Shattered Plane

The Price of Incompetence

Ra’him was tired. He had gotten sleep in that dreadfully glamorous Dwarven city, but sleep so far from the open sky was hardly what he would consider rest. Travelling across the world with few stops and more fighting than he had ever had in his life was beginning to take a toll on him, and he could feel his bones ache and crack with every move, making him all the more grateful for his horse, Ajouz. He also blamed his recent amiability on exhaustion. It had been some time since he had chastised any of the others on their quest, and he felt as though he were warming up to them. Must be the lack of sleep. This recent decision of theirs, however, bothered him greatly. That anyone believed going to retrieve some trinket of the old gods in order to fashion a new deity could be anything but trouble astounded him. He had tried reasoning with the others, particularly Eliason, about the dangers of divine interference, but they would not listen. It seemed the only one with any sense was Sprad, not a statement Ra’him could make often. The rest were content to play hero and save the world. The notion made Ra’him snort with frustration.

He was reminded of an event long ago when he was a child, maybe nine or ten years old, he could not remember. There were three human boys beating up a young elf boy, calling him all sorts of names and laughing at his inability to defend himself. Ra’him intervened. He told the human children to stop, or he would beat them all to within a stones throw of death, and then finish the job. But Ra’him was not larger than humans, not stronger, and not faster, though half-orcs had a reputation for cruelty. Still, the humans indulged Ra’him and attacked him. The elf even joined in, and together, Ra’him was beaten until he could hardly see anymore. He had several broken ribs, a broken arm and was coughing blood as he staggered and crawled back home. There his mother, a human, immediately slapped him across his bruised cheek for being weak and foolish. She told Ra’him to go to his room and that he was not to have supper tonight or tomorrow, and how he should think on the mistakes he has made. It was a hard lesson to learn at such an earlier age, but he learned it well. In him mind, he had already defeated the human boys, deftly and painfully, and they ran like cowards. The elf and he had already become great friends and lived full, happy lives. But his mind had deceived him, and he was only a weak and incompetent child. He would never again make the mistake of believing himself to be the hero.

Ra’him learned the price of incompetence is high, and he does not like to repeat the same mistake. Though he has many reasons for wanting to avoid helping Beilom, the most honest one is that Ra’him does not believe he has any grand part to play in the world. Life has shown him his lot, and he will keep it that way. As a youth, he paid in hunger and pain for his mistakes. As an adult, the payment could be the suffering of everyone left in this shattered world. But such thoughts only made Ra’him more exhausted, and when Eliason asked if he was all right, for he looked somewhat pale and weak, his response was “yes, I am fine.” Gods, I’m so tired.

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