By Walker Perkins
Angorn the Black
4’5” tall and 170 pounds, you are a compact, and thick. Dark hair and silvery blue eyes mark you as a Galenan Dwarf. Your well trimmed beard and runic tattoo declare your defiance of tradition.
Galenan dwarves are raised in tight family units, with clan elders playing a deeply revered role in overseeing the upbringing of the young. Adults are expected to provide for their families and bring honor to them. Even the wealthiest Galenan dwarves refrain from displays of wealth, and consider ostentatious display to be a sign of weakness and divergence from clan values. As these dwarves age, they are honored for their wisdom and accorded respect for their past accomplishments. Families and clans are expected to honor their elders in death with solemn funeral rites and tombs befitting the deceased’s reputation and accomplishments.
More so than other dwarven cultures, Galenan dwarves place heavy emphasis on the length of their beards. Often, they are never even trimmed. Galenan Honor Bearers in clan ceremonies are accorded the duty of carrying the flowing beards of the elders up off of the ground. Also unlike standard shield dwarves, most Galenans completely eschew the Realms Above, refusing even to learn the languages of men.
The life of a Galenan dwarf is completely guided by ceremony and tradition, which are considered to be even stronger than law. This has resulted in a number of rites, gestures, and strictures unknown in other dwarven realms.
Life was hard on you at home in the Galenan mountains. You were not particularly good at remembering what station in the clan required which gesture of salutation, with what flourish. Nor did you have much use for the highly ritualized crafting of metal and cutting of stone. When you attained a measure of wealth, you put hoops of gold in your ears, to the great shame of your father. When you added a bracelet and ring (even though you were not married, nor were participating in the Rite of Grissnagh), the Elders summoned you and questioned your behavior. They weren’t pleased when you were late, and were less pleased when you openly questioned their edict calling for the removal of your jewelry and issuing a penance. When you called one a “Wild-bearded lovey of a human king” your exile was all but assured. Who would have thought that they would have also claimed all of your property and wealth? Bearing a runic tattoo of exile on your right shoulder centered on a symbol of Marthamor Duin, you were bound and blindfolded and taken out on the next dung wagon. For a time you wandered, and grew to love your wandering. You’ve taken Marthammor (the patron of dwarven wanderers) as your own, and now see his mark (which was meant to shame you) as a symbol of freedom and pride. You’ve even offered him some prayers. When the soles of your boots wore out, you started working for an aging smith in Phlan. You’re well on your way to replacing your lost fortune, but you’re getting a bit of an itch to again go a wandering.
Relations with others:
Living among humans was strange at first, but you’ve grown to love their sense of spontaneity. You’re out to have what fun you can, but take your metal working seriously. Work definitely comes before play, but the important thing to remember is that without the play the work is just worthless.
As often as you can afford, you find your way to the Laughing Goblin Inn and get together with Davram. Davram can tend to be a little too serious, and it’s often up to you to get him to laugh. He’s a firm friend, and the very antithesis of everything your clan taught about humans.
Overcoming your prejudice against humans came pretty easily, but you’ve still got some reservations about Elsanoth. Elves are wily after all. Sure he’s nice to drink with, but could you trust someone that beds another man’s wife?
Esvelle is a pretty lass, as far as humans go. She’s certainly got a fine voice, and she’s got a simple wisdom to her that is all too often right on the mark.
Bartolous is a snide little twit. You try not to give him to hard a time, he’s Davram and Esvelle’s brother afterall, and plus you don’t want to start sounding like your own clan elders. He’s a sharp one, like Elsanoth. Yeah, those two are peas in a pod.
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