A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

28 January 2014

[Tall Tale Tuesday] The Chronicles of Azarr, Part I

I've got to get back into the habit of some true creative writing. Law school--all those many years ago--put a major hurt on my creativity. Each year of practicing The Law bleeds me just a little bit more. It's what I want to do and what I really enjoy, but I can feel my skills starting to atrophy and vanish with disuse. For personal reasons I've had to take the last couple years off from the self-induced Hell of NaNoWriMo. That has left me a little bit more out of practice. So, I've decided that I'm going to subject you all to a bit of it, now and then. Just a bit. A couple of paragraphs; a page, maybe. I have an outlet here, after all. If I'm going to blog, I may as well do a bit of creative writing at the same time, from time to time.

If you want, feel free to leave some constructive criticism; all I ask: if you do, be honest.

Please note, however, that my dear friend, Azarr, speaks in a rough patois, a mix of Dwarven and Common. I already know that it can be hard to read; my biggest concern is that it be somewhat consistent. Also, I've included the Common translations immediately following the first use of the Dwarven word (and the first word only), bracketed as shown here: {example}. (Any suggestions on how to show the translations, without becoming unwieldy, would be welcome. This was my best solution.)

And now, without further ado:

Being the Chronicles and Journals of Azarr Stonetower
by his own hand

Lousy barkeep. All I did was ask him one simple question and he goes and tries to gut me. Well, we showed him and his lackeys. Put him right to sleep, I did. O'course, sometimes I don't know me own strength. Might o' cracked his skell as far's I know.

But I’m gettin’ ahead o’ meself. I should start from the beginning.

I’m not sure how long ago it was; all the time in the Dunolor {Everdark} is somewhat hazy. I'd been in exile from me clan for two seasons when the slavers grabbed me and dragged me off. I'd just about given up all hope o' ever seein’ a blue sky again--I have no problem with rock and tunnels; I just happen to prefer the open. The group marchin’ us along, they were attacked. Me chain-mates and me took our chance and ran, led by the olv. {elf} Bein’ at the end of the chain, I had to struggle to keep up. The slavers, y’know, had me there on purpose: they thought havin’ a dwar at the end o’ the line would keep the others from runnin’ as fast. I could run just as fast as the others. That wasn't me problem; I just couldn’t see where we was goin’. So I just ran. That is, ‘til I slammed me face into the abat {arse} in front of me; danged hurm gundlin!. {human bard}

I had to peer around the hurm chained in front of me to see what had stopped the olv’s progress. It was a large, swirlin’ mass o’ colors, he saw; you could tell right off it was magical. Treebrother--chained right behind the olv--said it was a portal o' some kind--didnae matter t'me, 'cuz anywhere’s better than here, I thought. We must've all had the same idea, because we moved toward the portal almost as one. We hadn’t taken three steps, o’course, when we were surrounded by hurm with bows drawn. These weren't the slavers, though. These hurm were all heavily armored and much more disciplined.

They hauled us off, back to their abbey, and threw us into another cell. They called it the "Abbey of the Sword." Well, a sword’s not a nyr {axe} but any church that reveres a good weapon isnae too bad in me mind. Besides, I saw a couple o’ horm {clerics} carryin’ axes; granted, they weren't none of ‘em carrying’ a proper kuld {greataxe}, but they were still nyr, nonetheless.

I’m not exactly sure what all happened at the Abbey, aside from too much talkin’ and not enough arglary {butchery} for me taste. The olv and Treebrother did a lot of quiet talking with the horm. Essentially, we were spared spies’ deaths only because we agreed to do some work for the horm. They still kept us under guard and obviously didnae trust us. They let us outfit ourselves with gear from their storehouses and armory, ours havin’ been lost to the slavers. They didnae have a decent kuld, though, and I had to settle for a hurm nyr.

I did find that there were other dwar at the Abbey, crafting weapons and armor for the horm, an’ they agreed to make me some armor. I only talked with ‘em for a short while; they were uppity dwar, bein’ used to hurm ways and turnin’ their noses up at me roughness. As if it were me own fault that me people were the way they are. I didnae have time to wait for them to finish up the armor, though, 'fore the horm had us ready to leave.

The horm wanted us to travel to this village they called Ana'us, and told us to look around for “anything strange,” they said, an’ didnae give us much choice in the matter. We had just left the Abbey’s gate, when one o’ the horm came runnin’ out to stop us. He was carryin’ a kuld of all things--as he came closer, I could tell it wasn’t just any kuld . . . it was me very own kuld, Arak! Arak was certainly a welcome sight; like part of me arm, she is, and to have her back, safe from the slavers--well, it makes workin' for the hurm almost painless. He said one o' the horm had found Arak in the hands of a slaver; took it from the slaver's corpse, he did, and knew it for dwar make. Somehow, when he saw me, he knew it was me own and sent his man to return it t'me 'fore we'd gone too far.

The trip to Ana'us was uneventful; I spent most of it sharpenin' Arak. Ridin' the Tel-cursed frulbraut {horse}, though, wasn't much fun at all. Me abat may never be the same again. Barr, the gundlin, just laughed when I told him that; told me I was sittin' on me wrong parts, then. He tried to tell me that it wasn't anythin' that a pint or two o' auraun {ale} wouldn't mend. Normally I wouldn't disagree, but I doubt this town's local brew will be anythin' more'n flavored water.

The smell in the tavern did nothin' to change me mind, either. "The Noble Troll," indeed! More like the Stinkin' Rotten Troll Corpse. Why a hurm would name his tavern after an arauach {troll}, I will never understand. I have to admit I was wrong about one thing: the auraun didnae taste like colored water. It tasted like abataun {urine} from an arauach instead. I said as much to Barr; mayhap I said it too loud, for it was shortly afterwards that the lousy hurm barkeep tried to empty me guts on the floor.

Angry hurm came from everywhere, it seemed. Mayhap it was me arauach abataun comment; more likely it was me question about the town that set the hurm to frenzy. Whatever it was, ten of 'em came from all over, swingin' their fists, clubs, whatever they had to hand.

We managed to overwhelm the hurm in short order; they didnae seem t'be more'n simple thugs. But then, Points--that's what I call the olv 'cuz it makes him mad--Points said he heard more o' them comin' down the stairs. Guess them things on his head ain't just pointy--they work pretty well too. Although truth be told he's pretty scruffy-lookin' for a pointy-ear olv. Most olv are a bit too rrinklankhun {prissy} for me own tastes. Not Points, though. Not in the least.

Anyways, easiest way t'stop them hurm from comin' down the stairs? Puttin' one o' them big tables in front of it--that'll give us some cover, too. Good plan, but I hadn't figgered on all the spilt auraun and torlaun {blood} still on the tabletop. Me hands slipped right off of it. Coulda sprained somethin' too, with as much back as I put into it . . . I'll feel that in the mornin', no doubt. I didnae have much time to moan about it, though, 'cuz now I could hear 'em on the stairs meself.

**--To be continued--**

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