Through closed eye-lids, Toralf hears the sound of the surrounding horses galloping along Skyrim's sloped roads toward Cyrodiil to the south. He must have fallen to sleep during the long journey on the back of a specially trained horse to carry prisoners.
"Good morning, sunshine," laughs one of the escorts, a burly man in steel Legion armor. The commander leading the convoy turns his head back and scoffs, "You're very talkative even when asleep, having a nightmare, perhaps?"
Tired, groggy, and feeling a little sick to his stomach, Toralf responds, "My name isn't Endar Telvanni..." It seems these men have the wrong person, though it's unknown how they mistook a Nord for someone with a dunmer surname. "Of course, it's not," the commander raises his hands, signalling an air quotation, "Toralf Snow-Song."
Toralf's eyes widen, "Yes, that's my name. Can you people not tell I'm Nordic, not Dunmer," his voice rising as frustration sets in.
The commander cocks an eyebrow at Toralf and stops his horse from continuing, then quickly slides off the side of the horse and walks up to Toralf's transport. He grab's Toralf's ragged cloak and pulls him off, "Look here, Nord. I don't know if you even know your true name, but the Legion makes no mistake," he continues as his nose is practically touching Toralf's, voice rising, "We have eyes everywhere, we know it was you who was selling dwemer artifacts in our territory. Do you take me for a fool?"
Toralf begins to form a smirk on his face, then quickly hides it, tempted though, he replies, "No, sir. I just don't see how I can have a dunmer surname when I clearly am a Nord..."
"I don't know what kind of education you've received in your life, but interracial breeding is NOT a myth. Anyway, I have orders to bring you in, whether your name is Toralf or Endar, and if that doesn't happen, that makes me look like an idiot. I'm not an idiot. Do I look like an idiot to you?!"
Toralf cannot suppress the emotions any longer, he finally smirks and answers, "Yes."
The commander shows great anger on his face and elbows Toralf in the gut, making him slide back into the horse. After a few hits of the commander's fists and elbows, the Nord man is back up on his horse and they continue the long journey, made even longer now by his previous disention.
Several hours later, the Legionnaires telling jokes, sharing current events with one another, make their way toward Cyrodiil in their prisoner convoy. "Have you heard that there's a school for bards being built in Solitude," a general inquiry is offered from one of the guards. "What in Oblivion is a bard good for during war? Singing the high elves to death," another guard sarcastically responds as they all laugh.
Toralf rolls his eyes and looks up to the east, eyeing the tall peak of the tallest Skyrim mountain called The Throat of the World. Suddenly through the soft cackling and talking of the guard, he hears a nearby bush shake. Moments later, the rear guard falls off his horse with a grunt, after which the rest of the guards proceed to dismount and unsheathe their swords.
Toralf cannot see exactly what happened, only the next thing he hears is the commander shouting, "He's dead. Some kind of green orchilium arrow!" Suddenly the guards start panicking as war horns can be heard from every direction. "Orcs," several of the guards cry as arrows start whizzing by their heads, Toralf lowers his body as low as he can while staying on the back of the horse. Two more guards fall to the piercing arrows as a group of tall, burly, gray-skinned men - Orcs - come charging out of the nearby shrubbery.
Yelling out words in a language foreign to Toralf, the orcs draw their swords and start killing off the remaining guards, who were taken by surprise by the ambush. After several minutes, only Toralf remains alive, and the tallest and most armored orc approaches him on the prisoner transport horse.
The orc places it's palm against Toralf's chin and raises his head. Toralf slowly allows his eyes to meet the orc's piercing blue eyes, removes the helm atop it's head, and loosens a bun of dark hair pinned at the back of it's head. Braided hair falls to either side, revealing that this is a female orc, with feathers adorning her braids, indicating she is also a chieftain. She pulls a long, heavy battle-axe off her back and sets it down next to them, "Who are you, Nord?"
"My name is Toralf... Toralf Snow-Song," comes the stiff reply. The chieftain scowls, quickly snaps her hand away from him, her eyes dilating as if Toralf is made of blinding light. The orc ambushers begin exchanging quiet whispers amongst themselves, he makes out several words from the murmurs: Iyazyr... Malacath... Telvanni... Toralf is ignorant to any of these words' meanings.
The chieftain looks over her shoulder, "Brokil, cut his manacles," looks back at Toralf, "You're free to go... Toralf... If that's your true name." He cocks an eyebrow as she walks away, Brokil walks up to him and grabs his wrists with one fist as fire ignites in his other palm. The fire spell grows in intensity, "Watch out for wretched Imperials, Toralf... For now, at any rate. Skyrim will be ours soon enough." The chieftain snaps around, "Enough, Brokil, just do your due." The orc shaman bows his head toward her, "Yes, chieftain."
Endar notices, behind Brokil, in the shrubbery, two floating red orbs within a small shadow. As the chain connecting the cuffs to Toralf break, his attention is turned toward the pinching feeling. When his eyes return to the shrubs, the orbs are gone... What kind of creature do they have with them?
"Let's go men!" The orc company begins to retreat back into the shrubbery and nearby woods as the chieftain looks at Toralf one last time, "Let it be known, Nord, that Chieftain Shelur gra-Nagorm, daughter of Malacath, has shown mercy where Imperial dogs have not." Just as quickly as they arrived, the orcs disappear into the natural landscape.