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Author Topic: The tale of Goblinbane, King of Dwarves  (Read 522 times)

Cocoprimate

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The tale of Goblinbane, King of Dwarves
« on: January 07, 2014, 01:29:25 am »

It was the 2nd of Obsidian of the year 975. I remember it very clearly, even through the fog of old age that has now set in my mind, as I near 220 years of life. After a grueling day of harvesting rope reed at the fields, I had made the short walk to the neighboring human hamlet of Flowershade. There was only one thing in my mind that afternoon as I traversed the road, and it was the thought of a full mug of beer. Longland beer. Frothy and brown, cool from the subterranean vault under the inn.

Such was the life of this hill-dwarf in those days. I rose early in the morning, and worked in the fields until the sky was red, to then drown out the night in ale. It was backbreaking work, under the hot sun, not fit for a dwarf.

My parents had been forced out of their mountain home when I was but a lad, due to famine and winter. They were made to settle in a neighboring human hamlet, where their knowledge of dwarven agriculture and brewing was most welcome. Alas, they could never adapt to life under the sun, for they were true stone-folk, mountain dwellers to the bone, and so they passed from the world when I was 32 years of age, from illnesses related to depression and sun-living. I became employed under a local human landowner, who paid fair - if not generous- wages, considering the simplicity of the labor. And so passed the years.

It was after such a day that I found myself sitting at the greasy wooden counter, drinking my beer in silence. The inn was full to the brim with other field-hands, as was always the case in times of harvest. For if there is one thing that all races in the land can find common ground in, that is the deep appreciation of a good mug of beer after a hard day's work.

I was used to enjoying my brew in silence, as I had not much empathy with the locals, but that evening there was a fellow dwarf in attendance. His cloth was of noble make, but turned ragged. The same could be said for his general appearance. He instantly approached me and made talk.

He introduced himself as Aban, a caravaneer arrived to Flowershade with the intent of buying rope reed cloth. He said he was going to sell it in Blazecrux and become rich beyond measure.

"Ye say ye'll become rich beyond measure by selling rope reed in the capital?" I spat in the ground derisively. "Tall tale."

His eyes, reddened from alcohol, turned to slits. "Is Blazecrux we speak of hill-dwarf. It is the grandest place in all the world. There is riches there beyond the wildest imaginations. A dwarf goes with cheese and rope reed for trading, and comes back with wagons laden with gold and obsidian. Ye cannae understand if ye've never been there before!".

"And ye're going to tell me ye've been there before?" I snorted. "Those are stories the nobles spin to make us believe the Mountain Realm is strong. Tis not. Tis' but a shadow of the old days, and soon enough the goblins shall have it all."

At that, the tradesman patted my back in sympathy. Such dark thoughts were commonplace at the time, as the dwarves in those days numbered few, and had suffered many defeats at the hands of the goblins. It was true that Blazecrux had won a few victories for the dwarves of late. Many attributed the tales to exaggeration, and that in fact it had been only a few ambushes repelled.

But Aban the reed trader told it different. He searched in his pockets, and produced a golden figurine, which he passed over to me.

I turned it over in my hands, feeling the smooth, polished gold, and instantly recognized it was of masterful make. It depicted the King Goblinbane and his great silver mace, his pose solemn. It was as definitive a proof of Aban's stay at Blazecrux as one could hope to ask, for there weren't any other places in the world were art of such quality was still made. I appraised that figurine was likely worth as much as the inn we now drank in.

"I passed there 14 years ago as a crossbowman, guarding a caravan. All members of the party were gifted one." He mumbles. "Such are the riches of Blazecrux". At this, he recovered the figurine from my hands, not without a certain roughness, and made it disappear again within his pockets.

He then stood in his stool, harrumphed ceremoniously, and excitedly exclaimed "I was there!", his eyes glazed over. The inn fell silent.

"You were there for what, dwarf?" asked the inn-man, an uncouth, pot-bellied fellow.

Aban made a pause, and uttered "I was there, in Blazecrux, when the King of the dwarves slew the Master... I saw it all, I did!"

Murmurs rose in the inn.

The Master was what people called the lord of all goblins. He was said to be a foul demon of the underworld, born before the beginning of years.

"Then tell the tale, for your beard!" Shouted a peasant. And so Aban cleared his throat, called for another mug, and began his tale.

"We had barely entered the fortress when the drums began to beat in the far distance. Soon, a great horn was sounded within the fortress, and the drawbridge behind us rose up, with a huge metallic clatter. For the great bridge that acts as the entrance to Blazecrux, the open-air courtyard, and the walls that encircle it, are all made of solid, polished gold, aye, and are a wonder all by themselves.

We were roughly ushered inside, and from opposite doors at the end of the long corridor issued forth the defenders of Blazecrux.

From one door marched out the famed Iron Lords, and they are masters of battle-axe and hammer. These are the greatest of all dwarven warriors, they are, their prowess legendary and heroic. Each Iron Lord is clad head to toe in masterfully worked iron armor, for they eschew all harder metals in favor of it, which they consider purest of all and which gives name to their company."

He made a pause to chug his mug of ale. He downed it in a few gulps, loudly burped, and wiping his mouth with a handful of his beard, called for another with stern words. Once in his hands, he cleared his throat and began again talking about the Iron Lords.

"Most wield battle axes of iron and steel, and a few hammers made of copper and silver. All of their weapons are, as is all that is made within the Volcano, works of art. Among their stern faces could be counted that of the heir to the crown, Prince Imushsanad. He was then a stout, mighty dwarf, and had arrived to Blazecrux years ago, sensing opportunity. He had joined the Iron Lords then, and risen through the ranks by virtue of his battle-axe, which he bloodied profusely in each siege. A few years after, his mother the Queen Rith arrived at Blazecrux with her entourage, turning the volcanic fortress into the capital of the Realm", he pointed out matter-of-factly.

"After the Iron Lords, from the opposite door, came out the Black Shields, great warriors the lot of them, but not to the level and regard of the Lords, as all know. These wore steel armor and axes, and all wielded broad, spiked shields. These they had painted black with the blood of many slain goblins, which they collect in barrels to paint their shields anew every month" he spoke, relishing the expression of shock on the face of the serving wench.

"The defenders of Blazecrux stood in formation before the bridge, awaiting the lowering. After a few quick words with the Commander of the Iron Lords, we caravan guards were allowed to participate in the battle. I and the other crossbowmen of the caravan took position atop the walls, behind a fortification we could shoot safely from.

We were all struck mute by the sheer size of the goblin host. They outnumbered our forces at least 15 to 1. Armed with towering halberds and spears, some mounted on large beak dogs, some on foot. They had all manner of foul weaponry, and a numerous contingent of crossbowmen. And at the rear, advancing in a most ominous manner, came the Master." He then made a pause for dramatic effect, ill-timed and ineffective, as not many humans so far from the border had heard of him.

He continued then, with a frown. "This dark spirit had taken the form of a huge, towering monster with the head of a wrinkled lizard, armored in enormous black plate. He wielded a monstrous, terrible iron pike, taller than even him, and his chest was adorned by a necklace of skulls, said to be the skulls of many slain kings of old.

For the Master was ageless, he was, and had been the enemy of dwarf-kind for a thousand years and more, and had felled many kings and glorious champions in countless battles. And in Blazecrux, he might have seen a faint spark of the mighty past of the dwarves, and so sought to stamp it out before it could grow into a threat, that would impede his successful campaign of genocide. For this, he had personally come, with the command of the mighty host.

As he advanced, surrounded by his personal guard, his hideous tongue constantly snaked out of his mouth, coating his face in a foul substance." Aban then mimicked his words to illustrate, his eyes opened-wide in terror of the memory, lapping at the air with his tongue as a handicapped toad would have done, before continuing. "He then slobbered over his weapon, an evil grin on his face. Legends told that the Master's spit was a venom with no equal in the whole world, and that to touch it meant instant death.

The goblin host marched to a halt in front of the gates of Blazecrux, and then they began to chant terrible songs of murder and rape, beating on the ground with their spears. They called out challenges in their foul tongues, but the Iron Lords and the Black Shields stood in perfect calm, their faces blank and demeanor steeled. Then, attendants from within the fortress approached, dragging with them huge snarling wolves from black leather leashes. Each soldier tied a leash to their shield-arm, and the battle-wolves stood beside them, growling low and expectant.

(TBC)



« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 01:35:29 am by Cocoprimate »
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The story of Aban Diamondtowns the Charms of Society, dwarf legend, and his descent into the depths. (SPOILER)
http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=79229.0

ShadowHammer

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Re: The tale of Goblinbane, King of Dwarves
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2014, 06:10:08 pm »

That's awesome so far. Can't wait for the second chapter!
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