S2E8-ValornEdric

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn puts on his armor, having carefully cleaned the blood and dirt off of it. Any little task to get the thought of the past hour out of his head. Kissing an elf. Weird business, that. He tries to keep his mind fairly blank, thinking of how truly happy he is to be ridded of the immense, mortal pain of his former wounds. But an awkward price to pay. As he begins to strap on the second leg, he sees Edric approaching. He hasn't spent much time with him, but does remember his convincing argument with the goblins a few days back. He looks up and half-smiles, keeping his head up as he continues to put on his plate.

Edric Crestrun

Edric, having returned from a strange and revealing experience himself, emerged from the woods to see the dwarf looking a bit discheveled. He gave a grin, recalling their interaction the other day. He always looked immaculately dressed in his robes, thanks to his frequent use of prestidigitation. Despite all the killing and camping, he was clean and cool. "Hey, uh…Valorn, right? Was just looking for ya."

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn's face becomes resting as he looks back down to some straps. "Aye, Valorn. And you're Edric?" He looks back up before he can get an answer, smiles, and looks back down. "I'm doing that thing where I pretend to have forgotten your name, so as to appear distant and complex." Valorn makes a kind of scrunched-up face, shaking his head slightly. "But, t'be honest, a dwarf never forgets a name. Well, not the good ones."

Edric Crestrun

"Ah, you caught me. I suppose I have a bit of a schitck, huh?" Looking over his mannerisms, Edric tilted his head a little, putting off his usual air of aloofness. Something about the dwarf was different than when he'd talked to him earlier, not the same confident and headstrong vibe he had when he was smashing goblins. "You alright? Seem a little shaken, bud, that bugbear must have really done a number on ya."

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn hears the casual concern in Edric's voice, and notes it appreciatively. "Yeah, I'm alright. Ask me a little while ago and I'd be ready to just cut a limb off to get rid of some of the pain, but Erys got a little healing prac-" Valorn coughs "-tice in, and I should be good as new. Well, the same new that got hit to the damned ground in one swing." Valorn has finished with his lower half, starting work on his torso.

Edric Crestrun

"Ah, Erys got to ya, huh? She's an interestin' one, not like most elves I've met. Then again, most elves I've met I've wanted to deck in the face a few times before I'd wanna speak to 'em. Not countin' Quin, of course." Something had happened, that was for certain, but he couldn't read exactly what. His portents had told him that Erys would approach them all, and that he would do the same, but for very different reasons. "Her sis on the other hand…anyway, you're a cleric, right? Never seen a man of god fight quite like that, but I can't say I'm too familiar with Moradin."

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn tries his best to look normal and solemn, talking about Erys. "Yeah, she hit me with a healing spell of the Lady Firehair. She hadn't had much practice on actually wounded individuals, apparently, and she was-" Valorn pauses briefly. "-nice enough to keep me some company and then chant an incantation." Valorn realizes he's probably talked about this too long, but effortlessly moves onto the next topic brought up. "And aye, I am a cleric. What do you mean exactly by 'never seen'? You've never seen a dwarf battle with a warhammer?"

Edric Crestrun

"Are ya kiddin' me? Some of the best fighters I ever met were dwarf hammerers back during my days on the Golden Lion, but none of 'em were particularly religious." Edric couldn't shake the feeling that the dwarf's mind was elsewhere during this conversation. Something about the way he paused and carefully chose his words. "You fight just as hard and take a hit just as well, provided it ain't from the morning star of a monster, but you're religious enough to find favor from a god. Tell me a little about that." He had his own religious leanings, so he was curious what it took to find the favor of a particular god.

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn perks up at the mention of old battle stories, his mind finally allowing him to successfully shake off whatever guilt or confusion he felt over the past hour. "Well, dwarves are just like any other race, except we're maybe a tad less outgoing. I've always been a religious man. I was raised in a clan who often dedicated their spoils, their tribute, their very lives – in good times and bad – to the All-Father. History has not been… particularly kind to the dwarves, and I firmly believe it's because many of us, probably just like the men you described, have lost their way. Moradin is known for being harsh, but fair. Strong and mighty. The very embodiment of the kind of force of will it takes to survive in this damnable world. To forsake that for coin or fame or-" The feeling came back. "-fucking, it just seems like a damn waste of talent and life to me."

Edric Crestrun

It was odd, he felt a strange understanding of that kind of resolve. He was never a good man, maybe, but he had lived a life not too dissimilar to one who devoted themselves to such ideals. "I'm not one for lust, fame, or greed myself, if you can believe it. Pride, sure, but I've always wondered what sets apart someone who lives a life of godly favor and one who lives in the shadows of their gaze. You ever talked to this All-Father, or ever had him talk to you?"

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn finishes his breastplate, starting work on his left arm. "Ah, yeh. I don't feel any ill will towards other races who choose to go as they wish. It's not my struggle, and not my place. But when it comes t'dwarves, I just don't want us to lose our way any more than we arguably already have. Hopefully, with great effort and strength, the Creator will give us the power to regain our ancestral halls." Valorn goes silent for a moment, ending his proselytizing. "As for talking to Moradin, no. I don't have a personal connection with Him. I've always assumed that He'd never really needed to. He promotes minin', smithin', and lawful behavior, among some other things. It doesn't take a smart dwarf to know those are some good things to do."

Edric Crestrun

"Ah, well. Just askin', because somethin' strange happened to me awhile back, and I was hoping someone had a similar experience." Listening to him talk about his hopes and dreams for his race made him feel a little…odd. He'd never really felt that as a human, though he had met people who were of the same fervor. He'd never felt like he was part of a bigger picture with his own people, finding purpose among collectives of other races. "Well, I've met plenty of dwarves with the same idea too, so at the very least, you guys have a fightin' chance. Of all the kinds I've met, dwarves are usually the most trustworthy and good."

Valorn Aenethal

"It's very lovely to hear you say that, Edric. My heart is always warmed when people talk highly of us dwarves. Unfortunately, I've met a bastard too many dwarves in my day, and maybe it's just because my rope of tolerance for certain behaviors is a tad shorter than others have, but I still think we have a lot of work to do." Valorn finishes up his right arm, putting on his helmet, fully armored. "If you don't mind me askin', what was your experience, though?"

Edric Crestrun

He grew quiet for a moment, having to recall this experience for the second time today. This time he'd keep it to the short version. "Well, uh…I drowned once, and came face to face with Umberlee. She spared my life, but took those of a few of my friends. To this day, I still don't know why."

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn's eyes flash wide. "Oh my, what a godawful tale. To not only have your friends die around you, but also.. to have that survivor's guilt with you." Valorn thinks to how lucky he is that his god is an endlessly just one. "Just remember, the rudderless waves of a hatchet lady like that present you with no responsibility. For every pleasantly robed human she spares, she takes a hundred more. Her judgment is not a sound one."

Edric Crestrun

His words were ones he'd heard plenty of times before, but the problem wasn't that he felt guilt about surviving. "Yeah…no, that's not it. I felt glad, like I had been chosen to survive, like she chose me out of those people, for whatever unknowable reason a god like that does anything. She spoke to me, and while I couldn't understand what she said, I know that's not something that happens every day. That's what bothers me, that I could think for a second the favor of a god like her might be a good thing." He looked uncomfortable discussing this again, so he tried to change the subject. "…hey, why did you change your mind yesterday? Was I really that convincin'?"

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn senses that his proselytizing has reached its logical end here. He takes the question, moving on. "It was your argument, plus my sort of, eh, internal calculus, let's call it. Your argument about the very logical conclusions of leaving them alive in any capacity made me logically clerk out every possibility. We let them live, tied up, and they almost certainly escape, getting back to their pack, creating more bloodshed. Bad plan. We let them live, but torture them by breaking their legs, hoping they can't hobble their way in front of us. But at some point they'll recover, rejoining their pack, eventually causing more bloodshed, maybe even our own. Finally, I can kill them quickly. A harsh but fair punishment for ambushing a party with the intent to kill. Prevents them from being tortured or causing more bloodshed in the future. Mercy is blessed when you can give it, but you convinced me to take a look at what we were really discussing, not just the surface level discomfort, and it really did change my mind."

Edric Crestrun

He smiled a bit, before thinking back to his conversation with Quinys. "Yeah, that's about the came conclusions I came to. Still, next time, let's make sure everyone's on board before we start crackin' skulls. Otherwise, we might end up upsettin' our travelin' companions, and I'm gettin' the feeling we're not gonna be splitting ways anytime soon. Call it a portent, but I see us getting wrapped up in somethin' far bigger than a shipping job gone bad. Somethin' to keep in mind." Looking up at the setting sun, he sighed. "Well, it's about time I got the fire goin', and my watch is coming up soon. It's been an illuminating conversation, Val."

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn looks at first concerned, but then gives Edric a half-smile. "I'll keep that in mind for sure," he thinks of a similar nickname "Ed." Valorn feels smug, wondering if he can get away with it. "Sounds like a plan. I understand your fears, but hopefully we can end this damnable crusade into the wilderness soon enough and save our friend."

Edric Crestrun

Grinning at the shortened moniker as he thought that no one but the old captain had ever called him that, he turned to head back to the fire. "Maybe. But a storm's coming, and unfortunately for all of us, I'm rarely ever wrong."

S2E8-ValornEdric

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