7
Jul

Nibil the Beardless’ Background

   Posted by: John   in Wardlands

Caution may contain some character spoilers, feel free to read it but try to avoid metagaming.
The first thing one notices about Nibil is his height. While unremarkable for a dwarf, the sight of his shaved head gives different expectations. Even those familiar with a dwarven build have a moment of confusion reconciling the oddity. He has a broad, easy smile, and dark farmer’s tan from his long days on the road. Sunburns were a regular occurrence, despite that the feel of the breeze and sun on his skin reminds him every moment of his relief from the crushing decline of his underground life. His hair has lightened to a dark brown, but his eyes haven’t lost the redish shine in dim light, common to dwarven darkvision.
 
He is subdued around the few other dwarves he’s encountered, usually avoiding them when possible. He is aware of his sacrifices, and has little desire to explain himself to other dwarves, especially those that never knew the hardship the Cracked clan has endured.
 
His armor, well used and often patched is the one relic he carries with him from his days underground. Nicked at the waist and shins (goblins), a row of scales over the left shoulder replaced with a different alloy, mirroring the scar underneath (orcs). He polished it carefullly, keeping the road dust off, though the signs of wear are obvious. He’s more careful with his shield, displaying it on his back when he travels. Mindful of the symbol on the front, he never uses it when sparring to keep it from being marred.
 
He travels with a full pack, having enough experience of travel to know the necessities to bring along, though the most useful is a friendly companion. Skill at arms and a friendly disposition go a long way on the frontier, and Sarenrae’s mark is well known. The blasphemy of putting her symbol to a deceptive use is less likely when the gods may take a personal interest in such an insult.
 

Backstory

 
Born sometime after the sundering, to his father Ogrim and mother Sharbuhnd, Nibil came of age during the collapse of dwarven society in the area.
 
He lost his father early, when disillusioned with the isolation and with ever greater pressure from the hated orcs and goblins, Ogrim joined a splinter group seeking to form a surface colony. When the colony was slaughtered by a nearby human kingdom as part of a escalating territory dispute, Ogrim was among the dead. The “massacre at Dun Marow” not only left a permanent racial rift, but also became a cautionary tale keeping conservative leaders in power and the goal of mining towards the rest of dwarven civilization firmly in mind.
 
Nibil was conscripted into the mining as soon as he was able to push the heavy carts used for transporting the broken rock. Like all the Miners he also trained for tunnel fighting, in order to hold off the encroaching demi-humans and the uncertain threats that lurked after any tunnel breakthrough. He became even more isolated after his Mother found a new lover, never accepting him, moving into the Miner’s dormitories. Living conditions became ever worse as the Dwarves became nomadic, moving along with the tunnels, adapting to living in roughed out caves as they traveled under the surface.
 
As was common, the dwarves divined a hollow ahead. At the vanguard of the group that broke through, he survived longer than the rest when the undead guardian of the crypt they’d stumbled across dug out of their tombs behind the mining group. Down to the last, all looked lost, when the weakened tunnel came down around their heads. His companions crushed, half buried, the sound of the dead still scrabbling at the dirt, hope came in the form of a shaft of sunlight filtering down through the sinkhole that had collapsed around them. As he struggled free and slowly climbed to the top of the hole, a new world greeted him.
 
Leaving the sinkhole, and its undead guardians behind, there was also no way back to the clan. Even destitute, homeless, and shunned, life was still easier on the surface than in the brutal underground tunnels. For no other reason than that it was easier, he wandered down the mountains, coming across a human settlement after a couple of days. Desperate and hungry, he begged at the gates. The novelty of a begger dwarf, elicited his story, which most simply laughed off as wild ramblings. However, as in many towns towards the south, there was a temple to Sarenrae present, and the details of his story caught the priest’s attention. The priest took pity on Nibil, and over a hearty dinner told him of Sarenrae’s beneficence, and after listening to his story, of how his salvation was her miracle. Knowing something of dwarves, the priest proposed a sacrifice. The next day, as Nibil set off with little more than a couple loaves of bread and directions to the next temple down the road, he was clean shaven.
 
For a time, Nibil was on pilgrimage, traveling southward by the charity of Sarenrae. His new baldness eased the journey, giving even those who had met dwarves before pause to wonder as to his race. Eventually he came to a monastery on the edge of the frontier, where the brothers had taken on a vow of silence. Only the friar (one Petry Cruegon) was permitted to speak on their behalf. Being largely self sufficient and isolated, the monastery saw few visitors, especially with a story as unique as Nibils. The friar took on his education for over a year, while Nibil helped in the fields and learned the ways of living in the sun’s light. It was there that he learned of the gods of the world, and studied Sarenrae’s teachings. The winter was easier than previous years, much of it thanks to Nibil putting his previous mining experience to use digging out a root cellar under the simple cloister. Simple and sturdy, when done he knew that it was time to leave. It was in such simple charity and prayer that he came to know Sarenrae, and the will to bring light to the world.
 
As he set off to resume his pilgrimage, returning to the northern wardlands, the friar presented him with a small bundle of the sunrods the cloister crafted for trade. Less practical, but a greater gift, was the shield he carries. Done with simple yellow paint, but with great care, was Sarenrae’s dawn cresting, crafted by one of the silent brothers of the temple. Nibil set off to find a place in the world where he could still find a purpose, perhaps a cause worth sacrificing for.
Wanting to be closer to her teachings, he sold his war pick he’d carried with him from the mines, and bought a scimitar at one of the towns along his pilgrimage. The adjustment was tricky, but there was welcome practice on the road with some of the caravan guards he occasionally traveled with. He still has three of the five sunrods given to him. One having been used on a dark night where the wolves circled too close, the sunrod spooking them off with it’s unexpected daylight. The other was traded for lodging during a week of particularly bad storms. Small tokens of the occasional hardship of the road. He traveled with others when possible, the last companion being a traveling tinker before parting ways at the crossroads where he turned towards the wardlands and encountered Dun. He carries with him a letter of introduction from the Friar, which has papered over the initial distrust at several temples along the way.
 

Sarenrae’s Commandments

 
The clarity of her dawn lights the land.
Her light be brought even to the darkest of places.
 
Life is bountiful.
All share in harvesting the bounty.
 
In plenty is temptation.
Excess is its own sin.
 
To aid another is the most noble of undertakings.
One should strive to stand without aid.
 
The act is evil, not the man.
One must answer for their acts.
 
Redemption is ever but a step away.
Too long a step for some.
 
Trust exists beyond the sword’s reach,
Justice within it.
 
The rule of man is not the rule of Sarenrae.
A just leader honors her with their rule.
 
Do not despair during the winter’s night.
Sarenrae’s light comes from within.
 
For half the day is night;
She ever watches over us.
 
This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 7th, 2010 at 2:29 am and is filed under Wardlands. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One comment

 1 

I thought it really helped to pull together a set of Commandments for Sarenrae. My last attempt at playing a cleric fell apart because it was too hard to just improvise the teachings of a formal religion.

Hopefully Nibil benefits from having at least this bit of structure to the Goddess he’s dedicated too.

July 22nd, 2010 at 8:49 pm

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