"Dunn un Kwell rog'dahar drah'an" (Lord of Fire, bless my ashes).
I am Groh'Dar, first warlord of the Great Leader Ghu-do'Rhan. For the longest time we, the people of fire and ashes, were slaves to dark elves - our most hated enemy. They were taking our young ones, the strongest of them, most of them we were never to see again. Those who came back were no longer Volcan. Their fire was put out, bodies followed orders of their new masters. They took over our lands, build their own strongholds on our planet, turned us into slaves and forced us to work in the obsidian mines. Dead Volcan were taken away to the laboratories, we were not allowed to hold burial ceremonies to have their ashes blessed by the Lord of Fire. They were destroying us. We were no longer a race of warriors, but a race of slaves and slugs, treated like animals. Our sacred place, the Ancient Volcano, held their tower which drew energy from it, turning us weak and hopeless.
It was all until we were reminded of who we are. We are Volcan, people of war, made by an ancient God to strike our enemies down, we are no slaves of dark elves or any other weaklings. The resistance gained enough power to start a riot in the mines, the heart of elves' operation. We were not looking for an honourable death. We were challenging them. All guards were killed, we put their heads on the spikes around the mines to display our intention openly. They deployed punishment troops, but all of them were murdered by rebels: they were lured into the deep unsteady mines, then buried alive once we brought the tunnels down on them. We entered the mines as prisoners, but now we were leaving them as liberators, gathering more Volcan on the way out.
A group turned into a rebel army which was still not enough to stand a chance against countless troops of dark elves, and their soulless slaves. They needed the energy of the Ancient Volcano. They were depriving us of our powers with their mighty tower atop the mountain. Ghu-do'Rhan, commander of the rebellion, was the one to come up with the greatest strategy: he separated the army in two, sending the weaker part to the frontline as a distraction and taking the strongest warriors to the underground pathways, leading straight to the Ancient Volcano. The first half of the army was murdered, their ashes be forever honoured. The other one took elves by surprise and captured the elven tower, bringing it down to the ground. Then the Ritual of Flame began. We prayed to the Lord of Fire and the Ancient Volcano itself to cause it to erupt. Dark elves surrounded the rebels who were standing their ground by the Volcano. They initiated the attack to destroy those who tried resisting them. But they forgot that this land - our land - has a mind of a Vulcan. It will fight back to protect itself and its children, and it will fight with its all might. The ritual was complete. The ground started shaking, then an explosion came with a thunderous sound right from the Volcano's core. It brought the rain of flaming rocks on our enemies, setting them ablaze. The heart of the Ancient Volcano was bleeding upon seeing its children in their misery, and it erupted with great force, covering the battlefield in lava and smoke. Volcan are not hurt by the flame nor the smoke. Others suffer and scream in pain. The battle had begun. The fire of the Ancient Volcano was not put out by the oceans of elves' blood. Their army was destroyed. We were brought our true strength back. And Volcan found itself a champion in the great leader Ghu-do'Rhan. Our history was rewritten that day. We were to enter centuries of war, all led by Ghu-do'Rhan himself who extended his life by sacrificing imprisoned dark elves to the Ancient Volcano.
He found me when I was yet a child. Our village was raided by the dark elves, adults were murdered on spot, their bodies were piled up on the carts. Children were put on a chain and forced to follow the carts like cattle to be turned into slaves. I knew what happened to the ones who were taken alive, and I was ready to fight for my life or die trying to get free. I would not let them take me! I was pulling the chain, falling, resisting. They had to drag me throughout all the way to the portal, beating me up and screaming. But I would not let them take me. My attempts were not in vain. I delayed our arrival to the portal, so the elves were greeted by the sight of Ghu-do'Rhan with his army of strongest warriors. Raiders were surrounded, the blood was spilled. Elvish blood. The elf who was trying to restrain me was distracted, he tripped over my chain and fell. I could feel the fire burning within me, fueling me. I pounced on him, wrapped my chain around his neck and pulled. I was weak. But the might of Volcano gave me strength to not let go. The last signs of life were escaping my victim, but I was still holding on. Then I could feel a hand on my shoulder, and the voice commanded: "This one is dead, let go, grunud'dar" (little warrior).
Ghu-do'Rhan could see my endurance and my fury, he valued those qualities the most. He took me as his student. He taught me how to fight, how to control my rage and put it to good use, how to lead the troops into the battle. He taught me his wisdom, strategy, tactics, how to have advantage in the fight with the least effort. He kept me close at all times, so that I could learn by observing him. He told me once that I remind him of his own son who was murdered by the dark elves. He never spoke of it again. Ghu-do'Rhan brought me up as a great warrior. With his gift of knowledge I bested the dark elves in the fight over and over again. For my war efforts and loyalty, he made me his First Warlord, his right hand. He joked that I could have been his left hand if I had not lost it in the battle. We drove dark elves away from the Vulcan, but Ghu-do'Rhan had no intention of stopping. He wanted to destroy all of them. His hatred had its roots deeper than anybody else's.
Ghu-do'Rhan trusted me with everything but one thing. For the sacrificial rituals for the Ancient Volcano he was accompanied only by his victims. Every time he left the Volcano, I could see the change happening. There was barely anything of Ghu-do'Rhan, the hero, the Lord-Commander of Vulcan. He filled the void inside with rage. But even in his outbursts of fury his commands were reasonable and clear. Then he started hearing the voice. He claimed it to be the voice of the Ancient Volcano itself, and we believed him. We trusted him with our lives. We supported his decision of starting a war with the Green Planet, as it was shown to him in the vision at the Ancient Volcano. This war lasted for decades. We started to suspect that it was not the voice of the Volcano. It was a voice of madness.
At that time, the dark elves have returned to our planet and are fortifying their positions. Our scouts report seeing and hearing about a half-goddess who takes over our mines and steals obsidian we gather, sparing no Volcan worker on her way. But our leader is blind to the danger at our doorstep. He insists on continuing the senseless war with another planet which is barely of any value to us. For some reason I have a feeling that I am the one responsible for the future of our race, but without guidance I am lost. Something has to be done, or we will end up in the cuffs as slaves yet again, serving our greatest enemy. And all the sacrifices, all the losses, all the defiled ashes will be for naught.
But I will not let them take me. I will not let them take us! Dunn un Kwell rog'dahar drah'an.