Lairocott Brach: The Stone Clan Home (book)

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LAIROCOTT BRACH - The Stone Clan Home
as told by the bard, Hagynn Atkyn

Galen Hammerstone and his wife Kormlada Hammerstone are the original founders of the Stone Clan Home. Tired of internecine rivalries and petty politics, they and a few other dwarves set out from the ancient village of Rendstone, and after many months of traveling settled on the foothills and mountainous region of the Northern Tier as their final destination. Although they originated from the (now long lost) Rendstone settlement, they voted to change their clan names to Hammerstone because they and the few dwarves that accompanied them did little else for months on end. After months of arduous labor and tunneling, they broke through a final layer of rock and happened upon a huge natural cavern. It was here that they agreed to establish a home.

The clan struggled for several generation to eke out an existence, occasionally losing a clan member to a mining accident or a ravenous mountain lion. However, they gradually established a reputation for quality. Within the tunnels that they mined are rich veins of ore which still yield mineral deposits and the occasional rare, precious gem. The craftsmen of the settlement work in the native stone and onyx, fashioning armor and weapons (upon demand), goblets, tankards, utensils, small statues, cameos, and amulets. These make valuable trade items, and along with natural resources, permit the Dwarves to barter for necessities or to sell for silver. In addition to the many items that they fashion, they have also acquired some fame for their fighting skills which they occasionally teach. Due to the longevity of the race and the relatively few number of children that have been conceived over the years, the clan has gradually increased in size to it's present population of about sixty.

Many centuries after the clan had established it's location, a routine patrol found a mysterious figure, close to death, lying in the snow several miles from the Clan Home. After helping this person recuperate, the Dwarves acceded to his polite requests for quantities of diamond dust and rare minerals. Finding themselves able and willing to oblige with his request, they received payment of an unusual sort. In lieu of the more traditional coinage (for the mysterious figure had none) and overcoming their historical prejudice towards magic, the dwarves asked for and received some magical protection for their clan. Sentinels, similar to the form of rock trolls, were conjured forth by the mysterious visitor and to this day, they guard the entrance to the Dwarven clan.

Seemingly lifeless and statue like, they will react quickly to any threat that they are able to magically perceive. In addition, their mysterious benefactor created a magical door to stave off mountain lions and the nearby marauding cave bears. This door may only be activated by a friendly dwarven word.

The mysterious figure would not provide his name nor his destination. Before taking his leave, he met with Galen Hammerstone to express his gratitude. Declaring himself, "Twice indebted, once repaid", he insisted on leaving a small obsidian stone with the Clan Chief. Informing him that his gift should only be used in the direst circumstances, he instructed the Clan Chief on it's use and left.

Some forty years later, down in the depths of a new mine, such a need presented itself. Whilst mining in the bowels of the mountains, the Dwarves unwittingly opened the walls of a hatchery of a then hitherto unknown creature. Chased by a huge reptilian creature which froze several of the dwarves with its icy breath, the Dwarves tossed aside their tools and equipment and sprinted along narrow passageways and tunnels seeking their freedom. The Clan Chief, who was among the miners that day, was left with little option but to invoke the stone. Whispering "Avrak" to the stone, he only had to wait moments before their erstwhile benefactor appeared to assist them.

Reacting swiftly to the danger, he quickly entranced the reptilian creature and led it back to its lair where he encased the beast in a large slab of ice. After herding the dwarves to safety, everyone exited the mine, which was then sealed with a rock fall. In the confusion and general relief, the mysterious figure once again vanished without a trace and the once obsidian stone is naught but a dull brown stone.

To this day rumors persist that the reptilian creature, known in local lore as "The Biter", still roams the tunnels and caverns of what is now sorrowfully known to the Dwarves of the Stone Clan Home as the "Abandoned Mine". It has also been speculated that the mysterious figure was none other than Corik of the Black Cloud, but there is no firm evidence to back up this suggestion.

The Stone Clan symbol is a hammer and it is rumored that the dwarves pay homage to the God Kertigen.