Race: Cursed Human (black bear)
Born: April 3, 692 CR
Weight: 220 lbs.
Creator: Raven Blackmane
Position within Keep: Infantryman (greataxe), Metamor military
Garulf is a young man from a long line of warriors. His family hails from the Northlands, where his distant ancestors were a nomadic tribe of berserkers competing with the lutins for the often-scarce resources of the Giantdowns. A few centuries back they settled into villages near the Sea of Souls and eventually became dutiful citizens of Metamor, but they never forgot their warrior past.
Their genes never forgot it, either: at fourteen Garulf stood several inches taller than most adults at Metamor Keep, and when the Curse gave him the traits of a black bear it only helped to put additional muscle and heavier bone structure on an already enormous frame. Garulf may be only a year out of boyhood, but only a fool would doubt his talents in combat.
Garulf is a "tank", a tenacious fighter with the ability to absorb and deal out enormous amounts of abuse. He's not the fastest warrior on the field, or the cleverest, or even the most daring — but give him a direction and room to swing and he'll carve a path through his enemies like a reaper at harvest time. He works well when partnered with a lighter, faster ally, such as Daria, who can exploit openings in his opponents' defenses while also covering for him when his massive two-handed swings open up weak spots on his own flanks.
Like Daria, Garulf has no aptitude for magic.
The best word to describe Garulf is probably uncomplicated. This isn't to say he's stupid; not at all. Garulf just has a very straightforward way of dealing with life: Speak plainly and honestly. Fight with honor. Treat civilians well. Respect your superiors. Do it right the first time. Know what you want and go after it. Don't waste time worrying.
Garulf has a way of cutting through all of the layers of second-guessing and angst to get to the heart of a problem. He'll sit back and hold his peace while the argument rages, until he spots the central issue everyone else is glossing over — at which point he'll pull it out and hold it up for everyone to see, and he won't particularly care about whether it is considered indiscreet or uncouth to mention it. He may be a master of the obvious, but sometimes you need someone to say the obvious so that it can't be hidden under layers of politically-correct jargon or euphemistic double-talk.
The one area where Garulf seems to second-guess his direct approach to life is in his relationship with Daria. His attraction to the young woman is obvious, and he made no secret of his feelings soon after the Winter Assault.1 For Daria, however, it was too soon after her transformation for her to entertain thoughts of being with a man; while her body responded positively to him — something that Garulf had been able to smell on her — her mind was still clinging to too much of her old masculine self-identity. Garulf tried to hide his disappointment at her rejection, something that he was none too good at, but in the end they both apologized and the relationship was apparently restored. Still, the attraction between them was not going away, and would continue to be a source of tension between them throughout the Northlands campaign of 707 CR.
Family, Friends & Allies
Garulf's family has not been seen in any story to date; they are mostly warriors, or farmers who serve part-time as warriors. He has many relatives, but they are scattered throughout the Metamor Valley and few live at Metamor Keep.
Garulf's closest friend is Daria, but he has also formed bonds with the other members of their otrinca squad: Bradfox, David Restamar, and even Brennar. Lately he has also found a sparring partner and drinking buddy in Shamgar, a rhino-man who shares Garulf's love of the uncomplicated life (though he has somewhat less common sense than Garulf).
Garulf has deep respect for Misha and Master DeMule, and would probably do anything asked of him by either one. He is still forming his opinion of Reina DeLaroque, the Knight of the Red Stallion who becomes his field commander in 707, but so far she seems to be both competent and honorable. She's also very much adapted to the female form given to her by the Curse, and has no qualms about sleeping with a man — something that Garulf privately hopes will rub off on Daria.
Garulf is big and heavy, but his weight is nearly all bone and muscle (with some fat under the fur as insulation). He looks obviously muscular, even with the heavy coat of fur, and he likes showing off his physique.
In combat Garulf wears chainmail and wields an enormous double-bladed greataxe, which can also function as a shield or a pole when need be. His weapon has to be used with both hands, so he cannot carry a shield. He wears a helmet when Daria or one of his commanding officers nags him to do so, but he doesn't like the way the metal cap feels over his ears, and he thinks it looks ridiculous.