Darkness, it isn’t cold and I feel nothing. Not that I could feel the cold in the first place. I can feel pain but not the way others do. I do not fear pain, just what it represents. It represents oblivion, elimination the inability to carry out ones orders. To fail in one’s purpose, this is what I fear. This fear has come true, everything is dark. I do now know how long I had been like this but it had been a long while. Suddenly information floods my optical receivers, the things that humans call eyes. It is bright but I cannot blink, despite this I soon adjust. A young boy, human?
Yes human a male, his anatomy suggests that he is a non-combatant, a secondary target at best. Target? What does that mean? What’s a human? “Oi it moved!” The boy yells as I turn my head to get a better look at him. Soon I am surrounded by more boys some with weapons. Am I being threatened? Something in my head clicks, I try to move my hand but it is held down. Turning my head to see what has obstructed me I see a root from a tree. Looking at my body I realize that I have been here for a long time, so long that nature has grown over me. The boys weren’t brandishing weapons; they intended to dig me out.
Soon I was free, they were clearly not hostile and thus I had no reason to attack. Thus I stood there. “Hey c’mon, we got to show you to everyone else Dad said he didn’t believe me but once I show you no one will call me a liar anymore!” The child proclaims.” I nod, a direct order though not completely official is still an order. Walking with the boy his friends chat excitedly amongst each other occasionally glancing back at me when they assumed I wasn’t watching. “So what’s you name Mister? You can call me Jacob!” Name? This unit did not have a name. What did the child call this unit? Mister was it?
“This Unit has no name.” Disappointed he frowned deep in thought. For a while I was ignored until we had cleared the forest. Reaching the village complete chaos had ensued. Screams and yells were issued. The children wanted to show me off as a sort of prize but clearly they had no idea what I was but to be fair neither did I, all this unit knew was that it required orders. As the scene in front of us unfolds the villagers panic and run. One of men holds a pointy stick made of metal comes forward. “Get away from the children!” He commands. A direct order so I comply.
Confused the man isn’t sure what to do. The boy known as Jacob runs up and yells. “See dad I told you there was a giant puppet sleeping in the forest.” He yells with glee.
His father dumbfounded stares at me not lowering his stick. “Jacob, this thing is a warforged, a war machine!” He yells. “This thing will kill us all! They haven’t been around for decades and you bring one in!” He asks. Warforged, is that what I am? A war machine? That makes sense, I follow orders like a soldier, yet I do not have the will to fight. Looking at the stick I ask. “Can you lower that stick?”
“I will not lower my sword!” He yells. “Not until you lay dead that is!”
“This unit has never seen a sword before, what is its function?” I ask curious.
Reeling back as if struck he isn’t sure what to say. “Well warforged aren’t known for lying…. Boy you said you found it in the forest right? Maybe that did something screwy with its brain?” A possibility, running a systems check I find that several functions are missing. My combat drive has been damaged however it seems my learning hardware has increased to compensate. “Do you have a name?” He asks hesitantly.
“I have only been referred to as ‘Mister from Jacob.”
Several years pass, the village has more or less become more accustomed to me. Jacob has been growing up and has been learning his father’s trade and is becoming a decent blacksmith. I too have taken up this trade and many others. The ability to create is strangely satisfying. “Hey Mister I bet I can fix this horse shoe then you can fix that spade!” He yells hammering it.
“Illogical, despite my ability to work at peak capacity the horse shoes mass in significantly smaller than that of the spade thus your victory is already assured, this competition is meaningless.” I say not taking my eyes off the tool.
“C’mon Mister just do it! Race me!” Another direct order, thus I comply. I find myself working faster than usual cutting corners that I normally would not but despite this I still fail. Celebrating Jacob then moves onto the next horse shoe, I then slow down and proceed to fix the spade properly.
Several more years past, Jacob is now a proper adult, his father too old to work the forge. I have taken up many trades, I have been taught how to smith, how to weave and even cook. I am not only accepted here but loved, the children play with me whenever I have spare time, during festivals and times of celebrations I create toys for them. The children are very important to me. Everyone else still sees me as a war machine but the children? They see me as alive, they cannot comprehend that I am just a golem, a machine. If it can move and talk then it is alive. It is illogical but I am fond of them for this reason. Jacob of course treats me like a human and even family.
Fifty years past. Jacob has died of old age, leaving me the forge I feel a strange emotion. Sadness, he is the first person I have ever seen, the first person to accept me. Now he is gone. It is illogical the way I think. Many of the children I played with have grown up now and everyone in the village accepts me whole heartedly, no longer am I the subject of paranoia and ill will. I am a fact of life, an old tree that has always been there a building that has wistood the test of time. To these people I am just an object, only the children see me as alive. The only adult to see me as alive was Jacob.
A decade later, I have converted the forge into an orphanage. My skills in cooking and weaving have not gone to waste. To feed the children I hunt using the bow and arrow I made myself. Using the fur I sell it and the meat I keep. The villages like me since I repair everything and help in the construction in everything new. Since I do not sleep I spend my nights creating. Thus I am well funded for an orphanage. The establishment was created after the war in the south was announced; parents had to go to war and never returned leaving me to care for them. I was never conscripted since I was not considered a person.
Two years later. I wish to smith again but the orphanage is my primary concern, at the moment it is over capacity, the village has become larger due to the refugees. Many of them do not bat an eye to me, my kind are too old to be remembered now. The war is with another kingdom, human against human. According to the news we are winning however with this many people starving I ask myself what have we won? I try to farm, catch and cook as much food for everyone but I am not efficient enough, there are too many people. I can only feed my orphanage.
One year later. A report from the south, something is coming, not the enemy army though something else a dragon. Rumours of course and something I do not concern myself over, I have an orphanage to maintain. The children love me and I love them, they are mine after all. Out in the forest I hunt not for their next meal but for a beast that has been chasing away the local game. A lone wolf that has wandered in from the west and I must kill it. The fur alone should at least buy me a large bag of grains from the market if I’m lucky. Winter is coming up so fur is valuable.
Killing the wolf easily enough I return to find everything on fire. It’s the dragon. I run into the inferno not caring for my own safety, my existence does not matter. No one is alive, everyone is dead, the dragon that’s what it was! It was the dragon, this unit is not equipped to fight a dragon. Looking up my limbs freeze, something inside me screams RUN! Is this what fear was? Through the smoke and fog a large red lizards looms over me, it does not even notice me, it simply passes yet I fear for myself for the first time ever.
So I run, this unit cannot fight so it is logical.
Years pass, I have taken to the road and become something that is called an adventurer. My allies appreciate my skills, one of them a cleric enjoys my company greatly despite everyone else’s coldness. Logically it was because they did not like the cleric either however we were kept because we were useful. The cleric was named Joran and he was disliked because his god was the god of death. Though many considered him to be evil they permitted him to stay because of his hatred of undead. “They are unnatural, trying to escape the natural order of things!” He would say.
“What about me?” I ask. He smiles and puts his hand on my shoulder.
“You are clearly affected by positive and negative energy the way I am, though not completely you are alive and thus can eventually die which means you are not an abomination.” I do not know why but this makes me pleased, if only everyone could think like this. It was logical, you could only be alive if you could die. I was content. Our quest was to slay a dragon, a red dragon the same one that had destroyed my village all those years ago.
Years pass, Joran and I have become fast friends with the rest of the group. Not everyone accepts us but we have each other at least. They accept Joran because he is brave and willing to save the lives of all while they like me because of my honesty and ability to create plans, something not too different from my crafts. Though Koras the barbarian from the east likes me because I know how to cook. “Hey Mister, you need a last name.” Koras yells in between mouth fulls of turkey. Though I cannot eat I sit with everyone during meal times.
“This unit does not require a last name.” I reply.
“C’mon everyone needs a last name it tells everyone where you came from!”
Pausing for a moment I then talk. “Very well, you may call me Mister Jacob from now on.”