History indicates that the first dwarves were encountered by the Elves over 10,000 years before the Record of Men (rm) had begun. These dwarves were warlike, belligerent and sought to conquer the surface world sparking the first Dwarf Elf wars. This war resulted in the dwarves being sent to their cavern holdings deep beneath the Mid Scar Range but did nothing to teach them to give up their aggressive nature.
In contrast, the dwarves of Morvia in this age are considered one of the Elder Races and an ally to both elves and men. Their demeanour may still carry a hint of their former ire, but many dwarves have readily integrated with those on the surface. The legacy of the dwarves can be found in the architecture found across the civilized lands of Morvia. Towering castles, a massive bridge, the great wizard bastion known as Highstone and the countless other fortresses, statues, mansions, cities and palaces that are a tribute to the great stone-cutting and architectural skills of the dwarves.
Their language reflects their practical attitudes. Short, cutting and precise, Hewnish has become the basis for many tongues including halflings, Gnomes, and men. What follows is the story of the dwarves. Their origins, achievements, culture and more well known characters throughout history can be found here. To be a dwarf is to be proud of one’s heritage and to see the world as a constant challenge.
The Dwarves of Morvia are a short, stocky people standing at an average of 4-5 feet in height and weighing some 200-300 lbs. Their skin tones range from tan to near bronze due to their work with flame and forge. Dwarfen men normally sport long beards with hair colour ranging from black to reds. Eye colour run the normal spectrum of brown to blue however there have been those with violet and green eyes but they are rare. Both males and females who dwell beneath the mountains grow their beards from puberty on. The female dwarves found residing on the surface world have come to adopt the hygiene of the prevailing societal norms. Therefore female dwarves very rarely allow their beards to grow.
Their bodies are stocky and sturdy, allowing them to carry more weight than other races of the same height and build. Well muscled and used to hard work, Dwarfen frames are solid making them extremely hard to knock over. In a brawl, dwarves have the advantage of a lower centre of gravity and solid footing.
There is a wide mis-perception that all dwarves are boorish, rude, miserable drunks who are more interested in brawling and boozing than pursuing a greater purpose in life. Although this is true for some, many dwarves have proven to be the opposite. The Dwarfen psyche is mired in ancestral pride which is both the source of their strength and weakness. A dwarf sees everything in terms of the clan and how their actions will reflect on it. There is no doubt that any dwarf would want to gain honour and glory for his clan, but how that is achieved and what is considered honour and glory is a matter of perspective.
Dwarves run the spectrum of attitudes, but the general attitude would be described as “irritated” at best. A dwarf typically has little to no patience with frivolous activities such as etiquette, fine dress, and gossip. Such a thing is a waste of time. Dwarves like things to be practical and simple, despite the intricate workings they place in their architecture and stonework.
Dwarves love hard work, shaping stone with their hands and the smithing of metals. They despise laziness and will berate anyone who does not pull their fair share. Pride in their culture and their clan is central to their behaviour. If what they do goes against the needs or desires of the clan can place that dwarf in a precarious position, as exile from the clan, the greatest shame that a dwarf can receive, may result. Pride is an ever present emotion that dwarves display and like the mountains, it is an unmoving, insurmountable obstacle that some simply cannot avoid.
Dwarves have a fondness for men for they portray the attitudes that dwarves admire. Hard work, ability to learn and a love for gold and silver places men in a position of honour among the dwarfen race.
Elves, on the other hand lay on the opposite end of the spectrum. Distrusted and under constant suspicion, elvish behaviour, such as aloofness, and their haughty approach to others around them makes a meeting between the two a tense affair. This is not to say that no dwarf has ever allied with an elf. There have been many recorded instances in history where dwarves and elves had stood side by side in the fight against a common enemy.
The dwarfen attitudes toward most surface races is ambivalent at best with some more trusted than others. Their cousins, the gnomes hold a special place with dwarves.
Dwarves look at names almost as a means to explain their lineage. As their culture is mainly ancestral based, dwarves take an active interest in the names of their fathers and use them to illustrate their heritage. For example. A dwarf born into a clan is given a name by his father and mother, such as Thorrin, son of Thorgrim of the Clan Sigmhal. Over the decades, Thorrin has committed deeds that allow him to include the names of his forefathers before him. Thorrin, son of Thorgrim could eventually become Thorrin Thorgrim, son of Thornirr. Followed by Thorrin Thorgrim Thornirr, son of Kraznirr. With each deed acquired the further back the names are added. Some dwarves have names that are enormous in lineage and can go back to nearly the founding generation. Dwarves typically do not share their ancestral names and normally use their given name along with their clan name or perhaps the mountain range they hail from.
The dwarfen tongue is known as Hewnish. It is the head language of many offshoots throughout Morvia and is a topic of it’s own. Hewnish is the combined form of the many dialects that developed between the clans before the end of the clan wars. It can be said that Hewnish is a mix of clannish tongues that, under the rule of Clan Ethelrune came together to usher in a means of cooperation and peace between the surviving clans. Although the older dialects still exist in some form or another they are quickly dying out.
The written form of Hewnish also dates back from the time of the clan wars. Clerics who inherited the ruling class and brought the clans together had already established their own system of markings. Sharp cuts and grooves created by straight edged blades in a pictographic fashion became the basis for classic Hewnish. However this written form became open to interpretation and added confusion to the masses. At its height it totaled 20,000 pictographic representations for most common words. The word ‘stone’ alone had 1200 hewnic pictographs. Evolution of the written form of Hewnish didn’t take place until the dwarf/elf wars where the influence of Theldara, the elvish language became instrumental in it’s re-organisation. Despite the resistance of the clans, Hewnish adopted the linear orthography of Theldara that seemed to work well for its purposes and to this day is still used by nearly all dwarves.
Another language, considered at first a dialect has been identified as an influence from Reikspiel, the tongue of men from the Telesean States. Dwarves from the western portions of the Mid-Scar Range involved in trade with the men of that area have evolved a shared tongue known as Mansrune. Although Hewnish is it’s basis there have been human terms that have sneaked in, especially curse words.
The Azhrei – Defender of the Dwarves
According to the ancient scribings in the Hewnish Halls, a defender was called by the dwarfen goddess Sharlindra to both defend her people and to bring them under the rule of one queen. Known as the Azrhei, meaning protector in hewnish, she is the culmination of the martial aspects of the dwarfen people. The symbol of the Azrhei is the powerful axe of Sharlindra that the Azhrei carries and is both the source of her rule and power. Blessed with divine power, the Azhrei is venerated as a true hero and is nearly worshipped as a god among the people.
Today the Azhrei, after a long absence and considered to be a myth has again surfaced. However, to the confusion of the dwarfen people, it has fallen to a man named Duke Thorgrim of Gliss in the Divided Kingdoms. What plans Sharlindra has for her people is not known. Dwarves have settled to making pilgrimages to castle Goldwell in Gliss to venerate their protector.
The cultural structure of the dwarfen people is based on the clan system. This system gives a sense of identity and shared ancestry to a particular clan and represents a social order and how other clans relate to one another. The origins of the clan system dates back before dwarfen records but is believed to be centered around a loose tribal tradition led by a chieftain. Certain geographic areas beneath the Mid-Scar Range were occupied and literally carved out by each separate clan, establishing their place in the order of things. Rarely did these early dwarfen tribes interact, probably due to low numbers and a tendency to expand at a slow rate. That changed however as the population grew, as well as the development of new tools and techniques in mining and excavating took hold. Tribes soon encountered one another on a continuous basis, requiring a more established system.
The earliest recordings show that originally there were 24 distinct clans, each with their clan elder. Each clan was rated in importance by the amount of wealth excavated in each of their holdings. A wealthy clan could expect to benefit from first choice of commanding a newly found vein of precious metals or gems. They can call upon a larger workforce as lesser clans will attach themselves in a master-servant relationship, therefore increasing the clan’s self worth and status.
Clans are named after the first chieftains however mythological origins suggest that clan names were bestowed by Ethelbrin himself. Today dwarves identify themselves by their clan name. Anyone familiar with dwarfen clans can derive certain traits or historical information about that person and their origins. For some, a dwarf from a certain clan can mean expected behaviours and stereotypes, (eg. Silvervein dwarves are all greedy and will never share the location of a vein no matter how small in size or value.)
Today, 18 clans remain. The missing six were either absorbed by more powerful clans or were wiped out due to war, famine, disease or some other cataclysmic event. See History of the Dwarves for further details.
What follows is the current list of 24 clans. The first 18 are those that exist to this day. Those with an (Ex) next to them are now extinct clans;
- Khalid Zur
- Cargmere (Ex)
- Darkenfell (Ex)
- Grimmenson (Ex)
- Odhrain (Ex)
- Fairnmahl (Ex)
- Eltherne (Ex)
Although dwarves dwell mainly below the mountains throughout Morvia, there are many who have chosen to seek a life amongst the nations of men. For a dwarf, taking such a step can be quite daunting. With nothing above your head but sky, a dwarf can develop agoraphobia which is a common psychological problem that surface dwarves seem to suffer. However those who are able to integrate with those who live on the surface seem to do well, bringing their skills of engineering, architecture, smithing and brewing. Indeed, many nations treasure the works of the dwarves and many are contracted to build many of the castles, and palaces of men. They are also treasured for their military tactics and many land professions as advisors to many kings.
Dwarves can be found in many of the larger human towns and cities, having no interest in creating settlements of their own. There are sections in many large cities and towns that are wholly populated by dwarves. They see the world as a violent, dangerous place, ripe for opportunity and riches and as such the greatest population of dwarves can be found in the city of Myt Port. Some may have to contend with prejudice and jeers regarding their less than tall stature but many have learned that such insults only prove to test their patience.
Their architectural skill is evident throughout Morvia, especially in the human nations. Examples of their work can be seen in Highstone, the great bridge known as Wizard’s Crossing, The Palace of King Rouen IIX in Etoillion, the great sea port of Bordeleaux and many countless other castles and fortresses throughout the land.
Dwarves who live on the surface world are there for one of two reasons. They have chosen to go or they have been forced to. Many dwarves who have brought shame to their clan may receive as punishment, permanent exile from the dwarfen realms. Others may be hunted criminals who have managed to escape capture and choose to seek refuge amongst the cities of the surface world.
Others who chose to leave the dwarfen world are those few who seek adventure and the best way to pursue the life of an adventurer is on the surface. These dwarves are typically young, idealistic and feel constrained by the strict social paradigms of the dwarfen clan. Their view of the world is one of boundless dangers and challenges. Many may look to the realm of the arcane as a means to explore the world and seek the tutelage of a human wizard to pass on their knowledge. These rare dwarves have left the clan for such pursuits as arcane casters amongst the dwarfen clans as they are merely distrusted and would suffer the suspicions of their fellow clansmen.
History of the Dwarves
As mentioned above the very first record of dwarves in the land that would eventually become known as Morvia is recorded in the chronicles of the elves known as the Recount of Dreykin. Here the Recount speaks of an aggressive subterranean dwelling people who had a rudimentary knowledge of tools and appeared that their culture’s purpose was for war. In what is now considered the Divided Kingdoms, the elves record a massive invading force, “…armed as they were with much axes and cutting blades. No love for things that grow, these Dwyarfen, as they are wont to call themselves, only burn and cut. A cruel need to destroy seems to be their purpose and our lands seem to be object of that desire…” – excerpt from the Recount of Dreykin, Lorescroll of Saranathrad, 8th Coronal of the Eldar.
Although the history of the elves describes the dwarves as a warlike tribe from the depths of the Mid-Scar Range, their origins were a mystery to the surface world. In the great halls of the Hewn Account, which are some of the oldest recordings made by the dwarves, there are clues as to their origins. Here, if one were permitted, can be found the traces of their mythology and their creation as an elder race.
The domain of the mountains both above and below belonged to Ethelbrin the Delver. One of the older gods who shunned the company of both Dellabrine his sister and creator of the gnomes, and Beruthiel, lord of the Eldar. Ethelbrin found solace in the quiet of the mountains. He saw beauty in stone and especially loved gold and silver, and claimed them as his gift to the mortal realm. After a milennia of travelling the mountains and discovering the numerous caverns with their wondrous crystals, minerals and gems, he decided that their beauty should be shared by the world.
Thus he created from within the mountains two towering volcanoes. He named them The Sisters and from their boiling depths issued forth the treasures of the mountains. Eons passed and Ethelbrin discovered that his sister Dellabrine and Beruthiel remained unmoved by his gifts. Dellabrine fawned over her gnomes who loved more than anything in the world, good tilled earth and a bountiful harvest. The Eldar of Beruthiel cared not for the mountains and made little use of stone and metal. Their hearts were in nature. Their love of the leaf and wood as well as the arcane arts turned them away from Ethelbrin and his gifts. This darkened Ethelbrin’s thoughts and he came to his sister and asked her why she spurned his gift. Dellabrine told her dear brother that the mountains frighten her gnomes so that when the sisters erupt with such anger they seek to run from it’s wrath. Although the gnomes have a love for gold and silver, they would not dare risk the anger of the sisters. Ethelbrin then went to Beruthiel. When asked why his Eldar did not leave the woods to accept his gift of the mountains Beruthiel told Ethelbrin that the Eldar care not for the danger of the mountains. No tree can grow there, he said and no creature of natures beauty can be found in the wastes that are your home.
Ethelbrin went away from his sister and Beruthiel and sought out his father in the lands of the Elder Gods. Thorebrin Morvios, Father of the Elder Gods spoke with his son. Detecting the blackness in his son’s heart, he asked Ethelbrin why he found no joy in the world made for him. Ethelbrin declared the gifts he brought to the world, he explained the scorn of Beruthiel and the spurn of Dellabrine. Ethelbrin beseeches his father, “Allow me to bring to your realms a people of my own. Those who will love my gifts and see the beauty of the mountains that I have wrought.” But Thorebrin Morvios saw the fall in his sons heart and spoke.
“Were I to allow such a thing to come to pass if it were not for the blackness of your speech. Verily you seek to supplant your sister and Beruthiel of their gifts. Your gift will be known in time young Ethelbrin. Now cloud your heart no longer on this and rejoice in what I have created.” But Ethelbrin went away from his father with despair in his thoughts and returned to the mountains that were his home, and deep within he slept as though he were rock itself. His dreams were dark and his sleep was long. The world above never gave thought again to Ethelbrin and his name never crossed the lips of those in the mortal realm.
20,000 summers had come to pass, and Ethelbrin had in his slumber found that he had become one with the rock. So filled with his desire of creating his own people were his dreams that when he awoke he cracked and shifted and a great earthquake rend the mountains. The sisters, sleeping with their creator too roared to life and the deep fires were alight. And from the body of Ethelbrin, the boulders and shards of rock that fell from his form sprung to life. Hardy and stout they were and their manner was dour like their lords. And Ethelbrin was glad and bestowed the name of Dwarf upon his unwitting creation. In all 24 shards fell from his form, each one to create a clan of their own and their love of the mountains and the riches within were born from their lord and god. Thus the race known as the dwarves was born unto the world.
Before any nation in Morvia was established, before men even came to these shores, the dwarves dwelled deep in the mountains known as the Mid-Scar Range. Their culture of stone cutting and mining grew and expanded without even knowing the world above. It is not known, not even to the dwarves, how long they lived in the root of these mountains before coming to the surface but their 24 clans had already hollowed out much of that vast range.
When the first clans formed, they sought to carve out a home of their own. Led by a clan chieftain, these small groups dug deep into the mountains, each creating a sub-culture. Each clan became their own self-supporting branch, each with their own developed way of life. Many shared similarities in clothing, skill in shaping stone, and language, however the differences were more pronounced. Some clans built good relations with others, while elsewhere, skirmishes grew from minor squabbles and grudges.
The expansion of the clans resulted in the hollowing out of the southern ranges where in particular, one clan tunneled a vast holding. Uncovering a large vein of gold, the tunneling grew to a fevered pitch. Some clans became wealthier than others and soon grudges and skirmishes turned into clan wars.
The Clan Wars
Wealth sits at the heart of the clan wars. Clans who were fortunate enough to find wealth within their holdings were able to trade successfully, while others were less affluent and became the work force for other clans. In what is known as the Southern Range south of the Divided Kingdoms, the clan known as Krazzendur held the greatest of all holdings. Their domain was the largest of all save clan Hezhnak who were located around the sisters. With their accumulated wealth their chieftain commanded a vast region. Many lesser clans paid homage to clan Krazzendur and were able to share in it’s prosperity. The chieftain of clan Krazzendur began to see himself more as a king than a mere chieftain and sought to gain even more prestige. In an unheard of announcement, clan Krazzendur invaded the domains of the lesser clans that neighboured his own. This caused the remaining clans to react and prepared for war as they too feared that clan Krazzendur would continue their push.
War ensued between clan Krazzendur and Hezhnak with lesser clans taking sides with one or the other. This managed to splinter the dwarfen clans in two. Clan Hezhnak was a family of warriors who were also adept at smithing weapons and armor, while Clan Krazzendur had the advantage of numbers. The battles began with small encounters but eventually expanded into larger more deadly clashes. Clan Ethelrune, the caretakers of the teachings of the dwarfen gods sought to end the wars but the politicking of the chieftains was never ending.
In the first ten years of the clan wars one of the lesser clans, Clan Cargmere was decimated by Clan Hezhnak in a battle known as The Battle at Krakzen Bridge. The remaining members were absorbed into Clan Krazzendur. The clan wars continued to wage over 20 years before the final battle between Clan Krazzendur and Clan Hezhnak at the Battle of the Great Forge brought it to a bloody end. It was at this battle that both chieftains were killed and that Clan Ethelrune stepped in to bring it to an end with the power of their god Ethelbrin to bare. The chieftain of Clan Ethelrune was named Thorborin and when the battle was over took control of the remaining clans and united them under the banner of their god, The Stone-God Ethelbrin. For many generations, change was slow to come but eventually acceptance prevailed as the church of Ethelbrin took hold. The clashes between clans ebbed and eventually stopped, allowing a new age of prosperity to dawn.
The clan wars had ended and the union of the clans under the banner of Ethelbrin, had honed the dwarfen skills in both stonework and weapon smithing. In addition, it was agreed that any wealth found within the mountains would be shared equally amongst the 23 remaining clans. The vein of gold found in the southern mountains called out to the dwarves and soon they returned to the work of mining this gold. At first the signs were not noticed. Despite the experience with working rock, the thirst for gold was greater than the safety of the clans and no one believed that the mountains could ever crash down upon them. One dwarfen engineer named Varrison of the Clan Silvervein noticed the signs of buckling and the ever widening cracks in the tunnels. The shoring up of the tunnels was being neglected as gold was being removed at a rate never seen before. Despite Varrison’s warnings, the mining continued.
Without warning and without chance of escape, the mountains in the southern ranges, after centuries of tunneling and mining came crashing down, caving in the former holdings of Clan Krazzendur where now dwelt the clans Darkenfell and Grimmenson. It was the greatest natural disaster that the dwarfen people have ever faced. Two clans were decimated and any survivors did not count as a viable number to continue the clans who were then absorbed. A result of the cave in known as The Cataclysm brought new dangers.
First, it brought orcs and goblins who dwelled in the area. Invasions were slow to come but over the years, as the dwarves still reeled from their loss, orcs and goblins were being spotted in the outer reaches of their realm. Soon, war was upon them again, but this time, it came from without. War with the orcs and goblins honed the warlike nature of the dwarves and they became an effective fighting force. The Cataclysm also introduced the dwarves to the surface world. This was the one event that would again create a great divide in the dwarfen people. Never had they realized that a world above them existed. The dwarfen psyche took a tremendous hit from this event. To some it is the point where the dwarfen race lost it’s identity.
The Dwarf/Elf Wars
The Recount of Dreykin goes into great detail concerning the Dwarf/Elf Wars as do the Hewnish Halls of the Dwarves. From the reckoning of men, this terrible and deadly war occurred some 10,000 years before men came to the shores of Morvia and to this day the scars are borne by the Elves and Dwarves. How the war started is mired in debate even today but it is agreed that once the Cataclysm occurred, it was unavoidable. With the dwarfen people hedged in with war from the orcs and goblins feeding in to their clans from the collapsed ranges, and with the traditional means of food becoming scarce also as a result, dwarves had no choice but to head to the surface.
The elven race first encountered the dwarves in a spot of wood in the area now known as the Duchy of Kenza just east of the Mid-Scar Range. Unable to communicate, the elven mage in the group attempted to use magic as a means to overcome the obstacle. He was beheaded by the dwarfen captain before the elf could complete the incantation. The elves, unaccustomed to such rage were slaughtered. The dwarves quickly spread and grew in number as they took hold of the forest, burning and cutting as they went. When they came across a small band of orcs, it solidified in the minds of the dwarves that the pale skinned beings with the pointed ears were working with them and clearly had to be eradicated. Paranoia grew. Stories returned to the dwarves under the mountains, and especially to Clan Ethelrune. The source of their enemy had been discovered and the time to strike while the iron was hot was now.
With the orcs and goblins now quelled from invasion, the dwarves girded themselves for war with the intent of ridding the orc masters once and for all. Led by Clan Ethelrune, the dwarfen warhost gathered upon the surface and quickly burned and destroyed nearly everything in their path. Elves everywhere came to the defence of the land but it was for naught. The dwarves with their ability to withstand assaults and their curious war machines halted at nothing. The elven city of Fallethiel was the first to become besieged. Two years of constant siege drained the elven people. They hoped that the winters would cause the resolve of the dwarfen armies to falter but they proved to be more adaptable than anticipated. Fallethiel was defeated and its outer wall was finally breached. It’s elven Coronal, beheaded. The dwarves burned the entire city to the ground and moved on.
Elven attempts to slow the march of the dwarves failed at every turn. Sorcerers were brought in from the northern reaches to act as a line of defence in case the great capitol of Dreyland was ever threatened. Elven emissaries were dispatched to speak with the dwarves but to no avail. Emissaries were beheaded and the remains returned to Elven Coronals.
For ten years war raged. It moved from the south to the north and elven settlements were being overrun. It wasn’t until the elves made a bold move to end the strife and send the dwarfen people back to their mountainous lands once and for all. Utilizing age old magics and arcane secrets created long ago by the elven gods themselves, the elves created a magical weapon that would shift the battle, for better or for worse.
Dwarves had marched for over a decade and penetrated deep into the elven territories. Their goal was at hand and the native home of the elves, the Dreylands, was in sight. The final battle was not to go as planned however. The skies above the dwarves had darkened and for the first time they felt fear. Above, the heavens were filled with winged dragons. Creatures of such immense power and strength that in one battle, the dwarfen armies were quickly in retreat. The elf weapon was unleashed and brought an end to the dwarf/elf war, but it did not have the result that was intended.
The dwarves had retreated to their mountainous homelands and there wallowed in their loss. Not only had the orc masters held victory, they also brought an even worse weapon against them. The dwarves felt that Ethelbrin had abandoned them, that they had failed the gods and that they were marked for doom. Clan Ethelrune and their cleric leaders were broken, the line was destroyed in the battle against the dragons meaning that the dwarves were leaderless. The dwarf/elf wars were over but the results of that historic conflict were immense.
The Reformation and Reclamation of the Dwarfen People
What remained of the dwarfen people after the dwarf/elf wars was a mere shadow of what they were. Paranoia led them to war and ultimately to their near total annihilation. But hope remained in some. Orcs and goblins continued to seek entry into the dwarfen holdings and with the dwarves so demoralized, they soon gained traction. Clans had no fight left in them and each battle yielded more of their home to the massing orcs and goblins.
It is written in the Hewnish Halls that a vision had come to a young dwarfen miner named Gedrelle of the Clan Khalid-Zur who was visited by a female claiming to be a goddess of her people much neglected. Her name was Sharlindra and she had come to choose her champion. It was said that when she had woken, Gedrelle was transformed with the spirit of Sharlindra and called the clans to the Great Forge under the sisters. There the clans came, elders and chieftains all as well as the remaining clerics of Ethelrune. Gedrelle told her story to the masses and roused their souls. She revealed the story of Sharlindra, and reaching into the great forge itself without protection drew from within a mighty axe, aglow with fire and divine magics. Holding it aloft, she presented the weapon of the dwarfen goddess and was there named the Azrhei, the Defender of the Dwarves. The clans fell to their knees before their protector. The hope and salvation of the dwarfen people had finally arrived. The Azrhei called together all of the clan chieftains and like the clerics of old, united the clans again with purpose. Instead of a ruling clan, the dwarfen people would select their first queen. Gedrelle was proclaimed Queen of the dwarves and as their protector, she would lead them to an age of reformation.
Leading her armies, the Queen faced against the onslaught of the orcs and goblins. Her presence brought to bare the resolve of the dwarfen people and soon, the orcs and goblins had been driven out of their domains, and sent back to the surface from whence they came. The reclaiming of their home complete, the Queen set out to complete another task. Along with a small party of clerics and advisers, Gedrelle set out to meet with elves. Her aim, was to sue for peace between their peoples. This did not settle well with the clans and many wondered if their choice of queen was hasty.
When she came to the forest of the Dreylands, she and her group were confronted with a defeated people. It had been 200 years since the dwarf/elf wars and much had changed since their absence. It was learned that war for the elves continued. The weapon that they had wrought, turned against their creators and the dragons warred against the elves. Queen Gedrelle had before her a chance to reclaim the glory of the dwarfen people and take the crown from the Elf Coronal before her. Instead she extended her hand in friendship to the elf king and said that her axe has come to defend, not conquer. Thus began the great alliance between dwarf and eldar.
What followed was a hunt for the ages. Dragons were brought down by the valiant efforts of the Azrhei and elven sorcerers. Great were their deeds and heroic were their adventures. When the dragons were driven out of the elven lands, the two races proclaimed an alliance that would forever stand. The reformation of the dwarfen people had held and the hereditary rule of the sovereign king or queen was established and has continued to this day.
The dwarfen pantheon is considered to be some of the oldest religions in Morvia, second only to the Eldar. Its structure, like most in the world is polytheistic however, unlike most, dwarves have chosen a specific god and clan-lines have been divided amongst the different deities as a result.
The dwarfen religious structure is based around a theocratic system. A head cleric is elected by the priests of that particular deity who is granted the title Einar. The Einar is the highest level that one can attain in the clergy. Beneath the Einar are his attendant priests and remaining members of the clergy who tend to the day to day affairs of the spiritual needs of the clan or clans. The Einar maintains his position until death or removed by the priest council. The Einar acts as the liaison between the council and their revered god. It is said that the Einar is spoken to by their god (how much this is true depends on who you ask) through mystic means and as such presents their wishes to the people.
Only the Einar is permitted to bring the dead back to the living and as such is a rare event that only he is permitted to perform. Any cleric performing such a miracle without the divine permission of the Einar would face severe prosecution as a result, including both defrocking and/or imprisonment.
The Dwarfen Pantheon
What follows is the dwarfen pantheon. Those detailed below are the more popular gods and goddesses. There are many more that will be explored in the future.
Ethelbrin (The Stone Father, Creator of the Dwarves, The Delver)
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Domains: Earth, Glory, Rune, Strength
Ethelbrin is seen as the father of dwarves and is central to their creation myths. Ethelbrin is seen as a strong, long bearded dwarf shaped out of stone and gold. In his left hand is the axe symbolizing Glory while in his right the hammer symbolizing strength.
Worshipping clans: Ethelrune, Isgard, Bregthor
Sharlindra ([[The Lady Paladin, Shield Maiden of the Dwarves)
Alignment: Lawful Good
Domains: Glory, Good, Law, Protection, War
Sharlindra came to Gedrelle, the first Azhrei. She was an unknown goddess to her people and as such brought them from a time of darkness into a period of peace and power. She is depicted as an armored dwarfen female paladin bearing the Axe of the Azhrei.
Worshipping clans: Khalid-Zur, Killian, Klanarch, Ruathain, Sigmhal
Giltneir (Lord of Treasure, The Gilded Idol, The Argent Hand)
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Domains: Luck, Rune, Trickery
Giltneir lords over all that is gold and silver. Greed is his driving thirst and the riches within the mountains are his drink of choice. Giltneir is venerated by those who see riches and wealth as a means to salvation.
Worshipping clans: Silvervein, Uthrain, Krakzen
Ulthanak (God of the Forge, The Blackhammer, The Red Iron)
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Domains: Artifice, Earth, Fire, Strength
The Blackhammer is the lord of the forge. His realm is within the Sisters where the Great Forge is located. It’s molten fires have been responsible for building virtually everything that the dwarves have fashioned from iron and steel. All weapons and armor are blessed by his priests once created. Ulthanak is depicted as a large black obsidian dwarf, bare chested with a large hammer in one hand and a blacksmiths tongs in the other.
Worshipping clans: All clans however clan Malduin, the master-smiths claim their Einar as Ulthanak’s chosen disciple.
Veles (The Tunnelling Goddess, Patron Lady of Miners)
Alignment: Neutral Good
Domains: Darkness, Earth, Good, Travel
Those who continue to tunnel and mine throughout the holdings of the dwarfen mountains seek the favour of Veles. She oversees the mines and ensures that they are safe from collapse and aids in the miners finding rich veins of gold and silver as well as mithril. She is depicted as a female dwarf dressed in a miners trappings bearing an iron pick.
Worshipping clans: All, however clan Laris’s Einar is the chosen cleric of Veles.
Vendrad (Personification of Violent Death, Lasher of Souls)
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Domains: Chaos, Death, Destruction, Evil,
For every pantheon there are those who personify violence, evil and death. The dwarves are no different and it is in Vendrad that these things are realized. Vendrad does not seek the death of dwarves specifically, but of all life, no matter where it is found. Vendrad and his influences are feared by all however, there are whispers that secretive members of his church have a hand in dwarfen fortunes. Vendrad is depicted as a tall emaciated dwarf. His beard is made of blood issuing from his mouth filled with rows of sharp teeth. In his hands he clutches a spiked mace which is awash in the pulpy flesh of his victims.
Worshipping clans: None. At least none that will admit to his worship.
Bannick (The Brewmaster, The Keg Lord, Master of the Golden Brew)
Alignment: Neutral Good
Domains: Charm, Community, Healing, Liberation
As much as the clan is everything to a dwarf, so too is the great dwarven ales and lagers created by their brewmasters. Presiding over this golden treasure is the patron lord of the dwarfen brew known as Owran. The god also represents revelry, celebration and healing. The Einar is also the High Brewmaster belonging to clan Uthrain who are the most revered brewmasters throughout the dwarfen realms.
Worshipping clans: Uthrain, all other clans to some degree.