The Hammer of Hu'Mod Part 42
by Joe Solmo
Jyr ran down the street looking for the woman who had sent him flying across the city’s stone plaza. “That gal sure packs a wallop!” the older dwarf said as he paused for a moment to catch his breath. A hint of disappointment crossed his face when he didn’t see her, but a moment later he made out fighting in the distance and heard the battle cry he heard just before he was hit. He watched as a group of Desert Folk were sent sailing through the air twenty feet to the hard-stone ground. He let out a little squeak of joy and ran towards the fighting.
It didn’t take him long to find the source of the fighting. Standing alone on the newly laid cobblestone street stood a thing of beauty. She was at almost five feet tall, a statuesque giant Jyr thought. Long black hair sprouted from her head and was wrapped in a tight braid that was tucked into her plate armor. She carried a virtual armory around her waist. Blades, blunt maces and some weapons even Jyr didn’t recognize, poked their heads out from her wide leather belt. Strapped to her back was two spears, with tips so sharp and polished Jyr could see his reflection. Her eyes turned and saw Jyr approaching, an expression of surprise crossed her dwarven features. Magical energy began to crackle around the mace she gripped in her hands. “You again? Don’t you see we are on the same side?” the woman said.
“Aye, I know that,” Jyr said as he pulled out his own weapon.
“Then why must we fight. There is so much more at stake here. Who are you? That last attack should have finished you,” she said.
“Tell me your name first and shall answer your questions,” Jyr said and charged her, swinging his maul towards her. The female dwarf easily blocked the attack.
“Are you trying to insult me, or are you really that terrible with a mace?” she quipped back.
“Is that ye name?” Jyr asked and swung low. She blocked with an upswing and then kicked Jyr in the chest, making him fall to the ground.
“I guess you should know the name of the one who defeats you. It might teach you some humility. My name is Joician. I am the last Hammer of Hu’Mod and I have come to help my god defeat his evil brother,” she said and stood over Jyr. “Must we continue this pointless fighting or can I go into battle with a true foe?”
“I am Jyr. My son Grian has the fight practically won. No worries, lass. Doesn’t a Hammer of Hu’Mod need to wield a hammer?”
“It’s just a name. The weapon doesn’t matter, it’s just a conduit to focus Hu’Mod’s power through. You say your son is fighting Lod’rum?”
“Aye lass, he has power, from Hu’Mod himself,” Jyr said proudly.
“So maybe I am not the last,” Joician whispered.
“Not the last. His friend Kregas has the power too,” Jyr said.
“I have been in exile for no reason?” she asked the air around her. “I have wasted so much time.”
“I don’t know about that now. Hey, how about you help an old dwarf up?” Jyr asked offering his hand to Joician.
“You still haven’t told me why you insist on fighting me,” Joician said.
“Oh, that’s easy, lass. Foreplay,” Jyr said and pulled her down on top of him, playfully. “You can come live with us, might be a little crowded with me wife there, but we can make it work…”
Birell felt like she was drowning in a strong current of energy. She struggled to reach the surface she could see above her. Her body was tossed and spun around like a capsized sailor in the rapids of a raging river. At least she could breathe.
The world had gone dark around her when Sreg died. It took her a few tries to say the words, even in her head. She had cared deeply for the ranger, even if he was a human, and a scoundrel, he was her friend first. Maybe it could have been more than that, if he had survived.
As the energy continued to grow in intensity her grief over her friend faded. There was something familiar about the energy, something that both made her happy and frustrated. She wished she could see what was happening in the world around her. How long has this been going on now, she thought.
About three minutes, don’t worry its almost done. This one is going a lot smoother than the last time. That human fought it for so long. Please don’t fight, elf.
“Who are you?” Birell asked the darkness around her.
Why I am Kilyn. Well a shard of his energy. I have been sent to this plane to help. Us gods can’t interfere fully in the life of mortals, there is an accord that prevents us. But Lod’rum is being a very naughty boy and needs to be held in check. Even so, we won’t stoop to his level. We won’t come here fully and break our word.
Many years ago, we decided to leave the mortal world to the mortals, we still watch over our creations, but we try not to Interfere. The dwarven god, Hu’Mod started this after his last interference made the dwarves wary of the gods.
“Is Sreg dead? Did you kill him to inhabit his body?” Birell asked.
Absolutely not! I shared his body with him. It was a partnership. He made a deal with me, he wanted to help you.
“Help me? By giving me this talking parasite? I was doing just fine on my own before all this god business started to get in the way. Now I have lost my people, my father, my entire world!”
Your father still lives. He is faint, injured, but alive. After this business I can lead you to him, although I might have to leave again depending on the outcome. IF you do not wish for me to be here with you, I will leave. I would not force this union.
“I wish you had at least asked me first. It was just the anger talking. I am grateful for the return of nature magic to the elven people, even if there are just a few of us left. Are you lying about my father? How did he escape?” Birell asked.
The transfer is almost complete and we still have a job to do. I can explain everything after the battle.
“Then let’s get it over with,” Birell said.
Birell opened her eyes. She was laying on the cobblestone stones of the plaza. Sreg’s lifeless body laid next to her. She turned her head to hide the tears forming from him. A silly gesture, she knew, but couldn’t face him like that, not yet. She scanned the surrounding area. Grian and Zeeg were standing over the fallen body of the mage, Skrat. Rubble and bodies were everywhere. In the distance there was a rhythmic sound, like a lot of boots marching. She was in no immediate danger.
“Grian,” Birell called out to her friend. The dwarf turned to her, pain spread across his face. He was injured, but not in a way his healing magic would cure, the pain was emotional. He hobbled over and bent down. He fussed over her.
“Are you ok lass?” he turned towards Sreg’s lifeless form. “There was nothing I could do. He was gone before I could react. I have failed. Failed him, failed Hu’Mod, failed everyone who believed in me,” Grian said wiping his wet cheek with a dirty hand.
“Has Lod’rum won?” the elf asked.
“The gods still fight. Moose has returned. I couldn’t hurt Lod’rum. My faith wasn’t enough to see me through,” the dwarf said as the rhythmic sound grew louder. Everyone stopped and looked up in the direction of the sound.
“Does that sound like many marching feet to you?” Birell asked.
“Aye lass. But who’s feet are marching?” Grian responded.
This is not good
“I don’t think they are friendly,” Birell said to her long-time friend. “The god Kilyn, left Sreg and entered me. He doesn’t like the sound of this,” she explained.
The sounds grew louder as the group gathered their resolve. Together elf, dwarf, and human stood side-by-side waiting for the newest challenge. They would face it together, and no matter the results, they knew they were giving it everything they could. Weapons raised, they turned towards the avenue that lead to the west, where the sounds were coming from. Down the road, they could see lines of soldiers, marching perfectly in time with each other as they approached.
“Too tall to be dwarves,” Grian observed.
“Too fat to be elves,” Birell said subconsciously drawing an arrow back.
“Well, it must be humans than. Who let them know about the fight?” Zeeg asked.
“There is something else. Since Kilyn entered me, I have been able to sense things. He is a god of nature and magic. All living things give off this power, this essence. I feel nothing from those men. I don’t think they are alive,” Birell said.
They watched as the army approached. Soon they could make out the faces, some decayed. Not all were human, some dwarves, some elves, some other races, mixed in the ranks of the undead. A few beasts also marched in time, beasts like Grian had faced before in the forest. Dismay crossed his features when he remembered that fight. He could barely keep one from killing his friends, out there in the sea of undead there were dozens of them. Today was truly a failure. Grian hung his head down in shame.
“Look alive, we are not done yet,” Zeeg said, tapping Grian on the shoulder. Concern crossed the human’s face. Grian gave him a weak smile in return.
The sound of a pair of feet running down the stone made the trio look up towards the north, entering the plaza was Kregas, Jyr and a female dwarf Grian didn’t recognize. Kregas seemed eager to engage the approaching army, as if his weapon was pulling him towards danger. From the south Grian heard a voice call out. He spun and saw Stone Spear and Spirit Walker standing there.
“This fight is not your own, friend dwarf,” Spirit Walker said.
“We share this burden with you,” Stone Spear said and raised his weapon in salute.
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