A Brief History of Dwarvenkind
The Origin of Dwarvenkind
Dwarven mythology maintains their people were born of the fire of dragons in the Kyll Dragon Korâg (White Dragon Mountains) also called the Gwynedd Wyverns as the region appears on the Map of the Realm. An ancient children’s tale relates how rocks made white hot under dragon fire were used to 'warm' their nests in the peaks of Kyll Dragon. After the wyrmkin hatched, the rocks rolled down to the root of the mountains and cooled where they awoke as the first dwarves. This is why dwarves like to dig to the root of all things and all matters. Where a dwarf chooses to put her mind, her feet or her pick-axe is where she will go, and though time may delay her, she will never stop.
In very early days, the first dwarves travelled to the ancient and worn down mountains of Ghamedu Korâg (appearing as the Tongue of the Ghamedes on the Map of the Realm.) They planted flowers in the wake of their descent through the valley-pass that leads to Ghamedu from Kyll Dragon and from these flowers the Valley of Silence got its name. No living being has ever been able to follow the early dwarves in their footsteps in the Valley of Silence without stopping to smell the flowers and fall into permanent sleep. Ghamedu was a beloved place to the first dwarves and it was there they made a home by the sea and learned many things of this world. But Ghamedu was abandoned when the dwarves were called by destiny to fight against the First Great Horror. The dwarves say they may someday be called to return to Ghamedu and they say the hearth fires of these ancient homes are still burning, as they were burning when the dwarves left, waiting for their return. This story always ends with: Wohle kezan'do éddan gleza neizh’do neizh ka madzi, brikh’zall kezan neizh mâzan brikh’zall, e mu zorr, Ezhâsh’do Azhtar. 'Though the good hearths may never see the dwarves again, they will not extinguish until the Ember of End Times itself extinguishes.'
The Destiny of Dwarvenkind
The dwarves say they exisit to defend the burning of the Tapestry of the World. The dwarves hold that this burning is life itself, and it was never intended to last forever. The dwarves often speak of the Ember of End Times. The Ember is simultaneously all of life and the beginning of the end of the world. This is the ember kindled by the Light of the Dream of Thing. It is the same ember coddled in the heart of every dragon and the ember that gave dwarves life. It is why the dragons, the first beings in this world, are eternal and will be the last beings left in it.
After an of age of peace had passed in Ghamedu, the First Great Horror erupted in Faerie. Faerie was the first name given to the Realm by Fey Folk. The dwarves felt the tremor far in the north, thousands of miles away, and instantly knew why they had been born. Hammers were forged and a great firey being, a Grace calling itself Goghama, appeared and lead the dwarves to what they would come to call the Éddan Korâg near the mountain of Shehelemet in Faerie, the residence of the fey folk - the courts of the elves and of the goblins who had not yet forsaken Shehelemet for the wild Kathgrachs and the Great Sahn beyond .
In Shehelemet the fey folk were under assault, and here the dwarves slammed their hammers into the stone and called the Horror unto them. Grâsh (Darkness) is the name the dwarves have ever given to the First Great Horror, a gargantuan thing that in its fight gripped the largest peaks in Kyll Dragon with its talons. In a struggle the likes of which have never since been seen, the dwarves sent Grâsh flying out of the world and into the sky, like a stone hit by a club into the sea. Along with Grâsh went a huge chunk of their mountain birthplace and Goghama chasing. The moon (Grásh’do) is still chased by the sun (Goghama Rekálla) and whenever dwarves look into the sky they see a part of their place of birth that will return one day when Goghama finishes Grâsh once and for all. Goghama Rekálla is often just referred to as Rekálla (Light of Justice.)
Some dwarves, particularly the Great Dwarves of Khehel Krâg (the dwarven name for Shehelemet), recount time itself as beginning the instant Grâsh was cast into the sky. Before this, they say dwarves and the courts of the fey folk were the immortal children of the Realm. All dwarves and all living things born thereafter are now doomed to die as is the Ember of End Times when Rekálla catches and finishes Grâsh.
After the fight most dwarves returned to Éddan Korâg, but many stayed in the lofty peaks of Khehel Krâg and expanded upon that fantastic palace of the fey folk. These dwarves became known as the Madz’do Khehel or Great Dwarves. Shehelemet means Great Mountain in the ancient fey language, Khehel Krâg, means the same thing.
The Great Dwarves of Khehel Krâg
The Great Dwarves lived in glory at Khehel Krâg, and many stories are told about them. But these lords became proud and lived lavishly, too much so for their modest cousins in Éddan. Khehel Krâg had many riches. The Good Dwarves of Éddan say they had learned from the Hidden Dwarves of the Dimhellir (the deepest, darkest place under the Realm) that Grâsh's ichor pooled into a great lake near the roots of Khehel Krâg, posioning the hearts of the Great Dwarves and eventually crystallizing into the Rakh of Kolzaga.
As you may have heard, the final king of the dwarves of Khehel Krag was King Ghokhallric XIII. On the final day of his 100th birth-year the Rakh of Kolzaga awoke and slew him. Kolzaga also slew many of the king's retinue and drove all remaining dwarves and fey folk from Shehelemet. Kolzaga was, of course, the sorrow that would widely become known as Colossus. Colossus appeared as an empty but animated suit of armor, a mockery of a Great Dwarf in armor.
The Central Story of the Birthday Present
It had been Gokhallrik's tenth birth century, and the last day of the celebration of his birthyear. This was a year-long celebration where each day, beginning and ending on the day or his birth, heaps of presents were brought to the hall of feasting. It was a proud time of high indulgence and storytelling and unbelievable promises for the future. On the final day of celebration a glorious dwarven suit of armor appeared at the bottom the heap of presents with no tag left by the gift-giver. Gokhallric had been eyeing the handsome armor all day, but before he had a chance to examine his gift, the armor awoke and and slew him forthright as he stood in shocked horror upon his hooplâ (a dwarvish chair/step stool used for delivering speeches) delivering his last toast, drinking horn still in hand.
The terrifying animated armor kicked the hooplâ to the hearth, called itself Kolzaga and claimed it would create the best story of the century in next few moments. Dwarves shouted and fell back for the hammers and axes that had been hanging on the wall for nigh a year. But Kolzaga cut most of them down and then stamped from hall to hall in great Shehelemet slaying every fey folk and dwarf it came across. A throng of panicked courtiers and their families pushed out of the back gate and down into the black night of the chasm, while flames shot from all windows of Shehelemet and an echoing roar of laughter rang across the cold steep cliffs.
Retreat of the Great Dwarves & the War of Atonement
After the destruction of Shehelemet, the Great Dwarves of Khehel Krâg came to Éddan as refugees. Strangely, tragically, pitilessly they were not welcomed there, for a cabal of oligarchs came to rule the Good Dwarves of Éddan and they forbade it. By this time something of a venal autocracy had risen in Éddan after the arrival of a dwarven prophet who claimed to be following the ways of a 'Mother of Peace' also known as Magol. This group deemed it unwise to welcome the Great Dwarves and give them safe harbor, and so they locked their cousins out of Éddan Korâg and closed all windows on the cliffs facing west. The excuse given was that the Great Dwarves would bring ruin to the Éddan Korâg as as they did Khehel Krâg. Many dwarves listened to the Olidarchs and gossiped that their cousins had grown rich and proud. These dwarves blamed the Great Dwarves for the scourge of Kolzaga. Yet, most dwarves in Éddan still had empathy for their refugee-cousins and naturally wished to take them in, and the tremors of a great civil strife were set in motion.
Most of the Great Dwarves went on to Kathgrach Korâg and from there planned to enter Éddan by force. They had heard about the followers of Magol and surmised that new these new lords of Éddan had been the givers of the gift of Kolzaga by some means of darkness and evil.
Return of The Hidden Dwarves
In the early days, a few dwarves fled from Goghama's call to fight the First Great Horror. Those who fled, went west and hid beneath the surface of Ehállock Korâg, the Aillach Mountains. It was in Éhallock, in shame, that these cowardly folk met a sorrow calling itself Magol. Magol twisted and changed these beings into spiteful enemies of the dwarves who went south with Goghama for the fight. The self-banishment of the Dwarves of Magol lead them to become things of the dark underworld, the Dimhellir, and they were unable to tolerate the light of the Rekalla Goghama after she lept into the sky. Magol empowered the Dwarves of Magol with a dark and secret magic and used them to spread her influence far and wide and sew much evil in Faerie.
The War of Atonement
The Great Dwarves marched back to Éddan from the Kathgrachs, a wild mountain range east of the inland sea. They smashed into Éddan at several points and were aided my many Good Dwarves inside. During months of battle the Hidden Dwarves as if summoned by this bloodletting appeared from the Dimheller at a hundred hidden places under Eddan and ascended in full force and fury to take all of Éddan for themselves. Though the Hidden Dwarves had been advised by Magol to wait, their lust and hatred for their cousins pushed them into the fight early – they wanted to finish their cousins with their own hands and prove their strength and prowess before all, having been called cowards for hundreds of years. Magol Saera was destroyed by in the War of Atonement by Great Dwarves and Good Dwarves. After the war it's not known what becoame of her Hidden Dwarves.
The War of Atonement was one of the most frightful events ever to occur in Faerie. Dwarves traditionally fight in terrifying masks and seek to dismember their foes with great axes or crush them with hammers. This is likely because dwarves are very hard to kill and have had to be physically dismembered or crushed to stop them in battle.
Dwarvish art to the present day is influenced by the horror of the War of Atonement, the horror that cousin unleashed upon cousin will never be fogotten.
The Kingdom of Rhakmadz
After the War of Atonement, the dwarves disappear from the annals of the Fey Folk but eventually return to Faerie's surface as the Kingdom of Rakhmadz (meaning the dwarves who remade themselves.) Rakhmadz re-establishes ties with the Elves in Shehelemet, but in the ensuing conflicts known as the War of 10,000 Arrows and the Ugly War, as the High Elvish Empire of Caer Sidi rises, the dwarves are burned out of the western Éddans and the Kathgrachs and disappear for 1,833 years!
Dwarves aren’t seen again until the time of Dumnonia, shortly before the eruption of the Second Great Horror. Perhaps the coming of the second horror called them to duty once more. They opened Éddan'do Rhkamadz - and Rhakmadz appeared greater than Khehel Krâg ever was. The dwarves, absent from history, and had been busy creating wonders!
azh – an ending
beorn - a borrowed from the Ghoddic language of the Arkans, it literally means "the Bear's"
doorm - green
dragon -dragon is a dwarvish word, the draechi variant is wyvrn
édd - a very good home
éddan – an adjective as in down home, as in gimlâ’do éddan meaning down home cookin’
ehállok – very old, ancient, sometime venerable
ezhâsh – ember
Ezhâsh’do Azhtar - Ember of End Times
ghámedu – mothers
gháma - mother
gimlâ - cooking
go - strong
gogháma - grandma
grach - speaking (from grachmad - to speak)
grâsh - dark
grooll - valley
kall - light
kallan - bright,
kath - wisdom
kathan - wise
khall - beard, Gokhallrik means strong-bearded
khehél - great or huge (in both the same senses)
kolzaga - large monster, brute or colossus – what Colossus first called itself
korâg - a mountain range
krâg - a mountain peak
kyll - White
madz - a dwarf, madzi means the Dwarves
madz’do - the dwarves of, as in Madz’do Gháma Korâg
rek - justice
rhak - a made thing, construct or artifice
selvi - slope
straki - forest, trees
tar - time
veezh - river
zhâsh – fire
zum - hill, zumzum is often used in the dwarven poetry of Eddan meaning a beloved place - repeating a phoneme makes it cute and beloved.
PLACES IN DWARVEN LANDS
Rhakmadz - The late dwarven kingdom that rises in Éddan Korâg after the War of Atonement and then disappears again before the rise of Caer Sidi. Rhakmadz returns in absolute splendor and power in the time of Dumnonia. The name means the dwarves who made themselves.
Ghámedu Korâg - ‘Mountains of Mothers’ Ghámedu means mother, Gháma means mama.
Khehél Krâg - ‘Great Mountain’ Dwarves of Shehelemet (destroyed by the Collossus.)
Éddan Korâg - ‘Down Home Mountains’ Dwarves, who stayed and had different ways, demanded fealty of the Great Dwarves who refused.
Ehállok Korâg - ‘Old Mountains’ Dwarves of the Aillachs or also known as the Dwarves of Magol
Kathgrach Korâg - 'Wisdom Speaking Mountains' The Kathgrach Range was a home to the Dwarves of Rakhamadz only after they drove the goblins from their sacred mountains. The Kathgrachs were believed to be alive by both goblin and dwarf. Elves in the eastern borderlands of the Siddi Range during the reign of Caer Sidi believed this as well, especially in the Marches of Nagooth. Thousands of years later, both Arkans and Sahn-Glieran Hidzi peoples came to live on the slopes of teh Kathgrachs, east and west, and would also quest deep into mountains for wisdom.
Selvi'do Béornzum The Béornzum (or Bear's Hills) is a place in northern Arkoland that both dwarves and humans presently call home. It is the dry, warm region of the eastern slopes of the Éddan Mountains that descend dramatically to the southwestern shores of Ethsea. The region spans from just north of Thynghaugr to Béorfort in the south. A rocky slope of karst; a labyrinthine networks of craggy limestone hills and valleys, the Béornzum is ancient-feeling and much warmer and drier than the lands nearby, laying as it does in the rainshadow of the Éddans. The tall peaks drain moisture from prevailing westerly winds, sucking most precipitation into the Sea of Aergwyll in the central massif of the Realm.
The Beornzum is a beautiful and rugged country dominated by fragrant shrubby herbs from Spring through late Fall - rosemary, bay, thyme, scarpan and zalinthlay. Patchy copses of cyprus and hazel trees decorate the slopes and in some areas it's the frazzled-looking Bear's Hills Heath who's burls produce the Realm's most prized briarwood. Indeed, pipes from the region's best carvers, both human and dwarven, are generally sought after by avid smokers from Mabon to Austerikki. Though the dwarven pipe is usually a long-stemmed churchwarden of exceptional angularity, human carvers of the Hills of the Bears favor a pipe that is poker or billiard in shape.
The Beornzum is a region of rich cultural pollination far beyond pipe carving, however. Humans and dwarves have cohabited here for at least a millennium; any visitor to any public house in any town or rocky settlement of the region will experience the results that a thousand years of peace has made. The ale houses of the Bear's Hills boast some of the best meals, drink, smoking and music in the entire continent. There is simply no other place one can enjoy an ale with dwarven korch (a kind of pastis and hazel liqueur) with the delicately melting shanks of the Realm's best soft-braised lamb - or sip the smoke of exceptionally well-fermented pipeweed from a long stem of briarwood while watching laughing and sturdily-built folk whirl in whistling kilts to the droning of wheel fiddles cranked by dwarves. The fiddle melodies of northern Arkoland and Éddan are wild and complex.
It should be noted by those facing a trip to the region these days, that the Beornzum Basilik has thankfully been hunted nearly to extinction. Though, sadly, with the beast has also gone tyrian basil - the giant spicy purple leaves that once gloriously festooned the crags near the high springs of Éddan. Though the herb has all but vanished, lucky explorers may find spots where it still grows under the lichenized statues of Beornzum folk - all that is now left on the unfortunate prey of the basilisks of old!
EARLY KNOWN KINGDOMS of DWARVENKIND
The Great Dwarves of Khéhel Krâg
These are the "Great Dwarves" who formed a kingdom in Khehel Krâg with the Fey Host after fighting the First Great Horror. Their kingdom was destroyed by Colossus, who was known in Dwarvish as Kolzaga.
The Good Dwarves of Éddan
The "Good Dwarves" are those who stayed in Éddan after fighting the First Great Horror. Later the "Good Dwarves" with a contingrency of "Great Dwarves" would form the Kingdom of Rhakhmadz in Éddan that exist to this day and keeps distant but amicables relations with lords of the north in Arkoland.
The Hidden Dwarves of Magol
The "Hidden Dwarves" are those who did not heed the call to fight the First Great Horror. They fled west toward the Ehállak Korâg, the Old Mountains, and hid in shame from their destiny. They took their name from another sorrow hidden beneath the mountains named Magol, or Magol Saera which in old elvish, the language if fey folk, literally means Magol the Horrid.