Even with the deaths of the Iron Orcs responsible for enchanting, equipping, and training the trolls, the threat of a savage troll army overrunning all of Craglorn is not yet over. It seems to end this potential peril once and for all we must cut the head off the snake as it were, and in this serpentine case that would be the Ophidian Exarch of Undulating Destruction; or Braadoth to his parents.
That rather too grandiose title was awarded to the Iron Orc chieftain by the Scaled Court; who knew that the way to an Orc’s heart would be through his ego? Well the Orc shaman Agganor for one, for it was he, whilst ruthlessly overthrowing his predecessor, who managed to convince the tribal leader to ally with the Celestial Serpent’s cult and build for them a barbarous army.
As the Bosmer diplomat Little Leaf predicted, we found the shaman Agganor, Ordooth the Corruptor, a huge nirncrux-infused troll, and Exarch Braadoth himself, inside an ancient Nordic stronghold set into the foothills of the Dragontail mountains. With our slaying of Exarch Braadoth and his lieutenants, the Scaled Court’s plans for a troll army, and the questionable process with which it was to be constructed, hopefully died with them.
So were we right to punish the Iron Orc’s so harshly for the crime of falling for the deceptions and lies of the Celestial Serpent? Did not the Scaled Court play upon the Iron Orc’s troubled history and their resentment towards the men of Hammerfell. When our diplomacy had failed, was it indeed unethical of us to violently punish them when they themselves were but victims of manipulation? Also I can’t help thinking is there really so much difference between what the Iron Orcs were doing here at the Valley of Scars, and what the legendary horse breeders of the Aswala Stables did when they breed and trained their fearsome war steeds? Or even the Lizards of the Black Marshes who have a reputation for breeding the most uncannily fearless and ferocious Guar, pound-for-pound a match for any war-beast. Perhaps the only difference is that Argonians or Redguard don’t tend to feed their beasts upon the flesh of man or mer… as far as I am aware.
And therein lies the crux, for when they choose to waylay travellers upon the road and feed them to their trolls they crossed that line into evil, and I found no evidence that their heinous atrocity was part of any bargain with the Scaled Court. This most evil misdeed was theirs, and theirs alone.
So how do we punish evil, what does it fear most? Not our ethics, for when has fighting the unethical with ethics ever triumphed? With vengeance perhaps, an eye for an eye? No, for does not their outcast God teach them that such deaths of twisted merit offers a pathway to the everlasting? It is only by the indignant retribution of the righteous that such evil can be punished, both eyes for an eye. And once overcome to stop it rising again we must shred its ego like leaves in the autumn wind until it is nothing but its own conscience, for what evil fears most is its own reflection.