The Shattered Spectrum: The Next Generation

Rumblings of the Fey dwarf
The Transformation ....

We have breached the temple of Kraven finally , with the usage of all the tricks we had up our sleeves ( the brute force of Hoger , the elemental form of Summaris , my gloves of seeing through things and our cunning and intelligence ) we have finally managed to open the last doors …

We all went into the massive hall but upon short discussion we decided that since we only have one suit of armor and because Kraven was a warrior of renown skill that Hoger would be best suited to face the dragon alone with the rest of us waiting outside once things settle down …

After what seemed like eternity Hoger all beat up and a little bit crispy came out from the room … the aura of Kraven prominent in the air … not to mention the heat … the enormous amount of heat … after this I decided to test my own courage … and I entered the room wearing no armor of protection and using no magic to shield me from the heat waves I was slowly suffering from the heat but I had to see Kraven with my own eyes in all his glory … I had to see if I am strong enough to stand eye to eye with a dragon … Although just the flaming aura around Kraven almost killed me , when I mentioned Karlstaff , Armak and Thorek and the fact that us mortals can’t survive the aura that he has Kraven stopped his flaming aura and the rest of the party followed in … we presented the dragon with a description of current events and the state of affairs in the world and needless to say he wasn’t really pleased with our progress but he decided to help as much as he could … he opened his treasury for us to equip ourselves with items of magical nature to aid us in the fight against the dark lord … Braith got a new set of Daggers and the rest of us picked a trinket or two as well …

After short rest and restocking we composed a plan to take back the glass city , with Kraven on our side we went with an air assault ( or rather air drop ) that allowed us to get to the walls of the city while Kraven went onto dispatching hordes of ghosts and undeads … The dark lord like always was one step ahead of us … he already evacuated the city and the only person we met over there was Charles Jilandre … Braith couldn’t contain her emotions and decided to strike at Charles with her brand new daggers … not really knowing full well how they work she threw them at Charles scoring a hit … Ashford decided to follow up and tried to position himself to blast Charles into oblivion but Charles was ready for that , he had an ace up his sleeve and as soon as Ashford cut the corner to get a good aim at Charles he was met with an onslaught of hits from Charles’s eidolon … Sadly the rest of the party didn’t have a clear shot or line of sight at Charles and he managed to escape with brand new daggers yet again … ( braith wasn’t too happy about the outcome and I can only imagine Kraven’s reaction when we tell him that we lost his daggers … ) …

After we freed the city and Kraven said his goodbyes we formulated the plan to go to the land of the yellow … with the aid of Kravens magic we were teleported to the yellow …

Things started rough for us in the yellow … Hoger was called king and kin slayer by some orcs and duels ensued … I love Hoger to death at this point and he has been a proven and loyal companion and as much as I wanted to help him when he stood outnumbered this was not my fight , not my place … there is honor code among warriors and I learned that code from the actions of Hoger … this was his fight , this was his destiny to shape his path among his people … in retrospect I wouldn’t let them kill Hoger if that came to fruition although I am not sure how would I prevent it from happening either … Hoger explained through sheer will of combat his position and stance among his people and I guess to some degree united the clans … although he made one eternal enemy out of the one of the younger and prideful orcs he clashed blades with … I guess such are turbulence’s of life and results of some of the choices we make … throughout this whole ordeal I was actually thinking if there was a way to solve this peacefully without drawing blood , the oaths of Thorek coming back into my mind … I quickly dismissed such notion as sometimes one needs to lift his blade to defend what’s right and just , and this was one of those times …

After the fight I climbed one of the mountains near by and meditated trying to make connection with Thorek , although feint and very weak the connection materialized in a different form … the elements themselves answered my call , the hardness of the earth , the might of the fire – the two elements that create the soul of every dwarf heeded my call … at that moment I decided I will follow the path that closely resembles that of Thorek although paladin is not my calling as I don’t think I can obey the oaths that Thorek did I can become the next best thing and spread the word of Thorek to those who would hear it … I can become a vessel of the long forgotten god and as my fame grows I can rebuild once great nation of my kin and rebuild the faith that will held that nation together for genertaions to come …

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The Rumblings of the Coming Storm

Jillandre has eluded us…Again! For once, my hatred resurfaced getting the better of me and not because of the dwarf. This time, it has even now surpassed the burning need to locate the traitorous Faybrisc.

After the rigorous ordeal of recovering the three regalia, bold Hawgr performed the required ritual to awaken the Red Dragon, Craven. Alone! Surviving his wrath and not being eaten, torn into shreds, or bathe in scorching flames, he has ordered us to eradicate the taint that has taken hold of his charges in the Red Kingdom. Meanwhile, he will in turn soar above once more and stamp out the encroaching undead.

As we tried to seek out the Red Queen within her kingdom, all the while being assaulted at every turn by the Darklings, we discovered that she has gone off to meet and negotiate the safe relocation of her people with none other than the Dark Lord himself. Why am I not surprised that Jillandre would rear his charismatic head at this opportune time. Looking at the group of Azers and Lizardfolk riders ahead, with Jillandre and three of his Dark touched underlings amongst them, we confirmed this rumor to be true.

I thought it wise at first to hear out the Azers and the Lizardfolk as to why they would ally themselves with this honey tongued snake in the grass. But, when they explained that the demon offered his Dark Lord’s aid against the amassing undead horde that was plaguing their lands, I knew that our task got even more complicated.

As we neared the barricaded inner city of the Red Kingdom, we surveyed only the remaining armed forces of those that stayed behind to protect their city from invasion. Looking once again at Jillandre, taunting Charisma and Tavok in turn, I’m weighing in my reasons on why not strike him with lightning where he stands. We could capture him right there and then, if he survives my assault, and persuade him to tell me the whereabouts of Faybrisc.

Alas, things did not go as we would have hoped. Taking his cue while we were amongst the people of the Red Kingdom, he made his signature escape with the help of his pet creature. One small consolation, Braith courageously planted two of her daggers into his gut before he fled the scene. With a quick snap of his bloodied fingers and clutching the protruding daggers against his wounds, Jillandre instructed his four armed beastly companion to attack and dissolved in a wisp of inky black shadow.

Hawgr rages and cleaved a path towards the large shadow beast, allowing me in turn to follow suit and transform into a similarly large shambling mound of vegetative mass of arms and legs. Then chaos ensued with the loud thunderous boom of gunfire, lightning, and screams of battle cries.

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Moving Forward

As we have proceeded further in search of this armor to aid us in our journey we come across a group of goblins. Tavok instructed me to put out my light as it agitated the large cluster of centipedes that we also stumbled into. Which did us no good as we were being peppered by crossbow bolts. In which case the staying in the dark became a muted point as they can see in the dark but most of us can not. Needless to say the fight got underway. Braith tried reasoning with the goblins and while I do not speak goblin I know that nothing she said could’ve explained Hawgr charging the goblins, screaming and pouring alchemic oil on himself. Unfortunately I had to strike down a few goblins. Along with using the Hado technique to rid ourselves of the swarms. While this was going on I noticed that there were goblin children. Scared and scarred from seeing their family being slain by our hands. I am not sure if there was a better solution for this. It also became clear as to why they attacked us. After the goblins fled we unfortunately couldn’t spend much to rest. We had to push forward in order to ensure that the goblins couldn’t set traps. As we get into the next chamber via the door being kicked in. Couldn’t tell who did it honestly. But none the less here we are surely about to get into another fight. First thing that happened is all of our lights were put out, followed by an encounter with a female voice. Requesting for Charisma and Sen to come see her art gallery. It was extremely difficult to pin point the voice so all we could do is try to bargain our way through this until the lights came back on. After trying to converse with her to no avail we were forced to draw her out. the first time was by accident when Tavok called her ugly. The room started to shake and the pathway behind us was closed. Meanwhile me and Summaris spent time trying to come up with strategies and solutions to dealing with this which ultimately lead us to drawing her out by insulting her a 2nd time. Well that time she called for a huge centipede to come through one of the tunnels. As it’s head appeared me and Tavok’s attention shifted towards the creature. Tavok wasted no time putting 3 arrows of lightning into the beast as I followed with using my most powerful Hado attack. Making it the 4th time in one day I have used the Hado technique. As this is still a relatively new technique I have developed using it so much has been a bit taxing. But now that Tavok and myself have stopped the massive centipede now we had to focus on Ms. Murrata. I could only land a few hits on her but we eventually killed her. Sadly this journey is forcing so much loss of life. But we do what we must. But after the fight ended I found myself exhausted having used so much of my ki in this last series of fights. But I must say I don’t think I have ever seen Tavok fight so fiercely and with such focus. I am pretty sure that Tavok could have killed that giant centipede without my help. I am not sure if it was our conversation or the danger the Orange is in at the moment. It could be both but if this is the Tavok we are looking at in the future then I feel like there is hope to put a stop to this. And his potential is no longer a theory but now being applied. Now is just a matter of tapping into my own potential. With our opponents improving in number, skill and size something has to change. It is time that I return to my deep meditations, martial arts training and ki development.

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The Sands of the Red/The Journey Traveled Thus Far

So after I ran beyond my absolute fastest to the major city to warn them of the oncoming dangers. I found that members of the Black had already made it’s way into the ranks. Including a girl named the Singer. unfortunately I was not able to pick up on something until it was too late. To add onto that she put us about a days travel off course. And in the desert that can be dangerous. Fortunately I have plenty of water and rations for the party should it come to that. But I have kept that a secret for the most part. As we travel I notice that the super-virus has taken affect on some of the party. I have found myself completely immune but the rest are not as fortunate. But as time progressed I come to find a wonderful surprise display of character from Tavok and Summaris. The ranger and the druid have found a way to cure the entire group of the virus. Tavok truly has grown. Taken responsibility for his actions and found a solution to the problem. There may be hope for him and the Dwarves. Summaris surpirsed me as well. He really collaborated with the Dwarf. Maybe the Elves and Dwarves can grow beyond their problems. As we made it to our destination I meditate and can’t help but feel this strong power. Dangerous and oddly contained. I am not sure if that is a good thing or something to be careful about. A lot is at stake here. And time grows more and more precious as the finger is still on the move and the Singer is a carrier for the Super-Virus. And now Tavok is telling me that she has returned to the Orange. The Dwarves have already been hit hard. If we do not come with a cure there may not be any Dwarves left in the world. I hope we can make it in time.

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The Library Burried Beneath/The Sands of the Red

We have finally made it to our next step as we have fled some angry creature. We continue to move on through this place. And every single thing in here is rigged with traps and dangerous creatures meant to kill us. After a bit of time trying to find a way out we come to a room with an anti-magic field. With a ring in a glass case, a flute, a pendant, and a glove. Ashford tells everyone not to touch the items. And of course Sen and Tavok grab everything there. I swear I have never seen such a collection of stupidity in my years of traveling. So Tavok decides he is going to lie to Ashford when taking the flute from Sen. And he plays a tune. Which unleashes some wind genie. He wishes for Hogart and all of are possessions back and then wishes us out of the Red’s library. 3 wishes made in an instant. With that that genie is set free to do whatever to this world. To add on to that he removes the ring from his finger. Which was a strong wizard also now free to do whatever to the people of this world. And the glove apparently is some super-virus that mutates and is highly contagious. Oh and I almost forgot about the pendant that releases plagues of the undead by some crazy number. We have not even made it to the Red and we already have caused more damage than our enemy in the area. I spoke with Tavok about this and he seemed to initially believed that what was done was okay. And the people who will die as a result are just a small sacrifice. Or should I say another small sacrifice. He believe his life to be more valuable than the next. He seemed to share the same views as the Blue and as the Black. I am seriously considering if I am on the right side. We ignore the people, while the Black empowers them. The Elves starve and almost destroy the Dwarves. Meanwhile the Black provided them with means of survival. And now we are unleashing plagues of undead and disease. Whereas the Black has done absolutely nothing to that sort. Tavok claims that he is sorry and has grown from me bringing this up to him. But I am not entirely convinced. However Ashford and Tavok’s words and sincerity are enough for now to allow me to have patience. But I do observe quietly on the quality of people that I travel with from here on out.

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Into the Guarded Library/Burried Beneath the Sands

So we have escaped courtesy to Ashford’s contact Wisp. The party has been stripped of all there materials. Especially anything magical. This does not affect me as I am the source of my own ability. That being said it is kind of on me to make sure that we still alive. Or at the very least make it into the library. After defeating a large gargoyle Charisma fell victim yet again. And I was forced to reveal a new secret technique that I had discovered using my ki. I call this the Hidden Technique of Hado. Or the Hado for short. The reason for this technique was to help Ashford’s son. But I was forced to reveal it for the first time to save Charisma. I now fear what else will be coming for us now that I have reveal that I have this ability. More importantly if this is what we are facing then what awaits us in this large library? As we proceed into the large library we come across many things. Many interesting creatures. Many interesting doors. What I remembered and learned here is that this is all a cycle. And while the Trees said that nothing matters it makes me wonder. Is that really true? Is all of this just a pointless cycle. Does any of this matter? We are on a quest to fight the Black to ensure everyone is free. But the Blue is treating their people worse than the black. It is a lot to ponder. Are we doing the right thing? I was forced to use the Hado for a 2nd time against a magus after talking down a Paladin from the Purple. Is everyone here trying to help the world? Or are they just trying to help themselves? Hogart took his own life in belief that he would be a burden on us. I had no right to step in his way as he has his own code as a warrior. Summaris said something back in the Orange that started a massive chain reaction throughout the world causing massive destruction in trail leading back to us. I am not quite sure but something tells me that it wasn’t a total accident. But I digress. I need to remain focused on saving as many lives as possible. I do not want my memory to be one that leaves only a trail of death and destruction.

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The Blue

What is it about this place that brings such unrest to my being? I try to understand the people, the wealthy, the privilege and those in power. But all I seem find is a lack of equality. No concern for each other. Only concern for themselves. Separation and greed. Our whole purpose for even coming to this place is to unify the lands, protect the innocent and the defenseless. But here I see the those with power financial, political, or magical trample on those without it. Those who work continuously just to keep what little they have and care for each other. Those on the floating island just take and give almost nothing to the people. This is not how treat people. It saddens me to see people treated so poorly. I saw and heard a lot from the people while I went on my morning training and information seeking. All I heard is how the poor and working are taxed heavily and neglected by the powers that be. It is situations like these that make it easy for the dark to gain momentum in a empire. When discussing this with our team it seems like no one cared except Braith. The representative of the White simply stated that it wasn’t our problem. I tried my best to plead on behalf of those who’s voice was ignored and I was ignored the same. By both my traveling companions and the government powers at hand. But while peaceful solutions to rooted problems were ignored violent solutions to surface problems were given priority. The whole purpose is to fight against the Black to protect the very people we ignored. It is bad enough that we had to fight against desperate Dwarves who were doing whatever they could to survive. But now we are ignoring a serious problem in the Blue. Speaking to these people, both the ones I travel with and the government do no good. I just waste energy. Of course because we ignored the real problem the weapon fell into the hands of the enemy. Not to mention countless lives were lost. What was the point of us even being there since we did nothing of importance. My essence has so much to say but my mind struggles to find the logic in even forming words. When this is all done I will come back to the Blue and do what I can to free those people.

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A Quest for Peace

Peace. A strange word to hear after all this time. After all this violence. We were to make peace with the Green. Armok told me that if we were to stand any chance against the coming Darkness, that we would have to. He told me of how he had fought the shadow before united with the other peoples of the world, and still it was not enough. He made it all too clear that if we went against the Dark Lord as we are now, we would be slaughtered. He told me that there was going to be an envoy sent to the Green to make talk of peace, cooperation, and preparation against the coming storm. The first Dwarves of the mountain to be sent into the Deep wood in millennia. It would be a perilous journey through the wild mountains, and dangerous wood. He told me I would be the one to lead this expedition. The mix of feelings I felt was strange indeed. I had been fighting the Green all my life. They were my enemies, yet all my life I had also known that this was not the way it was supposed to be. It took me a minute to collect my thoughts, but I found my resolve. I was ready to set aside old differences, and old hatreds, if it meant walking the path to our true destiny. I would go on this quest, if it meant that I may stand for the first time in my life as a true Dwarven Warrior, unshakable and strong, with pride and honor in my heart. I would go on any quest, if it meant a chance to save my people. But that doesn’t change just how daunting this was. Preperations were to be made…but first I needed a drink. In the old drinkhouse I sat with Karnor. He would not hear any talk of my dissuading him from coming along on this mission. He is stubborn, but loyal to the core, and while I worried for him as my brother, in my heart I was glad that he was coming, for there is none I’d trust more to watch my back. In the Tavern was a tough looking, one-eyed woman named Tuli. She overheard the talk with my brother, and also offered her services in the quest. Something about her was…familiar. I found myself quickly accepting her offer. Later I realized that we needed weapons. I consulted with the Boomkin, though it took a while (Negotiating with them is difficult as they all seem to be quite hard of hearing) and they told me they would send one of their own along for the quest. After this, I explored upon rumors I had been hearing of late of the deep forges being lit anew. There was talk that the great magma elementals had returned. I knew from my books of one who would know the truth of this. In ancient times, there was a clan of master forge smith’s called the Dor-Ta’alomar. They were said to have crafted the best weapons and armor in not just the mountains, but perhaps the world, but they were long forgotten. The only one who could ever be found in the ruins of their ancient tribal grounds was old Doreen Greybeard. Doreen was a hermit who spent much time alone, and nobody bothered him too much, for he was a strange one. I found him there in his hovel, but before he would hear any word of my request he led me through an old secret pass, to the ancient forges. The rumors were true. The ancient bellows were lit again! In his hands, Doreen held a mighty forge hammer! “The fires are lit anew!” He said. “How can this be?” and so I told him of all I knew of those who came and awoke the elementals, based off what Armok had told me. I told him of the quest, and the perilous journey to the green I was to make. “Return to me in 3 days” said he, and so I did. I found he had forged weapons and armor the likes of which I had never seen. He alone had remembered the old ways of the forge. He had things not just for me, or the companions I had told him about, but others as well…and for himself. “In days of old, the Green and the Orange fought together. Men, Elves, and Dwarves walked together through the halls of the mountain and the great wood. I have a gift I will present to the Lords of the Green.” Said he, and he showed a beautiful intricate case, the contents of which he would not reveal. “I will join you, and feel the sun on this old body, and and smell the trees, as did my ancestors of old.” Over the next few days, more supplies and Dwarves were gathered. A company of 7 would depart the mountain. Our glorious quest, would soon begin…

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The day it all changed...

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“One month ago. That’s when it all truly changed. The bells of the church of Thorek rang across the old mountain halls. They were calling the assembly. An old tradition that in ages past, was mandatory to attend. Now it was not, and most who came merely did so out of curiosity, myself included. Still, curiosity is strong amongst our kind. I found the church to be quite crowded, and had to stand near the back. The Thorekian guards were holding back angry Dwarves from going at those standing at the front of the church, and it didn’t take long to see why. They were a strange lot indeed, the first of them to catch my eye a Massive Half-Orc. I had heard of the Orcs and their ilk in the books, and I’d even read that in ages long past, they were enemies of my people, though I’m not convinced that last bit is true. Looking at the towering figure standing before us, I certainly know I wouldn’t want one like him for an enemy. He was clad in Armor thick and heavy, like an Iron Hulk, and he held a Great Sword whose handle I’m not sure I could reach if I was standing on Karnor’s shoulders! There was also one of our kind among them, though definitely not from around here. He wore garb colored like the woods, and his beard, while braided at least, was maintained horribly. I do believe I saw twigs sticking out of it? He was young, but carried himself with more pride than I’ve seen from even the heads of the clans. A very odd one indeed. Also among them were 4 humans, the first, a small girl with a mostly shaved head, a mischievous if doubtful look in her eye, and a purple cloth curiously covering her face. Even more interesting were the daggers at her waist, whose design looked remarkably close to that which the assassins of the Black Hand carried. I looked to my right and noticed that many of the Black Hand were here, and paying very close attention to these people. The 2nd human was a man, with a weary look about his face, yet a cold determination in his eyes, peering out at us from under his hat. He wore dark colored, loose fitting clothes, long, dusted, and worn-out from much travel. He appeared unarmed, but if I know his type, I’m sure he has some surprises under that coat of his. The 3rd human, stood peaceful and serene. He had long hair, braided in a similar fashion to Karnor’s, and wore flowing robes that looked rather comfortable, but you could see his arms, and though he had not the bulk of the Half-Orc, you could see his muscles were raw, condensed power, and yet his face and demeanor made him look as if he would not hurt a fly. He was studying the church and the people around him, with the look of one eager to learn. The last of the humans I cannot say for sure even is human. She wore a hood, and looked human at least but she had more of a grace about her. I will say this however, she just looked…alive. Her eyes had the look of one who held a terrible, painful, secret, but her posture, her skin, she just… radiated a glowing sense of comfort. Now, what really had the attention and ire of the people were 2 among them who were actually Elves! Elves! In the mountain! In the church of Thorek! One of them wore a brown cloak, over plain clothes, but I could see his face. He looked at us with contempt, and did not seem happy to be here. His graceful features and fair skin, gave him away to me and anyone around here who’s been fighting them as long as I have. This Elf was undoubtedly from the green. The last among them was an elf as well, though she did not look as hateful as the other one, and she did not have that look as has one from the forest. She stood proudly in the center of their group, yet, seemed very concerned about something. When it came time to listen, it was the Dwarf among them who spoke. He called himself Tavok Bronzebeard, and said he was here to free our people…He spoke dramatically like a young idealist who had all the belief and the world, that he could accomplish anything. Already, some of the Dwarves were beginning to leave. He spoke, of how our war with the green is what was tearing us apart and how it was time to make peace. Now more Dwarves were leaving, and though the boy spoke of ridiculous things, he had my attention, and the attention of the Black Hand interestingly enough. He then pointed to them, called them out and declared them the enemies of the Dwarves. This inspired commotion from many. Here was this Dwarf, clearly an outsider, standing among elves, our hated enemy, telling the Dwarves that we had to turn against those, who despite my own personal feelings towards them, were helping to keep the people fed and safe. The Black Hand turned their back on this accusation, not bothering to defend their stance against this foolish youngling. I saw Dargoth with them…They left the assembly as did many Dwarves with them…
I found myself among the few who remained to hear the mad ramblings of this Tavok, with his strange company. Even the Thorekians who had called this assembly carried doubt on their faces. Looking saddened at so few remaining, the young Dwarf addressed us, one last time in a pleading, challenging tone. He asked us “Are you not Dwarves? Will you now then sit and let the Black Hand destroy you from the inside, while you fail in this foolish war with the Green outside? I came here expecting to find warriors! Where is your pride?! Where is your strength?! Where is your honor?!” At this point I had to leave, if only to fight the urge to get caught up speaking out against this outsider who dared to judge us, and presume our ways, and challenge our honor. I was enraged at this foolish young oaf, for he knew nothing of our plight, or of the magnitude of what his ramblings suggested, yet deep in my heart, what enraged me the most, is that part of me, the part who used to read about the Dwarves of ages past as a youngling myself…that part of me knew Tavok was right…We had lost our way…”
That night I dreamed a strange dream. I stood in a hill in a field of grass, under the sun, with the air touching my face where it could get past my mighty beard. Just below me on the hill stood faithful Baruuk, clad in beautiful yet sturdy armor, forged by the hands of a master. I then noticed such armor upon myself as well. Not the ragtag I was used to, but real, masterwork armor, forged of adamantine, and adorned in the Runes of our ancestors. To my right stood my brother, Karnor, in similar armor, with a mighty axe in his hands. To my left stood one who I did not recognize, an elder Dwarf, with armor finer than all the others, holding a hammer blazing with Divine Fire. Behind us stood 4 more Dwarves, 2 among them men, and 2 women. The first woman I didn’t recognize at all. The second was a ruffian I believe I’ve seen in the Drinkhouses before, beating to a pulp any man who took up fists against her in a vain effort to mend their wounded pride over having failed to outdrink a one-eyed woman. The Dwarf man, was clearly of the Boomkin, with a two iron spheres in his hand, fuses on each, a huge grin on his face, and a truly mad look in his eye. The iron spheres had crimson skulls painted on them… The last man, was another who I did not recognize, but he had a very unique look about him. He also, looked like one not from our people, again with a dirty beard, but older than…than who? Anyways, he was seasoned this one, and he was one with the earth. His boots had no soles, as his feet touched the hillside. He smelled something in his hand, and let that hand drop to his side. It was letting a handful of dirt fall through its fingers. In his other hand was a Hammer made completely of stone instead of metal, shaped like the head of a Ram, resting upon his shoulder. Small stones on the ground began to float up around him. I looked forward and at the base of the hill on the field stood an entire legion of Dwarves. All armored well, and standing as one. Beards fell out below the fierce metal faces of finely wrought helms. To our flanks stood other armies, Men, Elves, and Orcs alike standing with us, united, against…against what? I looked forward and saw only Darkness. I know no other word to describe it but that. I felt fear, but I found within myself, Pride…and Courage. I know not why I did it or how I knew to do it, but I raised my Axe, slammed it’s head against my Shield three times, pointed towards the Darkness and let out a primal bellow. I found that Dwarves beside me and the legions below loudly imitated the gesture, and began to march. I climbed aboard Baruuk and led the legions, bearing a Shining White Banner, with a Hammer of Gold emblazoned on it’s center. “BARUK KHAZAD” I cried! “KHAZAD AI MENNU!” An old war cry in the tongue of our ancestors. At that sound, our great march turned into a mighty charge! Just before collision with the Great Darkness, I awoke from my bed in a cold sweat. I rose to check on my family. Karnor was well asleep, sprawled out with an empty tankard at his side, clearly lost in dreams of his own. My parents were asleep as well. Dargoth was just sitting there awake, staring out of his window into the darkness of the caves. “Are you well Brother?” I asked. “Hmm? Yes Dargor, why do you ask?” “I just had a bad feeling” “All is well brother. I assure you. Now go back to sleep.” I should’ve asked more, but my mind was still in a weird state from the dream. That was the last time I saw Dargoth. The days that followed were spent much in contemplation. Dargoth had gone to do business with the Black Hand. Karnor was training as he often would, but he looked troubled as well. Had he also experienced the dream? It was so vivid. The relative quiet of the next few days was shattered by the sudden appearance of…him. I couldn’t believe it. The strange party from a couple of days before had emerged from an expedition into the mountain they had apparently gone on, but they returned now with one more among them. Armok. The legendary Warchief of old. It was unbelievable. It made no sense. It couldn’t have been him. I had read books in my childhood about this man. But the way he carried himself. The way he wore that ornate armor. The way he spoke with a booming voice, not heard from Dwarves since ages long past. The way he took…no, SIEZED the attention of every Dwarf in the mountain, it could not have been anyone else. Up until now, we had no unified political structure. The clans were just working together in a sense, to try to survive. In a deep throated voice, Armok spoke to the very mountains themselves. Elemental giants of Stone came to his call…To show the Dwarves their new Warchief. None could deny his authority. He dared anyone to try. No-one did. He told us of the Dark Lord in the West, and of the apocalypse that being brought to bear against not just to our people but against the world. He told us that this strange party that had come before were right, and that we would have to put our war with the elves aside until this greater threat could be dealt with. He told us that he will shape us into true warriors. My heart stirred at the thought, as did the heart of many a Dwarf. After a few days of great change within our mountain, he told us all that we needed to cleanse ourselves of that which was going to lead us to ruin. I knew what he was going to say before he said it. We needed to cut off the Black Hand. He told us to spare what lives we could, and not to kill woman and children, but this struggle was going to be bloody. I went home, but Dargoth was already gone…The following days were violent. I joined the hunt against the Black Hand. I worried for Dargoth but Armok was right, and this was a chance for our people to rebuild towards our true destiny. It was more than a dream come true. It was hope. I could not let the Black Hand hold that back. I heard the bad news after all the turmoil. Under Armoks leadership, our people were brutally efficient. Many on both sides were killed, but those of the Black Hand were fleeing the mountain. We learned of heinous acts they had commited. They were servants of the Dark Lord in the west. They were infiltrating the other clans, and influencing everything. They killed every living member of the church of Thorek, and they killed old Orn’s son, who not even yet had the privilege of earning his name. I do not regret doing what I had to, but it does not make it any easier. The Black Hand had fled the mountain, and Dargoth with them. As for me, I was summoned by Armok himself. He told me of Tavok. I heard rumors that he could mind control elves, and that he was a great hero with other mysterious powers, but dismissed them as ridiculous. I learned this day of his actual quest, representing the Dwarves in a mission sent by the White (!) to unite the peoples of the world against the Lord of the Dark. Then Armok told me of a mission I was to embark on…

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Strength of Life
An Oracle's Lament

I am not strong enough yet. And our companions have paid the price. Ashfords son, Charisma, and Walin are dead and other is nothing I can do about it, not yet. But in this last day I have felt my connection to life grow stronger. Maybe soon death will be a foe I can conquer. Maybe soon my companions will not be at the whims of fate.
Ashford I feel for you. I know what it is like to lose someone close to you. I know the feeling of it being your fault that they die. This is a burden that I will bear with you. I cannot lighten your load, sorry, but I can provide succor when it seems too much.
Charisma I cannot bring you back. The power I am granted is not there yet. I have only been travelling with you for a short time. Is two months enough to really know some one? In this case I believe so. I saw you at your weakest and I saw your struggles to overcome. You will be missed.
Walin, we barely knew you but you became a staunch supporter and a companion of this fellowship. The Blue will be weaker without you and your tireless devotion to duty. I can only hope that the one to replace you is as selfless and tireless.
The wheel turns. What is born, dies. And what dies is reborn. Death is only a pause. I wish those who fell this night a peaceful rest and a better life next time around. All of you have earned it. Peace in the heavens and on earth. And life to all.

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