Rhaka never really wanted to be a soldier. She was young when she signed on with the Baron’s militia. It was all supposed to be temporary. She knew that, as a dwarf, the job would be easy to get and she’d be naturally quite good at it. She was right.
Soldiering is pretty easy if you just shut up and listen. Humans always seem to be dozing off or bitching about one thing or another, so they always got the lash. Rhaka learned quick how to motivate her people and get them in line with a few cutting remarks and a bitter glare, but honestly, she never wanted to spend her life doing this kind of thing.
So when she met Tolliver, a round-faced, simple sort of dwarf working as a boatswain aboard a merchant frigate, she gladly retired.
Tolliver played an accordian and had a gift for nonsensical jokes. They pooled up their savings, bought a stretch of land not far from Lake Bristol and built a farm. They quietly wed in a private ceremony in a shrine to Pelor. It was a difficult, plain sort of life, but to Rhaka, it was perfect bliss. They had a little girl and saved whatever they could. They sung songs every night and dreamed.
Wars are a sort of thing that happen when you’re not looking. The weather was bright and lovely the day a few deserters came through looking for food. Rhaka never found out which army they had left, but they came hungry with blood in their eyes. When she got back to her house, everything was set to entertain. Candles lit, linens out. When the soldiers demanded food, Tolliver must have smiled and cooked up a feast. He must have treated them like old friends, ignoring their naked blades. He was that kind of dwarf.
She can see her husband and the murderers now, all sitting together. He probably opened up a bottle of wine they were saving, going around pouring for each villain. And they, humans most likely, sitting there all pleased and feeling clever. And Brin from her little bed, shivering nervous. Tolliver probably smiled and told her everything would be just fine. Something must have happened in the minds of the soldiers. A thought not far from, “Why not?”
Rhaka sold the farm for pennies. The soldiers didn’t take much, there wasn’t much to take. The accordian was gone, though. That always bothered her. They could have at least left her that. Broke, alone, empty, she returned to Two Moon Bay. Soldiering is an easy sort of work and easy to get when you’re a dwarf.