King of the Stolen Lands

Pilgrimage Journal 1

Spalling the Clan

I guess I should start with how things got to be, how I got to be here, before I start writing out my pilgrimage. Just about three months ago I was working in my forge; well I was supposed to be forging a new helm for Blind Murdock. Anyway, I was going to etch eyes into the faceplate. Well I guess I should be honest about everything in here if this is going to be chronicling my religious journey. I was doing that and also trying to train the new Morgan.

I don’t quite remember how it all happened. I was washing up so that neither salt of sweat, nor soot of arm could contaminate any of the oils, etching materials, any of it. Morgan screamed, I heard one of the bowls of reagents break. I turned around, hands still scrubbing soot and burned hairs off. Then the pain in my hands, the pain in my arms, it was like I was rubbing lava into them. A loud woo noise, and I blacked out in the explosion.

I came to in one of the back rooms of the temple. I didn’t recognize the cleric who attended me; I tell you that more than anything made me wish we had Jorasco around these parts. They would have been able to fix my arms and not leave them rough slabs. No one was around, and I was sure the priests were informing the clan elders on my condition.

My arms were shot, which didn’t make it any easier to make it back to my forge. When I got there the place was a wreck. The helm for Blind Murdock was slag, most my tonics and oils and everything were roasted. Only a few pieces of armor remained on a display rack. I was not a clan armorer any more. I knew what was going to happen next before the word had gotten to me. Banishment, excommunication, explosion, whatever you want to call it, I was about to be ousted.

I began gathering my things. My tools that weren’t badly marred. A chain shirt was the only armor I could really pull on with my stiff arms so I took one from the display. When I turned to leave Elder GemEye was there, didn’t say anything about me taking the armor. He told me that he had asked my family to gather at my home, and then he corrected himself, what was my home.

Knocking on the door you have just walked in for six or seven decades is a depressing and jarring act. Then again, it wouldn’t have been as bad as if I had just walked in. If an outsider, as I was, an outsider, had just walked in my wife would have been honor bound to take my head for trespassing. My youngest boy answered the door and invited me in.

I said my goodbyes to my wife, my sons, my daughter(s), my home. I was not allowed to take anything for the house; everything I had owned was forfeit. No Dwarf would let a man go out into the wild open unarmed and hungry though. I was gifted the axes that I had used for so long, along with a few days bread, meat and cheese, and a small keg under my arm.

The journey to the city wasn’t a long one, that’s not to say that I would have wanted to walk it. The sun was setting when I had reached the road, and after a short time walking I was able to trade a wagon driver a quart of my boys mead for a ride to Brindol.

They dropped me off at The Broken Stilt, not that bad a tavern really. Their drink wasn’t as strong as what we had in the Hammerfist Holds. I got myself a room and put my … everything I owned in the drawers.

Days passed. I considered calling upon those I knew, that would have made me a charity case though. While I was close to those of House Garress, and a few others, there were few that I was social with. And, to my knowledge, none of them were in the city at this time. I determined that I was going to make something of myself again, or die trying.
Taking care of the easiest part first appealed to my Dwarven sensibilities, so I went to the undertaker and purchased a coffin for myself. That small step, having a small bit of control over my death so soon after losing my life as it were, actually did a lot to raise my spirits.

I went to the blacksmith next. With better motor control I am sure I could have crafted circles around him, at least if you’re talking about armor. He was a generalist though, in the mountains there was not much use for horse shoes. That being said, I offered to be an apprentice. I humbled myself, and said I would be willing to learn his, inferior ways, and the man said no to me. That damn fool sent me away like I was some bumbling drunk wanting to play with the bellows. Some people must not be comfortable with a dwarf with a coffin strapped to his back I guess. He certainly looked uncomfortable as soon as his eyes set upon me.

Crestfallen I went on my way back to The Broken Stilt. Do you know the problem with the wild open expanses not under the safety of a mountain, things are too loud, to open, to easy to sneak up on a fellow. Out from a shadowy path came a man I had seen at the bar before. I couldn’t prove it, but I know he had been following me. He struck up polite conversation, but quickly moved on to what he seemed to have intended to talk about the entire time; he suggested that I start trying to get my fine motor skills back. He handed me a broken pocket watch, and a few jewelers tools, and told me to take them they were mine in exchange for buying him a nights drinks and telling a nights worth of stories of the life under the mountain. He assured me that if I could get the watch working again, it would be worth at least enough to cover my stay at the in for a few weeks maybe.

Of course it was too good a deal to be on the level. Odds were that the watch was stolen and I was being set up to be an unwitting fence. That’s why I showed the watch to the bar keep, showed him the man who had given it to me with the suggestion that I trade it for lodging. Bertrand Sugarhand, is the owner of the bar, he agreed to let me stay till the end of the month if I could get it working.

I tell you it only took me two days of fiddling with the thing and I had it open guts exposed and all. Two days after that, I had it working again. I delivered the watch to Sugarhand, who held up his part of the deal and agreed to let me stay until the end of the month. What really made me happy was that I think I might have been getting some control back in my fingers. They ached from use bad that I damned the thing to Khyber, but as the two days passed, I didn’t drop the tools nearly as much. It clicked in my head to ask Sugarhand if he had anything I could work on. He rummaged through the lost and found, pulled out an old padlock missing its key, and tossed it underhand to me. Quick as could be I extended my arm and it bounced off my palm, tired numb fingers twitching sadly as the lock clattered to the ground.

Not having to worry about where I was going to be staying for the next while, I loosened the strings of my coin purse that night. I started by draining the remainder of the keg that StoneMug had brought me, and then I went to the Stilt and drank till I my teeth were afloat. I think I may even remember breaking into song with some halflings in the bar.

That night, when I thought things were starting going my way again, that’s when I broke down.
I won’t get into the details. Few mourn like a Dwarf, and few Dwarves have as much to mourn for as I did. When I finally rose, sobered…. Whatever the right words are, I was filthy, nude, wounded, lying in my own coffin, with my stomach growling like a rock slide. I pushed the lid open and squinted, the light overpowering my eyes. That’s when I saw in the grain of the wood as plain as the beard on my face, was an arrowhead flaming in the grain of the wood. Not literally of course, I mean the Silver Flame’s icon there! For me!

I cleaned myself up, showered, scrubbed, combed out the beard and hair and took my time rebraiding them. Unfortunately without a foe to fill the basin with, a good bit of the blood washed from the hair and beard. I had my clothes laundered got dressed, and walked over to the church of the Silver Flame.

The church was different than I had imagined it. The architecture was impressive, all high ceilings and arrow shaped arches. The decorations though, they seemed bare compared to what I had expected. I guess I wanted it to, or expected it to look a bit more FLAME-boyant.

I spoke with a priest, told him my story. Told him just about everything I’ve written down in here. I told him about my arms, about Morgan, my family even picking the locks. I don’t remember his exact words, was something along the lines of “the Flame doesn’t grant the wishes of those who sit idle and pray, it enforces those who take matters into their own hands, no matter how badly scarred.” Blah blah blah. Look forward, take action, the Flame heals. And I did look forward to the next thing he told me, the Flame would be sending an envoy on a mission for the Sword Lords, that they would be willing to suggest I join as well, and that speaking with the woman they will be sending to help the Sword Lords, a Lady Adra, would be helpful to me. The expedition would be leaving soon, so I started gathering the supplies I could figure I’d need.

Much to my surprise, s I was shopping, word hit me that the right lord Cedric Fellstorm of the service of Dal Ara had returned to his home in the city after some time away. I dropped my stuff off at the room and went straight for Fellstorm Manor. The men at the gate let me pass; a maid of all people stopped my progress though. Fortunately Cedric eventually got off his ass and told the woman who I was and to let me in. We made way to a sitting room and caught up. We drank and chat into the night, it turned out Cedric and I were scheduled to both meet with the Sword Lords about the same trip, so it just made sense for me to stay the night.

While, next to his father, I am probably closest to Cedric it was nice to see other members of the family. I knew them all; I had known the family, known Cedric’s father most of his life. I sparred with him, drank with him, both gave and received council to or from him. Cedric had taken to me more than any of his siblings, but it was still hear warming to see that his sister had grown into a beautiful woman.

The next day we met a few others that had been summoned. Cedric pointed out one that seemed to be scheduled at the same time as us. Said he was a big shot hunter, renowned family part of the sword’s line. I am sure I’ll get along with the man, assuming he lets me examine his armor. I’d say he doesn’t quite have the build I’d expect on a great warrior.

I was hoping to meet that lady Adra, the priest of the Silver Flame said she would be helping the Sword Lords, the expedition, and that I should probably get to know her, help her. The amassed people seemed to filter into a room, a new group every so often.

When we were called in it was a right formal affair. They announced the Hunter, Boris was the first name, not quite sure how to pronounce the last name. They announced Sir Cedric Fellstorm, and entourage! Don’t even get my name mentioned. While I can use that to my advantage, it is still a bit insulting.

Anyway, the lady Adra showed up and got her proclamation. We were told that the Sword Lords were sending down a few groups to settle some southern stretch of their land. We were to head down and make sure the other groups were doing their jobs, and help in any way that we can. Cedric immediately invited me to stay the month with him. I was happy to oblige, Fellstorm manner beats a seedy inn.

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