Ortho of the Mountain Clan Dox

As I begin my adventuring life, I think back to the night when it all began for me. I remember my life as a young dwarf in the mountain fortress of Kharas. My father was Para, Captain of the Hammers, the finest regiment of Dwarven warriors I have ever known. I grew up feeling safe and secure, watching my father run the men through formations and drills. I was still pretty young then, barely able to lift a battleaxe, let alone understand why they trained so hard. The realizations of it all came crashing in fairly quickly. First it was rumors, then whispered news of doom, then panic itself. An army was marching on the fortress. An army created by a dark wizard, a necromancer by the name of Thayunas. His army consisted of thousands of undead warriors. He would slaughter whole villages, only to cast his twisted magic to raise them into something unholy. Why he attacked our fortress I might never know.

Our fortress consisted of three mighty walls, carved out of the mountain itself. Three tall spires at the junction point of the walls gave us a clear view of the valley. Archer slits and parapits lined the top of our walls. The only entrance to our fortress was a gate wrought of mithril. Our forces that night numbered in the thousands, with hundreds of other humans from surrounding villages in support and protection. I felt we were pretty safe, until I saw what laid before us.

The wizard’s army numbered in the tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands. I could not tell how many there truly were as his army seemed to span the horizon. The mere sight of this ghastly army of undead, shuffling and lumbering ever forward, the sounds of mournful wails and creeking bones, and the stench of rotting decay, would forever haunt my memories. As a child, I was ushered away into the mountain caverns, with my other siblings and mother. We sat in the caves for what seemed like an eternity as we waited for news of what was happening. No news would come, but the sounds of battle were never mistakable. I heard the sounds of clashing metal, of painful screams, and tearful wailings. The battle raged for what seemed like hours.

I could not take it anymore. I could not sit and not see if my father was alright. I could not simply hide away and do nothing to help. I got up and ran to the outside, my mother screaming for me to return. I ignored her as I had to see what was happening. Where was my father? When I reached the entrance to mountain caves, I saw only a handful of dwarven warriors at the base of the stairs, fending off what seemed like an impossible tide of bodies. My father was one of the handful of warriors hacking and slashing away. My heart lept for joy when I saw him still alive, and then plummeted to my feet when I saw him grabbed and pulled away into the mass of undead.

I screamed out for him, “FATHER!”

I picked up a small handaxe another warrior had dropped and ran down the stairs with all the speed my feet would move. But I was too slow, for when I reached the base of the stairway, the other soldiers had also fallen.

To hell with it all I thought, as I jumped out, embedding my axe into the skull of the closest undead I could reach. The undead warrior fell to the ground, and I was quickly engulfed. I could feel the darkness closing in around me. I could not move, I could not breath, and I could not see my father.

Please don’t let the darkness consume me I prayed.

Please don’t let me turn into one of them I wished.

Please let my father be alright.

The darkness closed in.

Suddenly, light echoed into the cavern. It started out like a tiny whisper of light piercing the black. Then it burst forth like the morning sun. It was so bright that even with my eyes closed, the light would penetrate me. I felt joy and warmth all over. I felt hope flow in me and the feeling of peace throughout. I felt life.

But just as suddenly, the light was gone. It took me several seconds to dare to open my eyes, but when I did, I saw that I was all alone. The cavern floor was covered in ash and dust. The bodies of the fallen dwarves were strewn about. My father laid nearby, motionless. I ran to him and knelt beside him. Tears welling up in my eyes, pain filling my heart. I stood up and ran to the outside. The same scene was before me in the inner courtyard, all the way to the walls. I knew not what had happened but I felt a mixture of joy and grief. It was over, and yet the loss of so many pained me to my very soul.

A sound echoed to me, awakening me from my grief. It was the sound of a neighing horse outside our walls. I ran to the top of a nearby parapit and looked out over the battlefield. Close to our walls was a dark robed wizard with flowing pure white hair and deathly pale skin. His eyes glowed with a fiery red intensity. His flowing robes were as dark as night, with crusted stains of dried blood on the hems of his robes. He rode atop a powerful looking black stallion, with eyes like its master. Black metal barding, nails protruding from its hooves.

When I looked up from this monster, my attention was grabbed by a lone figure not far away. He was a ray of sunshine that cut through the night. He rode atop a grey mare, no barding, no straps, just a companion that the horse would allow. He was radiant and beautiful, in glittering armor and a flowing grey cloak. In one hand he bore a sword, the other the symbol of Pelor. The symbol shone like a beacon, its power radiating pure holy energy.

“Pelor will not stand for this injustice of your victims Thayunas.” His voice boomed out.

With speech the sound of gutteral hisses, the dark robed wizard replied, “This is not over Cleric. My power is limitless. When my work is done, all the world will see is night.” The wizard spoke out in a tongue unknown to me. The darkness surrounded him, it pulled in around him in swirling mists. Furious winds blew, and chunks or debris scattered about him. The Cleric rode to him in haste. All the darkness retreated around him as he ventured after the wizard. But before the Cleric could reach him, the dark wizard was gone. Nothing but shadows remained.

I joined the church of Pelor shortly after that night. I found courage and I found my calling. After 18 years of study, meditation, and prayer, I adventure out into the world again to fight the darkness like the Cleric did. To find Thayunas and leave my axe in his skull to avenge my father, and to let Pelor’s light shine.

Ortho of the Mountain Clan Dox

The Dragonborn Prophecy draginbane