History of Hvaral (book)

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A History of Hvaral

By Galaric Jaleiren

My Quill Set to Parchment in the Year of the Victory Three Hundred and Fifty-Nine

Hvaral is, to my mind, an interesting town. What was once merely an extension of the Kwarlogian Kingdom has been thrust to the forefront of importance and interprovincial trade as the town's proximity and role as entrance to the Velaka Desert have made it a gem upon the Therengian hilt.

Kwarlog proved its military wit and might during the Elven-Human Wars, comprising the bulk of the Dwarven masses used to batter down the armies of the magic- wielding Elves and their allies. In fact, it was the Battle of Tov'Meod, not far from the gates of Kwarlog themselves, that many historians consider to have been a turning point in the war -- the end of the dominance of Elven magic, and its downfall to the brute strength of the Dwarven forces. Tov'Meod provided incredible momentum. Eventually, the Dwarves and Humans went on to win the war.

Dwarves are not, by their nature, a very expansionary folk. They tend to consolidate their lands, contract them to the point of controlling only that which is directly within their sway, and only that which is actually required. However, following their ultimate victory in the war, the Dwarves of Kwarlog did just the opposite -- they expanded. Underground vaults began to bulge slightly at the influx of coin and other valuables in the form of Elven war reparations, providing Kwarlog with the impetus to spread their influence. So, a short (for Dwarves, anyway) time later, Hvaral was built, as Kwarlog extended itself northward. Where once the Arncharn Shel Mountains alone housed them, soon the Gemfire Mountains felt the touch of Kwarlog as well.

Seeing for the first time then the vastness of the desert before them, the Dwarves felt an almost unnatural curiosity, wondering at the mysteries it contained. Two expeditions into Velaka were organized by the Dwarves, but they both ended quite abruptly. We shall say that the harshness of the desert climate did not appeal to their Dwarven sensibilities.

Hvaral was the first known settlement in the Gemfire Mountains, but even so, it yielded little true advantage for Kwarlog. Despite its name, no great gem mines could be found in Gemfire. Neither were they able to mine for precious, usable ores, or salt, such as could be derived further to the south, in the heart of Forfedhdar. But nevertheless, Hvaral thrived, if only on its Dwarven persistence alone. It had become a home away from home for the people living in it, and it provided a fairly nice one-up to the Elves, as the Kwarlogians could point to a bit more space on a map as truly "theirs" in the competition with their ancient enemies. And with Hvaral and Gemfire under their hefty belts, the Kwarlogians could even say their kingdom rivaled fellow Dwarven Adamantia to the far distant south.

Hvaral was mostly ignored during the time of the Empire, which Kwarlog later became a part of. An Imperial garrison was established in the city of Kwarlog itself, as were offices of a more bureaucratic bent -- Imperial law dictated both in all cities of Imperial control. Hvaral itself, though, received no garrison. It was too far away from anything else of importance to be considered of worth, especially with no viable trade or anything else of profit in the town. There was no need for a garrison, as there was nothing to defend, nor was there anything to defend it against! Who in the wide world would attack Hvaral? No, the Imperials were quite content to simply control Hvaral through Kwarlog.

Following the demise of the Empire, as we all know, the Dragon Priests eventually rose up and began their spree of conquering and pillaging. Evicted from their homes and thirsty for vengeance, the Kwarlogians found kindred spirits in the also beaten Therengians. An immediate alliance was formed between the two courts-in-exile, and Hvaral frequently found itself to be a prime base of operations as the Dwarves and Humans alike launched their resistance against the heathen oppressors. The dual Dwarven and Therengian resistance against the Dragon Priest regime was one of the most successful across the continent; where others, such as the Elotheans, simply hid in resignation, or where others struck madly and blindly in a vain attempt to gain some sort of upper hand, the northerners employed a coordinated and concentrated offensive designed to undercut the Priests' abilities to rule in that region. It was highly effective.

Their partnership during the years of Dragon Priest rule seemed to indicate the beginnings of a golden age of friendship between the Kwarlogians and Therengians, but alas, not even the greatest seer foresaw what was to come. Good friends grew hostile. Small grievances sparked angry bickerings. And with a shameful Baron on one throne and a recalcitrant King to provoke him on another, war soon began. The rest of the continent watched as the two greatest military powers, the Humans of Therengia and the Dwarves of Kwarlog, battered at each other in an attempt to bring the other down and gain true rule over the northlands.

The Therengia-Kwarlog War was foolish, and it resulted in significant damage for both sides. Towns and cities were injured like a spear in a man's guts, and the land itself felt wounded by the conflict. They went all out, did those two raging sides. Much of this war doesn't concern this tale, though, so suffice it to say this: the Dwarves (much like the Elves), never the most populous race, could not continue to muster the support for Hvaral. With many of its men called into the armies, with many of its people dead, Hvaral's population dwindled until those left in it decided to abandon the town and return to Kwarlog proper. The town was soon placed under Therengian occupation.

Hvaral, portions of it ruined and burned by the fires of warfare, underwent a rebirth akin to that of Murrula's phoenix. The Elves adapt to their surroundings, as they say, but Humans attempt to force their surroundings to adapt to them. Hvaral began the process of being refitted under Therengian control -- new buildings were built, in a style that clashed as mightily with the Dwarven architecture as once did the Kwarlogians clash with Therengians on the field of battle. A keep was built -- for what Therengian town is complete without a keep? The blending of Human and Dwarven made Hvaral unique, a glimpse into two very different worlds.

Muspar'i was later built deep in the Velaka Desert: where the Dwarves had proven loath to traverse that wasteland, the S'Kra elated in it. And with their new civilization came great, great trade -- many things they found in the desert were unavailable elsewhere, and many things the S'Kra craftsmen birthed were much sought after outside the desert. And that trade suddenly and necessarily relied upon Hvaral.

The outpost town served as the best entrance into the desert, and far and away the easiest way to ship goods both in and out. The Therengian coffers prospered; a new influx of wealth found its way into the hands of the Barons. Hvaral remains in this position of importance still, a central point between Kwarlog, Therengia, and Velaka.