A young dwarven soldier who's seen too much
Greda is the narrator from every Lovecraft story, with a battered if not fully broken mind and a lot of survivor’s guilt. Seeing an elder thing slaughter the forty dwarves around her, while completely ignoring her, almost instantly made her skin pale and sallow, her features gaunt and darkened, her hair streaked with white. This makes her much thinner than a standard dwarf, though the fact is usually hidden by armor she bears more from worry or fear than true stamina.
Not ev’ry shield dwarf’s forged for Gauntlgrym. We’ve only recently taken back our city, aye? Least in dwarven years. Where our ancestors carved it from the stone of the Underdark, we carved through all manner o’ hideous beastie to return. Their threat still hangs o’er us like a cave-in. Not ev’ry dwarf’s forged for it, and that ain’t no prideful boast on my part. I ain’t never been worthy to call it home.
This lot calls me a soldier but tha’s not the truth of it. Back home, those young pups that couldnae cut it were tossed into the army. If they were lucky, constant battle might forge ‘em into somethin’ strong enough to survive down here. If not, better them than the better residents. What I mean to say is that I weren’t the standard bearer for Coldforge Company as some sort of reward for service, nor posh position for a wealthy lord’s child. Those be human ways. No, it were my shame: it meant I was not good enough to wield a weapon instead.
Then it came. Or then it happened. Or were angered, hungry, bored? Or maybe it were always there, right there waitin’, an’ whatever gaoler were watchin’ over it finally died. I cannae attempt to describe it lest the reverie turn deadly. It shouldnae have been there. My Company shouldnae have been there. An’ by no rights should I be here now: it let me be, as all around me our rank an’ file were torn to bloody ribbons, with claws made not of bone but of a distinct lack of reality.
I still stood there, holdin’ onto this flag. Donno for how long. Days? Not a scratch. I’ve seen somethin’ from the elsewhere. Somethin’ that weren’t never meant to be seen, from a place that didnae have light, or structure, or morality. It slices your skin to congealing, cracks your bone to splinters of time, and stacks your will an’ reason into siege towers that treat math as loosely as a scarecrow wears its garb. Then it uses those to assail the world.
E’rythin about this world be sick an’ wrong.
Used to be I wanted to leave it for another, least once I learned you could. Couldnae wait to jump onto or into whatever magicked means could take me. Used to be I could stomach leavin’ me friends behind in a pinch, or even guttin’ ‘em were they to stop me. Not like, but stomach… aye. Ain’t proud o’ that none, but I always speak plain.
I’m more sound now but it come with bigger worries. Am I still the standard bearer through all this? Am I here to announce the arrival of noble heroes, or the oncoming end of the world? Gods, will I not die this time either? Be it my lot to be ignored again by the elsewhere, and hold their flag for I donno how long? Eons? Bearin’ witness to a void of madness?
You think me mad, though I get it, aye. Most do now. But you ain’t seen, an’ sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who has. None of ye could possibly know, for the knowin’ kills what were there an’ replaces it with somethin’ else. Pray ye never get the chance to learn of it.