It was dusk when Heskan and his companions arrived in Hammerfast. It had not been an easy trip. The burden they all carried hung about their necks through the forests, and hills they crossed. That they were waylaid did not help matters. Putting bandits to death, for Heskan, served only as a reminder of how one's spark of life could be snatched away. Much like Kun's had.
With the large gates of Hammerfast closed behind Heskan, he felt some relief. They had arrived, and were set to to approach an old friend at the Temple of Ioun. In his youth, Heskan recalled sitting in the back of the great meeting hall in the Temple, listening to the debates on religion, naturalism, and medicine. He had a passing interest, however he mostly attended to keep his friend Kun company. Their time spent in the Temple brought them into contact with the gnome Kendred, who at the time was only a junior priest. Over the years, Heskan and Kun would return with tales, artifacts, and pieces of strange monsters they had encountered beyond the walls of Hammerfast. Kendrad had many friends, but perhaps none as close as Heskan and Kun.
It was with a heavy heart that Heskan told Kendrad the Kun had passed from this world. Heskan told him that he needed his aid in preparing Kun for a burial fit for a dwarven hero. Though they were far from their ancestral home in the Dawnforge mountains, Heskan intended on building a monument to his friend on the slopes of the nearby Forgepeak mountain. It would take several months, but in the effort to quarry stone and place build a tomb for his friend, Heskan would be able to grieve properly for his friend.
That his companions had found ancient text discussing returning the soul to the body had unsettled Heskan. Given the location it was found it sounded of dark magic, something he and Kun had fought against before. He would not dishonor Kun by allowing such dark magic to be used upon his body and soul. Though when shown to Kendrad, there appeared to be a glimmer of hope. Heskan could only trust in his hold friend to interpret the tattered scroll, and above all else, trust in Ioun.
After seeing Kun's body laid on the alter in the Temple, Heskan left Kendrad to conduct his research on his own. Walking the darkened streets of Hammerfast, Heskan was drawn to a familiar Inn. The Coach and Pony may be one of the smaller inn, but it has the warmest hearth on a cold night. Run by the dwarven lass Varda Goldspinner, the youngest daughter of the wealthy Goldspinner family, the inn had been Heskan and Kun's winter home on more than one occasion.
Approaching the door to the inn, Heskan noticed the half-orc coach driver Kavik and nods. With a sheepish grin, Kavik waved back. Kavik was a bit of a simpolton, but he was a truly loyal employee of the inn.
Heskan pushed the heavy dwarf door open, to reveal a homey common room. Passing through the threshold, and letting the door close behind him, Heskan approached the small dutch door to the kitchen. Leaning over the half-door he knocks loudly on the door frame.
Inside the kitchen, the smells of hot stew hang in the air, as well as the smell of dough, soon to be tomorrow's bread. Spooked by the sudden wrap of Heskan's knuckles on wood, Varda turned quickly, dropping the rolling pin on an unsuspecting mound of dough. A look of shock came across the flour dusted features of the lady of the house. But with a quick shake of the auburn braids of Varda's long hair, she quickly composed herself for only long enough to realize who was at the door.
With speed and grace, Varda ran to Heskan, wrapping him up in her arms. Heskan, prying himself from her grasp long enough to open the rest of the dutch-door, returned the embrace with both a hug, and a long kiss.
Varda and Heskan had an on-and-off again relationship. As a romance that lasted only during the winter, would be just that. Heskan and Kun had been wintering in Hammerfall every year for the last 10 years, and by the first snowfall the spark between Heskan and Varda would ignite. But by spring, Heskan would have to end the romance. Heskan did indeed love Varda, but he refused to leave her a widow should he fall while adventuring. And since he'd yet to accomplish the goal of retaking his ancestral home, he could not stop adventuring. Every winter Heskan returns to Hammerfall, he fears hearing the news that she had wed another, but every year he returns to find that Varda had waited for him.
After a lengthy reunion, Varda inquired about why Heskan had returned mid-summer. To this Heskan had to deliever the sad news about Kun. And after the tears stopped, the two of them retired for the evening with prayers to both Ioun and Moradin on their lips, should they feel fit to return Kun to them.
The next morning, Heskan awoke early to prepare himself for Kendrad's findings. Varda had prepared a loaf of hearty dwarven bread for him, that he ate part of, and secured the rest in his backpack.
Travel to the Temple was easy at the morning hour. Arriving there after the morning prayers, Heskan left a message for Kendrad to find him at the alter that held Kun's body. Heskan would stand a vigil while waiting for the verdict.
Several hours later, Kendrad and his companions arrived with good news. Kendrad believed that the ritual would work, and that it was not dark magic. His hope rising, Heskan gave his blessing to have the ritual conducted.
As the bright spots on Heskan's eyes faded, and his vision now clear, he saw Kun move. Falling to his knees, Heskan offered up a prayer to the gods, for they had returned his friend to him.
Standing up, he quickly moved to Kun's side to support him. There he was, his friend…whole again. They would drink well tonight to celebrate this miracle.