Dvalin’s father, Gralmor, left him a pack full of items. Among them was a note and a journal. The note explained that there was something coming and the world would need the power of the gods to protect it. That was why his mother had left. The thought of the gods being dealt with again was too much for her. She went to find another solution. It was now up to Dvalin to bring back the family honor. He was a Sonnlinor like his father. After reading the note, he turned to the journal and began to read.
The Journal of Gralmor Thornshield
Day 5 of Flamerule, 1481
I have been traveling through Novos, spreading the word of Aspiration to any I can find. The people have a need for direction. As the power of the gods wanes, they turn to darker worship or give in to despair. Aspiration will extend her arms to all those who are lost in the darkness.
Aye, the darkness holds more sway in the world now. I am trying my best but the world grows darker despite her brightness. She is with me always. I love her dearly but I know she is doing greater things in the world. Although my heart is heavy I go on for her. I know she will bring much comfort that the world sorely needs.
The island is changing. For a while, the Treaty was upheld, it still technically is. But people have become wary of each other again as power wanes in the world. The Dwarves have retreated behind their walls and are accepting less and less visitors as time goes on.
The city of King’s Crest is still operating well, offering a safe haven to those seeking asylum from the dangerous wilds of the island. The Oasis fares the best. The people are in awe and worship of Aspiration and her religion thrives there. She is most revered in that part of the island. The Aarakocra tribes also offer a form of worship to her.
I head to Deep Harbor now. With much of the magic gone, the policing of some of the outer towns has stopped. Gangs and pirates are taking over and spreading their lawlessness. I am going in the hopes of spreading her word and bringing more people to her light. I also go in case there are any that wish to have safe passage to King’s Crest. I will provide protection for any seeking to better their lives away from the crime and desperation.
The Shiverblade Nigh is the newest and most ruthless of these bands of thugs. They have taken almost completely over the southern fishing and shipping villages. Their influence is spreading and I fear innocents will get caught up in the fighting before long.
Aye, this trip will be hard. I am already dreading the rain of the forests. Dwarves do not like getting wet! We are not fish. We are warriors and smiths of the earth! I ramble. This traveling has been hard. It has been harder having no home to go back to.
Day 12 of Ches, 1486
For the last five years I have been spreading her word and I have had some success. There are many followers of hers now. They have all congregated at the Oasis. King’s Crest has closed its doors once more. Visitors have limited mobility and are watched the entire time they are present. Even I am given the stranger’s treatment.
The rest of the island has fallen into chaos. Perhaps one day she will have more sway over the actions of cruel men and women but for now her power is not enough. She needs more followers. Her power is held back by the amount of followers she has. They are still small in number when compared to the larger world.
I must travel. I must leave Novos and spread her joy to the mainland. With more adding to her strength I sense she can bring light back to Novos and the world. Aye, she can, with enough strength and prayer.
I have chartered passage now that it is spring and the seas are fair for traveling. I hate the water more than anything but this is the only way to get to the mainland. The passage will be long and I know not what dangers lie ahead. We still have to make it past the terrible whirlpools that surround the island. That alone is enough to deter most sailors nowadays.
I plan to spread her word and eventually establish a temple in her honor. A shining beacon to all the world’s lost souls and orphaned children. She will realize the potential inside them and give them greater purpose. With this, I hope she can help pull back the Dark Age that has befallen this world.
A storm gathers on the horizon as I finish this entry and my stomach can hardly contain its contents. I must lie down. How humiliating for a dwarf, to be rendered weak with illness while on a perilous journey. Aye, this journey is trying indeed.
Day 23 of Eleasis, 1490
We made it to the mainland months after being at sea. I can still feel the rocking of the waves sometimes at night when I cannot sleep. I spent a few short years searching for the right place and spreading her word. I am still loyal after all these years.
After these years of searching I have finally found a place to set up a proper temple in her honor. It is high in the mountains north of Waterdeep, close enough that people can reach it from the large city but remote enough to be safe from the marauders that frequent the open lands between here and the city.
It won’t be very opulent but simple and elegant like she was. How I miss you so. The loneliness is so oppressive at times and I find myself talking to you although I know you cannot answer. To be so far from your warmth is akin to what I felt before you found me broken in that hole. Aye, the loneliness is harsh.
I am starting to carve the temple from the very stone of the mountain. My hands shall shape the arches and columns that will hold her grace. This will be a sanctuary for all those who seek her on the mainland. I will spread her word. I will bring people to her light.
I can go to Waterdeep when I need supplies, usually for the winter. Most of the time I just forage for what I need or hunt. Mostly I just focus on the work. It has been a long time since I was able to work with the rock again. It feels good to use my hands for mining and forging, the way we dwarves are meant to.
I take small breaks in between to admire the work or write as I am doing now. I eat as I work and only stop to sleep. This may seem like a harsh and punishing life to lead, but I learn more about myself and her light as I toil everyday. It is not hard for me to build a lasting beacon for all of her wayward souls.
Day 9 of Hammer, 1491
The longer I am here, so far away from her light, the more I fall into despair. Day in and day out I tend to her shrine, maintain the temple, and lead wayward souls to her light. I do not stop. I am loyal. Always, but I cannot hear her now. I haven’t spoken to her or sensed her power since leaving the waters around Novos. I know she has a higher calling but I wish I could have her with me just once more.
There have been times when I have awoken from a dream, memories from our adventures back then, and I curse my lot in life that I might never again see the faces of my companions. That I might never again see the face of my beloved. She was all that I had after everything that happened. She gave me purpose where I had been stripped of mine. I was broken and drunk in the gutter when she raised me up.
I remember being so drunk I thought she was a celestial come to take me. She showed me a better way of life, one where justice is upheld regardless of orders or creeds. Where one could stand up and advocate for better without worry of being murdered for it. Aye, I miss her. My bonnie lass.
I miss her dearly, and wish I could join her. I am but mortal and she is beyond any small emotions. She loves all, not just one. That was her mission. To bring many together.
Another day looms closer. I will soon sleep to wake up in the morning and begin tending the grounds once more. I don’t begrudge the work. It is the loneliness that eats me up. Oh, there are people around, aye. None stay for long. They make their pilgrimage and their offering and head off to do her work in other places or simply to set off for a better life. I alone stay steadfast in this temple and I will never leave until her influence reaches these shores.
I long for her voice, sweet and soothing. She was so direct, so blunt in her explanation of a problem that needed solving. My nights are long and lonely but the memories I have from when we roamed and fought together keep me going. The love that bloomed from those adventures is what keeps me going. Her memory is what haunts me and sustains me.
Day 18 of Kaithorn, 1491
I have found her! My wife. After all these lonely long years here in the temple I have found her and time has not weathered the grace of her countenance. We live a ways off from the temple and I walk there in the mornings to tend the shrine and welcome visitors. There are more now than when I first started.
For a moment there, in my despair, I held grand aspirations of gaining back my family’s favor in Iron Mountain. I dreamt of bringing the Thornshield name back from the ashes of our mistakes. I wanted to redeem the family name. I thought about leaving the temple, even if just for a bit.
I sent a letter to the leader of Iron Mountain, asking for a possible readmittance or some other leniency he could muster. Alas, he denied the request and I was denied any further inquiry into the matter. I fumed for a good long while before realizing that there was no place in my life now for some cushioned seat of a lord. I am a simple retired paladin now, there is no more brazen fighting anymore, only faithful devotion.
She had made me see the light of life again. I had not expected her arrival and the subsequent love that we found after all this time and all we have been through. That she could come back and live with me here in these solitary mountains is more than I could have asked for.
I thought love was gone from my life. That there would be no more romance or tenderness, only devotion. But her return has changed my life so much. We have long talks that bring us to the wee hours of the morning and then I have to leave to tend the shrine. The lack of sleep is the least of my worries. There are whole lonely swaths of sleep that I had before. I will not waste this opportunity.
The rejection and her appearance have both made up my mind. I will say that she made it much easier. Aye, she did. We are settling down here for good. There are no other adventures we have yet to experience except that of having a family of our own. We have both never had a place to call home for long, but now we can have that at last.
Day 27 of Flamerule, 1494
Our family is wonderful. We have our marriage squabbles from time to time. Usually, she is correct and I just bluster and pretend to be upset about it. Really, she is and has always been the head of the home. I have grown so much in this time. The work of the temple still continues. I keep my hands busy with statuary for the gardens and casting the ceremonial bowls and offering plates for the shrine.
We are thinking of having a child. I agreed of course. I want children. I just thought we would wait a few more years. She is craving a bigger family. A small creature to care for and raise in a warm environment. I am looking forward to training the boy. Aye, it will be a boy. All Thornshields came out boys. You almost couldn’t tell but the beards were all the same so they knew none of us were ladies.
I want to teach him to fight and smash through the rock. I also want to teach him the ways of Iron Mountain. The ways of the forge. There is great pleasure in the act of forging. To wield a hammer you forged is the highest pride. I want to show my son all of this but I will admit I am terrified!
I don’t know a single thing about raising children. My father wasn’t the most loving. All I know about rearing a child is the way he did it. With an iron fist and a quick whack on the head. We were reared tough the way he wanted us. He said it was to make us strong but I think he was just mean.
I don’t want to be like that. She had assured me I won’t be but a part of me still worries. I will do my best and hope that he turns out good. I just want to teach the little one all the wonders of mining and using the forge, aye. This will be good. It will be. I can do this. I can.
Day 1 of Kaithorn, 1531
I have a son! A baby boy. He is glorious and stout as his father. It was a hard labor but she was brave through the whole ordeal. Although, my hand might now have a permanent kink in it from her steel grip. He is glorious! Our family is now bigger.
To think I almost lost faith that I would have a family again. Now we are more than just us. We have a whole third little person to take care of. I was afraid I would not be a good father, that I would be too hard on him, but all those fears are now gone. They left as soon as I saw his shining face.
I have grown so much since I first left the shores of the mainland all those long years ago. I went from lord and noble to faithful paladin and so much happened in between. Many would say that what I did was a betrayal of my family and I deserve what has become of me. That may be so, but I could not stand by and see such injustice.
For a long time I wished to redeem my family name in the eyes of Iron Mountain and I still do but the days of me galavanting all over Toril are over. Perhaps one day my little one can take up the cause but I don’t want to decide his life for him especially this soon. I want to give him time to grow to play among the rock and greenery here in the mountains.
For now it is peaceful and safe. My wife and my child flourish here in the bracing mountain air. Aye, we are of stout build. I know it might not last forever but I am glad for our little paradise. I look forward to being a father, someone he can look up to. I am so excited to rear this little one!
Day 13 of Elient, 1556
I have found the key, the key to the redemption of our family name. Alas, it is too late for me. I have a family to raise and a temple to run. It is too late for me. Gragnok is lost to me. My son might eventually get to the hammer but it is in pieces. I have found a clue to one of the pieces.
It is located in Icewind Dale. There is a clan of dwarves there called Clan Battlehammer. They are said to guard one of the pieces to the great hammer. It is an important piece of Dwarven history. It is our collective inheritance. If I could bring these pieces together and reforge the hammer to its original form I could return the family name to honor.
I have always wanted little Dvalin to take up the family name. It is his birthright to be a lord of Iron Mountain. I want him to have the option to be more than a simple temple hand like his father. Aye, Gragnok is the key. I have asked my wife for advice but she says it is too late for us to be adventuring once more. We are getting older and the vigor of youth fades from our bones.
I worry that others might want to find the hammer too. There are many that might covet the power that such an item could have. Since many magical items lost their magic over time, there are less and less in the world every day. There has sprung up a very lucrative market in purloined or pawned magical goods.
If the name of Thornshield can be restored it won’t be by me. It is time for the new generation to take destiny into their own hands. Should he choose to take up the mantle to redeem our family name he will have the information he needs. I must keep tending to the temple and spreading Her name and message. I have a different calling now. It is up to the new generation to make their mark on the world.
Day 8 of Uktar, 1578
I think they have found us. I am not sure who “they” are. They stay in the shadows and don’t venture far into our grounds. They just watch. I think they believe I know something and want to have the information. I have sent my wife up ahead to spy on them and have not heard from her since. That was in the spring. I tell Dvallin that she will be home soon but I do not know.
I worry that they might have done something to her. I want to go after her but she bade me take care of our son and I cannot leave him. So I while away the days with my son. We tend to the shrine and temple grounds. He is now old enough to help me with some of the cleaning and I am starting to teach him the basics of repair and stone working.
He works with a tiny hammer right now but one day he will wield a full sized hammer. I cannot wait to see the day he forges his first weapon. There is great pride in that. I wait and worry here in our mountain sanctuary only now it doesn’t feel so safe anymore. I need to start training Dvalin soon. I just hope I have enough time to teach him all I can.
There is so much to teach, so much for him to learn. I worry now and do not sleep for fear of them coming for us in the night. I have taken to setting up traps on our outskirts to make sure no one is coming in from the less used trails. I watch every attendee to the temple to catch the telltale signs of spies. It has been years since I have had to use these skills that I once wielded as enforcer of the Thornshield clan. I will keep my family safe and I will find my wife.
I am worried that I will be left alone again, that I will lose my family. I am afraid of the darkness of the lonely years. I have my son but I fear the worst. I cannot let that happen again. I cannot let my family be taken away again. The worry haunts me once more. I must check on the perimeter as Dvalin sleeps by the fire.
Day 19 of Ches, 1580
It is the spring equinox here and I am starting the formal training of Dvalin. He is reaching the age of maturity for dwarves and is about to be an adult. With the training he will be well prepared to do what he pleases. He has expressed an interest in the forge and I will teach him all I know.
He is a prodigy with a natural inclination to working with metals and rock. He is working on designing his first hammer and I will begin instructing him in its making. I have so much to teach him. He is now old enough, we check the perimeter together and maintain the temple. I tell him about his mother all the time, keeping her alive in his mind. I fear after all these years that she might be lost to us.
He has been mining the metal on a nearby mountain and bringing it back to stockpile for his main project. We use smaller quantities for the smaller projects used for teaching. We have built a forge using our own labor out of the stone of the mountain. He is learning everything he needs to make and use his own weapons or tools of trade.
I am also teaching him how to fight. He is learning how to swing a hammer to forge and to fight. I never want him to be afraid or outmatched. He will have the skills to take care of himself when I am gone. I am not planning on leaving him anytime soon but the hands of fate are always moving and I want to keep him prepared.
Dvalin is my pride and joy, his mother would be proud of him too. Aye, she would, my love. I miss her so dearly but I have more to take care of than just myself. I have to set my son up for success for strength in this cruel world where only my god listens and the others are quiet.
I worry sometimes that my training is not enough. It has been very long since I have worked with a forge myself but it is good practice for both of us. He learns so quickly! I am very impressed. He loves the forge as much as I used to at his age. I am glad he is able to do what he loves and not what it dictated to him. Meanwhile, we continue the training and he keeps improving.