Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Power Within comes Without

This is the next installment in the adventures of Merecraft and Udrath. You can find the one prior to this, penned by my Brother here called 'Into the Noose'.


Udrath was skirting the edges of the dull box they were stuck in closely examining the luclinite stonework for flaws. His expert mining skills searching for tiniest imperfection or minute hairline crack. After all, he was a Dwarf and if there was one thing he knew well is was stone. In the centre of the ‘cell’ it took Merecraft a brief moment to regain his composure and as he did so he raised his eyes to stare in to the blank uncaring stare of his daughters gaze and he felt sorrow. With almost a whisper he spoke, “Why? Why would you do this Viota? I trusted you, Udrath trusted you”.

“That’s what made it so easy you fool. I’ve always thought that those who are generally of a good nature always err on the side of trust. It’s quite poetic really if you think about it father. The daughter you knew nothing about suddenly comes in to your extraordinary life and instead of joy, she brings pain and suffering. Much like you abandoned and ruined my mother’s life. Irony, it’s interesting. Perhaps your decisions in life are coming back to haunt you.”

“That’s not how it was Viota, and you know it.” Merecraft shot back, his mind a maelstrom of thoughts about his daughter, her mother and unsurprisingly of their current predicament. Turning away from the Lady Bovich he walked across to Udrath.

“Anything?” he asked of the Dwarf. Udrath stood, his knees creaking with age and turned to his oldest friend, his solemn look saying all that needed to be said. Merecraft placed his hand on Uddys shoulder and closed his eyes trying to force some semblance of calm. He would not be defeated by Dhrak. Not now, not after all this time, after all the borne hardships. Mostly though, he would not allow his closest friend to be drawn in to this fight and have such an ending. His thoughts turned to Udrath and almost immediately the illness that Udrath had that would soon see his end of days. Dammit he thought, if only he had not trusted the poisonous Viota. Now his friend would at least have a painless death and not the searing agony Udrath had been expecting. No! I will not let this be, his thoughts continued. Not like this. You got him in to this Merecraft Oakenheart. You’ll find a way out. He wasn’t sure who he was convincing, but there was nothing else to do. Merecraft moved to the corner of the cell and sat down his back against the wall. Closing his eyes, he let his mind wander free in search of an answer.


Killzum Brakkarg, Warg Wrestler stood sentry. Not the sharpest tool in the box several hours had passed since he had seen the Dwarf, the skinny Human and the Magicker before he started to realise something was wrong. They had not yet come out of the mansion. They had said they would not be long. Several more minutes passed before Killzum came to the conclusion he should do something. But what? Looking at the ornate doorway in to the building and in absence of anything else to do or an imagination to come up with a different plan, Killzum moved to the door and raised his huge plate clad boot and in one motion obliterated the portal into kindling. Drawing his two long serrated hip knives in place of his usual weapon, the massive two handed broad sword strapped to his back he moved in to the dim foyer, stepping over the disintegrated door. All was silent within. Not that this mattered to Killzum. He was not a creature of stealth. In fact Killzum Brakkarg was quite the opposite.

Bellowing at the top of his voice, the walls shook with the thunderous sound as he called out his challenge cry. At first there was no response, then his eyes caught movement on the stairs in the room to his right. Striding directly through the rounded doorway to the room to investigate, Killzum was met by a quick moving shadow that dropped down on to him as he passed underneath the doorframe. Without breaking a stride he sheathed one of his blades and reached up over his shoulder with a gauntleted fist grabbing his assailant, a small war goblin who was promptly trying to poke a needle knife down the gap in his neck guard. Trying to disarm the slippery little creature would have been futile, so Killzum simply pulled the Goblin closer in to his armour and then with a sickening popping sound impaled the creatures face on one of his long shoulder spikes. Leaving the Goblins corpse to dangle, its life blood dribbling down his breastplate in a gruesome display of laziness, Killzum drew his sheathed blade again and continued to the shadowy stairwell. Meeting no further resistance he broached the top of the stairs and entered the room. It was empty. Shaking his head, Killzum moved on continuing his search. In a short time due to his lack of subtlety he had swiftly searched the whole mansion and disappointingly still only had one Goblin trophy to brag of. There was no sign of the comrades he had arrived with. Completely confused now, Killzum removed his helm and sat heavily on a bench in the reception hall trying to muster some sort of plan. Emitting a low grumble he began to rub his brow. This would not be easy and thinking usually made his head hurt and even worse his stomach grumble with a terrible hunger. This would not be easy at all.


Udrath sat in silence absently toying with his axe, its butterfly shaped shining blades resting on the ground of the cell . Out of the corner his eye he could see Mere meditating, obviously off somewhere trying to find an answer to their current dilemma. Across the other side of the room sat Viota, looking almost smug but lost in deep thought. He knew the lass was wild sometimes, indeed crazy even, but never in a hundred years did he think she would stoop to the low levels she had. By Brell! What is the world coming too? he thought. Maybe she’s hurting too considering the mess her life has become. He was not concerned overly about his own plight. Udrath knew he was dying and nothing could be done about that. If he were here alone he would spend his remaining time draining the cask attached to his pack and slipping in to a peaceful sleep. But Merecraft was here and that lad needed him now, not his melancholy or his illness.

He tried to put his mind to the problem at hand. Udrath knew he wasn’t considered by many as a cerebral person but the fact of the matter was, when he wasn’t out crushing skulls he spent a good deal of his time nowadays scouring old tomes, indulging in many subjects that interested him. It was a way to fill the time and not think about Megan. As usual as soon as his thoughts touched upon her his chest constricted in emotional pain and he felt unbidden tears start to form in his eyes. Damn how I miss you Megan, he mused thumping the hard floor of the cell. If only you were here now, you always knew just the right piece of advice to give my sweet, you were my rock.... then it struck him like an Ogres backhand. A conversation many hundreds of years ago. The right advice. He cast his mind back, picturing it as if it were yesterday trying to recall each and every detail, making sure he got it right.


Merecraft came out of his meditation, gently willing himself back to consciousness. Opening his eyes he saw Udrath sitting in a similar manner to himself, his eyes red and his head deeply bowed, eyes closed. Looking across to his daughter he cleared his throat and stood, approaching her.

“It really wasn’t like that you know. With your mother I mean. We were happy for a time, then...then life just happened. I planned nothing but love and care for her you know.” He paused swamping painful memories with his force of will and said in a quieter, almost whispering tone, “I need you to believe me Viota. I would never have hurt her intentionally. Nor would I hurt you, despite what you have done.”

“And what have I ‘done’ father? What exactly is it that I have done to you? Abandoned you with child? Never even checking to see if you were still alive or well or needed money? No. The things you have done to me and my mother are a constant pain and to see you righteously correcting the worlds wrongs with your stupid sidekick seems almost pathetic now. You needed teaching a lesson ‘Father’ and it’s rather delightful that your daughter is here to make you learn.”

“By killing me? By killing Uddy? What has he ever done to you? You like him, you know you do. And to throw away his life on a selfish revenge laden whim is nothing short of sick Viota and you know it. How do you plan on escaping yourself anyhow?”

“Well, that’s not something I had even considered. You have no idea the pain your emergence has caused me. The memories, the stabbing sharp painful memories it has raised from the dead. I just want them to end.” She finished and looked directly in to Merecrafts eyes this time with no blank uncaring stare but instead with a deep sadness there. “I am prepared for them to end.”

Merecraft was horrified. Not only was his brother in arms in a huge mess because of him, now his daughter wished to throw away her own life because of the unintentional pain he had caused her and her mother. This was a black day, a day to be forgotten. The sad thing was, it would be forgotten and forgotten soon if they could not work out a way to get themselves out of there.

At that moment Uddy burst upright from his sitting position and exclaimed loudly “I’ve got it Mere! I’ve bloody well got it lad!” Mere and Viota looked at the bouncing Dwarf like he was crazy sporting a huge grin just about visible beneath his huge beard that was swaying rhythmically.

Merecraft raised his eyebrows and looked quizzically at Uddy. “What exactly do you have my friend? You know how to get out of here?” he asked.

“I know how to get out of here. Yes!. But more laddy, a damn sight more. I know how to kill that damned Shadowknight!” he whooped and did a small jig grinning madly all the time.

Patiently Merecraft nodded his head then waited a few moments. “So? The answer is?” he offered to the still dancing Dwarf.

Uddy stopped his prancing and his face took on a more serious look. “OK, this is how it goes laddy.” Then he turned and looked at Viota. “Cast a spell lass” he ordered. Viota looked at him like he was insane. “I’ve already told you Udrath. Magic will not work here.” she stated.

“Aye lass, but humour an old man. Now if you please.” He said, indicating with his hand he was still expecting the spell he had asked for. Shaking her head Viota slowly went through a quick spell, she knew it would not work as soon as she started. As she said the words she felt no building of power, nothing. The spell failed. Udrath seemed delighted and smiling turned towards Merecraft. “Now you lad”. Merecraft inwardly sighed. There would be no telling the Dwarf, the easiest way to would be to show him magic would not work here. So, Merecraft chose a simple one and began his prayers. To his complete shock a loaf of bread appeared in his hands. “Wha...” he exclaimed. Viota looked completely in shock and Udrath had taken on a more serious demeanour. “Right, now use one to get us out of here lad.” Merecraft did not hesitate and summoning his prayers once more, they all disappeared to reappear in the foyer of the mansion once more and were greeted by a startling sight to behold.

Killzum was sat cross legged on the floor, surrounded by three pig carcasses and a cows head, his distended stomach straining against his tunic, his discarded breastplate laid off to the side and animal fat dribbling down his chin. As they appeared he looked up at them and watched them staring at him in disbelief. “Wut?” he responded to the stares. “Meez wuz dooun sumz finkinz!”.


A short time later the four were sat in Irontoes in North Qeynos. Killzum was again testing his amazing stamina by devouring several mugs of broth and at least four tankards of ale. Viota was sat off to the side, quiet and in thought.

Merecraft looked across to Udrath who was nursing a firewater short, having hardly touched it. “I have to ask Uddy. How did you know?” The Dwarf raised his gaze to look at his most dear companion, his face full of sorrow. “Megan told me laddy.” He said simply. Merecraft did not point out the obvious but waited. He knew Udrath would tell him in his own time.

Minutes passed then Udrath drained his glass in one and wiping his beard looked again at Mere. “A long time ago my friend we had new recruits for me to train at Stormguard Hall. One of the lads, my, he was a feisty character, had strength and girth worthy of the finest Dwarvern Warrior. But skill, he had none. During standard drills he would drop his axe, trip his units left guard and be an all round burden on everyone else. But I knew there was more. If I could just get him to train! Well, I posed the question to Megan. She always knew what to do. Ye know what she told me? Aye, ye don’t of course, but I’ll tell ye laddy. She told me to take him under my wing. To give him special training, not just normal drills with all the other lads. When I asked her why, all she said was, ‘Some have power within and use that, others have power but must gain it from without. It is you where that must come from. You must teach him that power’ and that Mere is how I knew.”

Merecraft sat and thought for a moment, eventually his eyes widening and slamming his fist down on the table in delight. “Uddy, you’re a rare one! You knew that Viotas power being a Magicker came from within and was summoned, but mine comes from prayer, from the Blessed Tunare. A power from the outside. When I cast a spell, I don’t really cast a spell. I pray for Tunare to deliver the power for me. The spell came from Tunares magic, from outside the cage!” Shaking his head in disbelief and laughing, slowly his mirth faded and he placed his hand over Uddys, resting on the tavern table. Looking in to his friends eyes, Merecraft said softly “I miss her too my friend. There was never a finer woman”.


Be well!


  1. Just brilliant mate. You really managed to unpick that particular Gordian knot with style :)

  2. Thanks mate. Had a lot of fun thinking that one through and writing that. I purposefully didn't add why thinking about Megans advice helped Uddy come up with an idea on how to get rid of Dhrak. I thought I'd leave you to do that :)