Axehammeran’s hike up the set of stone steps was soon interrupted by the appearance of a small building in the distance. A sense of relief overcomes Axehammeran as his Instincts tell him that he has finally reached his destination.
His Instincts would have been immediately validated if only Axehammeran could read the sign rapidly approaching his hazy vision that stated:
Shrine of the Fallen Warrior
But Axehammeran only glares at it in resentment as he walks past and heads straight towards the building.
Seeing that the door to this building is slightly cracked open he steps close and pushes upon the door and strides in. Inside the dimly lit room Axehammeran spots several inhabitants sitting within. They notice this dwarf carelessly walk into their midst and they quickly stand up and approach the dwarf, looming over him. Axehammeran recognizes several of the members of this surly group.
“ONE DEEP!” breathes Axehammeran heatedly, as he recognized the drow man amongst them. Drawing a piece of history out of his vault of Memories, he remembers when this very rouge greedily snatched the Golden Frog Statue from its resting dais, deep in the ruins of an ancient temple, springing a trap that sent a flood of water cascading through the deep interior of that place and destabilizing the structural integrity of the whole temple. Axehammeran barely escaped with his own life as the temple began to flood and rain immense slabs of stone down upon him and his partymembers.
Axehammeran recognized another of the shadier looking men among them as Seregris, the mysterious rouge that helped him and his party infiltrate the wicked lair of the late Calarelle. For some reason, the tall half-elf man leaning on his large halberd next to Seregris seemed strangely familiar. Axehammeran also noticed a scrawny elf bowman lurking behind the three before him.
The one named Seregris steps closer “I know that smell.” he says.
Axehammeran raises his hairy chin to them, “So has anyone figured out what’s fucking going on out here?!” he questions to them.
They all look to Seregris for acknowledgement, who responds to Axehammeran with, “S’crackin? I remember you. The Mountain of Power, in the mountains north of Windsorhaven.”
“So what’s going on here, anyone figure out what’s going on?” remarks Axehammeran.
“Yeah. The four of us have taken over.” boasts the half-elf.
Axehammeran directs his glance in question to the half-elf, “Over what?” he asks.
The half-elf glances down at the dwarf half his size, “This shrine. And soon-” he says as he glances around the room, “-the Fighters Guild!” he finishes with a laugh.
“Sounds good.” is Axehammeran’s response, “What good have they done me?”
I’ve already killed some of their best fighters, thinks Axehammeran’s Mind.
The half-elf’s laugh abruptly ends and he then peers over this dwarf thoughtfully, and his eyes suddenly widen, “Axehammeran?! Is that you?” he asks in awe.
“Yes. Are you somebody’s relative I’ve killed? I’m sorry.” says Axehammeran.
The half-elf clasps forearms with his long lost dwarf companion, “I’ve killed relatives with you!” he proclaims excitedly.
Axehammeran’s demeanor is elated, “Yeah! I was probably way too trashed. Just don’t even remember.” responds Axehammeran apologetically.
The half-elf gives the dwarf a hopeful look, “Foostus. Remember? You have to join us. You have to join our cause.” he says with conviction.
Axehammeran looks about and says, “You think I’d miss this party? I was summoned here, I’m down to fuck some shit up.” feeling not a shred of remorse as he defects from his initial mission.
“They didn’t do shit for me,” he continues, “Let’s get that shit they wanted me to get for them. They are probably using me anyways. I trust you a little bit more. We’ve fought together.” he exclaims to the three standing before him.
“Alright, sounds good.” says this Foostus while nodding in agreement to Axehammeran.
“Yes it does.” replies the dwarf.
Foostus points over Axehammeran’s shoulder, “How many of these guys came with you?” he questions.
“I’ve seen a couple on the way, but they have gone their own path.” he responds to Foostus slyly.
Foostus looks suspiciously at Axehammeran then looks to his companions, “Alright, we’ll just have to keep a lookout for these guys. We should set up camp…er, like we always do up here.”
“Time for some brew.” declares Axehammeran as he squirts a shot of wine into his mouth from his endless wineskin.
Axehammeran, Foostus, Seregris, One Deep, and the bowman, Dartanion, converse around a fire in a crude pit dug just outside the shrine. Foostus looks around at the others and asks them, “Alright, so who is going to take first watch?” now that they have talked far into the night.
Axehammeran doesn’t respond and thinks, Not me. I fuckin’ still need to rest up, get my strength back.
“I will.” says Seregris.
Foostus stands up and reaches his arms up as he loudly yawns, and then he scratches his ass, “Alright, we’re going to all hunker down and rest here.” and he walks off to look for a place to lay his head.
One Deep skulks off to do the same, and Dartanion walks back inside to sleep in the protective walls of the shrine. Axehammeran passes out with a rock for a pillow, not moving a step away from the warm fire.
As the sound of his companions’ snores start to be heard, Seregris’ alertness begins to fade and his eyes seem to grow ever more heavy. He snaps his eyes open as he jerks his drooping head up, and looks around in a feeble attempt to stay awake, but it is fruitless, and he quickly dozes off, and now the sounds of sleeping can be heard throughout the entire encampment.
Seregris is suddenly awoken by the reverberating sounds of sawing wood. Shaking his sleep laden vision in proximity, he sees the dwarf, Axehammeran, sprawled out in the dirt, one hand outstretched and lying on the verge of the dead fire’s embers, his mouth is agape and the sounds of a thousand trees being murdered simultaneously is emanating from that black hole behind his thick beard. Seregris thinks to himself that if there were any enemies nearby, Axehammeran’s snoring would either bring them like a beacon, or scare them off entirely.
Judging that about four hours has passed and his tiredness is still hanging on, Seregris decides to wake another of his companions. Axehammeran would probably not be the best watchman at this point in time. He walks over to One Deep, his fellow rouge, and tells him his watch is up.
“Hmm, alright. Yeah.” One Deep grunts and begins rousing himself to start his watch duty.
Seregris walks into the shrine, finds his bedroll and curls up and falls back asleep.
Axehammeran is roughly shaken awake by the hands of One Deep, “Ey, you’re up.” he says.
Axehammeran’s sleepy head is able to mutter in protest, “Hey let me get two more, c’mon.”
“What?!” snaps One Deep, “It’s two hours for everybody man.” he explains to Axehammeran.
“You haven’t just been in the heat of battle man.” protests Axehammeran again.
“Yeah I have.” responds the drow dryly.
“Oh, well two more. I’m drunk.” Axehammeran says as he begins to roll back over for sleep, but One Deep spins him around with his hand, “I need my two.” he says angrily and reaches for the dagger at his waist with his other hand and waves it in Axehammeran’s face and says, “C’mon man. I need to get some fuckin’ sleep.”
Axehammeran pushes One Deep’s daggered hand and rouses himself, “Alright, alright. God damn! Shit!” he curses aloud.
One Deep sheathes his dagger, squints one eye at Axehammeran and walks off to his bedroll.
Axehammeran, still not happy about his interrupted slumber, walks over to Foostus and nudges him with his foot, “Foostus, whass up? It’s your shift man.”
Foostus can see right through Axehammeran’s lie, “Yeah right.” is his only response, and he curls back in his fur blankets and falls back asleep.
“Awww.” grovels Axehammeran in defeat.
He walks back to the dying fire. Some red embers glowing a pale orange are all that remain. Axehammeran grabs a log, tosses it upon the embers, lies his head back down upon his rock pillow and attempts to resume his rest.
Just as he is getting comfortable, Axehammeran hears something whisper, “Ppppsssssttttt.”
Axehammeran opens one eye, “Ah, go away!” he shouts, “Oh wait, who is it?” he says again as he lifts his head and looks about.
All he can see is his quiet campground, nothing out of the ordinary. All of a sudden he notices a rustling in the bushes on the edge of the shrine’s grounds. Axehammeran sits up, “Who dere? Who dat be?” he asks.
A whispered voice hisses back, “It’s Ortaddon.”
Axehammeran gets up and begins walking over to the bushes as he says under his breath, “Oh shit, what up brother. You bastard you are crazy like me.”
“What are you doing?” says Ortaddon from behind the bushes.
“Fuckin’ joining up with these motherfuckers.” says Axehammeran as he throws an extended thumb over his shoulder.
“What?!” snaps Ortaddon, “These are the guys we have to kill.” he declares.
“No way.” responds Axehammeran in shock.
“Those are the ones vandalizing the shrine.”
Axehammeran stands there in confusion, attempting to comb his brain for the fractured memory wheel explaining why he truly was sent on this crazy mission. But he only comes to the realization that if Ortaddon is going to fuckin’ kill them, then he doesn’t mind double crossing anybody.
“I have priors with one of them,” Axehammeran finally states to Ortaddon, “Don’t worry, we got this all planned out.” and he steps away from the talking bush.
Axehammeran seeks out Seregris, and finds him sleeping inside the shrine, near the entrance. He gently rouses Seregris and whispers, “Ey. Time to fuckin’ rumble. You didn’t really trust these other guys right?”
Seregris gives him a questioning look. Axehammeran then goes on to quietly explain his plan to his old rouge companion. Once he is finished, Seregris gives Axehammeran a counter-offer, “Or we could just kill that other guy.”
“That’s Ortaddon.” says Axehammeran in a pleading whisper.
“Wouldn’t it be better to kill one guy than to kill two?” remarks Seregris.
Axehammeran expresses his dislike of that plan and steps out the door and waves his hand to the bush where Ortaddon was hiding, and he silently says “Good to go.” with his lips.
There is no response.
Axehammeran quietly walks back to the bush and attempts another signal, “It’s on.” he whispers as he nears the bush. Hearing no response again, Axehammeran looks into the bush and then notices that Ortaddon is nowhere to be seen.
Axehammeran glances around in close proximity but sees nothing. He turns around and sees Seregris watching him from the doorway of the shrine. Axehammeran stands there in almost dead silence, contemplating his next actions. His Mind is racked with the sudden turn of events and he ultimately decides to do away with his original problem: theses vandals.
Seregris approaches quietly and asks Axehammeran what he is doing. Axehammeran tells Seregris that Ortaddon has disappeared.
“Well, I guess we should continue with the mish and kill ’em anyways.” suggests Axehammeran.
“Why kill ’em if he ran away?” questions Seregris.
“Well it is what I was supposed to do,” states Axehammeran simply, “Fuck ‘im. I’ll just kill these motherfuckers anyway. I’ll continue on with the mission and then probably gonna have to end up turning on Ortaddon too. I didn’t want to have to rely on that, but- okay.” Axehammeran rants as he draws his axe, “We’re killing those dudes.” says Axehammeran to Seregris as he points his axe towards the shrine and steps forwards, but Seregris grabs him by the shoulder and pulls him back.
“We’re killing them?” asks Seregris concernedly.
“Aw man, that’s the mish. And they are the problem,” states Axehammeran as he points a thumb over his shoulder, “He said that they are the problem. They are the reason they are supposed to kill him.”
“So you can’t get all of them, you can only get two.” Seregris inputs.
“I know, that’s why you have to get one of them too.” interjects Axehammeran.
“Who am I getting?” Seregris asks ponderously, “I’m killing One Deep.” he says.
Axehammeran stops for a moment and thinks to himself, “I don’t know. Should I not trust Ortaddon? You know what, we shouldn’t do it,” proposes Axehammeran, much to Seregris’ surprise, “I don’t trust Ortaddon. Ortaddon is fucking crazy. I would rather stay with them and kill Ortaddon later. I kinda trust those dudes that I fought with before. I don’t want to kill them yet. That’s what he wanted me to do, he wanted me to kill him!” Axehammeran rambles on in the snow as Seregris stares at him in confusion. Axehammeran shakes his head in frustration.
“Can I go with the original plan? Just murder them?” asks Axehammeran, almost to himself.
Seregris nods slowly, not sure if he should agree, and Axehammeran goes off again, “I think I will do it. Kill both of the dudes. If anything, we get the jump on them, and if we have to, it’s two on one. Otherwise we get the fuckin’ treasure for ourselves, hell yeah!”
Seregris looks Axehammeran in the eyes, “Axehammeran, are we good?”
Axehammeran nods in confident approval. Seregris nods back and reaches for his dagger and pats Axehammeran on the shoulder. They both turn to go dispatch their sleeping companions only to see all three of them standing before them, armed to the teeth.