Race: Mountain Dwarf
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Height: 4’ 10”
Fears/Hates: Horses/mounting creatures, plants
Motivation: To die a noble death and reunite with her loved one
Hometown: A’chaid Bhaile, Beinn Loch
EARLY LIFE: AGE 0 – 75
Ròc was born with frit in her hand and swirling ornate patterns behind her eyes. She took to the kiln fires immediately and expertly, at the earliest of ages, even before her military training. Her father and elder brother taught her annealing and how to create the right atmospheres for intricate glassworks.
Ròc was sure of her future when she left home for the Sky Gate: she would return a trained warrior of Beinn Loch and would further devote herself to the people of A’CHIAD BHAILE by supplying her neighbors with beautiful craftsmanship.
In the upper district, Ròc trained in melee and ranged combat as all children of the Bhaile must for 60 years of their lives. She particularly excelled at close combat and axe throwing, and did not find joy in horseback riding or spear throwing. In fact, there was no mount she could safely ride. Ròc was thrown from the saddle so often, she’d broken and re-broken several bones in both arms. After two years, she replaced riding with more axe throwing and developed a fear of all mounted creatures. At 75, she returned to her father’s kilns.
Identifying his daughter’s attention to detail and steady hands, her father began to teach Ròc advance techniques at the age of 82, nearly 25 years before he directly apprenticed either of his sons. From him, Ròc learned to use the lathe more freely and creatively, giving way to her own daring knotted designs with unseen colors bursting and comingling in the tiniest of glass surfaces. Soon, Ròc’s own projects were displayed alongside the patriarch’s in the shop’s street facing windows. Not long after, Ròc was designing nearly all the modern McGlainne beads and they sold instantaneously as fashionable society sought to contend in the new age.
Although The McGlainne wares were renown in the city and outlying lands surrounding the keep, Ròc herself traveled freely and largely unnoticed – just another young dwarven lady with chores about town and hearth. Her creative speed and social obscurity allowed her time to wander in her leisure hours. The family would allow this as her designs and beads kept them well above water financially. Some call it free-range parenting.
During those free hours, Ròc met and played with her oldest and dearest friend, Althea Dinneveh (“din-neh-vah,” singular and plural are written the same). Althea happened to be the only daughter of an elv-ish eile family that settled in Beinn Loch’s valley just below the city limits. Official residents of the Geata na Talmhainn district, the Dinneveh family (note: not a clan, as they are not recognized to be “part of” but are still considered “outsiders” due to their race and emigration status to the city. As they are not natives and not dwarven, they cannot partake in political activities) were farmers that sowed the first root crops in the area, solidifying their status as welcomed eile in the district, though eile nonetheless.
Ròc and Althea became natural friends in the early years of Ròc’s childhood before her military residency. The eldest McGlainne, the grandmother, was weak and sickly during those years. Oftentimes, Lady Dinneveh was called upon to care for the McGlainne matriarch. When the condition worsened, Lady Dinneveh was hired to stay overnights in the McGlainne home to carefully monitor the crone. As a young mother, Lady Dinneveh had no choice but to swaddle her daughter and carry her along to live-in with the McGlainnes. As Lady McGlainne was also a new mother, Dinneveh stirred her sympathies and the child was allowed to stay by her mother’s side. They two were given a room near the end of the home, across the hall from the grandmother’s quarters, and were always shown a rigid hospitality under the McGlainne roof.
Outwardly, the Dinneveh were constantly scrutinized for Althea’s half-elf/half-human heritage, as mother Dinneveh was elvish and father Dinneveh was human. They assumed the large, concentrated population would mask them, but they did not count on the homogeny of the Bhaile to underline their differences. The family sought refuge in a difficult city, though it was simpler to hide apart, thanks to Lady Dinneveh’s work with the McGlainnes.
In accordance with staunch Bhaile tradition, the Dinneveh were not welcomed into the McGlainne home proper, but as the two were tied contractually, their arrangements were more than socially acceptable. The McGlainnes were not overly fond of the Dinneveh, but they recognized how important Althea’s relationship was to their daughter and to the survival of their matriarch. In order to balance this odd living situation, the McGlainnes simply doubled down on the subliminal “othering” biases well known in the Eastern District when talking to Ròc and her siblings, out of earshot of the Dinneveh.
Althea and Ròc were never apart from one another, even into their adolescence. They learned the same languages, played with the same toys, laughed at the same boys, and grew to love their family as a whole. The two young girls spent their time in the small, forested areas or exploring the district. Althea plucked flowers and roots, retelling stories passed to her from her mother, while Ròc threw her axe at standing wood targets with crude drawings of ogres and giant they built and painted one afternoon.
As grandmother McGlainne slipped out of the grip of death and into the feeble realm of the aged, Ròc was called for service and Lady Dinneveh’s contract ended. Althea was more traumatized by Ròc’s absence than Ròc was reluctant to leave. Ròc recognized her duties, and she always knew she would return to her family fully formed. Althea couldn’t understand, how could she? She wasn’t a Dwarf.
MIDDLE LIFE: AGE 75 – 150
If one thing is true of Ròc, it’s that she grinds away the hours perfecting the task before her. While a natural talent at the lathe, Ròc worked vigorously to hone her hands at the axe and whetstone. She was no natural talent, but she liked the fresh air and company a bit more. Naturally, when she was released from the Sky Gate, Ròc invited Althea and her parents to the McGlainne house. Now a fully recognized adult citizen, Ròc was able to spend her time as she saw fit. This meant she and Althea would once again return to the small forests for story time and target practice. It was if the 60 years had done away with in the blink of an eye and no time at all had been missed between the two friends.
As Ròc continued to grow in skill and age, the clan demanded more of her designs, pressuring her to take over the majority of the glassworking to ultimately become their generation’s Mhaighstir Glainne. Her familial demands directly conflicted with Ròc’s own desires – to weave elaborate designs in molten sand and kick off early to the lower district to scavenge and throw in the woods with Althea. Her simple pleasures did not change from childhood, and Ròc was content with the balance she had struck. Unfortunately, this did not coincide with the clan’s plans.
In order to regain structure to the line of Mhaighstirs, Grandmother McGlainne and Father McGlainne came to an agreement to arrange Ròc’s marriage to the local lapidary clan, the Gilmèinnearachs (MINERAL). The third son of the Gilmèinnearachs was near Ròc’s own age, and well regarded by both families. An alliance between gem cutters and glass makers as the two trades produced status symbols and influenced fashion seemed natural.
Ròc regarded marriage as a perfunctory task, but one she always assumed she would have a choice in, and one that would come much later than the young age of 145. Her brothers made the final decision on their partners, and as the next in line to be Mhaighstir, Ròc was appalled by the audacity of her elders.
Within weeks of what felt a traitorous assumption by her own clan, Ròc realized the kinship and love she felt for Althea would never find an equal in any other partner, particularly the third son of the Gilmèinnearachs. It was not just kinship, but a romantic pull towards her lifelong friend, a sentiment she could not keep silent. Once confronted with Ròc’s admission of sentiment, Althea recognized that her own desires were mirrored in her friend. Desires that were heightened by the 60 years the two were apart and now annealed double in the decades spent under the trees since.
The subtle change was imperceptible to either the McGlainnes and the Dinneveh, as their daughters’ routines did not alter. The only person who noticed a change was Gled Gilmèinnearachs, Ròc’s supposed betrothed. In high suspicions, Gled kept to the shadows and monitored his fiancée’s comings and goings like the jealous troll Ròc knew him to be. On midsummer’s celebration, he caught them pulling away from the crows early, and found them secluded in a barn.
In a prideful rage, Gled made public what he witnessed, sighting his family’s ill fortunes by the conniving hand of the McGlainnes, a clan who “thought themselves untouchable,” but found to be impure and against the nature of Bhailedeens. This scar, made public and all the more grotesque through exaggerations, the McGlainnes turned Ròc away from her childhood home as well as her artistry. Alone, she awaited trial from the Lairds at Clàr àrd.
Within the week, Ròc was officially excommunicated from A’chiad Bhaile, citing Ròc’s willing lawlessness against her clan’s health and the continuation of Bhaile traditions to be due evidence. Having eile as neighbors was no crime, neither was doing business with them. But copulating with them was. And as the natural order to continue the race was proven to be a male/female endeavor, Ròc was determined to undermine the continuation of the city proper as well as her clan. A disgrace to her clan, her craft, and her home, Ròc was banished from A’chiad Bhaile at the age of 147.
In retaliation to the Dinneveh’s involvement in this scandal, the family was not formally indicted, despite the wishes of a large number of citizens. Instead, their cottage beyond the city gates was burned to the ground and the farmlands laid bare. In the fire, Lady Dinneveh was killed as the thatched roof caught quickly and fell through. Lord Dinneveh, now an elderly human, left with his young daughter to seek refuge further south of the mountain. Ròc found them in the first inn south of the mountain base the day after Lady Dinneveh’s dealth. The three exiles traveled further down the mountain side and took up residence in a small village. Their identities unknown as humans do not take stock in the politics of the old races.
In order to gain the trust of their new human countrymen, the strange party mimicked the younger Dinneveh family and made to blend in while offering their abilities and crafts to their neighbors. Father Dinneveh was little threat at his advanced age and being human he was bound by race ties. Althea healed who she could with her magics and herbs – a much welcomed skill in the wilder areas of the mountainscape. Ròc toiled in the fields alongside the men, eventually earning a way into the smithy and using their bellows and local clays to build a makeshift kiln. Although she would never have use for her former intricacies, the village people well appreciated windowpanes at this climate and the second-rate glass molded items she could manage on her own.
Living a simpler life appeared to be the better alternative than the life assumed in her native A’chiad Bhaile. Ròc was content and free to roam the moors with her beloved Althea, continuing her target practice while Althea foraged for new herbs. Even the passing of Lord Dinneveh was peaceful when his time came; Ròc was 201. Overall, this life was preferable, until it was suddenly taken away.
On one such foraging trip, Althea mistook a patch of gas spores for a cropping of fern spores. Immediately upon her touch, the pods opened up and released their gasses into the air. As Althea choked on her breath, Ròc came to her side, unable to do anything but witness the lights leave her lover’s eyes. Agonizing in a slow suffocating death, Althea writhed and turned blue, then cold in Ròc’s arms. The two remained in their crumpled pose until Althea’s body became rigid and the rains flooded the moor.
Half-drowned and frozen by grief, Ròc finally carried Althea’s body to higher ground for burial. Ròc buried her love in those bogs, still frozen and half-drowned. At the age of 212, convinced life lost all its sweetness, Ròc was ready to follow her lover into the ethereal realms.
CURRENT SITUATION: AGE 212
With nothing tethering her to the world, and having lived long enough to know the rarity of the love she lost, Ròc sets out to reunite with Althea. Too set in her religious ways to chance the fate or tempt the gods, Ròc cannot simply take her own life. This would close the doors of Valhalla forever to her and she truly would never reunite with Althea. Instead, she must die a Noble Death: dying a warrior in the midst of battle or providing for her clan by performing their trade. As she no longer has a homeland that claims her, a clan to claim, or a kiln to work her trade, Ròc sets off to find battle after battle in the hopes that the next brawl brings with it the Keys of Valhalla.