The Bronze Hammer

I am called Morag. I have no surname and no clan. The Hazon ripped me from them when I was a young girl and I never was able to learn from my elders. I, however, am no less a dwarf than any of you. I learned the songs of the miners and the prayers to the dwarf father from others like me. Exiles. Lost ones. Slaves.

I spent the whole of my long life working in the unyielding sun under the gaze of the Hazon bastards. The song of a pick striking rock became my words. I let my captors, the imperious bastards, think I was simple and unable to speak. The memory of it makes me smile yet, even on my death bed. Why, you ask? Because the dwarf father asked me to. It was enough reason for me then and it still is now. Hush, and get back to writing, young one. I think he will only give me enough time to tell you this tale. No more and no less.

I spent years pulling ore out of the ground to supply the Hazon craftsmen and their massive armies. But all the while the dwarf father whispered in my ear. Told me things. How to trick the Hazon. And I suppose this tale is where I get to do my bragging. I spent long enough at the same mine that the master of it grew comfortable with me. He saw no danger from the simple, hard-working dwarven lass. And that was what Reghasting had in store for me. As a sign of his trust, he took my iron chains and traded them for bronze. Soft chains for the soft-minded dwarf. Even if I got free, what harm could I do. Well, he found out. And Hazon learned a harsh lesson: The Dwarf Father’s children can be roused to mighty anger, and when Reghasting calls, we answer.

One morning, I watched a Hazon brute kill one of my brothers for the last time. I took my pick to my own chains, severed them, and then planted it in his skull. The first words and last words that the Hazon ever heard from me were, “Chain Breaker, I do your will. We will be free!” The tunnels of that mine ran with Hazon blood that day and our rebellion began. I led my people from the Hazon lands, killing any we came across who meant to keep us from our freedom. I am not proud of some of what I did that day. But, on my ancestors, I killed more Hazon than any other dwarf did during our escape. Blood for blood. They had to answer for my fallen brothers and sisters.

Somehow, in our flight, I managed to overlook one of my manacles. Perhaps it was Reghasting’s will. I don’t know, lad. Maybe he meant for me to keep it. It was my only jewelry, after all. But when we were away and beyond the reach of the fething Hazon bastards, I struck it from my ankle. And I had an idea. Bronze is too soft to make good tools, ye ken. But It makes for nice adornments. I gathered all the bits of chain and shackles from my brothers and sisters who fled. It made a heavy load to carry, but I did it. No help from the others. None of them thought of the shame in wasting good bits of metal.

And when we found our home, where we now sit, I went to the forge. The others thought I was daft. I’d never held a hammer in my life. But Reghasting blessed me that day. He knows his priestesses. Even if I had no magic of my own and knew nothing more than the simple slave’s songs the others had taught me. I worked those bits of metal into a hammer. And I called it Chain Breaker after our Father. And I used the bronze from my own shackles to chase it and adorn it since I had no gold. And Reghasting was pleased with me.

Before anyone tells ye that the hammer took my life to forge it, I’ll tell ye it is wrong. I’m old, I have been old for many a year. And Reghasting gave me my chance to brag. I tricked the Hazon, led my people to freedom, and then made the symbol of our slavery into a symbol of hope. I was the only one who could do it. I am clanless. I have no name given to me by my kin or ancestors. Without the Dwarf Father, I am nothing. He forged me into the dwarf that I am. And it was long and arduous.

Put your quill down, lad. I am weary. I’ve told ye my tale, the tale of the Chain Breaker. And don’t ye go giving me any fancy titles, the only one I want is Priestess. Now get ye gone. Let this old dwarf have her rest. Let me listen to the sound of free hammers falling upon anvils and the silence of this place. And if ye think of it, boy, kill a few Hazon bastards for me. I didn’t get near enough of them. They have yet to pay their debt to us in full.

Scribes note: Morag Dwarf-Savior died later that night, after she finished recounting her tale. She was taken as a child, perhaps only 3 or 4 years old and lived 240 cycles as a slave of the Hazon. She had perhaps a moon, no more than two, of freedom. She was the oldest of our people and the most respected. Let it be written here that I have shaved my own beard so that she will not go to meet the Dwarf Father bare faced and bare headed. The Hazon, I am told, shaved the heads and faces of all their slaves to mark them, for no dwarf would willingly do so. She will wear my beard into the afterlife.