The Lich Queen
Dwarven Runepriest. Likes gold, booze, and beating things with a hammer, in that order.
A mere apprentice blacksmith, Malatok was hammering away alone at the forge when he first saw the runes. Suspended in the forge fire, which embodied both destruction and creation, he saw the twinned glyphs of Preservation and Ruin. As more nights passed and he studied the shapes he saw in the flames, he began to learn more and more runes, understanding a tiny fragment of the language of the dead gods themselves. It was not long before he discovered what tremendous power these shapes held.
Being a dwarf, he immediately attempted to monetize them.
Since the magic of the runes was based on set shapes, he theorized that this was a form of magic that could be used by anyone, regardless of training. Best of all, it didn’t seem to cause a defilement effect. Working day and night, Malatok eventually developed a series of rune-etched cartridges, filled with a mixture of black powder and incenses that he had bathed in the light of the two main glyphs in order to ‘charge’ them. He then created a set of tools that these cartridges would power. The theory was that firing the cartridges would flood the tools with runic power, providing a magical effect for any user that held it. In his preliminary tests, this system worked perfectly.
However, unbeknownst to him, the cartridges only produced the expected effects because they were guided by his own innate understanding of the runes and their meanings. This became painfully clear in the first test conducted with a wielder other than Malatok himself- his younger brother. Without any understanding of the runes to direct the energies released, the cartridges became little more than explosive shells, and the first firing blew off his brother’s arm, nearly killing him. The same explosion drove a piece of shrapnel into Malatok’s left eye.
The leader’s of the dwarven community ruled that Malatok had endangered the entire mountain by tampering with magic, which everyone knew was too dangerous to be trusted in ANY form, and the accident was seen as a grim reminder of that lesson. The end times were coming soon enough- why was he attempting to speed their arrival? In the end, he was exiled. Gathering the remainder of his supplies, he set off into the wastes. Now he makes a living where he can, determined to use his growing magic to become successful so that he may return to his homeland in wealth and glory. He knows that the dwarves will survive the apocalypse as they have survived all other trials, and he does not intend to remain outcast from them when they do.