The burn. The heat. The ash getting in his damn eyes. Red Mountain really was the pits.
The traveler looked around. This ashstorm was going to delay his mapping the region by at least several days. Fuck. He proceeded to walk towards a cave, muttering under his breath about his recent lack of luck.
Vorar Mendas was a priest. Was being the key word: He had been wrongly accused of murder, not that he could have contested the charges. Now he was on the run, planning his revenge against those who had used him as a scapegoat. These ashstorms were excellent for reminiscening. As stepped within the cave, he could see a fire down in the back, its light flickering off the walls.
"Perfect...More fucking bandits." He grumbled to himself, pulling from his back his one family heirloom – A powerful, beautiful Daedric claymore named Kaiama, which was apparently won by his ancestor after winning a duel with Mehrunes Dagon himself. The dark rubies fitted on the handle, symbolzing each of the wielders, had a more underlying purpose – Depending on the strength of the handler at the time of his death, the sword would absorb his fighting capabilities, thus granting it more killing power. This is how the rubies came to be on the sword. So far however, only eight others within his family ever had the abilities to wield it. Vorar believed his destiny was tied with the sword, for he was more of a scholar and poet, rather than a bloodthirsty swordsman. But, so it went.
As he proceeded through the cave, he noticed the apparent lack of noise bandits usually made when camping out. No vile language, no poorly veiled attempts to flirt with the females in the group, nor the sounds of slaves crying out from being savagely beaten. No, all the noise he could hear was the storm outside and the fire. Odd.
He stepped slowly around the corner and saw, to his surprise, what looked like a child wrapped in a black blanket, shivering and twitching wildly. There was no doubt the child would die if left to his own devices.
"Well...I hope you're watching, mother." He mumbled as he pulled the blanket off the child. It was then he noticed why the child was shivering.
It was an Orc, a boy, and he was naked save for a pair of baggy pants that didn't fit him. But his most peculiar feature was a large black mark in the center of his chest. As he studied the mark more closely, he did not notice the child staring at him, all twitching and shivering stopped.
"Will you not kill me, evil one?"
Vorar looked at the child's face, surprised. That was a question he got a lot from slaves. Never from an Orc though, they were much too prideful.
"My child, why would I slaughter you?" He asked, raising an eyebrow as the child sat up and stared at him. This kid was creepy.
"That is what your race does though. An elf like you with a flaming sword killed my family. He said we were demons, and needed to be exterminated."
Vorar's jaw dropped. Nerevar? Murdering an Orcish family in cold blood? The war had ended only days before Vorar himself arrived in Vvardenfell. This child...He must've been here for at least a month. It took him a few seconds to regain his thoughts and he spoke with more kindess to the child.
"Dear child, I am not a war-mongering general who takes no prisoners. I am but a simple crusading priest. If what you say is true, perhaps you should accompany me."
The child's face remained blank, and Vorar wondered passively whether he was insane or not. He was about to tell the child to come, when he at last spoke.
"I want to learn your ways of war."
Once again, this simple, half naked child surprised him.
"Oh? And why do you wish this? So you may exact your revenge upon those who have murdered your family?"
The child bowed his head, and Vorar heard a small sniffle. When the child looked back up, his eyes were brimming with tears but he spoke in a more determined way.
"No. My father was training me. He said it was my destiny to learn how to fight, so that I could bring glory to my people."
Ah. His father must've been a knight of some sort. He smiled down at the child, and offered a helping hand.
"Come, young one. We shall train you in every way, so that your mind, body and soul will be at their strongest. I swear on my life that you shall bring glory to your people, and to the spirit of your father."
The child said nothing, but took his hand and stood up with his assistance. Vorar's attention was once again drawn to the black mark on his chest, and he fielded his intial question.
"What is that mark, young one?"
The child looked down, and then back up at him. "It is the mark of my father. He told me that I was born with it as a sign of destiny. That it made me different from others."
Vorar nodded, satisfied. If that was what the child was told, he had no reason to disagree.
"Tell me then, what is your name? Mine is Vorar Mendas."
The child, by now, had lain back on the ground and covered himself with his blanket. Vorar placed a piece of bread and vial of water next to him.
"My name...My name is Zarek." The child mumbled as he fell asleep.
Vorar sat on the ground, sighed loudly, and dropped his sword next to him before inspecting the child again.
"Zarek huh?" He thought to himself as he slowly drifted off. "You'll become a fine warrior someday. I know it."