Final Thoughts of Kragg Blackhammer, Knight of Torm, Son of Moradin
"It took you a great deal of time to get here, Kragg of Blackhammer," one of the cloaked figures ahead of them intones. Kragg stands his ground, his gaze focused upon the two of them, the rest of the party spread out behind him. It took only a moment for a reply to come to Kragg’s lips, speaking in his ever firm tone, "Yet we’re ‘ere."
"He’s very good at pointing out the obvious, isn’t he, Clemence?" Kragg mutters internally, Bloody impatient an’ ignorant tall folk. The fact that we took a bit a time te get ‘ere be obviously more important than the fact we be bloody ‘ere at all. His thoughts are interrupted when Clemence replies and the two continued their dry banter, "Yes, very good at it, Coleman. We should get to the point though."
"I suppose we should at that, Clemence. Step forward and we can finally be finished with this whole affair, Kragg of Blackhammer," the shrouded male responds, "The sooner we begin, the sooner the two days necessary to unlock the door will be over."
Kragg remains where he is for a long moment as he feels the eyes of his companions turn upon him, watching. He shrugs the feeling aside, letting his internal walls take care of it. Nay need te be reminded that this be important... Nor that these two be nay exactly trustworthy. The dwarf breaks his train of thought, stepping forward, letting his intuition guide him; this wasn’t a time for self-reflection, too much was at stake, and his companions were looking to him for leadership. "Aye then," he states simply, keeping his gaze focused on the two figures.
"I’d advise him to keep his servants at a safe distance, wouldn’t you, Clemence?" the male intones, while his female counterpart quickly replies in her own dry tone, "Yes, I would, Coleman, but then some people don’t have the deep seated respect for life and personal safety that we do."
"I suppose we can only work with what we have, Clemence," the duo continues, undaunted, "Just so, Coleman."
Kragg narrows his eyes slightly, still watching the two, even as Orius speaks from behind him, "What say you, Kragg?" The dwarf ignores him, concentrating still on the cloaked pair ahead of him, the feeling of unease that was slowly growing inside him not diminishing in the least when Coleman spoke once more, "If you’d come with me then, Kragg of Blackhammer."
The eyes of his companions were ever watchful, and Kragg could feel them on his back still, but continues to pay them little heed. Something... be feeling off. What do ye expect, followin’ the guidance o’ them bloody spirits again? They’ve already proved that they- "Father?" A voice from behind him, speaking in dwarven; a single word, but it’s enough to give his thoughts pause.‘Er accent’s still off... he remarks, as the man known as Coleman wades into the shallow stream, his robe quickly becoming saturated and heavy with dampness. I told ‘er I’d ‘elp ‘er wit’ that... didn’t I? Be seeming the lesson’ll be cut short before it were even beginnin’.
Kragg shifts his gaze between the two figures in front of him, Clemence and Coleman. Their easy banter may give them an impression of being fools, but the dwarf knows better than that. They’re connected to the spirits... to the Dreamer or the Captain, which means they’re both incredibly dangerous... and deadly. [b]Not that it matters, ye durned fool. There’s always a price, ye knew that, even if ye nay thought about it. One thing fer another, that’s ‘ow the Dreamer works... ‘Ow it worked wit’ Nuifilus... ‘ow it worked wit’ Justyn... ‘ow it worked wit’ Mein’ard... an’ ‘ow it worked wit’ Avaly... One thin’ fer another... always a price, the dwarf berates himself. "To be repaired... a thing must first be broken," the phrase resounds in his mind, words uttered long ago, that had lead him into despair before he had been pulled out of it by his daughter. Ye know ‘ow this will end. Only one way it kin possibly be goin’.
Kragg turns then, glancing over his shoulder, looking to the faces of those who had come here at his side, the faces of those he had brought here. Ye’re a bloody fool, an’ ye know it. Shouldn’t ‘ave brought them... They don’t need te see this... the Dreamer were never one fer subtlety. His gaze lingers on those behind him, not yet ready to look away, etching the sight painstakingly into his mind. He knows less than half of them will even care, at least not seriously. They weren’t standing here for his sake, they were here so that they could get a chance at returning to their homes, to the lives they led before being damned to this accursed island. That was fine, of course, Kragg wasn’t here for himself either, and he’d long ago dealt with such concerns. A paladin’s life... be one of sacrifice.
Words come to his mind once more, unbidden; words once spoken by a fool: "Have you come to see the truth of servitude as is asked of paladins? It is nothing but suffering. I wasted all the years of my youth suffering in the service of Torm. Never was I granted a gift greater than was necessary for my suffering to continue." O’ course... that’s the point.
The dwarf’s thoughts are once again interrupted, when he notices the gaze of his daughter, her eyes locked on his own, filled with concern and worry. She knows. Nay surprise, yer daughter ain’t no fool. She’ll nay understand. She will in time... she’ll ‘ave to.
"We don’t actually have all day, Kragg of Blackhammer," Coleman croons dryly.
"Actually we do, Coleman," his companion added.
Kragg tears his gaze away from his daughter, moving it back towards the duo in front of him. There had been enough delaying; there was no point in dragging things out further. He took only a moment more, murmuring beneath his breath in the dwarven tongue, "Moradin..." He steps forward, his head held high, every bit the dwarf he was, grunting out towards the figure in front of him, "Mm... Impatient, are ye?" Be time. I know. They deserve the chance te return ‘ome. I know. Someone ‘as te fulfill the price. A paladin’s life be sacrifice.
Voices all spoke at once. "Oh yes, I suppose we can wait then, Clemence."
"Where are you taking him? Where are you taking my father?"
"Shall we wait here, Kragg?"
Kragg barely hears them, still striding forward resolutely as he speaks, more for the sake of his companions than any hope of learning anything he doesn’t already know, "’Ow do the door 'unclock' then?"
"You stand here, and then we show you what to do," Coleman explains as he points to the middle of the stream. "Mmm... aye then. An’ it opens in two days time?" Kragg continues speaking, hoping to put the others at ease.
"It takes two days for the ingredients to reach the mechanism, that’s right," Coleman provides.
He was standing in the center of the stream now, right in front of the crevice. In seconds, he finds Clemence and Coleman standing to either side of him, placing a hand each on his shoulders. Kragg can literally feel the tension rise behind him, so he lets his dwarven half respond to their advances, grunting out "Ye two always so touchy feely? ‘Ow ‘bout we see te this door instead o’ tryin’ te become friends?"
Then the rush of pain hits, coursing through his body like wildfire. His limbs immediately go limp, and the dwarf would be toppling to the ground were he not held in place by the vice-like grips of Clemence and Coleman. Kragg is vaguely aware of minor movements behind him, before the duo start up their banter once more, "It’ll be fine, won’t it, Clemence?"
"Of course it will, Coleman."
Blood fills his mouth, it’s coppery taste unmistakable as Kragg’s vision is simultaneously overcome by a blue haze. He hears Avaly then, or imagines he does, a faint echo of "Father?" in the distance of his awareness, her voice tinged with fear, but he remains silent, unable to force his mouth into replying. He can feel his life literally draining out of him, seeping away from his body amidst the pain while distant voices and half-sounds continue to assail his fading senses. He remains perfectly still, of course, his limbs and mouth ignoring his every effort to move them.
His mind remains the sole pillar of calm within the dwarf, pushing the pain to the side where it became nothing more than a distant ache. When the body fails... faith an’ will kin keep ye goin’. Flashes of memories gone and past rise to the surface of his thoughts, vivid and amazing in their detail, but gone and replaced by another before he can properly focus on them. He’s not sure for how long this goes on, but he’s vaguely aware that he can still hear voices on the edges of his consciousness. The stream of memories flows onwards relentlessly until suddenly it stops, freezing on a single image.
The Soul Forge, blazing in front of his eyes, in all of its divine glory. Kragg gazes upon it with the same wonder he did during his first vision of it, and time seems to slow to a standstill. Me life be yers... Me soul be yers...
Time suddenly seems to pick up, rushing past Kragg's awareness at a dizzying rate. The sounds that had moments ago been barely audible, began echoing in his mind.
"I told you it would be all right, Clemence."
The right thing te do... be never easy.
"Yes, you did, Coleman."
That be the point.
"Sacrifices do have to be made, for any venture, Clemence."
Aerthul never understood that. 'E expected compensation.
"Yes, they do, Coleman."
He was weak.
A muffled grunt.
Evil can nay be left unanswered.
"I suppose we should get on with this then, shouldn't we, Clemence?"
The required answer sometimes changes.
I'll nay let this isle damn them.
A low growl.
They will be free of it.
"It's already gotten too suspenseful, Coleman. You go first."
A paladin's life...
The soft sound of a bow string being pulled taut.
"You're so generous, Clemence."