The Hammer of Hu'Mod Part 44
by Joe Solmo
The evil god turned towards the source of holy power, sensing it growing in the young dwarf. Grian could feel the stare of hatred burning through him. If it wasn’t for the power of Hu’Mod inside of him he wondered if he would have the strength to face Lod’rum. Out of the corner of his eye the dwarf could see his companions, the people he met on his journey, fought beside, laughed beside, and cried beside, fight for their lives against the undead onslaught. They looked different to him now, with Hu’Mod inside of him. He could see their goodness, like an aura. Even ol’ Jyr radiated this.
That sight put Grian’s mind at ease a bit. Sometimes his father did questionable things, but seeing this aura let him know that deep down inside the crazy old guy was a good dwarf.
“Come out of him and face me, you parasite,” Lod’rum said and flung a wave of force at Grian. He braced for the impact, which hit him stronger than any wind. He slid a few inches on the gravel that littered the cobblestone plaza.
“You want to get to him, you got to get through me,” Grian said and sent a wave of holy light arcing back in response. The wave moved too fast for Lod’rum to get his shield up this time and it struck the dark god and sent him reeling back. It wasn’t enough to kill him, but it was a start. He wasn’t as invincible as he made himself out to be.
“A lucky blow,” Lod’rum said gaining his composure. “Let me show you how it’s done!” and with that he pointed a finger and Grian and a dark purple ray shot from his bony digit to the dwarf, encasing him in its glow.
The pain struck suddenly and was so intese Grian couldn’t move his muscles. He strained and could barely move his chest enough to get air into his lungs. He fought against it, calling upon the well of holy energy that Hu’Mod brought and little by little began to inch his way forward against the tide of evil that flowed from the dark god’s finger.
“You will die now,” Lod’rum said and began to raise over his head a large chunk of one of the stone buildings that had collapsed in the fight.
Jyr fought back against a particually smelly specimen of undead. The rotten meat and sinew that clung to the long dead bone had a sour smell to it and turned the dwarf’s nose. The rotten corpse still ha one eye, but no lids and the orb was fixated on him. In its grasp was an ancient axe, carved by men, Jyr thought. No self respecting dwarf would hae been happy with that shoddy workmanship.
He blocked the blow coming his way from the cyclops and returned with one of his own, catching the undead on the shoulder. The weight behind the swing made quite the impact and shattered the collar bone. The monstrosity's arm fell to the ground.
“There, now you have one arm for each eye, ya bastard!” Jyr yelled triumphantly, a bearded smiled crossed his wrinkled face.
“Jyr, your son!” Joician said pointing behind them. The dwarf kicked the undead in the chest and turned towards the center of the plaza. He saw Lod’rum holding Grian in some kind of magic beam. Magic, the dwarf thought. A cheaters way of winning. He ran towards the dark god that threatened his son’s life. With a mighty throw, he sent his war axe tumbling through the air and it struck Lod’rum in the back. It sunk into flesh, but didn’t phase the god.
“There is more than one way to break your concentration!” Jyr said and ran around in front of him, he planted his armored foot between the legs of the god, but still he didn’t break the beam holding his son. Jyr ran towords Grian, to see if there was something he could do to help his son.
“Boy, can you hear me?”” Jyr called out. There was no response from Grian, just a strained noise. He could see that his son was in a lot of pain. He turned back towards Lod’rum who was chuckling at the older dwarf’s dilemma.
“You think, ye won, eh?” Jyr said and smiled. Just then Grian started to move forward, but Jyr had his back to him and didn’t see it. He stepped into the beam coming from the dark god. “Yer magic has no affect on me!” he said just beofre the chunk of wall crashed down on him from above.
“NO!” Grian called out as he was freed. His father laid under the rubble before him. Before he could react, the dark god began to shoot more rays his way. It took everything he could do to escape them. He placed a bubble of holy energy around himself to fend off the attacks of the dark god as he closed the distance between them. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Zeeg fall to a horde of undead that swarmed him. He vowed when this was over he would fix everything. He would use his new power from Hu’Mod to return them to life. All of the fallen around him. None of them will have died in vain.
A wave of magical energy washed over Grian from behind, he felt as it passed harmlessly. He turned to see a portal opening. More dark elves? Or something worse, he thought trying to keep an eye on Lod’rum and the portal at the same time.
He could hear shouting through the portal. A war cry. It sounded like there was an army in there. He tried not to let it bring him down, but he was unsure how much worse it could get. The odds were stacked against them unless he could take out Lod’rum.
The portal began to spit out figures in polished chain mail armor, hammers and axes raised above their heads. Dozens of soldiers poured out and raced towards Grian. It took him a minute to recognize those soldiers. “For Hu’Mod! For Grian! For Helmsford Halls!” they chanted as they raced past Grian in a tide of dwarves. They even ignored Lod’rum and ran straight at the undead.
Grian sighed in relief, almost not believing in what he was witnessing.
I told you to trust me, Grian. Help was on its way.
“But how?” Grian asked.
Look to the portal. I was wrong to doubt the resolve of my faithful. I am not infallible, you know. I should have trusted them, even back then.
“Thats...Thats the old guy, Valin. Are you telling me he is working for you...I mean us?” Grian asked Hu’Mod.
Valin was the very first Hammer of Hu’Mod. I thought he had turned his back on me many years ago. It seemed when my popularity among the dwarves waned, he went into exile, only to return when the world was ready.
Valin, who had such vitality in his eyes, when Grian first met him. He knew there was something special about that dwarf. The old man limped towards Grain. He took a knee in front of him even though it was very obvious to do so caused him so much pain.
“My Lord, I pledge my life anew to you. What’s left of it, anyway,” Valin said with a wily smile.
“Please stand. And tell me about this dwarven army,” Grian said holding out a hand to the older dwarf. He rose to his feet with a grunt. From the touch Grian could tell the venerable dwarf wasn’t in good shape. His blood was poisoned, probably from the dark elves. It was so advanced Grian didn’t know if he had the power to heal him. He wasn’t even sure how he was still on his feet.
“When the dwarves began to turn their back on Hu’Mod, I felt a tide of evil coming. I knew something was about to happen. I began to gather only those I could trust, and secret them away at night to a keep that was forgotten long ago in the mountains north of your village. In the cliff face was Helmsford Halls. An ancient dwarven kingdom from many years ago. As we were trying to reach out to Hu’Mod for guidence, Lod’rum tricked him into stasis. The way you found him. Fearing death, we sealed the halls and waited for a time when our strength grew or we found a way to free Hu’Mod. We didn’t know Lod’rum was also tricked into stasis during that fight, otherwise we would have returned home to spread the word of Hu’Mod. That shame we will be repenting for the rest of our lives, Joician and I,” Valin explained.
Grian watched as Lod’rum sent magic flying into the dwarves, trying to thin their numbers. The magic had little to no effect on most, having the special armor that was only forged by Hammers of Hu’Mod. In his frustration he turned his attention back to Grian and Valin.
“When I kill you, I will make your flesh walk this planet to remind everyone of the terror of the grave. You will be my new prophets. It’s time to finish this brother!
Lod’rum spun into the air, from his outstretched hands two trails of smoke poured out, one a dark red and the other the same purple hue as the beam that struck Grian earlier. As the smoke settled on the army, Grian could hear choking and the dwarves were suddenly falling to their knees. The ones closest to the undead where being slaughtered in their incapacitated form.
Grian leapt into the air and closed the distance with Lod’rum, ten feet above the plaza. His holy infused fists striking the dark god with loud thuds that sent shockwaves in all directions. Lod’rum wasn’t ready for the attack and reeled backwards, but Grian, in his fury keep the onslaught going. He was vaguely aware down below when Birell sent wind to blow the smoke out of the plaza, saving the army.
With coaching from Hu’Mod, Grian used his new powers to enhance his strikes, not only physically but hitting Lod’rum psychically. He sapped the magical strength from the dark god with every strike.
“Do you know why you won’t win, brother,” Grian said, more god than dwarf with the power flowing through him. Lod’rum was too busy trying to block the attacks to answer him back.
“Because there is power in hope. All it takes is a spark and it spreads like wild fire. There is no hope in undeath, only obedience,” he finished.
Lod’rum screamed out in rage and sent a pulse of force in all directions sending Grian back towards the center of the plaza. Chunks of stone fell from the buildings into the armies fighting below. Looking from where he was, Grian was seeing the numbers game wasn’t as bad as he had thought. They truly had a chance!
He charged back at Lod’rum not wanting to give the dark god a moment to catch his breath. He could feel the tide changing. He knew it was almost over, he just had to hang in there a little longer. His friends below have shown so much courage in the face of evil, even those without special abilities, he had to at least match their courage. So many had fallen in this battle and he owed them to win.
As he hit Lod’rum in the chest hard enough to send him into a building thirty feet behind him, he saw Stone Spear fall to a Probos who had three dwarves gored onto his tusks. He winced, and put his desert folk friends name down on his mental list of those he would fix, after the fight. He charged towards the building, as a fireball arced out of the hole Lod’rum had made and he just had enough time to dodge it. He smashed into the soft flesh of the dark god at full speed collapsing the building on top of them.
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