People sometimes tell me Moris sounds too young. It mostly has to do with his dialogue. Moris tells us he’s getting old. He can’t swing Ebony like he used to. I can’t deny this truth. But while Moris implies he’s an older man, that doesn’t mean he should sound feeble. Old doesn’t mean crotchety. Not all old men have punk kids on their lawns and onions on their belt. Because the word old isn’t always reflective of one’s age.
Take sports for example. Ballplayers are considered old if they’re on the wrong side of thirty. Veteran athletes routinely hear people twice their age tell them they’re too old. That they should retire. It’s even worse for tennis players who become old in their mid-twenties, and female gymnasts who can’t even get past puberty – because nature, ever so capricious, robs them of the balance and elasticity required for their sport.
Even in the same field, the effects of time will vary from person to person. A basketball player who depends on his leaping ability will see his value diminish much more quickly than a long range shooter. Similarly, it’s likely a mage or an archer would be a useful party member well into their fifties and sixties, whereas a two-handed warrior would start to feel the effects twenty years prior. The erosion of one’s strength and recovery time can be fatal for someone who fights nose to nose with his enemy.
Of course, there are ways to combat the effects of aging. Some use PEPs (performance enhancing potions, hardy har har). Others use guile. But Moris only knows how to fight one way. The Gods gave him two hands, and he has them both on his weapon, not some sissy stamina potion. And if he did have to cheat – whether through alchemy or magic or making reference to your untied shoes – there isn’t a potion in the world that would recover his pride.
It’s that same pride that keeps him trapped in the walls of the Nightgate Inn, where time has become both his friend and enemy. He thinks he needs it to heal, but every day he gets better his skills get worse. And the truth is, his physical wounds are all but gone – it’s his confidence that has yet to recover.
It probably never will. And that may not be such a bad thing. Moris isn’t an old man, but he is an old warrior. And old warriors, Draugrs in particular, tend not to remain among the living.