Eberron: War and Pieces
Interlude: An End to War
In the war-torn lands of Khorvaire, there existed a warforged. The warforged was dutiful and diligent. He learned his lessons well and enacted them to deadly effect. He served those who had paid House Cannith’s price, and fought against others who had purchased his brothers from the forge instead. But he had learned his lessons better than they.
The warforged had no name. He had only a number. His companions suggested that he give himself a name.
“Have I not already been given a word by which I can be identified?” he asked them. But they said that a number was not adequate. A name should embody the nature of the named.
“My number defines me as the 16th warforged of the Brelish Heavy Special Series,” he had pointed out. Again, this was not deemed adequate. A personal name should embody a deeper meaning than order of creation or distribution, they insisted. And so he thought on this, but he did not know what meaning defined him. He saw little meaning in anything he did. He followed orders, but he did not know what purpose they served.
And so, for a long time, he went without a name. He followed orders. He implemented his lessons well. He survived. But he saw no purpose in these actions. He felt that this could not represent his innermost nature.
One day, the warforged was approached by a man.
“You are free.” The man said.
The warforged was puzzled by this word. He thought to his training and experience. He had once been ordered to free prisoners of war from captivity and return them to their proper side. But he was still on the side to which he was sold.
The warforged tilted its head. “But I am already serving the side to which I was sold; I have no need to be freed.”
The man sighed, exasperated. “No, look, what do you want to do?”
“I would like to find out what I am.”
The man rubbed his temples. “I just told you! You. Are. Free! That means you don’t take orders anymore. You give yourself orders. You take this and go out there and do whatever you want.” The man pressed a small jingling bag into the bewildered warforged’s palm. “Sovereigns, why is it so difficult to explain this to these things? Well, my job’s done, anyways. Stand there and do nothing if you like.”
The warforged watched the man leave, then looked at the pouch in his hands. So, free meant that he gave himself his own orders. That he enacted his own desires.
“I am… Free,” he said. Free gave himself an order, and for the first time he understood the reason for his mission.