Rogash drew the wet cloth across her daughter’s bloodied brow, expression tired and lips thin.
“You’ve got to learn to stand up for yourself, Kharza. They’re testing you with these beatings – a proper orc fights back. You bring shame to our name.” It was the same story, those words colored by regret and disappointment, and Kharza ducked her head lower beneath her mother’s careful ministrations.
“I know, ma…” It was barely over a whisper, muddy yellow eyes locked to the floor, arms gathered about her skinny knees. She was the image of a properly chastened youngster, but somehow, this only seemed to aggravate Rogash all the more.
“Malacath’s sake, child, look me in the eye when you talk – argue, squall, something!”
“I- I’m sorry, ma…” She forced herself to look up, meeting the older Orsimer’s eye for a moment before ducking her face again, pressing her chin into her knees. “I- I don’t want to argue. I just wish they’d leave me alone. I don’t want to fight, or – or yell or anything. I wish I was invisible so that they wouldn’t see me and get angry.”
Rogash’s lips twisted in a frustrated snarl, and her hand slapped the child’s cheek – not a hard blow, but firm enough to make her point, as she seized the girl’s chin between her knotted fingers and forced her head up.
“I tell you time and again, Kharza Gra-Rogash, you are not a slave, and youwill behave in a manner befitting a true Orsimer! Your father will not be known as the man who sired a craven – you will not be invisible! You are my daughter, and I love you, but you must mend your ways!”
Kharza bit down on her cry, meeting Rogash’s gaze tremulously, and nodded once – a miserable expression as she swallowed hard against the apology trapped behind her teeth. She hated seeing that look in her mother’s eye, hated knowing she was a failure to their stronghold. Perhaps – if she could just pray harder, be stronger, be better…
But she knew that when her sisters came again, she’d be beaten and defeated, lying bloodied in the dirt until she found the strength to stand.