When the conflict between Siroth and Lumaya began, not all Dwarves sided with the latter. Some chose to walk the path of Darkness instead, bending all their malice and ingenuity to Siroth’s cause. Called Painsmiths, they crafted monstrous weapons of war and engines of destruction; black devices powered by the agonies of the damned and evil magic.
But at the climax of the Great Divorce, the Painsmiths’ Demonspawn allies were banished from Teleria, and they were left to endure the reprisals of their vengeful kin. Those who were not slain were exiled or fled, and found safety in isolation, seeking the most remote peaks for their new lairs.
Frolni the Mechanist is the last survivor of one isolated clan. His people made their home in the Redspike Mountains, far from the prying eyes of the Dwarves of Gloomdeep Hold. For centuries, Frolni’s clan survived as best they could, growing more debased with every passing year. They clawed iron from the depths of the mountains and used it to craft vile machines which they used to patrol the tunnels and caverns of their territory. They raided the lowlands by night, capturing and enslaving anyone they came across for all manner of twisted experiments.
When Frolni came of age, he eagerly participated in these raids. A budding mechanist, Frolni had a constant need of fodder for his research in applied metallurgy and an overwhelming hunger for new knowledge. Those he took he condemned to a painful existence; some perished soon after, sheathed in coruscating cocoons of brass and iron. Others lingered; their bodies imprisoned within the iron frameworks of Frolni’s experimental war-automatons.
Frolni was so obsessed with his studies that when prisoners were impossible to acquire, he experimented on his own kin; a taboo, even among the degenerate Painsmiths. Frolni was careful to implicate others in the disappearances of those Dwarves he experimented on, and as a consequence. the dwindling clan became afflicted with suspicion and paranoia to an unsustainable degree. Soon they turned on one another and hideous war machines, crafted in the likeness of brass beasts or men of iron. powered by steam boilers and cogwork hearts, clashed in the tunnels they claimed as their own.
Soon only Frolni remained. Alone, he prowled the empty halls, plundering the ruined workshops, seeking anything he could make use of for his own research. It was during these scavenging efforts that he located a strange, rune-etched archway. Through trial and error, he learned that the structure was meant to create stable rune tunnels: magic pathways allowing for quick transit between two locations.
Thanks to this discovery, and after many months of hard work, Frolni was able to take his scavenging efforts farther afield. He prowled the necropolis of the Stormwind Wastes and beneath the dread boughs of Durham Forest, and even through the catacombs beneath the City of Aravia, amassing ever more dark knowledge in the fields of alchemy, metallurgy, and sorcery.
It was during this time that Frolni stumbled upon a strange gem in an abandoned laboratory close to Gloomdeep Hold that was waist-high with water. Something about the eerily flickering amethyst stone resonated with him in the deepest recesses of his soul, and he felt compelled to take it. As he gripped the gemstone, his mind became flooded with schema and calculations such as he had never contemplated before.
Frolni immediately returned to his workshop and set about crafting the wonder he pictured in his head. After sixty days and nights of intensive labour, he had completed a magi-mechanical gauntlet. Compelled by some dark whisper at the back of his mind, he artfully grafted the gauntlet to his arm, so that it could never be removed, as he stared at his creation in wonder, Frolni gripped the amethyst, which he hung around his neck, and growled out an incantation of activation composed of a single word in his clan’s dialect: Pulverize.
In moments, the plates of a massive suit of baroque armour erupted from the edges of the gauntlet and spread across Frolni’s form, encasing him in their protective embrace, and a huge, two-handed axe grew from the metal within his armored hands. He felt filled with a strength such as he had never possessed. But the compulsion of earlier had grown more insistent, becoming impossible to ignore. – not that Frolni was inclined to do so, He allowed it to guide him to create a new rune tunnel and set off on his new quest.
In the months since this act of dark creation, Frolni’s expeditions have lost all hint of subtlety as he delves further and deeper in search of something he cannot name. He smashes through every obstacle, living or otherwise, in pursuit of anything he can use to improve the function of his war-armour, His obsession with improving the suit’s function has ensured that in it he is capable of slaying even the largest Jotunn or cave-beast with powerful, bone-crushing blows and he leaves an ever-widening trail of bloody carnage in his wake, wherever his quest takes him.
Recently, however, Frolni has begun to wonder if he is truly the master of his armour, or if he is simply a host for something more destructive. Each time, it becomes more difficult to shed his armour, as if his creation is resisting him. When he is not encased in it, his entire body aches, as if the gauntlet is sapping his strength to feed itself.
Worse, more than once Frolni has awakened to find himself clad in his armour and striding through tunnels in the direction of Gloomdeep Hold… as if the armour is responding to a call he cannot hear. Frolni is always quick to return to his lair in these instances, but even so the compulsion that has been guiding him all this time calls out to him from the depths in a voice like that of a crackling flame, demanding that he free it.
Frolni is convinced that he must eventually do as the voice commands. Otherwise, he fears, the monstrous thing he has created might well never release him from its grasp.