Dwarven Game

The Return to the Hall of the Bear King

Our heroes have done what no one else has even come close to achieving, the have cleared out the Hall of the Bear King. talking down 30 Frost Giants, 20 Ogres, 16 Winter wolves, 2 young white dragons, a Frost Giant fighter and a Frost Giant Cleric. You have collected a large amount of loot and wealth, slayed more monsters in one go than most will ever see in their lives. But more importantly you have given a long lost King and his people their home back, that alone will put you all in tales sung long after you are dead.

Once returned to the King there was a great feast at the Inn, deals struck and new homes made. There are many wounds to heal, and decisions to make as to the groups next steps.

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[The following is in character, as Bolthur Glanor, with the group together, after toasting, he speaks…]

Words cannot express the mix of awe, pride, and excitement I – and I’m sure we all – feel in this moment. In but a few days we have slain giants and dragon alike! We have reclaimed a fallen hold and restored order where it had been lost! My goodness, with the exception of Stumpy here we met a God! And he only missed it for skinning a fucking dragon!

Yes, but a few days ago we met as strangers, but today I feel as close to you as my own kin. Let us then be as kin, cast aside our veils of secrecy and share the stories that are close to our hearts…for I know that I am not the only one with secrets worth sharing, and suspect [looking at Stumpy] that I am not the only one for whom this task was particularly poignant.

Since I have already blabbered about my father, and am the one blathering on now, I suppose I should start.

In another life, I should never have been here…I should never have even seen the damned sun or know what it is to lack mountains of rock over my head…

I was but a child when our hold fell. Few ever speak of it directly, but the elders who made it out have always maintained that it was a great quaking of the earth which caused the hold to collapse.

My mother didn’t make it, and my father was left to provide for myself, my brother, and my sweet sister on his own. The only work he could find was as a wayfinder, scouring and mapping out the dark caverns, caves, and newly opened mines of the world. The pay was scarcely enough to keep us all fed. Perhaps he could have bargained for better wages, but the way of the surface was foreign to us. The deeper places of the earth, however, are known to house a variety of occasional treasures, and although they lawfully belonged to his employers he was rarely rewarded for their revelation, and so instead took to claiming them for himself…for us.

Honorable or not, it was necessary. At least, it was defensible for a time. But necessity turned to habit, and although I am loathe to speak against my own flesh and blood it may have even grown to greed…I certainly have felt that vice in my own blood more than once.

Point being, he messed up. For years his habits went unnoticed, but when he was caught it couldn’t have been a worse situation. Dwarves. Mountain Dwarves, but Dwarves nonetheless; that’s who he stole from, that’s who imprisoned him as a slave in their mines as punishment.

If I were more cunning perhaps I could have found some more subtle way to secure his release, but my heartbreak at having my father imprisoned was to clear on my face when I approached them and begged for his freedom. A fine, I would have to pay, a fine they call it. 100,000 gold pieces – more wealth than is possessed by some kings! – 100,000 gold pieces for his release. To be paid in whole no less, lest I wish to receive him in equal parts to my payment.

Of course, my story doesn’t end there. Just prior to coming here, I learned from my sister – who is now a smith of remarkable skill – would that you could see her forge – that our ancient hold fell to no quaking of the earth at all. Rather, it was drow. Drow from the deep rose up and conquered our hold, which explains why those of us who “escaped” were mostly children and elders. What’s more, evidence has risen that my mother still lives, albeit in chains at the hand of those dark skinned devils.

So here I am, my new brothers, a Deep Dwarf stuck on the surface world. Father in dwarven chains with debt left to pay, a mother in the chains of drow, slaving away. I long to gather an army of my kinsmen, to march into our old hold and reclaim it as is our right! But first things first, a king’s ransom to gather such that when we do make our heroic return our family may yet be together again in whole.

of ale]

Well, that’s my story, or at least enough of it for now. What about you my shield brothers? What burdens do you have to lay bare? Whatever it may be, whatever wrong you may have left to right, I promise you my loyalty in its correction, if only you will do the same for me.

 

edit: “of ale]” Should read {sigh}{take a swig of ale}

 

(said by The Garerl)

Brother Bolthur once my Hold is back in force you will have the full backing of the Dwarves of the Bear. This is swear to you upon my people, and my home.

 

I will pledge my ax to your cause my brother. Wrongs or not, what they are doing to your father is criminal. Gods know I have not been completely pure in my own travels, and can not even fathom being imprisoned for providing for my family. And as for the drow, clearing them out just sounds like a bit of sport to me… HAHAHA

You ask about my plight, and after what we have done I think that I can tell you, and seek your help as well. I have no family to speak of like you Bolthur, mine has been wiped out. My clan lived and prospered not too far from here. We worked and drank and everything was well. Then one dismal day our keep was taken upon by a dragon the likes and size I had never seen before and since have not seen it’s equal. He flew in out of nowhere with no warning and started slaughtering my kinsmen with impunity. We tried to mount a defense but it was no use. I was knocked unconscious, but alive, while the vile worm continued to destroy my home. Eventually I awoke, i’m guessing after he took flight to survey his new lands, because i was alone in my once wonderful home. Everyone was dead and it seems I was the only one to survive. I am ashamed to say that i did the cowardly thing and fled at this point instead of giving my life to attempt to avenge my fallen brothers and sisters. Since that day I have worked somewhat as a sellsword, or ax in my case i guess… (chuckles). My only goal is to gather the strength, knowledge, and equipment I can so that one day I may return and not only free my home and destroy the thing that haunts my sleep, but bring honor back to my clan.

Well that is the story of little old stumpy. Do with it as you will my brothers, but you now know what drives me, and hopefully explains my actions when we saw those tiny white bastards flying around in The Garerl’s throne room. And the state i entered while tearing apart their worthless corpses. Speaking of, does anyone want one of these steaks? They are amazing! Oh, and did I really miss meeting a god?!?! Why did nobody tell me! Maybe he could of help in my quest…

 

(Imagine if I could do a Sean Connery impression)
Sho, it sheems to thish old Dwarf that what we have here is a motley band of the finesht examples of Dwarven-kind shet upon with the glorioush purposhe of making the world a better plashe.


Brother Bolthur, I am loathe to shee any Dwarf bound in the chainsh of Shlavery, and all at the fault of vile Elvesh no lessh. Lad, yoo may count on my aid in yoor shturugglesh.


Shtumpi, m’lad. A terrible thing hash befallen yoo an yoor Clan. I can think of no better way to serve our great Dwarven heritage than to rid the world of the scourge that took yoor home. May the blashted lizards tremble, for theshe Dwarves have taken up the battle againsht them. Alsho, while I know we can never replashe what yoo have lost, please know that as long as Balgar and I breathe, yoo will never walk alone.


It fillsh thish old preachersh heart to find companionsh shuch ash yoorshelves. I too have been away from my childhood home for many years. Fifty years, in fact, if my counting ish correct. Long have I traveled, sheeking to shpread our traditions and heritage to all Dwarfs, everywhere. I have been blesshed with good fortune, and a modicum of succsessh along the way, but none sho great ash what I havce found with you fine ladsh. Three years ago, when Balgar found his way to accompany me on my journeysh, I knew that Moradin and Claggdin had shent me out with a new purposhe. After what our small band of brothersh hash accomplished in our short time together, I know as certain as the shtone beneath our feet that we have found the true and shure path. Light! Even the Human Godsh have seen fit to blessh our crueshade!


Ach, but here I go again. Blathering on like an old washer woman. Suffishe it to shay you lads have made thish old cleric feel young again, and I pledge my hammer, my sheild and my faith to every Dwarven heart in this room. Ach, and yoo Michael, while you may not be a Dwarf, as long as you keep our horns filled with mead, I will be shure to put in a good word for yoo with every God I know.


A toast! To the finesht band of mishfitsh to ever grace the world that Moradin forged! May yoo never stray from the forge in yoor heart, may no enemy put out the fire, and my yoor words bbe alwaysh ash shtone!

 

(Obviously, Galin has hit just a bit too much of the old Blue Cactus juice.)

 

And my axe to you YOUNG Galin! Another round!

 

My dear fellows I must interject. The burden is laid upon me to educate you all in a very simple truth. That truth is that the whole lot of you, are clearly insane, wild and dangerous to be around. There is no plainer way to put that, and I must say that I have never been so happy to utter those words and never been so proud to be counted among you.
Before our meeting here some of you might have heard of me, although it is doubtful considering the lengths traveled and circumstances that brought you to this very inn in the first place. However in the world of men, and few realms of elven kind I am quite well known, mainly because it must be very odd to see a dwarven bard, let alone one of my height and especially with such a great weapon strapped to my back.
There are a great many things I would like to tell you and stories of my varied travels in my very few years. But, as you may now have gleaned, my tales can last through many a fire and many a draft. (raises the glass to toast) So instead let us drink deeply and I will merely tell you the tale of how I came to travel through this amazing and wondrous world.
This will most likely be the only time you hear me talk of the clan I was birthed into, not because they were in any way evil or malicious or remotely bad, because I rarely came into contact with anyone of them for too long. Aside from my parents and one other no one paid me any heed. I was born, strange. As a baby I was the size of most toddlers, the progression of size began there and did not end. In my tribe appearance counts as much as lineage, I was abnormal and therefore not taken into the hearts of my kinsman. Keep in mind please, my friends, that I bear them no ill will. I merely have no sense of loyalty to them or kinship. The morning of the day I became of age I was apprenticed and sent away. Not so strangely considering the nature of my clan’s feelings towards me, the field in which I was apprenticed was not one any dwarf I had heard of at the time had been schooled in.
A famous bard named Bareris Anskuld was traveling through, and took it upon himself to be my master with much enthusiasm. The sheer originality of this task tickled his fancy so. However on our journey we were not alone. There was one dwarf from my home that treated me as a kinsman. His name was Orak Dwmek and he was a fighter, no, he was the fighter. Swiftest axe, strongest heart, heartiest laugh. He was on in years and his time of service to the guard was up, and he had always treated me kindly and scolded others for not. My greatest gift in this world is my words, and I simply do not have enough to accurately describe my masters, for they both in turn became my masters. Through Bareris I gained a love for knowledge, the songs and tales and history, there was never enough to learn. Through Orak I honed my skills as a fighter and gained a love for dwarven lore I was long deprived of in my upbringing.
And so we three traveled. Many and many a year went by until such time that my skills became sharp, my axe as well as my tongue. The time had come for me to no longer be an apprentice, but an equal. I was elated. The next town we entered, I was in the front, drawing the crowds and singing the songs. How the children laughed and the women danced. The men joined in, lending their voices to mine, bringing forth such a symphony of sights and sounds. My spirit had soared seldom in life but never as much as that night, so much so that I felt that would be the greatest moment of my life. The following morning we three left as equals, friends and family alike, destined to travel for the rest of our days with as much adventure and merriment as we could fill our heads and hearts with. On our route to the next town my former masters were boasting of my performance, insinuating that the mouths of men travel faster than even our feet. And that the next place we stop will already be brimming with excitement. They were right to a point, for the mouths of men did travel faster than our feet, just not to the next town…
We passed a large clearing, a line a great many people had paid in blood and death to cross once. The signs of ancient war were still living on in the trees and barren earth surrounding. There were kingdoms once, great and vast powerful that has been long forgotten by men, and even few forgotten by dwarven and elven kind alike. This was such a place, a line dividing ancient hatred long forgotten. A line that drew anew that day, when we three were besieged.
All at once two scores of orc appeared, an angry, bloodthirsty lot. No words were spoken and no reason given to their appearance before the attack commenced. Bareris’ hands went immediately to his rapier and it seemed as Orak had his axe at the ready before my eyes caught sight of the first top-knot of foul black orc mane.
My skill was great, as I had been taught by the best. But for the first time ever my hands grabbed my axe to kill, not to train to kill. That became terribly evident by my first swing, a fantastic blow that cleaved the arm or my initial attacker clean off, but left me incredibly vulnerable to the hammer that met my back and sent me to the earth, seemingly porous now, waiting for new blood as a starving child waits for its mothers teat. Time sped and slowed with my every heartbeat as I gained my footing only to see that wretched hammer arcing down to my head. A mere second later my axe moved to greet it, not the hammer itself, but the wrist of the beast wielding it, I have no idea which was more harrowing, the scream of pain from the orc or the sudden silence when my next swing allowed no such sound to ever escape its now unattached head. Either way, my training had kicked in, my jitters had failed to derail me. The battle continued.
To be honest and true, in looking back as many a time as I dare, there was no time in the battle where victory was assured, or even an option. Bareris was the first to fall, the sheer numbers and force proving one sad truth. A wall of expendable meat is a coward’s way to fight. After running his third orc through, before he could dislodge is sword. Two offenders grabbed the newly deceased’s limbs and shoved him to the ground, his triumphant kill becoming his coffin lid as the rest plunged their axes and blades through their fallen fellow and into my master. Orak and I flew to the scene but it was too late, I don’t know how for the life of me but we became separated in the resulting melee, only to hear a scream moments later. After what seemed like forever but in reality must have been a mere moment a clearing appeared, enough to see Orak atop a fine pile of bleeding and dismembered orcs, a spear through his belly and laughter on his lips cursing the horde for its stupidity. At the time I couldn’t understand, and for a moment I thought it was madness before death, but then he caught one glimpse of me, that one look burning into my soul. He gave a solemn nod, and in that nod held an honorable goodbye, no tears or sadness, only honor love and respect. He then looked west and smiled. The last thing I heard was a simple “Lady, what took you so long?”
All of the sudden I began to hum a tune I had never heard before in my life. A low hum at first, but it did not stay low for long. The orc raiders started jeering at first, believing it to be my own funeral rights, figuring they would play with the obviously young dwarf before making it suffer. The song filled my lungs with wind and my heart with fire. I took my axe above my head and flung it as hard as I could, having it find a home squarely in the chest of the closest offender. No love for their newly fallen comrade, only laughter at the fact that I now had no weapon. Still the song in my heart grew louder and my voice gained new fervor. The jeering stopped, and I soon saw why.
As my song grew more in volume a light appeared from above, out of the light and landing to the ground at my feet was a greatsword. The very one you see strapped to my back, the one you saw light ablaze many times on our adventure. She was ablaze then the first time I laid eyes on her, my beautiful sword. However I felt no fear in grabbing the hilt. At the same time to the west of the battle another light shone. From a door carved straight into the rock of the barren earth came a beautiful figure. A dwarven maiden in full armor carrying a similar weapon as the one gifted me from the heavens. Her smile brightened every inch of my soul exactly as much as it terrified my attackers. The orcs had seen enough at that point and decided to attack us both.
My song was met with her beautiful voice, singing out across the battlefield but still I heard it louder than the metal and flesh I rendered asunder that day. A trance took me over at that moment, and upon coming out of it I found myself surrounded by the corpses of my enemies. The song had left my lips but the fire was still inside me. My lady, my saving grace, my luckmaiden, she stood before me. “My name is Haela Brightaxe, your sword’s name is Phyliss, and you will want for no other weapon. For wherever you take it you shall have my blessing.” The pure joy in her eyes at the mere mention of battle will stay with me forever, as will She.
From then on out I have set off to make all three of my masters proud. The two who took me from obscurity and made me into an amazing storyteller and formidable fighter; and my lady. Who took pure fire and put it inside my belly.
I have grown a small level of acclaim with both my songs and my sword. Still, I yearn for my own songs, like every bard I believe that the greatest tales aren’t the recitation of old ones, but the ones that those tales inspire. And that is what led me here to you crazy lot.
Like I said, no tale is short. May we all stay alive for the next (raising our glasses) Truly, I am glad I was called to this Inn and am proud to count myself among your friends. And for the first time ever I have a clan, I have a family with a newly rich heritage I plan on keeping intact.
Already I have begun working on our song, the song of our first adventure. Very soon let us all raise our voices together, as many proud dwarves shall do for future generations, with the song of our glorious triumph!!!

Sereggil Sereggil

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