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A History of Dwarves
The Modern Age (5,000 Years Ago to Present)

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Giantman - Dwarf War
Approximately 2000 Years Ago

The summer of 3945 was a particularly barbaric season as the mountain clans fought off hordes and hordes of orcs and trolls deep within the Earth. The Toktrog Clan, led by Kerzoth Mithhawk, had been asked to keep their eyes on the lands during their travels, and to lend aid where possible to the Mountain clans. The mining dwarves had grown frustrated with the recent series of attacks. The Toktrog dwarves, of course, were the best trackers of all the dwarven Clans, equally able to sight an enemy camp, a new vein of ore, or a wealthy town. They would often work hand in hand with the Grenroa Clan, finding paths while the latter built new tunnels, to link mines and towns deep within the earth.

It was a young Toktrog who first saw the huge armies of giant, pale beasts moving above. At that eve's gathering of miners over ale, he spoke of what he had seen. Ale flowing through the young dwarf, he had decided that these were indeed White Trolls, and that they were preparing to set up a camp from which to attack again the mountain dwarves. The dwarves quickly gathered themselves. They would not wait to be put on the defensive by these strange beasts that the lad described. Throughout the caverns, horns were sounded, and by morning, the mining dwarves had organized by Clan, and made their way to the mountaintop by first light. Without warning, they began to attack these White Trolls.

At first, the trolls laughed at them (which struck the dwarves as a bit odd, since trolls are not generally so emotive.) But, those scouts in the mining clans noted that these giant beasts spoke a language, and that it was not the trolls' tongue. The fighting continued all summer. These foes were clever, but no match for the organization and skill of the gathered dwarven Clans, wizened by centuries of underground fighting with the endless orcs and trolls.

As night fell each eve, the dwarves and their opponents would stop fighting, and retire to their separate camps for ales and laughter. During the days' battles, neither side took losses, and neither side could push the other off the mountain. It soon occurred to the dwarves how very odd it was that trolls gathered for ales and laughter, as the dwarves did, each eve. Plus, their prowess in battle was unlike that of any trolls seen deep in the caverns of the UnderGrounds. Finally, it was a Roramnoak dwarf who identified the White Trolls as giantmen, noting that these large people were often wandering in the hills of the DragonSpine, though nothing had ever been traded with them. And by the end of the summer both sides realized their folly and that, indeed, they would make better allies then enemies. The mining dwarves were not very familiar with the other races (except to note that elves had pointed ears, and halflings were shorter than they were.) The pact made between the dwarven clan leaders and the giantman tribes was called Sunfist, for the peak upon which the fighting had taken place. This pact still stands today and most battles involving dwarves or giantmen will find the other race lending aid. It also made the mining dwarves realize the need to get out and wander into the Lands on occasion, so that this mistake would not be made again.

The discovery of Rolaren is attributed to this battle as well. Shortly after the war, the dwarves invited some of the forgemasters of the Giantmen into the UnderGrounds, proudly sharing their complex smelts and forges with their new allies. The Giantmen, too, had some knowledge of forge and weapon smithing, and together they discovered Rolaren, a highly durable and malleable smelting of mithril (the pride of the dwarves) and some of the unusual ores that the giantmen had learned to work with in their travels.

Solhaven Bay
Approximately 1900 Years Ago

Some clans continued to thrive amongst the other races, driven further West by the desire to find new mines, and new profits. In 3925, a Clan-mixed group of dwarves discovered a series of caves near the beaches of Solhaven Bay. Deep within these caverns, they found unusual gems and ore striations, and quickly set upon establishing a small mining operation. In the meantime, they sent word to the mining clans of their discovery. The location--near to the water, far from Mountains, and so far west--did not draw many of the other dwarves to this new area. For fifty years, quite a bit of profit was made from the riches buried deep within the sea caverns.

On a cool morning in the fall of 3975, a group of Toktrog dwarves came across the beach mining village, to share some ale and meat from their hunt up on the Plateau. They found death instead. The entire village had been attacked and only a few dwarves had survived. Those who survived were so stricken with fear they could not speak of what happened to the village, managing to express only a few syllables of horrified gibberish. The Toktrogs tended to the survivors, and set quickly to honor the slain dwarves. The caverns were sealed with a massive boulder, and the nearby falls were forever after called "The Cascade of Tears." None would speak of that day, and the survivors were quickly taken to their Mountain clan families to the East. The mysteries surrounding the attack would not be brought to light for nearly 500 years.

The dwarves moved away from that area. With the growth of the Turammzyrian Empire, the area nearby grew into a fishing village. The strange attack that slew the dwarves in 3975 befell the human villagers in later years. Kraken were discovered to be the cause of those strange deaths, and the Humans began to excavate the sands, in hope of destroying the birthing ground of the foul beasts.

Traveling Roramnoak dwarves sent word to the clan leaders of the potential discovery of the sealed entrance, and the dwarven leaders agreed to send one from each Clan to make sure that the memory of their fallen brethren was maintained and respected, and not defiled, during the excavations. A human messenger approached the clan leaders, resting in the Iron-mining town of Parshillam Dhu on their way to Solhaven Bay. According to the messenger, the sealed entrance was already found, and the dwarven seal was recognized upon the boulder. After some debate, the clan leaders decided it best to share what was known, and told the messenger the tale of what had happened hundreds of years earlier.

The messenger returned to Solhaven Bay. The next day the dwarven clan leaders arrived at the excavation site, somber, speaking of this "Vorn Ahvis", and the sadness of the loss of their brethren. In a surprising act of diplomacy, the local baron of Solhaven Bay extended full respects to the dwarven clan leaders, welcoming them back to the caverns they had founded, and seeking their approval for further excavations and research. Some local priests of Liabo were brought to the site, to ensure the Caverns were cleansed correctly. The dwarves asked only that Eonak's priests oversee the rituals, and the local diplomats agreed.

Several days of rituals and ceremony took place under the watchful eyes of the clan leaders. Afterwards, the clan leaders returned east to their respective clans, sending in their place a few miners to assist the humans with the city's construction and the connecting tunnel ways. The clan leaders looked upon this extension of respect with pleasure, and they silently acknowledged amongst each other a new respect for humans as a result.

Hendor / Talador / Jantalar Conflict
Approximately 900 Years Ago

In the early period of the Modern Age, the Turammzyrian Empire fought mostly with themselves, and occasionally with the Elves, as they struggled to expand their rule under various leaders of neighboring provinces. Throughout the power struggles, the dwarves remained neutral, seeking their comforts and homes deep within the earth, and in the small mining towns and trading posts they had developed over hundreds of years. Certain towns in the Human lands were friendlier to other races, and, although most of the animosity was directed toward elves, the dwarves found more profit where there was less racism. These areas were where the Western Clans congregated to trade metals and stories. Such was the case in Hendor, founded in 4288.

King Thurbon of Hendor was wary of the impending conflict with the other local human rulers, and he made good use of the influx of skilled dwarves. He paid them well and fortified the city's defenses considerably as a result. For years to follow, the local dwarven artisans managed to profit and keep their business interests safe, mostly by keeping Hendor's soldiers in the finest of weapons and armor, as Thurbon warred with neighboring Human provinces.

Trade in the West suffered in 4310, as some Humans started to enforce a policy known as Chaston's Edict, which treated other Races as less than equal to Humans. However, the dwarven products were still highly desirable. More opportunities existed a bit to the East, an area that lay beyond the reach of the human laws. Hendor eventually ended the war with the Turammzyrian Empire, and the dwarves saw profit from the influx of citizens who sought to be free of the overbearing human laws. It took 20 years until Immuron, the leader of the Turammzyrian Empire, signed a new peace treaty, easing the strained relations with Hendor. Hendor's increased strength allowed for expansion northwards against orcs and the other beasts in the mostly uncivilized lands there. Many dwarves hired on as mercenaries in these battles.

In general, this was a good period for the Western Clans, in spite of their official status as second class citizens - they were treated much better than the Elves who sought refuge within the town. The expansion of Hendor saw increased attacks from northern hobgoblins, ogres, trolls and the rival orcs. Interested in protecting their own interests, the Egrentek Clan and the Parkshnuum Clan dwarves, with other clans lending aid, built Doggoroth Keep in 4519. Doggoroth Keep was a source of great pride to the dwarves, who prior to this did not build such immense fortifications above ground. They were accustomed to moving about, and keeping their buildings simple. The Keep served the dual purpose of a trade location deep underneath the fortifications, as well as a watchtower for invading evil beasts. Doggoroth Keep was in the area of the major local silver and iron mines, and only a short journey from modern day Talador, and some of the smaller Human communities within Hendor's province. The Keep held strong for 60 years. In 4579, however, a strange breed of orcs attacked the Keep. These orcs came in tremendous numbers, and although the dwarves could easily fell the beasts, the sheer numbers brought their defeat after a hearty stand. Unable to comprehend the loss to their rivals, the surviving dwarves fled into the familiarity of Hendor. The event convinced many dwarves of the need to learn more of magic. Mages were invited to a few of the dwarven mines, to work closely with the forgers and metal smiths. This was the beginning of an era marked by the creation of great armors and weaponry, not only crafted of the most powerful of metals, but also bearing the mark of elemental magic.

Shortly after the Witch Winter of 4628, Hendor was lost to Queen Issyldra, the Ice Witch. Those dwarves that did survive took to the underground mines with the bulk of their clansmen. The dwarves stood with the Humans against the Ice Witch, but her power and minions drove all the defenders back for nearly two years. During this time, seven magical blades were crafted to defeat the Ice Queen, crafted from the very flows of Eonak's Belt. Before the blades were finished, Issyldra was defeated by the Humans, but her minions remained and scattered about the lands. The blades were given to the seven strongest warriors of all the dwarven miners, and in a great battle, Issyldra's remaining minions were defeated, but the seven warriors were killed. In the process, however, the dwarves reclaimed their lost mines, and the Humans retook the northern lands.

Under the new leadership of the Turammzyrian Empire, the dwarves were treated as second class citizens, in spite of their efforts against Issyldra. Once the mines were reclaimed, the dwarves reverted to their Clan specific ways, crossing through the human lands only for trade and rarely taking residence in the human cities, unless those cities were particularly lenient in their enforcement of imperial law. At this point, the humans were too engaged in battle with the elves and in southern exploration to pay much attention to the non-elven, non-human races. An uneasy trading relationship continued. By 4862, more and more humans had made their way into Talador, which was mostly home to the Egrentek dwarves, and adjacent to the mine at Zul Zybrano. In spite of the increasing human presence within Talador, most of the dwarves continued to offer trading privileges to those humans of Vornavis - as part of the silent agreement made hundreds of years ago by the clan leaders at the time of the excavations of Solhaven Bay. Jantalar's soldiers often beleaguered dwarves traveling from Talador to Hendor, wanting to be offered the same goods as their neighbors in Vornavis. The dwarves disregarded the soldiers as nothing more than jealous, and took no heed of them. Occasional skirmishes broke out, but no battles of any significance.

By the early 4900's, the humans had established a noteworthy presence in the mining of the DragonSpine, after 600 years of effort. During this century the racial tensions relaxed a bit, as thousands of centuries of experience still made dwarves the premier metal smiths and gem artisans throughout the lands, including the Turammzyrian Empire. During the early 50th century there was a decline in the mines near Talador, and by 5030, and the local Clans relinquished much of their entrepreneurial interests in the town in favor of other, more lucrative areas. Talador remained part of the Roramnoak Clan's trade routes, as many good trading alliances had been created there. The local mining clans, however, moved their interests elsewhere, maintaining their control on a local silver mine only. In recent years, Hochstib of Jantalar had taken over Talador and the local mines, at one point enslaving dwarven miners as well as blocking trade with Vornavis. In a show of power, Hochstib destroyed part of a mine in 5094, killing hundreds of miner dwarves trapped within. Embittered Parkshnuum Clan dwarves destroyed the rest of the Talador mine shortly thereafter. The other clan leaders made no official statement against this retaliatory attack, as it is well known that dwarves do not take well to any type of slavery. Those Egrentek dwarves that escaped Hochstib's attack participated in this raid as well. It was the boldest attack in a hundred years of minor skirmishes with Jantalar soldiers, and it saw the greatest amount of casualties, as the mine was well guarded by Hochstib's soldiers. However, with the mine destroyed and both sides suffering loss, the conflict was deemed futile to pursue. The Toktrog Clan located an alternative trade route to Solhaven Bay via the frontier town of Wehnimer's Landing and assisted the Vornavis Humans in building a trade route around the blockade set up by Hochstib. This was completed in 5098.

Teras Isle
Approximately 200 Years Ago

In the late 4900's, word of the humans finding their own mines and tales of the Turammzyrian Empire expanding northward, reached the clans of the north. Ghorsa Borthuum, of the Gulroten Clan, began to gather other dwarves of his clan, of the other local Clans, and even some of the mining clans further South. He had heard stories of the lost cities of Kezmon Isle and was curious to explore what lay there. He promised the dwarves who would join him "freedoms from the threat of Human Expansion" and "safety from the deadly Northern Winters" that the clans had endured for years. Certainly there would be untapped resources that would bring wealth to any who would join him.

Traveling in one of the largest air balloons heretofore known to the Gulrotens, Ghorsa and others traveled west. They never did find Kezmon Isle. They found instead a small volcanic isle that seemed uninhabited. Spying a large mountain, they landed the balloon there, calling this spot "Stormbrow" for the circle of black clouds that surrounded the small isle.

They climbed down from the mountain and established themselves quickly on the previously deserted Teras Isle. The dwarves celebrated their find: untouched caverns and caverns of volcanic rocks and untold gems deep within the caverns of Stormbrow. This new Borthuum Clan, complete with the skill sets of the various dwarves that followed Ghorsa, rapidly established the town of Kharam Dzu and closed the borders to all but the occasional trader or visitor. Ghorsa believed strongly in sharing the untold riches only with those who had joined him, and to this day the Borthuum Clan of dwarves remains the most exclusive of all the dwarven Clans. After settling in, the dwarves decided that the best profits would be gleaned from trading. Ghorsa devised a system by which a small percentage of profits was redistributed equally among all the members of the Borthuum Clan.

Eventually, a Human merchant ship forced west by the threat of krolvin slaver ships discovered their location. Ghorsa negotiated with the human sailors, showing off the Clan's skill at crafting products from glaes and the fiery gems found deep within the volcanic Isle. Glaes was the primary malleable volcanic glass found deep within the volcanic caverns. Although somewhat heavy, its strength was unmatched by any metal found prior to this time. His first trade with the Humans was for a ship, which Ghorsa and the skilled dwarves of his clan refitted and aptly renamed "The Glaesen Star," in honor of the magic material found deep within the isle's belly.

The Ragnak Clan
150 Years Ago

The Ragnak Clan's history is short compared to the other dwarven clans. Formed circa 4950, the clan has been under the leadership of Kanzar Ragnak since its beginning. Kanzar's origin has never been revealed outside of dwarven society, but some suspect he might have been a member of the Borthuum Clan. Popular rumor states that Kanzar was expelled from the clan for differing views on the direction the Borthuum Clan was taking in the early settlement of Teras Isle.

Kanzar recruited the best tradesmen from the other clans. Carpenters, masons, metalworkers and other masters of their trades were hired for their excellence in their respective crafts. Many were outcasts like Kanzar.

Kanzar's stubbornness has held the clan together through several construction projects and the other clans have come to respect his ability to get a job done well and on time. This respect has been strong enough for even the Borthuum Clan to hire him for construction projects on Teras Isle. Kanzar has even purchased space in the new Kharam Dzu meeting hall for a headquarters for the clan's future projects.

 

 

 



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