The Sultan's Challenge
Hardal "Ale Belly" Dalric
Hardal grew up amongst his people. A typical dwarf child, he was brought up to regard stone and metal almost as highly as the gods themselves, though not nearly as highly as Moradin, the Soul Forger, the Dwarffather. His father was a tradesman and part-time smith, being that when he wasn’t bartering trade deals with other cities for dwarven goods he was between an anvil and a forge. His grandfather, Trodar Dalric, was a well known adventurer in the dwarven community. He would stop by once every couple of years and tell Hardal grandiose tales of his adventures; hairy escapes from dragon’s breath and narrow misses from wizard’s spells (although there came a day when a dragon finally did find Trodar with his breath). It was his great-grandfather that Hardal took after the most, a grizzled old cleric who spoke of a time when Moradin was worshiped through action and deed, instead of sitting around in stuffy stone temples and muttering words into the air and hoping that Moradin wasn’t too busy and that he would take time from his busy schedule to listen closely to each whispered plea. Hardal took his great-grandfather’s philosophy by heart quite literally, he had tattooed up his left side, over his shoulder and stopping above his heart the words, “My deeds show my devotion and my actions are my prayers.” He became a cleric of Moradin at age 43, one of the youngest dwarven clerics ever (Dwarves don’t reach adulthood until they’re around 40 years old). For over 70 years he tried to teach an old way of worship, pointing out that Moradin won’t be impressed by whispered prayers in the dark nearly as much as he will by a dwarf doing difficult and important work in the name of the Dwarffather. Though some listened and several large projects were indeed done by the dwarven clerics, he was generally ignored. Fed up with what he considered to be weak and meaningless methods of worship for a powerful and mighty god like Mordain, he left. He set out to spend his remaining years adventuring, he had always wanted to since he first heard his grandfather’s stories. He now travels the land worshiping Moradin in the only way that makes sense, through heroic deeds and of course lots and lots of rowdy adventures both in and outside of the tavern (he does worship a dwarf after all).
Hardal carries on him at all times his giant hammer “Skullsmasher”, whose handle was, he swears, carved from a petrified halfling who once challenged him to a drinking contest. His signature flagon, from which you should never drink if he offers you a sample of “holy water”, has carved into it a flaming anvil, the symbol of Moradin. It seems to bolster him in battle and he is often seen lofting it high and taking a swig before performing epic feats of power. He has several tattoos, some of which posses unknown qualities that aid him in battle. He commonly goes by Hardal or Ale Belly, and is known amongst dwarves as Wild Fire, due to the fiery red mane of hair he had before it began graying, and Iron Thumb, when he was a young child of 16 years his thumb was smashed on an anvil (he never was a very good smith) as a result the shattered bone fused together and his left thumb is now hard, stiff, and unfeeling. Between drinks and battles he frequently entertains himself and those around him by playing the flute.