I was born before the great war, I spent 85 years, like many of my brethren, pounding out swords and armor in the great furnaces of the Noldrunthone. Selling them at great profit to all the cities around Karrath. The war had become a boon to our people, never had such wealth flowed into our city. My wife Naarrina our children: 1st son Usiff, 2nd son Bernnath 3rd son Pallon and my sweet little daughter Mellie, wanted for nothing, That is until in the 83rd year of the war, when the humans of irontown decided it would be cheaper to use slave labor than paying for finely crafted Dwarven wares.
The brave dwarves of Noldrunthorne, stood fast against the protracted siege until the last rat and leather belt had been eaten. As the specter of cannibalism raised its head, a decision was made, every starving dwarf able to stand, would don armor, heft an axe and leave the cold stone sanctuary of their mountain home to face the humans on an open field battle. Our superior weapons and armor were no match for the dual enemies of starvation and a horde of humans. We were more valuable alive than dead, so they sought to subdue us, robbing us even of glorious death in battle. I was no fighter, but I was strong from years at the Forge, but I managed to kill two of the bastards before they shattered my ribs and broke my axe arm.
We were taken to Irontown and given two choices; work at the crude human forges or be killed along with our families. There is no honor in dying as a slave, so I chose to work for the humans biding my time, folding imperfections into key areas of their weapons and armor, hoping it would fail on them when they needed it most. This was hard for me as I had pledged to Onatar to bring honor to him through my exquisite craftsmanship, rendering his glory on this world through the creation of masterworks of iron and steel.
For 18 years I labored for the humans, creating armor orcs would be ashamed to wear. . “USILL IRONBRAND
!” I had been named as a saboteur. I was seized, pulled from the crowd and thrown on the ground. A Kannathian officer sauntered over, a large leather satchel dangled from his left hand. He dipped into the bag and produced a bent battle axe,“Is this your forgemark?” He stuck the weapon under my nose, I could clearly see my mark we were all forced to place on our work, I didn’t speak. His voice drizzled with contempt as he spoke “It matters not little man, remain silent if you wish” he turned to address the crowd “this dwarf has been found guilty of subverting the cause of the great Kannathian Empire, and has been sentenced to execution by proxy” He grabbed my greasy, matted hair and yanked my head up. “Look what you’ve done” he whispered in my ear. I gazed across the courtyard and spotted a female figure short, gaunt and dressed in rags. Briefly our eyes locked then suddenly I realized it was my beloved Naarina. I had not seen her since before I left to battle the humans. It took three human cowards to force her down to the block. I was proud that even in her weakened condition she still fought bravely but in a flash the axe fell and it was over. The officer casually walked over by the body, picked up the bloodied axe, inspected it closely and spoke “hmm..the ironbrand forgemark..I guess not all of your work is rubbish after all.”
I spent the next six months in a daze, I dove into my work, it was all I had left, I was all I could control, the steel, I could shape it, bend it to my will, In this world where I had no power left, I still had my steel! Who cares if the humans were using it for slaughter, Onatar values fine creations, he cares not who wields them. I was at my forge putting the final touches on a fine broadsword when a scraggly young dwarf with barely a beard ran in and shouted “THE WAR
!”… the words didn’t even register, I continue to work. It wasn’t until another dwarf grabbed me and lifted me in the air in a giant bear hug that I came to my senses. “Whaa..what’s happening?” I asked. He looked at me quizzically and said “we’re free”. It would be another three weeks before we would find out about the Treaty of thronehold and about the prisoner exchange of which we were to be a part.
Of the several thousand dwarves that were captured after the great siege of noldrunthrone, a scant 150 or so remained. We were cleaned up, given rough linen clothes and paraded out to the courtyard. For the first time since we were captured all the men, women and children were together, I scanned the crowd for my little ones but saw no trace of them. Across the courtyard stood several hundred human prisoners in considerably better shape than we were, frightened but well fed. Two dozen well muscled, finely armored dwarven warriors oversaw the exchange. As everyone hastily left town I asked the captain “What of Noldrunthrone?” his head dropped down and in a low voice he said “gone.” As we made our way back to Mror I learned that, Noldrunthrone had been destroyed by the humans. Stones blackened and smashed, women and children sold into slavery and scattered all over Khorvaire.
Now I have nothing left, nothing but my work, even that is drying up. The war is over and need for blacksmiths is greatly reduced. I will travel to Sharn, I’ve heard the largest temple to Onatar is there, perhaps someone there will know of my children, perhaps I will find something to give meaning to my hollow life..