Khul
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Ten. That's how many others there are in Teras like me. Or at least that was what I was told by my creators in the Seriade base camp I was crafted in. My “proper” designation is Unit 10, Warforged Fighter of the Seriade Army. Simply Unit 10. For the first several years I was around, I didn't realize how, plain and impersonal that was. It never occurred to me that I could or should have a real name like everyone else I knew did. Early on, very little occurred to me to be honest. It wasn't until I reached the Seriade Forward Attack Post just north of the Elven/Seriade border, that anything other than my Primary Objective even regularly entered my mind.

My Primary Objective. A concept that still haunts me to this day. But I suppose that is a good thing. It means I'm changing, evolving, even feeling. My Primary Objective was drilled into me from the moment I was “brought to life”. I was told, upon awakening, that I was a construct, made to serve Seriade. My Primary Objective was to aid the Seriade Army in whatever way, or by doing whatever task I was given by any superior. My superiors rarely commanded more than one thing, and that was Kill The Enemy. And mostly, that enemy was someone from or supporting the Elven Nations to the south of Seriade. I was sent to the Seriade Forward Attack Post just north of the border. There I was given a new Tinkerer. His job was to keep me running and upgrade me when possible to make me a more effective fighter. He told me to call him Thomas. Thomas took me aside the night he arrived and ask me a question. He wanted to know if I was happy. I told him I didn't understand his question. He looked at me with a rather puzzled look. He asked what I didn't understand. “That last word, ummm… happy.” “Ah, he said, I understand now. You were trained not to feel. Would you like to change that?” “I suppose, I replied, how would it change me?”

“Well, he replied, it make you more sentient. More alive, if you will. I don't believe it is fair for you to simply be a killing machine who knows nothing else. I believe you should have the freedom to choose your path, construct or not.” I became silent for several minutes, but finally spoke up with simply one word, “How?” He replied, “Simple, I will teach you what is like to truly live.” And so our journey together began. In addition to simply being my tinkerer, he was also my teacher. And slowly, as I became more “alive”, Thomas slowly became my friend.

Move forward one year. I was still fighting for Seriade from the border. But everyday I fought, I became increasingly more aware of what I was doing. And with awareness came more concerns and questions. Late one afternoon I returned from a patrol looking for a secret Elven tunnel under the border. I walked into Thomas' tent just as someone snuck out the back. I turned to give chase, but before I could move I saw him. Thomas lay in the floor, slowing bleeding out. And yet, despite being close to death, he smiled when he saw me. “I want you to promise me something. Don't ever forget what I have taught you.” Just as he finished, he died. I ran to commander's tent hooping they would help me find the killer. I stepped in the tent just as my commander handed a bag of coins to a shadowy figure, who upon seeing me, darted away. Before the commander could speak, he was dead on the ground. I didn't give killing him a second thought. At that moment, vengeance was the only thing on my mind. I covered his body with a blanket and left the tent, returning to mine. I packed my belongings, what little I actual had, and headed out of camp. I knew my only option was to head south toward the border. I would fair far better in the forest with the elves than I would against the entire Seriade camp. I knew they would soon find the commander dead and come after me so I quickly headed to the river at the edge of camp. I stowed what I had brought in a water-tight sack and simply stepped over the edge into the river. I sank to the bottom and began walking. One of the many advantages of being a construct is that I don't breathe. I can stay underwater for extended periods with the only worry being water damage to armor and weapons. I began walking down stream to the border. I knew of a settlement on the Seriade side where a good friend of Thomas' lived. Thomas had told me much about him and I was told he was one of the few humans I could trust.

A few hours later, the patrols searching for me began following the river south. I could see the lights of torches moving by occasionally. Thankfully, it was dark enough outside, and the water was deep enough, that I went unnoticed. I realized several hours later I must have reached the border, because the patrol lights stopped passing. The soldiers were too afraid to venture near the elven border with out serious muscle. The serious muscle that I typically provided. I suddenly felt a sense of what Thomas' called amusement. Must have something to do with what he called “irony”.

Unfortunately, when I finally emerged, I wasn't near the human settlement I expected. I was in a village I wasn't familiar with. Suddenly, I was surrounded by a small group of warriors, weapons drawn. A girl stepped forward, starring at me. “Who, or what, are you?” “I am designated Unit 10, Warforged Figher of the Seriade Army. Well, I suppose just Unit 10 now. No longer apart of the army. I had to… leave. Who are you?” “Olivia, Olivia Arden. My father commands a group of non-elven fighters who help the elves against Seriade. If I can ask, why did you leave?” I starred at her for a second, wondering if answering that question was a good idea. I finally decided it couldn't get any worse and explained about my tinkerer being killed and killing my commander. It was at that point that she said something in Elven I didn't understand and the troops put away their weapons. “So you need a new home I take it? I'm sure father would love to have your help against Seriade. And it sounds like you are more than willing to fight against them now. You definitely have a good reason to.”

So I was then taken to her father, and after a lengthy discussion, he agreed it was a good idea to have me around. So for the next two years, I traveled the border area with them, fighting Seriade. The soldiers I had once fought along side were quite surprised to see me charging at them on the battlefield. The first several times that happened, I again experienced “amusement”, a feeling among many others I am beginning to enjoy having. My new home is a town called Ta'Ardenai. I have become good friends with Olivia and spend most of my time with her. She, like Thomas, seems to truly like me and care about me. She calls me her big tree friend. A title that at one point I found somewhat annoying but have grown to accept and even occasionally enjoy hearing. Olivia has given me a new name as well, I felt it best to drop the Unit 10 title as a way of walking away from my old life. I'm called khul'Shalkrumm, an Elven phrases meaning living weapon. I suppose that is what I truly am. It seems to be a compromise between leaving my Seriade roots and accepting who I really. She typically just calls me Khul for short.

I did eventually find the settlement that Thomas' friend lived in. I spent several days there, on what Olivia calls a vacation. I am still not used to having time off of work for extended periods but not always fighting is nice. He was very helpful and friendly. He was sad to hear of Thomas' death but quite excited that Seriade was supported by one less warforged.

Recently, Olivia mentioned a new opportunity to me. She is going on a long journey away from Ta'Ardenai and her father's fighters, and wanted to know if I would join her. I have decided to go along so I may see more of this apparently vast world we inhabit. We are traveling to a place known as the Kythera Islands. Apparently they are a recently discovered region and there is much wealth and knowledge to be gained by adventuring there. I care little for wealth as I require little to keep me going, but I long to try this “adventuring” I have heard many groups talk about. And it is an opportunity to be a part of something that is just fighting and killing, which is something I would greatly like to experience. So it is to the Kythera Islands we go. I have been tasked by Commander Arden to protect Olivia, despite the fact we both know she is more than capable of doing so herself. But nevertheless I shall do as I am instructed. And perhaps this journey will afford me the chance to continue to do more than just fight. Perhaps I can make a difference, as cliched as it sounds.

Epilogue

Khul isn’t what he used to be. He no longer cares to become more human. More real. All that matters now is the fight.

And fight he did. He spent several more years fighting with the elves against Seriade. His experience serving in and against Seriade proved quite valuable.
After serving with the elves, it was requested that Khul take a different part in the fight. Khul was a trained fighting machine. While the elves were not interested in their own warforged, they were interested in creating a core group of warriors to take on Seriade in small scale encounters.

The group was a cross between a party of adventurers and a special forces team. Khul was there to train them two ways. Dealing in small scale problems and fights. But also in how to deal with things inside Seriade borders. Khul even participated in a few missions that required more muscle.

There were always times where he wanted more. To get back on the path to being…. normal. Less of a machine or creation. But then there would be another battle or mission. It wouldn’t matter anymore. Just dealing with Seriade. In the end what really mattered was destroying those who made him what he was. Seems ironic in a way.

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