From The Journals of Thane Ironfist

Entry 732:

I continue to keep these journals so that perhaps my successor can learn from my failings and perhaps serve what remains of our people better than I have.  Granted, it would be difficult to do worse.

The Black Rose Society.  I don’t really know why the fuck Mengst calls them that, but I’m part of it now.  Don’t really give two shits, except that it means I’ll meet my end faster – and perhaps better – than I would have before.  Speaking of Mengst, he once again asked me to join his leadership.  Fucking humans will never understand.

Humans.  Unsurprisingly, most of the group I’ve been assigned to is made up of humans.  Also unsurprisingly, most of them talk way too fucking much.  There’s also, oddly enough, a halfling, and even more oddly, she has an Elven companion.  Not sure how exactly an Elf ended up serving with Mengst.  Perhaps she feels guilt over the decisions made by her own people in the fight for Khevoran?  Heh.  Dumb bitch will never understand true remorse.  Her people were already dying, and simply chose to not die any faster.

The human I sparred with before taking this watch was decent enough with his blade, and seems to be the most experienced in the group – save myself and the Elf, of course.  Though the true test will come tomorrow, and shall perhaps seperate those who are smiled upon by fate from those who have ended up here purely by chance.

 

Entry 733:

*There are several reddish-brown smudges scattered throughout the writing of this entry – likely dirt mixed with blood*

Fuck.  The previous entry came very, very close to being the closing chapter of these chronicles.  A troll hit me with a tree three times – THREE FUCKING TIMES – and yet somehow the Gods have seen fit to keep me alive for what I can only imagine is their own amusement.  Truly, I can see no other reason why I was robbed of a glorious death in one-on-one combat with a Gods-damned shit-eating troll.

As further proof the Gods keep me around entirely for their entertainment, the troll was only the first of many chances for, perhaps not a glorious death, but at least an honest one.  Goblins, Orcs, and even two fucking chaos dwarves had their chance and yet still, here I sit, writing and slowly bleeding to death from the inside.  My well-meaning companions will almost certainly take me – regardless of what I say – to a Company surgeon in the next couple of days to get me back on my feet.  This should, at least, allow me to continue my hunt for someone or something talented or lucky enough to finally land a true blow and defy the curse of life the Gods have seen fit to grant me.

For posterity’s sake, it is important to note – before I pass out and forget – what this group uncovered in what was thought to simply be a cave of wild Goblins.  It appears my people were, for reasons unkown to me, mining Star-Metal in mountains quite far from any settlements I have knowledge of.  That alone is odd enough to be noteworthy, however, it also appears they were doing so with the knowledge and aid of the Elves, who avoid that shit like an Orcish whore avoids a bath.  I asked the Elf who is oh-so-conveniently placed as part of our group if she knew anything, but she just gave me that stupid fucking smile that Elves give and remained silent.  It does at least explain the presence of those fucking wanker slugs, however.

Perhaps I will be unlucky and live long enough to uncover the truth behind this.  If I am otherwise fortunate, I urge you to continue where I leave off, as I feel it is of great importance, not only to my own people, but perhaps all of Khevoran.

 

Entry 734:

High-Guard.  Fuck me, I hadn’t seen the place in almost ten years.  Can’t say I approve of the new decorations on the northern lawn courtesy of Stonehand.  Sick shit.  Wonder if father would’ve gone through with the construction if he’d known who would end up running the place.  Wish I could say I thought it’d change a damn thing, but he always was a stubborn ass.

Mengst gave another of his rousing speeches.  Ra ra, we have to get in there – but I have no fucking idea how.  It gets the folks pumped up, sure, but unless we get really Gods-damn lucky, it doesn’t matter how hot the fire burns in their hearts.  Those cannons show up on the walls and every single one of ’em will be just as dead, and it sure as shit won’t matter if their backs are facing towards or away from the rain of metal death when it comes.

Gotta love the Gods’ sense of humor sending me back here.  Maybe that’s why the fucking troll didn’t kill me.  Perhaps, at the very least, I’ll be granted the honor of dying to reclaim the place and help fix father’s fuck-up, if not my own.  And, if we get REALLY fucking lucky, maybe – just maybe – I can make sure our final legacy to the world isn’t to provide some Gods-damned other-world invaders an invunlnerable fortress with which to crush the remaining free people of Khevoran.

 

Entry 735:

High-Guard needs to fall within a year’s time, Mengst has no idea how to actually make that happen…and the lot of us are sent on a patrol the other way through the fuckin’ mountains.  Yet, after a few days of nothing but walking and sleeping and eating and shitting, who stops at our camp this night but a couple of Gods-damned Warders, one of which is an actual fucking Etu’sauri.

Warders…one an Etu’sauri, no less…out here?  Why?  Is there more going on in these passes than Mengst let on?  Is he hoping we’ll find something, or someone?  Or were they simply returning from a trip to stir shit up down South?  Likely the second one, but still, the boredom of this patrol so far makes the mind wander.

Fuck it, guess it doesn’t really matter why they’re here.  If anyone’s gonna figure out how the fuck to get into that place and stop those cannons, it’ll probably be a fuckin’ Warder.

Warders are crazy fucks – maybe the only people workin’ for Mengst with a death-wish greater than mine.  And aye, that’s the fuckin’ irony of it all, isn’t it?  You go out to get yourself killed, and die a glorious death, but every time you fail, it only makes you that much harder to kill the next time someone or something has a shot at you.  Keep this shit up for a few years and eventually nothing on Khevoran short of a Gods-damned Ringwielder can stop you, and I guess that’s when Mengst decides your particular brand of death-wish is worth being labeled “Warder”.

 

Entry 738:

–After the previous entry, there were two entries written while traveling that provided little information of note, beyond relaying Ironfist’s boredom and continued guilt–

Hope.  Now that’s a funny fucking feeling after staring into the “eyes” of one of Kishara’s avengers, and yet I can’t help but feel the smallest, faintest glimmer, for the first time since…well, since I started writing in this stupid thing, that’s for sure.

Don’t get me wrong – after what I say today, I’m even more certain we’re all well-and-truly fucked.  Kisharans and greenskins, like peas in a fucking pod.  Always thought it was strange that the Kisharans also happened to show up on the day of the Grand Big Fuck-up, but intuition isn’t proof.  Now there’s proof, clear as the conscience of a newborn babe – Kisharans commanding greenskins into combat against the Society.  Mengst has to know – this journal just became a Hell of a lot more important if by chance we don’t make it back.  Everyone else is focused on which human killed which human and who is the Gods-damned traitor and none of that fucking matters compared to what we were witness to.

Turns out these Avenger-led greenskins were looking for us, too.  Quite a large army for this lot, who piss themselves at the first sign of a troll and take quite a beating against nine Kisharan soldiers.  I couldn’t read the note, but God-boy had no reason to lie about its contents.  Speaking of God-boy, I’m starting to think he might have been the reason they actually sent a Gods-damn Avenger after us.  Not many people I know spill white light instead of blood when they’re run-through, but then I guess weirder shit has happened.  Still, that sort of power – even if God-boy can’t control it yet – doesn’t go unnoticed.  Not these days, that’s for damn sure.

 

Entry 743:

–The previous entries detailed the group’s journey back to Hillcrest following the battle with the avenger–

I glew.  The fuck was that about?  Me and the little one – don’t know if anyone else noticed it – but I swear we fuckin’ glew for a moment when Thomas was workin’ his magic on Xander.  Not like God-boy, but…fuck, does that mean Aluviel is “watching over me” – or whatever the fuck they call it – like she does him and the little one?

That would fuckin’ figure – all I want to do is die and I have a Gods-damned…God…trying to make sure I can’t even pull THAT off.  The fuck does she want from me?  Maybe she just thinks I haven’t suffered enough, and wants to make sure I stick around just long enough to watch the rest of my kin die.  Maybe she thinks I deserve that, after all I’ve done.  Can’t say I disagree.

Bah, enough of that shit.  Finally got a chance to speak to Mengst after the light show, and he seconded my thoughts regarding the Kisharan avenger and it’s small army of greenskins – perhaps the attack on my kin all those years ago was not just a coincidence.  Either way, it looks as though we won’t be following up on that anytime soon.

Instead, our merry little band is heading south into the heart of Kisharan territory on the vague hope that we can find the TRUE brains behind those fucking guns – assuming he even exists.  After all, this hunch is based entirely on information we got from a crazy little shit who wastes his genius making fake Elves who fuck other fake Elves.

Hard to complain, though – I can think of few better ways to die than in the middle of Kisharan territory, even if it’s just for the vain hope of a finding a single Halfling somewhere in the biggest university in all of Khevoran.  Fuck knows I’ve gone to more dangerous places for less worthy reasons.
Entry 744:

Never bothered to write down my dreams here before…usually it’s just me dying in different ways, some shitty, some…also shitty, but well, less shitty, I guess.  But I can’t seem to shake this one, so maybe if I write it down it will go the fuck away.

I was back underground with my people.  Fighting that never ending battle against the greenskins, in the grand-motherfucking-arena that no one who sleeps under the stars wants to remember is going on.  Because when my people are all dead, there won’t be shit to stop the greenskin ocean from flooding the North.  Finger in the fucking dam.

But it wasn’t the past.  My eye was still gone, and I felt…older.  Yet more powerful than I’ve ever felt.

I suppose it goes without saying, but I’ve had power before.  The kind of power most people couldn’t even fuckin’ dream of.  This was…different.  You know how when you’re really, really, really, really fucking drunk, you feel like you’re invincible?  Nothing can touch you?  That’s what I remember feeling like.

Suddenly, the rocks and earth turned on those smelly fucks, as though the cave itself finally grew tired of its unwelcome guests and decided to bury them back where they belong.  Never seen anything like it.

Then, it gets weird.  Cheers.  From my people.  Directed towards me.  The same people who I’d damned, who exiled me to the surface for murdering my race…they cheered for me.  It was only then I noticed I was fucking glowing again – it seemed to come from one of my fingers – but as soon as I started to look down, I woke up.  And there I was, back in reality, where I’m still a worthless shit.

I can still see and feel it all, as though I was there.  It won’t go away, like the other dreams – another part of my fucking torment from that bitch Aluviel, I guess.  Just fantasy, like a fucking child playing at hero.  I should know b–

–The entry cuts off here; he likely stopped writing as soon as he heard the explosion from Futz’s lab–

Entry 745:

You sad, stupid, stupid fuck.  All you’ve managed to do is add a fresh body to the pile of corpses of those who stupid enough to get themselves killed in my name.  You think anyone will remember or thank you for it?  You stupid shit.

I will take your fucking symbol and burn it on my face, not out of respect for your memory, but so that everyone knows the stupidity you showed in your final moments on this worthless rock.  You could’ve been someone, you could’ve changed things – instead you died a nobody, protecting someone who is less than nobody.  You died for someone who is already dead.  Doesn’t get much worse than that, kid.

Fuck you, fuck your family, fuck these idiots I’ve been assigned to work with, and most of all, fuck Mengst for telling you who he thinks I am.  Thane Ironfist, King of the Dwarves, has been dead for years.  All that is left is Gronk.

 

Entry 751:

–There are several travel entries before this, but nothing of note was written–

I’m an old fuck.  It takes a lot to surprise me now, so when I say I was shocked today, take into account what exactly that means.  Altair.  The fucking Emperor – and more importantly, one of the few I thought of as an honest-to-Gods friend.  He deserved better than that.

Always wondered where he ended up after the invasion.  I’d hope they’d at least let him die with some dignity.  Part of me wanted to charge out and save his ass or, far more likely, die trying.  But no – as sad as this lot is, there is no honor in getting them all killed alongside me, especially if it means the failure of our mission.  If I hadn’t thrown in my lot with Mengst, maybe things could’ve been different – but at this point, that’s just grains of sand on the mountain.

It’s hard to believe we actually made it this far without fucking up, actually.  I mean I suppose the Northman almost getting himself killed trying to fill a water bottle sits pretty high on the “fucking up” scale, but since then, we’ve made decent progress into the south without drawing much of the wrong sort of attention.  If memory serves, it’s going to get much, much harder as we get further south – yet all some of us can do is bitch about the Gods-damned weather.  Don’t hear me bitchin’, and I’ve spent most my life under the fucking ground, far away from things like “weather” or “climates”.  Surfacer problems, they were.  If they had any sense, they’d have been down there with us.

I forgot to mention before, but we came across one of the old Highways while we were slipping under the mountains.  Everyone seemed confused – I always forget that no one topside REALLY knows what happened – what is STILL happening – down there.  I had to rush them through, though the ever-present smell of death didn’t make it hard to convince them.  Have to admit, I was half-tempted to run down that road, killing everything in my path until I too fell.  But no – I do not deserve a death as honorable as one under the stone.  I will live – such as it is – and die, as a surfacer.

Gotta admit, for all our success – it’s fuckin’ boring.  This sneakin’ around is not the sort of shit my kind was meant for.  What I wouldn’t give for a good–the fuck?  Did I just hear a SPLASH?  Looks like the Gods may’ve seen fit to answer me for once…

 

Entry 752:

–The writing on this entry is more difficult to read thannormal, likely due to jostling from the carriage ride–

A year.  That’s how long the Stoutfoots held Rivertonbefore our dumb fuck asses showed up.  Two days later and the entireGods-damned city is on fire.  I knew I’d be pissed off the Gods, but Ifigured they’d at least have the decency to let me die.  It’s more clearnow than ever before – they’d rather let me live a cursed life, forced to watcheverything I touch burn, a reminder that I bring death and despair everywhere Igo.

Well, fuck that and fuck them.  Let the Gods play theirstupid fucking games and amuse themselves, but they’re done getting a rise outof me.  I don’t give two shits anymore if they burn the entire fuckingworld just to make me blink – and I’m sure as fuck not gonna hide under somerock and starve to death.  I figure, surround myself with enoughKisharans, and the Gods will have no choice but to watch me kill them all oneby Gods-damned one, or finally let me fucking die.  Either way, I win.

Beware, Kisharans: a Gods-cursed Trollslayer is riding intoyour precious capital, covered in the still-fresh ashes of the last city dumbenough to let him stay for more than a day.  His soul is ready to burn -are yours?

Entry 755:

So here we are, on the sound end of the whole fuckin’ world, right in the heart of Kisharan rule.  And the damndest thing is, not a single fucker here seems to care.  If you didn’t know better you might think we were back in the North.  Sometimes, on the ride down here, I WOULD almost forget…until a platoon of Peacekeepers came marchin’ by.  That unmistakeable noise will snap you back into reality faster than a troll’s fist.  Or a giant’s, for that matter.

Chumley.  I sure hope he’s alright.  Still not certain how the Kisharans got ahold of one such as him; you’d think a fucker that big could take care of himself.  Hell, I was half tempted to take the Halfling’s suggestion and jump on his back, riding through the gates of Penshin.  Would be helluva way to go, but in the end, utterly pointless – and if there’s one thing I won’t let my death be, it’s fuckin’ pointless.  I’m sure we’ve used whatever Gods’ blessing we had to get this far already, so it may be pointless to hope they watch over the big fuck…but if he gets to Hillcrest, he could be of real use by the time we get back and things really start getting nasty – one way or the other.  I don’t think most folks in our group have seen REAL war, but once we get back…well, they’ll be quick learners, or they’ll be dead.

‘Course, I’m not really sure how they’re NOT already dead.  I’ve seen magics, and I know what they can do to a man.  By all rights, the fuckers who were stuck in the wagon should’ve never come out.  Not that I’m complaining, mind you – I’m ALMOST fond of a few of ’em – but facts are facts.  Sure, they didn’t come out unscathed, but SOMETHING must’ve happened to keep them from ending up back in Hillcrest as naught more than ashes.

Makes me worry that we’re out of luck.  Down here, of all places, where surely we need it the most.  Especially now, that the game has changed.  A whole fleet of fuckin’ ships ready to load off thousands in the North, comin’ up behind Mengst while his eyes lies fixed on High-Guard…fuck me.  I’m not sure how we’re going to stop them AND find the halfling, much less get him out of this place…but all I know is that we HAVE to, or this war is already over before we even get to fight it.

 

Entry 756:

An outsider might find it strange – one of the infamous “Suicial Trollslayers” opting to avoid a bloody death?  I admit I almost surprised myself.  But they would never understand.

If we only sought death, there would be none of us who lasted longer than a month.  We could throw ourselves from a cliff, or drown ourselves in a river.  I could’ve charged High-Guard, seeing how look I took before I joined the Stone Army courtesy of Stonehand himself.  These are deaths, yes, but they are not good deaths.

A year ago, perhaps, things would have been different.  However, there is no good death to be found like this – dying in the streets of Penshin, cut down by common criminals, our blood not even dry before the North begins to burn.  What a story that would be, aye?  Thane Ironfist, bane of the Dwarven race – brings doom upon his people, then wanders the land, only to be brought down in the south-ass end of the world because he wanted a box of Gods-damned shiny stones.  No fucking way.

The people I travel with begin to worry me.  They seem to have forgotten that they are soldiers, and Alton – self-righteous ass that he may be – is our leader.  Perhaps it is his own fault; he shows weakness by putting a military decision up to a Gods-damned vote.  He does not understand that in the end, it is the leader who is responsible for the outcome the mission and the welfare of his people.  “This is what others told me to do” doesn’t hold much weight when your people are dead in a ditch and Kishara’s armies march north of High-Guard.  Or when an endless ocean of Greenskins pours from the depths to take everything your people are and were.

Not that I don’t understand where they’re coming from.  The amount of money we’re looking at could undoubtedly be a valuable tool to finish our mission.  But the risk of death – or worse, discovery and capture – is too great.  They could just throw me over the walls of the University and start searching while I start killing, but there as well, the risk of failure is to great.  What we are doing is too important for so great a gamble.  We will find another way.  We must.