The Cursed Tribe - Chapter 3

  • Chapter 3

    Adal Matar III


    First part of the climb wasn’t actually that bad. Until a snowstorm caught them outside, between the rocks. Yamarz shouted at the brothers: “We need to find shelter!” He wasn't sure they'd heard him, because the roaring winds tore his words from his mouth, dispersing it among the mountains. Snagam looked back at him and waved his hand; Onwards.


    Yamarz growled, pulling his fur cloak closer to his body and growled again, as his muscles cried in pain - his bruises from the fight with Gorgul were only partially healed. His armor was already covered with a dusting of ice and it was quite possible he had already lost his fingers. Well, that was how he felt at least. A few moments ago there was some tingling in his fingers, but now he didn't feel anything. Truth be told, he couldn't even move them.


    They had to find shelter. Soon.


    “We're nearly there!” yelled Azuin from behind Yamarz.


    Where? Yamaraz asked himself. There's nothing here! He was holding a hand before his face to protect his eyes from the wind and snow, shredding his uncovered skin like a hot knife through butter. And then, suddenly, he saw an entrance into a mountain right in front of him.


    And then there was a silence. That is, if he wouldn’t count howling of the blizzard right behind his back, of course.


    Their group was standing in something that looked like a mine. Or a tunnel. In any case, it wasn't a natural cave. It was dark there, but the ice covering the walls and ceiling lit the tunnel up with dim blue light. Snagam lit a torch and Yamarz noticed wooden supports. He noticed the shape of tunnel and observed those supports to be of Orcish design. This tunnel was designed to never collapse, just as any Orcish mine was. Not like those weak humans, whose mines were constantly collapsing.


    “Where are we?” asked Gorgul as Yamarz nodded. He wanted to ask the same question.


    “In Howling Pass,” said Snagam. “That's how we call it at least. There is no way to cross the mountains. We have to go through them.”


    “But who made this tunnel?”


    “We did,” answered Azuin while trying to light his torch.


    Unpleasant thoughts crawled inside Yamarz's skull. How long have they been digging this tunnel? And for what purpose? If Yamarz only knew how long that tunnel actually was… He tried to see if he could move his fingers and felt an uncomfortable tingling in them. Good. At least I don't have to cut them off.


    “Walk carefully, chieftains. And have your hands on your weapons. There are Ice Wraiths and Frost Trolls who'd like to call this place their home. We cleared the tunnel on the way to Skyrim, but they always come back.”


    Yamarz nodded. He would have preferred to stay here and warm himself, but if it wasn't safe, then so be it. He would endure. It was his race's legacy. Endure anything. And if you fall, get back up on your feet again, stronger than before.


    Orcs can't be defeated. Only delayed.

    Contrary to Snagam's warning, they hadn’t encountered any danger while going through the tunnel. And it seemed to Yamarz they had walked for all eternity. How long was it? It was hard to measure time while underground, but Yamarz calculated it was nearly a whole day now. His growling stomach and the lighting of new torches suggested it was really almost a day.


    Gorgul became really grumpy; so much so that he was getting on Yamarz's nerves. He actually had to fight his urge to bring up that dispute about whose sister was a better smith again.


    And then suddenly, there was a light at the end of tunnel. Bright light - the kind of sun light which is falling on the land without being blocked by clouds, the kind which is magnified by a carpet of snow covering the earth. He blinked for a few seconds until his eyes adjusted to that light. He took a deep breath and found out it was somewhat harder to do so. It seemed they were really high in the mountains, because the air was very thick. In front of them stood a simple palisade with a gate in the middle. He noticed an Orc standing on the palisade.


    Snagam waved at him and the gate opened. Their group went through and Yamarz stopped. He noticed Gorgul beside him do the same, both awestruck by the sight in front of them.


    Behind the palisade was a plateau sitting in between the tops of the mountains. And on it...numerous huts made of stone and metal. There were dozens of them, smoke coming from their roofs. They were circular just as any orcish hut was, but larger. At least five Orcs could live in one of those huts.


    Speaking of Orcs, there were more Orcs than Yamarz had ever seen in all his life. Probably. They were walking between the huts, disappearing from sight, only to appear again. There were no streets between these buildings, nor did there seem to be any order. It looked more like a tent city. But to Yamarz's eyes, it was a city.


    “What in the name of Oblivion is that?” muttered Gorgul, standing next to him.


    “This is Adal Matar. Last Stronghold of Morrowind,” said Snagam behind them solemnly.


    There were other figures walking between the huts and Yamarz recognized their dark skin. “Dark Elves!” he said in disbelief.


    “Look at them,” growled Gorgul. “Look at them carefully.”


    Yamarz did so and noticed chains. Chains on their ankles, wrists and necks. “They are slaves,” he said in disgust. Who are these Orcs? No Orc had ever enslaved another being. Orcs were traditionally meant to kill their enemies; not put them in chains!


    Gorgul spat on the ground and turned. “I’ve seen enough.”


    “Wait, chieftain,” Snagam tried to stop him, but gro-Nalzur pushed him aside. “Let our chieftain explain-”


    “Chieftain?” Gorgul snapped in reply. “You mean king. This is an abomination of the Code of Malacath. I have no intentions of allying myself with some Orsinium.”


    “This is not Orsinium. Just-”


    “Seen enough, heard enough,” growled Gorgul and turned on Yamarz. “Are you coming?”


    Gorgul might be right, that this was an abomination of the Code, yet...this “city's” inhabitants were Orcs. He was divided between a sense of tradition and something he never thought he might find in himself. Curiosity.


    “Take me to your chieftain!” he barked at the brothers. “I want an explanation of this.”


    “So be it then,” said Gorgul. “Don't expect any warm welcome in Narzulbur, gro-Largash.” With these words he walked through the gate and Yamarz watched him disappear into the tunnel.


    Was that really necessary, Gorgul? he thought. It seemed that Gorgul had forgotten why they had come here in the first place. What they could gain. But Yamarz hadn’t.


    “Follow me, then,” said Azuin, taking the lead. Yamarz followed him very closely, but he couldn't tear his eyes away from the - village? - in front of him. There were Orcs in furs to keep themselves warm, with various war paints on their faces. Yamarz noticed that the huts had doors with different colors, just like the Orcs' paint.


    Azuin turned to the left and led him to the top of the mountain. They walked on a staircase made of wooden logs to what seemed to be another plateau at the top. There was another palisade and its gate opened as they walked near. Two orcs stood on either sides of the gate and were watching Yamarz with cautious looks on their faces. Their war paint was purple just like Snagam's and Azuin's.


    And then Yamarz entered the true Adal Matar.


    To his right was a watch tower, to his left, a larger orcish hut, illuminated by fire within it. As he neared the huge fire in the center of the plateau, he noticed a magnificent statue of Malacath on his right. As he stood in awe, Snagam had to pat him on the shoulder to keep him moving. Yamarz looked at him and gro-Adal pointed to the Longhouse.


    They entered and Yamarz was welcomed by the familiar smell and warmth not unlike his own Longhouse. Right in front of him was a fireplace with two chairs in front of it - with one being occupied by the biggest Orc Yamarz ever seen. He saw only his naked back - with so many scars that Yamarz couldn't count them even if he wanted to - and his grey mane of hair; and the hammer leaning besides the fireplace. And that hammer…


    Volendrung! That's Malacath's hammer!


    “Warchief,” started Snagam, “we're back with Ya-”


    “I can speak for myself,” growled Yamarz. “I am Yamarz gro-Largash, chieftain of Largashbur.”


    This warchief didn't even turn around; he simply kept looking into the fire. It seemed like he didn't even know they were there. The grey hair meant he was old, and if Yamarz was about to find out he was weak-


    “Sit next to me, chieftain of Largashbur,” thundered the mighty voice in the Longhouse. It was a mere whisper, but it sound like thunder to Yamarz. There was so much power in that voice. He couldn't resist it even if he wanted to.


    He sat on the chair next to the huge Orc and looked at him. He had a long grey beard which covered his whole lower face, and a scar on the left side of his face. Yamarz saw only one eye, but there was fire dancing in that yellow iris. When that Orc turned his face to look at Yamarz, the fire moved to the right eye as the light shifted. It was nothing more than a reflection, yet Yamarz saw fire in both eyes anyway. This Orc might seem old, but there was definitely life left in him.


    “I am Burggrol gro-Adal, chieftain of Adal tribe, warchief of Adal Matar. I welcome you, Yamarz,” he said solemnly, drawing out a knife with which he cut himself on his forearm. Yamarz dipped two fingers in that cut and ran them over his face.


    “You have many questions,” said Burggrol with a raised hand when Yamarz opened his mouth to ask.“Then listen. I am not used to speaking for long periods of time, but bear with me.” Contrary to his words, his voice sounded like the voice of a storyteller, of someone who is used to speaking a lot. It almost seemed like there was some magic in his voice.


    “This is Adal Matar, last bastion of eastern Orcs,” he started and Yamarz shivered after those words. Last bastion? “A few decades ago, the Dunmer -  calling themselves the Redoran - started burning down all orcish strongholds on the other side of the Velothi Mountains - in Morrowind. And they were sucsessful, more or less. All the Orcs moved north along the mountains, building new strongholds, yet the Dunmer always came and burned them down. They were systematicaly wiping out the strongholds from the south and slowly continued north. Do you know why?”


    Yamarz thought about it for a second, but he really had no idea. He was almost unable to think, so enthralled he was by Burggrol's voice and story.


    “They weren't trying to eradicate the Orcs. They know it's impossible. They were forcing them to flee into Skyrim. They wanted to get rid of them and make them someone's else responsibility!” The warchief growled angrily. “But we - Orcs of Adal Matar - encountered them on their way north. We took these refugees in. There are now six tribes - including mine - residing here.”


    He stopped for a moment to drink from a horn. It smelled awful, but it was a smell Yamarz had never encountered before.


    “But don't be mistaken. This is no Orsinium. There is no king here, only six chieftains who have to get along somehow, and Malacath knows it isn't an easy task. That's why I am the warchief. I have the final word here. But what we all have in common is an enemy. The Dunmer. And that's what’s keeping this Stronghold together. Hate.”


    “Wait till next time,” said Yamarz and the warchief shot him a look.


    “There might not be a next time! We have nothing else but hate and grudge! This stronghold houses more than one hundred Orcs! And they have to cooperate with each other. So hate keeps them together, like it or not.”


    Yamarz was angry. He didn't know why precisely, but something about this made his blood boil. “That's why you enslave the Dunmer?”


    “I don't expect you to understand, boy. You're here because I offered you something. The same thing that I offered to the chief of Narzulbur. Yet he left and you stayed. Why?”


    “Curiosity,” said Yamarz. “I was curious. Now my curiosity is sated,” Yamarz growled, raising from his chair.


    “We wage war with Dunmer,” Burggrol shot him a look that stopped Yamarz from moving. “They don't know about this place, so we are raiding their settlements. They have an army, we are few. But we are Orcs! And they can't defeat us!”


    “Only delay us,” muttered Yamarz, looking into the warchief's eyes. “But why should Largashbur fight in your war?”


    “Because one day, the Dunmer will march into Skyrim. They have refugees in a city called Windhelm and the word is, they are not treated very well. Redoran know the meaning of honor, and they are ready to fight for it. Even wage war for it. They even halted the lizards' advance and they see Skyrim as a backdoor.”


    Impossible! But Yamarz didn't say that aloud. But what Burggrol said was the truth. The refugees in Windhelm weren't treated very well. They weren't that different to the slaves in Adal Matar. His thoughts were spinning like bats in a collapsed cave. If the Dunmer were to invade Skyrim, they would not tolerate Orc strongholds in their way. They would first eradicate those small fortresses and build their own on Orc bones. It made sense to Yamarz.


    “It seems you've pieced it together, chieftain of Largashbur,” chuckled Burggrol. “Do we have deal then?”


    This time there was no hesitation, the path was clear. Malacath provided. Yamarz nodded. “We have.”


    “Very well. I imagine you must be tired and hungry. So how about you rest and tomorrow-”


    “No. Let's get this deal sealed. I will fight your daughter now.”


    The warchief frowned. “You're young, chieftain. I know you want prove yourself strong and-”


    “We're done talking, warchief. I will fight your daughter now. Then I can rest,” Yamarz stopped him once more and stood up. He looked at the brothers, standing silently next to the door and then walked out into the cold. He only heard the warchief ordering Azuin to fetch Ghorurz.




14 Comments   |   Paws and 5 others like this.
  • Caladran
    Caladran   ·  November 27, 2017
    Dunmer slaves?? O:
  • Justiciar Thorien
    Justiciar Thorien   ·  March 15, 2016
    Something tells me he's overreacting a bit. The Dunmer waging a war against Skyrim???
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  February 8, 2016
    The only problem with reading this on a Kindle like a book is that I lose track of chapters - it's pretty engrossing stuff!
  • Veloth the Prophet
    Veloth the Prophet   ·  October 7, 2015
    Urag also seems like a pretty smart dude, as does that Orc scholar you meet in ESO and the chief of the Stonetooth Clan.
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  October 7, 2015
    You´re right, Veloth. I was talking about Stronghold Orcs. While they value strategic alliances between clans, they don´t understand motives, politics and beliefs of other races. Orcs are tribal first and foremost, so why they should understand what it ta...  more
  • Veloth the Prophet
    Veloth the Prophet   ·  October 7, 2015
    Well I wouldn't say all Orcs don't understand politics. Maybe the Stronghold Orcs but even they know the value of strategic alliances between clans.
  • Teineeva
    Teineeva   ·  October 7, 2015
    No they won't, but in time they may consider it a possibility. I honestly think the orcs in Adal matar seem a bit off. But I'm intrigued as to why they have Volendrung, especially if they disrespect the code like that.
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  October 7, 2015
    I really can´t imagine Skyrim without madfrenchie´s mods. It makes the game so much better when Thalmor are actually a presence in the game.
    Word of advice. Orcs always speaks truth, but usually can´t see the bigger picture. They really don´t unders...  more
  • Teineeva
    Teineeva   ·  October 7, 2015
    To be honest I still have to play madfrenchie's mods... But this is awesome. I like the history behind the fortress. And I honestly never thought of a Dunmer invasion into Skyrim, but now that you mentioned it, it doesn't seem very unlikely if Ulfric cont...  more
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  October 7, 2015
    It's a great use of the mod. I use several in Albee's narrative. It really enhances your narrative. Great job.