Zharek Kadesshak was an enigma, and this is but a small measure of the tally of deeds that followed the third century of his existence:
- Unyielding and eternally cruel, no other emotion ever crossed his glaring visage; and always at his core lay the frigid stone heart of a true Dawi Zharr.
- Though family beseeched him, and the masters of the city kneeled before him begging his learned and sage advice, ever he kept counsel to himself. For all, be they enemy or friend, would fail and be ground underfoot in the furnace of callous ambition.
- He looked down on the Plain of Hezegarr from the heights of Mt. Golanta and surveyed the outmatched armies of Zharr Khazak-Unn. They stood, arrayed in a black haze of armor and smoking engine, against Gorsha the Warlord and the teeming mass of Orcs and Goblins that flocked to his banner. In timely brilliance he saw the battle unfold in his mind’s eye, and knew instantly the scheme that would obliterate Gorsha’s horde. Yet he told no one. The army was utterly defeated. Zharr Khazak-Unn was erased; leveled to the ground in three days of frenzied slaughter. Not one inhabitant escaped.
- Such was his rigid mettle, that no sound escaped his lips when the mad Sorcerer Kreklashik severed his left hand in anger, spite, and lust for power. But his ire was kindled. Oh, how his ire was kindled! His heavy hand round Kreklashik’s neck was evident in the Sorcerer�?Ts tumultuous fall from Gorgoth’s heights.
- Though it could not be enough to save the city from ruin, he stood alone, unflinching, and faced the Gelshazatar the Destroyer as the woesome dragon rose from the lava trenches; molten magma running rivulets of gleaming stone and fire down his scaled hide. Gelshazatar shattered the fortress walls of Khardak Zhag in a single night. Only Zharek remained standing.
- For years he watched the Seed of Hashut in its slow, inexorable path across the sky. From the start, he knew with perfect calculation the conclusion of the comet’s circuit. Ne’er did word of warning cross his lips, and he looked on from the heights of Zharr Shakoth in gleeful anticipation at the panicked populace; secure in the surety of his own destruction at the fateful omen’s approach. Though Zharr Shakoth was laid to waste, Still Zharek stood fast, untouched.
This is but a brief chronicle of deeds; chiseled deep and permanent into the stone tablet of my mind. I, the Sorceror Zharek Kadesshak who in my 296th year turned to obdurate stone as payment for the expanding breadth, and consummate power of my magic. Petrified. Immobile. Terminal. The icy finality of death in life, and termless life in death. And though you cannot see me move or hear me speak; I see… and I hear… everything. Where ere they have carried and mounted my stone visage on pedestals and plinths, I have watched with staring eyes. I have seen heights of glory and the most base obliteration, plotted demise and destruction, strategized infallible conquest, and ranted and raved in a cacophony of abhorrent silence, till even madness gave way to the plodding inevitability of aeons. And always I speak nothing. The genius of my fossilized mind has increased until I but look to see in wonder the veiled uniformity of chaos itself; unraveled before me in intricate complexity.
I stand and I see. Though Kreklashik took my granite hand to tap my stolen power, and wore it briefly round his neck on iron chains; I saw the frayed thread that told his end, even before his killers knew to curse his name, and plot his untimely defenestration.
And now I stand on the gilded causeway to Zharr-Naggrund ever watching the endless procession that passes through and from those massive gates: Master and slave, Sorcerer and fool, wench and shrew, guard and menial, pauper and king, slave and master. Each going about their self-ful ways… oblivious… because they do not know. But I know. I. KNOW… as must all my silent brethren, with undiluted certainty, how and when Zharr-Naggrund will fall, crushed and broken, ground into the dust, and sunken into the molten depths, ruined beyond revival. Though years beyond… it approaches… grinding slowly closer as we stand our voiceless watch.
And still I say nothing, and no-one reaps the scourge or benefit of my acuity. Nor will they ever. Perhaps, finally, I will fall with it… or yet still… I will stand.