The Hammer of Hu'Mod Part 45
by Joe Solmo
Grian ramped up with holy power and flew into the building seeking the evil god hidden inside. A great backlash of energy arced out of the rubble and what was left standing finally gave into to the pull of gravity. The entire undead army fell silently to the ground, inert. The companions each took a deep breath and looked around the destruction caused by the battle. Confused and exhausted dwarves dropped their weapons and sighed with relief.
Now that a silence fell like rain, distant cries for help, and the ones helping them could be heard faintly. Birell was torn between going to the aid of her friend in the rubble and the aid of the people that followed him. The elf looked around at the other survivors as if looking for some direction.
Well we are still alive. Didn’t expect that.
Birell was relieved upon hearing from Kilyn. She turned towards Jyr, who lay motionless. Kregas was there trying to help the older dwarf, but the tears running down the dwarf’s beaded cheeks didn’t give Birell much hope.
“Is there nothing we can do?” she asked him.
“I tried. It’s like the power is gone. I can’t help him,” Kregas said wiping his eyes with the back of his large, bruised hand.
“The power is gone? Grian?” she asked as her worried eyes scanned the debris.
“I...don’t know,” Kregas responded. “I can’t feel Hu’Mod’s power.” It’s like it was turned off.
“Killyn, can you sense him,” Birell whispered as she started to walk slowly towards the rubble.
“What was that?” Kregas asked.
“Oh, I wasn’t talking to you, Kregas. I was talking to the voice in my head,” Birell said absently, not noticing how that sounded.
“Okay, I got one of those too,” the newly named Hammer of Hu’Mod said following her. Joicen followed as well. Together they tried to move the stone that had collapsed on their friend, but the large bricks were too heavy for their hands. Birell used the power of nature Kilyn gave her and had great vines crawl across the plaza, grabbing chunks of stone as they did.
“Do you feel Hu’Mod?” Kregas asked Joicen who looked lost.
“No. For the first time in four hundred years, I do not feel his power. It’s like a loss of a limb,” She said almost to quietly to hear. “even when he was in stasis, I could feel him. This is different.”
“What are we going to do?” Kregas asked her. He didn’t want to admit it, but he was scared.
“I don’t know. Let us not lose faith yet. Hu’Mod is the god of life, if anyone can survive, it is him,” Joicen said.
Slowly the bodies of both Grian and Lod’rum were exposed in the rubble. Blood flowed from both of them liberally and limbs bent in directions it had no business doing so. It looked grim, very grim. None of the surviving companions had much hope.
Birell sent the vines away and climbed into the broken stones to her friend. She felt for a pulse, like her royal teachers had showed her many years ago. She felt nothing. She looked at the still face of her friend and her vision began to blur with tears. After everything they had been through together, and all the loss of the elven people, just to have Grian also taken from her didn’t seem fair.
She turned towards the awaiting companions and shook her head sadly. They both put their heads down and recited a prayer for their fallen friend. Birell stayed crouched next to her friend, unable to leave his side.
“I do not yet sense him on the other side,” Spirit Walker said as he approached. He had a few minor cuts and bruises but seemed to come out of the battle with most of his health. “Maybe there is still hope. Has anyone checked on Lod’rum?”
All eyes turned to the ancient evil, but their worries were for naught. The still form of the dark god hadn’t moved since they discovered it under the rubble.
“Let me through,” came a voice. The companions parted for Valin, who stumbled towards them, he was covered in cuts and injuries and each step pain showed on his face. He dropped to his knees next to Grian. He placed his hands on the fallen dwarf’s chest.
The life force that remained in the old dwarf flowed through his touch into Grian and he dropped lifelessly onto the rubble. Birell put her hand onto Grian’s throat once more, She smiled as she felt something, a faint throbbing.
“I think it’s working!” She said. Kregas and Joicen pulled Valin’s body away and placed him on the plaza’s stones carefully. The weight of his sacrifice lay heavy on their hearts. A moment later Grian coughed weakly. Even through the two Hammer’s of Hu’Mod were out of range to hear the cough, they both sensed a spark of power and looked up.
Grian’s eyes opened, and Birell feared as he stared blankly at the sky. It took a moment for him to realize where he was. He tried to sit up and failed. he settled for turning his head towards Lod’rum and sighed once he was satisfied the fight was over. The dark god’s body lay still in the rubble.
“Are you okay?” Birell asked, concerned for her friend’s life. He nodded weakly back at her and tried to sit up.
“Rest, you deserve it,” Joicen said smiling down at him.
“Don’t encourage him, he is lazy enough,” Kregas said as he entered Grian’s field of vision. It was good to see his old friend had made it through okay. He tried to sit up again and this time he got up onto his elbows. He scanned the wreckage.
“He didn’t make it. There isn’t enough power for me to do anything,” Kregas said, knowing what was on his friend’s mind.
“I have to try,” Grian said. He tried to struggle to his feet. Kregas helped him up and hung on to him. He took a few steps and stopped.
“Are you okay?” Kregas asked.
“His voice, it’s gone,” Grian explained.
“Is he still there with you?” Kregas asked.
“I can feel him, he is faint. I don’t know,” Grian said, confused. Birell placed her small delicate fingers on the dwarf’s bearded chin and raised his eyes to hers.
“He isn’t inside of you anymore. Killyn says you and him are now one. Basically you are Hu’Mod,” the elf explained.
“That...that feels right,” Grian said. “I feel weak. The fight took so much out of me.”
“That was a hell of a fight! Your father would be proud!” Kregas said. “Come over here and sit. We can gather the dead and give them a proper burial. Then maybe find a cold pint around here somewhere,” Kregas said and clapped his friend on the back almost sending him tumbling to the floor.
“So many died, because of me,” Grian whispered in astonishment. His gaze fell on Valin.
“He gave his life for me?’ Grian asked.
“Yes. It was his pleasure as a Hammer of Hu’Mod,” Joicen said.
Grian sighed. “My fault, all of this.”
“You can’t look at it that way. They died to protect life. They died to stop the god of death. They died to protect family and friends,” Joicen said. “I bet none of them would have it any over way if given the chance.”
“Still, such loss of life,” Grian said sadly. The companions helped Grian return to the temple. Exhaustion kicked in almost immediately. They let him sleep for a few hours as they buried their friends. Once Grian woke again, they led him to the graves to say a few words.
“I wish I could have saved them,” Grian said. “But I know it had to be this way. It wouldn’t be a sacrifice if there was no consequences.” Kregas nodded at his friend, feeling his pain.
“We figured you would want to say something,” Kregas said pointing at Jyr’s grave. Grian nodded and cleared his throat.
“He was my father, and later became my friend. I didn’t know him as well as I would have liked, but feel blessed for the time I had with him near the end. There maybe be better fathers out there, but I wouldn’t want one. Jyr was more than I could handle,” he said with a smile. “May he find the mead halls full of fun, feasting, and tavern wenches.”
Grian looked around at the other graves and said something for each one. He stood over Moose’s grave. The one who carried Hu’Mod all this way. What a burden the large man had carried, without ever complaining. His gaze turned to the left, to Sreg’s grave, and the right of Moose, to Zeeg’s final resting place. Each brother had held a god inside of them. A tear came to his eye as he thought of his lost friends.He turned back to the living friends that waited patiently behind him.
“What will you all do now? I don’t have any answers for you. Hu’Mod is a part of me, I can feel it, but I don’t know the next step,” Grian said.
“Once I rest up I am going to find my father, I think he is still alive,” Birell said. “If there is any chance I must try.” Grian smiled and nodded his approval at her.
“What of you Kregas? Joicen?” he asked as he ran his fingers through his tangled red beard.
“We stay here and rebuild with you,” Joicen answered. Kregas nodded.
“Death Smite is ok with some rest. He got his fill of undead in that battle. It’s the quietest he has been since I met him,” the young dwarf said.
“My people will stay and help as well. We still believe in the Healer that came to us,” Spirit Walker said. “There is still much for my people to learn from you.” Grian clapped his desert folk friend on the back.
“I thank all of you for your help and sacrifice,” Grian said. “That doesn’t just come from me, but from him as well,” he said and patted his head, indicating Hu’Mod. Suddenly he looked around frantic. The motion was so sudden, Birell had her blades bare and her keen elf eyes scanned the horizon for danger. After a few tense seconds she turned to her dwarf friend.
“Where is Skrat’s grave? He still deserves to be buried with his brothers,” Grian asked.
“Well, about that. We couldn’t find it,” Kregas said and shrugged.
“What!” Grian said, his heart skipped a beat. He remembered all the chaos and evil the young mage had caused.
“I wouldn’t worry, though. There is so much rubble down there, I am sure his body will surface when we clean up the town,” Kregas said, then after a pause, “...Tomorrow.”. Grian and Birell exchanged worried glances.
“You don’t know him like we did, Kregas. Is there a chance he survived?” Birell asked the Hammer of Hu’Mod.
“Not a chance,” the dwarf responded with a nod of his head.
From where he sat, the dwarves looked so small. Like toys, playthings. Which is what the living are to a dark god like himself. Now wasn’t the time though. Now was the time to gather strength and plan. Death always claimed the living. He had nothing but time. Lod’rum let a cackle escape his lips and was surprised at the voice that came forth. He would have to get used to the new body. Young. Vibrant. Yet damaged. The damage can be healed. It was just a matter of time...
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