The Coming of the Zioth

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zioth:creature:dwarf [2011-07-26 00:00]
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zioth:creature:dwarf [2015-06-16 16:01] (current)
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 +==== 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'&​amp;​-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.
 +
 +<div indent>
 +//__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.//​
 +</​div>​
 +
 +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 Sarnam 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 Sarnam
 +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.