Okay, that was a bad idea. I never ever want to go through something like that again. I’m writing this some time after it happened because it took me a while before I was willing to think about it.
What is honor?
I don’t know if I really slept the night after I took the Shards. Or maybe I never really woke up. It’s hard to tell, sometimes. I saw things. Terrible things. Things that I can’t describe because they slither away as soon as I try to picture them, leaving nothing but the feeling that while I can’t remember them, I will never be able to forget having seen them. There was a feeling of great age, and loss, and rage. So much rage. The rage that wants to see the world burn rather than be denied to them.
To an elf, honor is perfection. An elf cannot be seen as weak, or vulnerable, or admit to having made a mistake. An elf will spend his last copper on a feast to entertain a guest rather than allow the guest to see that he is poor. The elves as a whole will go to war and enslave an entire race rather than admit to their neighbors that they need help.
I was a bit out of it for the trip back to Briarsby. I can’t tell you how long it took or if anything happened along the way. I felt like a passenger watching my body go through the motions. I did manage to leave my dazed state long enough to tell the Boss that I had succeeded at the task she had given me. She seemed surprised but didn’t want to say anything around the humans.
To a dwarf, honor is family. A dwarf must honor his ancestors and provide for his descendants. All of their reputed dependence on tradition and love of wealth are based on these two ideals. A dwarf must follow the old ways because they are the ways of his father and father’s father. And a dwarf seeks treasure because he wants to enrich his children. A dwarf without family is a dwarf without purpose.
I did some shopping after we got back. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to carry around multiple vials of an extremely flammable substance. There was definitely something wrong with me. Of course, I’m still carrying them so maybe there’s still something wrong with me.
To an orc, honor is strength. Orcs strive to be strong, and to prove themselves strong. Lying, trickery, oath-breaking; these are the tools of the weak. The strong have no need of deception. An orc that lies, or shirks his responsibility, is a weak orc, no matter how powerful a fighter he may be.
The duke, Berza’s grandfather, was back in town and we had a meal with him while she described our adventures. He was very interested in the scroll we found, but it turned out to be blank. I remember Bert casting a spell on it during the battle in the kobold lair. This raises many questions. Did he know what was on it, or was that a random act of malice? If he knew, why did he care? Are there links between the kobolds and the elves?
To a human, honor is something found by the individual. It seems each human has their own fixation, and their honor lies in how passionately they pursue it. Some follow they ways of other races, seeking status, family, or strength. Others find honor in following a god or in helping others. Some seem to have no use for honor and merely allow themselves to be blown about by the winds of fate. It must be difficult, being human.
After the meal the Boss and I went outside to talk to a shaman from her tribe without any humans around. She told him about the shards and he asked me to give them to him, which is when things got weird. I clearly remember giving him the shards, and I just as clearly remember not giving him the shards. Then I remember panicking and thinking that I needed to get them back, even though I obviously still had them. I tried not to go after them, but my body seemed to be under some other force’s control and I took off running at the shaman.
There are many races with which I have no experience and little knowledge. What is honor to a halfling? Or a gnome? Or even a dragon? Edward spoke of honor, and of protecting his family. Is the honor of a kobold the same as that of a dwarf? I suspect that the dwarfs would not want to hear that. What is honor to a god, or to an abomination?
The shaman cast a spell on me and my body stopped moving, though in truth I noticed little difference since I hadn’t been controlling it in the first place. The Boss picked me up and started running towards the temple of Pelor, but before she got there I could feel the spell wearing off. I tried to warn the Boss, but I was several magical effects away from being able to speak. I fell out of her grasp and found myself running back towards the shaman, which was clearly insane as I’m pretty sure I still had the Shards at that point. It’s as if multiple forces had taken over my body and they weren’t talking to each other. I was quickly netted and brought down by a group of orcs and the Boss told me to stop struggling.
To a goblin, honor is loyalty. A goblin alone is weak; prey for whatever chooses to devour him. A goblin finds safety only by joining others, forming a hierarchy in which service flows up and protection flows down. The honor of a goblin is shown in how loyally he serves the strong and protects the weak, within the boundaries of whatever community or group he has sworn himself to. A slave cannot choose whether he not he serves, thus, a slave can have no honor. My people have been without honor for a very long time. My honor is to serve the Boss.
I kept my honor. When the Boss ordered me to stop struggling I took my body back from whatever malignant power dwell in the Shards and I stopped struggling. Some priests came running up and the Shards were taken from me, along with what felt like a large portion of my… hmm… there really isn’t a word for this in goblin or common. Mako? Quintessence? Lifeforce? Soul isn’t quite right, but whatever you want to call it I felt like I was missing a piece. About that time I screamed and passed out.