An involuntary foster parent
Hiding behind some bushes, he watched them fight. One dwarf was obviously a dark iron agent, the other was a cloaked dwarf. They fought and suddenly the dark iron aimed to strike his opponent’s head—a dangerous manouvre that would leave his right handed side vulnerable. The cloaked dwarf saw his opportunity. Just before the dark iron dwarf’s club hit the cloaked head, a long blade sank into his chest cavity. Both dwarven bodies collapsed and it was only then that the watcher realised what they had been fighting about.
On the ground lay a small, tightly wrapped package. As both dwarves lay heavily injured on the ground he decided to have a look at it. Carefully examining the contents he suddenly heard crying. It was an infant girl! The dark iron groaned in his agony.
‘Go on, take the child.’ the dark iron dwarf said faintly. ‘It is cursed anyway. . . mwahaha’
The mad cackling was cut short by a gurgling cough as foaming blood forced its way up his windpipe. An effort the dark iron dwarf would not recover from.
And so it came to pass, he who had watched the death struggle of the two dwarves took the child to his home. At least for the night. Of-course he planned to abandon the infant at the gates of the very first orphanage he could find. But fate would have it otherwise. The next day he found a dwarven woman sitting in one of his chairs. She held the little dwarven girl in her arms, playing with her.
‘Good morning!’ she said to him, still smiling at the infant and touching its lips with her index finger.
The little girl wriggled her legs and giggled with delight.
‘So the child found its way to you, eh?’ the woman continued ‘You will have to be the one then.’ She turned her eyes towards him, quickly exchanging her smile for a disappointed frown.
‘Twisting nether,’ he hissed. ‘Who are you? How did you. . .’
‘None of this matters.’ the woman cut in. ‘But listen carefully, because what I will tell you, is important. You must raise this child you found as if it were your own blood. Tell no-one about her. Do not try to find her parents. Until the child has reached the age of twelve years by which time you will be relieved from your duty and I will collect her. Obey and you will be rewarded. Should you refuse,’ she added with a sadistic smirk ‘Well. . . let us just say you will envy that dark iron agent’s fate you witnessed last night.’
And with that promise still ringing in his ears, she put the child down on the chair. Leaving him to recover from his surprise, she left a bulging coin sack on the little girl’s lap.
‘There will be more of those if you perform to my mistress’ satisfaction.’ the woman said. ‘I will return within the month.’
He had done questionable things in his time, uninmaginable things. Dirty deeds nightmares pale in comparison by. Why had fate chosen him to raise a child? Him! An outcast dwarf nobody would stay within ten feet of, unless they had to. There would be a reason, and he would find it. Of that he was sure.
‘Oh I will raise this child allright.’ the dwarf mumbled to himself. ‘And I will do well, too, by the looks of those coins.’
He picked up the little girl and spoke to her in a serious tone. ‘You shall be know as Feidhelm. You will go forth into this forsaken world and grow. Become strong! Influential! Yes, that is how it will be!’
He brought her to his room and put her into bed again. He silently closed the door behind him.
‘That is how it will be.’ he repeated softly, ‘But my enemies will be your enemies.’