The bonded, Braided-Beard Golem, gruesome cousin of the The Hair Beast
Onruldt lies dead and dreaming, three days gone since his last breath. The forges of the clan’s halls are cold, the anvils and their symphony of hammers lay silent. Few dwarves alive know not his name, and even those who called him foe and enemy cast down their eyes in the shadow of his passing. The twelve came, shearing off their beards, passing the strands of course dwarf-hair into the hands of the Loom-Mistresses. A shroud would be made, and his casket would be draped in it, as were the kings of antiquity.
A beard golem is a horrifying creation fashioned for one sole purpose; to act as tomb guardian for renowned heroes and kings of the dwarven races. The presence of a beard golem inside a dwarven burial place, is the ultimate symbol of loyalty, fealty, and reverence, and denotes the magnitude of the individual entombed within. The reason these abominations have in many ways escaped the notice of tomb-raiders over the centuries, and remain to this day relatively unknown among human sages, is due to the great sacrifice which was required on behalf of the twelve dwarven volunteers, involved in the ritual. This rare construct is woven from the shorn beards of twelve willing dwarves of high standing within the clan.
When a hero dies, the twelve dwarves closest to him or her will willingly chop of their own beards at the chin. This is a humiliating experience for any dwarf, a taboo, an act not committed to lightly. Thus the twelve show their love and esteem for the deceased.
The clans finest fingers weave the beards into a single, bristly clomp, and then an Entwiner, a dwarven magician, will chant ancient spells, until the interwoven beards are ensorcelled with powerful magicks. Dust from the tomb of other kings, queens or heroes is collected in advance and sprinkled upon the woven beards. The Entwiners cast more spells, an item of the deceased is placed upon the great, hirsute bundle, usually a helm, and a viscous musk-oxen oil is smeared through every hair, while blood of cave toads is spilt upon them. For twelve beards, twelve clasps are entwined within the hair, each clasp representing one minor magical protections or boons, for the future golem, each clasp provided by a high standing clan matron. The beards are then taken and hammered into the stonewalls of the chosen tomb, with great iron nails, forming a grisly tapestry.
Within twelve days, a fearsome, roughly humanoid, beard golem rises from the gathered tresses, many times larger than the dozen beards involved in its creation, and protects the dwarven host for all eternity, or until its unlikely destruction. Standing nearly seven feet in height, the beard golem appears as a huge, macabre but vague, mockery of a dwarven warrior, constructed of tightly corded, multi-colored, patterned ropes of hair. The gruesome creature swooshes across the stone floor sounding like a rhythmic monastery sweeper, but is otherwise silent. The beard golem is resistant to blunt weapons, hammers and maces doing no harm to the abomination, but is susceptible to edged weapons, though difficult to slay even with blades.
Clasps of the Clan Matrons
Mustard yellow—fire resistance
Bone white—cold resistance
Sage green—sentience and cunning
Ash black—resistance to lesser spells
Mace red—strength and durability enhancement
Sepia gray—immunity to blunt weapons and crushing damage
Cobalt blue—immunity to mind-affecting magic
Burnt orange—sense life in vicinity
Chartreuse—allows the golem to split itself into individual hairs. Un-entwine itself, so to speak.
Sable—allows the golem some control over the hair of its opponents.
Somber and shroud-like it shuffles, but as intruders enter and violate the tomb, the gaurdian becomes more hateful and filthy, as blood of the wicked, spills to resanctify the tomb.
The beard golem attacks with thick, ropy, snake-like limbs, resembling arms, though it can perfectly well make similar actions with its twisted, stunted legs, as it is quite flexible and agile, able to contort its shape at will. The creature tends to bash opponents into submission, then proceeding to smother or strangle the unfortunate victims to death. The golem attacks all intruders, without fear or prejudice, unless a dwarf enters, bearing a beard-ribbon or hair clasp, acquired from a member or descendant of the same clan, which had assembled the guardian, centuries earlier, in the first place.
Dwarven priests of Bebbtut say one such bonded beard golem resides inside Onruldt’s Oubliette, the booby-trapped tomb of an erstwhile smith-prince and warrior of great ability and repute, whose sepulchre is hidden among the jagged lands of the Shepherds’ Ranges, beside the Great Escarpment.
If the construct is slain, the ribbons remain behind, radiating magic, but of questionable use, while the body of the creature, withers quickly before the eyes of onlookers, a short while later leaving nothing but clumps of straw-like, dessicated hair.
Priests of Bebbtut also claim that upon the rare event of a Beard Golem’s demise, the spirits of the twelve dwarves who had long ago, sacrificed their beards for the automatons creation, arise, and seek out the transgressor of the particular tomb, yearning for retribution. Even if true, this fanciful legend has not yet been verified in any way.