I kid you not when I say this happened to me about 3 winters ago.
So, me and my buddies just finished this smuggling job out by Magefell. We were wanting to head back to Navar before winter set in. We head over to Spellhold to get supplies for the trip home. Odar, our dwarf head of security, had family there so seemed like a good idea to go. Well an opportunity came up, they were looking for some guards for a caravan going to Goldenhold via the Deeparth. Putting in a good word for us, Odar got us the job. Score! Easy coin and we can avoid the elements for a large part of the trip.
We are about a week into this trip. It’s pitch black down there. Me and Geoff being the humans can’t see for nothing down there. The Dwarves and Elves are annoyed at us wanting to have a torch going so we can at least see the blasted wagon and the others. Otherwise aside from snide comments between the Dwarves and Elves, everything is going great. Up to this point, the scariest thing we came across was a bunch of rats. We stop at one of the little pullout campsite things they have down there. It’s all going well until we hear some marching echoing down the tunnel. At first, we didn’t think much of it, we’d seen a couple Dwarf patrols on the trip. One of the Dwarf guards says something about the cadence being off for Dwarves. Then we heard it that yelpy growling of Goblin speak but its deep. Bloody Hobs.
We grab our weapons and get ready for a fight. One of the Dwarves gets a look at what we are up against. It was a platoon of probably 30-40 of those bastards. We were screwed. It was the 5 Dwarves from Spellhold, me, Finde, Odar, Makili and Geoffry. Our only hope was that the entrance to the camp area was pretty narrow so it would limit how many of them could get to us at once. The Dwarves, including Odar, form up and block the entrance with their shields. The Elf mage Finde fumbles around for his spell components on the supply wagon. Makili stows his Lute and grabs his short sword. And good ole Geoffry, he hurries to get his armor on and pulls his daggers. He might have been a second story guy, he really knew how to use them daggers.
We heard the barking of a Hob, he must have been the leader and then the sound of weapons being drawn. A bunch of Hobs came into the light cast from the fire. We tried to defend ourselves as best as we could. A few of them managed to break through the Dwarf shield wall. They swarmed on Finde, brought him down in a flurry of swords. The poor elf didn’t stand a chance against them. The rest of us put up a hell of a fight. We lost 3 of the Spellhold guards and Makili, who took a flail to the face. Those Hobs really had it in for our Elf-friends that day. In short order, the remaining caravan guards were dead. It was just me, Geoff and Odar left. I don’t know how long we were fighting, it felt like forever, but was probably a couple minutes. We managed to drop about 5 or 6 of those bastards when the Hobs just stopped dead cold. They were listening for something. What sounded like nervous barks, growls and whimpers came from the Hobs. Me and Geoff took out a couple of the Hobs while they turned from us to face something in the tunnel behind them. Then we heard it too.
Singing, bagpipes and the sounds of feet marching in lockstep. The Hobs ignored us as the leader starts to bark some more orders. Leaving the alcove, they reform their lines. Some of the Hobs are still whimpering. The sounds got louder and louder.
Odar got a look of terror on his face. He dropped his sword and shield and started backing up further into the alcove. I’ve know him for almost 10 years now, nothing scares him. Nothing. He served for 50 years in the Dwarf regiments out of Battlehold during the Orc and Undead invasions and had seen it all. Whatever this was, it was bad. Very bad and worse than the Hobs. Odar was cowering behind the wagon. Tears of terror running down his face, while muttering to himself. “No, no. They aren’t real, they are a myth.”
Then I saw them.
Maybe half a dozen of them. Some of the scariest sons of motherless gnolls I’ve ever encountered in my life.
They were shirtless, wearing only kilts, boots, and bracers, all wielding axes and hammers. They all looked like things from a nightmare. Each of them was scarier than the next. The one in the front, who I guessed was leading the group, looked like some sort of Dwarven demon. He was HUGE. A head taller than the Hobs and even Geoff! His eyes were like this dinner plate in size! They were a bright blue but wild looking and bulging out of its head, veins straining against his skin, hair red as blood that stood up from his head in a crest. His body was covered in blue tattoos and scars from head to toe. He was pure muscle, I swear his biceps were bigger than good ole Revor’s thighs. Sorry, no offense, Revor. Anyway, in his hand was a huge double headed Dwarven battle axe. The singing and the bagpipes stopped. The most terrifying roar escape the Demon’s throat and he charged the line of Hobs. Following their leader, the other dwarves slammed into the Hob lines.
The Hobs were decimated in moments. They were too terrified of the Dwarves to mount any type of defense. Those demon dwarves tore through the Hobs like they were children. Body parts were flying everywhere as they hacked their way right into the center of the Hob lines. Those that ran were cut down before they got 2 steps away. Not one of those dwarves died, I don’t think any of them got hurt. The big scary Dwarf decapitated the leader of the Hobgoblins with a lightning quick motion of that axe and its head landed at my feet. Involuntarily, I screamed. Shameful, I know, but the whole situation was the scariest thing I’d experienced in my life.
That demon dwarf looked at me and it felt like Ditis himself was staring into my soul. I knew my life was going to be over in mere seconds. It started to charge at me with his axe raised over its head when a couple of the other dwarves restrained him. I am not too proud to say I pissed myself when he came at me. He struggled to break free of the three dwarves holding him back. He was frothing at the mouth like some rabid animal. Yelling incoherently at the top of his lungs, he keeps trying to swing that huge axe at me. His eyes were bulging so far out of their sockets I was convinced they’d pop out. I have no doubt that had those other dwarves not restrained him, he would have torn me from limb from limb. One of them looked at me as he struggled to keep the demon restrained and said in common “Leave. Now. Human.” Then the signing started up again.
As quickly as they appeared, they disappeared in the inky black of the tunnel. I could hear their singing getting quieter as they moved further down the tunnel from where they came.
I go check on Odar, he’s so terrified he’s just shaking and laying there in a pool of his own urine. He’s still muttering about them being a myth. Shaking him, I keep yelling at him “Who were they?”. He finally looks at me, eyes wide as dinner plates, full of terror and says “The Hammer, they are real…”
~~Overhead in a bar in Navar.~~
For more information on the world of Cailore or watch the world get fleshed out, visit www.cailore.com.
I was working on some dwarf lore and wrote this up for a bit inspiration. Its not offical cannon yet, so that’s why I posted it here. As things become canon, it will be posted at www.cailore.com in the future.