Marked at birth for greatness, Magne is a reluctant leader and a failure at being debauched.
“Am I a disappointment to my family you ask?” the young dwarf wiped his mouth on the back of hand and set the empty stein on the rough hewn bar top.
“Perhaps I am. Perhaps they are the disappointments. Perhaps it is I who should be disappointed with them. Ever gave that a thought? Eh? I thought not. In my brief life I have shat and eat fewer times then I heard my dear old father tell the blasted story of my birth…”
….Family Irontear had never been a particularly righteous or powerful family seated just barely above Family Battleheart in the hierarchy of the Stoneaxe Clan. The small Irontear family had toiled for several generations in their small mine complex providing the larger clan with iron ore of low to middling quality, few axemen in times of war, even fewer brides for the other families and their membership and overall usefulness in the clan workings had become nothing more then a courteous technicality.
That is until the day of Magne’s birth. The tiny pink baby slid into the world wailing with the lungs of the world, eyes grey yet full of spark, a shock of red hair on his head. Most noted about the infant was the mark. From armpit to armpit from throat to navel a dark red mark not rounded at all, angled, sharp as if placed by an artisan’s hand a perfect hammer.
The birthing nurse cried visibly praying loudly to Moradin as she handed the squalling wriggly baby to his lord father whose face was fixed with a grin as he stared upon his fortune, as he stared upon his son.
Within the first weeks of Magne’s short life the heads of the seven families making up the Stoneaxe clan visited the out of the way Irontear complex to set eyes upon the child.
“An omen of greatness is upon your family and upon our clan, Lord Irontear!” so spoke the clan elder ‘One-Eyed’ Vexen Steinsteel the reigning patriarch of the entire Stoneaxe Clan. “Your blood will have all the help he needs. Moradin has touched the boy and he will one day lead our clan to greater glory. Oh this I promise!...”
“Needless to bloody say, the clan put a small mountain of gold into my ‘education.’ Sure, I love Moradin. What kind of damned dwarf would I be if I did not? But, hells, how could my damned family really think that I am going to be some great leader and holy man just because of this fucking mark?” his voice grew louder as he tugged open his laced shirt showing the hammer that had not faded in color or apparent power over his days. He poured another stein of what this town called ‘strong ale’ down his gullet, belched loudly and wiped his red mustache clean.
“So, by the time I was ten years out the womb the clan elders realized there was nothing else that I could be taught by the ‘wisest’ of our clan. Our own holy man fell more into the sway of Bahamut and his teachings of the Rockfather were more an exercise in basic education rather then in actual religious fervor. I slept a lot, I drank a lot, and I taught myself to be really good at looking like I was paying attention when I was miles and miles away in my own mind.”
“The elders, my father included realized that I was not going to learn anything else from my teacher. I still had not become the firebrand of Moradin that they so wanted. They amassed another drive for funds and I was sent away to the largest temple in the region so that I may become … well, whatever it was those bastards wanted from me.”
The dwarf’s eyes were not even close to drooping despite the seven empty steins in front of him, he gestured to the keep for another, paused for a moment and instead raised three fingers and smiled.
“Now, this fucking place was a shock to my system, is sure. There one in three of us had ‘Moradin’s gift’ upon us. I was not so damned special. And the priests made me know it. I would tear out my damned beard one hair at a time before I would scrub another fucking floor! When not cleaning every bit of that church we were praying, when we were not praying we were reading. The only joy I had was when we would get to spend time in the yard and work with arms. Life would have been so much simpler if I had been born without the mark and been able to just make my way in life swinging a hammer at a forge or an axe at an orc. A simple life is all I wanted, not this. I would have made the greatest dumb soldier or earnest smith my family ever knew!” He laughed loudly and drained one of the three steins in two eager gulps.
“So here I is, seven years later. Once again I have been shipped along. This time it is into this town of Derry. Here I am to offer my soul in the name of Moradin to the local clergy. Perhaps they can make me into the holy man I am supposed to be. Hopefully they can help me find the purpose that I cannot. I am a good man of Moradin, but still it is nothing but a fucking birthmark. What makes me so damned special?” Another warm sudsy ale vanished almost magically down Magne’s throat.
He smiled a smile that almost cut his head in two. “This is what makes me so special!” The red-haired dwarf pulled a golden coin from his pouch and pressed into the young lady’s hand. For the first time in the evening life encroached upon her dead eyes.
“Now, you know a bit about me, time for me to find out a bit more about you.” He killed off the last mug as if it an enemy leaving its body with the others, seized her by the wrist and staggered towards the stairs.
“Did you know whoring is against the basic tenets of Moradin?” Magne laughed loudly as he slammed the door of his inn room behind himself and the young woman…