Short and depressing story of Urist McUseless, the All Too Valiant clerk.

Works on new dwarven fortress were going fast. Nearby Wizard Tower and goblins lurking in the woods necessitated quick organization of defences, and soon a large drawbridge (doubling as a wall when raised) was constructed. Behind its thick, safe rock a cozy and efficient establishment quickly developed, thanks to hard work and ingenuity of seven founding dwarves. Underground farms sprang up from mud, foundries, smelters and workshops quickly followed. Plump helmet wine, although not very sophisticated, soon flew to satisfy most important needs of the dwarves.

Within a short time prosperity of this new settlement attracted migrants from overpopulated Mountainhome. After the first wave there were over twenty citizens at Twinklesorrow. Luckily for the fortress, most important professions were amply represented among migrants, and soon blacksmiths, miners, craftmasters and others employed their skills at their various vocations. First wave also brought quite a lot administrators, traders and other white-collar dwarves, and positions of manager, bookkeeper and trader were manned by highly qualified personnel.

Second wave of migrants brought even more of these overeducated dwarves, as if Mountainhome suffered some kind of banking crisis and a lot of white-collars were fired. Not having any jobs in line with their qualifications, (library construction was postponed to fulfill more pressing needs) Twinklesorrow employed them according to their secodary skills as farmers, miners and builders. One last clerk had absolutely no useful skills whatsoever, and even at his primary profession he was not particularly good. It was therefore decided to draft him into military, apart from asigning him important, though not very glamorous, duty of hauling.

Urist dutifully picked up a rusty copper hammer, almost the only weapon available in Twinklesorrow, and put on a dented pot on his head.

It has to be said that it was not planned to fight any siege or ambush for next several seasons, relying instead on drawbridge and living in autarky until any invaders left. It was therefore hoped, that in time Urist, with excercise, will become better at fighting, and maybe with next migrant waves his militia will receive more members.

Urist was, however, a peculiar dwarf. Unlike his brethren, he didn’t care much for going underground. Even when a proper barracks were build for him, he almost never descended there, preferring instead to wander among the trees. He was not well liked by other Twinklesorrowers, and kept mostly to himself. He also never stooped to fulfilling his hauling duties. Some say he felt he was above it, and by his refusal to do any job or training he was sending an haughty message to the fortress, for not assigning him a job in line with his profession. Others say he felt guilty for not being very useful for his new home, and for being only a drain on Twinklesorrow’s resources of food and booze. The truth will never be known. In any case the fact is, Urist seldom visited dinning hall or even ventured underground.

As was said, Twinklesorrow was build in a dangerous, dark region with many enemies lurking nearby. Despite this, first several seasons were peaceful and prosperous, and the dwarves began to hope that both goblin fortress and wizard tower were abanoned. It turned out not to be the case and one fine day an alarm sounded – a siege by a vast undead army commenced.

The dwarves expected something like this since the founding of Twinklesorrow, and almost all went according to drill. Gathering area in great dining hall was soon swarming with all the citizens of the fortress, and the lever to close the drawbridge was ready to be pulled.

But… all the citizens? No. Urist The Useless Clerk stayed outside, as was his habit. He didn’t react even to assigning him to a burrow or ordering back to barracks. Not only that, but he charged head-on against the incoming horde with his copper hammer in hand.

Armok, watching from far away, could almost hear him scream “Leeeeroy Jeeeenkins”.

Citizens of Twinklesorrow watched his charge in astonishment. Although he lacked any combat skills whatsoever, some whispers and hopes appeared – can he do something? Can he destroy one or even several of the attackers? Will his mad charge scare away the entire enemy force? Legends were heard of unlikely heroes, dwarves that single-handedly defeated entire sieges. As Urist neared enemies, Twinklesorrow watched in awe.

Then came anticlimactic end to all this awe and astonishment. Urist met first zombies near the source of the local river. He even managed to swing his hammer, although he missed. A moment later he was hit with a barrage of blows – his teeth flew half-way to fortress entrance, his arm was broken and leg torn off. His mangled but still living body was thrown into the river near its source, not deep enough for him even to drown. Even the zombies didn’t bother to finish him off. There he laid, for several days lamenting his fate and crying in sorrow, until merciful death took him away.

Some wondered what motivated him to make his wild charge. Was it a way, in his mind honourable, to commit a suicide and rid Twinklesorrow of his burden? Some say it was a desperate attempt to become finally a useful dwarf, revered and not mocked, even at the cost of his life. The truth, again, will never be known, althought another group is probably the closest to it. This group simply says that young Urist was too stupid to understand that having a hammer doesn’t make him a soldier, and even being a soldier doesn’t allow him to defeat entire armies single-handedly.

In the end, Urist proved to be less than useless. When Twinklesorrow expanded it was discovered that some dwarves disappear sometimes and nobody knew where. It turned out that Urist’s mangled body, forgotten by both zombies and dwarves, still rotted at the river source. Some dwarf tasked with burying the dead would ocassionally attempt to retreive it and fall into the river, get carried away by current and promptly drown.

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5 thoughts on “Short and depressing story of Urist McUseless, the All Too Valiant clerk.

  1. I think the young and headstrong Urist was misunderstood by his people. A burden he was not, for he rarely entered the fortress and seemed to sustain himself of his own will. He was so sick of the corporate accounting roles he was assigned to in the Mountainhomes that when the chance for a new life presented itself he gladly hopped on the first cart for Twinklesorrow. Never again would he allow himself to be confined by the walls of a cubicle OR a fortress.

    Urist became an altruistic protector of his people, seeking not fame or glory his only want was to see his kinsmen grow old and happy undisturbed by the evils that surely were lurking nearby. His methods may have been foolhardy but his heart and mind were true. When the inevitable invasion finally came Urist threw himself fearlessly into the fray.

    My only hope is that one day, after Twinklesorrow has grown into a thriving Mountainhome of its own, is that its craftsmen will adorn the walls with flawless carvings of Urist’s brave sacrifice…

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