(If you are not a dwarf or did not visit the mine when we traveled there in the summer of 2017, your character would know very little of what is in this article)
The history of the dwarves is a history of several schisms. To properly understand the Flodgraeg mine, and the dwarves who live there, one must understand what came before.
Two Schisms on the Old Continent
Dwarves did not originate on Azkon, and their history before coming is that of two major schisms:
Grey Dwarf Split
The first schism was the breaking off of the Grey Dwarves. Various theories have been given for the reasons of the split. A mine collapse, lost communication with a trading post, or an internal dispute are the most commonly given reasons. Regardless of the reason, dwarves on Azkon today have not had contact with their Grey Dwarf cousins in hundreds of years, but old beliefs die slowly and stories tell of Grey Dwarves being dishonorable and untrustworthy.
Bloodhammer and Iron Fist Split
In the year 816, the dwarven king was dying and in order to pick his heir he tasked each of his sons to craft a masterpiece. The dwarf with the best work would win the kingdom.
Thorsin was an accomplished armor smith and lived in the southern half of the dwarven kingdom. He smelted red iron into a suit of armor that no hammer could dent and no mace could pierce. Veldrin was an equally accomplished weapon smith and lived in the northern half of the dwarven kingdom. He crafted a pair of iron fists so massive and so cunningly wrought that they could flatten even the mightiest of foes.
Obsessed with winning, each son forgot the teachings of Reghasting and continued to restart their project any time they were slightly displeased. The dwarven king died waiting, and no heir was named. Neither son backed down, and those on the fence eventually picked sides. The kingdom split into the Bloodhammer Clan and the Iron Fist Clan.
History of the Dwarves on Azkon
Like many other races in Azkon, the Anræd Dwarves were captured from surrounding continents and regions by the Old Hazon Empire and forced into slavery. When the Old Empire collapsed in the year 976 (40 years ago), the dwarves were left with a decision. Would they return to their home clan or stay on Azkon? With no practical way to return home, they chose to remain and form a united clan: the Anræd (Reconciled, in the common tongue) Clan. Their code is “clan before family, family before self, and unity before all.”
Recently, the desire to adopt a more open policy towards Azkonians has threatend to split the dwarves once again. The “Greens” advocate shutting the mine, and all trade, off to non dwarves. The “Greys” believe that expanded trade with, and control of, Azkon will ensure the survival of the clan.
As Anræd Dwarves searched for a home, they decided to live as far from humans as possible. They discovered a flooded mine near the Grey Mountains, far into the Wild Plains. They named their new home Flodgræg (Flood Grey) and began the process of draining it. That process is still underway. It is punishable by death for any non dwarf to be found in the mine.
Government and Laws in the Flodgræg
To avoid a repeat of past mistakes, the Anræd Dwarves are governed not by a king but by a council of Ealdor (elders). Any dwarf who is at least 200 years old sits on the Ealdordom (council). All major decisions and punishments are made by the Ealdordom.
The Dwarven Walk
Any crime with the sentence of death (murder, betrayal of one’s family or clan, treason, worship of any god aligned under Belendor, or other heinous crimes against an individual, family, or clan) is to be punished in the form of the “dwarven walk.” The condemned is fully equipped and sent into the uncleared sections of the mine to die honorably killing the enemies of their clan. There are no known instances of a dwarf fleeing to the surface to escape death. This punishment is not fully supported in the mine, but it remains in effect.
The following non-capital crimes are punished with fines and service to the injured party:
- Skipping work
- Disrupting work
- Mining in areas not approved for mining (potential dangers, not completely drained, etc.)
While not illegal, the following actions are discouraged:
- Any pleasant interaction with Grey Dwarves or Dark Elves
- Any pleasant interaction with the Hazon Dynasty
When away from the mine, dwarves typically form a hierarchy based on the task they are working on with the most experienced and skilled dwarves taking the lead.
Society and Ethos
Vowing never to be enslaved again, the Anræd have a near obsession with anything that can enhance the power, security, or prestige of their clan. It is rumored that they are exploring advanced military and technology in order to compensate for their relatively small numbers compared to their neighbors. Due to their secrecy, the exact number of Anræd Dwarves is unknown, but most estimates put their numbers at under a thousand.
Anræd society is a meritocracy, female and male dwarves are treated with equal respect and expectations. The amount one contributes to clan and family is the principal consideration. Children are raised collectively by the community and are given a series of apprenticeships to best determine what job they will get. Creativity is encouraged as long as it is practical creativity. Time is not spent exploring the arts, except for the recording of laws, histories, or drinking songs. Magic is hesitantly allowed, but only magic that benefits the clan and is not strongly connected to anything from the surface/moon/sun (there are no Anræd druids).
Clan, Family, and personal honor are paramount to the Anræd and are valued in that order. Duty to one’s clan comes before family and family before self.
While they do not view other races with xenophobia, they also don’t hesitate to look down their large noses at the less advanced civilizations–all other races. However, the Anræd feel they are more open minded than the old Bloodhammer and Iron Fist Clans seeing as they understand the benefit of building bridges. The Anræd engage in vigorous trading with other races. Anything to benefit the clan.
Religion in the Flodgræg
The primary god worshiped in the mine is Reghasting, the God of Craftors. Other commonly worshiped Gods are Aranayen, Enoth, and Noreis. Worship or following of other gods is discouraged, and all worship of gods aligned under Belendor is outlawed.