by Yorvald

Dwarves are respectful - even reverent - of their ancestors. If that ancestor was particularly noteworthy, he or she takes on an almost god-like status in the hearts and minds of their descendants.

Such an ancestor was Gordvord Bungleboot, the Axe-gnasher. Or, as he is known to his great-great-great-grandson Yorvald, simply "Gord." Gordvord was a warrior who served King Madoran Bronzebeard before, during, and subsequent to the War of the Three Hammers. Gord's deeds are legend -- or at least sufficiently exaggerated historical fact -- and one of the most famous tales concerning the warrior was that of his earliest triumph: a battle against a Dark Iron menace called the Stonefiend.

The First BunglebootEdit

As the story goes, Gordvord was the first Bungleboot. He was given this rather unfortunate and unusual name because, as a child, Gordvord had great difficulty keeping himself upright. Clumsy and ungainly, it seemed that Gordvord was destined to spend his life covered in bruises and cleaning up spilled ale.

But legend tells of the day that Gordvord stumbled (literally) upon a cave leading deep into the earth. Unable to resist exploring a good cave (a habit that he would pass down through the generations to Yorvald) Gordvord went in. For many days he traveled into the rock of the earth as if being drawn ever-downward.

When he reached the cave's end, he found a rough-hewn chamber containing the corpses of several dwarf-like beings (which he later learned were Earthen, the ancestors of the dwarves.) Since all were made of stone, Gordvord couldn't tell how long they'd been dead... but when he bent down to touch one, he was immediately seized by something he later described as "the knowin' of all kinds o' things I didn't know before." His exact meaning is unclear, but whatever he meant, Gordvord emerged from the cave a changed dwarf.

There are those who believe that Gordvord's tale of encountering the dead (or sleeping?) Earthen was the product of his being so long in the deep dark of the cave. Dwarves call this particular condition "The Deep Jeebies" - paranoia and hallucinations brought on by lack of light, oxygen and the latent knowledge of just how much rock stands between himself and the surface. It is an extremely rare condition among the earth-dwelling dwarves, but it has been known to produce many a suspiciously unbelievable tale from dwarves so afflicted. Whatever the case, it is known that Gordvord the Bungleboot went into that cave a clumsy, addle-brained youth and emerged a week later confident and as sure-footed as a mountain goat.

In the following years, Gordvord Bungleboot (for he refused to relinquish the ill-natured nickname he'd been given and wore it as a badge of honor) became nothing short of a living legend. He took up the warrior's way, training with the finest Dwarven swordsmen, axemen and spearmen until his instructors became tired of being bested by him -- in one case, the famous polearmsman Skadik Stormspear, after being beaten soundly by Gordvord, relinquished his weapon and took up the mantle of priesthood in shame. Upon hearing of Gordvord's prowess -- and perhaps being a little miffed that his finest spearman had traded his weapon for a holy symbol -- King Madoran Bronzebeard sent for him to set upon the young warrior a task to prove his worthiness. Gordvord travelled to Ironforge and stood before the great Bronzebeard ruler.

"Since the time of Great King Modimus, the Dark Iron Clan has ever sought to take what they wrongfully believe is theirs," King Madoran told Gordvord. "We Bronzebeards must continually demonstrate our might in order to keep the black-hearted bastards in their place. I am in need of just such a demonstration.

"The Dark Iron sorcerers have used their dirty magicks and evil vision to create for themselves a champion," continued the King. "Their intent was to give back to dwarvenkind what we lost in the millennia we slept within the mountain... to replace the soft skin of our mortal selves with the strength of unyielding stone. They succeeded... but what they created was neither dwarf nor Earthen but something far worse... a bloody-minded, black-soul abomination with a Dark Iron's lust for power and a demon's thirst for mortal blood. What it calls itself, I know not, but those who have fled it have taken to calling it the Stonefiend. There is only one, and I believe that one day there will be more. We must prove to the Dark Irons that such foul weapons are no match for the might of the Bronzebeard Clan!

"I have just received word that the host of soldiers I sent forth to destroy it was slaughtered almost to a man. It appears the damned thing was created to destroy just such a force -- a multitude, easily confused and easily dispatched. So I intend to send one warrior to meet it. I intend to send you.

"But I won't order you to go." He sighed, perhaps thinking of the faces of the young soldiers he'd sent to their deaths to combat the Dark Iron champion. "I've heard about your abilities from dwarves I've known most of my life... some of them near to tears from not being able to explain how you bested them. You drove poor Skadik into the priesthood, for pity's sake! So you're no ordinary dwarf, that much is certain. But you'll have to make the choice to accept this mission, for I have not the stomach to force you."

In the years after stepping forth from the cave, Gordvord had never known fear. He had faced the finest warriors in Khaz Modan, learned their techniques, and bested them in turn. But he never truly set foot upon a battlefield; he had faced pain and humilation at the hands of his instructors, but never death. For a moment, standing there before his King, Gordvord wavered.

But the young dwarf looked into the eyes of his ruler and nodded. "Aye, well, there ain't nothin' for it, Your Majesty. Jus' point me in the direction an' I'll be on me way."

Gordvord set out from Ironforge in the direction of the Badlands, which is where King Madoran's scouts had last seen the Stonefiend. He refused to bring anyone with him, even though several warriors-in-training (some even younger than Gordvord) volunteered to carry his spear and be his squire on the perilous journey. He had no wish to see any of them meet their deaths. Sitting astride his trusty ram Thelmo on the journey to meet the Dark Iron menace, Gordvord began again to doubt. He began to feel a little of that old, clumsy Gordvord creeping back in.

"What if I fail?" he asked Thelmo. "What if I can't defeat this Stonefiend bugger? Ever'one'll know I was jus' a fake an' a phony an' never a real fighter at all. I don't know what to do, Thelmo."

The ram had no reply, and Gordvord rode on in silence.

The Legend of Gord and the Stonefiend, Part II: The Stonefiend's Proposition

Yorvald at Thorium Brotherhood Wiki

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