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HAEPHS' TALE

 

On a particularly wet and dismal eve in the city of Whenimar's Landing, on the great continent of Elanthia, a tired, care worn old Dwarf struggles into Frith's.

He sets his aging bulk down in to a chair that begins to creak ominously beneath him, finally quieting, as if realizing the Warrior has no intention of soon getting up or shifting. Looking around at the assorted dwarven faces staring at him in curiosity, he collects an unclaimed horn of dwarven ale from the table, takes a sip, clears his throat and begins to speak.

" I height Haephestus O'Eddings. Some O ye ken me and other O ye ken me nae, but twas directed I was by me clan brother Barble ta take dis time ta speak ta all O ye. He thought that Some O ye may hae a need ta hae some questions answered about whi i be and what I tend ta believe in. So hark ye well, draw up close, as I nae speak loud, nurse yer drinks and listen. This tale huts me wi da telling O it, so I hae a feelin that ye will hear it but da once.

I was born  65 years ago, nae in a warm and cozy tunnel as befits a Dwarf, but in a small burg near da forest wherin da elven folk do live. Me father was a grand old man, an he hae managed wi a much younger wife, ta hae me at da ripe old age O 110 years, fer ye who snort, recall I be 56 and nae hae a wife yet. (Nae lass wishin ta be so unlucky.) Me father was a warrior True, Honorable and Brave! He was dere on dat blackest O days when Da Mountain fell, and as a Sergeant in da Army O the Dire Wolf, Thorfinn, He and his squad fought a rearguard action. Hoping wi-out much hope to hae bought the Great King enough time to preserve himself and his line. Sore wounded, da last O his squad ta be fighting, my father fell and slept, the lifes blood seeping from his battered body.

That night came the Sylvankind, wandering the field of slaughter (for such it was, so great was the enemy's strength in numbers) hoping against hope to find some yet alive. There amoung the Valoriusly Honored dead did they find, among others, My father Daveedli O'Eddings. They gathered those few they could save and returned by stealth, to ther fair villiage, covering there tracks so the victors would nae guess that some had escaped their slaughter. The first months were long for these wounded warriors, many weak from loss of blood and severe wounds, the elves, though kind, and wise in da use O herbal medicin, but the recovery was slowly done.

Many O da great warriors had perished, but 2 had been saved and nutured by the elves, Emil Bloodaxe and Chaunter Redforge. These two wariors, although heald o their wounds, could not be cured o da melencholia dat o'er came em. A sennight after da battle was lost, they were found outside da Elven villiage, impaled on eachothers swords, haven taken their lives rather than live with the percieved dishonor of failing their King.

Daily did the wounded lose more of their comrades until just 6 were left. These 6 vowed to find the King, or failing this, his heir, and serve again till such time as the Mountain was agin da dwarven home. These 6 pledged their lives to the search, rather than to the darkness, for they felt dat their death would help none, most of all da King, who must hae a need of Strong Dwarves ta fight. After dere wounds had healed, they set up building a small berg in a vale near the Sylvian woods, as most of them felt uncomfortable in the woods.

This was where i was to be born some years later. My father and da Dwarves wi him all found wives, and settled in ta make a life fer demselves. Each dwarf in turn taking a month to leave da berg and search fer da King. While my father was gone on one O dese searches, his wife O twenty years passed away peacefully from a simple fever. As da years progressed, my father remarried and had a child by his new wife, Me. Da dwarves O da burg, all Fighters O different skills and tallents raised me, I was squire ta all six so ta speak. Learning from each, from one da use O da hand, ta box, from another, a devastating kick, A third taught me da use O da broadsword, and me father taught me da use O dis " Haepaestus taps his Slate Grey Axe maningly, "All dis and more was I taught about bein a warrior.

Another thing was i taught, ta dislike da use O magic, for twas magic dat took many a fine warrior dat grim day, never allowin em a chance ta defend demselves, or ta fight back. Ta dis day i honow da promise made to me Father, I nae use wands, scrolls, or Spells meself, I allow but da spells O defense ta be cast on me, and limit me use O magic ta weapons, armor, and clothin. I hae bent da rules a wee bit ta allow fer somethings we nae kenned in da burg" Haephestus glances at a crystal amulet "but tis wi wee things alone. When I was 25, I was accounted as a warrior for our small band. I took my turn on da monthly searches fer da King, but dose I found who recalled him, knew O him as history only, having neither seen nor heard O his where abouts, or even if he were alive.Thus went me life fer 6 years.

Shortly after me 31st Birthday, I returned to the Burg. I found da only home I had ever known a smoking ruins. Da ground was greatly disturbed, and some O da folk I kenned, I found hae in and out O da ground, lookin like so much poorly cooked meat. Mixed among de bodies O me burg was a scatterin O dead, rotting corpses, all femalesO different races, all long dead, and leaves littered da grounds everywhere, though nae a single tree was missin so much as a branch so far as i could tell. In grief I collapsed upon findin me father, his throat torn out by da very teeth O da shee Devil dat lay dead by his side, me mother stood nearby, One O dose poor souls who had bean burried and boiled at da same time. I took my axe and wandered off into the woods, intending ta chop enough trees ta build a pyre large enough for da burg, as many i could nae e'en remove from da soil.

Here da elven folk again aided my family, by removin da axe from me numb fingers, and gently pourin a potion down me throat, sore from screaming in rage and grief. I slept. When I awoke, i found me Burg nae more, replaced by a young forest O Modwir trees, Ta represent da strength O da folk who died dere da elves told me. Dey also told me that tha which had killed all I kenned and loved was the most accursed O da beasties dat walks dis plane, da undead, dis time in da form O Zombies and Tree Spirits. I begged da elves ta teach me da ways o killin dese beasts, as dey told me nae normal Dwarf could do it lest his weapon be blesssed, or he be one trained in da ways O killin da beast wi hands and feet alone. Dey told me that this training they could nae provide and councelled me ta venture here ta Whenimer's Landin, and when I could join dat secret order known dedicated to Voln.

Traveling to da landing I entered wi some trepadition, and was intantly confused, da noise, da CROWDS! Ne'er in me life had I seen such a large group O folk, and I felt yet more alone. I began ta adventure, mainly ta keep a roof O'er me head and food in me belly (Nae ta mention me ale) until such time as I could find a way ta enter da Monestary o Voln as a novice. I slowly began ta develop a few friends.

Then one day it happened! A grizzled old Warrior invited me ta join da Monastary. I did so wit a heart soaring wit the chance ta venge me family, Me dedication to da Order eventually led me ta mastery in it, and now I spend time teachin and training the young. Me father had always insisted dat a warrior who stops learnin is a dead warrior, so when i grew of age, and had da coin t a spare i joined da guild O Warriors, and hae mannaged ta make ti 2/3rds O da way ta mastery dere as well. Smewhere along da way da city fathers handed me a title as well, but in truth that means little to me.

One day as I fought wi others o me order ta decrease da population O Ghoul Masters in da crypt, I met me a shy Dwarven lass, a female warrior who went by da name O Birdsongg. Da lass was distressed by da fact dat some blackguard had stolen her heart, dem mistreated it, fer which i offered ta serve him his own tripes. She politely refused me offer, but the kernal o a friendship was planted.

Some time later she introduced me ta an energetic, overactive cleric wi a terrible sense o humor as ye wish ta see, and da most gods awfull penchant fer trowin mustard on all dat went inta his gullet. His name was Barble and we were to become fast friends. One day Barble happened ta aske me if i had ever heard O da clan O da Dire Wolf, I answered honestly nae, he went on ta tell me O a family O dwarves, dedicated ta honor, and ta keepin da dwarven way O life alive within da walls O Wheinmar's Landing. He took me to a meeting fer folk who had a wish ta join in dis clan, and dere to my disbelief, was da Grandson, Direct Blood Kin O da King me family had spent all dose years searchin fer. I knelt ta Stillggar, son O Stillggar, son O Thorfinn, King Under the Mountain, aswore fealty, Donating 100,000 coins of my own to the furtherance O da clan, and da eventual return O da kingdom. So that one day we may all agin walk da Halls O our ancestors.

Dere be but a few wee things that most should be warned of, I hae been known ta hae a sharp tounge, and a few hae said a keen wit. I firmly believe in me honor, da honor O me friends, and da Honor O da clan, and will fight ta da death ta defend any, as is evidenced by my Open challenge in front O da last Moot. There ye hae da story O Haephestus O'eddings, warrior o da Clan Dire Wolf. Till we agin walk da hallowed halls o da ancestors o us all, Grey be me color, and by dis shall ye ken me from da crowd. Now I hae spoke enough, ye all be well and hunt safely. we shall meet in da lands, and mayhap share a cup our two, or junt wi one another. Till we meet next Da spirit O our ancestors watch o'er ye and guard yer honor."

So saying the old Dwarf rises from his chair and swiftly makes his way throught the parting crowd to the front door. Without a backward glance he exits into the late evening mists...........

 

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  Web page last updated 9/24/2000