The foremost authority on the Dawn War, he finds himself attached to Luc D'Urban in hopes of discovering the secrets of the Raven's Tooth.
The gods have been kind to Nethri Hallowstrike in more ways than one. Despite his age, he is less haggard than other Dwarves, attributed to his stress-free life outside of the political structures of the Highborns. His head, vacant of hair, is riddled with runic tattoos of his chosen profession. However, like any proud Dwarf, he sports a full and healthy crimson orange beard. Bereft of attire, one would see his entire persons covered in rune markings; however, his clothing and armor hide them. His one visible tattoo stems from the left side of his neck, winding beneath the collar of his shirt, ending just above his heart. It is said this tattoo draws upon his life essence to grant him power.
The armor and weapons he carries are adorned with runic markings as well, but also the conduits of his Runepriest powers – gems. Each face of his mighty craghammer has an inlaid stone, imbued with a different aspect of weapon training. Gems also are spotted among his armor and shield, providing access to protection in the heat of battle. With words of command, Nethri can access the powers of these gems, enhancing his own capabilities, lending assistance to allies, or crippling foes, whichever the situation dictates.
Before the Birth
In the depths of the Khalastan Mountains, hidden from the eyes of the gods, an ancient hammer strikes molten rock. Nearby, runes sit on the stone-carved workbench, radiating with a power of faith. Which deity, the Crafter knows not, the task assigned to him solely to shape the runes. Diligently, the Crafter works the god’s will, toiling as sweat from his brow melds with the fury of the roaring furnace. Long in time he crafts the runes, focusing the power into the stones before him. Twenty–two runes in all are constructed as time passes outside the mountains. Ages pass, but it matters not to the Crafter, his task nearly complete.
Picking up one final stone, an opal with a dragon’s scale imbedded in its center, he lays it on the anvil before him. Reaching over to his blessed hammer, the Crafter raises it high above his head.
“May the True Path be found.”
Bringing down the hammer with the strength of ancients unknown, the ringing echoes through the bowels of the Khalastan Mountains, the Crafter brings to conclusion his final task. Holding the opal in the light of the furnace, a slight chill overtakes the Crafter. Inside, his discerning eye sees the power, as shades of mist, entwine around the dragon’s scale. As the light bounces off the reflective scale, the mist is quickly pulled into the scale before the opal fades to the darkest black. The light no longer illuminates the opal, refusing to enter the small jewel. Turning, the Crafter places it on the anvil and starts to leave his forge. He pauses, raising his head to the door’s handle before him. With eyes that look beyond time, he addresses his new companion.
“It is time for me to rest.” A heavy sigh escapes from the Dwarf. “You have what you sought. Deliver them as you wish, but be wary of your actions. Meddling with the races as you see to do has always bode ill for the meddler.” With that, the Crafter leaves.
A delicate hand reaches out of the nether and picks up the opal jewel. Turning it over, it shines briefly with an untold and immeasurable power. Wrapping its fingers around the small gem, a pleased voice speaks, “This will be the end of the meddling. He shall see to that.” With that, the hand and the runes are wisped away.
The child of Augma was unhealthy. He wasn’t crying as a strong newborn should, and his eyes had yet to flutter open. In fact the child hadn’t even moved yet. Augma couldn’t help but think that she’d been cursed. This was her third pregnancy and second stillborn. Her first child had at least cried and shown life before succumbing to a fever. As she held the lifeless baby boy in her arms, she closed her eyes and said a quick prayer, knowing it was not to be answered. Neither of the previous had been.
“Do not doubt your faith. Or rather, do not doubt his.”
Augma, startled by the voice, nervously picked up her head, her eyes darting across the room. The midwife had already left, leaving Augma to console her own pity.
“Do not speak, but listen and listen well.” Augma shook her head, though she did not to whom. “I can offer your child a chance at life. But you must be willing to raise him in faith. If you should falter in this, his life would be forfeit. Encourage his lust for knowledge and support his search for history. Aid him as a mother should, even if you must do so from the shadows. He will grow to change the world.” A dangerous silence falls over the room. “Lest, should you fail in your mother’s love.”
Sitting upright in the bed, Augma raised her newborn son, bowing her head. “On my life, I swear I will do what you ask.”
“No, not on your life. On his.” Though Augma does not see it, a hand reaches out and places one finger on the newborn’s forehead and another on his chest. “Cry, and know life.”
With that, the baby’s arms and legs begin to stir. His lungs fill with air and he begins to cry. Augma brings him down to her chest, her eyes filling with tears. Cradling her child in her arms, she swears at that moment, “With your blessing, I will. I promise I will.”
Nethri was raised in the famed D’Orinda House of the Highborns of Lencia. Middle-aged, he has seen his popularity with the younger Dwarfs rise lately due to his propensity for challenging the old ways and exploring new ones. However, it is not his wish to disrupt the order, just carve a path for himself, of his own choosing, in life’s usually unyielding stone.
Imbedded in Nethri’s chest was the midnight jewel of Vecna that housed a bit of the god’s essence. This jewel allowed the uninterrupted communion with his god, so others would not be aware of his trickery. Additionally, it bestowed upon Nethri a Dwarven appearance, allowing him to be among House D’Orinda without incident, or even self knowledge.
When the jewel was shattered in the forges of House D’Orinda, thanks to Luc D’Urban’s heroic efforts, the Dwarven god, Moradin reached down and took hold of Nethri’s body. To save him from the sadistic torment of Vecna’s treachery, the god took the Duerger and forged him in his own eye, bestowing upon him the Dwarven race. Nethri’s true race remains unknown to all but Vecna and Moradin.