Iondir’s Folly and the Fall of Azul
Let it be remembered that the greatest hero of all was a dwarf, and his name was Azul. His virtues were many and his triumphs uncountable, and many tales have been written of him, but none is so dire as the story of his fall at the hands of his friend, the great king Iondir.
Iondir ruled the human lands above, and Azul the dwarven lands below, and the two were fast friends – each had saved the other’s life many times, and they were known across Augury for their skill in battle and their love for each other. Now it came to pass that Azul, delving alone in the deep places to protect his people from the horrors that lurked there, came upon a demon most foul. This fiend had hair streaked with white, and Azul’s magic could not touch it, nor his axe break its skin, and so he fled from the creature back to his stronghold.
There he forged a sword of such power that his own people fled before it, and he returned to the deep place while the blade was still hot from the fire. He slew the foul creature, quenching his new blade in its blood, and named the sword Purity, and wrote the name on the blade in the old language, that it would cleanse all evil from his lands.
When Iondir visited to feast with Azul after his great victory, the human king saw the beauty and deadly grace of Purity, and in his heart he desired it. His soul turned to the green of the emerald at its hilt, and he spoke to his friend Azul, saying, “I admire this sword that you have wrought. You are a dwarf, and to you is given the axe – might not I, as your boon companion, take up this sword to fight at your side?” But Azul refused him, for the wise dwarf knew that Iondir would not be able to evoke the full magic of the sword. And so Iondir did not speak of it again, but only waited, his desire for the sword growing ever stronger.
Purity was ever at Azul’s side, but he would only draw it at the hour of direst need, instead using his faithful axe to quell the fell beasts that he slew. Each time he would return from his quest, and Iondir would feast with him in celebration, and each time Iondir would ask for the sword, and Azul would refuse. And then came the day that Iondir’s desire grew too great, and he sent a message to his friend, asking for assistance in defeating a monster that had proved too strong for the human alone.
And so Azul came with Purity at his side, and discovered too late that his friend had laid a trap for him. The dwarf was surrounded by a hundred warriors, and when he realized what befell him he drew Purity from its scabbard, and his enemies fell one by two, three by four. Iondir watched from afar and saw that each strike by the sword was more powerful than the last, but that with each swing Azul himself weakened, as if Purity fed on Azul’s life force.
Still Azul fought on, growing weaker and weaker, until the last of the hundred men had fallen, and the dwarf sank to his knees. King Iondir strode up to his former ally and smote him with his great mace, and Azul fell dead at his feet. Then Iondir picked up the sword Purity that he had coveted, but as Azul had foreseen, in another’s hands the sword lost most of its magic. In rage and despair, Iondir looked around and realized what he had done, and fell on the blade which had already wrought so much destruction.
Thus is Azul laid to rest here, and let the story of Iondir’s Folly be always remembered.