inn, an inn where Tiber Septim supposedly stayed once. I talk to the innkeeper about renting a room, and she happily tells me I get to stay in the bed that Tiber Septim (supposedly) slept in. I feel like asking her how she really knows he slept here so many hundreds of years ago, but I’m really not in the mood for a long-winded explanation, so I bite my tongue. Who am I to try to steal her thunder? Besides, one day, Old Hroldan Inn will be known for when I stayed there once. The following morning I awake to a scream. I think it was the innkeeper’s so I dash out to see what’s going on. She tells me that she thought she saw a ghost. I’m ready to say something sardonic when I just happen to glance back and – GHOST!
The damn woman didn’t say anything about it still being here. I hide behind a column and peer out. Yep, still there. Alright, innkeeper lady, thanks for the room and everything, but I gotta be going now. Good luck! I speed out the door and put impressive distance between me and the inn. Sheesh, I nearly jumped out of my armor back there. I had no idea ghosts existed or…drank alcohol? Wait, am I remembering that correctly? Did I really see it drinking?
Yep, my Orc memory definitely remembers it drinking. Best to just put it out of my mind I think. And what better way to do that than running across a group of merry-makers?
I go from one mystery to the next. Why are these men getting wasted so early in the morning? They all clearly have a drinking problem, but I have no problem accepting their gift of a Honningbrew Mead. I DON’T have a drinking problem, but when in Skyrim, and after you’ve seen your first ghost, do as the Skyrimians do, and get drunk in the wee hours of the morning. Bottoms up!
I have noticed a certain trend since coming to Skyrim. Something bad happens, I distract myself till I forget about said bad thing, then something else will happen, undoing my previous work. In this case, I was very put off by seeing an actual ghost. To distract myself, I drank some mead and did a little hunting, as it were. Now, an assassin has just tried to take my life. Luckily, Meeko sniffed out her intentions and ran up to attack her before I could get to her. Meeko did such a great job, all I had to do was whack her once with my mace and down she went.
I rifle through the would-be assassin’s pockets till I find this:
Well that’s just disturbing. Why would anyone want me dead? I haven’t done anything to anyone, unless you count accidentally sodomizing that wolf back there. Maybe it was giant child. I always knew she had it in for me. Okay, it probably wasn’t giant child, but I still don’t trust her. One thing’s for certain, though; I’m glad I have Meeko with me. Who’s a good dog? Yes, you’re a good dog. Alright, boy, you can stop barking now. Don’t make me take it back. When I look up from rubbing Meeko’s tummy, I notice what I was too distracted to notice before: Whiterun.
Before I get to Whiterun, I hone my archery skill by thinning out the surrounding deer and elk population, killing two in a row.
I take aim for a third but stop. That’s not a deer. Meeko and I move in closer and are surprised to see a lone horse. There’s no saddle, so I wonder if it’s wild? I cautiously approach the horse, but it doesn’t run away. It turns and looks at me, seemingly judging my intentions. I stop moving and meet its gaze. After a while of just looking into each other’s eyes, the horse breaks contact first and seems to be at ease. I have little experience with horses, and am not fans of them in general, but this horse is different. I wonder if it will let me ride it. I stroke its mane and pat its muscular side, then I heave myself up onto its back, expecting it to spring forward. It doesn’t though. It’s just as calm as it was before.
I take the horse in a wide circle around the area. It is very responsive to my touch, even without the use of reigns. I feel free when I am riding this horse. I can only describe it as the horse’s spirit mingling with the wild spirit of all Orc’s that I just recently got back in touch with. Would the horse have still let me ride it had I not tapped back into my roots? I can’t know. But I do know that this horse and I seem to belong together. I dismount. You need a name. I determine that the horse is female, and after some deliberation, I decide on Karinda. [ the actual name of the horse, mind you. ] You are my horse now, Karinda. It seems to understand. I hop onto her back again, and we gallop up to the great gates of Whiterun.
Whoops, it’s not Wednesday anymore. The combination of the horse-buying glitch paired with my awful work schedule made this post difficult to get out on time, and again, I apologize. I am still planning on posting again this Wednesday, though.
I have created a new section on my blog called Extras. I encourage all of you all to check it out. It is where I am putting extra screenshots with captions that I don’t have a place for in my regular posts. There’s also a couple of other things on Extras that I am planning to do that are not not related to screenshots. Let me know what you think about the new page and content over there.
Lastly, I had a great amount of fun reading your all’s witty/cheesy/corny Orcish pick-up lines for the caption contest. There were a lot of good ones, but Pyrelle’s pick-up line won. You can check it out over here. This is a good segue because I wanted to recommend that you all read Pyrelle’s blog. It’s called The Misadventures of Zander. Zander is a new arrival to Skyrim, and will be living life as an NPC just like Grawnk and Nordrick and Nondrick before him. It’s very good so far, so I encourage you to show your support to him as well. See you all soon. – Kit
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