Dwarven Avenging Paladin
- Parents were fisher-folk, and were fairly well-off; they had an ancestral fishing vessel of good construction (although dilapidated with age), a relative rarity in these parts.
- Parents were highly idealistic, even naive in their optimism and positive outlook on life, and in addition to their fishing, were well known for their healing arts, practiced out of their home for those in need – they were well liked and respected in their local community.
- Uncle (Father’s Brother, Duurn) was a Paladin who had travelled abroad in his youth and been initiated into the holy order of the ‘Warriors of Kord’, a loose band of battle-brethren spread far and wide but united by the bonds of their faith, the rituals required to become a Holy Warrior, and the great destiny all such warriors strive for.
- Uncle trained and initiated Grokduul in the holy orders; after achieving initiate status and completing the rituals necessary to put Grokduul on the path of the Paladin, Duurn was called away on a quest by some other, senior members of the order – he has not been heard from in several years.
- During the war, parents volunteered in a support role; using their boat and their healing skills, they were able to rescue and save many who would otherwise have perished. They gained some small fame as local heroes in the community.
- Although an initiate and nearly an adult, Grokduul was just too young to participate in the fighting during the great war with the pirates. He did help out his parents in their work, but felt frustrated by his lack of involvement in fighting the main enemy.
- When the big battle came, Grokduul’s family bade him remain at home, safe. Only by invoking the names of his honoured ancestors and especially his revered uncle Duurn, did his parents manage to persuade Grokduul to stay away from the fighting. Grokduul never forgave himself, given what happened next.
- Parents died in the big battle, saving the lives of those fallen injured or in danger of drowning during the great battle – although it limped back to port, the family boat was too damaged to be saved by the crude ship-wright skills available in the city, and went to scrap.
- Grokduul, with little estate to his name from his parents (they invested most of what they had into their charitable works and the war effort), was left to fend for himself in the world, an only child and now an orphan.
- After making arrangements following his parents death and observing the appropriate time & rites of mourning, Grokduul sought martial training and spent his days searching the city until he one day chanced upon an Itinerant Paladin who knew the rituals and rites necessary to complete his training and promote him to full Paladin-hood, of the order of the ‘Warriors of Kord’.
- With favourable references from townsfolk who had known his parents, the Paladin agreed to help, and Grokduuul became a full Paladin in his own right, tasked with seeking his epic destiny and wielding his holy powers in a manner he deems fit, to serve himself, his companions and his god.
- Grokduul set himself to achieve vengeance and redemption for the loss of his parents, and soon was drafted into the military; seemingly a fitting beginning to this path…
In a moment of respite aboard the commandeered “Kraken’s Fancy”, Grokduul reflects…
Grokduul hefted his new axe, and grunted with satisfaction at the weight and balance of it; a good weapon. Surveying the scene below: the chaos of the docks, the scramble of soldiers and sailors aboard the Kraken’s Fancy, readying the ship for its hasty departure, and the bloody and battered sight of his companions on the deck beside him, he thought: “how did it come to this?”
Thinking back, he clearly recalled a time when he had been at peace, almost happy, labouring in the mill, joking with the lumber-men and taking his turn on watch with only the night sounds and his wood-carving to think on during the long hours. Despite his concern at the time over the apparent emotional breakdown of their commander after the traumatising events in the mining town, Grokduul had found a measure of peace in that little lumber town – ‘how did we get from there to here?’ he thought wearily.
But then of course he didn’t want to remember what had happened, later – too awful to remember, and yet impossible to forget, the terrible memories seared into his mind – into his dreams – forever. After the pursuit north and the arrival of the Orc vanguard attacking the lumbermen in the high hills, they had battled the Orcs and beaten them back, for a time. Fiona had insisted Thornton was a spy or worse and could not be trusted; fit only to be left for the Orcs to take him, and be damned. Their leader had been increasingly unstable for some time at that point; and this decision felt wrong to Grokduul, but his inclination to follow orders was still strong enough to bind him… Until, on the second night away from the lumber camps his dreams were of terror, of death and mostly of Thornton, and he suddenly knew they had done wrong: he had to go back, to try and set things right.
However, this had been too little, and too late. No sooner had he found Thornton again, than both of them had been captured by the main body of the Orc army now passing through the region, marching hard on the capital. The questioning had been brutal, but Grokduul had suffered the worst of it, deliberately taunting the Orcs to spare the elf the torture, and in some measure try to scourge the guilt from his soul for the wrong he had done in abandoning Thornton in the first place. When the opportunity for escape arose, Grokduul had been almost delirious and wracked with pain, but Thornton had helped him, and they were nearly free of the camp when a brief moment of lucidity came and Grokduul croaked out: he could not leave his Hammer, it was a gift from his Uncle, the only family remaining to him. Foolish though it was, Thornton returned and found the hammer, bringing it back and sending Grokduul on into the night as the Orc sentry horns sounded the alarm, reassuring the dwarf that he would “cover their tracks…” But Grokduul never saw the Elf again, for he had perished, protecting Grokduul and covering his escape. Even now, the horror of this loss was too much to bear, and Grokduul felt sure it would consume him, except… So far, he kept putting one foot in front of the other, kept living each day as it came, despite the pain.
He was harder now, and less forgiving. He would not make the same mistake again, and he would make sure that the cowardice of fools like Fiona did not cost the lives of any more innocents, as long as he could help it… It had felt… not good, but… right, to send Fiona away on the rickety fishing boat. Hopefully, in condemning the cleric to her doom, he himself would not also be damned…
A terrified wailing from the peasants on the dock broke him out of his reverie; the Storm conjured by the Orc shamans was approaching, fast. Grokduul’s face grew stony and grim, and his sadness was replaced with the deep, smouldering fury which was never far from the surface in him these days. “These savages will not stop us”, he growled “Nothing will stop me from scourging this filth from the earth.. I vow by all the gods I will return here one day, and when I do nothing will remain of these creatures but ash..” And suddenly, he knew what he must do.. There was only one person in the world that could provide the guidance, the deliverance he needed in these times of darkness – and who could guide him now, down the righteous path of vengeance and retribution, to do what needed to be done, to end Tyranny and destroy the weakness that inevitably leads to suffering..
Grokduul needed to find his Uncle, Duurn. Strengthened with fresh resolve and his eyes alight with determination, he raised his axe on high and began to shout orders..