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The History of the Iron Axes
Chapter 1: Origins

*The dwarf leans his large hammer against the wall in the corner and drops his frayed pack alongside it. He turns, and sits heavily in the cushioned chair facing the fire. Drawing a plain wooden pipe from a pocket inside his shirt, he packs it with a pinch of leaf pulled form a belt pouch. It is a rich brown color, and has a sweet yet mellow scent. Pulling from the pipe, he exhales the smoke into three rings, scratches a new scar that runs across his eye, and finally settling, begins talking in a low voice while stroking his beard*

I am Oaric, son of Aorik, son of Iorak, of the Line of Ilmarik, he who fled the Fall of Khazad-dûm. Mayhaps you’ve come to know me, and my goals… and mayhaps you have not. Regardless, I will tell you the tale of our group’s formation, and what we seek in the time afforded to us by Mahal.

I hail from Thorin’s Hall, though my kin-folk count themselves among Durin’s Folk, the Longbeards, the Exiled. Those who fled Khazad-dum during its fall and wandered, first settling in the Lonely Mountain and, after its fall, to the Blue Mountains. I grew up among the forges, taking my craft from my grandfather Iorak the metalsmith and my father, who crafted weapons.

When the Moria Expedition set out several years ago to seek word on Balin’s re-colonization attempts undertaken 30 years earlier, both my father and grandfather answered the call (I was too young, they told me, having only just passed my fiftieth year). They found themselves in the service of Brogur as forge-smiths, and departed thence with his host. Naught has been heard from them since their departure, and little is known concerning the success of the Moria Expedition

Chapter 2: Initial Formation

One day, while awaiting a few friends of mine in Frerin’s Court, I came across Captain-guard Unnarr at his post. Being known to me (I trained under Unnarr during my early days of service required by all dwarves), I asked him for word of the expedition. He said nothing had been heard, but that Uzbad Dwalin – that’s Lord Dwalin to you men and hobbits – had begun recruiting messengers and explorers to seek word of the expedition.

I spoke with my friends Berlosi, now known as the Stormbow, and Skalduhr the Old, a surly old dwarf of ill disposition (but a good mate in the tavern). Both these dwarves were hunters and mountain rangers, and sought to see places beyond the Ered Luin. We united together, and called our little troupe the Iron Axes, for that is what we all wielded at the time, and for the symbolism it conveyed. For our stock and strength is represented by common metal that contributes to the utilitarian, yet strong and keen, nature of the axe

As we began our forays into distant lands, I first came to the green country known as the Shire. While resting my feet in a swampy and bug-ridden place known as Frogmorton, I met a chirpy and enthusiastic hobbit named Razo Mossyfoot. I remember little of that night, what with the ales he fed me, but I do remember telling him of dwarven food-craft. The next thing I knew, this little fellow was accompanying me eastward through the shire. Seems I had gained an ally, though not one of the stout folk. While I had not planned to include members of the other races into the Axes – for, what do they know of the motivations of Dwarves? - his actions in battle proved his meddle, and his cooking unsurpassed. And so the Axes welcome hobbits and men-folk… and at times, elves, if they deign to travel with such folk as ours…

Chapter 3: Immediate and Long-term Goals

*Oaric empties the ash of his pipe out on the floor next too him, swabs the inside of the bowl with his tunic, then draws out some more leaf and begins to pack it anew. Lighting it, he looks up over the smoke at an asked question*

Aye, what are our goals? What do we seek? Well, I’ll tell you, as it is simple. We seek the Halls of Khazad-dûm. But getting there… well, getting there will be no easy task! And you are all here with myself and my kin for different purposes. Some, like me, seek the halls for personal reasons. Others seek the lore of the deeps, and knowledge that may be contained in the Halls of Durin’s Folk that was. Some of you have been promised coin or a part of your share of the treasures that may be found in the Lost Halls. All of you will win glory for your name and your house.

To get there, we’ll need two basic things: training and coin. The training will prepare ourselves for the dark things we may encoutnere along the road and within the ruins of the Halls, the coin to equip ourselves and provide basic necessities on our road.

*Sitting forward, Oaric continues:*

However, contingent on us raising coin for our journey is to perform deeds of renown. By doing so, we raise the reputation of and bring glory to the Iron Axes. For if we perform such deeds, and inspire folk by our actions and valor, we will then be called upon to accomplish tasks only befitting a group such as ours. Our actions will be noble, but our rewards will be justified.