Dwarven Kingdom of Adamantia (book)
The Dwarven Kingdom of Adamantia
By Kraggur Kveldcharn
Authors Note: This history has been assembled from fragments recovered from the Adamantian Kingdom. While the tone itself is more antagonistic than one I would take, I have attempted to keep to the original recordings. - KK
The Age of Myths (? until 3200 BL)
Between our ancient wars with the Elves were the first encounters with the people calling themselves "Luethra" from the southern continent of Kermoria. We were distrustful of them, rightful so, given their similar appearance to our Elven enemies. At first there was trade between Kermoria and Albaria, but when the Leuthra failed to halt trading with our enemies when war broke out again, we sealed the passes. For many centuries this proved effective, until colonies were established on M'Riss, again allowing the Luethra to conduct trade with the Elves.
It is worth noting, that our sealing of the passes did not result in conflict, aside from an occasional skirmish, with the Luethra. They left us to defending our lands from Elven incursion without interference, aside from their attempts to maintain trade.
When the wars against the Elves returned to uneasy peace, we reopened the southern passes, but to our surprise found little trade waiting, and instead received impassioned pleas for assistance against some sort of withering sickness known as the "Rasman Plague". Though both Dwarven and Elven healers went south, our arts were unable to prevail, even though the healers apparently did not catch this plague. Soon almost all trade died with the southlands, and the Luethra passed from our knowledge save for occasional traders and warnings of civil war, outbreaks of plague, and legends of shape shifters called the "Ocular".
Coming of the Gorbesh (3200 BL until 670BL)
Over the course of the next centuries, Dwarven might grew in the mountains to the north and west, with the establishment of the Iron Kingdom in the Dragonspine Mountains, Kwarlog in the Himineldar and Arncharn Shel, and in the Journelai Shel the Kingdom of Rendstaan. However, not all went well in our expansion, and the Iron Kingdom fell in a last great act of Elven treachery where Dwarven friendship was turned against us. Garnedhren fell, and is to this day known as Elamiri, land of the Mountain Elves.
Meanwhile to the south came words of a new race claiming the unified legacy of the Luethra as their own. Carrying steel and unshakable in their astrological predictions, they called themselves the "Gorbesh". Our settlements on the southern side of the Hiimarhand Shel were attacked with increasing pressure starting in 1168 BL. Though we repelled the attackers, continuing pressure, along with declining trade caused King Dougan Stonecleft to evacuate the settlements and seal the land bridge once again between Kermoria and Albaria. For ten years the land bridge held firm, but eventually our cordon was broken and High Hold itself besieged for the first time in its history.
While Kermoria quivered in fear for rumors of Gorbesh boots, army after army was summoned from the south to break our walls. For half a century High Hold was besieged, but King Stonecleft would not ask our northern kinsmen for aid. However, this would change when he was slain, in 1111BL, and Calcine Hammerfell assumed the throne. Dispatches were sent to the other Kingdoms, and in 1101 BL, King Hammerfell determined the time was right to send the Gorbesh back to their wintery lands.
The gathered might of the Dwarven race charged from High Hold to the sound of Dwarven drums. The valleys filled with the dead as the siege was broken and the Gorbesh armies removed entirely from the Adamantian lands. Our victory was so complete, despite grave losses, that the Gorbesh would not come within a day's journey of Adamantia's border for generations.
This would mark the greatest victory of the Dwarves and our pinnacle of achievement. Over the next centuries, we suffered defeat and won victories, Berdna and Rendstaan fell, Hvaral was established, and we would fight our last war against the Elves and emerge victorious. Then came the human betrayal.
The Seven-Star Empire (670BL until 200BL)
In 661BL, the so-called Empire of the Seven-Star invaded Adamantia. Though we resisted, our lands were slowly occupied, until High Hold itself was besieged in 654BL. However, this posed little difficulty to us, since we simply locked the gates and let the army enjoy the weather and foraging for food. In 634BL, the siege was lifted and the occupying army disbanded and went home.
Relations amongst the Kingdoms with the Empire remained rocky as Dwarven rights were slowly eroded, attempts made to collect "unpaid taxes" despite the original charter stating the Dwarven Kingdoms were exempt, and other attempts to steal our sovereignty. Attacks and sieges would occur off and on until the collapse of the Seven-Star Empire. Not surprisingly, we endured where the humans and Elves had failed.
The Dragon Priests (200BL until 1AV)
The Dragon Priests succeeded where the Elves, Gorbesh, and other empires failed. In 203BL, attacks from these fanatics began against Adamantia, and as had become our policy, we retreated into unbreakable High Hold. We watched from the heights as word reached us of the destruction of the Greystar Commune's fall, saw the fires as Shard itself burned, and repelled the Dragon Priests as they assaulted our walls. Then, in 195BL was our doom created, when the Dragon Priests created the Dark Hand, isolating us from the north. Slowly, the rest of Kermoria fell under their heel, except for resistance from the Gemfire Dwarves, where we heard Hvaral remained as the last outpost of freedom in Kermoria.
Though we fought against the encroaching swamp, even Dwarven might failed where it had not before. Gorbesh scouts were spotted crossing the land bridge when a thousand years before they had not dared set foot on Dwarven lands. Strange creatures arose from the swamp and killed Dwarves without remorse. Finally, in 156BL, after resisting this assault for decades, King Rurrid Gemcrusher ordered the mines sealed and the Kingdom abandoned.
Although we attempted to retire in good order, an assault from the Dark Hand forced some Dwarves over the land bridge into Albaria. The rest of us, eventually fighting our way clear split to join the other Kingdoms still remaining.
The Dragon Priests celebrated for weeks with this victory, while we awaited word if any returned from Adamantia. None did.
Authors Note: At this point, the record of High Hold came to an end, until I happened to make the acquaintance of several Kaldaran and Gnomic refugees in the aftermath of the Second Gorbesh War; this portion is recounted from their perspective. -KK
Adamantian Dwarves in Albaria
For over five hundred years, the "slovin azukula" (honored servants) have been guests within the Alaudian Empire. The oldest records indicate strife between us and the Zodi (Dwarves) in the early days of the Empire. They are fierce warriors but even finer craftsmen with a dedication and ability beyond our wildest dreams. When they first came south, along with scouts reporting some sort of necromantic blight coming from Kermoria, their fierce pride was evident, and they even laughed and called our marvelous aqueducts "engineering fit for Elves".
At first we attempted to enslave the Zodi, but they made worthless slaves, being stubborn and inured to hardships both mental and physical, and tended towards rowdiness and argument. In exasperation, we finally packed them off to the forested west where we figured they could fight the Ocular, and if nothing else let those disaffected souls in the west feed them (the Kaldar). There, in the west, we finally learned that their skills could be tapped in the form of exceptional artisans working in stone, metal, and gem. They were swift to take up their weapons in defense, but no order we could give them forced them into battle against the mists.
Uneasy peace settled between the Kaldar, whom the Zodi viewed as little better than the Gorbesh, and the Zodi whom the Kaldar had difficulty understanding. The Dwarves we cannot say thrived in this environment, but they did not suffer unduly. Later, when Akrian Dein came, they ignored his teachings even though they seemed familiar with the gods he espoused. When the call came for war against the north, scouts having discovered passage through the Dark Hand, the Zodi did not volunteer themselves, but we believe listened closely and attempted to find how they could return north. The oldest amongst them we believe had been alive when the Dark Hand spread south forcing them to flee.
Authors Note: I am heartened to hear that some Adamantian Dwarves may still live south of the Hiimarhand Shel, but the refugees were unable to provide any more information about the Dwarves. It is possible that the Gorbesh suspected them when the Kaldar and Gnomes fled, or that they eventually tried to cross the Dark Hand in the wake of the refugees but failed. -KK