Mistress Azhira, at last the snows have subsided
sufficiently to allow me this opportunity of once again presenting before you
exciting news of my Orcen discoveries. Although not as thrilling as my previous
report, these new insights are no less worthy of your consideration, and could
perhaps be deemed suitable for inclusion in your next presentation to the
Compendium. I fancy also that the MasterBard herself, Mistress Judith, would
find great interest in the words to follow.
As you know, I have for the last half-year been living amongst the
Kaaer’dar’shin people in their settlement of K’taaj. I am pleased to report that
my travelling companion and guide, Valek, and myself have been made entirely
welcome during our enforced stay, and we have been treated as honoured guests
wherever we went. Indeed, I flatter myself that I have earned a host of new
friends within the small population of the village, and I have begun to feel
quite at home amongst these simple folk. Further to this, I have some news of a
more personal matter which I shall share with you after I have presented you
with the facts of this report, if I may make so bold?
After I had despatched my previous report to yourself, as stated, I spent what
was intended to be a few days in the company of Ba’kal, the aged Osther-oc
herdsman introduced to me by Valek. He was a more than accommodating host, and
threw open his humble dwelling to the both of us. We spent many hours each day
listening in rapt attention to his tales of orcen life and ‘the old ways’, and I
have amassed quite a collection of scrolls dedicated to his lectures. So much
have I learned from him that I have had scant time to gather them into
presentable form, but rest assured I shall be bearing down on this task over the
But I digress. Whilst we have been lodging with Ba’kal, he has treated us to a
whole host of unusual repasts of orcen derivation. Never would I have suspected
his race capable of such wondrous, aromatic and palatable meals. At first I was
wary of trying some of these receipts, especially after seeing what went into
the pot, but I can assure you that each and every one of them would find favour
on the richest of tables. I can especially recommend the Tlor Zidj, or blood
sausage, a hearty fast-break if ever there was one!
As I am no cook myself, and having no experience in this area, I have decided to
present each receipt thusly: a brief description of the dish, along with any
other information I have been able to gather, followed by a list of the
ingredients, and this in turn followed by the method of cooking. I hope you find
this satisfactory to your requirements.
Picture description. A piece of orcish blood
sausage. Image drawn by
This deceptively delicious preparation is enjoyed by
most orc tribes, although ingredients seem to vary slightly dependent upon local
Ba’kal insists that this preparation is one of the oldest of the orcen receipts,
apparently having been in existence for as long as they have hunted boar for
food, and has become a staple part of their diet. He has even heard tell of the
Rhom-oc, during their annual gathering of the clans, holding drunken
competitions to see who can eat the most Tlor Zidj in one sitting, or wagering
who can throw one the furthest without bursting the skin! However, these rumours
must remain unconfirmed until a researcher witnesses the events personally.
The list of ingredients is as follows: weeproots (or garlick), boar or pig fat,
bredden or wheat grain (or similar), herbs and spices (pfepper grass is widely
used due to its ready availability and hot flavour, but Ba'kal insists upon
Kragghi sap for authenticity) and blood, preferably from a freshly-slaughtered
boar, but pig will suffice, and the cleaned intestines of the animal for the
skin of the sausage.
The preparation of the sausage is simplicity itself, requiring no great skill or
special equipment. In fact, in my opinion the only thing vital to the process is
to be possessed of a strong stomach, unless one finds the thought of having ones
arms covered in warm boars blood as far as the shoulder acceptable! The Zidj is
often served with a spicy paste known as Ch'utni. Made from Meldarapples, Doch
nuts, Vinagre and Kragghi sap, each orcen cook seems to have their own preferred
mixture, more meldarapples for sweetness, or more kragghi sap for spice. Ch'utni
is served with many orcen meals (which, I must confess, can be quite bland
without a certain amount of it, and is sometimes even eaten as a dish in itself.
Finely chop the weeproots, boar fat and herbs and crush the grain into a rough
powder. Thoroughly mix all the dry ingredients together in a pot, and then pour
in sufficient quantity of the blood to turn the whole into a thick, crumbly
mixture. Cut a fore-long piece of the cleaned intestines and tie one end with a
sturdy knot. Fill this ‘pouch’ with the blood mixture until there is just enough
of the intestine left empty to allow another knot to be tied at the top. When
you are satisfied that the knot is secure, drop into a pot of nearly-boiling
water for between five and ten minutes.
After this, the sausage can be eaten immediately, or allowed to cool and stored
for up to a week, ready to be warmed up again when needed. It is easily sliced
when hot, which I found makes for easier eating, but Ba’kal and Valek took
theirs whole. No mean feat, as they are particularly filling.
This dish has found great favour amongst the Kaaer’dar’shin hunters, who take
several of them in their packs when they leave on a trip as they are wholesome
and simple to cook in the field.
The texture of a well-prepared and properly cooked zidj should be slightly moist
but crumbly. The flavour is impossible to describe, being reminiscent of nothing
else I have tasted before. I can but suggest that you try one for yourself,
Mistress Azhira. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
Some of the local women have taken to preparing a mushroom gravy to pour over
the sausage, which compliments the taste of it tremendously. Ba’kal sometimes
pours a generous amount of ale into the mixture which I must say adds an extra
level of pleasure to the consumption of this more-some treat. I also found,
quite accidentally, that small pieces of Malsapple added to the mixture, or
pulped and eaten alongside the sausage, creates a whole new flavour which Ba’kal
assures me will be well received by his Osther-oc compatriots when they arrive
in the spring.
Another dish created from the most unappetising of
ingredients, when prepared in the orcen manner it presents a mouth-watering and
substantial meal for even the hungriest of folk. The Porack is traditionally
served at feast-times, such as celebrations of a victory in battle, coming of
age, marriage (in those tribes who celebrate the ritual) or indeed any other
excuse for a party that can be mustered. As you well know, Mistress Azhira, the
orcs need no encouragement in this direction!
Like the Tlor Zidj, the Porack has also become a favourite of those orcs whose
daily tasks take them away from the village confines, being easily ported and
simple to cook.
There are many variations in the contents of the porack, usually due to the
vagaries of local consumables, but I shall present you with the most common of
these ingredients in order that you may sample this worthy repast for yourself.
The most important part of the stuffing of the porack is the entrails of a local
sheep or goat, all parts should be used, including the stomach bag to hold the
filling. Some large weeproots, a handful of Wison fat or similar, local grains,
salt (if available) and crushed pfepper grass, a cupful of gravy and local
spices. Again, a small bowl of kragghi sap is commonly served alongside this
Like the tlor zidj, porack is simplicity itself to cook, although the
preparation of the ingredients takes somewhat longer.
Clean out the stomach bag with cold water and leave it to soak overnight. On the
following morning, carefully turn it outside in.
Clean the entrails and drop them into boiling water for slightly longer than an
hour, or one turn of a large sandglass. Crush the grains and put them by the
fire to warm.
Roughly chop the cooked heart, lungs and liver, and finely chop the weeproots
and fat. (I found the lungs particularly tough, considering my jaw muscles and
teeth are decidedly weaker then those of orcen heritage. I suggest that the
kidneys may be better employed in this instance.)
Mix the chopped ingredients with the warmed grains in a large pot and add the
salt, pfepper grass and any spices.
Pour into this mixture sufficient of the water used to boil the entrails to make
a watery paste, and then fill the stomach bag with this mixture until it is half
full. (Or half empty, if that is your preference.)
Press out any air from the bag and sew or tie it tightly shut. The tendons from
the sheep’s leg are ideal for the purpose.
Boil the whole in an open pot of clean water for perhaps three hours (or 3 turns
of a giant sandglass). If the porack swells such that it seems likely to burst,
prick it with the tip of a sharp knife, lest you are willing to wear the
contents as hair decoration!
After this time you can serve the porack while good and hot. If it is to be
eaten at a celebratory feast, it is traditionally served with mashed Neeps and
Tuberoots, or any local similar.
After boiling, porack can be left to cool and stored for several days until
needed, when it should be once again dropped into boiling water until hot enough
Although Ba’kal insists that this receipt is of orcen origin, it is worth noting
that many of the northern tribes have very similar receipts. Whether Ba’kal’s
claims prove to be true, or whether it is the orcs who have borrowed this
receipt from some outside source remains to be seen.
Wherever the answer to this question lies, I am disinclined to persue it, as
regardless of its origins, porack is undoubtedly one of the finest repasts I
have taken for many a long year, and I feel sure that if you were to request
your cooks to prepare you one using the methods I have presented, you would also
enjoy the nutty, savoury tastes hidden within.
But may I suggest that you try not to muse over the contents too much, as this
may spoil your appetite.
TO AS "SLUGS"
Picture description. Roasted slyggs on sticks. Image drawn by
Excepting the tribes who dwell in the frozen north,
slyggs are a part of the everyday diet of all orcs. Whilst most races regard
them as little more than repulsive pests, the orcs have created an extensive
list of possibilities for these slimy little mollusk-like creatures, many of
them surprisingly palatable.
As there are so many different ways of preparing them, I have chosen not to
present here any lists of ingredients, but rather I shall describe a number of
the more common meals they are used in, along with such facts as I deem
pertinent enough for your good self.
So important has the slygg become in the diet and indeed, survival, of the
northern orcs, that I intend to prepare a fully-researched and documented entry
for the Bestiary keepers of the Lorehold. I shall forward it to you as soon as
is practicable, Mistress, that you may pass judgment on it ‘ere it reaches the
hands of the keepers.
The first, and most important, thing to remember when preparing slyggs for the
pot is their dietary habits. As is commonly known, they are omnivores of the
first order, equally content to eat plants or meat (fresh or rotting), but more
ominously, excretions of all kinds from the beasts who inhabit their
Aside from the obvious risks of not knowing what your slygg has inside it, the
worst effect this wide-ranging diet has is that slygg-flesh takes on the taste
of whatever it has recently been eating. The outcome of these two facts surely
need no further explanations from me.
In order to ensure your slyggs contain nothing harmful or distasteful, it is
necessary to keep them in some kind of container for at least two days. In this
way one can feed them naught but fresh and clean materials, thus preventing any
possibility of causing sickness. If you require a specific flavour to your
slyggs, then this is the time to feed them on whatever it may be. Favoured
flavours are kragghi vine, pfepper grass, malise honey, mushroom and fruit.
Slyggs are also particularly fond of ale, which provides an excellent lure for
slygg-traps. Also, ale-soaked slyggs are a vital ingredient in many orcen
The most common way of preparing slyggs is to skewer them lengthways on a thin
twig or metal skewer and roast them over a flame. Obviously, the longer the
twig, the more slyggs can be skewered at one time. A popular variation on this
is to use several slyggs which have been fed on different materials beforehand,
thus presenting many interesting combinations of flavours in one mouthful.
The more southerly tribes, in particular the Rhom-oc, dip the skewered slyggs
into malise honey and then roll them in herbs and spices. They then roast them
in the usual manner. This method is usually used as a treat for the young of the
The barbarous Losh-oc are less inclined to waste time cooking their slyggs, and
happily chew on them live and raw with scant regard for what they may have been
eating. This perhaps goes some way in explaining the overpowering stench of
Boiling is the other main method of cooking, with handfuls being thrown into the
ever-boiling pots seen steaming over most camp-fires.
Do not be tempted to sprinkle salt on your slyggs, as this is regarded by all
tribes as being an insult to their food, and it also leaves a nasty mess on your
Believe this or not, Mistress, but there appears to actually be a polite way to
eat your slyggs when invited to dine with orcen company! However, it would serve
you well to make certain of which tribe you are dining with, as there are two
ways of eating slyggs, and each tribe has their own favoured method, considering
the other to be a slight on their table. The Losh-oc can be discounted from this
description, as they have no conception of the term ‘polite’. Indeed, it is
impossible to comprehend ever being invited to table with them, unless you were
to constitute the main course.
Likewise, the Osther-oc do not appear in this description as they live in the
permanently frozen regions of Cartash where no slyggs can survive. They do eat
them when they venture further south, but seem to have no preference over the
method of consumption.
The Ashz-oc, Volkek-oshra and, to some extent, the Kaaer’dar’shin half-orcs
prefer the following method. Select a single slygg from the dish offered, hold
it by the tail-end using the thumb and fore-finger. Next, tilt back your head
and using the thumb and fore-finger of your opposite hand, run them down the
body of the slygg, squeezing and sucking the yellowy-orange innards out of the
mouth-end and into your open mouth. You can either chew or swallow the contents,
but be sure not to allow any to escape your lips. There will be a small bowl
beside you to discard the empty skins.
The Rhom-oc and Gob-oc tribes use a different method, but are equally firm in
following the correct procedure. Oftentimes, these two tribes will serve raw
slyggs to guests, coated in herbs, honey, nectar or fruit pulp. If this is the
case, select a single slygg and pop it into your mouth whole. Do not be tempted
to bite it before it is fully inside your mouth. Once you have the slygg in your
mouth, you should bite down on it as hard as you can with your back teeth. You
may find that grinding them slightly from side to side will help in breaking
through the tough skin. One should refrain from closing the teeth or lips during
this part of the ritual, as when the slygg eventually bursts (accompanied by a
loud popping noise), you must attempt to let as much of its sticky innards
splash onto your teeth, lips and chin as possible. You must then eat the rest of
the slygg with your mouth open, making appreciative slapping noises with your
tongue and lips. If one can force a belch at some point during the meal, so much
Until now I was unaware of a significant fact regarding the consumption of
slyggs, and being unsure as to whether you were in possession of said fact, I
present it here for you now. Many of the rangers in the northern Sarvonian
region owe their lives to the insignificant slygg. All of them, at some point,
have found themselves in some isolated area without much in the way of food, and
were it not for the humble slygg, they would surely have starved to death before
reaching civilisation. I only pass on this snippet so that you can advise your
other researchers of the fact, lest they find themselves in such a position.
The Orcen name for this dish, is taken directly from
their name for the Thunderfoot; Z’rovkya (Hairy) Tulak (Large animal). As with
all animals slaughtered for food, very little is wasted, but there seems to be
no distinction made between the various parts of the carcass as far as naming
goes. Whether it be a stew made from the meat, or a broth made from the gristle
or intestines, the name remains the same, a subtle hand gesture being the only
way of marking the difference.
Of all the receipts available which originate with the Thunderfoot, I have
selected this one as my particular favourite as it contains a part of the animal
which I, and I doubt many others, have ever eaten before. As this is really just
a simple stew, I shall forgo the list of ingredients and concentrate on the
preparation of the heel.
Set a deep pot of water to boil, and drop in three of four generous handfuls of
roughly-chopped Thunderfoot meat, along with any herbs and spices you have to
hand. Ba’kal suggests that Wison would be a good alternative if your cooks
encounter difficulties in obtaining fresh Thunderfoot so far south.
Whilst the pot is readying, take a Thunderfoot (or Wison) leg which has been
severed at the knee. Cut off the foot (or hoof), strip the skin and remove any
small amounts of meat from the bone and beneath.
You should now have a section of bone encased at its lower extremity within a
misshapen lump of white gristle which formerly held the foot to the leg. Remove
this gristle, (no easy task, as it is extremely slippery and will actually
bounce and skitter away if one drops it!).
Now the gristle can be dropped whole into the pot with the meat. Gradually, as
the pot boils, it will begin to soften and break-down into smaller pieces. When
these pieces are of a size which would fit easily into the mouth, the stew can
be served. Chopped vegetables can be added to the stew during the boiling,
dependant upon regiona nd availability.
Although the Thunderfoot meat is extremely tasty of itself, the addition of the
gristle, which we southerners would ordinarily dispose of, elevates this repast
to regal proportions! It adds a delicious sweetness which compliments the strong
taste of the flesh wonderfully.
As is commonly known, the Woolly Boar has been
widely domesticated by many of the northern tribes, and as with most livestock
in the area, very little of the animal is wasted after slaughter. The feet of
the boar, however, appear to be a dish enjoyed only by a few. I personally found
them to be quite bland in taste, with barely enough meat on them to satisfy even
my average hunger. However, I couldn’t bring myself to eat the entire foot, as
the Orcs do. For one, the bones are too tough for my teeth, and the actual hoof
proved to be far too chewy for my tastes.
In the same way as the Thunderfoot receipt, the forelegs of the Boar should be
severed at the knee joint. After cleaning the feet, (which Ba’kal only did, I
feel, in respect for my delicate ‘southerner’ sensibilities), they should be
plunged into a pot of boiling water until the bristles begin to soften. Remove
the legs from the pot and scrape off the remaining bristles with the edge of a
sharp blade, then drop them back into the boiling water and add pfepper grass or
any other desired seasonings.
Keep the pot boiling and the water level consistent until the skin on the legs
begins to turn white. Remove the legs from the pot and serve with local
As I have already said, the Orcs traditionally eat the whole of the leg, bones
and all, but this isn’t strictly true. They only break the bones between their
tusks, which allows them to reach the sweet marrow inside. I find it necessary
to scoop mine out with the tip of my knife blade.
The skin of the leg is very tough, even after prolonged boiling, and altogether
too salty for my tastes. All in all, though, what little meat is to be found
within this dish as wholesome and delicious. I just wish there was more of it.
Although the Orcs traditionally use the stomach of
Wison in this receipt, since they have begun to turn away from their battle
dominated heritage and turned to more peaceful pursuits, such as animal
husbandry, they are as like to use sheep, goat, boar or deer stomach. It is when
they use something other than Wison that the name is shortened to Aka.
Like most of the receipts I have presented here, it is very simple to prepare,
and is therefore popular amongst the hunters and herdsmen of the tribes when
they must spend protracted periods away from the comforts of the village.
Indeed, such is the simplicity of its preparation that a pot of boiling water is
the only equipment needed.
Picture description. An orcen chef preparing a
meaty dish. Image by
Against what the name suggests, it is not the actual stomach of the animal that
is used but rather the inside lining, a thick, yellow-white substance covered in
a pattern identical to the honeycombs found within Malise nests. Of all the
meals I have shared with my host, this one is the only one I shall not be trying
ever again. I found the taste repulsive and it was all I could do to keep myself
from spitting out the only mouthful I ever tasted. I managed to scrape the rest
back into the pot before Ba’kal noticed. Valek, on the other hand, was delighted
by this new discovery, and to my dismay has convinced Ba’kal to serve Aka
several times since.
After removing the whole stomach from the carcass, the tough skin-covering is
carefully removed, leaving the smooth outer skin of the Aka. A sharp blade is
used to slice it open from one end to the other, and then the whole is turned
outside-in, revealing the honeycomb pattern I described. This is then washed
clean of whatever was in there beforehand.
Once clean, the Aka is laid flat on a large cutting-stone and cut into long
strips which are then dropped into clean, boiling water until they soften, at
which point they should be removed and rinsed in clean, cold water.
Boil a pot of fresh water and chop in spices and herbs, then drop in the Aka
strips and leave them to boil for two turns of a large sandglass, or until they
begin to soften sufficiently to allow you to poke a finger through them easily,
(might I suggest that you remove them from the boiling water before trying
this?). At this point, the Aka is ready to eat, although it can be eaten cold if
so desired. I personally found it made very little difference to the taste. Or
the smell. Neither did eating large spoonfuls of kragghi sap during the meal.
Although it had a detrimental effect on my own stomach the following morn.
Ba’kal serves his Aka with weeproots, as he says the one compliments the other
wonderfully. I have my doubts.
I have many more receipts of this nature buried within my notes, but I feel that
these should provide ample opportunities for you to sample the delights of the
Orcen larder for yourself.
Most of these receipts are variations on traditional feast-time dishes, but
simplified for ease of preparation. Believe me when I say that an Orcen banquet
is an impressive sight indeed, with seemingly endless quantities of food and ale
being ferried from fireplace to table until even the heartiest of appetites has
And now, if I may, I would like to discuss the personal matter of which I spoke
at the opening of this report.
During our enforced but entirely pleasant stay with the people of K’taaj, Valek
and I have been guests at almost every bromer in the village, and most
especially that of the Chieftain, Mok'tar. Hardly a week has gone by without him
requesting our company where he delights in our news and tales from across the
It is during these visits that I have come to know his eldest daughter, Yul'ma,
an uncommonly pretty but shy girl of some eighteen years. The women of the
family are not allowed into the room while we are there except to serve us food
and drink, but I began to notice that she always sat just outside the doorway,
listening to our conversation. When I caught her gaze, she dropped her eyes and
disappeared into the shadows.
Then I began to see her more often at the small village market, but when I tried
to approach her, her cheeks darkened in hue and she hurried away. When I
discussed this matter with Valek and Ba’kal, they looked at each other and burst
out with laughter, telling me what a fool I was if I could not see what was
I confessed to my lack of knowledge on the ways of the fairer sex, and was again
met with peals of raucous laughter from my companions. Valek explained, to my
great surprise and embarrassment, that the ailment which afflicted Yul'ma was
one for which I held the key to the cure. He told me that she was obviously
attracted to me, and as a gentleman of standing, it was incumbent upon me to
seek audience with her father in order to arrange a visit with her to discuss
what may become of these matters.
I thought the both of them overly presumptuous regarding my feelings for the
girl, and wasted no time in telling them so. I was met with yet more howls of
laughter. “Do y’ fink us blind, Master Ishmael?” chuckled Valek. “’Ave us no
eyes in us ‘eads? Or is it be that we two sees more’n you is see? You is ‘ave a
taste fer ‘er, an’ no mistake! Us sees, Master Ishmael, us sees.”
I must admit to being quite taken aback by this uncharacteristic outburst from
Valek. Never before had he spoken to me in so forward a manner. But I knew he
was right. I had indeed harboured feelings for Yul'ma for some weeks past, but
had dismissed them as rising from the isolation of our position. I assumed they
would fade if I kept my mind to my work. Alas, I was wrong. Not only did they
not fade, but they grew daily ever stronger.
After we had retired for the evening, I lay awake thinking of Yul'ma, and how I
was going to word my request to her father for a private audience with her. He
was, after all, the Chieftain of the village, and as such a certain amount of
decorum and ritual had to be observed in these matters.
I decided that a simple request for an audience with her would be the most
suitable approach, and the following day I presented myself nervously before
him. He seemed to recieve my request with a non-commital air but, two days
later, he sent a messenger to find us with an invitation to a great feast that
very evening, where he had an important announcement to make. I was to be seated
beside him in a place of honour, and the messenger presented me with a Wison
hide cloak, which I was instructed to wear for the evening’s festivities. I
noticed Ba’kal and Valek nudging each other and grinning, but failed to
understand the meaning behind their silent conversation.
Later that day, seated beside Mok'tar and wearing the heavy (and incredibly
itchy) cloak, watching the painted young females of the village dance to the
infectious drumming of the warriors, it occurred to me that the eyes of almost
everyone present were fixed on me. I began to wonder just what was going on,
what was the purpose of this obviously special event? I had not long to wait for
Presently, the Chieftain stood and raised both arms skywards. The music stopped
abruptly, and the dancers scurried away to join the seated throng. The silence
which fell was deafening.
Mok'tar's voice suddenly boomed out from beside me, causing me to start. I
understood but a few words of his speech, as he turned slowly, addressing each
person present. He was talking of some great celebration, and of a trial or
adventure of some sort, presumably to be undertaken by those who had reached the
age of warriorhood. I wondered what all this had to do with me being the guest
of honour. I didn’t have to wait long for my answer.
At a clapping signal from Mok'tar, the drums began to sound again, but this time
with a slow, deliberate beat. A small opening appeared in the crowd before us,
and the village shamut, dressed in furs and wearing a mask made from animal
bones, ran screaming into the central clearing. He began a long, garbled
monologue, aimed directly at me, which was interspersed with loud shouts of
approval from the crowd. I was now totally confused, and not a little
frightened, by unfolding events. I spotted Ba’kal in the crowd to my right, he
smiled reassuringly and nodded for me to watch the shamut.
After several more time-ticks, the shamut approached me and, taking my arm,
urged me to join him in the middle of the open space. As I stood there, he
seemed to vanish into the very air itself, leaving me alone, surrounded by all
the village folk who were staring at me in silence. Now I was definitely
After what seemed like an age of standing in isolated silence, a high-pitched
‘La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la’ began to emanate from the throats of the females. On
and on it went, growing louder and louder with each passing moment until it was
almost unbearable. Then, almost as suddenly as it started, the chanting stopped,
and I realized that Yul'ma was standing beside me. She was dressed in what
surely were her finest clothes, being fine spun cloths of many colours with
precious stones sewn in intricate patterns around the seams. She was wearing
more jewels around each wrist, and about her head was a headdress of woven
grasses and leaves which hung down and partly veiled her face.
Once again, Mok'tar addressed the throng in his deep, powerful voice. Once again
I failed to understand most of what he said. I learned later from Ba’kal that he
was announcing the betrothal of his eldest daughter to the tall southerner of
many travels. And he was also saying that in respect of the old ways, I should
have to undergo the 5 Trials to prove myself worthy of the hand of the
So, Mistress Azhira, that is the news of which I wanted to inform you. I have
fallen in love with the daughter of the village Chieftain, and I am to undergo a
series of 5 trials to prove myself worthy of her hand. I cannot say that I am
entirely joyous at the thought of these trials, and the fact that no-one is
allowed to tell me what they constitute does little to ease my thoughts. As for
how the betrothal ceremony came about with such speed, I must confess that I had
very little to do with it!
Taking the advice of my two companions, I spoke briefly with Mok'tar about a
meeting with his daughter. After listening intently, but with a slight smile
about his face, he told me he would consult with his wife and the shamut before
giving me his answer. It appears that my request was not entirely unexpected and
no sooner had I left his presence than arrangements were being hastily made for
the events which I have described above. Even Ba'kal and Valek were secretly
summoned to the chieftain's bromer and given details on what was to come. I
should have remonstrated with them for keeping such things from me, but so happy
am I with proceedings that I feel no desire to cause any upset to anyone.
If I succeed in my trials and gain the hand of Yul'ma, I would very much like to
stay in K’taaj and continue my researches in the area. I am also in the unique
position of being first-hand witness to the previously unknown ritual of ‘The 5
Trials’. I am sure this will make a fascinating and valuable addition to the
However, should you require my presence in some other region of these lands, I
will leave K’taaj, and Yul'ma, behind me, albeit unwillingly.
Should you agree to my requests, and assuming that I survive the trials, I would
deem it a great honour if you were to attend the nuptials as my esteemed guest.
Mok'tar and Ba’kal are both equally keen to make your acquaintance, and it is
too long since Valek and I shared a flagon of ale with you, Mistress. I hope the
chance to witness a traditional marriage ceremony of a tribal Chieftain's
daughter is enough to lure you north.
I remain, Mistress, your obedient servant,