Forged in Battle
Legend of The Order of the Ravens
By: Timothy J. Snyder
Chapter 1 “Careful what you wish for,”
The creature radiated fear in palpable waves that crashed against Grog’s mind, and racked his body with chills. The bodies of fallen warriors lay all about Grog’s feet leaving him alone to face what stood in front of him. Bravely Grog gripped his sword tighter, and awaited the strike from the creature. Slowly the creature circled Grog making no move to attack. A cold drop of sweat slowly slid down Grog’s spine, adding an even chillier feel to air.
“Am I soon to join the bodies on the ground?” thought Grog never taking his eyes off the creature.
Suddenly the creature lunged at Grog striking out with its claws. Grog tried to block the blow, but the shear force of it shook his sword all the way to his shoulders. Caught off guard by the strength of the blow Grog stumbled back, and tripped over a body falling on his backside. The creature bared down for the killing blow, and all Grog could do was throw his arm up in a vain attempt to block, but he knew this was to be the end. Just as the creature’s killing stroke fell Grog jerked awake from his nightmare jolted by the sudden peel of thunder.
“By Gregorianis why do I seem plagued by this nightmare more and more often of late?” Grog moaned as he sat up in his bed.
“What a way to start the day let alone my twenty-third year of life.” Grog stood and stretched working the kinks out of his muscled body. Grog stood an easy six foot six inches, and was muscle built on top of muscle. He had to weigh close to three hundred pounds. Grog was a strikingly handsome man, with piercing ice blue eyes. He had shoulder length brownish blonde hair, which he pulled back in to a ponytail from the sides, and let the back hang loose.
Grog dressed and looked about his intricately constructed, but comfortable room, and his eyes settled on the only thing his father had left him twenty years ago when Slanis left never to be seen again. The full plate armor gleamed dully back at Grog, as the fires flame danced on its blue black surface. Grog’s mind drifted back to his last memory of Slanis, and for the life of him couldn’t even call his father’s face to mind. Twenty long years had faded Slanis’ face completely from Grog’s memory.
Grog and his mother Illia had shared the house for all of Grog’s life. They lived in an almost off the beaten track outpost that had a blacksmith shop, and a general store. Since Grog could remember he had always been the muscle for both Tim Ironflec the blacksmith, and for Joe Hatter who ran the store. Grog hadn’t lived a hard life, but it was far from an exciting life, and Grog wished many times that there was more to his life than his daily routine. His referred to uncles had been with Grog since before he could remember, and both had told him many times to be careful for what he wished.
From the time he could work Hatter, and Ironflec taught Grog as much as they knew about their trades. Grog had become a very talented blacksmith, and could run Hatter’s inventory from top to bottom. Hatter even taught Grog his side hobby of herboligy. Hatter was extremely talented at creating magical potions, and had many untested such items stocked in his lab. Ironflec and Hatter had become sera gate father figures for Grog, and along with the skills they taught him, they also taught him to have the utmost faith in their God Gregorianis.
Illia had taught Grog everything she new about the forest, and the two of them spent many hours in the afternoons roaming the ample forest that surrounded their so called village. Through this training Grog had become a seasoned hunter, tracker, and could completely disappear in the forest.
Grog opened his door, and stepped into the dining room. He was greeted by the sight of a dwarf sitting at the table with his mother. It was not uncustomary for Grog to see dwarfs, but never on a non-church day. The dwarf was dressed in standard traveler dress, and nothing about him seemed strange, except being in Grog’s dinning area. As Grog stepped the rest of the way in to the dining room, the dwarf rose from his seat to look at grog. The first thing Grog noticed was that the he was extremely tall for a dwarf, standing five feet tall. The dwarf had a silver goatee, and mustache that hung to his belt, and was braided in three strands. He didn’t have the normal thick beards that dwarves are known for, since the left side of his face from below his eye to his jaw line looked like it had been ravaged by the claws of some beast. His hair, or rather what he had of it since the very top of his head was bald, hung braided down his back. The dwarf had shinny bright brown eyes that steadily met Grog’s gaze.
“Greetings master dwarf,” said Grog in flawless dwarfish.
Taken back just a little by Grog’s statement Shelg held out his hand to Grog, and replied “Greetings once again Grog. It’s hard to believe it’s been twenty-three years since me last laid eyes on ye lad.”
“Pardon me master dwarf, but I don’t recall having ever met you,” Grog said as he shook Shelg’s offered hand in a vice like grip, and shook it.
“Aye lad like I be sayin’, it’s been twenty-three years. I don’t be thinkin’ ye be remembering me,” chuckled Shelg, switching to the common language as he shook Grog’s hand in an almost equal strength. “On that note me lad, I be thinkin’ I need to be tellin’ ye happy birthday. I also be needin’ to give ye a present.”
“Happy birthday Grog,” said Illia, and she rose from the table to give Grog a kiss, and hug. “Sit with Shelg son, and I will get breakfast for both of you.” With that Illia went off in to the kitchen leaving Grog with the dwarf.
“What do you mean twenty three years Master dwarf? Wait if you were here for my birth, then you knew my father? If you knew my father then do you know where he disappeared to?” stammered Grog.
“Slow down lad. First ye need to be stoppin’ with that master dwarf shite lad. ” said the dwarf, “Me name be Shelg Bugbear. There also be much answered today lad, if ye be holdin’ ye tongue!”
“Yes sir, I understand.” Said Grog, as he took a seat at the table, and calmly waited for Shelg to join him. Inside his head Grog had so many questions raging, but he knew the answers would come in time. Grog had waited twenty years to find any one else who knew his father and what would be a few minutes more. Maybe he would finally get some of the closure he had waited so long for. Just maybe this would be the day where the veil of mystery would be pulled back, and the light of discovery would reveal what or who his father had been.
Shelg turned towards the table, and stepped over to a pile of gear, and grabbed a long item covered in leather. He returned to the table, and laid the item in front of Grog. With surprisingly trembling fingers Grog reached out, and pulled the item closer to him.
“What ye be waitin’ for lad?” asked Shelg as he took a seat at the table. “Ye father told me to be bring that to ye lad on ye twenty third birthday.”
Grog paused for a moment before he removed the leather covering what was one of the most was intricately carved hilts of a sword Grog had ever seen. The bastard sword had a blue black grip that matched the color of the armor in Grog’s room. The pommel was inlaid with a beautiful ruby that shone blood red. The guard was a carved raven with the wings out stretched to protect hands on the hilt. The scabbard was also of the same blue black color, and was emblazoned with ravens in flight up and down it. Grog just stared at the sword, not knowing what to think or do. Other then the swords he had learned to make, he had never handled one, let alone been allowed to learn how to use it. The bastard sword was just another useless item from a long gone father, and Grog was becoming more and more reluctant to even touch it.
Grog’s thoughts were interrupted as the door to his home opened, and in walked Tim Ironflec, and Joe Hatter. At first glance the two men looked as if they could pass for brothers. Tim Ironflec stood almost six feet tall, with blue eyes, and almost plain facial looks. Tim was very well muscled from years of blacksmith work. He had shoulder length brown hair tied back from the sides in a pony tail. He had a goatee that was about a hands length that was braided neatly. Jon Hatter was about two inches taller then Tim, but had the same blue eyes, hair style, except his was blond, and was just a little more handsome then Tim. Joe was surprising built the same as Tim, even though he hadn’t had the years of blacksmithing to tone him. Joe’s build seemed to be an almost natural physique, and he carried his self with the bearing of a man with a much nobler birth.
“Greetings Grog,” said Tim coming into the room, and grabbing Grog in a massive bear hug.
Joe looked at Shelg and his jaw almost hit the floor. “When did you get here?” He then clasped Shelg in a brotherly hug.
“Just arrived here few minutes before,” replied Shelg. “Brought the lad’s gift from him father, liked I promised he I would.”
Tim had released Grog from his hug, and as Joe grabbed Grog in a bear hug of his own, walked over to Shelg. The two men clasped hands in a very familiar and warm hand shake, as of long time friends meeting for the first time in ages.
“Wait you guys all know each other?” asked Grog with a look of confusion on his face.
“Aye lad I be tellin’ ye ‘afore that it be over twenty three years since I been here.” explained Shelg as he sat back down at the table.
Before Grog could even fathom asking anything else Illia returned from the kitchen bearing plates of food for everyone.