An Orc’s Life, Part 9: The Oral Hygiene Evangelist

While I am dismounting Karinda, I hear Meeko barking in the distance, and finally, he catches up to me. We need to get you your own horse, don’t we boy? I laugh at my own joke, but it’s lost on Meeko. Dogs have such poor senses of humor. Right. New town, new opportunities. So, my animal companions, what awaits me in this great city; this testament to modern architecture, this monument to man’s achievements, this – huh? A Whiterun guard has approached, and interrupted my attempt at a poetic moment with my dog and horse.

Whiterun guards hate it when you wax poetic.

Apparently, I can’t come in because the city is closed on account of there being dragons about. I just laugh at the guard. This is the most farfetched attempt at extortion I think I’ve ever seen. No matter, though. I’m used to having to bribe people. I place a sack of gold coins into his hand, and what do you know, he gives me his permission to enter. I guess the gold made the dragons go away. Maybe he can get some less tacky armor with my gold.

Given my track record with entering new cities, I’m concerned about what may be lurking on the other side of those gates. So far, I’ve seen an execution and a murder. What’s left to see at this point? A dragon? Again, I crack myself up at my own joke, but as I’m walking toward the gates, a troubling thought occurs to me. When I was in Morthal, I observed what I thought at the time to be a gigantic bird. As far as I know, no bird of that size exists anywhere in Tamriel. Could that have actually been a dragon I saw? What am I saying? Dragons don’t exist. That guard just wanted to make a quick Septim. I put the thought out of my head and concentrate instead on bracing myself for whatever murder and/or deathsecution waits on the other side of the gates.

How odd. Nothing but normality greets me on the other side. I’m almost disappointed.

Hey murder, if you’re hiding somewhere, stay hidden.

Regardless of not spotting any immediate violence, I keep my guard up and my mace ready. After several minutes of walking around, I accept that Whiterun seems to be (so far) violence and baggage-free. What a concept. I might have to stay here for a while.

After taking a self-guided tour of the city, I spot a beautiful building which must be where the Jarl lives.

Dragonsreach would make for a great episode of “MTV Cribs.”

Yet again I am interrupted. The whole time I was trying to take in the sights, this preacher guy named Heimskr was prattling on about Talos. Not that I have anything against anyone’s religion, but this guy is seriously annoying the hell out of me. There’s not even anyone around to preach to except for Meeko and me. I decide to try and beat Heimskr at his own game. I turn and face the public Meeko, and start preaching about the importance of practicing good oral hygiene.

Human advice to kids: Brushing twice a day keeps the cavities away!
Orc advice to kids: Take care of your teeth or I’ll beat you.

Trying to match the same vigor as Heimskr, I recite the steps of proper tooth polishing that my mother drilled into me as a wee Orcling. Heimskr yells something, so I yell too; To make a tooth shine, make fast circular motions with the cloth around both sides of the tooth! Leave the herb paste on your tooth so that it will whiten it overnight! Don’t forget to grind down your teeth occasionally or they’ll get too big and cause you pain!

I guess Heimskr wins. I eventually get bored, and give up. I need to find an inn with a bed. I bet Heimskr doesn’t even sleep. I locate The Bannered Mare, a cozy little inn with a nice atmosphere, rent a room, and fall asleep.

I eat a hasty breakfast after waking up because I am eager to start training. I leave through the door full of purpose and excited to get started. Once outside, I take a step forward but then stop. Hmm. Where to start? I guess I never even came up with a plan to train. I don’t think I even know how to train. Hard to believe, I know, but I spent my whole life with my nose buried in  books, or composing songs or poetry. I think my physique alone should prove my complete lack of knowledge regarding training.

One thought does come to mind. Aside from teaching me about good oral hygiene, my mother also taught me how to be a blacksmith. I feel like I’ve really come into my own as a blacksmith lately, and I know I can get even better. It may not be fighting, but I’ll need better armor and weapons to survive my quest. That’s a good plan. I will concentrate on my blacksmithing before anything else. I passed a blacksmith’s shop on my way in, so I believe I will start there.

I introduce myself to the smith, Adrianne Avenicci, and survey the area where I will be spending my waking hours in Whiterun for the next few days.

It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I’ll be taking all your supplies and gold now.

Having a fairly large supply of gold, I’m able to buy all of Adrianne’s stock of iron and steel ingots. With all the leather from wolves, deer, elk, and other animal hides, I’m able to make plenty of leather strips. With those three components alone, I’m able to make most anything I want. I start churning out pieces of armor, axes, maces, swords, anything I can think of to make. Adrianne soon runs out of gold, while mine only increases. I go into the shop and clean out the guy’s supply of iron and steel ingots as well. I work feverishly for the next few hours, not even stopping to eat or drink, because the more I work, the more I can feel my skill and technique building.

As I am putting the finishing touches on an iron sword, Meeko reminds me that he is still here, and that he is bored by barking. Fine, boy, I’ll take you for a walk. I guess I kind of needed a break anyway. I am rather hungry. I pig out on salted meats but have a carrot to make up for it. I pat myself on the back for eating healthy. Alright, Meeko, let’s tire you out so you don’t have the energy to annoy me. The steps leading up to the Jarl’s place aught to do the trick. Naturally I only succeed in tiring myself out, so Meeko waits patiently for me before we go back down.

Meeko, this is your kingdom.

This is my routine for the next few days. I wake up, buyout all the ingots and smithing supplies from all the vendors/smiths, and craft then sell my equipment till the light of the day has disappeared. One unintended but welcome side effect from my constant smithing has been the skill at which I haggle with the vendors. I have been selling so much that I have been able to talk them down on their prices. It doesn’t hurt having the tongue of a bard, either.

My aptitude in smithing has increased so much that I am able to craft myself a set of shiny, exotic-looking Dwarven armor. But that’s not all. My unending commitment to the forge over the past few days has me feeling confident that I can now create material out of Oricalchum: my people’s steel. Night has already fallen when I come to this conclusion, but I can’t sleep with that knowledge. I must set out for Dushnikh Yal at once. With my new Dwarven armor on, I am ready for a long night of traveling. I’m not certain if Karinda and Meeko can say the same.

Time for a mandatory family vacation, guys.

Well, it was a long, emphasis on long, night but we finally made it to Dusnikh Yal right as the sun was coming up. I say a warm hello to my fellow groggy Orcs as they filter out of the longhouse. I am waiting for one Orc in particular, though: Gharol. When she finally does emerge, and sidles over to the forge, I tell her I have returned to forge my mace and perhaps a new set of armor as well.

On the journey over here I was thinking about what all I would pour of myself into this mace. I haven’t been in Skyrim that long, but it feels like I’ve been here for four months. So many experiences, so many emotions.

For protection from the heat, I wear a big metal helmet, you know, like a smart person…

I pick up the hammer. I bring it down. Crash The nervous anxiety I felt on my boatride to Dawnstar. Crash the disturbing exhilaration I experienced when I killed those bandits, the first time I’d ever taken a life. Crash The extreme panic and terror of coming face to face with the Frost Troll. Crash The unadulterated hope I felt when I first set out for Solitude. Crash The mind-numbing, blinding depression I went through when I lost all that hope. Crash The bitter complacency that my dreams would never be realized that I had when I was wandering. Crash The passion that rose up out of me when I first glimpsed Ghorza. CRASH The almost too painful return of my emotions after going so long without feeling anything. CRASH When ambition and confidence came flooding back into me, reforging me, making me whole again. crash The realization that nothing will get in the way of me becoming a bard.

I look down at my hands through sweat and tears and see that I’m no longer holding raw materials. The mace sits finished in my grasp. A thing of beauty, its green metal shines brightly from the light of the forge. Green like me.

Imagine if every other race made their weapons to match their skin tone.

I’m impressed by my work. In the last few days I’ve made hundreds of pieces, but none please me as much as this mace. I did what I set out to do. I put part of myself into the mace. Forged by my emotions, I can’t tell where my hand ends and the mace begins. It is a part of me now. This is very bad news for the bandit and Forsworn population of Skyrim.

I know it’s not traditional to name Orcish weapons, but after the way I forged it, my mace feels too alive not to give it a name. I don’t want the name of my mace to be something I come up with off the top of my head, so I walk  up the hill to the mine so I can look down upon the stronghold and think. After an hour of meditating, trying to capture the true essence of my mace in a word, I finally arrive upon it. Rather, it makes itself known to me, and when I realize it, I belt it out: Molyngar! [ pronounced: mall-in-gar ] The mace seems to hum, as if it heard me calling, and is answering. There’s either something mystical going on with that, or I am so sleep-deprived that I’m imagining it.Either way, this shall make a fine song one day. The tale of Grawnk and his legendary mace, Molyngar.

I really am feeling exhausted, so I find my buddy, Ghorbash, and borrow his key to the longhouse. I find the nearest bedroll and collapse on it, falling asleep with Molyngar in my hand. I only sleep for two hours, but I feel much better. I have many ingots leftover, so I take the time to craft myself a set of Orcish armor. I don’t craft the armor like I did with Molyngar, but when I’m finished, I know it’s my favorite armor yet. It doesn’t hurt that it matches my skin.

Come at me, bro! (sorry, couldn’t resist)

Again, I am sad to leave the stronghold, but I have more training to complete back in Whiterun. The day after I arrive back in Whiterun, I decide to go riding around the countryside, looking for mines or other supplies I could use for smithing. Instead, I find a mammoth, who I accidentally provoke by riding too close to. Maybe it’s the new armor/mace, or maybe it’s me being indignant of the mammoth getting mad at me for simply riding too close to it, but I decide to practice my hunting skills on it.

Mammoths: the Skyrim equivalent of the broad side of a barn.

By the time it dies, it looks more like a wooly pincushion. Also, it’s a small wonder it didn’t flatten Meeko, because he was nipping at its legs the whole time.

People harvest mammoth snout to make mammoth steak. Me? I tend to avoid meats that were previously lined with pounds of snot and bogeys.

Up close, I realize just how big this thing is. Damn. If it hadn’t tried to kill me for no reason, I might feel sorry about killing it…but I don’t. The mouth of a cave opens up just ahead of me.

If Lydia were here, she’d inform me that she has a bad feeling about this. Oh Lyds.

It doesn’t look like a mine, but it might still hold some vital supplies in it. I wouldn’t ordinarily poke around in strange caves, but my new armor and Molyngar have me feeling a little braver, so I cross the threshold.

Hey Meeko, it’s so dark in here, I bet you couldn’t even see your paw in front of your face. *smack* Haha, gullible dog.

The incredible amount of opaque saturation is enough to make me turn back around, but luckily I came prepared.

Travel Lantern to the rescue! Hands-free lighting ftw! (download the mod)

Much better. Now what mysteries/supplies do you hold, cave?

Apparently, disgusting, dirty, deadly ones.

Somehow, this…thing snuck up out of nowhere, and managed to shoot an arrow at me without me ever seeing it. My revulsion to this hideous thing is overridden by my anger. I draw out Molyngar and make this creature pay for its mistake.

You don’t look like anything else I’ve seen, but all I care about is that you die like everything else.

I’m pretty sure I collapse its entire rib cage with the might of Molyngar. After that, my memory is fuzzy because I flew into a berserker rage. I remember delving deeper into the cave, and running into more of those creatures. They were no match for me. I swiped their bodies against the wall with surprising ease. I vaguely recall passing through a door and when my memory starts to return, I am getting ravaged by the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen. It’s like a mix between a spider, scorpion, and a beetle. I try to flee, but Meeko is behind me and I can’t get over him. Move you damn dog! I feel myself slipping away. I uncork and drink a couple of potions to stay conscious. All the while, the insect-like monster attacks me, occasionally spraying me with acidic venom. I finally slip around Meeko through the narrow corridor and run as fast as my broken body will carry me.

♪ Brave Sir Robin ran away. ♪

I don’t stop running till I’m outside the cave, bathed in precious sunlight. That was the closest to death I’ve ever come in my entire life. Tis an odd thing being that close to death. Any pain you were experiencing starts to fade away, and you almost welcome it. Luckily my bard brain was still working well enough to guide my hands to the potions. One thing is for certain; if I had had my old armor on, I would be dead.

Something equally unnerving is the Berserker Rage, an ability known only by my race. More traditional Orcs learn over time how to control the Rage, and release it at their will, but this is only the second time it’s ever happened to me. It is usually triggered by powerful emotions, like my surprise-turned-fury when I was attacked by that creature. As scary as it was not having control of my own body, the power was incredible. In time I could learn how to harness this ability, and furthermore retain my sense of control when in the Rage. Another day, though. For now, I need to heal my wounds the best way I know how.

With several pints of strong spirits.

Two pints down and my aches and pains are already dissipating. You know just how to make me better, Dr. Alcohol. Did I say that out loud? Yes you did, now drink more mead. Okay, Dr. Alcohol. Suddenly, I hear a voice say, “Would you like to have a drinking contest?” Oh hello, four-eyed man.

I thought you were Dr. Alcohol for a second.

I decline the four-eyed man’s invitation for a drinking contest, because I may be stupid, but I’m not that drunk…or something…*hiccup* This place is getting old. Go to a new place. Okay, Dr. Alcohol. I love bar hopping as much as the next Orc. I put one wobbly foot in front of the other, and leave the Bannered Mare. I know there is another bar around here somewhere – oh there it is, the Drunken Stuntsman. I wonder what kind of stunts they perform?

Probably publicity stunts.

Inside, I meet the most pleasant Mercenary named Jenassa.

Hope you don’t mind if I drink in front of you. Dr.’s orders.

Jenassa and I chat about the semantics of being called a mercenary for a while, and I’m about to tell her I want to hire her services when –

Oops, sorry about that. The floor seems to have suddenly become *hic* slippery.

That’s better. Floor’s not slippery anymore, but someone should really do something about the spinning walls.


Wow, okay. I’ll hire you another day, Jenassa, when these floors aren’t so wet. I think I need to sit down.


I sit in this coma-trance until the bartender throws me out. Drink more mead. Shut up, Dr. Alcohol, you’re a terrible doctor. It’s raining outside and I am drunk as shit, so I just want to go back to the Bannered Mare and build my room so I can go to sleep. There. Finished. Hmm, room’s smaller than I remember it. Whatever. I’m going to bed. *belch* *zzzzzz*

Goodnight, Grawnk, you drunken warrior bard, you.

So if you didn’t already see where I mentioned it on my last post, my work schedule has been absolute bananas the past week or two, which has left me with very little free time to write this blog. This on top of me already being a very inefficient writer. So, until work settles back down, I can’t guarantee when new posts will come out. No more than two weeks between posts though. However, I’ll be updating stuff to my Extras section, so check that out occasionally.

And one more thing. Scroll back to the top and look at my sidebar. Really do it. “Skyrim Links” is my blogroll with cool people doing other awesome Skyrim stuff. Be sure to check them out because we’re all one big community of Skyrim enthusiasts. Cheers. – Kit

P.S. Grrr X-Box 360 hogging Dawnguard all to yourself

Be sure to follow me on twitter, and here on WordPress, to stay up to date with Grawnk and this blog.

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9 thoughts on “An Orc’s Life, Part 9: The Oral Hygiene Evangelist

    • Yeah, had to google that one, and I can see now why you welcomed Monty Python. That being said, I probably would have loved that show as a kid.

      – update – yeah, Dinosaur Train is now stuck in my head. Guess that’s karma.

      • ::snicker::

        Dinosaur Train has enabled me to get about 65% of my story written so I cannot complain. This morning, however, it’s Iron Man cartoons from the 90s. Soon I’ll have to stop being neglect-o-mom.

  1. I’m glad I am not the only one who thought of Monty Python at that point. As for Dinosaur Train, no sir I won’t look that up I get songs stuck in my head way too easily.

    I am glad to see that the curse of Nordrick did not befall Grawnk. When you made your Dwarven Armor all I was thinking was,”Oh no, Grawnk don’t wear that armor it is cursed!” I thought this the whole time until you made your Orcish Armor which i might add “looks good on you bro, if you know what I mean” (he means it looks sturdy)

    • I love that you thought that about the Dwarven armor because, surprise, I did too. In fact, I felt so superstitious that I continued beefing up Grawnk’s smithing skill so he could make the Orcish armor, which was originally not supposed to be until the next post. And yes, the new armor suits Grawnk rather well.

  2. Great post, I loved the paragraph where he forged his mace, it was really well-written and a nice touch. He and Meeko seem to be getting along just fine too, some funny lines between the two indeed.

    • Why thank you! I shy away from more serious moments in this blog, but I felt that was a good time to implement one. Meeko may be utterly annoying sometimes, both to me and Grawnk, but when all is said and done, it’s great having him around for the companionship and protection.

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