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A History of Dwarves
The Mountain Clans (Age of Chaos)

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Clan and Mine Location

In the emigration from Kalaza, the mining clans began searching for caverns where they could begin their lives anew. South of Kalaza, deep within the DragonSpine, a river of lava cut across the caverns, deep below the mountains. The Elves called this "Luineghash," but the dwarves called it "Eonak's Belt". The Kazunel Clan, the Reznek Clan, and the Smaelton Clan all built their cities along the smaller flows of lava, harnessing the power of molten rock to aid their forging efforts. The streams of lava would be put to use in later years.

Tharifor Irunfete Smaelton is credited with overseeing the construction of the renowned "Beleganto" smelting vat, the pride and joy of all those who reside in Eregrek. This was (and still is) used for melting tremendous rocks or metal into liquid form. The "drake's belly" sits over a small pond of molten lava. Intricate bridges lead around and up to the mouth of the vat. Underneath, different levers built within the side of the vat allow the isolation and release of the contents of the giant drum, depending on their weight and density. Chutes leading from Beleganto, known as the "drake's fingers," pour into holding cylinders for cooling metal work.

In Gezunel and Grentok, the smiths there created "fire forges," from the thin streams of lava trickling through the town. They carved tunnels into the existing lava flows, and created their forges right on top of them. As the heat was unbearable, only the most skilled dwarves of these clans, or those working with the strongest of magical metals, were able to actually work upon the powerful "Naurathrad." In later years, mages were invited, under close supervision, to add their elemental magics during the forging process. Many powerful weapons and armors were created upon the Naurathrads, the skill of the dwarves combined with the magics of the mages.

In the center of the DragonSpine, the Grevnek Clan settled into a series of caverns that would come to be known as Zul Lugoth. The Grevnek dwarves were specialists in all aspects of general mining. As demand for dwarven product reached both sides of the DragonSpine, the Grevneks decided to capitalize upon it. They built an intricate cart system along the tunnels built by the Grenroa dwarves, linking the west to the east, and more specifically, the two Roramnoak towns on both sides of the DragonSpine. Their knowledge of mining became quite renowned, and they became known as the "trouble shooters" of the dwarven miners. Strange ores, minerals and gems that were found deep within the DragonSpine were brought to Zul Lugoth for inspection, if their properties were not immediately obvious. (After all, with the carts in place, Zul Lugoth was not only the easiest place to reach within the DragonSpine, but also the quickest way to the east and west, should the traveling dwarf decide to sell or trade for whatever he had found.) The temple to Eonak within Zul Lugoth also contains a small model of the Naurathrad. Many dwarves claim that Zul Lugoth has become the modern day Kalaza. The casual visitor would not see this, however, because city guards restrict access to much of the city. Zul Lugoth strikes the careless observer as rather a small place.

The Mordrakam Clan built the city of Mordram in the deepest caverns of the DragonSpine, near to several Iron mines. Unlike most of their kin, who wielded pickaxes, or war hammers and other blunt type weaponry, the Mordrakam crafted mostly blades. The stout nature of the dwarves had some bearing on this craftsmanship, however, as these were no ordinary blades. Many races were already familiar with the practice of refining Iron, to make steel. The Mordrakam, though, specialized in Invar, also called dwarven steel. Invar is created through a complex method of refining standard steel, and intricate forging and smelting methods. Though this process is duplicated elsewhere in Elanthia in the modern day, the finest Invar creations are generally of the hands of a Mordrakam dwarf. Invar, they discovered, added an edge to a blade unlike many of the other metals, but it was still quite light. Claidhmores, after a fashion, became the weapon of choice for the Mordrakam Clan dwarves, and many an orc faced the wrath of this unnaturally sharp blade.

The tales of wealth buried deep within the earth were endless, when the dwarves spoke of Zul Sharzen to the west (home of the Sharznekgren Clan) and Ghareschnek towards the northeast (near one of the largest gold mines in Elanthia, and home of the Schneckgren Clan). Equal to the tales of wealth, however were the tales of the great traps of those two clans. The Sharznekgren were well known for the boxes of wealth they carried, but moreso for the traps that protected the contents within. The deadliest trap they referred to wryly as the troll hug. It is a small vial of sulfur leaning against a flint strike. If a lockpick is inserted into the trapped lock, it pushes the flint against a tiny piece of stone, causing a spark. The spark then ignites a tiny fuse to the vial of sulfur. The results are pretty deadly and can destroy a man within moments. The gold mines of Ghareschnek were rumored to be protected by deadly traps, as well: one misstep and a horrible fate awaits the careless traveler. The most common of these traps are simple holes in the cavern floor, obscured by a thin layer of wood and some rubble. Unwelcome travelers step unknowingly onto such a hole and find themselves missing a leg, or more, depending on the ferocity of the dwarf who built it.

The city of Mithrenek became the home to the remaining members of the Mithgrek Clan - an intricate statue of Rhorkee Hammerfyst Mithgrek, a hero of the war at Maelshyve, crushing the head of a banshee with a solid mithril war hammer marks the entrance to the city. The Mithgrek Clan still maintained their role as the most talented mithril crafters of the dwarven clans, even after the emigration. Over years of specializing in this metal, they became equally skilled in crafting weapons, armor, jewelry and sculptures, all of mithril. Long after a Mithrenek dwarf is able to handle stronger weapons and armors than Mithril, they still wear an item made of Mithril, usually a heirloom passed down through the centuries, to show the honor of being a member of one of the first Clans.

Far to the North is the white city of Rockmelderam. Home of the Gotronek Clan, the great halls of this mining town are carved in pure marble. The city itself is much like a modern day museum, with great marble statues denoting events in the history of Elanthia, and moreso of the dwarves. In the great hall of Rockmelderam, there stands a pure marble depiction of Eonak and Imaera, surveying the lands with their hands clasped. In their shadow stands the likeness of Khazi Khazar, a peaceful smile upon his face and a stein of ale in his hands, as many dwarves believe that Khazar sits with Eonak and Imaera in his afterlife. The Gotronek dwarves are well known for their intricate statues, marble creations and mastery of dwarven art.

The Grenroa Clan traveled deep within the DragonSpine for 3,000 years, connecting all the dwarven cities with hidden passages and corridors, before settling towards the north and building the great labyrinth known as Chiostilis. With Stone walls nearly six elves high in some places and over 500 mapped alcoves and rooms, this tremendous maze daunted even the heartiest of navigators, leaving the Grenroa dwarves to live in relative peace, and able to focus on the task of maintaining the vast miles of tunnels deep within the DragonSpine.

Overview - Age of Chaos

The greatest population of the dwarven Clans did not venture too far from their old mines. These clans stayed within the DragonSpine range, and settled upon spots where good mining veins were found. Without the guidance of an Overking, the dwarves maintained their isolation, even from each other, focusing instead on where their hearts and mining picks would lead them. Each Clan would eventually build a small mining town; most of them underground, but equally self-sufficient (with help from trade with other Clans).

These clans also continued their constant battle with the orcs, and moreso with the trolls: tall and powerful beasts that were born of strange magics. The trolls were able to heal themselves, and although less intelligent than the orcs they proved an intimidating foe, capable of offering at least as much threat as the orcs. Despite the isolation of each of the Clans, during these battles the dwarves would unite, each lending their expertise to the other, and fending off the common enemy. Thus, even though the orcs, trolls and other beasts did prove to be a threat to the dwarves, they never gained significant advantage.

As a result of the continuing battles, the clans here became the finest of the dwarven metal smiths, crafting intricate and powerful weapons and armor against the minions. The dwarves worked passionately at their mining and forging efforts, and over time once again gained solidarity and dominion over the vast UnderGrounds of the DragonSpine. Eventually, this would also lead to great wealth amongst the elder dwarven families. The mining clans, who had no need or desire whatsoever for interaction with the other races, cherished the trading posts. While many Clans maintained their isolation in the UnderGrounds, the few Clans that did travel established a dwarven presence in the lands of the other races.

As the Elven Houses became less unified, more and more the dwarven products were looked upon with envy. The Elven Houses had grown rich during their rule of the civilized lands above, and were more than happy to spend their vast wealth on having armaments and trinkets alike, of the rarest materials known. And although the Elves too, had their own crafters, and some access to the mines of the eastern and northeastern DragonSpine, they generally had no desire to crawl under the ground to mine ore themselves. They were happy to let the dwarves do such "dirty" work, and the dwarves were just as satisfied to take their silvers. The Elves preferred to craft the metals, and it is certainly true that their skill rivaled that of the dwarven crafters.

 

 




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