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A History of Dwarves
The Age of Chaos (20,000 to 5,000 Years Old)

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The traveling clans brought word of Despana to the dwarves in the UnderGrounds. At first, the dwarves were hesitant to involve themselves in the Elf battle. However, the humility and sadness from the loss at Shadow Guard, and the ensuing Elven request for help, prompted Overking Gerfroth Khazar (a descendant of Khazi Khazar) to send forward 2,500 brave dwarves to lend aid against the threat. It was hardly a victory at Maelshyve; of the legion of fully armored dwarven troops, less than a quarter returned. While the survivors sang of great victories over the undead, and the strange and powerful magics of the elves, they also mourned the loss of so many kin.

With the stories of triumph, and mourning for loss, came a great plague. The Red Rot, believed to be some last strike or seed of Despana's magics, infected strong and weak dwarves alike, even Overking Khazar himself. Very little is said of the plague. The eldest dwarves speak of it in whispered tones, and nervously. It was a treacherous disease, causing the skin to bubble into bleeding sores. As the plague progressed, the victims of the Red Rot would cough and spit blood, as the disease affected the organs inside as it did the skin outside. Those affected would spread the disease unintentionally, as others tried to cure them. There was no cure found, even among the most learned of the stout race. Nor was there much time to find one, as the fierce plague swept through the confined caverns of Kalaza in a matter of weeks, destroying nearly half of the dwarven population.

It soon became apparent that no cure would be found, as more and more dwarves became ill. Some believed that the plague was in the cavern air itself, and staying within Kalaza would mean certain death. Faced with the threat of extinction, and unable to find a cure, the dwarven spirit was tested. There were some dwarves that were not affected, whether immune to the plague, or simply lucky. Rather than risk facing the same fate as their brethren, they decided to quarantine the city beneath the mountain. They worked diligently and destroyed the tunnels and mines leading from Kalaza, and buried the entrance to the great city under an avalanche of rock, never to look back. According to myth, a simple rune marks the entrance to Kalaza, a rune that only a dwarven miner would recognize, one that means simply, "Farewell."

Mournful of their loss, but persevering in their spirit, the dwarves left Kalaza forever, traveling to where they thought to find the most comfort, safety or profit, with those that remained of their clans. Some of the established mines were already a great distance from Kalaza, and others instead sought new areas to re-establish their families. This was called the Great Emigration, and it was this terrible event that caused those clans that dwelled in Kalaza to migrate and become even more widely dispersed throughout the DragonSpine.




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