He was excited, finally they would be fighting the enemy again. The sound of cannons firing filled his ears. Then, there was a madman running on the sea. He retrieved and aimed his gun to shoot…
He was on the ship. For some time now there was nothing but boring, open sea. That was the way it had been for months. He looked apprehensively at the moderately deep sea below, hoping… and longing for home.
His first battle against the enemy. He manned the cannons, and only briefly considered whether they might actually deserve to be sunk. But then, he knew they must if he wanted his family and his country to be safe.
His first look at one of the new ships filled him with a sense of pride. He had been one of the chosen for this important duty. Beyond that, it was an impressive feat of engineering. The strong metal sides filled his heart with warmth, just like the hearth of his family home.
He arrived at the islands with a feeling of relief. No one would talk about what was in the deep oceans. Maybe none of them had ever seen it, but the deep blackness almost made him wonder why they were bothering to go anywhere at all. Nobody even talked at all… perhaps afraid of voices above a whisper bringing unwanted attention. If the mission weren’t so important… perhaps the entire ship would have turned back to the homeland.
He was chosen for a secret mission. He couldn’t know the details until he left, but he was going to be part of something great. He couldn’t tell anyone what he was going to do because he didn’t know, but he did at least have the chance to say goodbye to his parents. He would miss them, but he would be back. This time, though, he secretly cried as well.
His early career as a marine had been quite a success. Every time he stopped at an island, he knew his people were a little bit safer, even if his own life got more dangerous by the day. At least some of the giant squid were edible…
His parents cried when he went off on his first duty, but they didn’t need to worry so much. He knew he would be back every couple months at the latest. Assuming everything went well.
There was a call from the council for more training for the marines. The seas weren’t safe enough, and they needed more able bodied dwarves to patrol the seas, keeping the islands and those who travelled between them safe. Since he wasn’t going to take over the smithy anyway, it seemed like a good idea.
He worked the forge. It was hot and sweaty, but in a good way. He looked at his older brother and knew he was quite lucky to be the future inheritor of such a fine smithy. He wondered what he himself might do in the future.
He did his best in his studies, though he couldn’t always focus on some of the more boring parts. Did he really need to know the name of every member of the first council? What about the second, or third… or thirtieth? Well, apparently he needed to know the thirtieth too. Sullen glares came from the other students.
Reading and writing was okay, but he would rather have been out playing. There were so many rocky beaches and tidepools where he hadn’t spent as much time as he wished…
William came back into his own self. What had he learned?
Dwarves were people. He supposed there hadn’t been much doubt of that. After all, he was a gevai- a demon– and even most of them hadn’t been that bad. The proportions were nearly as high among the humans, but they died of old age much more easily which helped manage the numbers quite a bit.
Regardless, William hadn’t doubted that dwarves would be people just as much as the rest. He also hadn’t expected a random soldier to be filled with evil intentions, and so confirmation didn’t mean much there.
As for useful intel… he learned the dwarves mostly lived on islands of varying sizes. They seemed quite far away. Then there were some others, the frontline of the dwarven forces, on relatively nearby islands- perhaps a day or two away, but that included over a hundred miles of deep ocean.
They didn’t have many steamboats, but they did have some way to protect against deep sea threats. He wasn’t sure how reliable it was, as he couldn’t have received news about it if it hadn’t worked. The doubts of a random soldier didn’t really say much there either.
Beyond that, he thought he knew a smattering of dwarven words. He tried them out, speaking them aloud- or attempting to. It took some work, and he thought he probably had a horrible accent even though he knew what he was trying to say quite precisely. Unfortunately he didn’t want the limit of his vocabulary to be profanity, some naval terms, and the words for hundreds of kinds of sand and beach rocks.
He spread his senses to look over the soul of the dwarf in front of him. It seemed rather shaky, as if it could shatter at any point. There wasn’t much more he could do there without crossing into unpleasant territory. Fortunately, it should be fine if left alone.
William then took stock of himself. He felt like he should have been covered in sweat, but instead felt more like someone had dumped a bucket of sea water over him and let it dry. His throat was quite parched as well. His soul… wasn’t in any danger of collapsing or anything, but he would have to spend some time recovering ki and stabilizing himself. At least he had some prior experience at digesting memories that were not his. Rather too much, if he was going to be completely honest. At least these weren’t actually part of his soul. That helped.