A Traveller’s Guide to Bretons
Hail fellow traveler! In your travels, have you come across that magnificent race the Bretons? If not, you do not know what you are missing, my friend. We are an affable people, unlike the supercilious Altmer or the brusque Nords. A Breton would not think twice about inviting you to sit at his table and share his meal. And what a meal you would have! The food may be rustic, but that does not mean it is not good and fulfilling. I have yet to find another race that can grill nix-hound meat to such perfection. Where was I? Oh, yes, my kin folk, the Bretons.
Bretons tend to be more slender than the bulky Nord or Orsimer (Orc to the uninitiated). But what we lack in size, we make up for in brains and natural ability. Yes, the Altmer claim to be masters of the metaphysical world, but one errant fireball and they light up like a brazier. A Breton’s natural resistance to magicka means that while we may be singed, we won’t be rolling on the ground trying fruitlessly to extinguish ourselves. I can attest from first-hand experience that watching a poor Altmer rolling around on the ground is not a pretty sight, nor one I would wish my worst enemy to see. Unless my worst enemy happens to be an Altmer, then I wish he were the one rolling. Be that as it may, I implore you, gentle reader, [deleted] do not set Altmers on fire merely to witness them rolling on the ground; let them do it to themselves, no matter how much enjoyment may be derived from such a spectacle.
My kinfolk mostly worship the Nine Divines: Akatosh, Magnus, Dibella, Arkay, Zenithar, Mara, Stendarr, Kynareth, Julianos, and Phynaster. Dibella deserves a special mention, what with her succulent comberries; her irresistible fire petals just waiting to unfold and share their sweet nectar; her…ahem. Where was I? Oh yes, the Divines. Yes, they are a very agreeable bunch and we very much like them; unlike those stuffy Daedra Princes the Dunmer worship or the “gods” of the Tribunal. Why, practically anybody can walk around proclaiming to be a god in their culture; except in Morrowind that is. Try doing that there and one will quickly find himself whisked away to the Ministry of Truth, never to be heard from again. Ministry of Truth, hah! Leave it to the dour Dunmer to think of such a name. No sense of humor, those people. Then again, having to breathe in the dust from Red Mountain would sour one’s mood quickly. I suggest you wear a scarf if visiting Vvardenfell. Better yet, don’t visit at all. Wouldn’t you rather go some place nice, like High Rock? Sure we Bretons have our feuds, but that’s what keeps the blood flowing! Though sometimes it flows where it shouldn’t, like outside of one’s body. Still, a pretty healer can help one [deleted] forget one’s pains.
Speaking of healers, Breton women are the fairest to behold. Don’t believe me? Take a walk through High Rock, or visit the Mage’s Guild if you are so unfortunate as to find yourself in Vvardenfell. Better yet, just take my word for it, you won’t regret it. Did I mention nix-hound steaks? I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest that you try one cooked to perfection by a Breton chef!
If you are a frequent traveler of these fair lands, you have no doubt met many of my kinfolk. That’s because we Bretons are an adventurous lot; young Bretons love nothing more than seeing new places and meeting new people. Why, any one of us would gladly share our fire and ale with you should you but ask nicely. Don’t mistake that friendliness for weakness; however, for though we may appear slight, we are by no means frail and will defend ourselves to the death if necessary. Why I’ve even heard tales of naked Nords being left rooted in one spot because they attempted to partake of the charms of our women uninvited. Let this be a warning to you, gentle reader, Breton women are not to be trifled with. Not if you wish to retain your dignity, among other things.
And there you are, gentle reader, the Bretons: a strong, proud people whose natural magicka resistance helps us become some of the premier wizards of Nirn. Sure Altmer may boast of their ability to cast spells repeatedly without rest, but wave a torch near them and they scream like babes before hiking up their skirts and running away. So if you are fortunate to meet one of my brethren with a hand extended in friendship, please take it; just be aware of the dagger in his belt; they are not for show and we will not hesitate to use them when required. We are a friendly lot, but we are not weak.
A Traveller’s Guide to Orcs
Hello fellow traveler! In my journeys, I’ve come across many interesting and strange things, one of which are the Orsimer, or Orcs as most call them. An interesting race the Orcs; a tall, green-skinned people with huge tusks protruding from their bottom jaw. From what I’ve seen of Orcian cuisine, those tusks come in handy … Anyway, the Orcs (or ‘Pariah Folk’ as they refer to themselves) are a hardy race whose prowess in battle rivals even the Nords, and that’s no small feat. Don’t tell that to a Nord, or you’ll surely have an ax aimed at your head! Hopefully, my advice in this book will prevent that from happening.
Orcs follow the Daedric Prince Malacath, patron of outcasts or something along those lines; who knows with gods what they patronize? Personally, I like to patronize the local tavern with the prettiest waitresses … Where was I? Oh right, Malacath. Some scholars claim the Orcs were once Altmer and that Malacath was once called Trinimac before being eaten by Boethiah and expelled from him. I don’t know how much of that I believe, but I wasn’t about to ask about it. I rather like my neck being attached to my head and would prefer that they not be separated, thank you very much. For those more curious than I, don’t bother asking the Altmer, they’ll just deny everything and the Orcs may take offense if you imply you doubt their word on the matter; it is my suggestion you look to an unbiased observer, if you can find one. Regardless of where they came from, the Orcs are right at home in Vvardenfell. The harsh climate seems to suit their disposition. Or maybe it’s because Malacath despises weakness and it takes a strong will to live outside of the cities. Who knows? Whatever the reason, Orcs are respected even if they aren’t well liked.
Most of the civilized Orcs one will encounter are members of the Imperial Legion, where their prowess in battle and skill with the forge is well appreciated. They would probably be more appreciated if they bathed, but that’s a topic for another book. Don’t ever ask an Orc to brush their teeth! I overheard one poor Dunmer suggest it and the Orc he was talking to said he would use the Dunmer’s bones to pick his teeth! I don’t know if he followed through on his threat, I tend to leave drunk Orcs (and Nords) well enough alone. There are a few who aren’t members of the Legion; I remember one in particular who was a member of the Mage’s Guild in Balmora. Nice enough, for an Orc, but she had this strange fascination with bones … Another I met in a local corner club threatened to take me out back and do bad things, because she thought I was staring at her. I most certainly was not, but apparently she thought she was a notorious outlaw and wanted everybody to know about it. If I was an outlaw, I would definitely not want to be notorious. Anyway, despite their appearance, most Orcs are fairly easy going. They want the same as everybody else, to be allowed to live their lives as they see fit; they’re just more direct in demanding it.
Outside of the cities, Orcs can be very dangerous, especially around shrines devoted to Malacath. Apparently if one happens by one of those shrines, the Orcs there feel they have to challenge you to see how strong you are. If you’re like me and you want to keep your head, stay far away from any shrine, especially those with Orcs at the door! There are a few friendly Orcs who poke around the ruins, but it’s best not to risk finding out the hard way which will invite you to dinner and which will try to have you for dinner. A good rule of thumb: if an Orc has a weapon out or their hands raised, they don’t want you over for dinner, they want you for dinner. Stay away from shrines, as I do, and you should be fine.
A lot has been said about Orcish intelligence, most of it that they don’t have much, which can’t be further from the truth. In fact, Orcs can be very intelligent: while I’m not much good with a hammer myself, it takes more than instinct to know how to bend a piece of metal to one’s will. Still, one must take care to be quite direct, when talking to an Orc; humor and sarcasm are lost on them. If they think you’re trying to belittle them, they may react violently. Smash first and ask questions later seems to be their motto and they really love their motto.
Not much has been said about Orcish cuisine because there’s not much to say about it. They enjoy meat of all kinds: rat, hound, guar, kagouti, alit, and some less savory types. If it walks on two legs or four and is more likely to die than to kill the hunter, it’s fair game. Orcs tend to not use many spices, instead preferring their meat right off the bone. They prefer it cooked, which makes it more palatable, but in a pinch, they’ll skip that step. Orcs have been known to eat the occasional vegetable, usually raw and always with the intent to rid themselves of some digestive ailment, which, as you can imagine, are frequent. They wash down all of this meat with a number of local brews: mainly sujamma, shein and mazte. After seeing them eat for the first time, I needed some myself. While the Dunmer tend to be reserved in their eating habits, Orcs aren’t; they eat with gusto and it’s not seldom that one has to clean more than one’s hands after a particularly engaging meal. If you are ever invited to dine with Orcs, bring a fresh change of clothes and plenty of toothpicks.
All in all, Orcs are a very interesting race that can be a joy to interact with, provided one takes care around them. Even the most peaceful of Orcs can become rather testy if you mention hygiene, or his lack thereof, within earshot. Just stay upwind and nod your head to whatever they say. If they ask you to join them for dinner, it is best to politely decline and give a good excuse. A recent death in the family usually works because Orcs revere their kin and will almost certainly understand. Whatever you do, do not say that you’re either going to a duel or are involved in one, because they will most certainly want to come and watch or participate; they may even want to challenge the winner! Go forth, good reader, and enjoy all that this race has to offer. Just keep your head while you’re doing it.