As the fire crackled in the pine-log cabin, the dread of the bogeymen now safely avoided; Adol Gusilustir sat down with the human labourers and thanked them ever so dearly for letting him stay overnight, as to not let him face the cackling horror outside.
“So what’s your story?” one of the children asked the dwarf, His bewildered eyes suggested he’d never seen a Dwarf before. “Me? I’m known as Adol Coppercrow… I’m the Militia Commander for the Holy Spears, in service of the dwarven fortress of Firetomb. My story is… A fresh wound.”
The newly founded group known as ‘The Imperial Hammer’ was a decisive move that the royalty of The Paints of Wealth had planned on for years. The idea was for a fortress to be made in the far-flung ends of the world, to forge and create large amounts of wealth for the rest of the Dwarven kingdom. In the year of 275, after training the craftsdwarves and the Metalsmiths that were necessary to this project; seven brave dwarves ventured into the wilderness, to ‘Strike the Earth’.
After 2 years of digging into the mountainside, the newly-found fortress of Firetomb had already created roughly 1,000 worth of goods, ready to be sold to the caravan that was arriving soon. Just as the caravan had been spotted across the horizon by the military who sparred in the courtyard- ready for any stealthy invasions of baby-snatchers or the thievery of wealth by the pests known as Kobolds; a humble soap-maker had one of those ideas; one of the ones you can’t shake. He stormed out of his recently obtained bedroom towards the craftdwarf’s shops. Being that the Masons and Bone carvers were working furiously in the crafting shops, the manager almost fell out of his chair when he heard about the Soap-maker’s recent endeavour. The Soap-maker darted in and out of the stockpiles, grabbing cut Blood-stone, Wolf Bone, Chalk and some recently smelted Steel.
After the merchants departed, the Broker being quite pleased with selling most of the stone crafts for large amounts of alcohol, armour, weapons and some extra wood; the Soap-maker finished ‘Sashafrasha’, a Wolf Bone Sword. It was quite a sight, encrusted with spikes of Bloodstone and steel, and banded with chalk, engraved with a picture of a fabled dwarf battling a hydra.
Another few years on, the Military had swelled to a full 10 soldiers, seven of them already Legendary in their art of combat. The dwarf known as Adol Coppercrow had started sparring and fighting with ‘Sashafrasha’, and had grown accustom to using it. He would be seen everywhere with it. One particular account states that he was fending off the trolls in the under-caverns whilst the masons constructed a fortress into the cavern. Three of them against Adol, wearing only Bronze armour and a recently claimed copper helm (off the dead goblins, who attempted to raid the fortress annually) He was seen managing to dodge the swipes and grabs by the large hands of the Trolls. He sliced an arm off one troll, then a leg. As the troll slipped in and out of consciousness, Adol managed to punch one troll in the face, jamming the skull through its own brain. Then he managed to swing around to face the other troll, just as it grabbed him around his neck and began to strangle him fruitlessly. Adol stabbed the troll in the chest, tearing apart his intestines, causing the troll to throw up onto the floor, and Adol. The dwarf took his chance, and cut off the arm that was strangling him. As the troll unleashed a cry of sheer pain, Adol ended it with a swift stab into the face. The remaining troll who had been slipping in and out of consciousness swiped at Adol with what ounce of strength it had left, but Adol dodged the hand, and sliced the troll across the torso, causing it to sail off in a bloody arc. Adol stood there, in the bloodbath for a minute or two, then head back to his squad, to group up.
It was a winters eve, as the miners of Firetomb found a large menacing castle deep underground. The militia were tasked with scouting this anomaly. As the soldiers slowly stepped inside, they saw shifting figures inside, moaning endlessly. One of the dwarves stepped on a large pebble and tripped over. Just as the thud sounded, all of the figures turned around towards the dwarves- A horrid sight of blood and gore, Slugmen, Tigermen and Snailmen all shambling towards them with flesh dangling out of their ‘Mouths’. The braver soldiers advanced forward, screaming like banshees as they charged into the pack of seemingly undead beasts. All that was to see was bloody arcs of arms and heads flying around the room. Two soldiers lost their lives as the Militia cleared the castle from floor to floor.
It was just as the militia stood at ease, making sure there were no more moans were within earshot. One of the more recent recruits, a spear dwarf, noticed an almost holy weapon in a mantelpiece as he spun around. It was an Adamantine Spear, So beautifully crafted, so well conditioned. He slowly caressed the spear in its mantle, and began trying to force the spear out of the stone. He pulled with all his might, and it slid out, causing him to stumble backwards. “Hey- Hey guys! Check this out!” he yelled profoundly, trying to show off his find. A glyph started to carve its way around his feat as the dwarves all stood around him, all in awe of this spear. The Glyph stopped, and it begun to glow brightly. The dwarves noticed the glowing floor, and all stepped away from it. As they took a few steps back, the floor collapsed into an abyss. The dwarves all looked at each other confusingly, before a braver Mace-dwarf slowly stepped towards this hole. As he peered into the hole, a pair of large tentacle-like arms shot out of the hole and wrapped around his head, and pulled him in. Then demons began to flood out of the hole and descend towards the hardened dwarves. Several of the dwarves managed to escape, and darted out of the castle towards the exit. As the soldiers regrouped in the Mine shafts, they saw the beasts still hot on their trail, many with fresh blood coating them. The soldiers all ran towards the mine entrance, in the heart of the fortress.
The Fortress of Firetomb was designed with the help of the most brilliant of architects. It was designed to be able to still continue existence even if it were locked up for 10 years, and able to be one giant death-trap to any invader from the outside. It was also designed with the knowledge that the caverns deep below the surface are filled with dangerous beasts like Trolls and Blind cave ogres. So the fortress was designed around the mines, in a way to avoid any of the general public getting slaughtered by anything if it ‘were’ to incur from the deep.
As the soldiers regrouped, they signalled for the gates to be shut and the traps to be armed- but they were too late. Many beasts that call the caverns home cannot destroy a gate, but if they can, they will be caught in the crossfire of traps. But this onslaught of constant demons were not fazed by the traps. The Militia charged into the demons to buy the rest of the populace time to figure out a Plan B.
The alarms were sounded to evacuate, the population of Firetomb all rushed for the front gates of the fortress. Among them was Adol, who had managed to escape the clutches of the demons. Only 37 of the total 98 dwarves who called Firetomb home got to the front gate. The rest were assumed to be dead, as the constant screaming and roaring would suffice as evidence. The front gates closed tight, and walls were built around them to stop the demons pouring forth into the countryside.
At that moment, squad of goblins had amassed in the horizon, all seeking revenge for their fallen comrades. Adol tried to defend the citizens, slashing and stabbing at the goblins, until the Goblin Commander whom was riding atop a troll, swung his mighty War hammer into the chest of the Dwarf, causing him to fly backwards and pass out.
Adol woke up later that evening. His eyes slowly adjusted to the setting sun, scanning the landscape for any sign of goblins. Nothing was there, No goblins, No dwarves… Nothing.
Adol stood up, wincing in pain as he breathed. He called out, but to no avail. Stood there for a while and attempted to recall anything that he learned about his surroundings. He remembered that there was a human settlement only about a day’s travel away…
“And that’s how I came to be here, in your hospitality.” The dwarf muttered, sorrow in his tone.
“Well… If you’d like to stay with us for a while, we could use a little muscle around here… Got some outlaws causing us some mischief…”
Just a quick story I thought I’d type up. A tad rusty on the authoring side of things, but hey.
Most of it is true, exception to the whole Township thing. Just assume Adol went there after I abandoned the Fortress.
If you’re wondering how I got the speardwarf to collect the spear, I quickly made him ununiformed, and got him (being the closest there) to remove the spear. Then I selected him to use the spear just as I noticed the floor next to him give way.
This was my first underground ‘goodie’ fortress, I knew that the glowing floor probably was a bad sign and all, but I wanted that spear, Hehe.
If this story inspired you,
Learn to Play
with Peter Tyson's new book.
Originally posted 2011-04-16 15:22:58.