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Pathfinder Tales: Forge of Ashes

Hidden Depths: Delving into Dwarves and the Darklands

Ask most people to describe a dwarf and they'll likely touch on many similar points: short, gruff, warriors, lovers of gold, gems, and frothy mugs of ale. We see this time and again throughout books, movies, and video games. It's an iconic image, and it might be easy to leave it at that since it's such a familiar representation—as well as one many have come to love.

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The Price Paid

Akina stood rooted, a peculiar chill dousing the embers in her gut. Could it be possible? Could these creatures truly want to handle things in a civilized manner? Ever since leaving for the war, she'd only ever encountered them on the battlefield, knowing full well they sought her death as much as she theirs. What if Ondorum was right? What if these hobgoblins hadn't participated in the fighting and were just victims of circumstances? Could she damn them for the actions of others?

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The Price Paid

The goblin's head morphed into a humanoid skull with a piggish nose and enormous, bat-like ears. Milky eyes fixed on Akina as fangs filled a slavering maw. The beast's body expanded and hunched over, bristling with fur until it resembled an enormous wolf with clawed hands instead of forepaws.

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The Price Paid

Akina trailed Ondorum across the main threshold, which he said the hobgoblins had been using to come and go. The air turned chilly and musty, with an underlying reek that flared the embers in Akina's gut—a fetid mix of blood, grease, dung, and rotting meat unique to hobgoblins. It conjured up too-fresh memories of their hideous warcries and how they'd clamber over the corpses of allies and foes alike to slaughter all in their path.

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The Price Paid

"There!" Akina thrust her maulaxe out, pointing to the craggy ruins on the hillside. "Told you I smelled hobgoblin stink. We'll have our pay by morning."

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Forge of Ashes Sample Chapter

In Forge of Ashes, the dwarven warrior Akina returns home to the Five Kings Mountains after years as a soldier and mercenary, accompanied by Ondorum, her silent companion of living stone. What she finds there is far from what she remembers: a disgraced brother, an obsessive suitor, and a missing mother presumed dead. Yet the damage runs deeper than anyone knows, and when Akina’s brother is kidnapped by ancient enemies from the legendary Darklands, she and Ondorum must venture below the surface—and into danger as old as the stones themselves.

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Hunter's Folly

At the warning cry, Aberny looked back and noticed the crude frame of branches that propped a large rock pile above the tunnel they'd emerged from. Even as he did, a scrabble of talons alerted him just before the beast burst upward, jaws snapping every which way. It clamped onto the ledge with one claw and swept the other out.

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Hunter's Folly

The trio hiked along the base of a scraggly knoll under the midday sun. Tali had at least stopped complaining about the dirt soiling her dress, and now joined Aberny in eyeing the skies for any sign of their foe. Ralynn kept an easy, if steady, pace ahead, one blade always out as he scanned the wild brush and every dip and curve of the earth in case the chimera crouched in wait.

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Hunter's Folly

Aberny gaped at the body for a moment, blood staining the earth at his feet. Then the scene around the campfire snatched his stare away.

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Hunter's Folly

Aberny chuckled at the sight of the gnome squaring off with the half-elf, paintbrush crossed with a short sword. The campfire cast the dueling partners into bronze-and-shadow relief. Ralynn glowered down his sword, while Tali glared back up at him, both as riled as if one had slandered the other's parentage.

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The Weeping Blade

The Weeping Blade by Josh Vogt Chapter Two: Touch of the Grave Larem hissed and dropped the silver piece, yet his fingertips burned from the frigid contact. ... The person remained before him, and Larem could sense its silent mockery. He reached for his dagger. ... Who are you? ... His tormenter shifted with a creak of leather. Its every movement groaned and crackled with age. ... No, not age, Larem realized as he caught another whiff of grave dust. Death. An undead creature leered at him,...
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The Weeping Blade

Larem winced as Dargley spouted his usual gibberish. He leaned over and nudged his fellow beggar.

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