History of the Dwarves of Corwyn

INTRODUCTION

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Like many of the elder races of Corwyn, the exact origins of the dwarves are lost in myth and legend. The known history of the dwarvish race began in the early years of the Second Age, when the dwarves appeared on the surface of Corwyn for the first time.

In the beginning, there were five great Dwarven Clans, each of whom was led by a designated tribal leader called a "Clanmaster." The race of Dwarves kept mostly to themselves. Most were simple miners and crafters, ever in search of more wealth. But, out of sheer necessity, the dwarves were also fierce fighters. For only the dwarven race had to fight for every bit of its claimed territory.

The dwarves did most of this fighting against the the race of goblins; the oldest and most hated enemies of the dwarves. The goblins also lived under those same mountains the dwarves desired for their own homes; as a result, these wars were usually fought for control of territory and natural resources.

By the second century of the Second Age, the dwarves first made contact with the race of elves on Corwyn. The dwarves were in awe of the Elves' mastery of magic, and strongly desired the use of that magic to aid them in their mining and crafting efforts, as well as their wars against the hated goblin tribes.

THE "GRAVEST INSULT"


As their wars with the hated goblins grew desperate, the dwarves turned to the race of elves for the gift of magic to aid them in their struggle. The Elves responded with a proclamation in the year 232/2, made by the Synfari (the elvish Council of Mages); it was a stinging blow to the dwarves.

The elves flatly refused to share the power of magic with the race of dwarves, for the elves deemed them 'unfit' because of their greed and perceived desire to use magic only to increase their wealth. The dwarves never forgave nor forgot this slight, and the elves would come to bitterly regret that decision. Some have said the dwarves were greedy, but they were never evil by nature and once any dwarf extended a hand in friendship, a permanent bond was established. This elven refusal became known to the Dwarves as the "Gravest Insult."

About 300 years later, in the year 537/2, the Elvish Civil War, or War of Wrath, broke out. In desperation, the Silvar-Elves called upon the dwarves for aid against the Dark-Elves. The dwarves flatly refused the request, for their own bitterness over that earlier slight still burned centuries later. The bitterness felt over these slights has strained relations between the races of dwarves and elves, even to this very day.

After the dwarves refused them, the Silvar-Elves reached out to the fledgling tribes of humans scattered across western Corwyn. All seven tribes of humans responded out of fear of the Dark-Elves. As a reward for their aid, the elves gave the gift of magic to the race of humanity and the Synfari helped establish the Council of Sorcerë to control its use.

It was also during this era, that the races of humans and dwarves met and grew friendly toward each other. By the end of the War of Wrath, the Dark-Elves had been defeated and driven underground, the human Council of Sorcerë had built a great fortress into the base of Mount. Orendren called Erôn-Mystarë, and the races of humans and dwarves were prospering.

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THE LIGHTS OF THE FIRST FORGE


During the Second Age, the five great Dwarf-Clans made the monumental decision to literally carve out homes for themselves in various mountain-ranges across Corwyn. Each of the five Dwarven leaders led their Clans on long and hazardous journeys to a different mountainous region of Corwyn. When the dwarves reached the mountains they wished to claim as their home, they were were forced to engage in a series of bloody wars to drive out the goblins already living there.

Each of the five clans conquered a specific mountain range and then declared it their new homeland. These five clans eventually founded five different Dwarven nations, each centered around the mountains their Clan had conquered, and four of those clan leaders were crowned as kings. These Five Dwarven nations were:

  • AZKAR: The first mountain range to be conquered was the Grey Mountains in the year 663/2. The dwarven leader who conquered these mountains was Vharig the Conqueror of the Velenkhür Clan. Vharig soon established himself as the first King of the dwarven realm he named "Azkar." He ordered a great city built inside the Grey Mountains called Darôk and made it his new capitol, and he and his descendants sat upon the famed Anvil Throne.
  • URKHAR: The second mountain range to be conquered was the Swordpoint Mountains in the year 672/2. The dwarven leader who conquered these mountains was Kyros the Proud of the Krandåhk Clan. Kyros soon established himself as the first King of the dwarvren realm he named "Urkhar." He, too ordered a great city built inside the Swordpoint Mountains called Thürgen Feyr and made it his new capitol, and he and his descendants sat upon the famed Firestone Chair.
  • CHOKAR: The third mountain range to be conquered was the Axehead Mountains in the year 757/2. The dwarven leader who conquered these northern mountains was Gromnir the Invincible of the Inorlaiken Clan. Gromnir soon established himself as the first King of the dwarven realm he named "Chokar." He, too ordered a great city built inside the Axehead Mountains called Arkan Feyr and made it his new capitol, and he and his descendants sat upon the famed Greystone Chair.
  • KHURZHAD: The fourth mountain range to be conquered was the Mountains of Mist in the year 880/2, which the dwarves named "Khûrzhad" in their native tongue. The dwarven leader who conquered these southern mountains was Tharan the Strong of the Arvedui Clan. Tharan soon established himself as the first King of Khûrzhad. He too ordered a great city built inside the Mountains of Mist called Orthan Feyr and made it his new home, and he and his descendants sat upon the famed Tilvium Throne.
  • KHAROS-THUNGOL: The fifth and final mountain range to be conquered was the Cairn Mountains in the year 925/2, which the dwarves named "Kharos-Thûngol" in their native tongue. The dwarven leader who conquered these southern mountains was Martog the Wise of the Vorheis Clan. Unlike the other four dwarf leaders, Martog refused to be crowned king and soon established a Ruling Council called the Marat. He ordered a great city built inside the Cairn Mountains called Skarlahn-Feyr and made it his new home, and he and his descendants always had a seat on the Marat council.

The establishment the five Dwarf-realms, which the dwarves called: the "Lights of the First Forge," prospered for many centuries, and their dwarven citizens knew nothing but wealth and contentment.

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THE STRUGGLE AGAINST ALOKKAIR


But all the evil powers on Corwyn had not been defeated and the happy times of the five dwarf-clans would end in the second century of the Third Age. In their war against the Silvar-Elves, the Dark-Elves had created a hybrid race of evil half-elf / half-humans called the Gauth, who were both great warriors and powerful mages.

The greatest of these Gauth mages was named Alokkair, who himself had been a faithful servant of the Dark-Elves for many long years. Unlike many of his kind, he had not been slain in the War of Wrath, but rather had been driven into exile along with many other Gauth.

Alokkair greatly desired the magical secrets of the Saar Council and their castle of Erôn-Mystarë. So, around the second century of the Third Age, he came out from hiding with an army of Gauth and orc warriors and declared war on the Council of Sorcerë.

The Saar sent out calls for aid to every race on Corwyn; the dwarves, along with the elves and humans, answered the call. All five Dwarf-Kings marched east with all their clans' military strength. The campaign against Alokkair was long, costly, and bitter, but ended with a victory at the Battle of Orgorod in the year 252/3. The dwarves had fought bravely, but tragically; three of the five Dwarf-Kings; Theron Redbeard, Kelthor Hammerhand, and Vorlag the Venerable were all slain in the battle.

The Council of Sorcerë was extremely grateful to the dwarves for their sacrifices in the fight against Alokkair. In gratitude, the Saar crafted five powerful magical purple stones, called the Elatir, and gave one to each of the five Dwarf Clans.

One was given to the Arvedui Clan for the Dwarf-realm of Khûrzhad, a second was given to the Krandåhk Clan for the Dwarf-realm of Urkhar, a third was given to the Inorlaiken Clan for the Dwarf-realm of Chokar, a fourth was given to the Velenkhür Clan for the Dwarf-realm of Azkar, and the fifth was given to the Vorheis Clan for the Dwarf-realm of Kharos-Thûngol.

In the early Third Age, the five dwarven leaders took their magical orbs back to their respective homes, then used the Elatir to expand their five greatest cities and mine fabulous wealth for themselves.

THE WAR OF SORROWS


By the Third Age, the dwarves had built five great realms on Corwyn, but by doing so, had also made many bitter enemies.

In the north, the goblin races bitterly hated the three dwarf-realms and always plotted to overthrow them and steal their enormous wealth. In the year 409/3, the goblins began their long-planned campaign to retake the three northern mountain ranges.

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This devastating conflict became known as the War of Sorrows. The war was waged mercilessly between the three northern Dwarven nations and a gigantic army of orcs, goblins, and their giant allies. Most of the conflict was fought either deep underground or high up in narrow rocky mountain valleys. The war was ultimately won by the dwarves, but at a terrible cost. It had lasted for nearly three centuries and cost the lives of over a third of the entire dwarvish population.

For the dwarves, the lowest point in the war was the fall of Thürgen Feyr; the capital of Urkhar, which in 592/3 was sacked by a powerful goblin-champion named Grumak the Skullcrusher. The city had been under siege for seventeen bloody years, and eventually its dwarven defenders were beaten down and their city conquered.

When the city fell, King Khargan the Luckless, was slain in single combat and his Elatir captured by Grumak. Even thousands of years later, dwarvish hatred burns strongly against the goblins that destroyed the city, slaughtered its citizens, and stole its magical orb.

After the fall of the city, the dwarvish hero Celathor the Avenger, swore to recover it. He spent nearly sixty years hunting Grumak underground, constantly battling goblin hordes, until he slew Grumak in single combat and recovered the lost Elatir. He then returned the orb to Thürgen Feyr to rebuild it, but the Dwarf-realm never recovered.

The War of Sorrows finally ended at the crucial and titanic battle of Khonë Valley in the year 655/3. All of the combined goblin and orc tribes were defeated. The war had lasted nearly 250 years, and both sides were exhausted. The ancient Dwarf-kings Celathor Kronehelm and Goran Inorlaiken were slain in this costliest of battles.

The War of Sorrows was a disaster that the northern dwarves never fully recovered from. In addition to the city of Thürgen Feyr, its king, and its Elatir, all three northern ruling clans were decimated and their kings slain. This chaos resulted in a new Kronehelm Clan that united the three weakened dwarf realms into a single entity that came to be called the Dwarf-realm of Orrek.

THE GREAT RIFT


The dwarves were not satisfied with the northern mountain ranges of Corwyn. Ever in search of more riches, the dwarves began even more ambitious campaigns in the two great southern mountain ranges of Corwyn as well.

The southern Dwarf-realm of Khûrzhad was founded by the Dwarf-king Tharan the Strong of the Arvedui Clan. Khûrzhad thrived for 1,545 years before it was destroyed in 884/3 during the Great Rift, a terrible earthquake in 884/3, which was of such magnitude, that it shook the very foundations of the continent of Corwyn and caused an enormous section of land south of the Cairn Mountains to sink beneath the waters of the Sea of Ralas.

This was how the great Isle of Renthara was created. Before this time, the island had actually been attached to the continent of Corwyn. Several human and elvish civilizations also perished in the catastrophe, and the remnants of all their cities and towers still lie deep beneath the surface of both the Wyn Myr and the Sea of Ralas.

The great southern Dwarf-realm of Khûrzhad and its capital city of Orthan Feyr were lost, along with all its inhabitants and its Elatir.

It was this disaster that led to the desire among the dwarves to re-establish a fifth dwarf-realm; which ultimately led to the expedition to found the new dwarven nation of Kronar many years later.

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THE FOUNDING OF KRONAR


Because of the loss of Orthan Feyr in the Great Rift, the northern dwarves set out to build a new. fifth colony, greater than any of the other four dwarf-realms then in existence.

The Salakrün Mountains far to the southeast were chosen by King Relgathor the 'Far-Sighted' of Orrek as the best location and soon the dwarves began a successful campaign to rid that region of orcs and goblins.

The expedition was led by Haskanar the Bold of the Durthas Clan. After a twenty-year long campaign, the Dwarf-realm of Kronar was founded in 987/3, and the greatest of all Dwarf-cities; Krone Feyr was built there soon after.

When originally founded, the realm of Kronar was intended only to be a southern colony of the northern dwarvish realm of Orrek and to replace the lost fifth Dwarf-realm of Khûrzhad, but with the discovery of rich deposits of Bloodstones, the Dwarf-realm of Kronar became much more. It eventually became the wealthiest of the Dwarf-realms, even surpassing the northern realms in riches.

Also, Because of this newfound wealth, the dwarves of the Kronar were immediately targeted by their orc and goblin enemies for destruction. In the year 1079/4, the Dwarf-realm of Kronar was invaded and the city of Krone Feyr was destroyed.

The loss of Krone Feyr and the dwarf-realm of Kronar was a terrible blow that the race of dwarves has never recovered from.

On orders from King Relgathor Kronehelm of Orrek, Haskanar of the Durthas Clan took many dwarvish warriors south in the year 967/3. After a twenty-year military campaign, Haskanar completed his conquest of the Salakrün Mountains, and in 987/3 founded the Dwarf-realm of Kronar. That same year Haskanar was anointed the first Dwarf-king of the new realm.

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For centuries after, the dwarves of Orrek dreamed of sending another expedition south to retake the ruins and rebuild their once-great city.

In 699/6, a great dwarvish warrior named Rhom 'Stoneheart' led a group of dwarves south to retake Krone Feyr and rebuild Kronar. The new dwarf-realm was called Grimhold, but lasted only 27 years, before it too was destroyed by an orc invasion.

Over the last 500 years, the Dwarf-Kings of Orrek have yearned to send yet another expedition, but so far it has not come to pass.