[Below is my narration for this entry.]
It’s been several hours since we left Whiterun, and we’ve been traveling non-stop, save for that incident with the thief where I totally wasn’t helpless. I’m pretty hungry, so I propose we stop for a bit to eat something. I get no complaints from Ghorbash, but Jenassa is resistant, and feels the need to make a hurtful comment likening me to a princess. She does relent, however, and we pull off the road to a clearing. While we’re taking a break, I decide to share what I’ve come up with in the past few hours for my commemorative composition.
I preface my performance by stating that this is just a first attempt, and is not finished, and to not be too harsh, I say, turning to look just at Jenassa. “No Promises.” Eh, close enough. I start.
If not listening to the song, this is meant to be sung to the tune of the Morrowind Theme Music.
Spent my life, Waiting for this.
Now it’s here, What is it I fear?
Moving on, From my past?
From all that, I have known?
Casting off what has made me so weak before now,
Across the land, I must go,
Over mountains, through the snow.
To the towns, And the halls,
Where my voice, can be heard.
I must make sure the legends live on, through my song,
When I put down my notes, I am happy that I have at least not had fruit thrown at me during the performance. I have found that to be an early indicator of whether a song is bad or not. However, that was really just in the stronghold growing up, and come to think of it, not even always when I was singing. My Orc peers were not very kind.
I nervously look up to face my audience. “Not bad, old chap, exclaims Ghorbash, but it’s sorely lacking in violence, and women…and violent women.” A glazed look spreads across his face as Ghorbash seems to get lost in his thoughts. My chuckle is cut short when Jenassa cuts in: “You better put as much effort into fighting as you do composing songs, or you won’t even have a head left to sing with. Coming from Jenassa, that sounds dangerously close to a compliment, but I keep that to myself.
“Well, we have tarried here long enough. The undead, I guarantee you, will not be kind enough to let you rest. We leave in five minutes.” I thank Jenassa for the reminder as I shudder to myself at the thought of fighting undead. I pack away all my notes, gather my gear, and join everyone back on the road.
A few hours of trekking across the countryside later, and we come upon a panoramic vista of the land. Jenassa thinks it will be a good spot to make camp. When I mention that it’s only mid-day, and question why we are already making camp, my head is promptly thwacked by Jenassa. Seriously, you’d think I’d have learned by now to keep my big green mouth shut around her.
Rubbing the back of my poor, tender head, I mutter some choice words about Jenassa under my breath while unpacking the camping gear. Some of the choices included words like “screw” and “you.” Ghorbash, walking by, asks, “Who do you want to screw?” I look around in a panic, trying to locate the blazing pair of eyes, but to my relief, Jenassa is out of earshot gathering firewood. We’re going to have to work on your social skills I mutter to Ghorbash. His expression shows puzzlement, then quickly returns to normal. Clearly, Ghorbash feels like he is doing fine in that department all on his own.
With camp being set up now, Jenassa explains that Dead Men’s Respite is only a couple hours away, but there’s no telling how long it will take to get through it, so it’s best to journey in at the start of the day while we are all still well-rested. Your plan makes sense, I tell her. I’ve waited this long; another half-day won’t kill me. Tomorrow might be a different story, though, I think to myself.
Ghorbash must have sensed my inner-reflecting, because he heartily claps my shoulder and says, “Now lad, I know what you’re thinking, and you can’t worry about what tomorrow brings. I didn’t let you persuade me to leave my life behind just to let you die now, did I? Anyone trying to get to you, has gotta go through me first; and I don’t care if they’re still sucking air, or if they’re lifeless, undead bastards! I’ll kill ’em all! Hell, we may not even have to. Jenny here could prob’ly just give ’em that special look of hers, and they’ll go tearing off in the other direction. So don’t you worry – by Malacath, we’ll get you that book so you can sing your songs, or, be a bard, or whatever it is you wanted to do!”
I am genuinely overcome with courage by Ghorbash’s sudden show of support, and thank him profusely for his inspiring speech. I feel much better now about tomorrow’s prospects, knowing Ghorbash will be by my side. Jenny, I mean, Jenassa, is not too thrilled about Ghorbash’s new nick name for her, though, and decides to make that known.
“My name is not ‘Jenny,’ shouts Jenassa, practically spitting out the word. It is Jenassa, and if you cannot call me who I properly am, then I will cut out your tongue so you can’t even talk at – ”
“Oh, would you sod off already, interjects Ghorbash. Yes, yes, you’re mean and scary, and we should all fear you way more than what’s inside Dead Men’s Respite. But you know what, Jenny? I think you’re a lot less scary than you’re letting on. I think something happened to you, that turned you into a total bitch, and just because you’re miserable, doesn’t mean you have to make everyone else around you miserable, too. So why don’t you tell us exactly what happened to you so we can actually try and help you, rather than hide from you?!
Time seemed to slow down while I was listening to Ghorbash telling Jenassa off. I was frozen still, my jaw dropping lower and lower as the harsh, but long-overdue words poured out of Ghorbash. My eyes, being the only thing it seems I can move, dart from Ghorbash, back to Jenassa. She is standing at full height, her whole frame trembling with rage. Ghorbash is standing at his full height too, his eyes calm, but challenging.
Jenassa’s mouth moves, but only indistinct sounds are made. Finally, she manages to say “you” with so much venom and contempt that it makes my blood run cold. In one deft movement, she draws her bow, nocks an arrow, then shoots at Ghorbash. Not even being the target, my cowardly instincts kick in, and I duck down, but Ghorbash doesn’t even flinch, allowing the arrow to graze the side of his head, drawing blood, but not causing any major injury. Jenassa jumps on her horse, then takes off in the direction we came from as I look up from my crouched position, dumbfounded at what just happened.
Ghorbash, I stammer. You didn’t even move. She would have killed you if she hadn’t have missed. “She didn’t miss,” Ghorbash calmly replied. “I knew she wasn’t going to kill me. I could see it in her eyes. And I saw something else in them, too.” What else did you see, I ask. “Pain: and a great, heaping lot of it too. Whatever happened to her is eating away at her insides, and if she doesn’t talk about it with someone, it’ll eventually consume her.”
Again, I find myself shocked at the amount of depth that Ghorbash possesses, but even more shocked by something else, so I have to ask. Why do you even care what happens with Jenassa? She’s been nothing but cruel and unforgiving to us this whole time. “Because, replies Ghorbash. Because everyone deserves a chance at happiness. Who are we to say that she should never be happy?”
“Do you think she has friends to talk with? Someone to chat with when she’s feeling down? No. She goes from one job to the next, putting her sword through people and things for coin. She has no friends – no one to ask her if she’s doing alright. She is completely alone. And if you never learn anything else from me, learn this; You won’t survive this world if you only rely on yourself. We aren’t meant to be alone – just not cut out for it. You need to have someone who cares enough to listen, and who will actually ‘give a shit’ for you.”
Ghorbash’s words sting. I can’t believe how caught up with my own life I was that I would completely overlook someone else’s. And I thought I was an atypical Orc. You’re completely right, I say. Jenassa does deserve to be happy, but what does it matter now anyway? She’s gone, and we’ll never see her again.
“Maybe, but I doubt it. I think she needs some time to herself to think, but she’ll be back.” Ghorbash laughs to himself before continuing. “I don’t think she’s ever had anyone get so cheeky with her before.”
I tell Ghorbash that I can’t believe he did either. My mind having calmed down a bit, I question Ghorbash: So where is all this coming from? You grew up in a stronghold surrounded by other Orcs, but yet you talk of being alone like you experienced it firsthand.
“Aye, and that I did. You’re right, I did grow up in the stronghold, but then the Legion came around, and gave me an opportunity to fight with them, and at the time, I just wanted to see more of the world, so I agreed. I fought for the the Legion for a few years, never questioning anything about what I was doing. Well, I won’t go into details, but I found out that the Legion was not as honorable as they’d have you believe. They are in bed with a pretty nasty bunch called the Thalmor, and what they are doing just isn’t right. You might’ve have seen ’em around with their fancy black robes, high cheekbones, and stick-up-the-arse attitude.”
Yes, I have seen the Thalmor, but what does this have to do with you being alone?
“Well, the more I learned about what the Legion was doing on behalf of the Thalmor, the more I knew I couldn’t be a part of it anymore, so one morning while the rest of my troop was sleeping, I packed up my belongings and got the hell out. And well, it’s a long story, but I’ll give you the short version. I was going to go back to the stronghold, but I decided against it. I had unwittingly participated in some pretty awful things during my time with the Legion, so I spent a year trying to atone for it by traveling around, helping folks out when I could. And all the while, I was completely alone. I met some fine people too who tried to get me to open up, but I shut ’em down every time. Luckily, toward the end of the year, I met someone who did finally get through to me, and I’m forever in her debt. After another month or so, I finally returned home to my family, happy not to be alone anymore.”
I’ve got my demons too. Maybe I’ll tell Ghorbash about my mother and father if we actually survive this thing. Opening up seems to be the theme of the week, after all. I thank Ghorbash for sharing his story with me.
“You’re welcome, Lad. Well I’ve talked enough for one day, and I’m sick of hearing myself. Grawnk, my friend, let’s get plastered.”
Ghorbash then produces several large bottles of mead and I gladly accept the one he is proffering to me. With both our bottles uncorked, Ghorbash holds his bottle high up in the air while exclaiming, “To new friendships,” then clinks his bottle with mine as we both proceed to empty the contents down our throats.
Hello, everyone. So, the short answer for my hiatus is that I got burnt out on writing and playing Skyrim itself. 800 + hours in the game will do that to you, I guarantee. I can’t say for certain if I’ll be keeping up with posts, but I found myself in the writing mood recently and wanted to revisit Grawnk and company. I hope you enjoy.
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