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 were born into this world 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. 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 teh mountain of Shehelemet in Faerie, the residence of the fey folk (ancestors of both elves and goblins.)
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 took hold of the largest mountain 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 with Goghama chasing it. The moon (Grásh’do) is still chased by the sun (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 is also known as Goghama Rekálla for this, or sometimes just Rekálla (Light of Justice.)
Some dwarves, particularly the Great Dwarves of Khehel Krâg (Shehelemet), recount time itself as beginning in the instant they struck Grâsh into the sky. Before this, they say dwarves and the other courts of beings were immortal. All dwarves and all living things born thereafter are now doomed to die before the Ember is finished, until Rekálla catches and finishes Grâsh.
After the fight, though most dwarves returned to Éddan Korâg, many dwarves stayed in the lofty peaks of Khehel Krâg and built a fantastic palace with the help 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 in dwarvish.
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 too proud and lived too lavishly for their cousins in Éddan. Khehel Krâg had many riches. It also may have had a pool of residue remaining in its roots from Grâsh. This may have sickened the hearts of Great Dwarves, it may have also calcified into the Rakh of Kolzaga.
As you may have heard the story of the king of the dwarves of Khehel Krag, King Ghokhallric XIII. On the final day of his 100th birth-year Kolzaga awoke and slew him. Kolzaga also slew many of the king's retinue and drove all remaining dwarves and fey folk from Shehelemet for many years. Kolzaga was, of course, was 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 of the year, 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 the king 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) delivering his last toast, drinking horn still in hand.
The animated armor then kicked the hooplâ to the hearth and calling itself Kolzaga claimed it would then create the best story of the century this very evening. Dwarves fell back and clambered for hammers and axes that had been hanging on the wall for nigh a year, but Kolzaga cut most of them down and then careened from hall to hall in great Shehelemet slaying every fey 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 come to Éddan as refugees but were not welcomed there by a cabal of oligarchs ruling Éddan. The dwarves of Éddan though worried the Great Dwarves would bring ruin to the Éddan Korâg as as they did Khehel Krâg.
Many in Éddan took pity on their refugee-cousins and naturally wished to take them in, but many dwarves of Éddan had also watched their cousins grow rich and proud and blamed them for the scourge of Kolzaga. 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 so safe harbor, and so they locked their cousins out of Éddan Korâg and closed all windows on the cliffs facing west.
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.
The War of Atonement
The Great Dwarves marched back to Éddan from the Kathgrachs, east of the inland sea. They smashed into Éddan at several points. And during months of battle the Hidden Dwarves as if summoned by the bloodshed suddenly appeared and descended in full force and fury to try and finish the frey and 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.
Dwarves traditionally fight in terrifying masks and seek to dismember their foes with great axes or crush them with hammers. This might be because dwarves are very hard to kill and have had to be physically dismembered or crushed to stop them in war. The War of Atonement was one of the most frightful events to ever occur in Faerie, dwarvish art to the present day use the War of Atonement as subject matter, the horror cousin unleashed upon cousin will never be fogotten.
Return of The Hidden Dwarves
In the early days, some 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 all 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, no longer able to tolerate the sun. 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. Eventually Magol Saera was destroyed by the Dwarves of Rhakmadz in the War of Atonement, however, when the Hidden Dwarves, in pained vanity, acted out of her plan. After the war it's not known what becoame of the Dwarves of Magol.
azh – an ending
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 as a name means strong-bearded or just strong beard
khehél - great or huge (in both the same senses)
kolzaga - large monster, brute or colossus is best – 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 fall 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 Hills) is a place both dwarves and humans call home. It is the dry, warm region of the eastern slopes of the Éddans that descend dramatically to the southwestern shores of Ethsea, from just north of Thynghaugr to Béorfort in the south. This is a rocky slope of karst, a labyrinthine networks of craggy limestone hills and valleys, ancient-feeling and warmer and drier than the lands nearby laying as it does in the rainshadow of the peaks to the west. The tall peaks of Éddan drain moisture from prevailing western winds, dumping most precipitation into the Sea of Aergwyll in the central massif of the Realm, leaving the Béornzum dry.
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 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 Bear Hills favor a poker or billiard shaped pipe.
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 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, comely and sturdily-built folk whirl in whistling kilts to the droning of Draailier's cranked by dwarves under the wild and complex fiddle melodies of northern Arkoland and Éddan.
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 with the beast has also gone tyrian basil, the great spicy purple leaves that once gloriously festooned the crags near the high springs of Éddan. Though the herb is all but vanished, lucky explorers may find spots where it still grows under the lichenized statues of Beornzum folk, 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.
THE KINGDOM OF RHAKMADZ
After the War of Atonement, dwarves eventually return to the Realm as the Kingdom of Rakhmadz (meaning the dwarves who remade themselves.) Rakhmadz re-establishes ties with the Elves in Shehelemet. However, the dwarves also play a part in the destruction of Shehelemet and the War of 10,000 Arrows in which the High Elvish Empire of Caer Sidi rises and the dwarves are burned out of the western Éddans and the Kathgrachs and disappear again, this time 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 reappear in Éddan - and Eddan is greater than Khehel Krâg ever was. In absentia from th Realm, the dwarves were long past their civil strife and had been busy creating wonders!