Since the fall of the 8th, I’ve yet to find a cohort that is measures up, but these fools may be worthy of my axes.
Until recently, this job for the Kyber-rutting, Host-buggering, Flame-felching Swordlords was a cakewalk. I think one day I briefly considered that I should probably feel guilty for taking their money, and truth be told, I’ve had tougher jobs in the city. With the short sightlines, shadows, and strange echoes, providing protection in a city is a nightmare. I’ve lost count of the number of cuts and stab wounds I suffered. I’ve also lost track of the foolish throats I’ve throttled, cut, and torn out.
That all changed about a week ago. The Ninth of Nymn will forever be burned into my mind.
We were told that there was a large boar, Tuskgutter by name, that was extremely territorial and attacking travelers and woodsmen in the deepest reaches of The Narlmarches.
Go kill the boar they said.
We’ll pay you a reward they said.
Nowhere did those choadswallowing bastards say anything about a Xoriat-corrupted, evilly intelligent, and completely psychotic hog.
And until I stepped into that silent hollow, I had not thought about the feel and smell of Xoriat-tainted land in a long, long time. To be honest, my fear nearly unmanned me. Mind you death doesn’t frighten me, nor does pain. I know for certain that both are my constant companions.
But the madness of Xoriat terrifies me.
I’m a fucking dwarf. I know stone and metal, but even I can see the unnatural bend and skew of nature where Xoriat walks, and this beast was more than touched by it. Tuskgutter’s very roars echoed with joy, bloodlust, and an invitation to join with it. The creature’s tainted intelligence made my skin crawl, and unfortunately even my mightiest blows fairly came to naught. I was merely an annoyance.
The others’ were doing a decent job of inflicting damage, so I took it upon myself to ensure that I was the biggest annoyance I could be, distracting it, and taking hits where I could. I’m sure Adra would have something wonderfully droll to write into that book of hers about it…
We were lucky in that Tuskgutter was fast, mean, brutal, and alone. My old cohort wasn’t so lucky.
Maybe that is what makes these waterheads different: They’re lucky.
Regardless, I’ve faced Xoriat’s filth again, and come out stronger for it. I don’t think I’ll ever step to battle with such foulness with no trepidation, but next time…
Well, next time will be next time.
In other news, it was good to see Ellios again, and Adra was being a nosy snoop. There’s a reason the common folk despise organized religions.
Life is too short. Find solace where you can.