We first met at a merchant’s stand at the base of Stormreach City. That day, he was impatient, surly and his purse was empty. I never knew how long he’d sat there on that wooden barrel asking the other new adventurers if they would join him on a quest. When I approached the vendor to buy something to eat, his shaggy head was down and his dark beard was on his broad, heaving chest. He was snoring.
Wuldin Hammerrock was a dwarf and he’d been on the same ship that I’d bought passage on. We were two of roughly fifty souls on that galleon when the White Dragon had swept down from the sky and attacked with ice and claw. Thankfully it seemed the dragon’s intent was destroying the ship’s mast and sails and not eating us.
Wuldin and I had never spoken during that journey and I never knew what had happened to him during the attack. Turns out he had attached himself to some floating debris and made his way to shore not far from where I’d beached and met the rogue named Jeets who had helped me.
It seemed more than coincidence that we both were in Stormreach now. As I stood beside the stand that day munching on a hard chunk of bread, I seemed drawn to the dwarf.
“Excuse me”, I ventured carefully.
A bright blue eye popped open beneath a thick brow. He came fully awake and looked at me wearily.
“Yes, what is it?”
“Weren’t we on the Prima together, the vessel that wrecked off Korthos?”
The hairy eyebrows arched and his face became animated.
“Yes, I believe we were! Rotten dragon nearly drowned me!” He spat off to the side for emphasis.
“Me, too. I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your name.”
The dwarf heaved himself off the weathered barrel and heavily landed on his feet on the ground in front of me. He stood a little over half my height.
“Wuldin Hammerrock, at your service!” He half-bowed in my direction.
“Tyrnie Hoklinder. Very pleased to meet you again.” I smiled.
As we stood there, I suppose I already knew this was someone I could trust. I had no one in the world to call friend. I was alone in a new land and here before me stood this dwarf who needed a companion, too. I’d learn later that his motives for friendship were rooted in attaining wealth while mine were in abating fear and loneliness.
Turns out, we were made for each other.
After some discussion I learned of his intent to help a fellow on the other side of the docks, at a tavern called the Leaky Dinghy, and I agreed to travel with Wuldin to meet with him.
As we walked in the bright sunshine and basked in the warmth of the bustling city docks, we first became friends. He admired the great axe I wore slung on my back and I the broad hammer he carried.
Our boots echoed off the planks as we walked and at last we were standing at the foot of a narrow stairway at the top of which was a shabby building. That must be the tavern.
“Are you ready?” Wuldin asked and he winked at me.
“I’ll never be more ready”, I replied without apprehension.