Deep beneath the earth, gems uncounted glimmer in the walls of vaulting caverns, and swift underground rivers run their course. In that cradle of stone, the stubborn Dwarves were born, flourished, mastered their craft, and forged their strength in the fires of Teleria’s molten heart long before they ventured closer to the World Above. That same fire burns in Gronjarr’s soul.
His tale begins in the ancient days of myth when the Dwarves had finally chosen to expand the borders of their homeland. By then, Gronjarr was already a grizzled warrior and a veteran of many battles, yet he volunteered to join the daring undertaking, hoping that his experience would be of use to the youngbloods. And indeed, the cohort under his command performed admirably. Many monsters fell to their blades and many an obstacle they conquered that would have stopped a lesser force in its tracks.
But disaster struck when Gronjarr’s warriors had infringed upon the lands of fire giants – a race as ancient as the Dwarves themselves, warlike, and cruel. The giants took ill to trespassers and denied all attempts to parlay, for only blood could sate their fury. Though they could not match the numbers of the Dwarven hosts, nor could they go through the smaller tunnels and passages, the giants’ tribes held several critical junctures in the sprawling underground caverns that prevented Gronjarr’s forces from advancing towards their goal. And worst of them all was an old, vengeful chieftain by the name of Filu-Ezzal.
Bigger than any of his kin that monster was. Stronger and more cunning as well, and the sword he wielded was said to have been strengthened by a spirit of fire held in thrall within the blade. But a foe like that did not frighten Gronjarr – indeed, the old Dwarf relished the challenge and boldly led his host into battle. Amid that bloody and terrible clash, where axe and sword clove helms and splintered shields, Gronjarr and Filu-Ezzal faced one another on a bridge that span across a bottomless abyss.
Primal rage served the giants’ chief well, but Gronjarr matched him with cunning and skill. The two traded blow after blow, shattering stone beneath their feet, but never backing down nor yielding to the other. At last, Gronjarr saw an opening and lunged at his foe with all the might he could muster, taking them both over the narrow bridge and plummeting to the depths below. Though both armies were bereft of their commanders now, the Dwarves were emboldened by Gronjarr’s sacrifice and held their line, while the giants broke and fled.
Many songs were written to commemorate Gronjarr’s valor in the years that followed, yet some believe the mighty hero had survived. Tales and reports of a grizzled warrior in a helm of bronze and armed with a magical sword – broken, yet still deadly – who came to the aid of his kin in their darkest hour began to spread. Mayhaps there is truth to those fairy tales, for Gronjarr was certainly stubborn enough to deny Death itself.