Essentially you were the youngest in a family of 9 with 8 older brothers, all your older brothers (like you) were trained to be two things in life — a soldier on the lines of the Ninth Company and a Blacksmith. Of course, being the youngest brother of the nine you were constantly picked on… for 45 FUCKING YEARS! Finally, after the very idea of Lawful Good had been purged from you by your abusive kin, you turned you back on your family and went on an adventurers journey. You still have ties to the Ninth Company, but as a Chaotic Neutral dwarf you don’t have much tolerance for it (nor they you) but you never know when things might change…
The Great Miscommunication!
I have been a dwarf for as long as I can remember. That means that I have been a stout, strong man of steel and iron since I can remember. A dwarf is one who is battle-hardened and quick to defend his honor and comrades. The path of life for a dwarf is set in stone (nevermind the pun). He is born from the earth herself with a smith’s hammer in one hand and an axe in the other. He smiths wonders of iron and stone that last for millenia. He fights every fight with a battlesong in his heart and bloodlust in his eyes. He proudly tells everybody about his heritage and ancestry, where he came from and who his father was. He is emotionally cold because he needs to be and that’s the only way he will be a man. He goes on and on about the same war story over and over and over. He’s rude and curt, never considering the emotional state of anyone else. He doesn’t care about feelings for such things are arbitrary. He says, “Dammit, Ox, quite playing around with that thing and make thirty-six bear traps from scratch and they all better be perfect or I’ll have all ten of your brothers grab you, lift you over the forge and burn your beard off to nothing.” If that’s what a dwarf is, maybe it’s time for a change.
I’ve always felt like I was a bit different. Like I didn’t really fit in. My brothers and sisters helped me solidify that feeling. They all followed the tenants of being a dwarf and serving as a productive member of society. They did whatever father and mother told them. I, on the other hand, seem to have a different mindset.
With dwarves, it’s always, “When you have this problem, you use this solution,” and that’s it. There’s no thought to it. Just reaction. Like a reflex. There was this one day where there was to be a grand celebration, as demanded by tradition, for the homecoming of a warrior who fought against the orcs. However the celebration would dry up the food stores for the winter. I said, “why don’t we throw a smaller party?” Nobody acknowledged me for a month.
This one time, I brought home a female I had been courting. She had blonde hair and green eyes. Her skin was soft and her ears came to the cutest little points and the top. I didn’t take two steps past the threshold before my dad was out of his chair, red-faced and bellowing at the top of his lungs, “By Torag’s hammer, get that frail creature out of my sight!!” I replied that I loved her. My father lost it. I don’t remember anything else that happened that day.
I said Torag smelled once. That was bad.
The thing that got me banished though was just a simple misunderstanding. Our family was charged with creating a masterpiece for (insert name of Fortress south of Kovlar) on the outskirts of Kovlar. It would stand in their city center as a new monument to dwarven kind. My family worked for five years creating a statue of a great dwarven warpriest holding a great warhammer aloft in one hand while choking the life out of a beaten orc in another. The statue was made of steel and marble, polishing what needed to be reflective and texturizing what need to be subtle. After five years, it was only one-third finished with the top and the midsection done.
When we could work at our home forge no longer, we moved to the fortress to attune the statue to where it would stand for eternity. My family was greeted with a large ceremony and many of the local smiths came to see my Father, if only to touch his anvil that they might absorb some of his skill and power. I set up my forge and anvil next to the city center in an out of the way corner. My Father had me making rivets. Seven thousand, five hundred and twenty-three rivets, one for each year between the end of the Quest for Sky and the end of the era of the Five Kings Mountains and the beginning of the Wild Era. And, as usual, each one of them had to be perfect.
I was hammering away one afternoon when it happened. When I smith, I usually think about something other than smithing. When your father has you do all the menial labor at the forge for decades, you find something other than the millionth bolt you are threading to focus on. So when the aforementioned non-she-dwarf showed up, I was startled to say the least. By the way, we didn’t exactly end our relationship well, neither did our respective fathers. She thought it would be okay to sneak into the dwarven fortress that was surrounded by dwarven guards who, when they are not focussed on protecting all the dwarves inside the fortress from all the non-dwarves outside the fortress, tend to talk about she-dwarves, protecting stuff, ale, and dwarveness; and don’t notice the tall, blonde elf strolling into the city. (On a side note, she was amazing at sneaking around, which is something we dwarves are not especially good at.) We balanced each other well. It’s kinda why I loved her. Anyways, back to the story.
My dread filled the void my surprise had left in my stomach.
I told her that she should not be here but she explained she wanted to see me again. So after I calmed down and nobody had seemed to notice, we start talking and eventually we start talking about smithing. I begin to show her how its done and we made a few rivets together. The day went on and she hid well every time they came to pick up more rivets. It was one of the best smithing days I had had in a long time.
The end of the day neared and there was supposed to be a grand celebration, as demanded by tradition, for the homecoming of a warrior who fought against the orcs. This time I kept my mouth shut. While the people set up for the occasion, a novice dwarven wizard cast spells to entertain the young ones. He became bolder with his spells as the children got more and more excited, creating more and more fireworks and explosions. Meanwhile I was telling my girl how much our race hated the orcs, which was common ground for us, and that’s when I yelled in my most boisterous, manly voice, over the noise of the bustle of the people, the fireworks and explosions, the hammering of the construction of my family’s statue, and the din of the forge itself, “It’s a long time to make a glove to punch an orc.” Only that’s not what everyone heard. Some of the explosions had cut out my words. What they and I heard echoing through the cavern, since everything had fell silent, was, “I long to make love to an orc.” Her smile faded. There was one last explosion and then a deafening crash of stone and metal and wood. The people in the plaza cried out. I stood there frozen, hammer raised in the air, eyes wide, my black fate swimming into view.
Everything calmed and there were footsteps coming toward where I was. They were my father’s footsteps. The one’s he uses when he is as red and enraged as Torag’s forge fire. I slowly lowered my hammer. I dared not turn around. My father grabbed my beard and yanked as hard as he could, spinning me around and leading me into the city center. He stood me before the statue and just pointed. I looked.
The novice wizard had lost control of one of his explosions. It had gone off near the statue, which set off a chain reaction that I won’t go into details about but it left the statue looking as though, well, as though the dwarf longed to make love to the orc. My heart stopped. I had ruined my family’s pride and joy, and their namesake, and their statue, and my sister’s hair. It was on fire. I fainted.
When I awoke, I was on top of a snow-capped mountain. My face hurt. I felt it. My beard was gone. It smelled like they burned it off. There was a note pinned not to my clothes, because I didn’t have any on, but to my skin, in five places. It was a big note and I guess they didn’t want it to blow away. It said, in big, big letters, YOU ARE BANISHED. YOU ARE NO LONGER MY SON. GOOD BYE. There was a keg of ale next to me. I stood up and looked around. Nothing but mountains and snow. I took a swig of the ale. It was the good stuff. And they peed in it. All of them.
One week later, at a tavern. One man is talking to another at the bar.
“Did I ever tell you about the time I was on city watch? It was late and I heard a noise. Something like hollow metal. All of a sudden there’s a dwarf in armor coming out of the darkness. I tense up. He gets closer and I see he’s not in armor, he’s naked and wearing a beer keg, the metal kind. He walks up to me and says, ‘Pardon me, where’s the blacksmith?’ I topple over laughing. Funniest goddamn thing I ever saw.”