The Hammer of Hu'Mod Part 27
by Joe Solmo
It took Grian a day longer than he wanted to recover and be strong enough to travel. His mother didn’t understand why he had to leave, but his father, Jyr did. The older dwarf volunteered to travel with the paladin, at least until he reach his mysterious destination.
He didn’t tell anyone where he was heading. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust his family and friends, it was just that the enemy had ears all over. If he was to strike a blow to Lod’rum and his army he would have to use the element of surprise. He hoped everything was going according to plan.
Grian thought of Moose, well, Hu’Mod. He wondered what the god was up too. He could feel the power still flowing in him, the energetic righteousness that almost crackled under his skin. He thought about what Hu’Mod had been through and wondered what he was up to. He was a god of course, he could handle it. How silly I am being right now, he thought.
The next morning the three of them. Jyr, Grian, and Kregas left the village. This time it was a little harder for Grian. Most of the dwarves have learned to accept him for who he was and even began to congregate in the village commons to hear sermons about Hu’Mod. He would miss telling them about his god and his glories. An older dwarf, named Jaicin took over the sermons based on what Grian had taught him since meeting him back on the edge of the Akridlands. Since the religion was basically rising from the dead, Grian didn’t know what the procedure was to promote a dwarf to priest, but he planned on finding that out soon. For the meantime the dwarves accepted Jaicin as a spiritual leader in Grian’s absence.
Grian’s mother packed them all packs, crammed full of food and motherly love. Half of it would be discarded or given away before reaching the village’s boundary. She meant well but didn’t understand what was needed. Grian thanked her and shouldered the pack, giving Alma a big hug.
“For Hu’Mod’s sake woman, you’re going to crush him,” Jyr said prying them apart. “Don’t spoil the lad now. He has a long trek in front of him.
“Do not tell me how to hug my own son, Jyr. I don’t get to go off on adventures with him, you know,” Alma replied placing her hands on her hips stubbornly.
“Please, no fighting. I will send word when we arrive, mother,” Grian said playing the peacekeeper.
“Where’s my hug Alma?” Kregas said with a smile. Grian’s mother hugged the younger dwarf without hesitation. Kregas turned towards Grian and winked.
“Where is Hamas?” Alma asked as she held Kregas at arm’s length. “He shouldn’t miss his son going off.”
“He wants us to stop on the way. He said he had a surprise for me,” Kregas said.
“Tell him if he needs anything, he just has to ask,” she replied.
“Just as long as he keeps his hands to himself,” Jyr mumbled. Alma groaned and rolled her eyes.
Once everyone got their goodbye hugs from Alma they headed towards the Constable’s office on the way out of town. Many of the dwarves waved as they passed, wishing them luck on their journey. The thought of being back on the road excited Grian. He had been running so long now, he was used to sleeping under the stars. It was fun to visit where he had grown up, but it was no longer home to him.
The group stepped up on the wooden stoop that ringed the Constable’s office. Hamas was inside, sitting at his desk writing on a piece of parchment. He placed the quill in the ink bottle and looked up at his guests.
“Leaving?” he said. His son nodded back.
“You wanted us to stop back before we left?” Kregas asked.
“Aye lad. I have something for ye. It’s something that has been in this office for a long time. I was saving it in case I needed it, but that doesn’t seem likely now. By the time I finish the paperwork on what happened here, I will be retiring,” the Constable said as he dug into a trunk against the wooden back wall.
A minute later he produced an axe from the trunk. It had some fancy inlays worked into both the handle and wide blade. It shone, almost too bright. Grian could feel the power inside the weapon. Kregas let out a whistle as his father handed the weapon to him.
“Do you know what this is?” Grian asked.
“Aye lad. One of the fabled dwarf weapons made with magic. Created at a time when the dwarves still believed in gods. Seems only fitting that it would resurface now. I confiscated it years ago from a travelling dwarf from the Kolis Mountains. He was known as a thief in several provinces. There wasn’t a way to trace the goods, and the dwarf wouldn’t talk, so I threw it in that chest there,” Hamas explained.
“What else is in there?” Kregas asked.
“Never you mind that, son. I give this to you to help you. Keep it safe, as well as yourself,” the Constable said.
“Thanks, pop,” Kregas said turning the weapon over in his hands. The power of the weapon reached out into Kregas. The young dwarf could feel it.
Kregas looked around confused. He didn’t recognize the voice at all.
Kregas looked down at the weapon. It couldn’t have been? Could it? He looked around but no one else seemed to have noticed the voice.
Great I waited this long to get one who’s brain is damaged. Sigh.
“I’m not brain damaged!” Kregas called out. The dwarves all stopped talking and turned towards him.
HAHA. Are you sure?
“Good to know, son,” Hamas said as he continued the conversation with Grian and Jyr. Kregas took a step back towards the door.
That’s it. One foot in front of the other.
Once Kregas was outside he held the axe in his hands and looked around to make sure no one was watching. “What are you?” Kregas asked.
I’m a magic weapon, obviously. You can call me DeathSmite. I was created by a cleric of Hu’mod named Garris to fight the evil brought back to life by Lod’rum. If you speak the right word as you strike Hu’Mod’s power is channeled down my handle and strikes the enemy with holy smite powers.
“I think I finally lost it,” Kregas said.
That may be true, dwarf, but not because of this. You and I are a team now. I waited hundreds of years for someone with the sliver of Hu’Mod inside to pick me up. It was so dreadfully boring. When can we strike out at evil? How is this afternoon for you?
“How is it you can talk, anyway?” Kregas asked as he looked in the door and saw the others were finishing up their conversation.
So much power went into forging me, with the help of Hu’Mod’s power. He reigns over life and it’s so hard to use that magic without even accidently creating life. Which is lucky for you because I can now enlighten your life.
“And whose darling personality did you get. O’ humble one?” Kregas asked as Grian stepped out onto the porch.
I am my own! A totally unique individual! Oh look at this guy. He is much stronger than you are. He is one of Hu’Mod’s golden boys isn’t he?
“I can sense its power,” Grian said. “That is an extraordinary gift.”
“Do you sense anything odd about it?” Kregas asked as Jyr and Hamas stepped out into the sunlight.
“Be careful son. I am too old to go on a revenge seeking mission,” Hamas said shaking Kregas’s hand.
“I will dad, I wouldn’t want your breaking of a hip on my conscious,” Kregas said with a sideways smile.
“You’re a smartarse just like your mother,” Hamas said and returned the smile. They nodded to each other, which says a lot to a dwarf.
“We got a long journey ahead,” Jyr said and took the first steps towards the end of town.
“He’s old. We will give him a running start,” Grian said to his friend.
“I heard that,” Jyr said and everyone laughed.
Yes yes, let’s go. Let us bathe in the blood of our enemies by sundown! Well depends on the type of undead I guess. We can’t bathe in the blood of skeletons now can we? Let us bathe in the bone dust of our enemies! Well we will work on the battlecry.
“I’m not sure if this weapon was a gift or a curse,” Kregas mumbled under his breath.
“You can’t hear that?” Kregas asked Grian.
“Hear what?” Grian replied.
The group continued along the river for a bit, before crossing into the forest. Grian still hadn’t told them where they were going. They were just going on faith that he knew what he was doing. Grian reflected on that fact as they passed one of the large boulders that made up of parts of the mountains and foothills that surrounded the village.
The paladin found himself missing Birell and he wondered where the elf was right now. It surprised him how much she meant to him, and how easily the other dwarves accepted her as long as she was with him. He joked in his own head that Hu’Mod must also be a god of chaos, since Grian’s life has been just that since Hu’Mod entered it. He would ask his god soon, when they crossed paths again.
“Son, are you going to tell me where we are heading. It looks like we are tracking back the way we came,” Jyr said waiting for Grian and Kregas to cross a fallen log that spanned the small brook.
“And ruin the surprise?” Kregas said jumping onto the rocks that littered the bank of the brook.
“We are going back to the temple,” Grian said. “I have people there waiting for me, and I need to speak with Hu’Mod.”
“Who are these people lad?” Jyr asked as he climbed the bank.
“The ones from the desert. You will see father,” Grian said.
They continued on in silence for the rest of the day and camped for the night. A meal of fresh rabbit chased with whiskey filled their bellies. With the fire built up, Grian began to tell them stories of Hu’Mod. He felt the most alive when relaying his god’s history. Kregas was interested, but occasionally snickered for some reason. Grian assumed it was just some inside joke he wasn’t getting and let it go.
“Son, you don’t need to convince me. I have seen Hu’Mod’s power myself. Save your sermons for these people we are going to meet,” Jyr said.
“Don’t worry father. They have seen Hu’Mod’s power too. They know he is real as well. It gives me pleasure to tell the stories,” Grian explained.
“Your mom’s hug gave me pleasure,” Kregas said and smiled. Jyr smacked the young dwarf across the face sending him onto his back
“What is wrong with you?” the older dwarf said shaking his head.
“I was dropped as a child,” Kregas said rubbing his cheek. If it wasn’t for his beard it would be red.
“Not hard enough,” Jyr said and walked off into the dark.
“Why did you make a joke about my mother in front of my father?” Grian asked, helping his childhood friend up from the ground.
“I don’t know. It slipped out,” Kregas said.
“Well maybe you should go apologize,” Grian said.
“You’re right. I’ll go,” Kregas said and looked into the dark forest where Jyr had wandered off.
He stumbled into the darkeness. “Jyr?” he called out. “Jyr it was a joke. A bad one. I’m sorry.”
He listened to the forest but didn’t hear anything. “Jyr?” he called out again and sighed. He took a few more steps into the woods and listened. He heard a branch break a dozen or so yards farther into the forest.
Spooky in here, isn’t it. Don’t worry. I will protect you. We just met and I was very lonely.
“Quiet, you. Help me find Jyr,” Kregas whispered as he peered towards where he heard the branch break.
Is that the old one without any powers?
Oh he is dead ahead. Can’t dwarves see in the dark?
“That’s undermountain dwarves. We are hill dwarves. Is Jyr ok?
I can’t tell you that. It would ruin the fun.
”Jyr?” Kregas said and took a few more steps. “Is that you?” he said as he saw a shape moving in the faint moonlight. A second passed and he was unsure. “Is that him?” Kregas asked DeathSmite.
Could be. I can’t see, I am a hillaxe not a mountain axe.
The shape charged towards Kregas. He held the axe out in front of him protectively. A band of light from the moon fell across the shape as it got close. It was Jyr and his face was covered in blood. “Run you arsehole,” he said and passed by without slowing down.
Kregas stood there in shock. Even DeathSmite was quiet. He quickly thanked Hu’Mod for that. “What the hell just happened?” he asked the night. From somewhere out in the darkness a mighty roar erupted. The sound of a tree breaking assaulted Kregas’s ears and he felt the impact of it hitting the ground. “Time to run,” he said and raced back towards the campfire.
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