The Chronicles of Steel - All Chronicles Books

Discussion about the history of the blades, as told by Waalx, the Elhazan's and the Vocha's.
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This is a sum of all the books like they will be in the full tome. It's not the waalx speaching version. it's the regular one. I wanna wait until I start to waalxify them.I wrote more in the intro, and I started to write the contents of the books. I also renamed many chapters. If you are not happy tell me..but I think the new titles punch a lot more.there's a lot of work ahead of us mine chronicler, as you will see yerself reading the contents.

Original title: Them Chronicles O' Steel
by Waalx
Edited by the Elhazan family and the Vocha family over many generations.

This is the oldest portrait known of Waalx, its obvious here that he was
young at the time it was made. It is also rumored that it was Klow-Stah
who did it, and that it was this portrait (or rather it's subject) that inspired
her Elvin Saber, but that would be another story..

This is what the Ayleid elf looked like for most of his long life.

About the author
Hereby follows the Chronicle of Steel, a tome of vast knowledge concerning the various indigenous bladed weapons of the races of Tamriel. It was written by Waalx, an uncommon Ayleid elf, one or the last of his kind—who some say was “literally” kissed by Sheogorath, a “gift” that, among other less savory things, gave the already long-living Elf an even unnaturally longer chance to walk Nirn—he went against the normal reclusive nature of his people to travel the Empire and study the art of the forge from those who would teach him. His dream was to learn the crafts of all the races.

Over the course of the centuries he lived, he traveled the world, learning from all, and always befriending everyone in his path with his curious eyes that smiled at everything and everyone alike.

He so served kings and emperors, rich merchants and commoners, with his vast knowledge of the world and all it’s weaponry.

And what a moment of joy it was said to be for any simple metal worker, to see his cloaked figure appear in their humble doorstep. He removed his old green feathered hat, sat down near a fire, and always said how good a fire that was. And then he entertained them in his sonorous voice, with stories of his faraway travels, and of his studies, always centered on the art of working steel.

In his travels he had learned by many, but he teached what he learned to a lot more, and even in our days and age, his legacy can still be heard, in that special sound of the hammer hitting an anvil, in the sparks that dance briefly as if to acknowledge his presence, yet again.

He was known by the people as the Green Wanderer, and there’s almost no land in which is large boots didn’t thread.

Recluse from his own race, he sometimes hid himself away for long periods of time, in which he was not seen nor heard of anywhere in Tamriel. It is rumored he was in a hidden lair unlike a normal Ayleid dwelling. What he was doing there is now anyone to guess, the place itself being only rumored to have existed in the wake of his legend.

As he died centuries ago, many of his secrets went to Oblivion with him (or some would say in the Shivering Isles considering his supposed history with the daedric prince), including the true emplacement of this mysterious place where he was going to in his periods of reclusion. Some say the key to finding this secret lair is the last sentence of this manuscript...but…
who could find a statue in a tree?

(Note from the last editor: It has now been rumored by many a one, that readers of theses here Chronicles have been visited by visions and nightmarish apparitions. We want to assure the reader that all this is, of course, false rumors. You will not see anything unnatural appear reading theses lines, unless unnatural it is already in those said lines.)

About the author language
Great care has been put here to keep the feel this manuscript had when it was originally written, centuries ago. The reader can find a detailed description of the differences between the language of old used here, and the modern version we use now in the “Old Speaching Lexicon”, sold wherever you got the volume you hold in your hands.

About the editors
The Elhazans…
The Vochas….
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Chronicle I – Khajiit
Book 1 & 2 – Two Rivals In Border Watch (Elhazan)
Book 3 – Shalioma The Black (Waalx)
Book 4 - From the “Memoirs of Shalioma” (Elhazan)

Chronicle II – Orc
Book 1 - Ritual Legend (Vocha)
Book 2 - A Quandao Cloven Heart (Vocha)
Book 3 - Ashes That Cleanse (Vocha)
Book 4 - Cleavers Of Destiny (Vocha)
Book 5 - Gorhak The Half-Orc (Waalx)

Chronicle III – Argonian
Book 1 – A Lizard & A Gull (Elhazan)
Book 2 – Sea Steel (Waalx)
Book 3 – Deadly Angle (Waalx)

Chronicle IV – Redguard
Book X - Tear of the Madgod (Waalx)

Chronicle V – Bosmer
Book # - The Butcher (Waalx)

Chronicle VI - Breton
Chronicle VII - Dunmer
Chronicle VIII - Nord
Chronicle IX - Altmer
Chronicle X - Imperial
Chronicle XI – Legendary Blades
Chronicle XII – Axes, Bows & Maces
Chronicle XIII – Factions & Creatures
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Chronicle I - Khajiit

And lo, did I spend many a moon amongst the Khajiit of Elsweyr. Once you can gain their trust they treat you as one of their own, and their dispositions carry the warmth of their fur on a hot day in the middle of Sun’s Height—or maybe the breath of a frog in heat… My longevity as an Elf gave me the opportunity to visit their sandy, desert-covered barrows over many a long year, and hath given me a chance to learn many of the secrets they held in their clawed—yet eternally skillful—hands.

Of all the smiths I encountered amongst my travels in Cyrodiil, the Khajiit proved capable of producing blades that danced in thou hands like nothing I’d ever beheld before! Even the famed and agile curved blades of the Redguards could never match the grace and elegance with which the Khajiit blades could whistle through the air. Their razor-sharp Knucklebow sabers move with an ease in the hand that feels like a natural extension of my arm, and their skill makes our Elven Daitos seem clumsy by comparison.

I wonder, perchance, if the vast amount of Moonsugar I and my Khajiit cohorts consumed whilst we discussed the nature of the blades of Elsweyr had any affect on my judgments as I sit here tonight and write on my parchment? Or maybe the ja-Kha’jay was speaking to me then and whispering in mine ear. It speaks to me now, outside the cave, and just asked me if I would like a cup of tea on the morrow after brunch. I assured it I would call upon it as soon as I completed my current research. The moons can be ever so pesky!

Book 1 and 2 – Two Rivals in Border Watch

(Editor’s note: Waalx’s reasoning to combine two chapters into one flowing length of text is unknown, and I have never seen the likes of this before, and I doubt we will ever see something like it to come. It is truly the work of a…special mind.)

In the small village of Border Watch, nestled in the border between Cyrodiil and Elsweyr, a feud rages that is analogous to the fetid and wet climate. It was mere happenstance that, long ago, two different smiths settled in the town in the same year—the Shotan family and the Stah family. Obviously, two smiths in a town as minor as Border Watch is more than it needs, but the reason for their placement is obvious: caravans traveling from the Imperial City to Leyawiin, and then on to Elsweyr and even Valenwood, go through the highly populated Green Road (Editor’s note: the road is now long untended and lost in foliage) and the tiny village is the last stop in so-called “civilized” country. The small hamlet had access to merchant caravans going in and out, so their wares could be sold to the merchants and widely distributed.

Also obvious is that, not long after the smiths moved in, they began a rivalry that exists to this day, many generations later. Both families claim they were there first, and due to Khajiit’s notoriously poor methods of record keeping (the most efficient practice I have found them undergoing involves making notes on bottles of skooma— as they know, without a doubt, that they will come across the note again in the very near future. Unfortunately during the imbibing of the drug the bottles are most often lost in the grass, crushed under paws, or eaten altogether if the contents were of a particularly heavy dose), we may never know which really WAS here first. But the most important things were handed down by word of muzzle, and so I will relay the story of one of the families of smiths, the Shotan.

The first Khajiit of the Shotan family is affectionately called First-One (as I mentioned, Khajiit record keeping…) by his descendants. What is remembered about him, while his name is lost to time, is that he had a penchant for adventuring in his youth. Through many a place the young Khajiit traveled, going as far north as Dragonstar in Hammerfell and as far east as Necrom in Morrowind. What he did in those adventures are not remembered (Groba-Stah, of Border Watch, swears he was a bandit, but I think the Stah family may be quite biased and untrustworthy in regards to any member of the Shotan clan), but what was important is what he brought back. When he retired from adventuring and settled in Border Watch, the first blade he began working on vigorously—to distinguish himself from his rival—was a wonderful specimen of blade-making called the Lionclaw saber.

He was influenced by great beasts he encountered in Hammerfell, he would swear, that were like Khajiit but walked only on all fours, and were only dwarfed by the Senche-tiger of Elsweyr. While obviously distant cousins of Khajiit, they only roamed the arid lands of Hammerfell’s western reaches and Alik’r desert, near the area of Sunkeep and the Hegathe peninsula.

It is the talons of this fierce creature that he formed the Lionclaw. Ever since First-One’s days he made the pommel and guard golden, a color he said reminded him of the Alik’r, as well as the sands of his homeland. The blade itself is wicked cutter, shaped like a claw and twice as sharp. In the generations since its creation the design has remained fundamentally the same. Some smiths of his family choose to use steel or silver for the fittings, and would occasionally make the blade of ebony. Those changes are rare, however, and even though they cannot remember the smith’s name, they choose to honor the wishes and traditions that they do remember.

Another blade attributed to First-One is the Archer Sword. Made for an old companion of his who was (presumably) an archer by trade, the straight bladed design is common amongst the Breton Archers that, when they were traveling through Hammerfell, they no doubt met during a skirmish or two between High Rock and the Redguards. What First-One did was change the crossguard to a wicked shape that made even itself into a formidable weapon, with a wide flair that could be effectively pressed into the eyes of an attacker (an, as I myself discovered after dinner one night when I stayed with them, it’s quite effective at getting mutton out of my teeth!). The old acquaintance was impressed, and traveled with the blade as a sidearm enough that other adventurers he met came to Border Watch to ask for one. Thus, the Archer Sword was born, and it is still in production to this day.

A few generations later, after the Shotan family became wealthier and First-One’s legacy began to garner attention, a descendant came up with another popular design. Foshan Shotan was forging a crossguard to a Lionclaw saber one night when he made a mistake that rendered the metal he was shaping useless for that style. Instead of melting it again and starting over he went with it, straying from time tested tradition and forging something new. After he liked what he had made, he changed the pommel around and bent the grip in ward further, and thickened it at the bottom.

He stood back, admiring his own work. His contemporary rival from the Stah family wandered over sneakily (as, apparently, he was wont to do) and snuck a peek at what the young cat was doing. The grunt of approval he made in spite of himself caused him to be discovered, and Foshan hissed and grabbed the nearest object he could find—a long piece of metal he was heating to shape into a blade—and chased the cat halfway through town until the Stah got to his family’s domicile. Hissing and snapping, Foshan angrily thrashed the piece of glowing metal against the side of the Stah hut. The warm metal bent at the tip from the impact, and as he looked at the work and snarled at what he would have to do to fix it properly, an idea came to mind. With a feral smile (I have yet to meet a Khajiit whose smile was anything but unintentionally menacing—I think it’s the teeth!) the cat ran back to his own side of town and set to work.

He took the inspiration of the crook in the tip of the steel and the crossguard and pommel he had been working on earlier and set to work combining the two. Soon, after days of perfecting the design and reworking certain aspects to properly reinforce the bent tip, the Knucklebow saber was born. It was a marvel of steel, sharper than most other Khajiit blades, and shaped to compliment the hand of the average warrior. It can meet the speed the fastest of blades and can cut as lethally as any, and is one of my most favorite specimens.

Currently the family remains in Border Watch where they spend most of their earnings on more material, meaning they never felt the need to spend their family’s money on opulent mansions or elaborate forges, but to improve their output. They remain in the town out of respect for tradition and the fact that the current Shotan, Fat-Belly, is too lazy to move.

The other family of smiths in Border Watch, the Stah’s, had a better affinity for records-keeping. Thus they know the name of their original smith—Klow-Stah. She was an odd Khajiit in that she seemed to have a great admiration for Elves of all types (Harumph…I don’t know what’s so odd about that, but apparently these Khajiit think that strange). Her weapons reflected this odd infatuation, as the blades took on the petite, slender curves of Elvin high-artistry.

The fittings have been darkened steel (and still are, to this day), and unremarkable except for being very efficient for both counter-balances and effective tools in a fight. The blades of her Elvin weapons are the keystones of her creations. The Elvin Saber has a delicate curve, reminiscent of Ayelid architecture, and is as lethal as it is beautiful. The sword also whistles as it glides through the air, and the Stah smiths like to say it is the air crying as it is cut by their superior blades (silly kitties—they all know the shriek is made by invisible babies of Nirn!).

Other designs Klow-Stah introduced were the Elvin Cutlass and Elvin Knife (after she died her descendants, for some reason, didn’t love Elves as much as she did…not that I can imagine why. But they say that they retain her original names out of respect for their ancestor). Both sport similar fittings to the Saber, but with the proper variations made. The cutlass has no doubt found its way into many a pirate that traversed this part of the Niben (Fat-Belly-Shotan swears it’s true and that they should be arrested by the Count for aiding the criminal underworld, but I’ll leave that to the proper authorities). But no matter who wields it, and blade is an effective cutter and wicked thruster, and a fine specimen of how strong a blade can be while being balanced enough to feel as if the wielder was holding a feather.

The knife is a companion to both—or neither! It cuts like a tooth of a nix hound, and I happen to know this first hand. The other day, whilst making my way through Blackwood looking for daisies (they say they don’t grow here, but I’ll prove them wrong…oh yes, I will prove them wrong), I came upon a swarthy looking Redguard who asked if I had any money. I told him I had a few coins but that I was saving them for the daisies I’d find, and I asked if he would like a piece of yarn and some lettuce instead. He looked at me queerly, as if I had said something strange, and then ran at me! And what did he pull out of his belt but an Elvin Dagger, made by my friend Groba-Stah himself! I marveled at the blade, my delighted expression waning only a little as he gutted me with it. I exclaimed “Oh, how wonderfully sharp!” and laughed with glee and admiration. And wouldn’t you know it—he was apparently such a nice man that he let me keep it in my stomach! He ran away flailing his arms and looked so happy that he had given me this gift. What a nice Redguard…once this wound heals I should really find him and thank him. I heard the locals mention a cave…Milk something, Milk Rock, Milky Rocks, or Milk on the Rocks…that he would probably be staying at. I wonder if daisies grow there?

Book 3 - Shalioma The Black

It is by a strange twist of destiny that the young Khajiit Shalioma was introduced to blade smithing. His mother died when he was born, and his father, a traveling merchant, was almost never at home. So the young cat was put into the care of his father’s friends, the neighbor family, the Twitsy's. Twitsy was an Argonian smith, and he had a son, Ka-Twitsy, that was around the same age as Shalioma. Despite their difference in race, they became as close as brothers.

The years passed, and Ka-Twitsy became old enough to start learning his father’s craft and honor his family. As Shalioma and Ka-Twitsy were always together before these lessons begun, Ka-Twitsy’s absence made Shalioma very moody, and he was soon hissing at everyone in the house. This quite unnerved the lizard-folk, as their own tongues were good only for picking on one another (at least, that it is what I was told). Seeing the state the trouble youth was in, and after discussing it with his wife, Twitsy decided to train Shalioma alongside his friend.

Soon the two “brothers” began competing with one another, trying to out-do one another and please Twitsy. They worked hard, for long years, and Twitsy humored their game, but was never unfair to young Shalioma, always instilling the same level of perfection in him as he did his own son.

When they not only perfected what Twitsy could teach but also began coming to him with ameliorations to the existing line of weapons, he knew they had gone beyond the master himself. I’m certain the old lizard cried, much like I did when I stubbed my toe the other day, but there was more to come!

Ka-Twitsy naturally chose to work with his father, but the Khajiit was starting to feel that he would forever be alienated from his foster-family. The welcome, as nice as it had been, he felt was over, and he began to want to leave his friends and find his own path.

In the beginning of spring that year, I passed by the Twitsy's as was my custom when my wandering was leading me near the region. I was impressed by the progress the two youngsters had made, and I lingered longer than I had meant to, marveling at their work and at their ingenious improvements to the craft.

Then, one night, Shalioma came to me and talked of his intent to travel in search of his own people, to seek the customs of his own furry-folk. I explained to him what I had learned about Khajiit blades, but it was not enough for him. As I was heading south toward Leyawiin, I offered him a chance to come with me, and I would introduce him to the Khajiit craftsmen of Border Watch.

I left him there with the other cats as I perused that part of the Niben for new blades of all kinds. I stopped by from time to time, glad to see that the lad learned quickly, and he learned from both of the smiths that inhabited Border Watch at that time. The two smiths had a rivalry that had been going on for generations (I mentioned them more extensively in the previous chapter), and soon young Shalioma gave them a new source of grief as each tried to influence him in their own way. From what I hear the two Khajiit tried to brawl on the muddy streets one night over the boy, each with their respective masterful blades in hand, and whispers of the K’Sharra went among the spectators who watched their sheep with worry. But the moons rose higher and fish was put on the fires over at the tavern and the two Khajiit grew hungry as they started one-another down, and decided to settle their differences over a bottle.

Alas, this was a portent for a time of sorrow between Shalioma and his old friend, Ka-Twitsy.

Though I was not there to witness all the following at the time (I was bathing in Niben bay that month to get all the trees off my skin) the word was that the Dark Brotherhood was in the market for new blade, in honor of Sithis. They tried a few different smiths, but a dark-robed messenger (no doubt he was in shadows a lot, too, and looked suspicious and was probably mean!) bearing the commission happened to visit both brothers, asking each to design a blade to serve the Night Mother. Both became intrigued by the offer, and so they each went to work, unbeknownst to the other, on the same contract, pitting them against each other once again— except, instead of trying to please Twitsy, they were trying to please the Primordial State of Chaos. The parallels are staggering, dear readers.

After spending weeks perfecting his ideas, Shalioma was so excited he decided to travel back to Ka-Twitsy to tell him the news and share his new blade, the Panther. Alas, when they realized that had been working on the same commission and Shalioma saw Ka-Twitsy’s Angular Kriss blade, they gazed upon each other’s work not with mutual admiration, but with jealousy. Shalioma left in a rage, the friendship between the two broken.

Each worked harder on their blades, hoping to defeat the other in a battle o’ skill and steel and fire and blood (and bears, oh my!). The result was not what either had in mind, however. When the same dark messenger returned to gaze upon their work, he gave each the sorrowful news that the Night Mother had discovered that the Listener had commissioned the work and ordered it—and the Listener— cancelled at once. When Sithis discovered the plot, though, he [Editor’s note: my benefactor’s at the Nine Divines has censored this section of the book that was to be distributed in Cyrodiil. In order to read Waalx’s original entry on this matter, you must find a Morrowind edition, published in Mournhold]. But it was decided that the Blade of Woe remain in its rightful place in the Brotherhood, though I doubt that the Night Mother ever used it in just THAT way ever again.

The two brothers were in despair, over the loss of their contract and over the loss of their friendship. After a time they reunited, ashamed of their behavior (though I think Sithis himself had a hand in their demeanors before!), and willing to work together once again.

The resulting blade was the famed Barbed Leaf blade. Shalioma used his newfound knowledge of the ways of Khajiit smiths and drew the leaf shape. Ka’Twitsy influenced the barbs on the blade, giving the blades a truly fearsome appearance. The blade also had the telltale horn-shaped pommel that graced both the Barrow and the Panther.

Ka-Twitsy’s Angular Kriss is an interesting blade by itself, its sordid origins notwithstanding. It was based on a design that originated from another famous blade, the Angular Broad Kriss, made by one of the most famous Argonian smiths, the great Hazadir (Editor’s note: the ancestor of the eventual victor in the legendary Armorer’s Challenge). Ka-Twitsy improved on the design and, ironically, made a blade thicker than the original. His decision on the ironic name, though, hints at his humor.

And my, could that Argonian laugh! It was unfortunate that when he did he sounded like a lizard trying to cough up a deer. His laughing was funny even to him, and so he laughed even more. It was a vicious cycle, really, and woe be the one who starts it happening, but he could tell very good jokes. My favorite was about the Argonian Priest and the Dunmer Temple master who discussed theology one day while visiting Red Mountain. But, wouldn’t you know it, I forgot the punch line! I know you’re here for my Argonian jokes, so I’ll make sure I tell you, gentle reader, about it later.

Shalioma’s masterpiece design, the Panther, was changed slightly in the form of the Barrow sword. The elegant leafblade has more graceful lines than its dark cousin, and the metal was polished to a brighter sheen that dances in any light. I saw it cut once, and let me tell you that it cuts almost as viciously as the Panther. Doesn’t meow nearly as loudly, though. All the butterflies drown it out.

Oh right, I remember the punch line now! The rat was throwing up Scrib jelly! Ahhh, gets me every time.

Book 4—from the “Memoirs of Shalioma”

(Editor’s Note: Waalx didn’t add this to his original book, but I thought it prudent to include it here. These texts were found, in piecemeal, throughout parts of Elsweyr and lower Cyrodiil, mostly in old barrels, crates, and lost in the attics of old friends of Shalioma’s. I included this chapter from the compiled “Memoirs” because of its relevance to Waalx’s life. It gives us invaluable insights regarding the Ayleid, and also describes a most curious walking stick in the old Elf’s possession that’s importance can only be hinted towards…)

By my black fur, but it was good to see Waalx again! The old nut found me during a very sad time in my life. Ka-Twitsy met his end too soon, probably from overworking, and I was back in the place I grew up, attending his funeral. And, as any smith would do in any situation, I was talking the craft with the rest of his family. Ka-Twitsy would have wanted it that way, in any case.

I had just mentioned my idea for a Curvy-Kriss dagger to one of Ka-Twitsy’s compatriots when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the surly Elf enter town. He and I embraced—it had been too long—and I asked about his travels. He had just come up from the Summerset Isles and told a story about a band of rogue goblins that wanted his head, and how he fought them off with the saber he kept at his side. I knew it was all a lie, of course. The man hated violence, and that blade was only drawn whenever he wanted to admire it or when he needed to shave (he shaved with a small dagger and used his saber as a mirror). So, whenever he told stories of fighting off anything, in reality, he had either run away or found some way to convince them to leave him alone. I always wondered, when he told stories like that, how much was truth and how much wasn’t, though. Even things out of that mer’s mouth had some basis in reality, and if he really did find himself in the cooking pots of some goblins, he made it out somehow. But, not matter how many funny looks I gave him and how many times I rolled my eyes at him, he would just smile a little half-grin and lean on his walking stick of his.

But Ka-Twisty’s death reminded me how fragile life could be. I’d been a smith for years, first with Twitsy and then with incredible Shotan family (and a little with the Stah’s of Border Watch, as well, but not as much), and while I’d made weapons and perfected my craft, I’d never found myself in a situation where I could use it. Warriors that visited me for blades or for other services often spoke of the rush of battle, of how everything in life looks clearer after a fight when, quite possibly, the other result could have been much more dire. Despit the risk, I wanted to see the world before I was lying in a wooden coffin myself. And, against my better judgment and the impulse of the moment, I asked Waalx if I could go with him.

And so we headed north. Black Marsh was not quite as dangerous this time of year, as the Hists were calm and many of the bugs were hibernating. Even so it was an adventure. By the time Waalx and I crossed into lower Morrowind we had been chased by a creature of the bog that I couldn’t even see, a dozen flying monstrosities, and some kind of frog-like creature that apparently thought my fur would be a good hat. But it was nothing too dangerous, and I still longed for the chance to see if my blade could bite for myself.

Waalx took it all in stride. He was still nimble, even then when he was going up in years (though I have no idea how old he really was). The Elf was always smiling, too, and though his mind was obviously walking with Sheogorath in the Shivering Isles most of the time he was still able to be a good companion. No matter how many dangers we faced he always would laugh whilst we ran, or dance his way through any situation. Later, as we made camp for the night, he would tell a story of what just happened, always embellishing what happened, though I knew the truth as I had been there myself! If we had been chased by five creatures, he would make it ten; if we had found a bog that ate through our boots he would say that it ate through our underpants as well.

He never failed to make me laugh, and the trip through Black Marsh was dangerous but undeniably fun. Unfortunately, Morrowind would prove to be a little more dangerous.

I’d always had my worries when he mentioned that we were going to Morrowind— they didn’t exactly treat my people with kindness. He insisted that he had a friend just inside the Deshaan Plains there that found it beneath him to keep slaves and would harbor us without incident. The mer was an old Dunmer, he promised, who not only was more accepting than his kin but was also an incredible smith. It would be quite an adventure, he told me.

We realized two things once we arrived at the backwater town on the Deshaan Plains were his friend lived. The first was that his friend had died. The second was that it had been overtaken by House Dres. The former was sad, but the latter was bad. One look at an old Ayleid Elf and a Khajiit and they had it in their little minds to make some money.

We fought them off the best we could, but their Battlemages overtook us easily. A Dunmer child could have likely done so, of course, if they were armed with those black daitos of theirs. I found myself admiring them in their scabbards even as I had slave bracers slapped on my forearms. They treated Waalx with no more compassion, muttering that an old Elf would likely fetch a high price if they could stay away from Imperial inspectors. They mentioned a place on Vvardenfell called Tel’Aruhn with snickers. I didn’t hear the rest as, overcome at last, I fainted.

When I came to we were in a wagon with heavy iron bars on a heavily jungled road, being led north through House Dres country. Two creatures that I came to understand were guars were pulling the wagon. I had never seen so many Dunmer in all my life around me, but I was sadder still to see another wagon load of Argonians behind me.

Waalx was in a panic, which wasn’t like him. He was pressed up against the bars, arm extended, reaching for the supply wagon. “Wood,” he wailed. I had come to understand that the creative name was what he called his walking stick.

I rolled my eyes at his wailing and threw my hands up in the air. “Waalx, I don’t think your walking stick would do us much good at the moment. I’ll carve you another one if we ever get out of here.”

He tossed me a look that unnerved me. The Elf was always a little crazy, but I saw genuine desperation there. “Ye daft fool! I be needin’ that staff….”

He trailed off as the guards on foot ran up to the wagon and rapped on the bars of the wagon with their sheathed daitos. I dared a sneer, but it turned into a whimper as one of them began to draw their blade. His was ebony, I noticed. His chain cuirass was also ebony, and from the way the other Dunmer spoke to him I took him as their leader. There was a scar down one cheek, so only one red eye glowed at me under a wide-brimmed hat. He scared me, but desperation was beginning to crawl up my spine like a new tail. Something was instilled within me at that moment, and to this day I don’t know if it was fear or something more martial that led my mind to formulate a plan. Either way, I was quiet the rest of the day, lost in thought. I went from contemplation to panic to sadness. Would I ever get to make another weapon? Would I ever find myself a wife and a brood of young kittens? Would Shady, the young Khajiit lass that I’d always hoped to wed, weep if I never came back to Border Watch? The ideas swirled as the heat of southern Morrowind clung my tunic to my fur and made my head swim.

We camped in the wilderness that night. Waalx moaned for his staff more, and was only quieted as we were brought a bowl of something for dinner, which was the first either of us had eaten all day. I watched silently as the Dunmer drank themselves into a stupor with something called Shein. The ebony-clad one was the last to pass out, and even as he did he had a hand on sword.

I waited an hour. Waalx was asleep next to me, and only Jone and Jode watched as I enacted my plan. I took off my tunic, long drenched in my sweat, and quietly tied it around the iron bars. Metal was one thing I knew, and especially iron was not as hard as people thought. I twisted my shirt, let the moisture collect, and used one of Waalx’s heavy leather shoes and tied the shirt around that, too. Then I began to twist. The pressure of the makeshift rope around the bars and the shoe I was using to twist it built up the pressure to a degree that no man, mer, or beast could apply on their own. The iron began to bend, and I began to sweat more as it creaked lightly. But the Dunmer didn’t stir in their slumber.

Soon I had an opening big enough for me to crawl through. Grateful that I was a thin Khajiit (at the time, anyway!), I slipped through the bars without incident except for my tail, which was caught for an instance. Waalx woke at that moment, and I was happy that he saw a finger raised to my lips and that he knew to be silent. Unfortunately he was unable to get through. “I’ll find a key and come back for you,” I promised with a whisper.

“Aye lad, do that. But hurry! These trees be lookin’ at me with evil in their bark…” I stifled a laugh (something about the situation made me want to hoot and holler at that—nerves, I expect) and started to head for the group of sleeping Dunmer to see if I could locate a key. I was blessing my naturally quiet Kahjiit feet when I heard Waalx behind me and nearly jumped out of my fur.

“Nay! Get Wood! Get m’ staff!” he whispered as loudly as he dared. Despite that it sounded like a scream to my ears. Luckily the others were too drunk to notice. So I turned around and found the supply wagon. Luckily it was unlocked, as our captors had no fear of us going anywhere.

It was full of all sorts of weapons from us and others. I grabbed a few swords before seeing the staff stashed in a corner. I felt like telling Waalx that they had thrown it away and bringing blades instead, but part of me trusted the crazy mer. I put down the swords and picked up his staff.

*About time* I heard. I jumped and looked around, not seeing anything or anyone. My fur stood on end, and the blood rushed through my ears.

*I’m here, in your hands, foolish cat* the voice said again. Slowly, as I almost feared that it were true, I turned my alarmed gaze to the staff in my hands. “Wood?” I asked quietly.

*Oh good, you’re a genius. Now get the key and get back to the elf. It’s time for us to leave*

The voice was sardonic and sounded almost bored, and I couldn’t place any kind of accent. It wasn’t really coming from anywhere, but it was inside my head nonetheless. “What are you?”

*I’m a stick.*

I sighed. “I can tell that!”

*Then why did you ask?”

“How do you…talk?”

*How do you talk?* it countered. Knowing that this was probably one of the oddest things I’d ever do and that I would likely never understand it anyway, I shrugged and headed out.

Unfortunately my exchange had apparently been louder than I had thought. Standing at the entrance to the wagon was the ebony-clad Dunmer. He grinned, something that his one eye made look vicious, and drew his ebony daito.

*Oh good, a fight. Smite him.* the stick said.

“But I don’t know how!” I exclaimed.

The Dunmer looked at me oddly. “How to die?” he asked in his raspy Morrowind accent. “Oh, I’ll show you how!”

*Poke him* Wood said.


*I’m longer than his sword. Poke him in the belly with me. I can’t do everything, you know* it said, as bored as if it were talking about the weather. The Dunmer advanced slowly, grinning broader.

I did as Wood commanded and gripped the staff and thrust, as I had seen many adventurers who had practiced with my swords as I sold it to them had. It caught him in the belly, and at once I was glad that I picked up the staff and not a sword, as the ebony mail could likely have made a sword ineffective. The staff, though, caused him to reel.

He recovered quickly, though. “You’ll pay for that, slave!” he growled.

*Hit him on his blind side* Wood told me.

I was reacting on instinct. The Dunmer advanced and I gripped the staff in two hands. I brought one side up on the side of his face with the missing eye and, as the stick, supposed, he wasn’t quick enough to block. I felt the vibration as the staff hit its target. The Elf fell to his knees, gripping the side of his head. I hit him in the arm and he dropped his daito.

*Better knock him out, or he’ll come for you*

I obliged the suggestion, gripping the staff in a two-handed swing and coming into contact with his face. He fell back, unconscious.

I was sweating still, breathing hard, and felt like hitting him again, but I knew I didn’t have to. A glint of silver caught my eye, and I was more than happy to see a set of keys on the comatose Dunmer.

*You’re a hero. Now get us out of here*

I saw two sets of keys on the belt, and I grinned. “Exactly what I was thinking.”

By some chance blessed by the gods, all the Dunmer were still asleep, as apparently they hadn’t heard the fight in the wagon. I unlocked the wagon that was holding Waalx, and the elf almost jumped with glee.

*Not bad, kid. Now give me back to the crazy one* Wood said. I did so, and when I handed it over I felt more alone all of a sudden, as if part of me had just vanished. Waalx smiled as he gripped the staff, and I wondered what it was saying to him at the moment. I didn’t have a chance to ask.

I ran back to the other wagon and unlocked it, too. The Argonians were wide awake and we didn’t need to exchange words. They piled out silently, but one of them tripped and hit the side of the wagon. The bars rattled. I winced as I heard one of the Dunmer wake behind me and yell to the others.

“Let’s go!” I screamed, and we all began to flee down the road that we had come, the Dunmer close behind us. “Can we out run them?”

“We can lose them in the marshes once we get closer to Black Marsh,” the nearest hissed at me. I nodded breathlessly as we ran, wondering if we would make it that far.

The Argonians were quick and fit, and made good time. Waalx, however, was already out of breath. One of the Dunmer had grabbed a guar and mounted it and was closing in fast. Waalx stopped, bent over panting, but gripped his staff securely.

“Run, lad!” He said through gasps. “I’ll never make it meself! Get back to Border Watch and make sure the Argonians escape these devils!”

“But Waalx, I can’t leave you—”

“That’s sweet of you, boy, but don’t worry ‘bout me! Don’t forge this story, neither!”

The Ayleid hollered as he turned and ran towards the Dunmer. The on the guar was aiming to run him down, but Waalx ran and vaulted with Wood right on the beast’s back behind its rider, who grunted with surprise and lost control. The beast rammed into one of the other Dunmer, but not before I saw an ebony spear find its way—by accident more than skill—right into the Ayleid’s back.

“Waalx!” I cried. The Elf was still laughing, somehow, and he grabbed on harder to the rider of the guar and forced them all into the thick jungle underbrush. Torn between helping their companion and one of their few guars to pull the wagons and to find a bevy of escaped slaves, the Dunmer paused in their pursuit.

“Hurry!” one of the Argonians screamed behind me. With one more look at the jungle where Waalx was helping us make our escape, I turned and ran after my new companions.

We kept to the jungles, keeping out of sight. The Dunmer that captured us had stopped their pursuit but we had other denizens of Morrowind who didn’t take kindly to escaped slaves to worry about. I mourned Waalx on that journey. The wound he had taken from the spear was fatal, this much I knew, and he had sacrificed himself for all of us.

The Argonians and I parted on the Border with Cyrodiil, and they thanked me for freeing them but had nothing to give me. I wouldn’t have accepted anything anyway, and I mentioned that my brother was Argonian. They looked at me askance, and then laughed heartily. I was welcome back there if I ever wished, they promised.

The trip back to Border Watch through Cyrodill and over the Niben was a lonely one. I lamented my old friend, and also was upset that I would never discover the secret of his mysterious talking staff. But my weariness was lifted as I came near my home and heard the sounds of merriment and celebration. Was it a feast day, I wondered? I didn’t even know what day it was, I realized. My pace quickened as I drew nearer and began to smell cooking mutton and the sound of quick music, but I was stopped short by a familiar voice…

“It couldn’t be,” I breathed.

Sure enough, at the top of the old stone stairs, the center of all attention, sat Waalx. The old elf had the staff across his knees as he told the story of how he and I had escaped a hundred Dunmer and saved the entire race of Argonians from slavery. As I crested the last stair he saw me and let out a cry. “And there’s the hero now!”

My old neighbors and friends surrounded me and congratulated me all at once, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the elf, and stumbled towards him. “But…you…you died!”

Waalx laughed. “Oh, they dinnae kill me! What kind o’ Elf do you think me am, boy?”

The music spun around me and I had to shake my head to make sure it was all real. I gaped in disbelief. “But…” And then we both fell into one another’s arms in laughter. The Khajiit around us cheered, and I just laughed all the harder. Finally I pulled my friend away and faced him. “Waalx, your staff—I have to know. What is it? Where did you get it?”

“Oh, it’s a gift from dear ol’ Sheogorath,” he said, as if that would clear up everything. I just smiled, knowing that I wouldn’t get a better explanation than that.

And so there I was, back in Border Watch with friends, family, and—against all odds and logic—my old companion Waalx. I heard him tell stories, heard the laughs that were passed around the town like a warm breeze, and was happy. I watched my old friends come up to me and look at me with the same way that they looked at the adventurers that swaggered into town; Shady, looking as beautiful as ever, had a glint in her eye that I hadn’t seen before. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for the life of an adventurer, but I now had one of my own, and I was satisfied. I also found it amusing that the only fight I’d ever been in was not fought with steel, but with a stick. Some fates in life aren’t predestined, I thought with a smile.

I lifted my mug of ale to Ka-Twitsy’s memory, and drank deep. The Argonian had taught me much during life, but what he taught me with his death was infinitely more valuable. Life was clear to me now, and I looked at my old forge, sitting neglected but not forgotten against my shack, and immediately felt like jumping back into work. I had a dozen ideas rush through my head, but I saw Shady looking at me with that glint again and…I figured those ideas could wait until tomorrow.
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Chronicle II – Orc

The Orcs of Orsinium have had a troubled past to be sure, but now it seems they will have their own Imperial sanctioned province, and they are thriving. If not respected they are surely accepted by the majority of modern society. The harshness of conflict they have survived has left a great scar upon their legacy, but it is a scar of knowledge and surperior durability. The Orcs are considered the most talented soldiers of Tamriel, and in their company I feel strenght like I feel nowhere else, or is that just the side affect of their firm odor.

As blacksmiths the Orcs have a unique way of the anvil, they create sturdy blades comparable only to the seasteel of the Argonians, with fearsome edges that can carve through the hide of a Dreugh without difficulty. They often forge single-edged weapons with strength equal to the mountainside of the Wrothgarian Mountains. Yes, if the blades of the Khajiit is the hilt of blacksmithing, then the Orc blades are surely the spine.

By chance the Orcs are also brilliant tattoo artists, who would know I would willingly let someone singe symbols into my delicate skin? If anything they are a welcoming people, albeit they take some time to get comfortable around you, once they do, they are faithful for life.

Book 1 – Ritual Legend

In this world of ours there are many mysteries and curiosities, some are identical to aba malatu, others can be solved by simply reading a book, or listening to the whispers of the winds.
In all my travels across Tamriel, I have learned to understand that even the sweetest of forgotten legends and tales of great heroes and weaponry cannot compare to just stopping, and listening to the gilstening sound of the water for but a second. This is such a story.

Just as the Baar Dau hovers over the city of Vivec, every citizen knowing that one day, should they lose their faith it might come crashing down upon them. A young Orc must one day face his fear, that his world might collapse should he not be able to master his rite of passage.

A restless adolescent Orc may be able to plunge a jagged knife with all his might hilt deep into an enraged wereboar without even flinching, or toss himself in the way of danger so he might save those he love seemingly by instinct. But there is nothing as intimidating for an immature Orc than his ritual of ascension to manhood. The Orcs are born with a physique of a bear, and courage to match, and due to their great esteem among equals, respect amongst the sexes and their reverence towards their elders, there is not much that can put the wiggles into a sturdy Orc so to speak.

Not even when a young male approaches the female he has lusted for since he first saw her, is there much doubt nor apprehension in his mind. A youthful Orc can stand still for many an hour waiting for the right time to strike a deer with his hunting dagger, but the time he spends carving the piece of a tree that will eventually become the proof of his devotion and vigor towards his escalating strength and determination may seem eternal and insufferable.

Splinters throughout his fingers, and with the golden brown sprig of wooden glory in his hands, the now even more anxious juvenile carries it towards the chamber where he will spend his next six days of solitude and concentration.

The focus of his angst, the creation of a Wood Sword.

Since the Orcs began gathering in tribes before the incidents of Daggerfall, and when they were hunted by men and mer as beasts, when the time comes for a young male Orc, he must spend six days alone carving and forging his Wood Sword, scorching the wood, merging it with metal through his passion and white hot fire.

The wood may come from any tree, from the Ironwood tree deep in the forests of Skyrim to the high palm trees of Elsweyr, the important thing is the design, and the truth of mind the Orc puts into its making. The entirety of the sword is one piece of wood, the tang, pommel and fuller are all the same lifeline that once ran through the branch of a tree. If the Orc should sliver the fuller or the point too much when carving it, that lifeline is lost the wood becomes brittle and his ascension into manhood is considered foiled by his peers.

Another important factor is the scriptures often put on its fuller or on the pommel. Some carve the names of their loved ones, or the name of the woman that occupies a separate piece of their heart. Some write words of admiration towards their heroes or elders, and some write praise to the gods or daedra they worship.

This is an example of the scripture on a Wood Sword obviously dedicated to a Daedra; " MY SPIRIT AND FLESH MY HONOR IS YOURS"

A special intricate process when regarding the Wood Sword is adding its "thorns", the wood in itself has no edge, and the cutting power of the Wood Sword is determined by these "thorns" that are melted into holes carved in the side of the fuller, formed as they harden and then tempered.
The "thorns" do not necessarily have to be thorns as in the sharp thorns that protect branches and the sill of many plants. They can have many shapes and do not even have to interlock as to make a full edge, in fact, most Wood Swords have "thorns" that are separate and make up a jagged edge to the fuller.

The grip is usually simply carved into the wood, making a naturally tight fit depending on the carvers hand and specifications, another favorite for the grip is boar skin, often with the fur still in place allowing for a soft grip but still providing a non-slippery surface.

Now, the creation of such swords is prominent to the Orcs that strive to be respected by their elders, still some smiths are known to carve and forge basic versions of such blades, however, should an adolescent Orc buy such a "copy" instead of making his own, he will be found out, and he will be cast out from his society and lose the reverence of all his equals.

Many an Orc have been shamed by either failing to carve the Wood Sword, or neglecting to create it all together. This is the reason so many Orc hearts thump an extra time for each second during this trying time in his attempt to ascend to manhood.

The Wood Sword is not essentially created for combat, but if you ever encounter a young Orc armed with his Wood Sword, take my advice and do not stand his way.

Today I have written in the light of Secunda, crossing the path of The Serpent, it is fortunate I remembered to rub Nightshade on my shoulder yesterday, or The Serpent would surely have reached down and bit me.

Book 2 - A Quandao Cloven Heart

It was when my journeys had brought me to the far corners of the Red Ring Road that I first came across a wonderful statue, and what a statue it was.
You see, the statue could tell tales. And such gracious whispers of hope, mercy and murder. Of broken love and broken blades. One story in particular will never leave my heart. (Unless it ruptures of course) The figure holding strings sang of a drama from long ago, involving the great people of the Wrothgarian Mountains.

Oh how I remember dancing on top those hills last time I was there, still clutching what was left of the moon sugar to my chest. And with all those wolves chasing me, I probably should have given them their young back. And how hospitable the owner of The Lucky Giant Pub in Alcaire was, he even loaned me a fork, so I could catch Slaughterfish in Illiac Bay, but that is a story for another time.

The curious sculpture told me of a poor Orc blacksmith, living in Orsinium. She had a mind filled with designs and creativity, but she lacked the strength and longevity to endure the forge for a full day. Her business went slow and so she grew further and further into depression for each day that went by. She had some contracts with nearby Wayrest and the Redguards there, but it was not nearly enough.

Shada gra-Uzgash was the sister of the late Burzum gro-Uzgash, a master blacksmith. They had a very successful shop together, she created the design and proposed the function that the blades should serve, and he, using his talents as an ingenious forger, developed and improved the blades to accommodate her original thoughts. Their specialty was the cleaver, and they were close to perfecting the design when disaster struck.

Burzum was supposed to deliver an assortment of blades to Wayrest one early damp morning, but he never showed up. And three days later, on the 12th of First Seed, a Redguard ship found his corpse floating near the Isle of Balfiera. They suspected he had taken the road through Menevia to avoid the harsh mountainside in the rain, and run across a band of pirates. But which pirate gang had killed him was anyone's guess.

It was only seven days later that Shada learned what had happened to her brother. Suffice it to say that she was devastated. Not only had she lost the one person in the world that she cared for, since she had no other living relatives and had no time for love, but she had also lost her business. Her life had fallen apart in only seven days.

She couldn't sleep nor eat, all she could do to take her mind off things was work. And even though she was no blacksmith, she had learned quite a lot watching her brother at work on the anvil. She put all her anger in every stroke of the hammer, all her fury and despair in every flare that erupted when she struck.

And when she was done, she had perfected that which she and her brother had tried to do for so long.
The Quandao Cleaver was born.

The secret to the blade was that she had shortened it significantly. Almost to the point where it could no longer be called a cleaver, but still retain its original shape and ferocity. The blade was now stronger than ever, and one could lay all one's force on the blade and it would never fail you, but the Quandao's true strength was in that if properly used and with enough force, it could throw even the most proficient of defenders off balance. It was a blade that even Malacath would happily wield.

On the 28th of Rain's Hand, when she had made enough blades, including the new Quandao, she set forth on the route to Wayrest. With her new design and with her new confidence even after the loss of her brother, she was confident she could continue the business she had shared with Burzum, and save his memory.

When she arrived in Wayrest and had unloaded all but the Quandao on the local smith, her blood was tingling with anticipation. But when she presented it to him she didn't get the reaction she was hoping for. The smith burst into laughter, having never seen such a small cleaver he could not believe his eyes. He gushed forth in contemptuous laughter at the slender Shada, standing there with what seemed to him like a kitchen knife compared to the other cleavers. She was ridiculed and embarrassed, but she knew the strength of her weapon. She knew it was stronger than any other cleaver made by any other smith. She had to prove it to him, prove her worth, or she could just give up and go home in despair.

She screamed at him roaring with all the might her voice could carry, he was shocked and could not believe she would go to such lengths because of a simple joke. When Shada had calmed down she proposed what would later be described as the "test of the Illiac cloven heart".
She knew that a great warrior was in town, for she knew him well. He had courted her when she was younger --but she was stubborn, and only cared about helping her brother-- so nothing became of it. His name was Gashk gro-Aggron and was like a brick wall, none could compare with his skill in blocking and heavy armor.

She callously suggested that if she could put Gashk off balance with a single blow by the Quandao, the smith would take back his words and sell the Quandao in his shop. The smith grunted to himself.
He accepted, and ran out of his shop to gather the people prowling the streets down at the docks. Word ran across the Wayrest shore and reached Gashk that he was to block a blow from a woman he cared for deeply, and if he could hold his balance she would be ridiculed in front of entire Wayrest.

Thoughts rushed through the mind of the sturdy Gashk; this was his chance! If he let Shada throw him off balance perhaps she would be grateful enough to reconsider him courting her. But he would have to disguise it carefully --he could not simply pretend to fall off balance-- as they would surely see through that. No, he would have to use other means. If he exchanged his shield with a cheap counterfeit, the shield would not stand the might of an Orcish woman with a cleaver and he might actually be put off balance for real. He hurried to the general trader.

When everyone had gathered at the shoreline, and Shada stood ready with the mighty Quandao in hand, she debated to herself whether or not Gashk would show, and how he would react to seeing her again. She thought of the time when he was courting her, it was not that Gashk was uncomely, not at all. And he was a proud and stout Orc and she cared for him too, it was just that at the time, she had so many obligations.

Come to think of it, she could not understand why Gashk would court her in the first place. She was scrawny, not like the hardy voluptuous Orcish women that she knew got married quickly. She didn't like to bundle up her hair like proper Orcish women do. And she rarely wore clothes that were more complementing than comfortable. When she thought so thoroughly about it, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to talk to Gashk after she had proven herself to that imbecile of a blacksmith.

Her thoughts had put a smile to her face, and just in time, as Gashk approached the shoreline. He was clad in great Orcish armor, and with a bright shield that looked like an alloy between steel and mithril. The crowd awed at the sight of him. The smith proposed that they should get it over with, to diminish Shada's embarrassment, but Gashk interrupted him and briefly told Shada how it was nice to see her again and how he hoped they could meet after, no matter what the outcome was.

She agreed and they took positions, Gashk raised his shield-arm, the shield flared in the sun and blinded most of the spectators. Shada unsheathed the Quandao and built up as much confidence as she could muster.
At the sight of the Quandao, Gashk had his hopes somewhat lowered; he had thought she would at least bring a descent cleaver. Even with the weak shield he could not imagine being put off balance by Shada now.

Shada drew a final breath, planted her front foot hard in the sand, and charged. The blade shimmered in the light from the hot morning sun, as it cut through the shield and into Gashk's chest, it entered through his shoulder and as deep as his spine, cleaving his heart in two. Gashk fell to his knees, and the sand underneath him turned murky crimson. He drew his last breath and dropped to the side, forcing the Quandao out of the hands of the shocked Shada.

The children amongst the spectators screamed in disbelief and torment by the sight of Gashk's lifeless face, covered in blood and in an expression of anguish.

From that day, Shada swore she would never make another cleaver nor any blade for the rest of her life. She died a gardener in the local graveyard, tending to the graves there, including those of her dead brother and lost love, forever being reminded of what she had done.

I was so intrigued by this story that I simply had to find a Quandao Cleaver and the secret of how to make them. So I asked the peculiar statue where I could find such a blade, or someone who knows how to make it. At first the statue neglected to say a word, but after I took a fresh dose of Skooma, courtesy of my newfound friends in Bravil which I visited in Hearth Fire, the statue became as talkative as ever. It told me that there was one living relative of Shada gra-Uzgash living to the East in the City of Cheydinhal named Borba gra-Uzhash.

I bade the statue farewell, and it said something back although I can't seem to remember what it was, something about me knowing a friend of its or something like that. Not important, I hurried to Cheydinhal to see Borba gra-Uzgash as fast as I could carry my backpack filled with Imps.
I arrived on the West side of Cheydinhal just as the 13th of Frostfall came around the corner. I scurried to the local Inn so I would be rested when meeting the related Uzgash. My flesh simply shivered across my bones at the thought of actually holding a Quandao Cleaver in my hand!

Four hours later, the air filled with the cold scent of the river, I found myself enjoying a Frostfall morning in beautiful Cheydinhal. My nose was also filled with the smoke from a new tobaccoa pipe that I bought from a very clever Redguard woman at the inn.
I ventured towards the shop where I could find the Uzgash, Borba's Goods and Stores. I entered with great anticipation, but did not find quite what I expected. This was not a blacksmith at all, but a normal trader. None the less I spoke with Borba, asking in length about her family and heritage, and occasionally about the Quandao.

She told me that she had indeed heard of the Quandao and of Shada, but more known in her family was the story of what followed that tragedy. You see, unknown to Shada, she had a younger brother named Dulg gro-Uzgash. And when he found out that he had a sister, he traveled across High Rock from Glenumbra Moors to Wayrest, only to find that she was already dead, and buried there.
He did however, as the only heir to the Uzgash family, inherit the smithy that used to belong to Shada and Burzum.

In it, he found all the notes and paperwork of the designs that Shada had created, amongst them that of the Quandao Cleaver. Dulg was, unfortunately not as brilliant as his sister Shada, and considered the cleaver flawed. He attempted to improve the cleaver by elongating the blade, turning the hilt around, and making it slender and slightly more curved, thus eliminating the strength the Quandao had become famous for.

But, in his ignorance, Dulg had invented the first Orcish blade that actually handled almost as well as a Khajiiti saber! And although it was not the strongest, nor the sturdiest of blades, that in itself was an accomplishment.
He called it the Brokeback Saber; the 'broken' curve of the blade symbolizing the rolling hills of Wayrest that ended in the Wrothgarian Mountains.

He re-opened Shada and Burzum's shop in Wayrest and sold out his stock of Brokeback's every week. Ever since that day the Uzgash family has prospered and spread as far as the Dragontail Mountains in the North, and Cyrodiil in the South.

I was enchanted by this extraordinairy story of tragedy and luck; or was it the tobacco that had driven me off in a daze of thoughts? No matter, I had to know more, and find out where I could get my hands on an Orcish saber!

She told me of the thrilling heights of the Dragontail Mountains, where most of her family now resides. And it is there that the now great legacy of the Uzgash is brought forth. They are in the process of creating cleavers and sabers for all Tamriel to see. Mightiest of them all is the Dragonclaw Cleaver inspired by both the Brokeback Saber and the Quandao Cleaver. It possesses both the strength and durability of the Quandao, and the handling of the Brokeback, at least considering its size. It is the pride of the Uzgash family proper.

When she told me that she had brought with her a supply of these puissant cleavers and sabers alike I nearly dropped my pipe and bit my tongue. So after purchasing several blades and after hours on hours discussing the secrets and marvels of the blades created by the Uzgash family, she invited me to stay the night and showed me another few secrets of the women of the Uzgash breed.

Book 3 – Ashes That Cleanse

In "The Pig Children" an absolutely fascinating and appalling book, written to inform the citizens of Tamriel about the threat Orcs posed to society at that time, Bane writes that "By all rights, the civilized races of Tamriel should have been able to purge our land of their blight eras ago, but their ferocity, animal cunning, and curious tribal loyalty has made them inevitable as leeches in a stagnant pool." Well, I do not quite agree with Tyson Bane on this matter, as I have thoroughly inspected several Orcish women, and I can assure you there was no blight anywhere on them.

What I can say, is that I have heard many a tale on the bravery and beauty of several Orcs, but none can compare with the story that was told to me when I spoke with a healer in the Great Chapel of Julianos during my pass through Skingrad last Sun's Dusk as I travelled Cyrodiil.
Now it is true that I did not witness any of this, nor have I spoken to anyone related to the people involved directly, but the Breton woman I spoke to had such a beautiful smile so I can only assume she is not lying. And therefore, by process of elimination I can only conclude with that everything about this story is the undefiled truth.

The tale takes place far away form the Seat of Sundered Kings, in the vicinity of what is now Nova Orsinium, but directly after what can only be compared to the Ra'gada of which the Redguards take their name. When the original Orsinium fell to the fury of the other races in 1E980.
In the ruins of Orsinium, along the Bjoulsae River, an Orcish child was born into the rubble of corpses and cleaned in the fetid river spoiled by the dead and the remnants of their lives. This child would never know his mother or his father for he had been abandoned just as soon as he was birthed, like so many Orcish children during that time.

However this ankle biter was not like other children, he inhabited the curse of being disfigured. He was brought forth by birth with a deformed right arm and several blemishes on his face. Yet with this constant strain to his survival, and even without a mother or father to aid him, he survived the cold weather and rough mountains over what used to be Orsinium in the Wrothgarian Mountains.

After living for sixteen years in the farthest and most remote heights of the Wrothgarian Mountains, where the only food was wolves and the only water was the ice that dropped from the sky, he started a journey across the mountains towards Evermor. Why he traveled all that way after staying at the same place for so long is unknown, but maybe it was instinct, the instinct to discover new places or the instinct to find a mate that we all harbor.

It is irrelevant, for on his way there he fell unconscious from the cold. He had not eaten in three days, for there were no wolves in sight, neither had he seen any other animal. The birds were too fast for him and he feared the few insects that inhabited the mountains, for they were vicious spiders hiding in small holes in the rock walls and inside caves. He had been stung by them on many occasions and it was pain like he had never felt before even worse than when he was mauled by a wolf protecting its young.

When he came to he found himself warm again, in fact he was warmer than he had ever been before. The wolf fur he wore around his neck was wet with sweat, and his heart was thumping so heavily he could see his green skin bulging up and down when it stroke. He heard bright yet, hard noises, repeating themselves. Something was being struck, but the sound it made was nothing like anything he had ever heard.

He was paralyzed with fear, he could do nothing but lay still, and when he looked up there was no sky to see. What he saw was brown like on the branches on the small rugged bushes he used for cover to ambush animals when hunting for food. He could not feel his feet anymore, and he grasped immediately to the right, squeezing something with all his might as he panicked.

He heard a great growl as the huge Nord standing very close to him forcibly grabbed his hand. Pulling the young Orcs grip off his thigh and lifting him up on his feet. The tall Nord looked upon the Orc, thinking to himself and wondering what kind of creature he was. He had heard of greenskins in Hammerfell, but not in Skyrim, and certainly not as far North as Solitude. It was unheard of and he had also heard that Orcs could speak the common tongue, which this greenskin could not.

The Nords name was Olav Bjorkeskjegg and he was the tallest and strongest of the Nords in the village of Solitude, he was a blacksmith of some renown, but he was most famous for his beard since it was the harshest and massive beard one could ever imagine. Olav once said, that he did not have such a long beard because it suited him, it was simply because he had yet to find a razor that could cut through it. And whenever he stepped too close to the forge, he would smell the scent of burnt hair, rather his beard than him so to speak.

Since that day when Olav found the young Orc lying in the snow on the Northwestern border of Skyrim, the young Orc lived with Olav until one Middas, 4th of Morning Star. The now twentythree years old Orc had lived with his disability for over 20 years, but he was tired and frustrated, for every year that passed his arm became harder to move and it took more and more effort to get through the day.
The grown Orc never learned to speak nor write, but he was a superb warrior and hunter, even with his liability he was just as strong; perhaps even stronger than most of the Nords he hunted with. The only thing that kept him going with his condition was his strive to perfection, to be better, faster and stronger than anyone around him. So they wouldn’t notice his horrid appearance or his struggle to use his arm.

Of course Olav paid no attention to the Orcs challenged features, over the years he had become like a son to Olav, despite his inability to express emotions through language Olav knew that the Orc felt the same way. He especially treasured the evenings they spent together when Olav taught the Orc the ways of the anvil. At least as best he could without saying anything.

Olav and many of his peers considered it quite curious how the Orc had not learned how to speak even after all those years living with Olav and the other Nords in Solitude, but Olav simply concluded with that the Orc chose not to. Olav was renowned for thinking that the simplest explanation is often the most logical and therefore often the truth and so customarily chose to answer questions he did not know the answer to in that manner.

When Olav was visiting the tavern during the mid day, the Orc began working on the anvil, he had helped Olav in making the swords and hunting daggers he normally sold to the community in the village, but that was not his intent this time. As the years had passed, the Orcs palm on his right hand became more and more crooked, when he was young it didn't matter, because his hand was so small. But now it had become a serious problem as he could no longer properly grasp the handle of a sword, dagger or knife, so on that day he after spending six hours on the anvil. He had created a sword that lay almost perfect in his hand and handled so that he could properly swing it without much pain.

It was a wonder of ingenuity, the blade was thicker on the end than by the hilt, so he would need less force to swing it and its handle had a bulge in the center, so he could grasp with great vigor. He felt empowered, by no means was the blade painless to swing, but it was nothing compared to what he had to endure when hunting with a dagger. He remembered all the words Olav had used to express what the different blades were, but he could remember none that fit his sword, he did however remember that Olav had used the word scimitar when describing the tavern women. She handles almost as well as a desert scimitar he would say, so that's what he named it the Scimitar.

After almost seven hours at the forge and after spending quite some time practicing with the Scimitar and thinking about how Olav would react when seeing it he felt exhausted and fell to the floor on top of a pile of rabbit furs.

Late in the evening that Middas after awaking from his nap, the Orc found himself utterly depressed, he had just spilled a cup of Belladonna tea [Editors Note: Belladonna is famous for the green residue it secretes through its berries, because it is almost impossible to remove if it comes in contact with clothing, tapestry etc.] on the bear-rug that Olav treasured dearly, it was the last bear he felled before the death of his real son. Olav almost never spoke of it, but the Orc knew he would be devastated when he found out that it was destroyed.

The Orc looked around him in great distress, knowing that Olav would return from the tavern shortly as was his custom during Middas evenings. In the Orcs mind, he saw no other way out, he could not bear seeing the look on Olav's face when he saw the rug [Editors Note: It is obvious from this story that it is a very emotionally distressed Orc in question, most likely because of his childhood.] so he did the only thing he could do, run away, into the wild where he belonged.

He grabbed his clothing and threw a wolf pelt over his shoulders, sheathed the Scimitar lying by the forge and ran out the front door, the freezing Morning Star snow gusted against his cheeks like a punch to the face as he ran up the hills to the West. When he had gone so far that he could no longer see the village in the distance he stopped, fell to his knees and started crying. He had not cried since as long as he could remember and his tears froze before they could even leave his chin.

Turning into small droplets underneath his lips, at that moment the snow under his legs turned to ash, and the air smelled like rotten eggs.
A huge figure approached him, speaking in a deep tone of voice that seemed to echo even when the Orcs own cries did not. The figure spoke briefly, he explained that he had been watching the young Orc, ever since he was born on the riverside in Orsinium. He had seen the Orcs suffering and now had come to aid him, by giving him the greatest gift he could give to the Orc. He took the Scimitar from the scabbard that was lying in the ash next to the Orc. And with but a tear from the figures eye it changed, shifted into something else.

When the great figure spoke the mountains shivered and the clouds rained ash and soot, the Scimitar was corrupted, just as the figure was once corrupted and as the Orc was corrupted at birth. It was now the Miscitar, for it was Scimitar torn apart and put back together again. The figure gave the Orc the blade, but the Orc could not understand, he was given a much smaller blade. It was not even as powerful as the Scimitar was, but when he grasped it with his right hand he could feel no pain and as he swung it it almost flew through the air causing him no discomfort. Yet the Orc was enraged, he had thought he would be relieved of his disfiguration, that he would give him the greatest gift he could hope for, like the figure had said.

Then the figure turned his back to the Orc and started to walk away, the Orc shouted, screamed, shrieked, but could not say a word. He tried to run after the figure but he could never catch up with it, no matter how slowly it was walking, the figure briefly halted and explained to the Orc, the one that longs for everything he does not have, is the one that loses all which he has. You were disfigured at birth, but have been given great strength, you never learned how to speak and in turn you never needed to, you never had a father so one was given to you. How much of what you had have you been grateful for? You were given a home and someone that cared about you, but for seemingly nothing you ran away from it. You were given a gift of talent, so you could smith your own blade, but it was not good enough for you. The blade was improved so you could wield it without pain, but you discarded it as not enough.

At that moment the Orc drew a dagger from his belt, it was a dagger unlike all others, one he had forged long ago, when he first came to live with Olav. It was a dagger made to induce a wound that would bleed very fast, so that one thorough stab would be enough. It had an irregular shape with pointed edges at both sides of the dagger and it was much thicker at the starting of the blade near the hilt, than at the end. He held the dagger up it the sway of the torrent of ash around him with his left hand, and then in brought it to his right shoulder burying it deep inside the hand he hated so much. He ripped the dagger from his flesh and fell on his back lying in a cloud of ash and blood.

The figure left him at that moment, and as the ash turned to snow and the snow almost covered him the Orc died with a smile on his face.
On Fredas two days later, the Nords of Solitude found his corpse, lying in the snow half buried covered in soot. Next to him was the Miscitar and the dagger he had used to take his life, on that day Olav gave his Orc son a name, so that he would be given a name not in birth, but in death. The Nords that were present there named him Malachi [Editors Note: meaning Malacath-small, or son of Malach/Malauch]

To this day, Malachi floats in an eternal storm of ash, forever beautiful, forever perfect. It is said that the Nord smith in Solitude named the dagger the Tetela Dagger, Tetela was the name of his Nord son.

When I asked the Breton woman that told me of this marvelous Orc if the story was truly as true as her lips suggested, she replied simply that she did not know if all the details were correct after so many years of telling it, but if you you ask an Orc blacksmith to forge you a Scimitar he will know what it is. And if he spill a tear whilst forging it... It is not a Scimitar that will appear when he pulls it out of the fire.

Book 5 - Gorhak The Half-Orc
The Story of a Broken Head.

Part I

This story here I tell, is the making of a jewel unlike others.

I was lost. Rare it was that I lost myself anywhere on Nirn, and let me tell you - I was enjoying it, immensely.

My travel had led me three days ago to The Last Home, a shabby place you can’t even call a village, the kind of place that is at the end of civilized land, the end of the road, the last stop before the wilderness. Of course it’s as the saying goes, cause this wilderness always have more intelligent life or monsters that consider themselves civilized, so that civilized border can be quite pesky as we never really know where it really is..

I had heard of the place in my travels as it was also rumored to be the last blacksmith this far South. I was a little taken aback though when I realized that it wasn’t a forge that made weapons, but rather one that only take care of horses hoofs once in a while. So I took advantage of the other mercantile aspect of the place, and ordered a hot meal and some spiced wine.

I sat down nearby the fire, it was a good fire.

In that inn there was that old orc matron, she eyed me as soon as I entered the room and as I took off my hat I noticed how she was looking at me from the dark corner where she was seated. Her staring was so intense, the yellow of her eyes where bulging out of their wrinkled sockets in an alarming and so charming way. I smiled at her, bowing politely and extended my hand as I introduced myself. She threw her chair closer and I started to smell a peculiar odor, old cheese and stale ale. She told me she had heard of me before, in a voice that sounded like she had wind caught in her throat. She was croaking and spitting on me profusely, and I was really starting to enjoy this fine damsel…when she said to me:

-Green Wanderer hey? I hear you are searching for people that can forge right?

In all my years of wandering the world, if there was something that could get my utmost interest, it was when I was hearing that there was someone I should see. Because when a person is telling me about someone else in this way, it usually meant the person he was referring to me was good, maybe out of ordinary, out-of-ordinary-good…

Her rasping ensued, and she told me of a man who came to this far end of the world as well, but this passed over two decades ago. He was a ranger, and was barely able to stand by himself when he arrived in this same inn.

Korgol Bad-Thumb was and is still the owner of The Last Home. It’s probably due to his bad thumb from where he took his nickname that much is obvious, but this is also what never made him a real smith. His efforts in that field remained few and apart from a few kitchen knives and horseshoes, he never attempted to forge anything else (it is true that his cooking is far better than the wares I was eating it with).

Korgol had a daughter, Kaga, that was rumored to be as beautiful as can be (for an orc). Kaga was also the one who took on herself to have the forge going and regardless of the fact she never had a good teacher, the old lady told me she had a disposition to it.

So that mortally wounded ranger, who came to the inn twenty years ago in a very bad shape, was put in the care of Kaga, and it was her constant dedication to the sick man that finally brought him back to life in a few weeks. After a short stay and deep thanks to Korgol and Kaga, the nameless ranger took off and disappeared in the wilderness, never to be seen in theses parts again.

As the following months passed, it became obvious to Korgol that the ‘deep thanks’ the ranger had given to his daughter where indeed deep. Kaga the orc was pregnant of a half-human bastard. An infant born of two different races will never be accepted as an equal by any of his parents races. And she knew it. She knew also that to give birth to this baby, she would most probably die herself, as it is known that this kind of pregnancy usually destroy the mother at birth.

And so, as her unnatural son was born in incredibly hard labors, Kaga the orc went away.

Korgol Bad-Thumb never liked the bastard child, yet he raised him, unable to end this life that came from his beloved daughter. But it was obvious to the child that his grand-father was in fact, hating him.

He named him Gorhak, and his name soon became spoken as a jest by any who passed by the Last Home. Gorhak wasn’t a happy child, he had no friend, and a grand-father that will laugh with the others and never defend him. He saw many travelers who invariably took the job of laughing of him as well..(this is not what the old orc matron told me, but rather what I picked-up much after).

But she told me part the story of Gorhak youth, and finally how one day he disappeared from the small community. Yet she said that it was him I should seek out if I wanted to see ‘someone who can forge right’. In the last year he was around the place, he became the smith of The Last Home, and - most probably out of rage and in need to prove he was worth something - produced a few very well-made blades that passerby where all buying as he made them. Since he left, and haven’t been seen in a long while, none of these blades are available anymore.

Yet the old brown thing of a lady told me she ‘felt’ he was still around somewhere, and maybe somewhere not far. I like feelings like this, they remind me of nothing I should consider as proof - yet they hold certainty and a great promise of wisdom.…it all make sense when it doesn't, as the Dwemers say.

Heated and excited by this story, I woke-up at dawn the next day and charged into the wilderness in search of the Half-Orc boy. Three days later I was in a position I rarely find myself in, I was lost.