Edit and links needed. Written on my iPhone while at work.
William Jervis took a moment to look around the room. The statues were odd in their perfection; carved parodies of what great warriors were supposed to look like. No scars showed, blisters on sword hands were absent and no face showed the stress or strain of the taking of hundreds of lives. No women were represented in this hall of the mighty, suggesting a culture in which they were to be fought over and not with.
The spark elf continued to rattle on about the history of the region and how the statue that was supposed to be in the center of the room, the statue of Barraban, must have been replaced by the three Dix. The elf’s knowledge was impressive, but William found himself focusing on the information about Baraban that he had just gleaned.
While Brom amused himself by searching for the hidden door into the passages beneath the keep by pulling on the statues’ arms or other lever-like appendages, William was musing.
This Barraban’s tennents seemed as unreal and naive in representing war as the statues in the room. Two armies, opponents, approaching each other evenly, straightforward, to conduct battle with such rules was almost laughable if not sad and dangerous. A smile broke out as he thought of trying to square up on the giant spider at the top of the keep or the hunting diamond-backed spiders not using the environment to their advantage to fight cleanly with agreed upon rules. Getting them to spare the weaker members of the party or the goblin group so as to fight “cleanly.” The plant monsters used poison and even that skeleton, still grasping its magic sword in death, had placed a curse upon itself which caused the Barrowman to run terrified through that accursed garden which roused those plant creatures.
Nature does not have rules and nature used every means at its disposal to win, survive. If that meant starving your enemy for a better chance at victory, you did it. Poisoning wells, it was done. Torture, assassination, killing children and women and the weak have all been done in efforts for victory as the races that created armies and were interested in the lands of others were a part of nature.
The Protector had her own values that applied to battle and war: take care of each other and be strong. Women fought, not made spoils of. Lands and people were not poisoned as they would then be useless to the victors. Nature was respected and not underestimated, but not to be conquered either. After all, why would you take more than you needed? William chuckled at that. Men do all the time and the waste shows in the abuse.
Williams brow furrowed as he thought of what he left in the North. What rules did The Horde follow? What dark gods, if they had such things, guided them in their actions? How would the Northron’s battle tactics match an army whose desires are unknown? He thought of the Bronze and her actions and his could only be the contribution of the here and now. Eventually, the North may take him back. Eventually, he may……
William was roused by the scraping of stone on stone.
“I got it!” Brom was unable to hide his youth in his excited shout. “I found the door leading down.”
With the North still on his mind, William Jervis lead the way into the darkness.