Author Topic: Belwar  (Read 2521 times)

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Offline Griznuq

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« on: February 24, 2005, 07:08:52 AM »
Belwar Fire-Forge comes from the Dwarven Mountain Stronghold of Derkenwold – (a stronghold known to the outside world as Eastwold).

Although the Dwarves of Eastwold were well-respected in every aspect in which Dwarven stronghold is ever respected, they were particularly known for their metallurgy, and Clan Fire-Forge was top of the class.

Stroud Fire-Forge was the Anvil-Master of Eastwold. He was charged with the production and quality control of every piece of metal that left the forge from the finest weapons and armor to the simplest picks and shovels.

Stroud was always proud of his son Belwar, and brought him to the forges every day to learn the craft. Belwar showed a healthy interest, and at an early age demonstrated a promise befitting his family legacy.

In addition to Anvil-Master, Stroud also held a position as patrol tactician – a role even more vital than Anvil-master. All the anvils in the world, couldn't produce anything with ore to smelt, and without the patrols, there’d be no mining.

The tunnels beyond the Stronghold proper were filled with dangers, wild and otherwise. There was always the risk of the malicious races of the under dark coming for land and riches, as well as the native denizens, including the dreaded Hook Horrors! Stroud's job was to discover these threats and neutralize them.

Stroud would pour over tunnel maps created by the mining teams as they dug, and determine which areas were most hospitable to the various creatures that would cause problems. He could tell you that areas rich in this element would attract creatures of that type, or what sorts of things might be found in which tunnels based on tunnel shape and size and proximity to hot springs, and so on. He was a naturalist of the subterranean realm.

All Dwarves of Eastwald were required to serve in the tunnel patrols, and Belwar was no exception when he came of age. Although Stroud hated to see his son in harm's way, he knew it would do more harm to shelter him from it.

Through it all, Belwar continued his studies in metallurgy, and became most infatuated with the making of weapons – chief among those weapons was the famed Dwarven Greataxe. There came a day that he forged a perfect Greataxe, that he even impressed himself. This axe was too good to go to the stronghold armory, he decided, and put it aside.

After many years of exceptional service from father and son, Stroud was elevated by the Council of Eastwold to Patrol Chief, and awarded command of the entire military force of Eastwold. Belwar took over Stroud’s duties as patrol tactician and Anvil-master. Belwar gifted the Greataxe he’d made to his father.

Unbeknownst to the Fire-Forges, the vote to elevate Stroud was not unanimous. The position had been held by a Stonehammer for over 300 years, and it was expected that council member Garran Stonhammer’s son Bardek would ascend. However, Council Elder Farnor endorsed Stroud, and ten of the remaining eleven followed suit. Garran however, said “nay”.

Garran argued that his family had honorably held the position and never let the Stronghold down, but his objection went unheard. The Council felt a change was necessary, and Bardek would continue on, but only as Stroud’s lieutenant.

Stricken with jealousy, Garran instructed his son watch Stroud intently, and search for any opportunity to call Stroud’s ability into question, and dishonor him in the Council’s eyes. Stroud saw through their plan, and continued to perform as he always had. Not interested in the games of the petty Stonehammers, Stroud let them play at their game, but kept a detailed log of everything Bardek would do or say.

Bardek’s efforts yielded nothing; Stroud adhered strictly to protocols, and made good decisions. Bardek realized he was looking for flaws where none existed. This was unacceptable to Garran, who continued to push his son to find a reason to call Stroud into question. Garran made it clear that he would accept no failure.

Desperate to please his father, Bardek turned to Urguth. Urguth was an uncaring, deceitful, ruthless sort, who thought nothing of slitting throats for profit – facts that were well known, but nothing ever lead back to him. Evil though he was, he was careful. If anyone could remove the problem of the Fire-Forges, it was Urguth. Bardek met with Urguth briefly, gold changed hands and the two parted ways.

Time went on, and Bardek continued his games, even though he knew it would be fruitless. Meanwhile Urguth set his plans into motion. What he had planned, only he knew.

Belwar and Stroud were out in a patrol one day, and discovered evidence of Hook Horror activity. Belwar was taken by surprise - This was not the kind of habitat the Hook Horrors favored. ...or so he'd thought. Perhaps there was a lesson he hadn't learned properly, or something Belwar didn't know about the area the creatures found inviting. Either way, their being there undetected was a failure on Belwar's part.

It was obvious that the creatures had to be dealt with, they could not be allowed to live this close to the stronghold. The patrol split in two, Stroud lead one half, Belwar the other. Belwar’s team circled the area to come from another direction. As they approached, there was a sudden clamor from Stroud’s team’s direction.

Having lost the benefit of surprise, Belwar was left with no choice but to charge in. As Belwar’s team battled, he realized something was wrong. His father’s team had not joined. He fought off thoughts of what might have happened, and focused on the enemies. The Hook Horrors were defeated.

Belwar rushed to his father’s location, only to find the tunnel floor had given way to the vast caverns below. Belwar know the caverns, and he knew that a fall from that height was deadly. Belwar sent the remaining team members back to Eastwold to report and get more patrolmen to come back and retrieve the bodies - Belwar headed down to the caverns below to find them.

Some hours later, Belwar found the rubble from the floor above. He found the bodies of his father and the patrol members. Stroud had landed on a stalagmite that pierced his back and protruded from his chest. Belwar removed his father from this stone spike, knelt beside it and said a silent prayer to Moradin for the souls of the deceased. He then began removing the bodies from the rubble, and collecting all their personal items.

He noticed his father’s notebook, and put it into his bag. It would contain many pearls of wisdom that ought not to be lost. However, he could not find his father’s Greataxe. Belwar figured his father must have dropped it before falling, and it must have remained in the tunnel above.

Before long the rumbling of empty ore wagons heralded the return of his patrol. The group was coming to retrieve the bodies. It’d begun to sink in that his father was dead, and if Belwar had planned the attack better, it may not have happened. He also berated himself for not knowing the tunnel floor was weak. It was Belwar’s job to know that sort of thing. Had he done his job, the team would not have gone that route.

The bodies were brought back to Eastwold to be prepared for burial. Belwar assisted the mortician Angorge with the preparation of Stroud's corpse. As they prepared Stroud for his burial, the mortician lingered over the wound the spike had created. It was an odd shaped wound for a round stone spike. Upon inspection, Belwar concurred. in fact, it looked more like the wound left by a thin, narrow blade. That notion was of course, absurd. Dwarves almost never wielded such a blade, and none on the patrols had.

Belwar decided that he probably just didn't notice the unusual shape of the stalagmite - obviously he'd been a bit distracted. It was definitely a strange shape for a stalagmite, but it didn't seem important. Belwar decided that rubble from above had hit the spike first and broken it, leaving it an unnatural shape.

Stroud and the other fallen patrolmen got their proper burials, and life went on. Belwar continued in his role; Bardek was promoted to Patrol Chief as Garran had wanted to begin with. Belwar’s self-doubt began to get worse. He faltered on almost every decision, and Bardek took note. Things began to go wrong on frequent patrols, and Bardek attributed all of them to Belwar’s decisions. Belwar was convinced he was incapable of performing this job. Bardek suggested that he never was, and he only succeeded before because Stroud was there to cover for his son. This thought shamed Belwar, and his depression worsened, and self-confidence waned further.

Bardek told the council that Belwar needed to be removed from his post. The council did not remove Belwar from his position, but granted him a leave of absence. He was to take as much time as he needed to morn and pull himself together. Belwar agreed.

Belwar spent several days mourning before getting tired of feeling sorry for himself. He began going over his notes and studying the tunnel maps. Then he remembered Stroud’s journal. Surely there’d be more valuable information he could get from studying that. He began reading through Stroud’s field notes, and noticed entries regarding Bardek and his behavior. Stroud explained that he knew Bardek and Garran were out for his removal.

One entry caught his eye. The patrol was exploring a new tunnel, and had come across evidence of a Drow body from centuries before, apparently wounded by something in the caverns, and left for dead. The company took the dead Drow's chain shirt to be melted down, and Bardek took the corpse's weapon. A rapier - A narrow, thin blade.

Reading Stroud’s thoughts about Bardek and Garran, pieces began to fall into place for Belwar. He realized that Bardek was there every time something failed for Belwar. Stroud wasn't covering for Belwar. Belwar’s strategies were failing now, because Bardek was making them fail. Immediately Belwar’s mind went back to the stab wound on his father’s chest. Belwar became enraged.

Belwar left his quarters in search of Bardek, whom he found in the tavern, joking and otherwise enjoying himself with friends. Bardek’s levity further enraged the angry tactician. He loudly and brazenly accused Bardek of the crimes Belwar suspected of him. Bardek laughed loudly, calling Belwar’s mental state into question. By this point, Belwar was sure that Bardek had been spreading all kinds of rumors discrediting Belwar and his mental state to anyone who would listen. Much of the crowd of onlookers laughed with Bardek. Others looked on with pity in their eyes. Belwar left angrier than before.

Late that night, Belwar had an unexpected visitor. Urguth came to Belwar’s domicile. Belwar had known the man by reputation alone, but had no idea why he was there. Urguth explained that he had a story to tell Belwar. Belwar invited him in. Urguth explained that he’d come to atone for his deeds. He explained that he’d been tricked by Bardek into believing that Stroud was working to undermine the council and assassinate the elders. Bardek convinced him to strike preemptively, and paid him with money that he said came from the Elders themselves.

Furious, Belwar reached for his axe, but Urguth pleaded for his life. He explained that he would do everything he could to bring honor back to the Fire-Forge name and avenge Stroud’s death. He also pointed out that if Belwar killed him, he’d be killing the only eye witness of what really happened. As a token of good faith, Urguth told Belwar that the floor of the tunnel that had fallen out from beneath Stroud’s group was compromised by Bardek, and if Belwar brought this accusation to the council, they would investigate. They would have a cleric find the truth from Bardek.

Belwar was nervous with excitement and anxiety about what he’d learned. He was unable to sleep that night. Tired of tossing and turning, he got out of bed. He noticed a note that had been slid under his door. The note was from Urguth, and it said to go to the tunnel where the ground had fallen at a certain time. Being so restless, Belwar decided to go early and wait for Urguth there, even though it was several hours before the note said to be there.

As Belwar approached, he heard voices talking. He got closer, and realized one voice was Urguth, and the other was Bardek. Bardek was complaining to Urguth that his job was to kill both Belwar and Stroud, but he’d failed. Urguth then told Bardek to calm down, and it would be taken care of when Belwar arrived. Belwar had the upper hand though. The two were talking loudly and not paying attention to their surroundings. He’d have no problem getting close enough to strike.

With one powerful swing, Belwar cleaved Bardek’s head from his shoulders. He then turned to face Urguth. To Belwar’s surprise, Urguth was not alarmed – In fact, he was wickedly grinning ear to ear. Belwar asked what was so funny. Urguth explained that he’d just whiteness Belwar murdering the Patrol Chief, and would be bound by honor to report it to the council. He’d tell the council that Bardek had told him that he feared for his life after Belwar’s outburst at the Tavern, and that Belwar had threatened to dispose of him, just like he’d arranged to get rid of his own father.

Tired of the talk, Belwar snarled and attacked. Urguth stood laughing as Belwar’s axe slid harmlessly through Urguth’s visage. Urguth’s maniacal laughter faded as his image flickered away. Belwar was left standing alone over the decapitated body of Bardek. He knew he had to reach the council before Urguth did.

Coming through the last tunnel before the Stronghold, he was stopped by Angorge, the Mortician who had examined Stroud’s body. Angorge explained that the council had already talked with Urguth, and were launching an investigation. He also explained that he was part of a group who had suspected corruption in the council, even back before Stroud had been promoted.

The group had been working on gaining enough information to prove their suspicions and were working with Elder Farnor. Belwar told Angorge of Stroud's journal, told him to retrieve it from Belwar's domicile. Angorge thanked Belwar, said that it might be the piece of evidence they sorely needed. He told Belwar that it would be best of he left the Eastwold for some time, and travel to a nearby Keep. Angorge feels certain that the group would be able to sort everything out, but it would take tome and finesse. When the time was right, he would send word to Belwar that it was safe to return.

Offline Griznuq

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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2013, 11:02:12 PM »
Sat down to re-read this, ended up appalled by the writing of it... Set out to edit, ended up re-writing a fair bit of it.