Loyalty

I must start by saying that I am a cold, emotionless man. I’ve seen a lot of bad things, and I usually just give them a “meh”. I won’t cry at a movie and I won’t fawn over cute animals. This made me all the more shocked when I was genuinely moved by something that happened in my fortress, something I feel compelled to write about.

I had embarked on a fairly peaceful spot and for the first five years we had nary a goblin. I did some trading, pierced the aquifer and got a few gems and some silver and plodded along. I had but one squad in the beginning, with Zasit Avedineth, Axe Lord at it’s head. When those wasters of elves showed up with a giant jaguar I was only too happy to take it. It was immediately trained up and put into the service of Zasit Avedineth as a giant war jaguar (what other game has these?).

They trained together all day long, embarked on a few skirmishes and trained up all the new recruits. Anywhere the axe lord was, the jaguar was soon to follow. Everything was just peachy.

Then came Usmza Sadtusnung Obrazongong Sloron, dragon.

Immediately the whole military (about 30 out of 80 dwarfs, with several legendaries among them) was mobilized, but the dragon was too fast. Before he could reach the door of the fortress the drawbridge was raised, blocking the dragon’s entrance, but also locking half the military inside. In a ferocious battle, which involved lots of fire, shin punching and a particularly courageous dog biting the dragon in the head, the dwarfs slew the beast. It was not however, without causalities.

Some of the dwarfs had been caramelized, others had lost limbs, and the particularly courageous dog had bled out. The bridge came down and the survivors limped to the hospital. A couple of enterprising dwarfs dashed to the battlefield to pilfer the goodies of the fallen, but aside from that, the smoky wasteland was left alone. Then I saw As Kizestolon, Giant Jaguar. At first I was delighted – my Axe Lord must be around too. It took me a minute to realize what the reports confirmed. As Kizestolon had been trapped inside, while his master had been first to the dragon. Avedineth had only lost a leg in the scrap, but had bled to death in the aftermath and was dragged back to be returned to the stone from whence he came.

AnADM

Maybe he knew what had happened, and maybe he didn’t, but I shed a tear for As Kizestolon sitting alone in the ash-strewn center of the burning forest, still the pet of Zasit Avedineth.

That’s loyalty.

loyalty_by_mcgormack-d62thz7

– Art by Mcgormack

– Author unknown.



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