The World of Zarlona

Heroes, Hubris and Hammers

Our kind is the oldest living species, shaped from the very earth itself. Those that the lesser races call gods, are long gone. It was during the legendary war of the gods that they fell, and the world followed. With it the numerous noble Dwarven kingdoms, reduced to a mere handful. The traitorous elves’ forests, burnt to cinders. The ferocious giant’s population failed to reach double digits, such tragedies were everywhere. In that war there were no winners, only survivors. If any gods still live, they no longer meddle in mortal affairs. Knowledge of the gods, is perhaps why we don’t revere them. For reverence and guidance, we look to the heroes of legend, such as the Miner Oryx.

Oryx had no skill besides that of the pickaxe, but with over two centuries of experience with that single tool he could match anyone. Mining is a Dwarves most dangerous job, but Oryx is the best. His tremendous skill with a pickaxe limits not to just mining. On every Lith, he would go to the underground spring and use his pick to catch the biggest carp he could find. Oryx could and would use his pickaxe for anything. When the war started his weapon of choice? Well that is obvious.

During the war, the god Mammon, held Oryx’s hold on the brink of destruction. The foul god has the head of an elephant and twice the size, the mane and fur of a lion, the claws and ferocity of a wolverine, and the tail and venom of a scorpion. The hold had only one last gambit to play, to lure Mammon into it and ambush him. Oryx was part of the line and after a ferocious battle using his pick to defend and attack fighting for several minutes it ended. The plan succeeded put with casualties beyond measure the hold damaged almost beyond repair. Of those who fought five survived, one would later die from the gaping hole left in his side by the Mammon’s tusk, another from poison, the next bones crushed to later die from internal bleeding, the fourth would go insane from the encounter, only to be killed by the last Oryx.

Mammon survived countless traps, a cave in, explosives, fire, axes, swords, crossbows, even the legendary magic spear Qin, only to be felled by an ordinary pickaxe. After Mammon’s defeat came winter and the ending of the war for this hold. Oryx pickaxe broken, he forged a new one from one of Mammon’s tusks, his mane and fur became socks for the hold, his bones, claws, meat every part was used. The skull hung in their dining hall. Oryx was crowned king with an ivory crown, and the hold survived many winters and would prosper, because of Mammon’s corpse. It was said that Oryx would even forgive the foul god, after its death. That, some say, brought his downfall. Oryx was found dead! His body impaled by the last tusk on Mammon’s skull.. The skull split in two by an ivory pickaxe. The lesson? An elephant and Dwarf never forget a grudge.

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While talking, Welden and I learned of the lost kingdom to the North under the Silvertip Mountains. The land has been overrun by foul undead, and the necromancer’s who control them. The last large population that from which he hailed, is the stronghold of the Four Crosses. A city of unparalleled holy defenses ruled by powerful clerics. Even in this city the undead lurch to and fro, doing labor that is to dangerous for humans. It seems Four Crosses does not fall simply, because any who would attack them would be weakened and the other necromancers would defeat them. Welden was part of a paladin group that kills lesser necromancers before they become a new threat. Sarnath was one such individual. Or at least his autobiography, The Great Magus Sarnath volume VII says so. According to Welden, who had read the book, it was not even the final volume, and all necromancers seem to be narcissistic, unsocial megalomaniacs. Perhaps if they didn’t write so many books they could conquer the world.

Grim Release was forged at Four Crosses in holy bronze. It was a weapon used to kill zombies in a single strike, from a relatively safe distance. For arrows are largely ineffective accept in mass. And to engage in melee would likely get you overwhelmed by their numbers. The blade is designed to kill the undead and overly specialized for that single purpose. I believe if used against incorporeal undead it is likely it would still have some effect. Hopefully I will never get the chance.

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Through the Echo Mines we go to the dark lands. There we found a large amount of silver ore. Being a dwarf I refuse to leave it behind. My new friend the cyclops,(Thank Oryx, I speak ogre), being injured I cannot carry it out a lone. Using skill only a dwarf has, I create a temporary forge. There I was able to heat the metal, melting away all, but the silver. With a cyclops strength, the silver was turned into sheets, and a with a Dwarves skill I was able to plate my warhammer with silver. What silver remained I forged into a chain, making it easy to carry and use as currency in a pinch.

One would think a silver hammer would draw attention, but we head for the Darklands, and Dwarven steel would draw more attention. Silver is also a symbol of the holy, and the warhammer, based on the simple staff, is the symbol of fire. I bring this single torchlight into the Darklands to light my way. O’ Staff of Purifying Flames, I Name Thee “Solex the Silver Hammer.”

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My strongest weapon, Grim Release, is overly specialized against the undead and it’s magic would have no effect on a dragon. My pickaxe though powerful in a masters hands it is not my trade. To use it would only bury the dead. Solex, thou of my trade and a masterpiece in its own right. Is but a warhammer of mundane means, against the extraordinary. I bring not an army, but a fellowship of five, a mule and a head. To defeat Subignes I need a means, but few are stronger than a dragon. You fight fire with fire, and to fight a dragon, one must use a dragon. The dragon’s heart was not the only thing stolen. Perhaps, the others still exist, thou in what form I don’t know. One may be of use. It is a place to start at least………

From the journal of The Last Grudgebearer Kromleck Axethrower

Comments

Awesome Duskrabbit… awesome! Very well written… we shall continue this epic quest soon… i hope… but Johnny has left for California again and will be gone for awhile. Talk to you soon.

Heroes, Hubris and Hammers
Jonnakar

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