Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Berserker's Loss




Smoke rings rose to the ceiling of the Sailor's Guild hall. While puffing away Ulfgar Ungart absently fingered the orc bones decorating the braids in his beard... ah the stories those bones told. However those are not the tales that interested those about the table. They pressed him unrelentingly for details about the city, the scoundrels that waylaid him after the card game and mostly about the way that he seemed to lose all sense of self as he fought. Yes once again he has been dragged into telling the tale of his strange behavior. Where to start where to start... Ulfgar reluctantly and slowly spun the tale of his, ahhhh shall we say, condition. Fortunately the mead was flowing smoothly loosening the stout warrior's lips and allowing the usually reserved dwarf to spin his yarn.

I wasn't always this way. I started like any other dwarf of the clan Ungart. Loyal to family, learned the art of smithing early on in my youth, preparing for the Orc Wars as I gained young adulthood. The clan elders noticed an oddity about me, they sensed how I was slowly seeming to loose control of my temper, it was small things at first and they attributed it to perhaps an adolescent adjustment. In any event I was doing well with my battle training, handled an ax pretty well and growing stronger with the years.Then one night just before leaving for the Northern Battle Front (the blasted Orcs were making significant progress up there and all trainees were being brought up ... ready or not) while having a last huraah with fellow warriors a small typical barroom brawl broke out. Nothing much on an ordinary night. But this was no ordinary night. In the heat of the fight something odd happened to me, it started as a low steady drumbeat sound somewhere deep deep in my mind. At first I thought it was the battle drums of an Orc battalion. Then I realized no one else heard them. The sound grew stronger and deeper, building , building becoming more overwhelming with every second until it totally consumed me. As the sound grew stronger I became stronger almost as if the drum beats were my flesh, objects thrown and punches became devastating. Terror arose in those around me. I had become indomitable. Wounds inflicted upon me in the fight seemed to heal almost as fast as they were created. People in the tavern fled. I was left standing alone in the room, suddenly exhausted barely able to move. Spittle coming down the side of my mouth, blood draining from my ears. The drums had ceased, replaced by a preternatural silence. What in the name of Kord happened. The Guard suddenly showed up, seeing my uniform they escorted me back to base. Some hushed words were exchanged with my lieutenant. The next day I was brought to the front and and brought to the General's quarters. Odd, I was a newly minted warrior, I barely knew the smell of blood yet I was brought in to a meeting with the Supreme Battle Commander. There were several other high ranking officers and three or four Battle Mages present as well. We had only briefly discussed this rarest of Dwarven warrior in our war strategy classes.This was becoming stranger by the minute. I was then briefed on the situation at hand.

The Orcs were destroying us on a daily basis. Our loses were mounting and the situation was grim. My Clan Elders told my superiors of my strange behaviors and I was being observed throughout my training. The night before, in the tavern, confirmed everyone's suspicions. I was a Bezerker, prone to uncontrollable fits of rage. Capable of incredible feats of stregnth. Of course my condition was just starting and it would get far worse the Battle Mages explained. I was not at all fit for the lawful and structured society of Dwarven culture. I had only two choices before me. Use my abnormality for the good of the Clan in battle or cast myself away from the Clanhold never to be seen or known again. In order to uphold my father's and his father's and his father's father's farther's name I chose to throw myself in Battle against the Orc hordes.

Knowing how horrible a fate awaited me the Battle Mages honored me by bestowing upon me two Dwarvenwork Magical Weapons. A Dwarven War Axe, JarUrDoch, Orc Ripper in the common and a Bracer Axe, TorGal, Soul Shield in the common. They bestowed upon me the title of Nal Urt, Honorable BattleRager. So here it was. I was to be used as some secret weapon. Sure they gave me a fancy name, and a couple of good weapons but it was pretty clear to me that they hoped that before I got killed in battle (hence saving the elders the difficulties of exhiling me) I might take out a couple thousand orcs. Well if this was to be my fate so be it.

Off to Battle I went, usually as part of a battle spearhead, a phalanx of warriors with me. That usually lasted for a short period. I would begin to sense the drums in my soul and all fury and hell would break loose. JarUrDoch would sing, TorGal humming in accompaniment and the damned drums driving me madder by the moment. Orc and Goblin flesh would fill the air, blood would fly, hot rank Orc blood, boiling the very ground it would hit. Alas for the sacred Earth, never to produce ore again. Time after time the scene of utter chaos would unfold. Weeks turned to months, the tide of battle turning for the dwarves. Orc bones piling high, ravens and vultures grew fat. Rallying around my battlerages our troops became emboldened. We eventually vanquished the Orc hordes driving them into the sea. Our forces were victorious, grand parties held, parades thrown, I was regarded as a hero. Ulfgar Ungart, NalUrt. The Honorable BattleRager.

I was given a seat on the High Military Command. The elders overlooked my disease. Perhaps the rage could be contained? That thought didn't last long. In meetings of the High Command I had all I could do to contain my Rage. These were not warriors. They were politicians. Mosgrim (lit.beardless, a dwarven insult meaning coward or fool). In short order it became clear to me that I had no place in dwarven society and before my rage could destroy my Clanhold and my ancestors honor I left. I took my few belongings, my weapons and my memories and simply walked away from the Hold. Never to be seen again. Always to be remembered as Nal Urt. Many adventures and many years lead me to the City of Karshum where I lend my skills and services as a mercinary.

5 comments:

Aeschere said...

Very interesting back-story, Ulfgar. I especially like how you use the rage ability as the main conflict in your story, and develop it as both a strength and a weakness.

As seedy and dangerous as it is, Kharschum may be a good place for this hot-headed dwarf.

300 XP for Ulfgar.

camp17 said...

Ulfgar or me??

Inakai said...

Great backstory, Ulfgar. I love how you dive into whatever character you play. The bones in the braids of his beard were a nice touch.

Ironbeard said...

Nice work Dom. I think Ulfgar is shaping up to be my favorite of all your PCs, even though we've only played with him once.

Like Inakai, I too liked the detail of the bones braided into his beard.

BTW-At 9th level, Hrolff is going to pick up Enchant Weapons and Armor as a Feat. Maybe we can throw a litte enchantment onto Orc Ripper and Soul Shield

Three cheers for our newest comrade. May he split many a skull and tip many a glass with us.

camp17 said...

thanks Carl... I am having a blast getting Ulgar developed. I am starting to think that I may like him even more than Quarian. Hopefully I won't get him killed. Yes enchanted weapons might be just the ticket. So is Hrolff going to grapple the socerer while Ulgar beats the snot out of the dirtball?? The rest of the party can rain down all sorts of hellfire.