The circumstances of Rufen’s conception and birth are both complicated and not for the faint of heart – involving as they do the wily troll hunter called Irreck, a lonely hag, and the non-linear nature of time in the Feywild. The true story of what took place between Irreck and Gertha Mudberth seems to elude all parties involved – but what is known is that Irreck set out in search of the Daughters of Sora Kell alone, and returned with the three sisters of the Circle of Rot, and a full-grown son.
Rufen is a mighty barbarian warrior, and is largely ruled by his angry passions – but he is also a skilled smith, and is less awed or hurt by the fires needed to ply that trade than his father and uncles. He was therefore happy to support Urash’s dreams of armed trolls and took over the old mill on the north east border of the Amberhammer lands. He converted it into his forge, and began producing spears and armour plates as well as arrow heads for the rare few trolls who learned to hunt like his father.
Something of his fey ancestry wars with his trollish blood. He doesn’t heal as fast as his father, but he is able to change his appearance to something more acceptable to civilised eyes and can speak to the animals of the woods.
While not as physically imposing as his troll relatives, his barbarian rage and following of the Path of the Totem does make him able to shrug off damage from fire and magic as easily as he does physical wounds. He channels his anger into ferocious feats of combat that tends to leave all opponents dead or fleeing before him.
With that experience, he willingly launched himself into the thick of combat with the DDC and tasted defeat for the first time at the hands of Valenia. He was left among the wreckage of his forge, stripped of his favourite weapons and armour, and bound for his father to find.
Enraged and shamed, Rufen has vowed to get revenge and retrieve his stolen treasures and has dropped the minor illusions that gave him a gentle appearance.
He is now forging a new axe, channelling his hate and the fell magics of his aunts into a weapon that he intends to bring to the necks of the adventurers as swiftly as he can. He cannot, however, use his old forge. His father has summoned him back from the place that he had claimed, and now he has had to make use of what he can assemble in the icy swamps he now inhabits. The Circle of Rot see his smithing talents as too valuable to leave out in the wild and have drawn him closer.
And there, perhaps, lies the beginning of the downfall of the Circle, for Rufen unknowingly carries a token of Deadeye Alice. It was planted within his clothing by Kerne while he was unconscious and the wily Annis Hag now knows where he is. By extension, she can now make some very good guesses at where his family is and Thorin Amberhammer bears the token she originally created for his father, Benten Amberhammer.
Stories turn and retell themselves over and over in the Feywild. The story of betrayals and the deaths of trolls at the hands of dwarves may be about to begin again. The one wrinkle? The Draconic Prophecies have marked one of the DDC and fate may not be as solidly cast as Alice believes it to be. Time will tell.