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Return to Orsinium

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Lady N's picture
Joined: 06/26/2010

Author - Apalethe

Find them in Elder Scrolls Online as @SmallCritter


An account of Ormalg One-Arm, retired Legionnaire and resident of the new Province of Orsinium.

“Welcome home, brother.”

It sure didn’t look like a home. Half-constructed buildings, throngs of ragged orcs, rough shelters thrown together for those yet without the means for a stone roof. A far cry from the neat barracks of the Legion, prided by the Empire for their tidiness and efficient design.

Taking my gaze off the bleak scenery, I glanced at the orc in front of me. His eyes dart from side to side, observant even in conversation. He didn’t have the excessive musculature of the other Orsimer typical of the region, but he sported a wiry frame suggesting a decent amount of stamina. A body not of the kind trained for battle, but one that is accustomed to sneaking or running on a moment’s whim. Not the most reliable type for a tour guide, but it’s not like I had been given any other option.

“My name’s Ragdul. I’ll be showing you around today.” His mouth formed a smile, his eyes eager. It struck me that this was probably not a free service. “You’re an ex-Legionnaire, eh? Must’ve been cold over in Skyrim...well, not like it’s much warmer up ‘ere in the Dragontail’s. Let’s start with your living arrangements, shall we?”
I grunted, not being one for small-talk. Ragdul takes out a crumpled piece of paper covered with hasty scribbles, likely a note from a clan head or masonry leader. With a motion of his hand, he beckoned me to follow him into the new Orsinium.

Every orc kid knows the stories. Of the Orsinium of old, the great city of the pariahs. How the great heroes - Torug the Great, Chief Bazrag, Gortwog the King - rallied our people over the ages to build, again and again, a place to call home. How we faced a hostile world and stood unflinching, repelling the hatred with blood and steel. I’m not one for fables, of course. Orsinium never lasted for long, and to this day even the most obsessive of scholars struggle to uncover the true nature of this orcish “city-state”. But it’s nice to dream, and I’d be lying if I said that invitation for the “Orsinium of Today” wasn’t a damn enticing one. Besides, it’s not like I had anywhere else to go, with my arm lost and the war in the north over. And dragons? You can be sure I’m done with that kind of trouble.

Though not the most elegant of cities, there is one thing to this Orsinium’s name: it’s big. By Mauloch’s breath, it is BIG. And I’m not just talking about the buildings, though some of them make those “grand” clan strongholds look like a pigsty in Morthal. It’s the sheer size of everything, of the city itself. The construction spreads out as far as the eye can see, covering mountains and valleys alike. Those agriculturally-inclined orcs, having brought hardy crops from High Rock, scurry around with their wagons, setting up farms on the steppes. Stonemasons and smiths laboriously shape materials into crude, but effective walls. There’s even the occasional Imperial merchant, hoping to cash in on the hustle and bustle. They say this place is being built
on the ruins of an old orc stronghold, but you’d never be able to tell. Heck, maybe in a few years it’ll actually look like more of a city than Ulfric’s Windhelm.

After showing me my quarters and a cursory tour of the surrounding area, Ragdul stopped in front of a large building. Roars of laughter echoed from inside its stone walls, and a crowd struggled to enter the all-too-narrow door. Rowdy music, the smell of raw beer, and the faint sound of cracking skulls? Not sure what I expected from an orcish tavern, but this definitely wasn’t far off the mark.

He turned to me and broke into the wry smile I was all too familiar with already.

“So, a toast to the arrival of our newest friend?”

How could I turn him down?

We drank, hollered, and sung until the crack of dawn. And joining us was every kind of orc imaginable - I’m pretty sure I got a glimpse of an old forge-wife winning an arm wrestle after downing a whole barrel of Betnikh ale. I even exchanged tales with some ol’ Legion orcs, who served far before my time. But what was by far the most interesting was the entering of a few gloomy elves.

In they came, with their trademark gilded black hoods and extravagant swords on their belts. I’ve seen many a Thalmor, and as much of their zeal, in my years through Cyrodil to Skyrim. Thankfully I was recruited after the treaty, and never had to face their magic, but their attitude tends to be enough to scorch. This group here in Orsinium was likely sent on a mission to scout out the new province, perhaps to check on a potential threat, and it certainly was clear that they were not having a good time. Must’ve been really down to consider even stepping foot in a tavern brimming full of drunken orcs.

As the rest of the group looked around with disgust, the leader walked up to the counter, his face as sullen as the Sea of Ghosts. No more than five minutes later, his face is flush red, as indignant as the barkeep entertained. He vaguely yelled something about ‘beastmen’ and ‘burning down this shack’, but I barely heard him over the cheers and laughter of the crowd. With the intensifying situation, one of his guards pushes an orc that’s gotten too close. Poor sod, never knew what was coming. You never want to provoke a fight, especially in the presence of orcs and alcohol. Unless of course, you’re one of the orcs with alcohol. That’s when the fun’s about to begin.

A punch from behind sends the Aldmeri sprawling. Before his friends can unsheath their weapons, the entire establishment is in chaos. The ex-Legionnaires so happily chatting turned upon each other with an almost childlike glee. The forge-wife stood mightily on a table, knocking the lights out of any unfortunate soul straying near. And Ragdul? In all my years in the Imperial army, I’ve never seen anyone run as fast as that orc did that night.

Heh, it seems like I just might get used to this place after all.

Lady N's picture
Joined: 06/26/2010

This piece was written for our 20th anniversary fan art contest! It is strictly property of its original creator - you may not modify, publish, or redistribute it without explicit permission from the artist.