Now I want to take a few pages to record King Kurog's grand vision for Wrothgar and the Orc nation. I listened to his plan develop over the years from a nebulous dream, to a kernel of an idea, to the strategy that now inspires the re-building of Orsinium.
During one of our first rendezvous, Kurog imbibed an astonishing amount of moon-sugar double rum. This had the effect of making him both introspective and extremely talkative. With a few smiles, a well-placed giggle, and an occasional compliment or question, I was able to get Kurog to open up about a great many things. But as the evening wore on, he began to tell me about his dream for the Orsimer—his name for the people we call Orcs.
"The strongholds," Kurog said. "They've served the Orsimer well for generations. But our traditions, for all they aid and guide us, they also hold us back. They mire us in outdated notions and meaningless restrictions." There was more, of course. While he understood the need for violence and was extremely good at it, he hated that everything in the strongholds was solved by beating or killing someone or another. "It makes it very hard to have a civil discourse on anything of substance," he bemoaned, "because sooner or later someone reaches for something heavy or sharp to use to punctuate their particular point of view. Something needs to change."
The next time the subject came up, we were drinking treacle tea and watching the sun set over the Tenmar Forest. It was obvious that Kurog had given the topic much thought since we had last discussed it. In addition to just making life better for the Orsimer, now he also wanted to elevate his people on the political level as well. "The other kingdoms will never take us seriously as long as we remain trapped in our old traditions," he said, a trace of bitterness evident in his voice. "We must develop a modern society if we are ever to stand shoulder to shoulder with the other races as equals. We need to build Orsimer towns and cities that can sustain diplomacy and trade while not looking like ancient and restrictive fortresses. A little fear in your contemporaries is all well and good. I find that it helps immensely in negotiations. But attitudes and mannerisms that invoke terror? Those should be locked away and reserved for your enemies, not left on constant display to frighten friends and foes alike."
It was my final day in Elsweyr. I was preparing to return to Wayrest after what I assumed was going to be my last extended stay in the Khajiiti countryside, when Kurog invited me to join him for dinner. He had reserved a private room at the local inn and paid the establishment's chef to prepare a farewell feast for the two of us to share. As we munched on dried sugarmeat and caramelized sweetcakes, Kurog picked up his ongoing narrative of how he was going to return home and help his people. "I plan to rebuild our past glory, perhaps by reestablishing Yashnag's ancient Orsimer kingdom in Falkreath or maybe even raising the ruins of Orsinium itself."
Kurog's dream had become goal, a challenge he had placed upon himself to test his mettle and his strength of spirit. It would begin with Kurog's return to Wrothgar to wrest the chiefdom of his clan from the "insolent leader" (his words, not mine) who banished him. Then he would gather other clan leaders to his banner, forming a nation of independent states that was large enough and powerful enough to carve a kingdom for the Orcs—a kingdom that would see Kurog as its king. "Tell Emeric that the next time we meet, it will be as equals or it will be as enemies!" Kurog said. "Under my rule, Orsimer will have every right and opportunity afforded to the citizens of Wayrest or Windhelm. The old ways will fall away, and a new age will dawn for the Orsimer people. This I so pledge!"
I won't deny it. Kurog's words, his passion, they moved me. I wanted to believe that he would succeed, that the Orcs would rise up and prosper under his benign rule. I would never forget what he described to me. Later, when King Emeric was in desperate need of allies, I would remember Kurog and whisper into Emeric's ear. And that is how alliances are born.
|The Chronicles of King Kurog|
|The Chronicles of King Kurog, Book V||The Chronicles of King Kurog, Book VI|