Part 163: Zyla: Update 3
Granite 5: Addendum
Some whispers amongst the dwarves have been of a growing concern of cats in the fortress.
Concerns of this are greatly overstated. The moleboy should be quite proud of the work he has done in this fortress in domesticating the Mole.
Additionally, the fortress has somehow tamed a Polar Bear. A breeding partner will be needed to found in order to create the Polar Bear Calvary that the dwarves shall mount upon to meet the frozen horrors that are drawn to it
TremendousMajestic wrote :-
Oh my God...I've been traveling for Thanksgiving and I just caught up.
I have been training a successor. An immigrant I did not name in my reports, one I took under my wing secretly. My old nemesis and now shining pupil. TremendousMajestic. Ironic how Firos's child was given the same name.
He shall take my position, my cowl and hammer of office. He shall take the clan name of Edimtosid, and carry on the proud tradition of Hammering. I shall use my immortal soul to protect the fortress for eternity.
There was a ringing in my ears, and then I heard a familiar voice speak.
"Do you want to wise up, or do you want to keep being stupid and have me finish your Hammering?"
I could barely focus. I rubbed the bump on the back of my head. The dwarf speaking to me was sitting on the edge of a golden bed. I thought I was delusional. My head hurt so much I was almost blind, but I could see enough to extend my hand and take the goblet being passed to me. The whiskey pulled me out of my tunnel vision and cleared up the pain, a bit.
I recognized the dwarf in front of me. Daeren. My old rival from the Mountainhomes. The one who had taken my position as Hammerer here at Syrupleaf! The one who...well. That's almost too much to go into now.
I felt anger replace the pain I was feeling. I was humiliated, still, by what he had written to me in his flip, smartassed letter I found after he set off with the caravan for Syrupleaf. Calling me a "good" Hammerer and saying I lacked discipline. Me? A lack of discipline? The ridicule still stung, and I couldn't control myself. I jumped to my feet and stepped forward. Daeren raised his hammer between us. I caught it's head in my fist, and he pushed back against me. He couldn't break it free to swing at me again, and I wasn't going to get any closer to him.
Or so I thought. A moment later, I was on my back, laying on the floor, the hammer head heavy on my chest.
"Godsdamnit, Tremendous. Keep this up and I'll never make you Hammerer of Syrupleaf."
He told me how he'd been keeping an eye on the fortress migrants, expecting me to pull something like this. I asked what gave me away - I'd tried to enter in disguise. Apparently I shouldn't have tried to pass myself off as a soap maker. "Only the crazy ones admit to be being soap makers," he said.
He told me he had wanted to give me a proper Hammering for a while now, and he figured that doing it out of nowhere and then having me wake up in his room might result in some entertaining narrative. He also told me that he wanted to make sure Syrupleaf always had a Hammerer no matter what, and that, if anything should happen to him, I was the next best man for the job.
I was still angry, but I had to agree. The idea of a fort without a Hammerer, its residents walking around without fear of sudden and almost arbitrary, sometimes fatal beatings? It makes me sick.
Daeren was right about a few things. I had a lot to learn from him. He had perfected several techniques and swings: the Spinebruiser, the Double Elbow Tap (potentially very painful, and beautiful when well-executed) and the Underhanded Crotch Kiss. The last was a particularly nasty move, and always used when a Hammering must be performed with a good deal of spite: approach the subject in a friendly, jovial way, lock eyes with them, never breaking eye contant, raise your non-Hammering arm in an enthusiastic greeting, and then ruthlessly smash the subjects balls with a single underhanded, unnoticed swing of the hammer.
Always hilarious. And a solemn trust. Very solemn.
Under Daeren's tutelage, I did develop the discipline, that, up until then, I couldn't even admit I lacked. Watching him guide and guard the fortress, I learned to respect him, befriend him. Eventually I even forgave him. The whole thing was silly anyway, in retrospect. There are other dwarfettes out there, and he didn't end up with her either.
We stood on the bridge, post-siege. We were smacking the heads off some of the more mangled frost giants, flinging them far into the fields. The haulers walked by, glaring at us, trudging down the ramp to collect body parts for the refuse piles.
"I've got something to tell you, Tremendous," he said, teeing up another shot. "I won't be Hammerer of Syrupleaf much longer. It's come time for you to take over." He swung, and the head whipped off into the distance, colliding with a hauler and knocking him into the snow. The hauler vomited and began to cry. Soon, I'd be crying too.
It's been a few days now since Daeren made his sacrifice. I can only hope to live up to his legacy here.
As I patrolled the halls this morning, I passed a peasant walking in the opposite direction. I heard him whisper to his friend "That's the asshole who's friend wot hit me wit the forsht giant head the ovver day."
I turned around and used the flat of my hammer to severely injure his genitals, but I refrained from killing him. Daeren taught me that. Later, when I went to the hauler's cell at the end of his 65 day prison sentence for insulting a noble, I brought him a whiskey and threatened to finish his Hammering good and proper if he didn't wise up.
Daeren would have wanted it that way.