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By my Beard Prelude


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Sigrud Hammerhand, warrior and blacksmith of clan Hammerhand in the Giantspike Mountains roamed the lowlands between his home and Ravens Bluff. His father, Sigmund had tasked him with guarding a trader's caravan on its way to the aforementioned city, it was boring work but necessary, and it paid well. The caravan was delivering a large shipment of fresh steel and silver from the mines deep in the Earthspur mountains and needed to be protected from potential bandits... or Moradin forbid, orcs. Sigurd could taste the bile in his mouth at the thought of those stinky beasts using Dwarf mined and forged metals for their own, crude purposes.


As he walked, chewing on the stem of his unlit pipe, he heard a rustling sound in the nearby bushes. He didn't think it was anything bigger than a fox but he wanted to be prepared, just in case. He lifted his axe, Fafnir, which he was using as a walking stick and gripped it in both hands. Slowly and cautiously he walked to the offending bush and kicked a rock into it. It rustled one more time before a gigantic black beast shot out, throwing the burly dwarf on his back and leaped over him, right towards the caravan.


Sigurd was up as fast as he could and pursued the beast, yelling at the top of his lungs for the Dwarven traders to up arms. "Grab yer axes, ye soft bellied old men!" He yelled, in hopes that they could hold of the dreaded displacer beast long enough for him to get there. They didn't. He pumped his short legs furiously in a vain attempt to reach the wagons, hearing the screams of his kinsman as they fought and died. 


Three dwarves laid in pools of their own blood, gory holes where throats should be and one more was dying just as Sigurd reached the wagons. Enraged by the sight, the young dwarf rushed at the monster, "Hey, ye bloody cat! Come taste the blade of a real opponent." Taking in the sight of his opponent as it turned its hideous maw towards him, he noticed that it only had five legs and one whip coming off his shoulder. Both wounds were old and scarred over, the cat was wounded even more by the two or three hits the traders managed to land before going to Moradin's smithy but it was still a fierce opponent.


The dwarf dashed at the displacer beast just as it lunged through the air. Sigurd dropped to his knees and slid beneath the rippling stomach of the four hundred pound demon cat, slicing his axe through one its five remaining feet, bringing the count down to four. The beast screamed in agony, whipping it's tentacle out, grabbing Sigurd around the ankle and pulling him to his rump. Stunned, the dwarf only had a moment to react as the wounded and angry beast attacked. Sigurd drew his boot knife and cut off the spiked end of the whip-like tentacle. Again the cat screamed in pain but refused to retreat. Instead, it lurched towards the downed dwarf. Like a flash of black lightning a huge paw smacked him across the face, sending a horrible burning sensation throughout his body. Using only instinct taught to him by training with the famous Hammers of Moradin, he stabbed out with his knife. When he felt the blade break skin his flicked his wrist hard, slicing the throat and ending the life of the wicked creature that had killed the dwarves Sigurd was tasked with protecting.


Exhausted and woozy from his wound, Sigurd passed out in the middle of the road. When he woke, the morning sun was breaking over the peaks of his home range. He heard a deep croak and turned to see a huge raven feasting greedily on the flesh of his recent kill. "Hey!" He yelled, and immediately regretted it due to the pounding in his head. "Get ye gone, ye greedy bird." He groaned, more quietly, as he threw a rock at the thief.


Slowly he stood, wiping the crusted blood from his face gingerly. Sigurd looked around in dismay, four of his kin dead, it was horrible. Without wasting another minute he began to lift the fallen dwarves and load them into the back of the front wagon. Fortunately, the cat had spared the mules that towed the carts, mules who had inexplicably not wandered off.


After an hour of loading the carts with his fallen comrades and the dead displacer beast and stringing the mule train together, Sigurd was finally on his way to Ravens Bluff.


After three days, Sigurd rolled into the Trade district of Ravens Bluff. He dropped off the metal to the buyers and delivered the trader's bodies to the local temple of Moradin for proper services. The displacer beast had been used for food and it's pelt as a blanket. The knuckle bones on the severed foot had been boiled and braided into his beard.




It has been three years and Sigurd Hammerhand has yet to return to his home in the Earthspur Mountains. He has spent his time traveling the Sea of Fallen Stars aboard trading vessels and spending his pay on drink and smoke. To this day Sigurd blames himself for the traders that had lost their lives to wounded displacer beast in the foothills of his home.

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