Nhalmika Ironsight honors dwarven tradition, even as she wanders the surface world far from home. With her wide build, mane of dark hair, and amber eyes, Nhalmika is striking in any setting, but it’s the dwarven scattergun she keeps at hand that her friends and foes most remember.
Nhalmika’s birth was a celebration. The third child of two prosperous dwarven merchants, Nhalmika became the final addition to a family larger than that of most dwarves in Dongun Hold. Her two older brothers doted on her, making simple crafts as presents and as their skill grew, the gifts they made became more artistic. She teethed on gold tiles engraved with the images of ancestors and slept beneath stone carvings of Dongun Hold’s greatest leaders. Nhalmika’s parents arranged for their children to have fine clothes and talented tutors but were too busy to have much to do with her upbringing.
Everyone expected Nhalmika to become either an artisan like her brothers or a merchant like her parents. She had aptitude for neither. She was more skilled at judging art than creating, noticing tiny flaws such as an uneven line in a carving or a hairline crack in a gemstone or statue. She had a weakness for hard luck stories and pleas for credit, and her parents soon learned they couldn’t trust her with preserving the family finances. Her mother complained that Nhalmika’s eagerness to help others would put them out of business.
Nhalmika instead preferred to play physical games and sports. Her athletic build and keen eye made her a natural champion, and her good sportsmanship made her popular with her peers. She surprised her family by declaring she would join the military, serving among the vanguards of Dongun Hold. Military service was an honorable, traditional calling and it seemed to suit her nature well. No one in her family mourned her departure for the training academy as much as Dargrim, a friend of her eldest brother and eager co-captain on most sports she played. Nhalmika had excellent vision, but she didn’t see Dargrim had given his whole heart to her.Illustration by Wayne Reynolds
In her training, Nhalmika gained familiarity with dwarven firearms of all types. She proved particularly adept with long rifles, but considered sniping to be dull and, truth be told, a little unfair. She preferred the noisy blasts of fuse bombs and scatterguns, which put her right in the action where she was needed most. Her family paled to hear her exuberant tales of lobbing grenades, packing enormous canisters of black powder, and taking a cannon’s recoil hard enough to fracture her shoulder.
Only Dargrim appreciated that Nhalmika had found a calling she truly loved, and she found she loved Dargrim for it. The two were married just before her first deployment. Her parents arranged an opulent wedding in a traditional dwarven style and her brothers lavished the couple with necklaces made of her gold teething-tiles. Nhalmika and Dargrim left Dongun Hold as a couple—Nhalmika to serve as a guard to the Bridge of the Gods leading from Dongun Hold to the Grand Duchy of Alkenstar and Dargrim to make their simple quarters a home over the next several years.
The first time Nhalmika became pregnant, she was excused from duty for the birth and first year of her daughter’s life. She’d already earned a nickname, the Ironsight, and her commanding officer was sorry to lose her keen eyes overlooking trouble in the badlands below the bridge. Nhalmika doted on her daughter but was eager to return to duty. Upon her second pregnancy, Nhalmika’s commander predicted she wouldn’t return, but had underestimated her loyalty and integrity: Nhalmika reported the day after her son’s first birthday, ready to face bloodthirsty bandits and berserk clockworks with her scattergun in hand. Nhalmika’s third pregnancy was particularly difficult, and not the celebration her own birth had been. For weeks, the medics were certain they would lose both Nhalmika and the baby girl, yet both mother and daughter survived. Nhalmika’s youngest daughter, Ondla, was always sick and small, but had her mother’s grit. Nhalmika returned to duty a year later but spent all the time she could helping her children grow up. She got used to blasting mutant raiders one day and teaching dwarven history the next.
Nhalmika’s children showed talents she lacked. Her eldest daughter went to carve exquisite statuary under her uncles’ tutelage and her son took up his grandparents’ affairs and proved to be a shrewd but honest merchant. Nhalmika and Dargrim were both proud of their children’s accomplishments, and never hesitant about saying so. Quiet and studious Ondla, whom neither parent would openly admit was their favorite, remained at home to tend to her father. Dargrim began showing symptoms of a serious degenerative disease. His head and hands shook, and he soon couldn’t stand. His decline was swift and his death both sudden and tragic. Ondla found solace and an unlikely romance with a human bookkeeper from Alkenstar, but Nhalmika was alone, and she was devastated. She numbly accepted the proffered retirement from the military, uncertain what she’d do next.
Her grief was strong, but it isn’t in her nature to be idle or eschew serving others. Nhalmika has been a soldier and mother, but both her nation and children are moving on. She knows others beyond Dongun Hold and Alkenstar need her help. So Nhalmika settled her affairs, advised her children to work hard and love well, and left. She brought her dwarven scattergun from her time as a guard, a handful of medals, and a few of the gold teething-tiles her brothers gave her. Nhalmika has lived a full life, but she doesn’t think her best days are behind her—to the contrary, she’s ready to stand up for the downtrodden across Golarion. Her adventuring companions admire her skill with a gun, but they truly appreciate her grit, keen eyes, and motherly guidance.
Meet the Iconics: Nhalmika
Wednesday, September 29, 2021