Now, I suppose I should tell you a little more about me for this to really make sense. You might know how a few years back the dwarves sent an army to Sutherland to help hold the border, yeah? Well, I was in that army. Not as a soldier, mind you, but as a young blacksmith that hoped that following them along long enough would get me enough coin to afford my own shop. I admit that I was greener than green back then, didn’t even know much about fighting or the like, just had a hope that this would get me the future I thought I wanted.
Then things went sideways. I don’t know exactly why we decided to march out past the frontier and try to retake that tower. I heard some soldiers say that it was part of a plan that the humans and our generals had agreed on, that we’d retake the place and rebuild it enough to really serve in war again, while they would watch our flank. I heard others say that our generals were getting ahead of themselves, determined to risk a few bloody fights in hope that we could make a name for ourselves, or perhaps I should say for themselves. Either way, once we retook the tower, there were no humans guarding our flanks. No one to shield us from the surprise retaliation that the savages threw at us. And at that point, the generals were more worried about getting their forces back alive. They didn’t care about the stragglers that had attached themselves to that army in the meantime. We got left behind and swarmed. The tower became a slaughterhouse; cooks, smiths and whores all trying desperately to hold the blasted pile of rocks from an enemy that knew more about war than we did. I got out alive, if just barely, but most didn’t.
Well, this time I got to see what happened to them. I suppose I didn’t want to think about it on the way up, but I couldn’t fool myself too long. Many of the undead walking the place now had faces I once knew, some of them I even could put names with and had once called friends. I suppose if you wanted a place that didn’t lack in corpses, this tower was the place to be, but these were not just corpses for me. I could very well have been one of them. Perhaps some surface god had spared me that fate or my ancestors had been watching out for me, but seeing what my friends had become really hit me in the gut. I felt fear, but I wasn’t afraid of anything I could put my finger on. It was like a painful itch that I couldn’t scratch, nagging at my thoughts and driving me to distraction. I guess after a while, I had a good idea what I was afraid about.
I was afraid that I should have died here and not them. It may not make much sense, but that’s as best I could put it. I felt pain and fear for having survived what they didn’t. I was afraid that I had let them down by living.
Now, whether this is true or not doesn’t matter. It’s what I felt but thankfully I’m not the green smith I once was. Mama Broarhush made me more than that. She helped me learn that when I’m scared, I need to get angry. Really angry. I survived this place once, I was going to survive it again. I left my friends behind once to their deaths, the least I could do now was return them to that death in peace. I could kill the man who dared use their remains like this. I could and would. For them and for me.