Journals of Alhazred

Fiction based on the World of Warcraft game setting

Monday, December 26, 2005

Of Defias and Honor Betrayed Pt.1

Journal Entry

What defines a nation? Some might say it is the laws by which it governs itself. Others may look to the general prosperity of its citizens or the marvels of its architectural achievements. For myself, I believe that the underlying worth of a people can be determined by how it meets it obligations to even its weakest members.

A poignant example of this is the region of Westfall. Once considered the breadbasket of the nation, this once fertile territory learned a harsh lesson about the priorities of those to whom obligation is an inherited responsibility. Having spent selflessly the flowering youth of its sons and daughters in the dark times of the Third War, the Westfallians returned to find the land they fought so desperately for over run by brigands and the marauding depredations of its indigenous gnoll tribes.

Having received the empty regrets of the capital concerning the necessary manpower and resources needed to retake their lands, those that once wearily dreamed of laying down their swords have had to strap on their burden once more to stand with those few remaining men of honor that believed in their vows to safeguard the realm they once swore allegiance to. Ask any veteran what the true lesson is of warfare and the promises of its ruling class. Most will tell you that only in fairytales do the costs of Happily Ever After end with the defeat of the enemy…

A month after my introduction to Ethani and her party saw me laying claim to a bunk in the garrison tower of Sentinel Hill in Westfall. Marshall Dughan, having realized his attempt to draw uncomfortable attention to my occupation with The Order had not born fruit, decided that he would be rid of my presence by banishing me to the edges of the kingdom. I am sure that he no doubt looked forward with anticipation to news of my demise from the blades of the Defias that over ran the area, or possibly from the stubborn traditionalist peoples that still made it their home.

I will admit that my first week was filled with suspicion, but the harsh reality of their situation quickly helped the beleaguered guards and homesteaders to look beyond my vocations reputation and accept the unique help I would be able to provide. I must admit that my willingness to help the Westfallian’s with the most basic of tasks, such as recovering lost property or helping one Mrs.Saldean acquire the ingredients for her rightly famous Goretusk Pies, did not hurt as well. Although the hand I had in the thinning of the malfunctioning Harvest Golems, as well as the ever present gnolls, may have went a long way to opening the doors of my fellow kinsmen, I believe it was most likely the pies that won them over more than anything. Certainly the head of the People’s Militia, Gryan Stoutmantle, seemed to appreciate the change from the usual rations.

Gryan was an interesting example of the people he safeguarded. Creased and scarred from a lifetime of martial experience, he nonetheless retained a stoic and dry sense of humor that I found I appreciated along with the frankness with which he entered conversations. The most distinctive impression I had of the man was that while keenly aware of the odds against him and his men, he would not put aside the burden he had taken on for his people till his duty eventually called upon him to make the inevitable sacrifice that all true heroes makes in the end. I only hoped that when he was eventually called upon one last time to give up his life in their defense, the people of Westfall would properly honor the man, who even with the crushing knowledge that his kingdom had abandoned him, had stood as a shield against the chaos around them.

As a symbol of his growing trust in my desire to prove my worth and sincerity, Gryan told me of information he had acquired that spoke of an encampment of Defias that had recently setup an outpost in the Jangolode Mines on the western edge of Westfall. Seeing this as a perfect opportunity to prove my abilities against their greatest threat, I assured Gryan that I would deal with this outpost. After the meeting, the scout Galiaan found me preparing for the mission. He asked, that if possible, I recover any of the symbolic red bandannas the Defias always wore from the ones I managed to dispatch. This would go a long way to not only boosting the moral of the farmers, but the rest of the garrison as well he said. I agreed to do my best in this regard and set off to start making a real difference to these people.

****

Two days later I returned to the tower exhausted and battered, but bearing fifteen bloody and torn bandannas as proof that the Defias Brotherhood would have to be a bit more discrete the next time it planned on expanding its foothold.

Stoutmantle was much pleased, so it was no major feet to get him to agree to allow me to scout among the Dagger Hills. This range comprised the eastern edge of Westfall and included the abandoned town of Moonbrook and the acknowledged stronghold of the Defias leadership, the Dead Mines. Gryan also charged me with further removing any of the Brotherhood I might find in the mountains close to the mines. So after a hot meal and a night’s undisturbed rest, I made what repairs were needed to my gear and set off once again.

I found the Dagger Hills to be an interesting lesson in stealth and field craft, as the entire range was infested with sentries and small camps. Were I could, I managed to catch the bandits in unguarded moments away from their brothers or relied on the talents of my servant Voxil to even the odds when single combat was simply not an option.

Strangely, in the midst of all this, I stumbled upon the encampment of a rather peculiar dwarf named Grimbooze Thunderbrew. After speaking with the odd little brewmaster and sampling a bit of his wares, I could only come to the conclusion that he had wandered into these mountains while under the effects of rather potent stout, and had simply not recovered enough since then to make his way on to his homeland. Here it seemed was a unique opportunity to do a little something for the guards of the tower of a more personal nature and I quickly inquired about purchasing a keg of the dwarf’s best brew. Grimbooze sadly informed me that he could not meet my request, as he barely had any of his own personnel stash left. But, if I would be willing to bring him the ingredients necessary for his gods given gift, he would produce a keg of ale the likes of which would make the King of Ironforge weep gratefully in his cups.

It was with this promise that I made my way to the Saldeans farm. I was well acquainted with the Saldeans, and knew that Mr. Saldean would be willing to part with some of the recoverd hops we had found within the Harvest Golems I had helped him deal with. So, with cargo in hand it was not long before I was back at Grimbooze’s camp watching a true artist at work on a craft he loved.

The rich and tantalizing aroma of his brew promised a grand celebration when I returned to the Hill with my latest collection of Defias apparel. Using a special alchemical process perfected by dwarven brewmasters, Grimbooze was able to have a perfectly aged keg of his finest stout ready by morning. As I thanked him for his generous hospitality the previous night in sharing not only tales of his adventures but more of his personal stock, along with the accompanying headache, he agreed to seek out Gryan and company. After all, men who could truly appreciate the rightous glory that was dwarven lager were rare and precious in this world and in need of cultivating he said.

Needless to say, that evening found the garrison toasting not only the success of my mission into The Daggers, but also savoring steins of what was possibly the masterwork of one of the finest dwarfs it is still my pleasure to have met.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Tokroth said...

A pity that there is such a distinct lack of commentary on such skillful wordplay. Wonderfully archaeic, a fine attribute in creative endeavors such as yours. Perhaps it is chance that led me here, but I imagine now that I must share with you some of the long history of an old orc to pay, in kind, your kindness of sharing your works.

~Tokroth~

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such an incredible use of aliteration. I am honored to be on the same page as such an awe inspiring Warlock.

~Denali~

2:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you don't use this talent for the wealth you so richly deserve your an idiot. I would read your novel in a heartbeat and be demanding the sequal on the next.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Conundrum said...

hehe me too! write a book!!

12:28 AM  

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