Harbard Stonehand, as he was originally only dubbed, is the first character ever entered into the Conqueror’s Continent storyline, being the character of a solo adventure between me and my roommate Shawn. Harbard is a fun character that I enjoy in his ever changing thoughts and actions.  A Goliath Totem Barbarian of epic proportions, Harbard runs through his foes, and standing as a shield in front of his allies. 

Harbard Stonehand
Harbard Stonehand by Gauntes/Gun Kim

 

The origin of Harbard Stonehand was written in two parts, the initial part first written by Shawn when we first started, and the second when he wanted to expand further into Harbard’s story.

“7’9” 344 pounds of raw, mountain-raised muscle, Harbard Stonehand is more than your average goliath. His immense strength and astounding athleticism earned him a reputation on his mountain, though the reclusive nature of the mountain inhabitants prevented his renown from spreading much further. Harbard lived his life in relative peace, hunting to provide for himself and his wife, Lagertha. Of those naive enough to challenge Harbard’s domain, only one is known to have survived. A young giant named Lothrok, eager to prove himself, learned of a notoriously skilled goliath, and shortly found himself at the mouth of Harbard’s cave, demanding a duel. Harbard, annoyed by Lothrok’s boldness, accepted, but brought only his staff, a glorified walking stick, to face the giant. Overconfident and outmatched, Lothrok charged and was met by only a sharp pain at his ankles. Harbard was too fast, too strong, and too skilled in combat for the giant. Lothrok was repeatedly felled and beaten by the stiff wood in Harbard’s left hand. Lothrok beaten within an inch of his life, crawling away, awaiting the strike that would end him, he only heard Harbard’s voice, “Let the bears have this one, not worth my time.”

Years later, Harbard found himself the patriarch of the mountain, father of young twins, Lagertha no longer with him having died in childbirth. Harbard lived peacefully, as his reputation was enough to keep the other mountain inhabitants away from his territory. One day, Harbard returned from a hunt to find that he had grown too comfortable leaving his children alone. He found his children, the only meaningful things in life, ruthlessly slaughtered in their own home. In a blood-fueled rage, Harbard tracked down the creature responsible for the death of his family. He came upon a bear, and killed it with his bare hands. But this was no ordinary bear, on its flank was a brand, a symbol he’d seen only once before, the insignia of the now king giant, Lothrok.”

 

The second part after feeling a bit more invested in Harbard Stonehand, he wrote recently.

“Many in the Conquerer’s Continent have heard the name “Harbard Stonehand”. But what’s in a name? For a Goliath like Harbard, a name has 3 parts; A birth name, his is Harbard, a nickname, his is Stonehand, and a clan name, his is Kalathai. Goliaths measure almost everything in terms of raw strength, and in those terms, the Kalathai clan was certainly wealthy. Like a pride of lions, a formidable horde of Kalathai roamed the mountains of Gull, living a nomadic lifestyle, in relative peace. Harbard was born to Rotak “Dragonsong” Kalathai, the clan’s patriarch; it’s rumored Rotak could speak the language of dragons, and had once slain an entire hostile army atop one of the ancient beasts. Power often inspires jealousy, Rotak learned that the hard way when he met his untimely end, poisoned by his own brother, Rollo “Silveraxe” Kalathai. Rollo was strong by any standard, but he knew he’d never best his brother in single combat, and he recognized the same fire that burned in Rotak was in Harbard, and Rollo knew his nephew would eventually rise up to reclaim his father’s seat. To eliminate the threat to his domain, Rollo sold young Harbard into slavery. Harbard would wind up being sold to a dominus, a trainer of gladiators; though not yet a man, Harbard was as big as one and as strong as three. His master recognized Harbard’s potential and saw to it that he was given unrelenting, rigorous training. Harbard vowed to himself he would earn his freedom and return home to slay his traitorous uncle, until then he would sharpen his skills against these puny, poorly-coordinated people. There was only one force in the world with the power to quench Harbard’s thirst for his uncle Rollo’s blood, love. For Harbard, love came in the form of a young Goliath woman named Lagertha working in his dominus’ house. The goliaths married in secret, and Harbard was convinced his new family would be all he needed, no horde, no politics. Harbard extended his stay as a gladiator in order to earn enough to acquire freedom for himself and his new wife. The two left the city Harbard never even bothered to learn the name of and took to the mountains of Gull to raise a family and live in peace.”

Shawn has invested himself in his character well, and I enjoy Harbard as played by Shawn. Consistency on some of his story is a little off, as is some of the consistency on the story I built him, but I was still learning when we first started. The more important thing is that Shawn has blossomed the character into depth after the trials and tribulations I have given Harbard. Lower on the intelligence spectrum, Harbard is not an idiotic simpleton who only knows how to swing, though it is what he’s best at. He does showcase the low intelligence very frequently by asking common knowledge things like, “What’s a boat?” having never seen anything quite like it in all his life. Things like spending too much for clothes mean nothing to him as he never really dealt with money either.

I think the enjoyable thing was that Harbard had a sort of Lion King-esque story, but instead of reclaiming his throne, he just moved on and lived a simple life, and it is only the destruction of that life that carries him on again. To grab his blade once more, for the sake of the family that he built himself, instead of reclaiming some sort of legacy is a true motivating reason. A close personal reason seems more motivational than the reclaiming of a legacy to a young Goliath male.

Harbard is arrogant in his belief that no one is stronger than him, because no one has ever bested him in single combat until his new journey. He is proud, but not stupid, and ready and willing to tear down whatever stands in his way. Will he survive the entirety of his journey, and become a legend? Or will he finally find someone who can best him?

Special Thanks to Gauntes/Gun Kim for the Harbard art. Check out his tumblr and his deviantart!

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