Chapter 1: The Troll
"Don't forget to feed the dog! You know Sirka doesn't like her food bowl empty," said my mother, Rulda. I don't usually call her by her first name, but I love it so much. Her last name is beautiful, too. Rulda Sircona. Yes, it's a Breton name. No, I'm not a Breton. I was adopted by Rulda and her husband, Sen. Sen is an Imperial. It's odd that an Imperial and a Breton even meet, but that just describes our family: Peculiar and filled with dumb luck.
I'm an Orc. My parents, well I don't know much about them. They ran away from me when I was a boy in High Rock. Once Rulda found my mischievous self she took me in and cared for me for the next 10 years. I'm 15 years of age now. It's hard to comprehend how much she sacrificed for me. To this day I don't know why she did what she had done back in High Rock. I guess it's all for the better.
I live in Pell's Gate all the way in Cyrodiil, south of the Imperial City. I like it here. There aren't any of the Legionnaires to tell us what to do. It's right by the Northern Niben which is an exceptional fishing river that runs from Lake Rumare down to Topal Bay in Leyawiin. Pell's Gate is a town of about seven people: Rulda, Sen, myself, Arenal (unofficial town guard/hunter), Jarred (the drunkard), Myrvano (inn owner), and Valen (the recluse). There aren't any creatures like trolls or wolves to come eat us because we're up on a high slope. We do, however, have a threat every once in a few months but that's what we have Arenal for.
Arenal is a Woodelf hailing from Valenwood (south of Cyrodiil). She is amazing with a bow for being 17 years of age. She lives alone in her little shack on the southern part of town. When she and I were little, we would sneak up atop the roof of the Inn at midnight and point out different animal noises. Then when the sun rose we would go out to the river and look for pearls and nirnroot. Each time we found a nirnroot we would cut off the leaves and serve them as very efficient fish bait. We would go into the Inn and get a drink of Tamika's wine and go sneak around to the Molag Bal shrine until dusk, which is when the schedule repeats.
You could say I'm in love with her, but really. Who would want to marry an immature Orc as myself? I have better chances with joining the Moot of Skyrim than marrying Arenal. One day we were down at the river looking for pearls.
"Hey Burz," Arenal called for me from a few yards away. "Come look at this pearl! It's the shiniest one I've seen in my whole life."
I went over to look at it. Then, I commented, "That's a good quality pearl." I try to maintain my maturity.
She said, "You know, Burz, we live in a small community of people who know us. We don't need to use language like we would talk to Chancellor Ocato. You should only use that language with Myrvano."
"Why?" I asked the most rhetorical question in the universe. "Why would we use the proper language? Is it because her 'most famous sweet rolls' are too good to forget?" I started to disprove my point, but I now see how witty that statement is. Arenal starts laughing hysterically. I felt pretty good about making Arenal laugh. It takes a lot to make Arenal laugh. We stop talking to look for more pearls.
I want to call her over to help me look for pearls, but something has made me scared of talking to her. Something inside of me made me so unconfident that I began to work my way away from Arenal. I find a pearl and I call her over. I don't hear her answer, so I look over at her. I see a repugnant, green, surreptitious, robust, mossy troll charging right from behind, keeping stare on her with its three dark, beady eyes. I try to scream yet my fright rejects it. Finally, I'm able to yell in order to draw Arenal's attention towards the troll. She turns around and has that troll dead faster than I could ever perceive. She goes to take the arrow out of its middle eye and examines the adolescent troll's eye. "Now that's a good quality pearl," she says, making me laugh.
"Thank you for warning me, Burz," Arenal says without delay or thought. "I wouldn't have lived through that without your help." She gives me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I smile, showing my boar-like teeth. Arenal continues, "Well, you know the rule. If there's a troll attack, there's bound to be more trolls roaming the area." I'm speechless, so I just walk next to her on home.
Arenal and I stop between our rusty old shacks. She thanked me for what I had done for her today and gave me a kiss on the other cheek. I said, "Well Arenal, it's always nice to have you around. Akatosh knows how boring it would be if you weren't living in Pell's Gate." I just scored with my words. She blushes, but she doesn't try to hide it. She gives me the longest hug I've ever had from non-family. I understand how I saved her life and everything, but a hug this long could only mean one thing: She likes me. I won't say it now though because I don't want to make a wrong assumption, and then make her upset. No, I'll wait as long as I have to.
After the hug, she and I say our goodbyes until the next day. I admire her while she turns around and starts walking. Her long, golden hair sways with each step. Her posture is ever-so seductive as she sways her perfect hips. She turns to look at me with those gorgeous yellow eyes. I catch myself blush and I nervously wave as she opens her door. When I hear the pins in her doorknob click I turn around and I walk into my house.
Sirka jumps on me like I haven't seen her in a year.
I greet her by scratching behind her ear, then I quickly turn to
Rulda to see what she cooked for dinner. When I see nothing on
the table, I make it verbal. "Hey Mom, what'd you cook for
dinner," I said, rather snooty. "There's some left-over mutton on
the table," Mom responds.
"Say, what were you and Arenal doing by the river? Isn't it slaughterfish mating season?"
"No, Mom. We were just looking for pearls. And we may or may not have killed a troll down by the river."
"Ooh, really now? How'd you kill it?"
"Well, I didn't kill it…Arenal did. She couldn't have done it if I hadn't warned her, though. I guess that's at least half participation, right?"
"Yeah, I guess so. I really should teach you some mediocre destruction spells for protection, don't you think?"
"Nah, I'm not really into magic."
"Well what are you into?"
"I'm more into cutting the heads off of those who oppose me."
"Well isn't that convenient?"
"Why is that convenient?"
I look over at my dad, who is sharpening his short sword. Honestly, I'm kind of worried because I don't know what I'm going to do, say, or lack-of. Mom has this look she always gives Dad when she wants him to say something to me. I gave Mom the look to tell her that I'm scared of what Dad has to say. The number one thing that I know about my dad is that when he speaks, listen because it just might save your life.
In fact, one time I was talking to my Dad and he told me to plant my feet whenever I'm up high. The next day, I was with Arenal on the inn roof and it was a windy day. I go to stand up and a gust of wind half knocks me over. I plant my feet, remembering exactly what Dad said, and I don't fall. I end up standing back up, giving up my balance to the will of Nocturnal, and I fall off of the one story roof. My health had gone down a bit because I'm not really into acrobatics. The damage was nothing a few restoration spells couldn't fix. It was a lesson learned, I guess.
"Go on, Sen, tell Burz what you have to say," says Mom, with an earnest look on her face. Dad gets up from his chair, sets down his sharpening stone, and looks towards me. He raises his broad shoulders and flexes his toned biceps. The thumps of his thick black boots act as my own heartbeat as he points the pointy end of his iron short sword at me and he holds a disheartening glare into the windows of my soul. He says, "Burz, I've been thinking about what you've been doing recently. I can't quite grasp what your meaning is in this world yet. All I know is that you as an Orc have the natural ability to wield and sufficiently use a sword, axe, mace, and/or hammer. Throughout my day as a Blade, I've been trained in sword classes by past Grandmasters of this group. Burz, I'm going to train you to become a master swordsman. I think it's about time you get your sword training in before you, ya know, die. That is, if you like swords."
I can't believe it! My dad, Sen Sircona, is going to train me in the art of sword fighting! I probably won't be training in swords, though. I really like how maces are shaped. I can't wait to tell Arenal. I could defend Pell's Gate with her. I could do everything with her. I then realize my dad is still speaking to me.
"Burz. Are you listening?" says my Dad with his deep, monotone voice. "Yeah," I squeaked.
"Well then what do you want? A mace, axe, sword…"
"I like maces." Sen gets out a piece of parchment and his quill. He begins to write. Write what, I don't know. He folds it up in three imperfect rectangles. He writes "Burz Sircona" on the front. He flips it over and writes "Morndas, 14th of Last Seed, 3E 66" on the back. I look at Mom with excitement. Dad looks over at my freakish smile and says, "Ask Arenal to go to the Imperial City with you tomorrow. Go to Hash n' Slash in the Market District. Give this letter to the Orcish vendor and say that I sent you. You won't have a horse so if it gets dark while you're in the Imperial City just go ahead and rent a room with Arenal. I trust you two won't get crazy. Now go to bed, you can ask her in the morning."
As demanding as he sounded, I still wanted to go give him a hug. I look over at Mom who's grooming Sirka. Dad had turned around to go to sleep. I walk over to my bed and subconsciously get under my blanket and fall asleep to the warmth and the crackling of the fire. The only things I dream about are 50 septims and a trip with Arenal.