Korak Grudgekeeper

  • Korak Roreksonn began to tremble as the great stone-carved doors opened by unseen mechanisms. Two heavily armored dwarves emerged from the immense royal chamber and took him by the shoulders, leading him towards the throne where the mighty king of Ammarindar of the Greypeak mountains sat. Normally a splendid sight that filled every dwarf with the pride of their ancestors grand craftsmanship, now the weight of it all seemed to crush the bleary eyed dwarf as he made his way to the bottom of the dais before the King. It all seemed so unreal, like a terrible drunk-fueled nightmare that he couldn’t wake himself from. Korak took a knee before the throne and bowed his head, not that he could bear to look upon the scowl of his hardfaced king if he had wanted to.

    King Boarbrow, draped in purple robes lined with gold thread and his long graying beard tucked in behind the clasps of his golden belt, eyed Korak with judgement as a snarl began to grow on his lip. Korak did his best to hide his fear, but the shaking of his braided beard betrayed his efforts. He thought of his family, his wife and child, his father. They had all been so proud days earlier when he was given the honor of promotion in the ranks of the Mining Guild, but it had all turned to ash so suddenly. A cruel and unjust fate he could not undo. The trial had been swift and now he awaited his sentence.

    Finally the king spoke, his voice loud and harsh, echoing through the vast chamber of the throne room.

    “Korak Roreksonn, ye have brought shame on yer clan and on all dwarfkind.
    Even now yer presence in these halls is o’ slight to our grand kingdom.”

    A tear formed in Korak’s eye, it slowly rolled down his nose and fell onto the intricately tiled floor of the dais. His heart broke in his chest and it took all his strength to not collapse in despair in front of all the watching eyes of his king and kinsdwarf. The king continued;

    “Take his beard.”

    There were a few audible gasps from the audience, but the royal guards did not hesitate in their King’s command. Korak barely had time to process the situation as he was hoisted up to his feet, held firmly in place, and could only watch as a guard with razor sharp shears approached. He looked down in disbelief as his beard fell to the floor, lock by lock. Some dwarves looked away in horror, others watched with expressions of pity and hatred. The king’s face remained hard as stone before speaking again;

    “Yer stripped of the honor that the All-Father forged in all his children. Yer exiled from this kingdom, from yer clan and yer home. Do not ever return, Korak Roreksonn, or we’ll take from ye the chance of at least dying an honorable death as well. Be gone!!!”

    Korak’s mind turned to fog as he suddenly found himself bound in a rothe pulled cart on the surface leading away from the entrance to the Kingdom, away from all he had ever loved in this world. Left with an axe, a leather jerkin, and a small rucksack with a few rations, he found himself alone on an old trade route walking towards the nearest surface town. He traveled for many months, taking mercenary work to pay for his bed and ale, until he overheard traveling merchants speaking of the fall of Aura Runedar at the hands of the wicked Duergar. The story of the dwarven refugees regaining their strength under the leadership of Thorin Goldenaxe inspired him with hope. Perhaps there he would find the chance to at least die with glorious honor. A death that even Moradin may smile upon.

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