The Exiled Seven
If you will, please imagine the tallest and most beautifully handsome man you can, the complete and perfect embodiment of classic male beauty, charm, and chivalry.
Now—cast this image far from your mind. For this tale is not about him. Many of such tales have already been told, and to tell yet another would be a great disservice to the other heroes of the world.
The hero around whom this tale revolves—and a hero I assure you he was, even if your faith may waver during the events that follow—was a hero of a different sort. Though it would be altogether unfair to say that he did not entirely look the part. He was as handsome as dwarfs come. Strong, in both physique and demeanor, and clearly one who commanded respect. But his jaw-length, dark blonde hair, the color of wet straw, and not even five-foot stature are not what you and I are accustomed to seeing in our mind’s eye when we think of the heroes of tall tales. Nor his slightly crooked nose or angular jawline, for that matter.
What about his personality, you ask? For, of course, looks are not all that matter in a champion. And I applaud your depth of character. But sadly, I must disappoint you and your commendable optimism. For this hero was not charming, or dashing, or gallant, or really very pleasant in any way at all. In fact, he could be downright unpleasant to be around when in one of his all-too-frequent foul dispositions. And unfortunately, it is in such a disposition that we find Alariq as we join his story.
As disagreeable as Alariq was, I am sure you will find his demeanor quite understandable. You see, his story is an unfortunate one. We find him, and his six loyal companions, banished from their city-state, Alariq for a crime he did not commit, and the others for their loyalty to him and their faith in his innocence.
Seven dwarfs they were, exiled and alone.