Chapter V: Warmth of a Forgotten Home
Nostalgia trickles through my veins and crawls underneath
my skull. The conversant, cold earth against my back ripples throughout my
body. The smell of stale, underground air. The feel of rough against my arms
and palms. The echoing raucous roars of drunken dwarves echoes infinitely away
from me. I feel it again: home. Yet the second I open my eyes, I see nothing but my own
mangled body. A void of breathable air, a sight of infinite nothing, and a feeling
of faltering life strangle my senses. Right at my feet, I see myself in a
gnarled position. My skin melts off the bones like wax. My bones crack and
splinter in a strange, rhythmic manner. The splinters of my ribs spiral around
in a hypnotic pattern that I do not understand. I stand here, with my hammers in my hands. Why am
I here? Am I dead? “Welcome back, Dwinger ,” an esoteric greeting
rings in my ahead. From the surrounding darkness, a dwarf appears before me.
His stature matches mine in every way, yet his beard is far more grey. The void
peels away from my eyes, and I see the clear cosmos. The stars twinkle into
existence. The warmth of a furnace licks my right side. A cool wind wraps
around my weary neck. And in a single blink, I’m in an old blacksmith’s shop.
Is this mine? “Who are ye?” I ask. “Me? I am ye, my lad.” He smiles, bearing all his teeth.
“Ack! Not really, ye dumb dwarf.” “Where am I?” “If
yer thinkin’ yer dead, lad, ye not. Ye got a lot of life left in ye.” “What? What’s going on? Have I been here before?” He nods. The strange dwarf wanders around the old
blacksmith shop. The anvil , the bellows , and everything in
between, it’s all here. He stops by the anvil and scrutinizes it. He
rubs his hands across the otherworldly sheen of the anvil; then, he looks up at
me. His eyes luminated a soft, celestial glow that glances the familiarity of
my mind. Maybe I have seen this dwarf before. “Let’s get to it.” He grips the anvil with both
hands, and my lifeless body appears on top. “Seek out the Truth .” “The Truth ?” I instinctively look at my hammers .
“Yeah, ye stone-headed dwarf. Ye hold them, the ability
to change or reveal the Truth . And I see it in yer eyes, lad. Ye can now
finally observe the Truth .” “What ye mean?” Before the dwarf can even thinking of a response, my
hands begin to feel heavy and hot. The heat splinters and cracks the skin of my
hands, and I see that Gorak glows with a strange aura. A
nostalgia feeling, one of community and home, yet the surrounding enigma looms
in the shadows, filling me with old melancholies. My lifeless body before me still motions with strange
energies going through my bones. The flesh continues to drip away from the
bones, yet the flesh refuses to fall to the ground. My dwarven innards still
pulsate with life, ready and waiting to jump back into action. I grip Gorak with every power of my
forearm. My hand blisters underneath the strength, and I prepare my shoulder
for the tremendous shock. I raise my hammer.
RESTORE THE FAITH
body shifts and phases in and out of my sight. With every shift, a different
body emerges: my own, yet in good, perfect condition. “Perception
of these realms enables ye to finally observe the Truth .” The mysterious
dwarf steps between me and my body. “Infinite possibilities: death or life.
Here, ye chose the possibility that ye stay alive. Ye are cheatin’ the Truth .” “Who
are ye!?” I raise my hammers. " “What’s
wrong? Ye will get your body back, no worries.” He steps aside. “Is that what ye really
I step forward. “Is it? How have I come here before?” “What
do you want?” “What
do I want? Is that some rhetorical-type riddle?” In
the moment, my body goes sideways, and I’m on my back like a forlorn tortoise.
I see the familiarity of everything slowly fading away. For the first time I’m
here, I feel fresh air in my lungs. The beat of my heart stampedes through my
body. My bristles return to their feeling, and my bonebox finally becomes
“I want to go home.”