The Ties that Bind
The Dwarven Realm
Great is the realm of the Dwarves, and these are the holds and halls, that are still in good Dwarven hands. Though time has battered and beat down the Dwarves, they stand unbowed and ready to defend hearth and home with biting axes and crushing hammers.
North hall is the most recent hall established by the dwarves. Set up in the Bronze Age shortly after encountering amicable humans, it was built to safeguard northern dwarf interests as well as being a staging point for trade with the more northern human settlements. It also serves as the first defensive bastion against any barbarian raiders from the north. Unfortunately, besides its port, it has no notable sources of adamantium, mithril, or rare jewels.
Founded by Moradin in the Gold Age, it was here that the greatest source of iron and steel is created in the dwarf holds. For that reason it has also been the place where almost all of the great smiths have been trained; in some cases personally by Moradin himself. It is thanks to these smiths that it endured the Silver Age, and the subsequent war with the elves extremely well, as the Hammerfall Hold maintained an extremely well equipped and well drilled core of warriors. However it seems that in the wake of the Bronze Age, their fortunes have declined. Despite their weaponry being much sought for, the smiths of the Hammerfall Hold have derided this work as being “shoddy” and “mass produced”. In their eyes, it is work that is unfit for such esteemed smiths as themselves. How this will impact the rest of Morinar, and whether or not they will act more antagonistically remains to be seen.
The Ancestor’s Hold
The Ancestor’s Hold was the site of the awakening of the Ancestor Gods. Being rich with many different ores and jewels as well as the extremely rare metals mithril and adamantium it is uniquely situated as heart of dwarfdom. It is here that the High King Thengar Hammerhand sits, and it is here that the pinnacle of dwarven architecture and runesmithing can be found. During the Silver Age it was one of the sites of the greatest battles between Elf and Dwarf. For one hundred days the Elves laid siege to what is potentially the greatest bastion this world will ever know. Led by High Priest Valyn Ishild of Fyr’yn, the Elvish forces were not to be denied. To this day they are the only force that has ever broken through the outer gates of the Hold, and would have broke through the inner gate had it not been for an incoming dwarf column that would’ve made the elvish position untenable.
In more recent times, the Ancestor’s Hold has been the site of the renewal of ties between the Dwarven Realm and the Successor Kingdoms. Much trade and military support has been renewed and overall ties are favourable between human and dwarf. Militaristically ever since the comet struck and the badlands created, the Ancestor’s Hold has withstood a few minor incursions by the orcs and goblins. Though they have been soundly crushed by the superior arms and tactics of the Dwarves, it seems only to be a matter of time before a chieftain properly unites the hordes into a force like that which broke open the New Empire in 153 A.E.
Dragon’s Bane Hold
Situated firmly above the Boiling Pass, the Dragon’s Bane Hold stands watch over the main pass into Morinar from the badlands, and forms part of the fortifications there, manned by both man and dwarf. Established during the Gold Age, the Dwarves created the Hold by exploiting the natural cave networks that were carved by the great wyrm Skamander the Deatheater; deeming that a massed assault as too costly, the Dwarves sent a great champion of their people, Orven Riggunsson of the Copperfoot Clan. Clan records say that Riggunsson fought Skamander for three days and nights, ultimately triumphing when a hurled axe brought down a stalactite upon the mighty wyrm’s head.
Ultimately the Dragon’s Bane Hold would flourish by attracting a large number of aspiring warriors, which in turned fuelled the creation of the largest temple to Braki in the Dwarven Realms. During the Silver Age, it was largely engaged in large scale skirmishing with the Elves, and was the source of the Dwarf column that made the Elven position untenable in their siege of the Ancestor’s Hold. In the Bronze Age, they maintain good relations mostly with the New Empire, as it is together they man the walls. In recent times though more and more dwarf warriors are being recalled from above ground for reasons unknown, and the sight of these doughty warriors walking the walls has become a much less common occurrence. What the reasons for these withdrawals are and the impact it will have in the future remains to be seen.
The Glimmering Deep
Situated in the southernmost reaches of the Dwarven the Glimmering Deep is famous for utilizing the Dwarven Lume- bugs in vast arrays in lanterns that give its halls the aspect of a starry sky. Established during the Golden Age, the Glimmering Deep hold stands as the wealthiest of all holds, after the Ancestor’s hold. It stood as one of the first lines of defence against the Elves during the Silver Age.
Naturally during the Silver Age its fortunes fell as the major trading partner of the Dwarves turned into its worst enemy. It is only during the Bronze Age that the Glimmering Deep soared once more into the Ascendant. Trade between humans proved to be a lucrative prospect, especially with many of the wealthier southern kingdoms being extremely willing to pay much gold for good Dwarven handiwork. Seen as the most cosmopolitan Hold, it even possesses a human quarter to expedite trade, an idea which many Dwarves look upon with both ridicule and indignation. The fall of Morgrim’s Hold and Blackstone Hall however, presents a unique problem to the dwarves of the Glimmering Deep; as they are now almost completely cut off from their northern brethren. Even now, enemies attempt to burrow in to suckle upon their wealth where friendly faces once were.
The Fallen Holds
Though the strength of the Dwarves is great, they are not unknown to setbacks and defeats. These are the major holds and halls that have been lost to them over the many long years they have been here on Morinar. Despite the despair that must be felt at such desecration of their homes, woe betide any who feel too complacent in their halls for soon the Dwarves may go on the war march once more!
Copper Hills Combine (Renamed Darkmaw’s Cavern by the orcs)
In an attempt to expand their empire after the natural disaster that shook their mountain strongholds, the Dwarves branched out into the north eastern foothills when surveyors reported good seams of ore in the area. Veygar Snalfsson of the Bronzehand Clan led a contingent of dwarves into these foothills and began excavations. Things were progressing swimmingly, until the meteor hit. With most of the excavations being mine shafts as opposed to living quarters, the Copper Hills Combine was more of a collection of surface buildings than anything else. These were obliterated in the shockwave, and anything or anyone left on the surface was soon choked out by clouds of ash.
What few Dwarves were left, retreated underground. Orcs and Goblins soon overran them, and renamed the site Darkmaw’s Cavern. What few survivors that managed to escaped came back with heads bowed in shame at their failure. Rumour has it that more than a few treasures and heirlooms were left in those mines, and the Dwarves would pay handsomely for a treasure hunter to bring them back into the right hands.
Morgim’s Hold (Renamed Crackjaw’s Mount)
Established during the end of the Gold age by Morgrim Norrisson of the Redmane Clan, it is the last major hold to be established in this time. Despite bearing no particularly large supply of rare ores or jewels, it was still relatively successful commercially. During the Silver Age, its warriors fought with distinction against the Elves. It is after this war that the tragedy begins. When the earth shook and the lava spewed forth from the deeps, it was Morgrim’s Hold that was hit hardest. With their gates sundered open, and the very mountain rebelling from beneath them, Orcs and Goblins took this as an opportunity to flood in in their hundreds and their thousands.
Despite a long and bloody siege, the orcs ultimately prevailed, and the Dwarves were forced to abandon their hold. Now the orcs and goblins inhabit the venerable hold, and call it Crackjaw’s Mount. To add insult to injury these filthy greenskins have also managed to rebuff Dwarven attempts to retake the hold. Teams of treasure hunters however do manage to sneak in once in a while and manage to recover precious artifacts, though most end up as some sort of decoration on an orc’s shield.
Blackstone Hall was a small stronghold established by the Dwarves towards the end of the Gold Age. When the war broke out in the Silver Age, Blackstone Hall was the only Dwarf settlement captured and held by the Elves throughout the war. Much treasure and spoils were taken by the Elves and the Hall was held with surprising tenacity against Dwarven offensives.
Strangely enough however at the end of the war, nothing was heard from the Elves, and no news came out of whether or not it was still occupied. Many recovery expeditions were sent but none came back. Rumours of empty hallways, mad laughter and daemoniacal things are all that’s left of what was once a thriving stronghold.