The Hammer of Hu'Mod Part 30
by Joe Solmo
For the next several days Grian didn’t get a free moment. He gazed longingly at the refinished temple. The red stone was polished and shone brightly in the morning sun. Grian sighed and asked who was next. There was a long line of people that needed to talk with him, each of which thought their concerns trumped everyone else’s.
“My lord, the field hospital we built is so understaffed. We need more people to tend to the sick,” a mousy looking Desert Folk said clutching a wide brimmed hat in his hands tightly.
“First, I am no lord, I am merely a follower of Hu’Mod, and second, I will send Kregas to aid you. He also has the healing arts,” Grian responded. He heard Kregas sigh next to him.
“Thank you my…Thank you,” the man said.
“You are welcome. May Hu’Mod smile upon you this day,” Grian said and nudged Kregas. Turning to his friend he said, “Go to them and let me know how bad it is. If you need me, let me know.”
“Son,” Jyr said. “You don’t wanna stretch yourself too thin, now.”
“Aye father. But I must make sure they are safe. These people look to me, I can’t let them down,” Grian said.
“It’s all about delegation, my boy. Surely some of these people are capable?” the older dwarf asked.
“Aye, your right,” Grian replied. He spent the rest of the morning listening to each person who neede him, weather it was just to sign paperwork, or make an important decision like what color burlap sacks where needed to hold the grain that they were starting to manufacture. When he finally broke for a noonday meal he decided to delegate some of the responsibility like his father had suggested. Soon Spirit Walker sat on the wooden chair, not a throne, Grian told himself, and answered the questions of the people. He had learned from Stone Spear that Spirit Walker had played the role before the dwarf’s arrival.
Once again the paladin looked at the temple with longing, but decided to check on the hospital first. He pulled his father along with him to keep him company as he made his way through the camp. The mood in the camp improved when they arrived. The people here were all followers that witnessed his miracles in the fight at Red Rock Castle. They have all sworn fealty to not only Grian, but Hu’Mod as well.
When they reached the makeshift hospital, the real one wasn’t built yet, they found it in a state of disarray. There were nearly a hundred Desert Folk laying in cots, with damp cloths on their foreheads. Each one was a sickly pale green color. Grian bent down at the closest one, to get a better look. He could feel the heat coming off of the poor man. He must be burning up.
“Grian, thank god you’re here. This is beyond me,” Kregas said wiping sweat from his brow. “I have done all that I can for these, which is basically nothing. I have been focusing on those I can help.”
“Let me take a look,” Grian said and placed his hand on the warm chest of the Desert Folk in front of him. “I can feel the taint of evil, in his veins. I can feel Lod’rum’s touch. It is so powerful!” he exclaimed pulling his hand back.
“The dark god’s strike is a plague,” Jyr said astonished.
“He has no honor,” Stone Spear said approaching. He handed Grian a note and looked out over the hospital. “So much better than when we first built it.”
Grian unfolded the paper carefully and held it up to read. “Where did you get this?” Grian asked.
“It was brought by a falcon just now,” Stone Spear said. “It landed right in front of me as I ate.”
“What is it, lad?” Jyr asked, with concern in his voice.
“It’s a note from Birell. She has reached her home and explained the situation. The elves are now in talks about what to do,” he explained.
“Great, we all fight evil while the elves sit around and talk,” Jyr said sarcastically.
“I probably would have thought the same thing, father, until I met Birell. She changed my views on elves. I respect her very much,” Grian said back as he looked out over the camp. His opinion on humans have changed as well. It seemed the dwarven outlook on life was nearsighted.
“I know son. She is the exception to the rule,” Jyr said handing a towel to Kregas who was wiping the victim’s brow.
“Stand back,” the paladin of Hu’Mod said and channeled his power into the sickly man. He felt his divine powers spread throughout the sickly man and also the tension of it battling the dark sickness inside. He could picture in his mind the dark tendrils wrapping around the white light of Hu’Mod that was spreading through the man’s body.
From the outside, Kregas and Jyr could see the strain on Grian’s face fighting the sickness in the man lying on the cot. A moment later the paladin wiped the sweat from his brow, and opened his eyes. “It is done,” he said with a sigh.
“Great!” said Kregas. There is only sixty more here in the hospital alone,” He gave his friend a crooked smile.
“I have to save them all,” Grian said in a whisper.
“That is ridiculous,” Jyr said. “You can’t save them all.”
“I have to try. I know Hu’Mod would not Lod’rum’s corruption to run rampant. It’s my duty,” Grian said.
Jyr shook his head and muttered into his beard. “I am no use here,” he said and started to walk away.
“Where are you going?” Grian called out after him.
“To find a drink,” he said over his shoulder.
The paladin turned his attention back to the sickly people in the camp and closed his eyes. With a deep breath he cleared his mind and concentrated on his love for Hu’Mod. He tried to block out all the negativity, all the evil he seemed to be surrounded by, and just focus on the feelings that his god brought him.
“Hu’Mod, grant me the power to do your will here and cleanse these people from Lod’rum’s taint. Help me help these people so that I can bring the glory of your power to these people who have just recently heard of you,” Grian whispered.
He felt the influx of power surge into him as if a floodgate was opened and a wave crashed into him. The paladin dropped to his knees from the force and spread his hands out wide. A ripple of holy energy spread out from the paladin and washed over the entire encampment. Even Jyr sitting at a makeshift tavern felt the power and turned towards the hospital.
“What has my fool son done know?” he asked the empty seat next to him.
It took Grian three days to recover from the wave of Hu’Mod’s energy he used to cure the entire encampment of the disease. His mortal body couldn’t handle the power needed to cure everyone, and it took him that long to recuperate. Jyr didn’t leave his son’s side the entire time he laid in that bed in the old stone temple. Jyr let out a sigh of relief when Grian stirred.
“Take it easy, son. How do you feel?” Jyr said placing his gnarled hands on his Grian’s chest.
“Like I got run over by stampede of Red Elk,” Grian said in a strained whisper.
“That sounds like a tasty meal,” Jyr said with a smile. “I told you trying to heal everyone wasn’t a good idea. Why don’t you listen to your father?” Jyr said, still smiling.
“I will once he agrees with what I already think,” Grian said and smiled weakly. “Where am I?”
“You are in the temple, they made some living quarters for you when they repaired the place,” Jyr explained.
“All this time I just wanted to see the temple, and all it took was nearly dying from pushing myself too far,” the paladin said trying to sit up.
“It can wait until after you eat something other than this broth I have been pouring down your throat,” Jyr said putting a tin plate on top of Grian’s chest. On it was a few slices of cheese and a roll.
An hour later Grian was getting a tour of the new Temple. He was impressed with the restoration effort the Desert Folk undertook. It looked so different from the first time he entered so long ago when he first met Birell. Gone were the cobwebs and years of dust on the floor. All the doors had been replaced, all the chipped red rock pillars were fixed. It now was truly a home on the mortal world for Hu’Mod.
When he was finished with his tour, Grian stepped out of the temple to look upon the city that was growing up around him. When they first noticed him, the workers cheered him a hero for ridding the place of disease. It was almost too much for him. He waved at them glad his red beard hid his blushed cheeks. He felt guilty taking praise for something that Hu’Mod did.
Kregas arrived shortly after, looking exhausted. He patted his friend on the back and smiled. “Welcome back to the land of the living,” he said.
“Why do you look so bad?” Grian said with concern for his childhood friend.
“Mostly genetics,” Jyr butted in and punched Kregas in the shoulder. “But he can’t help that, son.”
“I have been taking over your duties,” Kregas said ignoring the older dwarf’s insult. “It’s been hectic.”
“What duties?” Grian asked, furrowing his brow.
“Well to begin with, every night I have to talk to them about Hu’Mod. They said you used to talk to them when you traveled with them before. They soak it all up, wanting to know more about Hu’Mod but I have nothing to tell them. I don’t know him like you do, Grian. It’s exhausting trying to answer questions. Several asked how they could join a priesthood. I told them I didn’t even know if we had one. Now that you’re feeling better, this burden can come back to you. I just like helping people and doing the right thing,” Kregas explained and let out a sigh.
“I’ll do my best,” Grian said a little overwhelmed. “I suppose we should set up some kind of structure.”
“Listen citizens of Almanstrahd. Our leader is ok. He will give tonight’s sermon right here on the steps of the temple after the evening meal!” Kregas called out. The crowd that had gathered around cheered. Grian ducked back into the temple to get away from the sea of people that had come to see him.
“I don’t think I will ever get used to that. People cheering for me. I am just a dwarf, I do not deserve their adoration,” Grian confided in his father once they were back safely inside the temple.
“Listen lad, you have done a lot for them. You freed the Desert Folk from the villains in Red Rock Castle. You saved many lives with the healing magic Hu’Mod has granted you. You are too close to the situation to see what is going on. You need to take a step back look with another pair of eyes,” Jyr said.
“I guess you’re right, father,” Grian responded. “I just don’t know I have what it takes to lead these people.”
“Son, look out that door at the people out there that believe in you. That many people can’t be wrong. It’s time you started to believe in yourself. Even Hu’Mod believes in you, lad,” Jyr said.
“Yeah, Grian. Take a look around,” Kregas said. “Maybe you should trim some of that wild beard you have, it’s covering your eyes.”
“You two guys are my rock. What would I do without you?” Grian said and walked into the chambers that were prepared for him.
back to Fantasy