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Of Rage and Sorrow, The Journeys of Alpoah Kutiz'Arminhaff


Alpoah Kutiz’Arminhaff was a hefty dwarven girl who lived with her father, on a farm, just outside the village of Center. She was the size of the biggest of the local lads and stood a full five feet tall when she was 25. Alpoah’s mother had died giving birth to her.
    We girls didn’t care for Alpoah much; she looked rough and unkempt even for a dwarf.  We made fun of her bulky frame and the stringy ribbons that tied back her wild, red hair. She helped her father milk the cows in the mornings and she’d sometimes have milk stains on her dress and cow poo on her shoes. A few times, we ran along behind her, holding our noses and calling her ‘Alpoah Smellpoah’, until she turned red in the face and chased after us, roaring in dwarven.
    Her father mixed mostly with dwarves and spoke only dwarven to her on the farm, which is where she spent most of her time. As far as we knew, she never had any book learning. She spoke little of the common tongue, and what few phrases she could speak, sounded brutish and slow-witted. Still, she knew enough to know when she was being teased.
    Alpoah would wrestle and fight like a boy. She once smashed a ball so hard that it flew away, high out of the village, killing a wandering goblin stone dead. Sometimes we’d see her splitting wood in her front yard with heavy, singular strokes of the axe. 'That dwarven girl is, no lady’ the local housewives gossipped.
    Because Alpoah was so rough, she took some terrible tumbles. Once, she got in a fight with Gramnar Ironfist. They rolled over and over on the road until Tagnar came across and broke it up. Alpoah was a mess. She was bruised and her nose was bleeding. Her dress was dirty and torn. She didn’t cry, though. She never did. Alpoah just stuck her chin out and looked fiercely at Gramnar, as if she’d like to fight him again.
    We always egged her on to have fights for the sport of it. ‘That Alpoah is as tough as old boots,’ sniffed my friend Mary. But one day, news spread around like wildfire. Alpoah’s father had been crushed by a tree they were felling. He was dead.
    We all felt awful, and Mary cried. We worked together to make Alpoah a sympathy card that we presented to her after her father’s burial. ‘No cry for Alpoah!’ she said rudely and fiercely, stuffing the card into her pocket.
    The farm was sold, and Alpoah was to go and live with her uncle. Of course, his wife didn't take well to her at all, and Alpoah ended up running away in her late-twenties. She was sometimes spotted stalking the foothills and lake edges alone. It’s said she occasionally consorted with roving bandits and mercenaries.
    Whatever the case, Alpoah Kutiz’Arminhaaf hadn’t been seen for many a winter. It was assumed she’d either met her match out in the brutal wilderness or had simply moved on. Then, one day, there she was.

"Look! Coming out of the craft hall, isn't that..."
"Yes, that's her to be sure. Stop staring, Mary!"
"Oh, I don't care. What's she going to do? Come and flatten me like a boy? Gawds! Look at the size of her. She looks like someone lopped off a fire giant's rear end and stuffed it in a suit of armour."
"Shhhh! She'll hear you. Here she comes."
"So what? She can't speak common anyway."
At this point, the strapping young dwarven woman in question strode past the two girls on her way towards Fort Wayfare, paying them absolutely no heed. They were long legs and long legs of no consequence at that. She had more important things to think about. Until now she had no purpose other than wandering in search of a fight. Now she had something to fight for.
"Hmmm." she thought to herself, "Bron said they were in need of timber and iron. I gave those gnolls a good knock, but I don't fancy trying my luck deeper in those Haven mines without some stout dwarves alongside me. The iron will need to wait. I can get oak easily enough though."
Presently, she came upon the still waters of Lake Palden and being in no particular hurry, she decided to take a stroll along its western edge.
"Oh I remember coming here with da when I was a girl." she thought to herself, sighing and staring out across the water. "Nevermind that." She said aloud. "You're in the Crimson Company now, and kin is kin."

Alpoah gazes into the depths of the smoldering fire and thinks about her old Waazk'ah. Five years now. Five years have passed since he was crushed by that cursed pine. She had tried, in her desperation, to heave it from his lifeless body, but even she had not the might for such a task. She screamed and wept and cursed and cried until she had no more tears to give. Now, five years on, still just a teen by dwarven reckoning, she sits alone in the wild nursing her broken heart.


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