Something’s going on with Bardin. He’s not saying what. In fact, he’s not saying anything at all, which is unusual. Looks like we’ll have to turn to Lohner to find out what’s going on.
I bet you’ve all noticed that our stout, comradely dwarf – while stout as ever – ain’t exactly been as comradely of late. Locked himself up in his room. All kinds of weird banging and the like coming from within. Also been a bit, well, short with everyone, hasn’t he? And Olesya says he’s even stopped eating her candles. Not exactly the Bardin Gorreksson we’ve come to know and love. Well, I’ve done a bit of asking around, and I think I know why.
I don’t have to remind any of you that our recent trip to Castle Drachenfels, while a roaring success – and thanks for that – stirred the pot, shall we say? Old memories dredged up, and all that. Never mind how I know, I just know, all right? Let’s just say that Cousin Okri told me.
…you can put that sneer away, Kerillian. Okri’s real enough…
Anyway, you’ve all been a bit off since you got back, and Bardin more than most. It’s all to do with family, as it happens. Turns out that Bardin’s uncle – one Drakki Dagsson – was something of an iconoclast back in Karak Norn. Obsessed with new-fangled inventions and mechanisms more than runes and good stonework, that sort of thing. Simple enough, you might think. Dwarfs are cunning buggers, we all know it. I marvel at their technology, truth be told.
But dwarfs are also traditionalists, and some don’t take well to change.
Bardin’s old dad – Gorrek Dagsson – was as traditional as they come. Steam power? What’s wrong with a bit of good old dawi muscle? Cogwork? Use a block and tackle! Black powder? That’s just filthy muck, used by lazy beardlings in a hurry. In other words, the brothers Dagsson didn’t see eye to eye on much… Which was a pity, because Bardin worshipped his Uncle Drakki, and spent every hour he could learning everything the crazy old dwarf had to teach.
Can’t imagine Gorrek was too pleased when he found out. Much less when Bardin declared he was seeking an apprenticeship in the Engineer’s Guild instead of following his old dad into the clan throngs.
… Steam power? What’s wrong with a bit of good old dawi muscle? Cogwork? Use a block and tackle! Black powder? That’s just filthy muck, used by lazy beardlings in a hurry …
Now, I don’t know what happened exactly. Getting secrets out of a dwarf hold ain’t exactly easy at the best of times, and there’s a whiff of dishonour floating around the whole business.
Turns out that at about the same time our Bardin was about to be apprenticed to Karak Norn’s Engineer’s Guild there was some kind of mining accident. Hundreds dead, and old man Gorrek among them. Drakki departed the hold the next day, head shaved and Slayer Oath on his lips – not a life he was cut out for, from what I hear. Certainly proved that way. According to the annals of Karak Norn, Drakki’s bones – and his steam-axe – lie mouldering in a troll lair somewhere on the slopes of Zarak Karn.
As we know, Bardin never made it to the Engineer’s Guild. Instead, he took up his father’s axe and served with distinction in the clan throngs, eventually earning a place among King Brokk’s ironbreakers. Even became a father himself, though I hear that young Mordin Bardinsson met a tragic end – don’t ask, because it’s not my story to tell – and soon after Hedda Bardinsdottir left Karak Norn for the salt air and steamships of Barak Varr. Took after the great uncle she never knew, it seems.
…as for his wife, for those who were wondering, the name Grelda Thrangsdottir strikes terror into the hearts of every greenskin who approaches the Karak Norn-Grimhold road. No idea if she and Bardin parted on good terms, exactly. Some matters are best left private…
Anyway, what does this have to do with Bardin locking himself up, I hear you ask? Well, you’ve all had regrets stirred up by old Drachenfels, ain’t you? Bardin’s, I reckon, lie squarely on the road not taken – about how life might have worked out different had he stuck to his passions instead of honouring his father’s dry traditions. Might still have a family, instead of memories of the same.
… Past few weeks, Bardin’s had me running ragged, chasing down all manner of alloys and ores. Trading shillings we ain’t got with those penny-pinchers at Karak Ziflin …
Past few weeks, Bardin’s had me running ragged, chasing down all manner of alloys and ores. Trading shillings we ain’t got with those penny-pinchers at Karak Ziflin. Fifty-two different types of cogs and gears, would you believe? High grade black powder that the Imperial Engineer’s School would kill to get a look at, much less get their charred and mangled hands on. Precision lenses. Tools whose names I didn’t know, and couldn’t begin to pronounce.
For my money, all this toil is Bardin’s way of honouring his uncle Drakki, and maybe making some sort of amends with young Hedda. A confession, of sorts.
…so that should please you, eh Victor? You’ve always been a big admirer of confessions…
Either way, I reckon we’re in for a sight when he finally emerges from that room of his. In the meantime, I wouldn’t let on that I’ve told you even a speck of this. Shame’s a private matter for dwarfs. Drengbarazi you may be, but you’re still nardawi, and that matters more than it should. And certainly don’t tell Catrinne – she’ll want to immortalise the whole sorry saga in oils, and I can’t imagine Bardin taking kindly to that.
As to the rest? Bardin Gorreksson will come out when he’s good and ready, and I reckon we’ll be in for a treat when he does…