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Flashback Laurolf Fangür - Runemaster of Knalga

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Wolf Rawrrr

Tunnels under Darkreach, province of Fangír, year 3177


The four dwarves had been walking for nearly an hour through the dark tunnels stretching far and wide under their city when the one in charge said: "I don't remember it bein' this far. This part looks new to me."

"Aye, sir." one of the two guards replied, moving up to walk beside the first dwarf. "This 'ere tunnel is less than a fortnight dug. The miners followed an iron vein."

The third dwarf stood out from the rest. His height was about right, but his face was much younger. Behind him walked the other guard to complete the formation.

"Ye hear that, laddie? There still be plenty of ore to be found down 'ere. But also other things, so stay sharp, hm!" Angus Fangür was talking to his son, hoping against what seemed increasing odds that he could inspire some interest in the boy for the position and responsiblity he would one day have to take on as the firstborn - his father's own position as a Runemaster of Knalga. But tradition and expectations matched poorly against young Laurolf's attitude so far.
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"A-Aye, father!" The yet unbroken voice of young Laurolf, peeped from underneath the soldier's helm, that was just a tad too large for his head. "S-sharp as a freshly forged axe!" The only thing sharp here, was the spear Laurolf had been given- The same one he clutched onto tightly, with both of his hands as his eyes fearfully searched, every nook and cranny, every dent and sliver of a crack in the rocks. Not only was the armor he wore, too big for him and itchier than an unwashed beard- Laurolf had heard from his friends, that there were all sorts of evil critters in these mines! From giant monstrous centipedes with a hundred mouths, to evil cave trolls and spider-ants that liked to eat their pray, "fresh"!

Needless to say, Laurolf was terrified by these unguarded mines. As much as he loved the caves, he much preferred the safety and comfort of Dvergholm, to the tunnels that ran deep underneath it. "Why me.." He thought, "Nobody else 'as to start 'eir trainin', until a few years from now.. It's darned stupid n' unfair, is what it is!"
The Runemaster was at the head of the small colon, so he was unable to see exactly how his son fared against the unknown tunnel so far. Or maybe he knew it from the start, had been expecting it, fearing it. Maybe that's why he walked where he wouldn't have to see Laurolf's every reaction to the surroundings. But old Angus still kept faith. He'll come 'round. He's still young. I'll be makin' somethin' out of him yet... He thought. Angus loved his son. It was just the kind of time when he couldn't show it. It would be undermining his own efforts to give his son any quarter.

But no matter how worried or engaged in thoughts, the Runemaster's senses could not fail. The faint sounds from the darkness beyond could not escape him. "Halt!" he said suddenly. "Ye hear that?" The dwarves stopped and listened. "Like... somethin' moved."

"There ain't no other patrols assigned for today, sir." said one of the guards while cautiously looking around. The uneven tunnel branched off at this point, but the main path led on straight. "That way be a dead end." he said to the general, guessing his question.

Angus stared at Laurolf as if trying to decide whether or not the boy was shaking beneath his armor. "Hm. I might as well be imaginin' it." he said, finally. "Let's go. I ain't spendin' me whole day down 'ere." Nevertheless, he remained alert. It wouldn't be the first time that a group of dwarves got ambushed in their deep underground tunnels.
"Halt!" Came the word and Laurolf almost tumbled down onto the stone floor, tripping on his own foot. Had it not been for his spear, the young Dwarf would have been lying there on the ground, no doubt bringing shame and embarrassment to the, "so great" Runemaster. As the others spoke, Laurolf didn't much pay attention as he tried to straighten his right boot- Those were too big as well. Laurolf would have cursed the quartermaster all the way to the Misty Mountains in his mind, had he not known better; He wasn't quite as burly as most could've expected, even from a Dwarf his age. Laurolf was young, but not naïve enough to think, they'd use precious materials just to craft armor his size, that would likely be never used again once he outgrew it..... If, he outgrew it.

"Come along now, Laurolf!" His father's voice echoed from beyond. Laurolf groaned and ripped some moss from nearby, stuffing it into his boots. "A-aye!" He yelled and scurried off to the branching tunnel, right in the wrong direction.
Who knows how long it would take the young dwarf to realize he took the wrong turn if the tunnel wasn't a dead end. Just like the guard said, it simply ended in a pile of rubble. In fact, it was hard to determine if the tunnel used to extend further but collapsed, or this was really as far as the miners got. Traces of a mining operation sure were present, but it was hard to make out anything in the dark. Good thing Laurolf was carrying that torch with him.

Just when he would have probably turned back and ran to catch up with the others, he noticed something. Rather, he heard it before he saw it - a scratching sound coming from the rock wall itself... no. No, it was actually an indentation in one corner of the dead end, a crevice... And something was crawling out of it.

In the creepy firelight it didn't take Laurolf long to recognize the creature from his nightmares. It was exactly what he was afraid he'd run into! Well, one of the things. He was face to face with a goblin looking every bit as surprised to see Laurolf, as Laurolf must have been to see him.

The only difference was that the creature wiped that surprise right off its face, replacing it with hateful look as it advanced with a short spear in hand.
"Oh bloody hell." Laurolf muttered, when he came to the dead end. He scratched his chin -which sadly was not yet host, to a magnificent beard- and turned around. He managed to take two steps, before he heard the scratching and rattling from behind and as he turned to investigate, the young Dwarf froze stiff from fear. He dropped the torch and grasped his spear with both hands, "S-Stay away, n-now! B-Bloody.. goblin!" He said, trying to sound as intimidating as he could. Unfortunately, Laurolf wasn't ready for this at all. He had heard of goblins and while the plentiful stories and tales of the filthy things, didn't scare him in the least, he'd never thought about actually having to face one- Much less do battle with one!

As the creature of depths approached, Laurolf backed away at a slowly increasing speed and before he knew it, he was running away. "Goblins! 'Ere be goblins!" He shouted, whilst hoping to catch up with the others, before the goblin caught up with him.
It took the goblin a moment to snap out of the surprise at the dwarf running away, but then it was in hot pursuit. Goblins could see better in the dark than dwarves, but it didn't take a hawk's eye to follow a dwarf running through a dark tunnel carrying a torch. Good news was, Lurolf seemed to be faster... at least for now.

Turning right into the proper tunnel, the young dwarf was shouting warnings in the darkness, but they came too late. Before he could even see the light of his group he could hear them. The sounds coming from up ahead were those of fighting: Shouts, steel against steel, and wood splintering. A few curves more and Laurolf broke out into a large dark cavern where he immediately saw his father and the two guards fighting against what seemed a... horde! of goblins! However, as the initial shock passed, the dwarf could see that the cavern was in fact an empty mining outpost, and the goblins were nowhere near a horde - more like a dozen that he could see.

Runemaster Angus Fangűr was swinging his great battleaxe with famous dwarven ease, chopping off a head or other extremity on each swing. But goblins felt security in their numbers, attacking relentlessly. One of the guards got a cut on his arm, barely dodging a spear that was meant for his head. It was dark, the shadows danced around the firelight, and blood gleamed on the blades of weapons. It was chaos, but no one seemed to notice Laurolf's presence yet.

And then the goblin he was running away from finally caught up with him while he stared at the battle. He had brought a friend along. It was now two of them, both wielding a spear and an ugly face.
((Actually, Laurolf dropped the torch! :eek:))

Watching his father swing away, dispatching one dirty 'deep-dweller' after another, made Laurolf feel a sense of awe, but also envy. He wasn't a great warrior like his father and based on his reaction to goblins, he'd probably never be as strong and mighty as his father. Not that he really wanted to, as much as it was expected of him, Laurolf had little interest in leading armies and fighting goblins, trolls and other kinds of beasts from the deep.

But, if the sharp hisses from behind were any indication- This was no time for angry thoughts and muttering, as the goblin from before seemed to have multiplied into a pair! "Shite." Laurolf mumbled and gave a quick look towards his father, who was too preoccupied with battle, to even have noticed his son's peril. The young Dwarf looked at the goblins and took a step back, squeezing his spear, "Y-Ye' c-can do this.. L-Laurolf.." He thought and took a deep breath, lifting his spear. "Aaaaaaah!" Laurolf yelled frantically and instinctively closed his eyes, as he plunged forth with his spear pointed forward.
((shite, I didn't see that. but how did he travel through the pitch dark tunnel then? maybe just ignore this and move on :P ))

It was hard to tell who was more surprised, when Laurolf's primitive tactic worked: Himself or the second goblin who was frozen for a moment, staring at the spear protruding from his fellow goblin. The creature was making squealing sounds from the other end of the spear that ran him completely through. It jerked, falling down on the ground along with the spear that was torn from Laurolf's hands. Who knows what would have happened next if the other goblin didn't receive a sudden but precise hatchet to the head. It was one of the guards who finally noticed Laurolf and saved him from having to kill the second goblin by himself.

At this time, the rest of the goblins were routed though a few escaped into the darkness of the tunnels. There was no way to follow them. Four different tunnels branched off from the cavern.

"Laurolf!" The voice belonged to Runemaster Angus, edged with the same shock and disbelief that lined his face as he stared at his son.
Laurolf stared at his kill in total disbelief, so much so that he all but forgot about the second goblin. Thankfully, it was dealt with by the guard, before Laurolf's lack of a warrior's attention span, became the death of him. "I- I.. I killed it!" He mumbled, "Damn right ye' did lad!" The soldier coming to retrieve his hatched said, laughing. "An' a bloody fine kill ye' made as well! Not bad for a rook." Another continued. "He ain't no ordinary rook, mate!" Laurolf's father said, with a wide smile on his face, "He's a Fangür, through n' through, I say! Brave as a bloody bear an' fierce as an earthquake, even if he ain't knowin' it yet." Angus continued, giving his son a strong pat on the back. "Ain't 'at rite' son?"

"Y-Yes, father." Laurolf said, glancing at his father, before reaching for the spear and pulling it out. He looked at the dead goblin and then at the blood-covered tip of his spear, "I wonder why they were here.." He mumbled and one of the soldiers laughed, "'Ey probably was hopin', to be eatin' sum' Dwarf tonite'! Filthy mongrels 'em goblins, all the same." "Alrite' 'en mates, I reckon we can be callin' it a day. Tis' a cause fer' celebrations, after all- Laurolf's first kill an' everythin'!" The others replied with an enthusiastic, "Aye!", and the lot of them started walking back down the tunnel, towards civilization.

Yet, Laurolf found little comfort in the soldier's words. Were the goblins really that different from Dwarves? After all, weren't Dwarves too, just creatures of the deep- Didn't they call the caves and tunnels of Knalga their home, as much as any goblin or troll would? Maybe it was the innocent naïvety of a child, but it didn't feel right to Laurolf, for them to be judging the goblins as a lower form of life, just because they were rejected by 'civilized' society. Laurolf stopped and turned around, looking back down the dark cave behind him. "May ye' find peace, with wha'ever bein', ye' call yer' maker." He said quietly, hoping the others wouldn't hear.

"Laurolf, try to keep up laddie!" He turned around, "A-Aye, father!" He said and scurried on after the others. One thing was for certain- He was glad to finally get out of this damned cave and into some normal clothes!
Laurolf's Quarters, Fangűr Manor, Darkreach, year 3184


Years of training, missions and other forced preparations did little to change the way young Laurolf felt about his Runemaster heritage. One would think that his father would give up by now, or lose faith - the lad was already twenty after all and not a step closer to what he was supposed to become - but dwarven stubbornness played its part. Angus was relentless.

But so was Laurolf. That aspect of him turned out as it should, but Angus's plan backfired. In his attempts to railroad his son into what he wanted him to become, he achieved exactly the opposite. That's why Laurolf was awake in the middle of the night in his quarters with a couple of bags on the bed half-full and more stuff lying around. He had decided to leave his homeland and be rid of all this pressure, expectations, and his father's influence.

It couldn't have been an easy decision, but the young dwarf saw no other way.
"Where does 'is bloody stuff come from.." Laurolf mumbled, as he rummaged through a large wardrobe at the back of his room- Full of clothes and garments, fit for a noble. But clothes were not the only thing the wardrobe held, at the bottom was an old chest, packed full with various baubles and trinkets, that might all seem like junk to a stranger- To Laurolf, however, it was a collection of memories, from the favorite toys of his childhood, gifts from various romantic interests, to things of more.. important value. One item in particular, now caught Laurolf's attention, on the eve of his departure- A golden locket, with a bright blue gem in the middle, given to Laurolf by his father, when he was young.

Before things got right nostalgic however, a bright voice echoed from behind; "Lauwolf, I cannet' sleep!" It was Emmi, standing in the doorway of Laurolf's room, dressed in a child's nightgown with a stuffed bear in her hands. Laurolf smiled and turned around, "Me room's the farthest from yer own, an' yet.. Ye' always come 'ere, when ye've trouble sleepin'." He walked to the door and crossed his arms, "I hope she'll manage, when I'm gone.. Raum'll 'ave to take care of 'er.. of 'em all." Laurolf thought, for as much as he hated to leave behind his family and friends, he just couldn't stay- Not anymore, with his father's shadow looming over him, growing larger and larger, every day... He didn't want to be Runemaster, he never had, but it was "tradition" and "in his blood", "Bollocks! All of it.. I'm no blood-" His thoughts were interrupted, by a rather curious little sister.

"Awe you goin' sumweres, bwother?" She asked Laurolf, looking at the bags on Laurolf's bed. He cleared his throat, "Just cleanin', aye, want me room to be tidy n' spotless, eh? Just like yer's should be!" He gently pushed Emmi out into the hallway and kneeled, looking her straight in the eyes, "Now go on, back to ye' bed- Ye'll be needin' to be strong an' well rested, fer' tomorrow, alrite'?" With a hug, Laurolf sent his sister back to her room and stood back up. He turned around and quickly finished packing, took his bags and headed downstairs, ready to leave once and for all.
With his things packed and mind set, Laurolf was done here. His life went wrong so far, but at least from now on everything would go the way he wanted. But what he didn't expect was to bump into his father in the hallway of the family manor.

Angus was still wearing partial armor, probably returning from a late task that lasted well into the night. His thick eyebrows went up into a frown when he recognized his son carrying bags as if he was going on a trip. "Laurolf?" he asked, sounding genuinely surprised at first, then doubts began crawling up mind, and tone. "What's this? Innit a bit late, to be goin' places, hm?"
"Bloody hell, 'e weren't supposed to be back, until mornin'!" Laurolf thought, when he heard his father's voice. Although he was an adult, and sure of his actions, he couldn't help but feel like a child again, being caught doing something wrong. This time would be different, however, this time Laurolf would get his way, no matter what.

"I'm done, father." He said, turning to face his old man, "Done with 'is place, an' with ye' shadow, loomin' all around me- Forcin' me to follow in yer' bloody footsteps!" Laurolf sighed, "I'm leavin' Knalga, I'll become a damned surface-dweller, if 'at's wha' it takes, to rid me of 'is curse ye' call, destined fer' greatness."
Angus said nothing as first, and Laurolf could see shock slowly but surely paint his face. And then... "What?!"

"By the Rock, Laurolf! I don't believe what I'm hearin'! You? Done with me footsteps? Leavin' Knalga? Are you in yer right mind, lad? Does yer homeland mean nothin to ye? Yer kin? You were born with a purpose, lad, a bloody destiny like most dwarves can only dream of! I'm yer father, Laurolf, and I ain't about to let you throw all that away just 'cause you feel like it...!"

It's been a while since Laurolf had seen his father angry, but there he was. Mad as a bear and twice as stubborn.
"Let me? Let me?" Laurolf shook his head, "Ye' don't bloody have the rite', to say what I can, or cannet do! I never asked, for yer' damned destiny or heritage! I do not want to be, Runemaster! I never 'ave! I don't want to be leavin' Knalga or me family.." He took a deep breath, "..but ye've left me nay choice, father. Ye' expect me, to become a leader o' men an' women, a warrior like you! But I ain't and never will be, like you, father and I don't want to be, either!"
Angus' eyes spread wide. "I'm yer father! An' asked or not, you are what you are! A bloody Fangűr, a born hero, by the bones of the mountain!" He took a breath then, and repeat somewhat less loudly. "I know the path before ye is a hard one, lad. Laurolf... But meself, and others, 'ave walked it for ye, son. This, this is your home. These," he waved at the wall, "are yer people out there. You're me son, for Rock's sake! What kind of message will it be, for the Runemaster's own boy to spit on hun'reds of years of tradition, just like that, hm?!
Laurolf stomped the ground with his foot, "I don' bloody care!" He shouted- Something he hadn't done with his father, since he was younger. Argued, yes, but after a while, he'd come to realize that raising his voice accomplished very little. "All ye've ever cared 'bout, is yer bloody image! An' how ye'll look, when ye' stop bein' Runemaster! "Do et' rite' son, lest the King'll think me a fool", "The Runemasters be watchin', lad, donnet' embarrass me!" - Sound bloody familiar?! - Well I'm done bein' yer puppet, an' actin' all sortsa' nice fer the bloody King or other nobles, 'cause I don't give a goblin's arse, about what they think of ye'!"

He tightened his grip on his bags and marched angrily towards the door, as he reached the still of the exit, Laurolf stopped and sighed. "Raum be lovin' to fight! Make 'im ye'r bloody 'eir, 'cause I'm done wit' all o' dis!" He shouted, then slamming the door open and walking through.
Upset and unbalanced, Laurolf was making his way through the streets of the dwarven capital, his home that he resolved to leave - maybe even never see again. It was the hardest decision of his life, but his father helped him make it, even in the end, if any more help was needed from his side.

Laurolf made it as far as the outer gates when something happened that would change his fate. The great alarm bells of Knalga suddenly came to life, echoing through the city as well as tunnels beneath. Urgency spread like wildfire through the night. In mere minutes the commotion reached to where Laurolf was. The Knalgan army was being summoned, even dwarves posted at the outer wall. Finally someone came by who knew the reason behind. Among the shouts between the dwarves on the road, Laurolf made out a dreadful warning:

"Cave troll! Cave troll be' comin'!"

Chills ran down his spine.
He froze stiff, when he heard the shouts- A cave troll was a truly terrifying beast, one that he had hoped never to have to face in battle. They had the strength of a thousand Dwarves and the fury of the Rock and Ground, one slam of their fist, shaking the ground like a violent earthquake! Never had a Troll been killed, at least not since the ancient days of myth and legend, when Sikring cast down the iron curtain to defend the Dwarves of old and Goliath brought down the Mountains of Grymhöld, to punish the heathen Kings. As far as Laurolf knew, anyway.

Tall tales and ancient mythology aside, Laurolf had to act! In a heartbeat he dropped his bags and turned around, charging down the halls, joining the occasional soldier and watchman, rushing towards the center of commotion. Despite his deep desire to leave, he couldn't abandon Knalga just yet- Not if there was a Cave Troll rampaging about. "Ey'll be needin' e'ery able-bodied lad.." He thought as he ran through the halls and courtyards of Dvergholm.
On his way Laurolf could see that fear and panic have caused more chaos in this time than the attacking troll probably managed to so far. Armored units wielding spears were rushing towards the entrance to the mines, to where of course the threat emanated. Nearly every threat to Knalga since its foundation came from below. Well, aside Asgard and its greedy kings.

Upon reaching the mines, Laurolf realized how much quieter it got. This close to the epicenter of the danger, there was no panic - only rushing squads of soldiers on their way inside to defend their beloved city. It was a very inconvenient time for a troll attack. Knalga had been peaceful for a long streak of years, and it was the middle of the night. That must have been why things went worse than they should have. The dwarves were relatively unprepared for what came from the depths.

The great entrance to the mines, actually one of several, but this was considered the main one, was well lit on the exterior and interior so there was no need to carry a light. Right before Laurolf's eyes the last group of dwarves disappeared inside. The immediate surroundings were clear of all civilians, and for the moment, guards as well.
"Blast it!" He mumbled, cursing in Dwarven- Though the emptiness of the mine's entrance, bode more good than it did ill, at least the Troll hadn't broken the outer defenses. Nay, Laurolf was more angry about not making it in time to get a spear or even a dagger, which were often handed out by a quartermaster, at sites of trouble, for Dwarves that might've not had the time to run by the nearest armory, on their way to the scene. He had heard from his father, that barracks and small weapon lockers, once riddled the entrances to mines and caverns- But in recent years, the Knalgan Kings and Lords had gotten too used to the times of peace and the money and effort that went to maintaining these defensive stations, had been diverted elsewhere- Like fattening their lordships' purses and bellies. "If I was Runemast-" Wait, what was he thinking? He didn't want to be Runemaster, sure he had ideas on how to improve the current standing of Knalga as a whole, but.. "I'm wasting time!" He suddenly yelled, realizing when and where he was.

The young Dwarf frantically looked around and finally spotted a rugged old tool shack, "If I cannet' be 'avin' me an axe, I'll a' least, drive a pick so far up 'at beast's skull, that it'll split in 'alf!" He mumbled to himself, as he ran over to the shack, quickly grabbing whatever he could find, that would pass for an emergency weapon. He was unarmored and alone, but determined enough to then charge blindly into the mine- Hoping, that the situation wasn't as bad as it seemed.
The mining pickaxe that Laurolf grabbed wasn't a particularly effective weapon, but at least it was in good shape. As he charged into the mine along the main tunnel he could hear the sound of armored dwarves running somewhere not far ahead - but the twists in the passage denied him direct line of sight. The main tunnel was indeed well lit and crafted, as would befit the main shaft of the main mine in Knalga. After a while, Laurolf began closing in on the soldiers. He knew that because the sound of their movement was getting louder, but so was another sound that slowly faded into hearing: that of unmistakable fighting. He had gone the entire length of the main tunnel by then. A few turns along some of the poorly lit, roughly carved tunnels and Laurolf finally reached the epicenter of that night's alarm.

The chamber before him was one of the larger mining camps serving as a drop-off point for harvested ores. As such, there was plenty of materials, mining carts and other tools and equipment in abundance. It wasn't too dark either; he could make out pretty much everything - including a hole on the far side of the wall where the actual mining sites were. Undoubtedly, the troll that invaded Knalga must have come from one of the deeper caverns through there. Aye, the troll.

It was a monstrous thing in appearance. It stood in the center of the chamber, a behemoth in comparison with the dwarven soldiers bravely making a stand. The thing must have been at least fifteen feet tall, and massive, covered in dark grey skin. It was wearing some sort of primitive pads for armor, adorned with bones and skulls, wielding a great club in one hand that it waved around with, knocking dwarves around like they were toys. And the dwarven soldiers, though outnumbering the troll, had difficulty combating it - mainly because of the troll's superior range. Some dwarves threw their spears at it, and though a few did some damage, the troll seemed to be only enraged more, pulling out the spears from its body and throwing them back. There were two dozen dwarves surrounding the monster, plus the fair number lying on the ground unmoving or retreating back wounded.

No one seemed to notice Laurolf yet, and who could blame them? The troll roared as it grabbed a soldier that was brave enough to come perilously close and attempt burying an axe somewhere sensitive. It growled in his face, and then threw him down on the ground, landing the club on top of him.

As this character has been converted into an NPC following the player's departure from the game, this Link to the Past thread is suspended.
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