Tadhg von Artigbrauer
Lawful Good Male Daernarthor Dwarf
Level 10 Paladin of Lathidus
Level 11 Prestige - Deep Watcher
Str 16 Dex 13 Con 22 Int 10 Wis 21 Cha 19 Hit Points: 268
Aye, the sun was well-nigh at it's peak that day, upon the headmost Thirday in the month of Silusa, as best I can recall. The seasonal rains that scour my homeland as the granite clouds traverse over the Northern regions of the Crescent Mountains had but only just begun a brief time ago, and the plant life that carpets the upper side of the soil had but just begun to sprout forth in a desperate reach to the sun. My village, being not much more distant than a good hard stone's throw from where the tunnels of the earth meet the light of day, had then a tradition of leaving the comfort of our flinty homes upon such a time to venture up upon the dirt of the earth to plant what seeds we needed for the coming year. Aye, many if not most of our people looked up upon the burning sky that day. That day upon which the surface dwellers came.
But I suppose before I tell tale of, perhaps the last story of my village and ultimately of myself, perchance you would like to know a little about the teller, eh? So much of what we say is also of who we are. Well then good peoples, know that my given name of birth was Tadhg. Tadhg von Artigbrauer to be a bit more on the specific terms. The entirety of that all in my native tongue would mean, "Honor to the gods from the brave brewer," although the fit of the word "brave" here is a bit tight of a squeeze for the old warhammer. Ya might also be considering the word "good" or "upright" as well. Not that it matters much a tell you.
As you might have come to see from the forward passages, aye, the people of my birth are the Daernarthor Dwarves of the Crescent Mountains. I won't be bothering you too much with the specifics of our home life but I will observe that I am the first son of a long family of brewers. The happenstance of my birth and early childhood is of little remark but to say that I was conceived one day during a celebration honoring both our lustrous ancestors and our traditional gods, awhile both of my parents had fallen under the strong influence of one of our family's more potent ales. In the years to come they would swear by sireing children in such a fashion.
As my village pushed the seeds into the welcoming soil that wretched day we had but little forewarning of the events to come. Early that day, as the first of us paced out into the upper world to get a good stretch and a bit of a look around before our daily work began, it is said that one of us noticed a bit of some ebony smoke coming down from the valley below us and faintly the twinkling of metal. It is not told among us who it was that noticed this nor is it even known that this is true. It makes for a more suitable tale though and so the truth of it matters not. My belief is that should such a thing be genuine it would have been a just a scrap North and a few tanks more to the West, in the direction of the United Kingdoms.
Being familiar to the mountain pass between the outskirts of the United Kingdom and the Eastern Empire we have had occasion to see travelers out upon the mount and thus even if one of us had seen activity below it would not have been too worthy of mention. Aye it could well be that our complacency towards peoples we knew little about could have been our undoing for as the sun reached it's peak that day a band of brigands set upon us.
I was out in the fields that day, just beyond the entrance to our right-minded homes when the first of them came over the crest of the hill. At first we all simply looked up in surprise. A band of perhaps forty tall men were running through our newly planted barely crops. All were wearing armor and brandishing weapons but none did seem to notice us as they trod around in the dirt. As the last of them appeared, aye, I remember one of them stopping and waving his arm in the air, his features hidden and his body shaded by a nearby tree. In the tongue of the westerners he yelled to the rest of imminent danger. Before a lad had even a chance to blink an eye his helm rolled from his shoulders and he slumped to the ground as an arrow pierced his skull. That is when my home became a battleground.
After the first wave of arrows many of us tried to run or seek cover. Many simply died where they stood as the sky seemed to burst forth with metallic rain. As the more brave of us, including myself, although I would venture to say I was more properly to be called foolhardy, charged forth upon the field with our weapons, the second group of warriors arrived. A mite shorter than the first bunch and considerably less hardy looking, these pointy-eared killers charged into battle wearing sorts of the trappings of war, some the likes of which I had never seen before in my life. They waded into their foes and before I had my wits about me both sides were engaged in bloody conflict with ourselves in the center.
As I told, some of our brave souls had taken up arms and were desperately trying to protect others less willing to fight, from both armies. After a spell the fighting was in part moved into our caves, as one group or another tried to escape. Before long, black curly smoke, like the end of a beard, raised up from out of the entrance to the sky. 'Twas obvious what little burnable material we had in our homes was on fire. Many of the villagers ran out into the glaring light of day, some to be cut down by an errant soldier, too confused or too depraved to realize who his enemy truly was. I believe it was then that the human Ajin appeared.
Like the wrath of the gods he descended upon the fray of the remaining warriors. Speaking in strange tongues, he gestured to the enbattled crowd and to the sky. Blinding light, like the holy fires of the sun, seemed to radiate from every pour in his massive body. He carried in one hand a holy symbol and with an arm as massive as the trunk of a tree, he raised it above his head. Fire engulfed the scene and many of the combatants screamed in wretched agony as they burned alive. With a confidence he strode through the struggle, easily dispatching the aggressors with his bare hands. The movement of his punches but only could be seen as he shattered armor and expounded flesh with a single touch of his palm. Limbs were severed at his command and several men simply collapsed dead, not a mark to their bodies, as he waded forth to the head of the fight. Soon both parties of warriors were all but dead, with only a few able to make a proper escape. Then, with his work done, he removed a dagger from his short white robes, plunged it into the ground, and began to pray. It would be two days before we would hear from him again.
As we came to know in the months to come, our savior was from the lands to the east. Once but a simple priest of the god Lathidus, he had struck out on his own for reasons that were, to be told, a bit on the vague. You see we could not properly talk to one another, but as he told us in broken tongue, the divine god had granted him the wisdom to speak to us in matters of the faith. That year he helped us replant our crop, and rebuild our homes with a compassion all his own. And aye, he taught us the ways of living in an upright manner as prescribed by our true savior, Lathidus.
Moreover to a few of the younger lads he enlightened us of his of his mission in life. (I cannot repeat the particular word he used, though in time the meaning of it was clear enough. Perhaps some day I shall hear it again.) He told us of the great suffering in the world and of the corruption of it's people. In peace, he told us, there could be no atonement. Repentance came from the suffering of those who would see the virtuous destroyed. Lathidus had granted him this wisdom in a vision, he told, and granted him the might to perform his works among the impure. Thus began our training in his techniques.
As a student I was not the sharpest axe in the pile. His forms required extensive use of the off hand for punching, while the good hand was held with a weapon. The flaming fist of Lathidus he claimed, would cleanse the impure with the might of a thousand suns. It could crush rocks to nothing more than tunnel dust as he would oft to demonstrate. I soon picked up this style of fighting though, and learned a proper way to bash a head with my fist. I chose for a weapon a dagger like the kind Ajin seemed to fancy. This seemed to please him and so I was happy as well, though such a light pointed weapon did not sit well in my hand at first. I was given additional instruction however, and so shortly aquired this form as well.
I truly was not apt, however, at the defensive style of his favor. A true warrior of Lathidus he claimed, needed only the armor of faith to shield his heart from the weapons of mortal man. He must be brave, and as steadfast in his determination as the mountains to their place. In sparring my weakness was shown. No matter how truly I believed, I simply could not avoid the attacks of my opponent, and oft fell over trying. Perhaps, he once said, some are truly meant to wear the armor of the earth. He cautioned me against relying too heavily upon bulky armor though, and specifically forbade me to use a shield as it would interfere with the advanced techniques of the style.
And so we few became educated in the ways of the god Lathidus. When our basic training was finished he took us aside. He gave each of us a dagger and a symbol with which we could pray, or use to smite the corrupt of the world. And to each he gave a special name. I am not dispossed here to write my priestly name for thee and to be close to truth I do not know what mine means. I do to this day use it among my brothers however, as it is important to remembering who I am.
At this juncture he gave us a choice: We could either travel with him, proceeding off into the wilderness to learn the crushing hand techniques of the master, or we could go on our way to bring the light of our god to the world. He cautioned, however, that should we choose to go with him and fail to learn his techniques, that he would see us as lacking in faith and put us to rest in accordance. This being the case, and still having doubts about my ability, I said my goodbyes and promissed to learn the forms I needed to complete my training through spiritual training on my own. And thus I left my family and my master, and set out into a larger world than I imagined I would ever see.
In the years to come I officially joined the church of Lathidus. A member of a special cult among them known as the Deep Watchers took it upon himself to further train me as one of them. Though he found my insights into the nature of our god a bit disturbing, and my fighting style rather peculiar, he nevertheless taught me what I needed to know to bring the light of Lathidus to the darkest places of the world. He was even able to convince me to take a longer weapon as I would surely need it shortly. And so my quest truly began as any real good adventure should: With beer on your back, a goal in your mind, and faith in your heart. Don't forget the beer.