The Stockwood Scrolls
Dwarven paladin sworn to defend his people
Adrik is a burly 4’8" shield dwarf with thick red hair and a braided beard, young by dwarven standards at 38, who usually dons heavy armour emblazoned with the symbols of Gauntlgrym & Mithral Hall. He prefers to carry a battleaxe, as well as his shield, which is emblazoned with the imagery of red eyes behind a bronze mask, the holy symbol of Gorm Gulthyn. He carries himself with all the demeanour expected of a proud, stubborn dwarf, though his protective nature is belied by his easy show of concern for those he deems under his protection.
Adrik is a “dwarf’s dwarf” who wants little more than to emulate legends of dwarven heroics and protect his people. He has a military background, and his skill in battle and personal magnetism saw him promoted early in his career. However, he is slow to adjust to new information, and his situational awareness can be limited, so in his commands he often relied on his more intelligent aides for strategical decisions. In battle however, he quickly proves himself a true leader by putting his own life on the line before that of his soldiers. His strength and skill with an axe are largely unrivalled amongst his peers, but Adrik has never thrown his weight around, always preferring the role of protector over that of bully – a role he has taken to with relentless energy.
He has always felt a close kinship with the gods, and was superstitious from a young age. Although his teachers (and indeed the clerics as well) continued to try and teach him that not everything was an omen from the gods, he still sees divine influence in many things others do not. He feels a personal bond with the god of dwarven protection and watchfulness, Gorm Gulthyn, and during his training as one of the Barad-Kur he discovered that the god had personally blessed him with the ability to channel his divine power.
Like many dwarves, Adrik is slow to trust new faces, and all his close friends are shield dwarves. He has met few gold dwarves, and thinks them haughty & overly wealth-obsessed, but honours them as “cousins”. His experience of other races has largely been coloured by legends, stereotypes, and his own experiences in the War of Everlasting Darkness, a conflict that left him with a deep resentment towards orcs and drow. His fiercest resentment is held for the duergar, for he blames them for the fall of more than one great shield dwarven kingdom of old. He sees humans as self-interested, planetouched as dangerous, halflings as a harmless & cheerful people, and surface elves as strange & arrogant, but a natural ally against the orcs. Deep gnomes he believes to be the closest allies of dwarvenkind, mainly due to their kinship with the stone and the svirfneblin relief of Mithral Hall in 1356, for which the gnomes paid deeply. All other races are largely unfamiliar to him, and as such are subject to automatic suspicion. However, Adrik’s commitment to the way of the Barad-Kur has made him learn to treat all races with respect and kindness – except of course for the ancient enemies of the dwarves: orcs, goblinkind, drow, and duergar.
Adrik gives his friends, family, clan, and King his unswerving loyalty, and he would give his life to protect any of them. He is closest to his twin sister Kathra, though he also has good friends throughout the Mithral Hall and Gauntlgrym military. The closest of these is Durdain Ironbelt, who was his second in charge in his command of Anvil Platoon, and whom was considered the brains of his operation. His closest friend outside of his immediate family & the military is Crag Gravelpit, a cousin who shared many of his interests as a young dwarf. Adrik’s branch of the Gravelpits have always been a largely military family, with nearly every member serving at some point in either the Mithral Hall or Citadel Felbarr military. Although Clan Gravelpit has ties to Mithral Hall from the earliest days of its founding, clan histories record that they helped build Gauntlgrym, as well as defend it after its founding. As a result many of the clan, including Adrik, feel a kinship to the ancient city above even that they feel with Mithral Hall.
There is nothing Adrik cares about more than defending dwarven lives from those that would hurt them. He sees himself as a defender of his people, and that is why he joined the military, and later the Barad-Kur. As one the Barad-Kur, Adrik is sworn to the gods and his King to defend dwarven lives and civilization, even if it comes at the cost of his own – a price Adrik is more than willing to pay, hoping to one day claim a place of respect amongst the dwarven legends in Moradin’s Halls after death. Adrik struggles most when the ideals of the Barad-Kur, which are similar to that of surface paladins in that they include kindness, liberality, and courtesy, are expected to be extended to the hated enemies of the dwarves. He extends them nevertheless, but is more than happy to revoke them at the slightest provocation. In all, Adrik sees himself as a Barad-Kur first, but a dwarf very, very closely second.
1452, Year of the Impatient Son: Twins, a boy and a girl, are born to Barendd & Vistra Gravelpit of Mithral Hall. It’s considered a near miracle, as both parents are past the end of the normal age dwarves have children, both almost 150. The boy is named Adrik, and the girl Kathra. The Gravelpits are sworn to Clan Brawnanvil, though they historically were more tied to Clan Battlehammer, who were the previous lords of the Hall. The children are raised on stories of dwarven heroics, many of which detail the adventures of the long-thought-dead King Bruenor Battlehammer, the famous dwarf who reclaimed Mithral Hall for the dwarves from the shadow dragon Shimmergloom only a hundred years prior. Both of the twins take to these stories from a young age.
1460, Year of the Malachite Shadows: Crag Gravelpit is born, a cousin to Adrik & Kathra. Adrik & Kathra consider Crag like a brother, and he grows to be a good friend. The young Crag grows up alongside his best friend Barry, and the two are incredibly close.
1472, Year of the Third Circle: Adrik & Kathra join Mithral Hall’s guard, each being drawn to a military career, seeing themselves one day being great heroes like those in the stories. They join as grunt soldiers, hoping to earn their way up through the ranks through their battle prowess. Though only 20, and considered quite young by dwarven standards, they have grown to be exemplars of dwarven physical fitness, and they are marked for promotion early in their careers. During this period, Adrik begins to think it is his purpose to fight in battle to protect dwarven lives, and takes Gorm Gulthyn, the dwarven god of watchfulness & defense, as his personal patron. The practice is common among dwarven warriors, though Adrik already feels he has a more personal connection with the god than does his peers.
1475, Year of the Final Stand: Adrik meets Durdain Ironbelt, another dwarf of Mithral Hall serving in the military, and the two forge a fast friendship. The two refer to themselves as “the brains and the brawn”. It is clear to everyone which is which. As Adrik continues to move up in the army’s esteem, Durdain moves along with him as his second-in-command. However, the two essentially share command, with Durdain in charge of strategy, and Adrik in charge of actually leading the soldiers.
1477, Year of the Purloined Statue: Adrik begins to hear voices inside his head, telling him things, and he comes to believe that these are the dwarven gods trying to speak to him. He becomes exceedingly paranoid, due to the voices telling him that there are secret duergar & drow hiding amongst the dwarves. It eventually gets to the point where he attacks another officer in the army, and which point he is arrested. After extensive interviewing, it is revealed that his grandfather, Tholdin, who fought in the army of Citadel Felbarr, has a similar problem – a rare condition the dwarves call the sacred affliction. Luckily, it is treatable, and Adrik develops a close relationship with the Mithral Hall cleric of Berronar Truesilver, an old dwarf named Orsik. The cleric prescribes him to take a potent tea known as zurek, which is made by adding bluecap spores & ground cave moss (both found throughout the Northdark) to boiled water which is then cooled. Adrik finds zurek tea to turn down the volume on his voices, so that he barely notices them at all. A superstitious dwarf, from time to time Adrik still finds it difficult to differentiate the muffled voices from a chance the gods might actually be sending him an omen, but for the most part from this point he manages to keep his affliction entirely in check. It is kept on the hush, with only his immediate family, Crag, Orsik, and a few of his superiors in the army knowing about it. As soon as he has it under control, he is allowed to rejoin the army & continue on as he had been before.
1484, Year of the Awakened Sleepers: An orc horde descends on Mithral Hall from the surface, while drow attack it from beneath – thus begins the War of the Silver Marches for the Gravelpits. Mithral Hall remains under siege for the rest of the year. Although they start the war as sergeants in the army, the war sees Adrik & Kathra become commissioned officers, and gain command of their own platoons of thirty soldiers. The two platoons work together tightly, and become known as the “Hammer & Anvil Platoons”. Kathra’s leads Hammer platoon, and Adrik leads Anvil platoon, with the assistance of his old ally Durdain. Meanwhile, Crag fights in the militia, and swiftly gains control of his own squad of militia fighters. His second in command is none other than his closest friend, Barry.
Late in the year, during an extended period chasing down a drow patrol in the Underdark, Adrik runs out of zurek & has another psychotic episode. His paranoia gets his platoon into trouble, and two of his soldiers are killed in an ambush that could have been avoided. When the unit returns Adrik is heavily reprimanded, and the young dwarf, heavily ashamed, offers to resign. However, the army need him too badly, as his skills as a leader are among the best they have, so his resignation is refused. Adrik never forgives himself for this event, and he from this point he becomes especially devoted to protecting the lives of his soldiers.
1485, Year of the Iron Dwarf’s Vengeance: The siege of Mithral Hall is finally broken, though in one of the final battles Crag sees his best friend Barry killed in a semi-controlled cave-in. Rage fills him, and for the remainder of the war he & his miltia squad take part in hunting down stray orcs retreating from around the Hall. Meanwhile, Adrik & Kathra’s platoons join the main force in taking the battle to the orcs elsewhere. Eventually, the orc horde of Many-Arrows is finally broken, and their drow and frost giant allies retreat. Adrik & Kathra both win themselves great acclaim during the war for their victories, and are personally thanked by their King, Connerad Brawnanvil, for their efforts.
News soon arrives that the orc chieftain Hartusk was slain by none other than the legendary Bruenor Battlehammer himself, who had been mysteriously reborn twenty-&-some years ago and resurfaced during the war. His return is shocking enough, but the former King of Mithral Hall lays out a plan to retake Gauntlgrym, the long-lost capital of their people, the dwarves of Delzoun. Thousands of dwarves from all over the North volunteer for the mission, inspired by a new spirit of dwarven cooperation that had been forged in the war. Adrik & Kathra are among them, drawn to the fierce energy of Bruenor Battlehammer, the legend from their stories.
1486, Year of the Nether Mountain Scrolls: As the dwarves prepare to leave for Gauntlgrym, Adrik spends much time with the traumatised and rage-filled Crag. After some persuasion, Crag eventually agrees to talk to Adrik’s healer, Orsik, about his problems. Content their cousin will be alright, Adrik & Kathra join the Mithral Hall contingent headed for Gauntlgrym, alongside King Connerad, who decides to abdicate in favour of his General, Dagnabbet Waybeard, so that he too can travel to Gauntlgrym as Bruenor’s shield-general. Their Hammer & Anvil platoons are reconstituted with some fresh faces and some old, all from Mithral Hall, and they set off. Gauntlgrym however, was not to be easily gained. Not only drow haunted its hallowed halls, for hordes of demons flooded through it, either summoned by the drow or otherwise. The fighting was more intense than any Adrik had ever seen, and huge numbers of dwarves were lost, including that of Connerad himself.
Eventually, in the closing months of the year, the dwarves pushed their assailants out, and once more reclaimed their ancestral home. Bruenor was crowned Third King of Gauntlgrym (after Connerad and King Emerus of Citadel Felbarr were both crowned posthumously) , and Adrik & Kathra were there to see it. Awestruck by the legendary figure sitting on the quite literal Throne of the Dwarf Gods, communing with the god Moradin himself, the twins knew they had found a leader they would follow absolutely for the rest of their lives. They both waste no time in committing to stay on in Gauntlgrym with their platoons, to defend their ancestral land and their King.
However, Adrik soon feels something is missing in his life, and begins praying to Gorm Gulthyn for guidance as to what to do next. Meanwhile, back in Mithral Hall, Orsik’s treatment of Crag nears its end, and the old dwarf gives Crag a gift to help with his trauma – a little dog, which Crag names Barry. Unable to bear staying at Mithral Hall because of his memories, Crag sets off for the surface to start a new life, still barely containing his rage.
1487, Year of the Rune Lords Triumphant: The reclaiming of the Throne of the Dwarf Gods in Gauntlgrym inspires many dwarves (each feeling the gods calling them to action) to swear oaths of fealty to serving the dwarven gods, their representative on the Throne, and through him the whole of dwarvenkind, reviving a long lost dwarven tradition not known since old Delzoun. They take the ancient title of Barad-Kur (Sentinel, or more literally shield warrior), and their role becomes that of divine warriors fighting for dwarvenkind, in the service of the King of Gauntlgrym. Adrik is amazed by these dwarves, but he is intimidated by them & does not yet feel he has a place amongst them, especially due to his history of mental illness.
1488, Year of Dwarvenkind Reborn: Whilst continuing to serve in the army, Adrik meets a legendary paladin of Clangeddin Silverbeard named Baern Helmhand, originally from Citadel Adbar. The paladin had recently arrived in Gauntlgrym to join with and mentor the Barad-Kur. The older dwarf, now one of the Barad-Kur, sees something in the young Adrik, and strikes up a mentorship role with him. Awestruck by Baern’s devotion & commitment to justice, Adrik soon comes to believe that he is destined to one of the Barad-Kur as well. Under Baern’s mentorship, he begins training for the day when he will take his own oath. Baern teaches him how to hone his sense of the divine, and how to channel the blessings of his god to Lay on Hands, as well as refining his fighting style somewhat. Meanwhile, Kathra does not feel the same attachment to the divine as her twin does, but she still loves the martial lifestyle, and so she continues to serve in the army, aiming to make a career of it. For now, Adrik continues to serve as well, his superiors recognising that one day he may leave to follow the higher calling of the Barad-Kur. They are happy to have him while he trains, as he is a more than capable warrior. Meanwhile, Durdain prepares to take over Adrik’s command.
The same year, Connerad Brawnanvil is found resurrected, without any memory of how or why. As technically a former King of Gauntlgrym and a former King of Mithral Hall, Connerad goes into a semi self-imposed exile, acting as a spokesperson for the dwarves in southern lands. Feeling a great kinship for his former King, Adrik is sad to see him go, but many dwarves are glad to see him leave Gauntlgrym due to the mysterious nature of his resurrection. He is still loved and respected, though now partly feared superstitiously.
1489, Year of the Warrior Princess: The surface dwarven kingdoms are attacked to varying extents by the Cult of the Dragon & their draconic allies, but the fight never comes to Gauntlgrym. The dwarves find themselves relatively able to deal with the threat compared to some of the southern kingdoms, as they’re more equipped for war, and the Cult never pushes too hard against them. Most dwarves are content to sit out of the larger conflict to the south, stating that the human cities never helped them against the orcs. However, the dwarves send Connerad Brawnanvil to sit on the Council of Waterdeep to determine the best course of action.
1490, Year of the Star Walker’s Return: In the first month of the year, Connerad agrees on behalf of the dwarven kings to send troops south to take on the Cult at their volcano lair, the Well of Dragons. Many dwarves put up an uproar, believing it not to be their fight, especially with Gauntlgrym still so newly taken, and the other dwarven citadels deplete in soldiers since the war with the orcs. Adrik & Kathra are among these voices, seeing their role as to protect dwarven lives first & foremost, and that the war in the south is a purely human one. Ultimately however, the dwarven kings do end up sending troops south, though the twins are amongst those that stay to protect Gauntlgrym, now less well defended.
Nearing the end of that conflict, Adrik honourably discharges from the army to formally begin his training to become one of the Barad-Kur, in preparation for one day swearing his oath of fealty to the Morndinsamman & King Bruenor. Command of Anvil Platoon is formally passed over to Durdain, who wishes Adrik the best in his new calling.
It is about six months into this training period, in Elesias of 1490 DR, that Adrik goes out on a patrol out of Gauntlgrym, with a small squad of warriors, investigating reports of drow in the area. The patrol runs into an ambush, and Adrik sees some fellow dwarves cut down before he is knocked out. Unaware of if anyone else got out, Adrik comes to his senses sometime later, now a prisoner of the drow…