Gnarldan Steelshield

Gnarldan’s father was the leader of a dwarven clan eking out a living in hard lands. Increasingly, these dwarves were beset by a horde of monstrous trolls with skins thicker than stone who were resistant to the fire the dwarves tried to use against them. Gnarldan’s father was slain by the enormous troll leader, leaving the clan with no great warrior and facing extinction. Gnarldan donned his father’s armour and shield, though barely of age, and beseeched Moradin to give him a sign to guide his people, offering his life in exchange. The god heard and led Gnarldan into deeper caves than the dwarves had ever explored. Here, the young dwarf found a rich vein of adamantine, enough to make many weapons. He beseeched Moradin once more, as he broke off a spear shaped fragment of the precious metal.

This time, Gnarldan followed a dream omen which led him to a vast cavern where a huge serpent resided in a lake of fire, across which stood a forge. Mighty was the battle with the serpent, but he finally slew it and struck off its head. His father’s shield deflected the beast’s final bite as it bore down on him. Trusting in Moradin, he waded out into the lake of fire and though it was agonizing, he crossed the lake and collapsed on the anvil from the exertion.

When he awoke he saw that his left hand was missing, neatly severed and without any wounds. Nearby on the forge lay a perfectly formed battle axe made of a single piece of adamantine. He strapped on his shield and attached the axe to his stump. Gnarldan fought his way back to the surface, slaying many enemies along the way and even outsmarting the Orc god Bahgtru. He led a small group of his clan to the adamantine vein and they crafted many weapons with which to fight the rock-skinned trolls.

As the battle lines were drawn, Gnarldan looked at his warriors, so few in number against the troll horde they faced. As he drew breath in the moments before the battle, Moradin brought fire out of his mouth and the flames jumped to all the newly forged weapons the dwarves wielded. The trolls were slaughtered by the score, and Gnarldan breathed again and again to renew the flame on the dwarves axes. At last he stood face to face with the great troll leader who had slain his father. They fought, and Gnarldan finally slew the great beast by splitting its skull with his axe and the battle was won.

Gnarldan did not lose his life as he had offered to Moradin, but much of him was lost in that magical breathing. While both he and his clan lived out many decades, Gnarldan slowly faded away. The clan had a golden age of security but eventually vanished from the world as their leader had and the location of this dwarven clan’s lands has been lost even to dwarven scholars.

Gnarldan Steelshield

Rick's Hold Enzist4 Algolei