Bay 12 Games Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Poll

Whose story should be told next?

The Doctor: Chief Medical Dwarf coping with the sudden influx of wounded
- 8 (61.5%)
The Guard: Captain of the Guard trying to bring order to chaos
- 5 (38.5%)

Total Members Voted: 13


Pages: [1] 2 3

Author Topic: The Day That Brassworked Fell  (Read 5733 times)

Broseph Stalin

  • Bay Watcher
  • Dabbling Surgeon, Proficient Butcher.
    • View Profile
The Day That Brassworked Fell
« on: February 05, 2015, 11:32:49 pm »

To celebrate the induction of The Increasingly Tragic Tale of Dumplin into the Hall of Legends I've decided to post the first part of a side project that wasn't going to come out until Dumplin was finished. This is the story of the collapse of a dwarven fortress told through the final thoughts of the dwarves who experienced it. This is part of my continuing plan to fill every unoccupied area of the universe with things that make you feel bad.



The Hauler

I'm having a bad day.

My name is Kab Passbell of Brassworked and I haul. My mother was Lised Walkedmoment who hauled and my father was Umer Tanmint who hauled. Both of their mothers hauled as did both of their fathers and as did every member of my family save my uncle by marriage who cuts stone here in the fortress but is not particularly good. I am very clumsy and can't work crafts, nature frightens me so I can't cut trees, I learned a bit about farming from helping to bring in the harvest but the farmers say I'd just get in their way planting- besides harvesting is more like hauling anyway. I am a hauler, and so I haul.

   I carry bins and barrels and big armfuls crafts or sometimes I push a wheelbarrow or load a minecart and make sure everything goes where it has to be.  Even as a boy when the harvest came in and my mother and farmer collected crops I was right there beside them, I have hauled all my life. If it weren't for haulers the craftsdwarves could never work and our crops would rot on the vine. I clean and pull levers and put up walls too but what I do most and best is hauling. I reached legal adulthood eleven years ago and I have never once dropped an item. I'm very clumsy but I'm always careful when I work I think about each step and if I have a bad grip on something I stop right there and adjust. 

   Some dwarves don't appreciate hauling like I do. They want to make masterworks or become legendary in a skill but that all seems a little silly. Every load I haul is the best I can do and I think I'd be embarrassed if people talked about how well I hauled. I think it would be nice to have a family one day but I mostly just think about my job.
 

    When a work order comes some dwarves just sit in the dining hall and talk with their friends hoping I'll pick it up before they have to. They think they're tricking me but I'm not stupid, I don't mind doing my job it makes me happy. I finish an order and then wait in the dining hall for another and when it comes I go right to it. I prefer working, I don't really like sitting in the dining hall. I don't know what to say to other dwarves or sometimes the words come out wrong and they think I'm strange so I just try to sit quietly but I feel like they know. In all I have eighteen enemies and one friend.

   My friend is named Cilob Figuredward and I met her when they dug the third quarters. We both hauled stone and we spent time together at the parties in the dining hall in between orders. It was easier to talk to her, when I didn't know what to say she did and when I said the wrong thing she knew what I meant. Even though I don't like parties I felt better because I could just talk to her.

   When autumn came we went above ground and collected hunter's bolts and logs and fresh caught fish. I was always scared when we worked above ground. Sometimes there were wild animals that would come very close to us and sometimes I'd think I'd seen a goblin. Even though it was frightening to be out in the forest I always felt better because even when I couldn't see her I knew she was there too.

   One of my enemies is Cog Ashgravel. When the army was raised he became my captain and he was a very cruel dwarf. He got frustrated when I didn't learn quickly and when we sparred he always knocked me down on purpose. Sometimes I got bruises and once I hurt my finger, I didn't like being a soldier. It was okay though because Cilob was my squadmate and even when Cog was angry with me it was okay because she was there with me.

   Eventually more migrants came and Cog replaced me in the squad. Cilob learned better than me and she was allowed to stay. She didn't haul as much but I still met her in the dining hall and we still had time to talk. One day there was an alarm to get out of the caverns, it surprised me and I almost dropped the iron bars I was hauling but I caught myself and kept working since I was already in the fortress. Hauling iron is always hard work and I spent the rest of the day working at it. Eventually the alarm stopped and a while later I was done with my work and went to the dining hall. Cilob didn't show up and I found out there was a Forgotten Beast in the cavern and when the militia went down to stop it it started spraying poison stuff everywhere and even after it was dead it wasn't safe for anyone to go down there. Cilob's still down there. I was really sad for a while because when she had to fight a monster and she was scared I had to work and she was alone. People tease me but I'm not stupid. I know she's gone but we're still friends.

   I think I'm about to die. They turned on the alarm a few days ago and started adding to the militia. There are goblins outside and we're going to have to fight them. I'm in the barracks right now. They told me to get an axe, shield, and a helmet from the bins but I had a hard time holding the axe and shield so they made me leave the shield. They yelled at me to just drop it and let someone pick it up because there wasn't much time but I always put things where they belong. My iron helmet is uncomfortable. The smith don't use leather or cloth padding like humans do and I don't like wearing it.

   They say I have to go to the Trade Depot and wait with the other soldiers. My captain is Besmar Crescentkey she's very rude but I think she's scared too so I don't think I'll put her on my enemies list. I don't like carrying an axe. It's strapped to my back and I'm scared that if I turn to fast or swing my arms wrong I'll get cut. I don't want to go.

   The stairs are really busy. Some people are hauling and I should be helping them. I want to go back to bed. I want to go back to bed and go to sleep and I don't want to fight, I want to sleep and when I wake up everything will be fine again and I can eat dinner late and haul stone tomorrow. I didn't do anything wrong, I didn't bother anybody or say mean things or start fights I just want to do my job and have everybody leave me alone. Someone else should be here and I should be hauling. I can't stop crying.

   The other dwarves are really angry at me they keep yelling for me to be quiet but I'm too scared. I want to leave, I don't have any treasure I don't want to fight goblins. They're going to have whips and axes and hammers and trolls it's going to be scary and it's going to hurt. I don't want it to hurt. It doesn't matter if I'm here, I'm not any help. I can just go to bed and if we lose I'll die in my sleep and it won't hurt. I asked the captain if I could go to bed and she shouted for me to leave her alone. She's isn't crying but she's shaking a lot. 

   The trade depot is really crowded, I can't lift my arms and it's getting hard to breathe. Everyone's getting mad because I'm scared, I can't put them on the enemies list because I can't see their faces through the tears. There are dwarves everywhere but I feel alone, I don't want to do this I want to leave and go to dinner I'll just sit there and I won't bother anyone and I'll wait for a work order. I try to get out but the doors are locked behind us because they just gave the order to lower the bridge.

   It's very bright but the air smells good. The sun feels weird on my face and my tears are already drying. We're running into the field now. I think I'm about to die. I don't notice the helmet now, the axe feels lighter too. I recognize some of these dwarves and I take them off the enemies list. I don't want to be mad at anybody when I die. I think there's a dirty sock on my floor and whoever gets my room next is going to think I'm messy but I guess I kind of am messy because I leave socks on the floor. I'm not scared anymore. I can see the goblins, they're running too now. The trees are really tall and I don't like it, it feels like they could fall. I don't like being outside. I can't see Cilob but I know she's here too. I don't feel alone anymore. I'm not afraid.









« Last Edit: February 06, 2015, 03:00:19 pm by Broseph Stalin »
Logged

The Big D

  • Bay Watcher
  • Likes bears for their fuzzy-wuzzyness
    • View Profile
Re: The Day That Brassworked Fell
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2015, 03:45:12 am »

My god. I love it!
Logged
I just have this terrible mental picture of this beet-looking thing bursting out of someone's stomach and being like "Neeeeed phosphaaaaates"
If it's magma resistant, mod it so it's not!

Taupe

  • Bay Watcher
  • Weasel Monarch
    • View Profile
Re: The Day That Brassworked Fell
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2015, 05:11:25 am »

So you're basically the black hole of happiness.

Broseph Stalin

  • Bay Watcher
  • Dabbling Surgeon, Proficient Butcher.
    • View Profile
Re: The Day That Brassworked Fell
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2015, 10:37:50 am »

So you're basically the black hole of happiness.
I prefer to think of myself as a cancer or a goat that knows what you're up to.

Ruhn

  • Bay Watcher
  • Adept Dwarf
    • View Profile
Re: The Day That Brassworked Fell
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2015, 12:56:35 pm »

One typeo, in last paragraph: "We're running into now the field now."
I like this story, and I like this dorf Kab.  He is a hard worker like me.  I hope he dies well like Cilob did.

Broseph Stalin

  • Bay Watcher
  • Dabbling Surgeon, Proficient Butcher.
    • View Profile
Re: The Day That Brassworked Fell
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2015, 02:31:32 pm »

Thinking about writing a short poem to go along with these passages, what does everybody think of this?

Quote from:  The Hauler
On the day that Brassworked Fell
The Commander did compel
Dwarves of meager means
To bear truly grisly scenes;
Civillians called to face
A bitter end with grace.
Though Kab knew the ranks would break,
That his hands did surely quake,
That the defense was doomed to fail,
That his face grew very pale,
That he couldn't hide his tears,
That his face betrayed his fears,
He found the strength to brave,
The march towards his early grave.
For though his fate was known
He did not walk alone.
And so he felt no fear,
As he failed to block a spear.
And he smiled at the end
For it found him with a friend.

Pencil_Art

  • Bay Watcher
  • Si non confectus, non reficiat.
    • View Profile
Re: The Day That Brassworked Fell
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2015, 05:10:14 pm »

Very nice.
Logged
He is a casual worshipper of Armok

YAHG

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
Re: The Day That Brassworked Fell
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2015, 11:11:18 pm »

I liked it. Thanks for writing the story.

Broseph Stalin

  • Bay Watcher
  • Dabbling Surgeon, Proficient Butcher.
    • View Profile
Re: The Day That Brassworked Fell
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2015, 09:46:39 pm »

The Miner




My name is Nomal Pagefoot and I am one hundred and thirty five years old. The younger miners call me Grandpa, It's a term of respect. You simply don't talk to a dwarf that's survived 123 years in the mines with anything less than respect. Since I came to Brassworked I've been part of every major mining effort this fortress has seen

   Some people say a pick's a pick's a pick and each and every one of them is an idiot. My pick is steel and I'd never use another. I grabbed a pickaxe fresh from the forge when I turned twelve and I've yet to put it down. In the summer of 1041 when I was a young man of nineteen I was caught in my second cave-in and my right hand was smashed to all hell. When they found me my pick was in my left hand.

   I worked every big job, maybe there were one or two orders to mine a tiny gem cluster or a lean ore vein but whenever there was a new mass of magnetite or a section of the fortress to be carved you can be sure I was there. Those fancy architects would make a design on the map and I'd to the work of making it real. I'd notice obvious mistakes in their plans so when they made an obvious mistake that would punch through the river or a magma tube I'd go back and tell them I must have smudged the blueprints then sure enough they'd make the corrections. Course I wasn't the only dwarf on duty so sometimes there would be mistakes and cave-ins and I truly can't tell you how many I've survived. I've also had to breach magma twice, once for the magmaworks and once more after the magmaworks were ruined. There's not a dwarf in the fortress whose outrun the blood of the earth twice.

   I love mining. I'm the reason this fortress is a fortress. Sure working ore veins is fine and respectable but it's the digging out the fortress I've loved the most. Every stroke of my pick has made this hole in the ground a home.

   Mining's awful feast and famine for a line of work. Sometimes there's so much to do you have to do they build a few beds and stockpiles in the job site so you don't have to go back and forth. Other times there's nothing to do and you'll get a bit rusty waiting years for a new order to come down. That's why I picked up engraving. I'd work an order to create a new level and when that was done I'd join the team smoothing it. That's where I met my wife.

   She was a woodcutter by the name of Ast and they drafted her for the smoothing jobs when there was a wood surplus. We'd work together and drink together and argue about whether woodcutting or mining was harder work. I'd say it there was much more stone to mine than trees to cut, she'd say there weren't ambushes in the mines, I'd tell her she'd never seen twenty tons of stone come crashing down like Armok's hammer. Things went as they tend to and eventually we got married in the dining hall with a quaint little party of our friends and a few folks who just happened to be eating at the time.

   Eventually she was pulled from stone detail when the last big smoothing job was done. With all the work I'd done I'd gotten pretty good at smoothing stone and I got to try my hand at the engraving. I'm not an artist so I couldn't think of anything frou frou to carve. I did a few flowers and gemstones but again I'm not an artist didn't feel as natural as mining or smoothing did. They told me in fancy words that I should draw things I dreamed about so I started carving bugs and huge wheels of cheese and people sort of liked that till one night I dreamed I was at the onslaught of razing, the siege where my father lost his leg at the knee, and I stood beside those dwarves that drove back the goblin horde. I carved that and it felt pretty good so I made more historical pieces and eventually people really started to like them. They started calling me an artist but I don't brag about all the muses I have I just tell stories and I use a chisel when I do it- there's nothing fancy about that.

   I lived pretty well after I became a legendary engraver. A nice room with some nice furniture and some nice murals I'd engraved myself. We had a son after that, Kadol. He had his mother's eyes and his mother's smarts but he had my muscle. He was a strong boy and he grew up quickly. Sometimes he'd follow me into the mines or his mother into the forest and no matter how many times we told him it wasn't safe he'd be there just as soon as we'd turn around.

   Things were good all in all but engraving wasn't like mining. Mining all the workers work, engraving only the best of the best of the best. Me and two other dwarves engraved the entire fortress. I wasn't at home much, Ast wished I'd help more with Kadol but I'm never one to turn down work. Besides, she was better with all that anyway.

   One day I was engraving a new workshop cluster and someone told me there was trouble on the surface. I ran out into the wilderness quick as I could and come to find out a snatcher went after Kadol when he was shadowing his mother. She buried her axe in his gut but he caught her just so with his knife and they'd both bled to death by the time I arrived.

   I never meant to blame him. I always wanted him to be brave and strong and what happened wasn't his fault. I tried to tell him but that's never been my way. It didn't feel like there was much to say between us so I said nothing for those next few years. I don't remember when we spoke last but it was before he left home. The boy lost his spark. He never left the fortress unless he could avoid it. Never followed me again, never tried to learn a trade and was content to sit in the dining hall. I wanted to talk to him but that's never been my way.

   He stayed inside and avoided work, just kept going to parties and loitering in the dining hall. He got put on beekeeping and worked a few times a year then after a while he got to be something of a conversationalist. When the broker died he was picked as the replacement. He lives in the nobles quarters and dines in the nobles dining room now and he only comes out to trade. I never saw him much after he made broker and now the doors are barred and by the time they're opened I'll be gone.

   I wish I could say goodbye.  I wish I could tell him I'm sorry I took for granted there would always be another day to try and talk to him. I'm not a husband or a father or an artist. I wish I could ask him to forgive me because I was never the dwarf he needed. I'm a miner and sometimes I tell stories and I'm good for nothing else.

   The last work order I got was for the King's Tomb. It's all gold and silver in here. Ugly furniture and a tacky casket for a dwarf who loved himself a bit too much. It'll serve it's purpose at least. You don't forget the sound of a troll ripping a hatch out of the ground. It won't be long now but I think I can finish, I usually go back over the shapes to add texture but I'm not an artist and this will do.

   When everything's gone the stone will still be here. They'll know there was a fortress here and our history will remain etched into the stone. My last masterpiece, my wife holding my son the day he was born. They'll know who she was and that she loved her son. I'm not in it, there wasn't time but I think it's fair for history to forget me. I'm just a miner.  They're bashing the door now.

   I've always favored a steel pick. The weight feels just right in your hands, it's edge is keen, and no stone's tough enough to stop it. Iron plate doesn't fair much better, a rib cage doesn't either for that matter. When I came to Brassworked as a miner I knew I was digging out the hole I was going to die in. It feels good to get a job done.

Spehss _

  • Bay Watcher
  • full of stars
    • View Profile
Re: The Day That Brassworked Fell
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2015, 01:50:36 pm »

posting to watch.
Logged
Steam ID: Spehss Cat
Turns out you can seriously not notice how deep into this shit you went until you get out.

Ruhn

  • Bay Watcher
  • Adept Dwarf
    • View Profile
Re: The Day That Brassworked Fell
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2015, 04:04:31 pm »

Another good one, thanks for posting it.

YAHG

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
Re: The Day That Brassworked Fell
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2015, 11:20:23 pm »

I liked reading that. Thanks.

Dozeb˘m Lolumzalýs

  • Bay Watcher
  • what even is truth
    • View Profile
    • test
Re: The Day That Brassworked Fell
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2015, 03:52:53 pm »

This is amazing.  You are so good at telling stories from the dwarves' point of view, Broseph Stalin.  You are on my figurative list of the top twenty Bay12'ers.

I'm totally putting this on my list of awesome stories.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2015, 06:51:46 pm by jwoodward48df »
Logged
Quote from: King James Programming
...Simplification leaves us with the black extra-cosmic gulfs it throws open before our frenzied eyes...
Quote from: SalvanÚ Descocrates
The only difference between me and a fool is that I know that I know only that I think, therefore I am.
Sigtext!

Broseph Stalin

  • Bay Watcher
  • Dabbling Surgeon, Proficient Butcher.
    • View Profile
Re: The Day That Brassworked Fell
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2015, 02:56:00 pm »

The Commander


   Cowards. Thin blooded cowards. This isn't a temple, an orphanage, or a convalescent home- It's a damned fortress. Have they forgotten we're at war? Did they just not see the drawbridge, the traps, the fortifications, the damned castle topside where warriors drill day and night preparing for this very day? Did they think these things were for fun? The gall of them, to make a fortress their home and to be surprised when the foe comes to their door. We were ready for this, we militia dwarves. It's why there were no tears shed when I gave the order to charge and we ten souls began the march to certain death.

   I was born Bembul Armorclasped and in Brassworked I am called The Demon of Flesh. I'm the miserable bastard responsible for this mess. Sure  the Baron rules the fortress, the Mayor does his will, the Sherrif keeps his peace, and the Champion carries his banner but I am the only one you could call responsible. When troubles approaches I'm the first one to respond with steel in hand ready to kill or die for the fortress. I make the hard decisions and that means this is my fault.

   I've lived in this fortress my entire life. My father was a cook and my mother worked leather, neither earned glory from their trade. My father spent all day rendering fat till his beard and clothes reeked of it, my mother stitched and cut leather into quivers and waterskins so long that she'd often lose use of her fingers by supper. Sometimes I'd follow them to work or play with the other children but mostly I'd go to the courtyard to watch the grown dwarves train. At night my parents told me stories of great heroes and adventurers who were fearless and bold. I drank them in with relish until I turned twelve and the militia was expanded, I signed up straight away. My parents were fearful but there had been no serious threat to the fortress for a long time and they knew I was far too willful to dissuade. I'd also convinced them this was my best way to a room of my own and out of the dormitories I'd been consigned to. Instead of resisting my mother personally stitched me a new suit of tough leather clothing to supplement my lack of armor and my father prepared my favorite blackberry biscuits for when I went on patrol.

   The head weaponsmith of the day was As Uvel a fantastically ugly woman whose skill as a forgemistress was legendary. I dreamed of wielding a blade carrying her mark but I was on the bottom of the heap. The veterans had all the good equipment and the more promising recruits had their scraps. What I was left with was a plain wooden shield spiked with elk bone and an iron short sword with no makers mark save a picture of a turtle on the hilt. The bastard weapon was probably left at some other fortress by an invader, traded to the merchants for supplies, then traded to us for stone crafts. The balance was awful and the metal was brittle but it was mine and I was a warrior when I held it.

   It was hard going. I was twelve and hadn't gotten the grasp of my body. I didn't have the delicate control of a true adult and I was soft from a lifetime of playing games, even the other rookies were vastly superior in sparring. They didn't hold back either, I was whacked, thrown, kicked and slammed with regularity and I would always return to my home ragged and badly bruised. I took to it well though. Blades that sought my flesh found iron or air, I developed the raw power to break grapples, I struck so quick and fierce that on the odd chance I was met by a shield I could still send a foe crashing to the ground.

   There were so many dull years, training and drilling to no end and dreaming of a chance to prove myself. One year I remember being quite excited about the expansion of the sleeping quarters, this meant more trees had be cut for beds. The elves weren't happy about this and our insult to their Liaison did little to help matters. That summer when the world was in bloom and I was on patrol outside the walls they sent an ambush to teach us a lesson. They say I grinned like a wolf beset by lambs as I lead the charge.

   I laughed as I ran into through a hail of arrows, one pierced my soft leather coat and became stuck in the fat of my side stopped only by the thick cords of muscle that I'd built. I got in close quickly and saw the fear in a bowelf's eyes as the desperate swing of his bow had no effect just before my sword pierced his heart. He fell to the ground gushing with blood just as a swordsman closed to make it a fair fight. He was incredibly quick and skilled with the polished mango wood blade. Shallow cuts soon decorated my face but when he missed a stroke I seized his arm. I challenged him to dodge now as I cleaved his head in two. Two more swordsmen broke away from the pack and came at me with elven curses heavy on their tongues. We rattled swords until one missed and I siezed his hyper extended arm with mine, there was no way for him to dodge the blow that killed him. Before his friend could stop me the hilt of my sword shattered his rib cage and the fragments ripped his lungs apart. I lopped off his head in an act of mercy. 

   The woods echoed with my laughter. My cohorts became entangled with the closing ambushers and we 10 were doing a fine job of driving them back. Just as I feared the fun was done I was beset by a giant tiger. I threw up my shield in time to stop the dread teeth but was thrown to the ground by it's vicious impact. It's rider was a lithe and graceful woman with hair the color of fire and eyes as green as the ancient forest. Veyico Thili, the Gulf of Hope the fearsome and beautiful warrior princess of the Tepid Realms. She looked quite youthful but she remembered days lost to history, she had been a warrior for as long as there'd been war and she'd eaten countless foes. This warrior princess was trilling like a demon and tilting at me with her spear from the back of a war-tiger, and I stood clutching my cruddy iron sword and my flimsy wooden shield an untested boy of sixteen.

   The tiger fell on me again, I listened with horror in my throat as it's teeth scraped against my thick leather coat unable to find purchase. Only after I realized I was not yet dead did I have the presence of mind to roll and leap to my feet. On her next pass I tried to unseat her by taking my shield and pushing back against her spear. My inexperience showed plain and the weapon punched into my shoulder stopping only at the bone and knocking me back to the ground. I was a quick learner and when she charged again and I leaned away from the spear, diving to the side of the tiger and with a quick slash opened it's belly spilling it's guts on the ground. The beast let out a horrible sound and went sliding across the forest floor. The elf rose awkwardly, mud covering her face and her deep green eyes burning for my blood.

   She set on me quicker than I expected. Her spear passed by my shield and tore a deep gash into my cheek, she didn't rest on it either- a second later she drove the butt of her spear into the side of my head rattling me. The shaft of her weapon found my gut and for a moment I felt fear. She set up to plant her spear in my throat but I clumsily dodged and kicked her hard in the shin buckling her lithe leg. I followed up quickly with a shield strike that cracked her back and tore a groan of pain from deep in her belly. I launched my death blow but succeeded only in hacking at a wisp of red hair that floated to the ground as she shot out again with her spear. I couldn't stop myself from laughing, blood staining my teeth and fledgling beard- we were truly dancing now.

   She was more experienced but I had iron and the enthusiasm of youth. If she had a metal weapon I'd be dead at least a dozen times over but as it stood she needed to hit something soft and vital while dodging my clumsy but deadly strokes. I collapsed twice from exhaustion but I was quick with my shield and created enough space to catch my breath. We'd drifted somehow deep into the forest and my allies were nowhere in sight, I thought I might die there until finally her knees quaked and she buckled. I was instantly invigorated, I was apparently doing something right. I bared my teeth and swung hard pressing my advantage. We were both dripping with sweat, panting, and screaming wild curses as our battle reached it's crescendo.

   A truly inspired strike came deadly near my throat and I was forced to throw myself out of the way, by sheer chance my blade drifted inside her guard. She noticed as quick as I did but with a painful wrench of my back and a skillful flick of my wrist my sword cleaved joyfully through her thin wrist sending her hand and spear falling to the ground. There was a second between us where our wild and weary eyes met and I relished in the shock of the bested warrior as I reared back and drove my balled fist down into her head. It was the last time anyone saw that lovely face- her head burst open like a rotten melon and sprayed me with gore. At the sight of it one of my allies collapsed, exclaimed in horror and left his lunch on the turf.

   We returned to the fortress triumphant and when my waiting mother saw me she cursed loudly while my father painted the brown mud green. My face hung in tatters loosely attatched to my skull and the sweat that coated me had mixed with the blood and my whole face and half the front of me were bright red. That night I did my best to lay still while doctors put my face back together and in the great hall they sang the praises of the Demon of Flesh. The next day I'd missed the bragging so I took it upon myself to start anew. I drank heavily and laughed in the faces of the veteran militiamen, we unproven rookies were the only ones to taste blood in the first conflict in years.

    They brought me into the most veteran infantry squad right away just for the chance to shut me up. They didn't do a bad job of it, the training was more brutal and I didn't take to it the way I first did. Still, whenever a blade caught me a little too hard or the ground met me with vigor I'd remember my deadly duel with Veyico. The practice sharpened me but it was Veyico who was my real teacher, you can only really learn from an enemy who wants to kill you and knows how. Her every move was a test and when I failed she punished me, I had a scar for each of her lessons.

   I practiced in peacetime but I only learned in those few and frantic days when the enemy came for us and I found a new oppponent. I was truly happy in those days. Leather clothes my mother made covered in patches and tears to remind me the importance of dodging, my warped and pitted shield covered in broken elk bone, my terrible iron sword. I looked like a fool, like a farmer kicked out of bed and told to defend the fortress. Oh I'm sure they thought that right up until the dancing started. I jumped and dodged and blocked effortlessly batting away murderous blows. I chopped off limbs and mutilated bodies cracking skulls and splitting men open. Those were my glory days, young and relying on pure enthusiasm to survive and relishing in the pureness of war.

   I came to be coated in steel armor with a masterwork steel blade in one hand and a masterwork steel shield in the other all heavy with brass decorations. They were undoubtedly better but they were so much less satisfying. I didn't dodge as frantically now that blades would just glance away from me, I didn't shiver when I threw up my shield because I knew it would hold up, when I swung my sword I didn't have to compensate for a dreadful balance. I climbed a mountain every day to pray at a shrine then some bastard moved it to the bottom.

   Soon I was the most veteran warrior in the fortress miserable title. It meant all my friends were dead and by some stroke of pure luck I hadn't joined them.  Even as my beard went white I was spoken of with respect and fear. Bembul Armorclasped, the Demon of Flesh; honored Militia Commander of Brassworked. Some years bolstered our ranks, some thinned us out but I spent all of them in the barracks or the field. I never took a wife but every dwarf who carries a weapon is one of my children. I shared every bit of wisdom I had with them and when the time came to test them I felt fear and glee watching their successes and failures. I don't know if I'm a good commander. My father always said that if he didn't outlive me it meant he'd done his job well. What's it mean that I've buried dozens of my recruits? A few became great, some left the service mutilated, some I had to bury. The goblins carried the swords but I was responsible for whatever happened to them.

   When the goblins came from the northwest I set a trap. We were vastly outnumbered but I had a plan, I lead twenty nine dwarves northeast and set twenty to ready themselves inside the walls. Forty conscripts bolstered the defenders and when the goblins were in range they all charged waiting for my men to come in from behind and cut them down from two sides. Then the second wave attacked. Goblins climbed the southern walls, the defenders fought the first group to the north and there was little hope of repelling them alone much less falling back to protect the fortress.

   What was I to do? I split my force of backstabbers and sent twenty back to the fortress to repel the goblins scaling the walls and I ordered the nine of my own squad to charge as planned. This one feels different. Damage has already been done and I think the fortress may be doomed. The dwarves who placed their faith in me are dying in the fields. I can see them now, greenskins crossing blades with our defenders. There's at least two hundred of them.  This is certainly the end. Death or glory, I'm responsible. 

   No room for clever planning here. I'm an old, steel coated, leader of dwarves but in my heart my hair is black again, my joints are supple, and I'm wearing my ratty leather clothes. I smile as I think of how I must look, fearsome and deadly as I charge. I can't see my own face but there's horror in their eyes when my blade lashes out. Let's see how I am as a teacher.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2015, 11:44:54 am by Broseph Stalin »
Logged

Bearskie

  • Bay Watcher
  • Nyam nyam
    • View Profile
Re: The Day That Brassworked Fell
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2015, 11:17:01 pm »

To me, the best story writing in the whole of Bay12Forums.   This is soo good.
Pages: [1] 2 3