Grunbeld, The Iron Dragon

Grunbeld.

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He is the giant of Zeltenia. Known to his men as the Iron Dragon, he stands head and shoulder taller then all others around him, his helm is carved in that resemblance of the mighty dragons of old. The tales tell of his crushing warhammer and brutal implacable shield. They call him death on the battlefield for he knows nothing of retreat. He is the wall of iron and his foes know to face him is to face the fury of Zeltenia itself.

The stories of his youth are lost in the myths of the founding of Zeltennia. But the most persistent of rumors speak of how even as a young boy he stood eye level with the men around him. They speak of how he had served as a wandering mercenary since the days of his youth and that all he knows is war. All anyone knows of his past is that his warhammer is something that has been with him since the earliest accounts. That all he speaks of it is that it was given to him by his father. And that he will always bear it unto war.
The first true accounting of Grunbeld came from the time of war when he was serving in the Zeltenian armies front lines during the war against Sebastian forces in the Nomen Heights. They speak of when the black fog was unleashed that he became separated from the main forces.

For night and day he fought, holding fast his position. Troll, undead, and abominations manifold descended upon him. As the fight continued he soon stayed higher into the mountains, never stepping back, never resting. He was soon separated from the main army entirely as he descended deep into the mountains not to be seen again. For a fortnight sounds of brutal conflict and cries of monsters could be heard to be echoing from the mountain side by units of the Zeltenian Army.

Then when during the climactic finish of Sebastian’s war, a battle group was separated from the main force, surrounded on all sides by monsters and undead they found themselves backed into a canyons gully. The fought as true Zeltenian’s would, staring death in the eye and laughing at it all the way. As the last few survivors came to but a handful of the strongest and largest of the men, Grunbeld reappeared. With a mountain shaking roar he vaulted from the cliffside and like a descending dragon he came crashing down amongst the undead and monsters ranks with such force that the nearby foes were thrown into the air with a deafening sundering crash. With powerful sweeps of hammer and shield he broke rank upon rank upon the anvil of his fury. He soon forged a sweeping implacable battering ram of momentum and broke his way to the surviving soldiers. With but a moment’s pause he took in the tattered remains of the battle company, then turned his back to them and raised his warhammer skyward and shouted. “For the pride of Zeltenia, CHARGE!”.
With that the survivors charged forwards into the gap that Grunbeld had created. Forming a fighting wedge with Grunbeld at its tip, the scythed threw the enemies ranks forcing their way out the opposite side. Once they had broken out of the death trap Grunbeld did not lead them in retreat. Instead he turned his fighting force around, and once again, he raised his Hammer and Shield skyward and roared out, “LET NONE SURVIVE!”. And with that he charged his men back into the fray, forcing the trolls and undead abominations into their own trap now, and with that put the entire force to the slaughter.

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Upon returning to the main force of the Zeltennia Army, he immediately received a battlefield commission to take command of the 50 survivors of the once 1000 strong battle group. They were renamed the Iron Dragon Battalion officially, in honor of their fury and iron determination, but they soon dubbed them self’s , Zeltenia’s Raiders.
Over time they have maintained their number of 50 in honor of the surviving 50. Their ranks only accepting the strongest, hardiest, and bravest of Zeltenia’s fighting forces. For them they believe that Zeltenia is the light that will cleanse this polluted world, and that the only way to advance that light is to take it forth into the world, never giving up, never retreating, and rather suffer death then retreat. To them the only choice in battle is death or victory, nothing less will serve the honor of Zeltenia. And Grunbeld is the epitome of this belief.

However not all was to be glorious victory for Grunbeld. A year and a day after the war against Sebastian, while leading Zeltenia's Raiders in a fierce campaign against the barbarian hordes he came under a terrible sickness. This was to be the final gift of Sebastians influence in his life. During the conflict when the black fog ad descended, Grunbeld had ventured the furthest and deepest into it, and had gotten closest to its nexus. It was only now that his iron hard constitution finally succumbed to its pervasive effects. Many of the veterans of that war had also suffered similar bouts of sickness and nausea, usually brought on by severe wounding or trying environments. Many had died to what became called Sebastian's Revenge. And finally he too had given in to it. Once more for a fortnight Grunbeld was on the precipice of death. His body wasted, the years of strength and endurance he had built magically bled away, and it seemed that no cure for it could be found. On the morning of the 8th day Grunbeld, rose from what many believed was his deathbed.

He realized that he had survived this trial, but only by the barest of margins. His body's power was greatly reduced, and he knew that he had been presented with a new trial to overcome. He knew now that he needed to part ways with his beloved company, he must seek out the root of this foul evil.

When the call went out for volunteers for the colonization efforts of the Sodden Lands, Grunbeld was the first to volunteer, and was immediately followed by each of his 50. They each saw this as the perfect chance to do what they do best, and they were willing to follow their commander into the jaws of hell itself. But with threat of war coming once more Grunbeld laid down the law. He was to do this alone. For Zeltenia’s Raiders were to be needed elsewhere in the coming fights. He knew that this expedition may very well lead him to the source of the evil that had so consumed his life force. He told his men plainly that this was a tribulation that he must overcome on his own, that like the rusted iron weapon, bent and broken, he will be reforged with new purpose in the name of Zeltenia.

And with that he left his most loyal and capable second in command, Gaston, in charge. With orders to hold true to their creed, and to bring the light of Zeltenia to the barbarian hordes.

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Due to his standing within the Zeltenian Army, his success on the battlefield, and his absolute belief in Zeltenia, he was quickly chosen to help bring the light of Zeltenia to the Sodden Lands.

Now Grunbeld is set to sail across the vast ocean to embark upon his quest to reforge himself into The Iron Dragon once more.

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