Fires of Illyria
A Dwarven paladin, both loyal and uncertain.
A stout red-haired dwarf with blue eyes and deep-tanned skin, with a heavy brow and a kind demeanor. Bruegon has long served as an emissary for his people, the Forgehammer clan, on a selfless quest to preserve their way of life. He formerly carried the symbol of his clan as well as a silver warhammer and tower shield, forged by and also bearing the symbol of his people. He has recently, however, gifted his clan symbol to Queen Vallana as a token of friendship between the Elves and the Forgehammer Clan, and has begun wielding a greathammer of his own make.
Bruegon Forgehammer was no different than many dwarves. He loved good food and stout ales, he was proud of his people and his culture, he had some skill at smithing, and he gave praise to Moradin. As a member of the Forgehammer clan, he believed in using the hammer and anvil to forge and build rather than destroy, and held to the clan’s longtime philosophy: “a sword can lead and kill, an axe can cut wood and strike fear, but only a hammer can build a bridge”. He proudly wielded a hammer with great skill, and used those skills to help build new homes and objects and alliances (some would say even friendships) with others as well as rebuild ones that had been broken. Bruegon also trained in the clan’s militia, and was given a post in the frontlines when needed, thanks to his particular courage and resilience.
Aside from his loyalty to his clan, Bruegon was also devotedly loyal to his family and friends. He was happily married to a Dwarven woman named Cannda for 40 years. They had met at the wedding feast of a mutual friend, whom they knew through their separate time serving in the clan’s militia. They were both young of age, but full of heart. After much eating and dancing and talking, they fell quickly in love, and were finally married five years later. They lived together, they worked together at the anvils, they shared dreams together. And, twenty years after they became partners, they decided they both wanted children. They shared a son, Delog, and two daughters, Borna and Keenda, all of whom Bruegon and Cannda were immensely proud. The family was inseparable, doing everything possible together; eating, dancing, cooking, singing, storytelling, and (once the children were old enough) smithing and serving in the militia. All in all, there was little that filled Bruegon’s heart more than his family, aside from his friends, of course. Bruegon had two very close friends he had known since childhood, Daggan and Thronn. Daggan was a scholarly Dwarf, who loved to study and learn more about the history of the Dwarves and Clan Forgehammer, and Thronn was a fighter through and through, a born warrior who loved the rush of a thrill. The three were quite a trio through the years, getting into all sorts of trouble as young Dwarves and then striving to become great contributive Dwarves as they matured. For a Dwarf as happily humble as Bruegon, one could not ask for more. Until, that is, the day the goblins attacked.
The attack came at night, while most of the dwarves were sleeping. The goblins had made a burrow in the same mountain as Clan Forgehammer, and had unfortunately become aware of the clan’s proximity before the Forgehammers could. In their wickedness, the goblins plotted and tunneled until they emerged in the housing areas of the clan. The militia did not become aware of the attack until many men, women, and children had already been slaughtered. The generals of Forgehammer quickly called for an emergency defense, rallying all Dwarves who were trained and capable to defend the Clan from the devastating assault of the goblin horde. Bruegon, Cannda, and their children took up arms together and took their place in the push against the foes. The battle was exhausting and bleak, dwarves and goblins alike falling in great numbers and heaping in piles around their kin. The halls of the Forgehammers’ home echoed with the agonized cries of the fighting and dying, and with the terrified screams of those who awaited their own death. The fighting seemed to go on forever, the destruction spreading everywhere. The Forgehammers finally defeated the invading goblin force, but none walked away unscathed. The dead were huge in number and lay everywhere, those who lived were all injured, and there was seemingly no place in the Clan’s home that was not stained with the blood of their fallen family.
It was not until the fighting had stopped that he was could cradle Cannda’s head in his arms, unable to hold back his tears as he cleaned the blood from her face. They had both witnessed Borna, Keenda and Delog, so full of the courage and immortality of youth, fight their way to the forefront and battle with all their strength and heart, before being slain and collapsing under the killing blows that bested them. The sorrow threatened to likewise collapse Bruegon and Cannda where they stood, but knowing countless more depended on them fighting as long as they could, they held their ground and fought on the same way they had always been – together. Cannda finally fell to a goblin axe that had slipped through to her side, and some time later, the death and destruction had finally ended. The healers had tried to pull Bruegon away for treatment, but he was inconsolable; able to only hold Cannda in his arms, and look back and forth from her sleeping face and the pile of bodies where their children lay.
The dead were buried and memorialized, a great black monolith of a stone placed in the center with the names of those lost etched into it. For a time, the Forgehammer Clan was at a loss for what was left to do with themselves. Soon, though, a defining choice was made that would permanently reshape the clan forever. Bruegon would come to know of it when he reunited with Daggan after the ceremony, which took place after the attack and burial efforts. She told him that Thronn was among the first to die, fighting off the goblins so that some could try to escape their homes. After mutual consolations, Daggan informed Bruegon that the council of elders and the diplomats of Clan Forgehammer had talked at length the night of the burial ceremony, and come to the decision that they would support and encourage an ambassador program that would see Dwarves of the clan volunteering to leave their home and seek out aid from others in restoring their home, as well as for rebuilding an army to fight off the goblins that all the dwarves knew would return someday to finish what they started.
Having lost all of his family to the goblins, as well as one of his friends and scores of his fellow clan members, Bruegon felt compelled immediately to become an ambassador himself, and volunteered before the diplomats and elders to join the ranks of the Forgehammer Emissaries. After being bestowed with the warhammer, tower shield, and pendant of the clan symbol forged for the emissaries – all made from the precious silver the clan mined from within their mountain – Bruegon stepped out into the world, determined to help restore his clan’s well-being and find whatever aid he could to ensure its survival.
In his travels, Bruegon came to align himself with two fellow adventurers, a hardy barbarian named Ria Cragsteel and a spellcaster named Lohr in search of riches. Together, they agreed to retrieve two lost weapons for Queen Vallana of Athame, a successful campaign that proved to be unifying for the trio. Bruegon and his allies continued on to help rescue Princess Alanis on behalf of Queen Vallana, and Bruegon would also ally himself with a Warforged known as Clovis XXVI on a particularly mysterious mission. Bruegon, Lohr, and Ria continue to travel and fight together for some time; freeing the innocent, defeating evil, uncovering great treasures, and working with the Queen to make Sarulia a better place for all. For the first time since losing his family, Bruegon finally began to feel value in life again.
Sadly, this too was apparently not to last. One fateful adventure, undertaken to stop the rising of Illyria, would see the Bruegon, Ria, and Lohr split apart. They could not prevent Illyria from rising, and after failing to do so, were offered incredible things in exchange for loyalty to the fiery menace. Bruegon proudly refused, on behalf of the Forgehammer Clan, his Dwarven race, and Queen Vallana. Ria and Lohr, however, accepting the terms, and became servants of Illyria. Allowed to leave with the knowledge of his failure and the imminent destruction of Sarulia, Bruegon hoisted the unconscious Andruil on his shoulders and fled Halicus, the forces of Illyria watching as he passed. All there was now to do was to inform Queen Vallana of the mission’s failure, and of the impending doom of Sarulia.
Yet, all did not seem lost. On the journey back to Athame, Bruegon experienced a profound vision. A vision that led to him swearing his eternal allegiance to the Dwarf-Father, Moradin. Devoted to uphold law and order, to live a life of honor, to protect the innocent, and to relentlessly hunt evil in Moradin’s name, Bruegon took on the responsibilities of a paladin, and now endeavors to serve people in need – wherever and however, regardless of their form – under the guidance of his remaining allies as the Dwarf-Father.