Delving the Deeps of Valuria
Of Dwarves in Valuria
Of Dwarves in Valuria
Dwarves were the first sentient creatures that ever walked the face of Valuria. For a time, they were the only race of people on the world and were Ai’s chosen ones. The dwarves call this time The Genesis. The first dwarf was a female named Aisther. It was she that guided Ai in making the other dwarves during The Genesis and named the first tribe in his honor. The dwarves called Ai, “Ebrem” in their tongue and the first dwarves were collectively known as the Ebrem Clan and settled north of Merion Lake in the northern part of the land now called Galloway. After the Ebrem, Ai crafted six more tribes spread across the lands.
When Ai grew weary of the dwarven stoicism and taciturnity, he ascended back into the heavens and began crafting a new race. The dwarves had always thought of Ai as a king or great leader and less of a god. They acknowledged that he had created them, but the idea of a god or a supreme being was not something they ever gave much thought to. Thus, when he left, they felt no great sorrow or did they suffer his abandonment. Indeed, they saw it as a show of respect from Ai that his people were now filled with enough strength, knowledge, and fortitude to survive alone, without his ever-watchful presence. The dwarves did not then, nor do they know, think of Ai’s departure as an abandonment. It was as if they were a child in the days just after The Genesis but had grown into adults by the time Ai ascended.
In the days after Ai left, the dwarves began spreading outwards from their initial realms and filling the world with dwarven homes. The largest dwarven city at the time stood where the city of man known as Larmont now stands. The dwarves called the city Stellholme and it stood for centuries and was a shining example of dwarven artisanship, strength, and wonderment. Legends say towers stretched a mile into the sky. A wall encircled the city with great stone gates the welcomed all visitors. To this day, it is common for dwarves to refer to a piece of art or craft that is good, but lacking, to say, “It’s good, but it’s no Stellholme.”
Dwarves flourished between The Genesis and the Great War. As elves, hobbits, and men began to populate the world, dwarves entreated with them all, forming great alliances and friendships. The differences between the elves and the dwarves was stark, however, and very little common ground existed between the two. This is not to say there was hatred or even animosity, just a basic difference of how life should be lived. Man, too, proved difficult to engage. A dwarf life lasted centuries, as did elves and hobbits, but man was short lived. Because of this, dwarves were hesitant to form alliances with the tribes of man, afraid the king would die soon and his son, grandson and grandson after him, might alter the conditions. As they are now, dwarves of old were unyielding in treaties and agreements and were loath to change. “A dwarf’s word is taken from stone,” the saying goes.
As time passed, dwarves of great renown began to show themselves among their people. Word spread of these dwarves and a select few were venerated as saints when they died. Halas, the first King of Stellholme, Roon, the Maker of Stone and Mara, the Queen of the Sun are but a few of the dwarven saints. Dwarves pray to these saints and the priests derive their divinity from them. Today, the dwarves venerate hundreds of dwarven saints.
When Orkus began whispering to the First Races, most dwarves turned away from his lies. As it is with all people, a few were enticed and followed Orkus. These hapless dwarves were, over time, corrupted by the foul words and became evil, twisted creatures of great malice. The dwarves referred to their fallen kin as ‘gobe lin’ (literally, ‘shattered stone’). The name was shortened to the familiar goblin in short order. Even before The Great Wars, dwarves and goblins warred with one another. The goblins hated their old brothers and wanted nothing more for them to suffer. The dwarves felt pity for the goblins and were loath to kill them, but they were forced to do so.
It was during The Great War that Stellholme was sacked and crumbled into ruins. When Orkus drove his corrupted races to war, the goblins pleaded to attack first and to focus that initial attack on the wonderful city. Thousands of goblin poured forth and decimated not only the great city, but also all the dwarves living within its walls. Still not content, the goblins painted the great wall and magnificent gates with the blood of the fallen dwarves. For years, the great red walls stood, and great blowflies and maggots crawled about the city.
After the Great War ended, the dwarves began to leave the cities (what few they were) and took to a new home deep inside the mountains. The Dragonback Mountains, that now separate Rothdan from Galloway, housed many dwarves, but it was the Shale Mountains to the west that most dwarves called home. It was during this time that dwarves began gathering as extended families and living in small groups instead of large cities with numerous families. Even today, dwarven cities rarely number above a thousand souls.
The Sundering almost killed the dwarves, as it did all of the First Races. For days after Ai was killed, the dwarves were stricken with fear and doubt, removed from Ai’s Grace for the first time. When the goblins, and the other corrupted races, began their attack, many thousands of dwarves were killed before they could mount a defense. As the war raged, however, the dwarves were the first to strike a victory against The Corrupted Ones. The Battle of Galloway, fought in the central part of the land named for this battle, saw a thousand dwarves take the field against a sea of goblins, orcs and kobolds. King Gunter, The Protector of the West, led his army valiantly that day. After decimating their enemy, they marched further east, across the Eureka River at Serpent’s Bend, and laid siege to a massive encampment of corrupted ones. At the end of the battle, Gunter stood with his aid-de-camp, Dravos, overlooking a field of the dead. Gunter laid down his axe and walked back to the Shale Mountains, telling Dravos, “I never want to see this field of bones again.” The name persisted and today, the land around Serpent’s Bend is known as The Field of Bones.
Today, the dwarves live in relative peace. Like men, they were gifted free will after The Sundering and no longer lived outside of the darkness. While most dwarves are decent, good folk, there are a few that have given to the darkness and are vile, horrible people. Also, some goblins left the darkness and whisperings of Orkus, and embraced the light. A few goblins have taken to worshipping Alur or Dehan, though rarely Jennis.