Tale of Aghar the Dwarf. Part 1 of ?
This is a little story that I just wrote as a backstory for my Rat-catcher character in the WarHammer RPG, how many more parts there will be is completely dependent on what the GM needs. So yeah, it could be stand alone, or it could turn into a series, if a series it does become, I think it will focus primarily on the main events of this young dwarfs life.
The illustrious tale of Aghar the Dwarf
Aghar was born the first son of Firenminson, a sewer-scraper in Karak Hirn. They lived on the outskirts of the great dwarven stronghold among the other less glorious dwarves. Aghars father hadn't always been a sewer-scraper, there was a time in his long life, so he said, when he was as ballsy a soldier as could be found in all the marshaled forces of the Bandag clan. Aghar never knew the cause for his fathers fall from glory, he never asked, or maybe he did and his father never said, or maybe he did and Aghar just forgot. In any case Aghar grew up among other less fortunate dwarven children with little knowledge of the world outside the alleys an sewers of Karak Hirn.
One day when Aghar was about 22 years of age his neighbourhood was invaded by the shining and clanking forms of the Bandag clan recruitment officers. The sight of all the finely armoured warriors and muscle-bound tattooed berserkers was enough itself to send Aghar into a faint, his mind reeling with shiny new ideas. And as soon as the priest began recalling stories of the heroics and great deeds done by famous dwarven forefathers nothing could budge Aghar from his spot listening to the tales for days. Indeed it was days until someone told him he was eligible to sign up for the military and his eyes glazed over in wonder. It didn't take him long to build up the courage to approach the recruitment tents set up in the small market square, for courage and idiocy are sometimes synonyms, and in Aghars case he was filled to the brim.
As Aghar prepared to take some rudimentary reflexes and skills tests he grinned and looked around at the crowd. Off at the edge he noticed that his father stood watching, a proud look on his dirty face. Aghar grinned even wider, his short beard bristling oddly, and gripped the wooden practice mallet. What followed cannot be blamed solely on Aghar,it could be said his father never took an interest in teaching him the basics of armed combat, or also that he may have tapped into a latent berserker ability and went with what was most familiar to him. Regardless of the cause, a young dwarf flailing wildly with his fists and foaming at the mouth opposing a seasoned sergeant quickly makes himself a fool in the eyes of all present. "He has enthusiasm, and the cleanliness of our sewers shall be eternal proof of that." said the head recruitment officer.
It was a few days until the swelling in his eyes receded enough that he could make his way home, and when he arrived he found his father home, drinking heavily. For the next few weeks he got used to the presence of his drunken father in the home when he should have been out at work. To give Firenminson credit he never took out his disappointment on his son or his wife. Instead, he took down his old warhammer from its place above the small mantle and in drunken rages would sometimes pound great holes in the walls of the house until he passed out. Aghar simply adjusted to the change in environment and stayed out of the house more often, he felt some sense of guilt that his fathers behavior may have been linked to him, but the reality of the situation never really sank in.
A few weeks later as Aghar was leaving the house his mother called to him to go down to the well and fetch some water because his father was suffering from fever. He took the clay jug and headed off to the nearest well. On the way, however, he noticed a strange looking lizard clinging to the tunnel wall. In the last few weeks or so Aghar had gotten used to hanging out by himself and finding things to occupy his time since nearly all the young dwarves his age had left with the recruitment officers. So when he saw this lizard he wanted to catch it so it'd keep him company, he tried, and it moved further up the wall, but he was persistent and spent the next three hours on his lizard hunt. In the end he finally caught it by throwing a fist sized rock at it's head. No longer able to provide companionship Aghar stuffed the dead reptile into his trouser pocket and looked around. He had no idea where he was, and he was hungry. So he went about finding himself some grub, it wasn't as easy here, where the city pathways were kept clear of refuse and merchants were very watchful when he came by, but eventually he found some food and settled in the corner of an ally to feast.
After eating he fell asleep and only woke to raging alarm bells and the rushing quake of many booted feet. Getting up and moving to the end of his ally he observed dozens of groups of dwarven warriors rushing in one direction. He automatically moved to follow, still holding on to the clay water jug his mother had given him that morning. Though he tried to keep up, the warriors were much better trained and prepared than he, and soon outdistanced him. Aghar, not one to lose focus of something so fantastic so easily, kept up his pace as best he could. After about an hour he arrived at a scene of a recent battle. The injured were having their wounds tended to and there were groups taking care of the dwarven dead scattered throughout the bloody streets, but the majority of corpses belonged to creatures that Aghar had never seen or imagined in his life. They looked like scrawny dwarves, bent and twisted with black fur covering their bodies, gnarled fists and feet with sharp claws clutching at wicked hooked weapons, and horrific faces, like giant rats. Beady eyes stared unblinking at him from all directions and he thought he was going to be sick. He looked away from the battlefield and noticed that he recognized these buildings, he was near his house, very near.
Wanting to get away from the gruesome carnage before him, Aghar ran down the street toward his home. The situation was similar there, fewer dead creatures, and even fewer dead dwarven warriors, but many dead dwarves. He looked to his house, there was a pile of dead creatures in a pile in front of his door, and what appeared to be a dwarf trapped underneath. He rushed over and began hauling bodies off the dwarf, when he had exposed it he knew immediately that his father was dead. Bloody gashes crossed his face, and his jaw was almost removed, there was also a heavy barbed dart protruding from his belly. In his hands were the broken neck of a gut-rot bottle and his old warhammer, covered in dark blood. Aghar started to shed tears, and then looked farther into the dark and quiet house through the doorway where he stood. His mother was also disemboweled, lying amongst broken chairs with a large kitchen knife in her fist and a dead creature next to her on the floor.
Aghar turned away, tears now streaming down his face as he retrieved the warhammer from his fathers cold grasp. He stood up still weeping and hefted he hammer over his shoulder as he walked away down the street.