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During the Nerevarine's time in the city of Mournhold, he met a young Wood Elf1 named Gaenor2. Gaenor fancied himself an adventurer and was about to set out into the wilderness, and begged the Nerevarine for a boon. Any man's charity has limits, however, and as the Bosmer's demands grew ever more insistent and unreasonable, the Nerevarine was at last forced to refuse him. Enraged - for it is well known that Bosmer are the least civilized of all mer, eating the flesh of their own kind among other savage customs - Gaenor rebuked the Nerevarine and departed.

Now, while most mortals have good luck and bad in equal measure, there are those rare few who only seem to possess one kind; for them, good luck follows good or bad follows bad. Gaenor was one of these, and not the miserable sort either: he was already known to some as "Gaenor the Lucky". His meeting with the Nerevarine might have been another blessing, if not for his pride... but his good fortune had already begun to twist him, making him expect such as his due.

After only a week of delving into caves, tombs and dwemer ruins, Gaenor had found a fair pile of treasure. He plowed most of this right back into improving his luck even further, buying every ring, amulet, or other charm he could find. At the end of a month, he seemed invincible: neither blade nor spell could touch him, foes blundered into each other or tripped over their own feet, and ancient dwemer guardians chose that moment to break down and fall apart. Bags of coin and other valuables turned up in chests, urns, or even landed right in his lap. Gaenor decided that it was time to repay all those who had wronged him, starting with the Nerevarine himself.

But the Nerevarine had received a prophetic vision3 of their next encounter, and had made preparations of his own. Through cunning alchemy, he had brewed a large batch of potions to fortify his luck; when taken all together, they would lift it to the same dizzying heights as Gaenor's, and even beyond.

On the fated morning, Gaenor - now clad head to toe in shining ebony armor - saw the Nerevarine across one of Mournhold's plazas and charged, howling Bosmer curses. The Nerevarine, who had quaffed his potions only minutes before, calmly drew his own weapon and stood ready. When they met and struck at each other, there was an eye-twisting moment of discontinuity (much like some accounts of the Miracle of Peace, also known as "The Warp in the West") and then Gaenor simply exploded, pieces of his armor flying in every direction. His helmet rolled to a stop at the Nerevarine's feet.

So it was that Gaenor the Lucky finally met his match, and he and his good luck both came to an end.

Footnotes )
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As an antidote to all of those happy fluffy Malkavians and Changelings, I give you the Elder Scrolls' god of madness, Sheogorath. The imminent expansion to Oblivion, Shivering Isles (call it TES IV.1) sends you into his domain.

Personally, I'm staying far far away. )
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He stood at the base of the Hist tree, watching it go up in flames, and for a moment felt a powerful sense of deja vu. The heat of the blaze licked his face as the air grew thick with smoke. Somewhere high above, a window shattered.

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(That's it. Thanks for reading.)
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Maybe it's the Hist sap talking (and it probably is, 'cuz I never got this kind of buzz off one mug of anything, not even Newheim's ale), but these Blackwood guys aren't so bad. That Forsaken Mine thing must have just been a big mistake. Sure, they're no Blades, but they aren't as bad as Oreyn said. I almost feel like telling them he sent me to infil... in... join them. But then they might not like me, and I don't want to break up this great team we have.

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(One more to go.)
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Shortly before first light, those sleeping in the Leyawiin hall of the Fighter's Guild were woken by an orc banging loudly on a shield. "Up! Everybody UP! We got a job to do, right now."

One of the fighters told the orc what he could do with himself. The next thing he knew, he was on the floor with the stranger looming over him.

"That's '____ you SIR,' meat! You're talking to a Guardian and a knight! Come on, on your feet! Get dressed - you won't need armor or weapons, I cleaned the place out already."

"What do you need us for, then?" asked an elven archer.

"Carrying bodies," the orc said. His voice dropped a few notches from his earlier bellow. "We got people to bring home... brothers and sisters." There was a moment's pause, then he whacked one of the bedposts with his mace. "Come on, move it ya gobs!"

Quietly, though not without some grumbling, they did as they were told.

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Aldos Othran was on the ground, bleeding out from a mortal wound. He was sober now, but that shocked awareness was fading from his eyes. His lips moved, forming a word - his dead wife's name? - and then he was gone.

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The owner of the Five Claws, whose name sounded like "Witsydeucy" to most non-Argonian ears, was sweeping up the last of the mess in the common room when the two orcs entered. "... get a big surprise when he shows up tonight," Thag was saying to his companion. "We wait here 'till then, get some rest, go back a little before midnight."

"And then the Count will make us both knights," Mazoga said eagerly. It was all she'd talked about since they'd been tasked with eliminating the leader of the Black Bow bandits.

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At first it seemed that the priory hadn't changed at all from the first time he'd been here, months ago. But there were horses missing from the stable: the paint that he rode, the bay that he led, and the dun that Jauffre had taken. And there was a new grave out back, for Prior Maborel.

"I brought your horse back, and Martin's too," Thag told the mound of dirt. "Sorry I couldn't do more."

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Howling with rage, bathed in divine dragonfire, steam jetting from cracks in his blood-red skin, the giant four-armed figure of Mehrunes Dagon faded and was gone. Now only the great golden dragon, the avatar of Akatosh, remained in the shattered Temple of the One... along with a single orc warrior who stood awestruck at the dragon's feet, having just witnessed a battle between gods.

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Thag gro-Uruk stepped over the bodies of Raven and Ruma Camoran and pushed open the door leading to the sanctum of their father: Mankar Camoran, leader of the Mythic Dawn, servant of Mehrunes Dagon and architect of this whole mess. The gold-skinned high elf was seated on his throne, dressed in blue silk robes, with the Amulet of Kings around his neck. Thag wondered how the Altmer could wear the red diamond, as he probably didn't have the blood of the Septims (except on his hands). Perhaps the rules were different here in Camoran's "paradise."

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It was after midnight when Thag came to Anvil. The streets of the port city were empty but for a lone watchman, holding his torch high as he made his rounds. Thag exchanged quiet greetings with the man as he trudged toward the Fighter's Guild.

Thag was tired. It was three days since he'd last slept and he'd spent most of that on the road, in the saddle, or fighting through caves and ancient ruins (not to mention the occasional attempted highway robbery). Even his renowned orcish stamina was reaching its limit. He was over-burdened with loot that he could not sell until the shops opened in the morning, sustaining himself only with potions and spells that lightened his load somewhat.

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[The Burning Blade is Thag's signature weapon, somewhat unusual for an orc (who tend to prefer axes, maces and warhammers) - a fine steel longsword of which he'd already become very fond before he used a Sigil Stone to enchant it with fire damage.]
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Thag considered the waters of Niben Bay as they gently lapped against the gravel and sand at his feet. He could see the opposite shore on the horizon, many leagues away. His brow furrowed. While it was true that orcs were almost fearless, it was also true that very few of them could swim. Fortunately, he had another option.

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As an orc adventurer in (mostly non-orcish) Cyrodiil, Thag gro-Uruk had been called many things. Until today, "too pretty" was not among them.

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A man and an orc are traveling along a road. There is also a horse; the orc leads it and the man, at the orc's insistence, rides. The man wears the cassock of a priest, while the orc is clad in a warrior's armor. Behind them is a city in ruins. Ahead of them is destiny.

It is a long journey, and there is time to speak of many things. To fill one of the silences, the man asks, "Tell me about my father."

The orc thinks. How to describe a man known for less than an hour, to a son denied even that? Finally he speaks.

"He was not afraid. He had seen his death and he was not afraid, not for a moment. He did not hide from it behind other men; he met it on his feet, sword in hand. Few men are so brave."

The orc turns his head to look up at the man on horseback. "I wish you could have met him. I wish... I had met him sooner."

Then there is only the clopping of the horse's hooves on the road, and the rustle of the wind through the trees.

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Kelly St. Clair

October 2017

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