The Descent of Dwarvenkind


Whatever hushed trade had occurred with the few elves that emerged from the forest clearly left the merchants delighted and songs were sung with gusto come the morning. The company only quietened again when the terrain became more difficult and all efforts were focussed on fording purling rivers and traversing valleys without loss of wagon or beast. Under the towering Aramon Mountains, the good humour quickly returned around the campfire, helped along by some generous flagons of mead. As the merrymaking settled for the night, a tale of little shiny warriors began.

In the foothills of the Aramon Mountains scouts from the Waraxe Clan came across a settlement of dwarves. For centuries the dwarves had inhabited the vale, toiling in extensive mines and conveying ore and gems to the surface. Their furnaces always ablaze and workshops never silent, smiths mastered metals never before encountered by the orcs, producing robust tools, powerful weapons and impregnable platemail.

Attempts to loot the dwarven settlement proved disastrous. To the dismay of the orcen warriors their spears and arrows simply bounced off the metal clad dwarven defenders. The Waraxe Clan was quickly forced to retreat and warnings soon spread to the other clans of the fierce 'little shiny warriors' that inhabited the mountains.

Contact with the orcs alarmed the dwarves to such an extent the council of elders decided to transfer all settlements underground where they could be better defended. Countless concealed entrances served a warren of tunnels. As they excavated deep into the mountain to expand their mines, exhausted galleries were converted into noisy workshops, grand halls, domestic quarters, kitchens and armouries.

Many years later when orcs returned to the Aramon Mountains they found only abandoned settlements. Suspicious over the disappearance of the dwarves from such a rich valley, scouts dispersed in search of them. Those unlucky enough to stray near one of the entrances to the underground fortress were never seen again. The orcs became convinced evil mountain spirits had devoured the dwarves and their own scouts. For years to come the Aramon Mountains were considered a cursed land by the orcs and they would pass through it as swiftly as possible.