Scribbled in dwarvish on dirty parchment
I would rather beat this tale into my armour or a demon skull than scratch it out on parchment. I suppose there is something safe about knowing that I can throw this into the forge once the story is told.
I was raised in a dwarven city. If you haven’t been to one then my description wouldn’t do it justice. The warmth of the stone, the protection of grime, and the glint of greed in the eyes of my brothers and sisters.
Like so many, I was trained in the art of smashing the most evil thing you could find with the heaviest thing you could find. I was too young and arrogant to appreciate the war we were fighting.
Hennet and I dared each other to venture down into the deep, to find a battle worthy of our skill. All we found was death.
I ran from the demon. The sound of her screams and bones being crunched chased me out from the safety of the earth to the dangerous land of the sky where I found myself in Chuton.
Human villages are never in need of warriors. They need skilled workers. My skills as a blacksmith were overlooked, they already had one.
So I took up the role of farrier. Enough to get by. Not enough that greed could overtake my soul. I beat my memories into my work. My hatred for demons grew. As did my guilt.
I always thought the festival of forgiveness was a joke. I don’t know why I attended this one. It still amazes me that something so peacefully could uproot our lives so well and cast us into darkness.
The Demon Lord.
I saw my neighbours turned into warped creatures. I killed them.
I saw the might of the Demon Lord. I ran.
I saw the evil woman who helped to start the destruction of my life. I raged against her.
I saw how she enslaved innocents. I vowed to meet them once more.
I saw my village set upon by invaders. I killed them.
I was forced to kill gremlins. I choked them with my beard.
I saw my comrades make pacts with the fae. I spat on their decision.
I saw the unleashed evil leave hundreds without a home. I offered them mine.
I saw men turned into beasts. I killed them.
I saw more men turned to beasts. I killed them
I found a sorcerer who turned dwarven engineering to a murder machine. I killed him.
I faced the Demon Lord. I blacked out.
Now I have seen my good friends sacrifice themselves. Over and over. I have seen the pain and brokenness of our townspeoples’ souls, even as we clawed our victory from the clutches of fae.
The Festival of Forgiveness is not a joke. Pain was laid bare. Scars were revealed.
All of mine ripped open and gushed at the words ‘The Demon Lord gave me sight. He could see everything you did.’
To a demon.
Hennet was screaming in my head. The cries from the Town Hall as I sheltered outside when Chuton first fought the Demon Lord echoed through my soul. The sight of Huvje’s body on the ground made my hand clench around my Warhammer. The pain at my friends vanishing into the earth for the rest of eternity flung me across the room.
I didn’t see a blind man in front of me. I saw the instrument of the infinite suffering of our world.
I don’t even remember my Warhammer connecting. I only remember the feeling of victory as Vert’s skull was crushed. The fire of it. Like working in front of my forge. Even when the blood stopped pouring on my boots the fire continued.
Feverish and bloated. Ugly and deformed. My soul reflected on my skin. Carrying the sickly sweet smell of decay.
I cannot remain in Chuton. I move on with Cutter to rebuild the Swords of Astrid. To work as their blacksmith and farrier. To train warriors in the art of killing demons.
They will root out the greatest evils in the world. They will crush them with the heaviest weapons I can make them.
I wonder what the timetraveller I saved will think of me when we meet again in 100 years.