5 years ago…

The dwarf stopped for a moment as he reached the peak of the hill.  This place offered a perfect vantage point for him to see the town he would call home for the forseeable future: Wheloon.
Wheloon was a young yet quickly growing town, that lay on the intersection of the Way of the Manticore and the Wyvernflow River, making it ideally suited for any trade passing in and out of Cormyr.  As such, the town currently housed a small contingent of Purple Dragon knights which was Ungus’ purpose for being there.  He had heard his father’s stories of adventure, and the legend of Alusair Oberskyr, and finally it was time for him to continue in his father’s footsteps and join the Purple Dragons, representing not only his family but all of dwarvenkind.  The setting sun gleamed off the bright green slated roofs of the town, and Ungus’ excitement rose as he could hear the busy sounds of trade and construction below.  He took a deep breath, and set off down the hill.

Ungus headed straight for the barracks; the sooner he could enlist the better.  He was slowed slightly by the distraction of seeing the street vendors packing up their wares as he had seen nothing like it in his home of Thunderstone, but it had been a long journey and he refused to get waylaid when he was this close.  Fortunately it proved easy to find the barracks, as the town mostly lie on one main causeway; unfortunately, before Ungus could step inside a guard at the door blocked him.
‘Sorry sir, the barracks are not open to visitors at this time’.
‘Oh I’m not a visitor,’ said Ungus, ‘I’m here to enlist’.
The guard looked the dwarf up and down, his face impossible to read.
‘Should there be need for a militia, an announcement will be made in the town square.  We do not perceive any imminent threat at this time’.
‘I’m not a militiaman!’ Ungus laughed, ‘I’m here to join the Purple Dragons!’
A flicker of confusion passed over the guard’s face, just for a moment.
‘My apologies, sir, but any formal business will be undertaken during daylight hours.  You are welcome to return in the morning and speak to my superior, until then I suggest you get some rest.  The streets can be dangerous at night.’
Ungus’ brow furrowed.
‘Well, there’s thieves about.  Lots of passing trade means lots of money on these streets.’
‘But isn’t it your job to fight crime? Protect the townsfolk?’
The guard looked at Ungus with a stern look in his eye.
‘It is my job to stand here, taking details of any crimes that are reported so they can be investigated at a later time.  I am not to leave this post until I either receive orders from a commanding officer, or my shift ends.  So unless you are here to report a crime, I insist that you retire to an inn for the night.  I recommend the Wyvern’s Watch.’
Ungus opened his mouth to speak, but was silenced by the icy glare in the guard’s eyes.  Instead, the dwarf heeded the guard’s advice and headed to the Wyvern’s Watch, grateful for a bed to sleep in and some water to bathe in.

As soon as the light came through the window in his room, Ungus set off for the barracks once more, hoping the guard from the previous night wouldn’t still be on duty.  The distinctive armour of the Purple Dragons made it difficult to differentiate between them, but thankfully the guard now on duty allowed him to pass without even looking at him.  Inside was a simple desk with a clerk filing papers, and the sound of shouting coming from a courtyard further in.
‘Excuse me’, said Ungus, trying to get the clerk’s attention.
The clerk stopped and sighed, his back still turned.
‘No, we haven’t had any further leads on your hammer Mr Rallogar.  Perhaps if you didn’t hire out your hayloft to everyone who offered you a silver falcon then you wouldn’t keep ‘losing’ things’.
‘Excuse me?’ repeated Ungus, this time out of bafflement.
‘What’s so hard to understand, Zenda-?’ said the clerk, turning round and stopping mid-sentence as he saw the dwarf in front of him.  ‘Oh I’m sorry sir, I had you confused for someone else.  How can I help?’
Ungus straightened himself up, trying to draw himself to his full height.
‘I wish to enlist in the Purple Dragons.’ he said proudly.
The clerk stared at him with a fixed smile.  The two stood in awkward silence for a moment before the clerk responded.
‘Come on, it’s too early in the morning for this, seriously what is your business here?’
Ungus was taken aback.  ‘That is my business!  I’m here to join the Purple Dragons!’
‘I’m sorry sir, please calm down.  Surely you understand not just anyone can join?  Especially not someone of your… stature.’
‘I’ll have you know I’m a full inch taller than my father, and he joined!’
‘Your… father.  And he’s also a dwarf?  You do realise we are a strictly human-only organisation?’
‘My father said I might have this problem, so he wrote this letter’ said Ungus, drawing an envelope from his belt pouch.  The clerk held up his hand in refusal.
‘I don’t care what some dwarf says, only the finest Humans in Cormyr can join the Purple Dragons!’
‘What’s going on, Albert?’ demanded a deep, booming voice, followed by a man with an overwhelmingly powerful aura.  His uniform marked him as one of the Lionar, an elite division of the Purple Dragons.  The man marched towards Ungus, who was in awe of his presence.
‘Sir, this dwarf thinks he can-‘
The Lionar held up a hand to silence the clerk, and plucked the letter from Ungus’ grasp.  There was silence as he read the contents.  When he had finished, he folded the parchment neatly and tucked it into his robes.
‘So you’re Ungus, son of Unthar.  Follow me, your training will start immediately.’

The next few hours were a blur for Ungus.  He struggled to keep up with the Lionar’s stride as he was taken to a dorm where he was given a simple suit of armour to wear.  He was then given an orientation of the barracks at far too fast a pace for him to take anything in; there was the courtyard which he was told to report to first thing every morning, the foodhall where meals would be served at the sound of the bell, the common room where a few soldiers gave him a derogatory look, the war room where he could hear a heated discussion but passed by too quickly to make anything out, and finally he was left back in the dorm.
‘A dwarf? Hah, they’ll let anyone in these days.’ muttered a soldier at a nearby bed.
Were these really the Purple Dragons? Champions of justice, protectors of the people, defenders of the innocent? It wasn’t yet the end of his first day, but already Ungus felt the pangs of homesickness.  Perhaps when he saw them in action he would see why his father gave them so much respect…