Stories from battle: Regaining honor
Three days after our raid of the Orcish stronghold the group finally started to relax. A fire was lit and we started roasting the deer that were killed at the hunt that morning. When we asked to open one of the barrels taken from the stronghold, Faldiin chuckled and nodded thoughtfully, stating that; “You should drink it all. In the field, an empty keg is better than a full one.” This was much appreciated and we quickly opened the barrels containing the strong, mash-like brew that was taken from the stronghold. Faldiin chuckled and nodded contented. The men bragged about the battle, arguing about whom killed most of the green-skinned heathens, or comparing each other’s loot objects. I was just about to ask Heldi, a willowy young Breton mage with auburn hair and discretionary humor, if she would care to walk with me for a moment, when the people silenced. When I looked the way their eyes were pointing. Up a hill, with the setting sun as background stood three figures, casting shadows over the little camp. Everyone knew it were Orcs.
They started walking towards the fireplace, but when we drew our swords, Faldiin told us to calm down. Once at the camp our visitors presented themselves as Margosh gro-Korzul, Sarozga gra-Marghol and Azghal gro-Lugok and asked if they could sit down for a drink and pleasant talk. Faldiin accepted and ordered me to give the guests food and drink. Even though all I wanted was to shove my blade through the gut of these pigs, I hesitated. Their stature were huge, and everybody knew that here within close range of these beasts we had no chance. They would have wiped us out before Faldiin had thrown his first fireball. The mood eased little after the food and drink was handed out. Gulan, a one-eyed gabber in our party claimed that; “Nicer Orcs I have never met! But make sure not drink too much of that bouse, it shalt suffice to everyone!” Margosh, who had been talking to Sarozga, who seemed to be his sister, quitted abruptly and looked at Gulan, scrutinizing, as if trying to decide whether to kill him or not. When he answered, he spoke in correct Tamrielic, and his voice grew more stalwart and fiery for every word; “We have followed you for the past three days; the past three days after you burned our stronghold, after you killed our Gro’ and Gra’, after YOU stole OUR mead!” He stopped, calming himself, and then continued in a more disciplined manner; “True Orsimer do not mind a battle, as long as steel meet steel, flesh and bones. As long as the hammers shatter shields and the battle cry is heard, loud and strong. That is honorable battle, honorable death. This is why we have come to your camp, to avenge the pitiful deaths caused by your fire, frost and lightning. And by this we also show you compassion, by giving you honorable deaths, instead of burning you alive.”
I could see Faldiin reach for a knife under a bedroll, but apparently so did Margosh, because his war axe flew up, positioning Faldiin’s head in an orbit over the fire before it landed in the mead keg with a splash. “Neither is there honor in sneaking and backstabbing!” the Orc bawled, even angrier. Chaos broke out around the fireplace. Men and women drew swords, fled or tried to cast magic at the raging Orcs, who soon would have cut themselves halfway through the crowd. I saw Gulan go down, ironically by his own tankard, forced into his mouth by an orichalcum-reinforced orc heel, separating the mandible from the head. I charged by instinct but was soon knocked out when Sarozga’s battleaxe rammed my left temple
When I awoke our healer Maiat sat beside the bedroll upon which I laid, focusing her magica on a wound over my ear. It was bleeding heavily and the ear was ringing, but after recalling last night I quickly asked her to stop. She looked at me like I have gone insane, but accepted, saying that I was lucky that the axe kissed me, instead of biting. When I asked her about the rest of the group her shoulders sagged and a stripe of her greying hair fell down over the cheek. She told me that few of us were alive; most of our twelve-member group had been killed during the fight or by their wounds. The orcs had escaped, with barely scratches on their thick armor. She swore and cursed them to Oblivion. “Those misfits and their god Malacath, patron of the ostracized. Bah. There is a reason they are outcasts.”
Regardless of how much I wanted to agree with her, I could not. Even though how much I hated the orcs, I could not agree with her. I did not even want them dead. At that point all I wished for was an honorable death.