Coran Thifir Stonesman
Brown-haired, Pock-faced, wearing patched and mis-matched clothing. Nevertheless, he seems to exude an inner strength. A Dwarf to depend on.
Scouting for Fun and Profit.
A life history of Coran Pathfinder, aka Coran Thifirson, aka Coran Thifir Stonesman.
My story is a dark one, marred both by good and bad circumstance. I remember little of my early life beyond my love for my family, and the warm, dark safety of home.
My family is a proud one, though its ancestry is short. For you see, my Grandfather was a nameless. Dishonoured for a treachery that was not his, it was up to his son to clear his name and restore our family honour. Da still won’t tell me all the details involved, stalling me until he believes I am ready for the truth. Still, when Honour was restored, my Da took the name Thifir Stonesman, married his childhood sweetheart Niba, and had three children. Firstly Krina, with her soft golden beard, then pretty Regna, and lastly myself, Coran, the sole male.
Shortly before my tenth birthday Da and Ma undertook to help escort a caravan of steel ore from our home in Kaz Dorn to Dun Barad, far to the east. I know it is not normal for children to be taken along, but there was no other surviving family to care for us. Besides, the roads were secure, or so they thought. The first warning that the roads had been breached was when the caravan came under attack. The bandits were easily routed, and the trail commander ordered most of the guards to hunt and destroy – no-one could be allowed to live to tell that the road passed through here. What the commander did not know was there was a second raiding party nearby. It took the now under-defended caravan, leaving only the dead behind. When Da and Ma got back from killing the first bandits, they discovered the remains of the second attack, but found no trace of the raiders.
They searched for nearly twenty years. Long years. Scouring the land for any trace of the missing caravan, and their missing children. Eventually they gave us up for dead, and returned to Kaz Dorn to properly grieve.
We, on the other hand, knew little of what went on. All I can remember was the foul smell of the drugs they dosed us with. I do not know how long we were held, but eventually became aware that Krina and I were chained at a mineshaft. We spent years mining Tin ore, with no knowledge of where we were, or whether others survived.
One day we were introduced to a new captive. It was hours before we realised it was Regna. When her beard started to grow in, our captors didn’t want her up top anymore, so sent her down to us. According to Regna we had already been down here over eight years.
Some years later an illness broke out in the camp above, and was quickly transferred to us down below. I was amongst the first to fall ill down here, but was nursed through the worst by my sisters. By the time I started to take note of my surroundings everyone else was ill, including our captors. Unobserved, I used our tools to strike off my chains, and then tended to those I could. Regna died the next day, and Krina only lasted a few hours longer. I was left grief-stricken, sleep deprived, pock-faced and half-starved. The only other survivor in the whole of the mine was a young human named Olanger. Together Ola and I gathered what we could from the now-deserted camp. I said a few words for my sisters and collapsed the mine shaft. We then left, and never looked back.
We settled in a town called Helm’s Watch, where Ola and I went about the serious process of trying to live. Times were hard after the recent death of the human king, and what we carried from the camp soon ran out. Ola and I had to be very frugal with our funds, and I am ashamed to say we occasionally had to steal our supper. One thing that this time taught me – your best friend is money in your hand. With it, you can buy anything. Without it, you are reduced to begging or stealing. Frugal is best.
About four years on I happened to run into a dwarf that I vaguely recognised from Kaz Dorn, and was told that my parents were still alive, and had only recently returned to their city. I immediately settled my finances with Ola and set off for home.
Da and Ma were overjoyed to get me back, and overwhelmed with grief when I told them about the deaths of my sisters. Still, being the loving parents they were, they took me back into the heart of their lives. They started trying to fill in for the many years that my ‘proper’ dwarven education was missing. I know they meant well, but I had been living my own life for years now and saw the teachings for what they truly were – mere indoctrination into a hide-bound existence, where everyone shunned their ‘lessers’ and gave homage to their ‘superiors’. I suffered their good intentions for over a decade before I snapped. My rantings about ‘repressive state’ and ‘law abiding idiots’ must have hurt my parents greatly, but instead of doing the ‘decent’ dwarven thing and immediately throwing me out, they supported me and allowed me to go. To ‘find my center’, as they put it.
I immediately joined in with a human army, as a scout. That was an education, I can tell you. Obeying idiotic orders from snits that were puffed-up with a sense of authority; many cold damp nights scouting out obviously deserted territory; innumerable abuses of authority. A few years of this and I started to appreciate the Dwarven way of life again. Yes they were overly-regimented, but they did have the best intentions for their people.
When my tour of duty came to an end, I signed on instead with Dwarven units. I found the restrictions still chafed, but they chafed in the way that good armour chafes – solid, dependable. There when you need it. As long as I can remove it when I need to stretch, it is a good barrier against the dangers of life on the surface.
For the last few months I have been working with a new group of Dwarves from Kaz Dorn, based in Helm’s Watch. A fine troup, overall, even if they could do with loosening up a touch. I believe I may have finally found my center.
Recently, I have started keeping a journal to keep a record of the exploits of those that would form ‘The Dauntless Mercenary Company’.