The Coming of the Zioth

Dwarves

Dwarves are short, stocky people, growing to a height of only two or three feet, who concern themselves primarily with hard, sober work, like mining and metalworking. They are said to be immortal, or at least to live for hundreds of years. The dwarves keep their distance from humans; they are suspicious of foreigners. They live in mountains and hills, always underground, where they carve tunnels and caves in which to live and work. Only rulers, miners and artisans are ever mentioned in the stories, so it is a mystery where they get their food.

There are two common varieties of dwarf, one of which lives in mountain tunnels, and the other of which lives under hills. Although they have quite a bit in common, there are certain distinctions that would cause you to wonder whether they are of the same race at all. They never appear together in the legends. Both varieties are reported to have good night-vision (their caves are rarely as well-lit as men would like), and both are skilled at combat.

Dwarves live in a highly structured society. The highest of dwarven nobility is the heiraurin (hI-rau'-rin), who rules over a group of hills or mountains. In some areas, there is a High Heiraurin, or Heiraurinilinin (hI'rou-rin-nil'&-nin), who rules over many kingdoms. The ideals of loyalty and honor are taken very seriously in dwarven society. More than one story involves one dwarf ordering another of inferior rank to suicide, and being obeyed. In at least one account, however, the law required that the higher-ranking dwarf be subsequently put to death.

Under the heiraurins are the royal family, any sufficiently aged male member of which has absolute power over all other dwarves save the heiraurin himself. The royal family is usually housed in an underground castle, which is designed (over hundreds of years, some stories say) to be completely impermeable to attack.

The Castles of the Dwarves It is told that, during the Hedanufan Wars, at the half-point of the Zioth, the human king Hedanuf's army arrived at the mountains, outnumbering the dwarves ten to one. The dwarves defended their territory with strength and bravery, and diminished Hedanuf's forces, but could not hold back the onrush of men. The dwarves were still outnumbered by the time the army reached the Heiraurinilinin's castle. The castle, however, turned out to be more of a challenge than the entire dwarven army. Guarded by stone and iron, and riddled with traps and pits, it took eighteen months to penetrate the fifty-foot deep layered doorway to get to the main body of the fortress. Past the doors, the fortress was such a maze of tunnels and traps, and so full of snipers and assassins, that Hedanuf never found the Heiraurinilinin, his family, or even the food supplies and water wells that kept them alive. At the end of three years, he gave up, looted the mountains for all that had not been hurried to the fortress at the first sign of trouble, and retreated. Long after Hedanuf's death, but not so very long by dwarven standards, the mountains had recovered to their previous state, and Hedanuf's army was all but forgotten.

All of dwarven society seems broken into well-defined hierarchies. No human-told account is clear on the number of noble ranks, or the number of military ranks, or how or whether the two are distinguished from each other, or where fit in the various types of workers. Workers are divided into nobly-sanctioned guilds, but some stories attribute more power to elder guild masters than to many nobles. Land distribution is equally complicated, as, in some way or another, twenty or thirty dwarves can have some level of control over any piece of property, with minimal dispute. Endlessly overlapping and shared control over land, and widely-varying levels of political power, make dwarven politics incomprehensible to other races.

Dwarven laws are strict, and the system of law is sacred, never to be questioned. Lawfulness and goodness are one and the same. Rebellions occur only in the most extreme circumstances, such as when Heiraurinilinin Narlansorabard Dorathagorad weekly ordered dozens of the highest nobles and most respected guild masters to their deaths, over a period of years.

Dwarven families are much larger than those of humans, because so many generations live under the same roof. The presence of women, however, is an interesting topic. The stories of hill dwarves mention women only once, in the story of Heiraurin Fiorodalanar in the fourth century, who had over a thousand wives. Since he and his subjects considered divorce immoral and illegal, keeping them fed and sheltered proved to be his downfall. In the stories of mountain dwarves, women aren't mentioned at all, and the claim is that the dwarves carve their sons from living rock. Interestingly enough, dwarven children of either variety are not mentioned except in that context.

Dwarven language is quickly-spoken, but exceedingly complex. A few dwarven words have been extracted from the most ancient of mythological writings. Each word was transliterated into Sarnamplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Language

Rouch

Rouch is the vernacular, or common tongue, spoken throughout Rang. Because of Rang's influence, it's also a trade language in the surrounding kingdoms.

Sarnam

Sarnam is the “old tongue,” spoken by the priests of Andritha. Most of the nobly-born are familiar with the language.
and placed next to the originals. If you look at the documents yourself, you will see that the dwarven language consists of only fifteen letters, making words far longer than their Sarnamplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Language

Rouch

Rouch is the vernacular, or common tongue, spoken throughout Rang. Because of Rang's influence, it's also a trade language in the surrounding kingdoms.

Sarnam

Sarnam is the “old tongue,” spoken by the priests of Andritha. Most of the nobly-born are familiar with the language.
transliterations. A few words have been reproduced here, to give you a rough feel for the complexity of the language.

  • Drauhofleinin, (dro'hO-flA-nin): Dwarves who live in mountains. Only dwarves of certain social classes are included.
  • Duafofleinin (dwo'fO-flA-nin): Dwarves who live under hills. Only dwarves of certain social classes are included.
  • Golorabantharad: A twelve-faceted yellow sapphire. Based on the context, it seems that the approximate weight of the stone is represented in this word as well.
  • Agradanthiborakannihl: A year in which the mining yields were greater than those of a particular year in a particular place, dictated by local custom.