Oaths define us
Oaths, oaths define us, they give our society its structure and its strength. A dwarven oath is rock. It is the keystone in the foundation of our lives. Never make an oath in jest. Never in frivolity. The word of liege dwarf to lord, the word of lord to prince, the word of prince to king and the duty of king to kingdom. Oaths allow us to enforce our laws, to defend our people and to resist all those that would shatter the dwarven kingdoms into so much dust.
I was younger once. The only son of a great forge master, Æther Forgekin. My father’s hand shaped armour and weapons that would be used by the greatest of our kind, and it was my great honour to be trained at his forge. The future appeared carved in granite or so it seemed. I would learn the art of the hearthstone, the bellows and the forge at my father’s side and eventually would earn the name master smith. But war makes all things uncertain. War shatters the foundation stones of our society and makes all dwarves into its pawns.
Not long after my thirtieth birthday, still a young dwarf about the forge, not fit to wield the hammer to more than a chisel head or lynch pin the Forgekin’s were commissioned to a great work. There would be a new war, a war for the glory of dwarf kind. Our great people would dislodge the Orc who had driven us from our once mighty city, and my father and his forgebrothers would shape new weapons for our prince’s honour guard. It would be our blades carried to the fore of the new war against the orc.
With such a work the senior Forgekin, my Father, His Brother, Uncle and three of his cousins who worked our forge spent long nights in planning. For the forging or a great weapon takes planning and forethought. After weeks of planning I was sent with the other three apprentices my father’s cousin’s sons, to commission a great haul of iron from FerrakDeep a nearby dwarven mine. Ferrakdeep is a mine with ores of great purity from which the finest master crafted steel weapons could be forged but more than two days journey from our forge closer to the dwarven stronghold of Dalarrak. To this day I do not know if the trip was the product of luck or the touch of the Stoneborn.
While we were gone an Orcish warparty of great number fell upon my father’s forge. Though they fought with stout hearts and fists of stone the orc’s were able to break into the forgehome and slaughter all the craftdwarves within. On our return to the forgehome a great coldness welled within each dwarf. We wept, tears hot as magma at the sight of our fathers and kin slain about the forge as our hearts hardened with a cold crystallising rage.
It was while we stood stunned, lifeless as granite statues that the orc’s attacked again. They had waited in little used passageway’s while we had marched home oblivious to the danger and now roared forth to send us back to the earth with our kin.
Four unarmed dwarves against an orcish warparty already sated on the blood of our brethren, what hope was there for us. But we cast about the forge and took up hammer and pick from the tools scattered around and wished each other the courage of our fathers. We clashed with the first of their number in the doorway of the forgehome. Holding back their rampant charge with nothing but our stubborn will and cold rage.
It was now that the stoneborn reached down and changed my life forever. Their hand was clear as a dwarven scouting party, armed and armoured charged from the distant throughway from Dalarrak. They caught the orcish party in the flank as they strung out to attack us. The orcish party which had broken my father’s forge and home were in turn broken on the axes of these dwarven warriors.
As the final orcs broke to flee to the dubious safety of the dark passageways and escape into the deeper darkness there I was sure of my path. I dropped forge, tong and apron. I would use them in the future but only as a passing interest. My feet turned a new path as earth sometimes shifts and quakes into a new form so my life opened up with a new direction. I would fight the Orc. The Goblin. These monstrous creatures which infested our world. I would avenge my kin before the stoneborn having been given this chance at life.
I knelt before the leader of the scouting party, one Dragor Stoneheart. I took oath then that I would be his liegeman. His cause my cause, my hammer his hammer, my axe his axe. In return my cause would be his and together we would break the orcish hordes that threatened Dalarrak. Taking a bitter cold revenge upon them and all their allies for this day of slaughter in the mountains.