With each new generation of dwarf, their bodies softened and grew smaller. By the time they broke through the surface of the world and entered the twilight of the Titanic Age, the dwarves far more resembled dwarves as we imagine them today.
But, as with all things, this age would come to pass.
The dwarven people have two great heroes that they recognize for their liberation: the Blacksmith's Daughter has already been discussed here but today we're talking about Durn.
But something happened one night as his ears rang from a long day of the striking of hammer on anvil. It was as if he could hear a voice whispering to him, singing a song old and new, and telling him something important that he must do. It was the voice of Urd. The religion of his people had been beaten out of the dwarves, their holy writing smashed into rubble, and he had never heard the name Urd but he knew that this voice was that of the holy father of all dwarves. The voice told him to leave his cot and to help an elven girl.
When Durn left his cot, he soon discovered an elven girl, the daughter of a blacksmith, had been caught trying to escape and that the giant who had caught her was discussing how best to punish her-- whether to cut off a leg or to throw her to the flaming hounds. For the first time in Durn's life, the fire in his belly that had been boiling since the first beating he had ever experience erupted from within him and in his righteous fury he found the courage and strength to overcome any fear put in him.
With a single swing, Durn struck down the giant with his blacksmith's hammer and told the elven girl to flee as more giants arrived. As the blacksmith's daughter escaped, he killed several of the giants before they overwhelmed him and subdued him. But, rather than take his life for killing his giant masters, they instead put him in the fighting pits. It was there that the giants would forge their own downfall.
They didn't expect the dwarf to last long but he quickly became a champion of the arena. No matter what they threw at the dwarf, miraculously, he somehow managed to survive and come out on top the victor. And with each victory, his resolve grew. He wasn't fighting to survive. He was fighting for the dwarven people. He knew his destiny.
He was no ordinary dwarf. Durn was both the son and vessel of Urd. His purpose was to liberate the dwarven people and forge for them a new future.
Durn could have become the king of Bryngalla. He had no claim but the loyalty and admiration of his followers made him a candidate. And yet, he declined the offer and instead went on a journey to help rebuild not just one but all of the dwarven cities. His wisdom was invaluable and he became a respected figure among the kings and queens of dwarfkind.
But his greatest achievement was to reform the dwarven faith.
In Durn's words, "a good dwarf should not be concerned about whether or not he will supp in the Hall of Urd, but should instead be concerned as to whether his children and his children's childrn will speak his name before the supp in their own halls." It doesn't matter what happens to a dwarf after they leave the world. Instead, it matters what world they leave behind. The greatest reward for a dwarf isn't found in the afterlife, it is found in the knowledge that he has left behind a legacy.
Furthermore, dwarves consider basic morality to be self-evident and not even worthy of discussion in their holy texts. Dwarves assume that all peoples should be able to teach their children that theft and murder are bad.
And so, with that in mind, the dwarf religion focus on how best a dwarf can forge their legacy. In Durn's experience, all dwarves must find a balance between four conflicting pairs of ideals in order to preserve the past, prosper in the present and prepare for the future. The conflicting pairs reflect dwarf values and perspective.
I & II. Family VS. Community
The first pillars of Durn are family and community.
A dwarf's family should be considered the most important thing in the world and yet, a dwarf is also beholden to the community as it represents a union between a number of families and not just a single dwarf's own kin. A dwarf must strive to provide and protect his family while also serving and participating in his community. Durn warns dwarves to put their family first but to always consider the community both the family's foundation and their family to part of the community's foundation. It is important to find a balance between these two forces.
For example, it is wise to assist your family in making a living by giving them valuable positions in your business but this should not be at the expense of the community. Blind nepotism leads to corruption and incompetence. It is important to ensure that you do not put a son prone to greed in charge of the city bank or a lazy son in the position of a city guard. These sorts of failures weaken the community and a weakened community cannot protect or provide a good environment for future generations of your family.
III & IV. Tradition VS. ProgressThe next pillars are tradition and progress.
Tradition is important to dwarf society: it is important to learn from the past and respect the ways of your predecessors. Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to fall to the same follies of their ancestors and, prematurely, become history. Traditions have been passed down for the benefits of all. If it isn't broken, don't fix it. Still, with that in mind, it is also important to examine your traditions carefully and to question their purpose.
It is important to give new ideas a chance as they may provide new and/or improved solutions to problems facing your community. Furthermore, progress opens up new avenues for prosperity and can provide a foundation for the future. Nothing is more foolish than obstructing the future for the sake of traditions that hold no value.
For instance, superstitions have been a nuisance to our peoples. While your ancestors may have had a reason to forbid some activity or behavior, it is possible that the reason is no longer valid. Your people could starve because you refuse to eat some meat or vegetable because your ancestors forbid its consumption. In the past, that food may have been forbidden due to it being tainted by some disease but that disease may have long died out.
Do not allow the past to weight down on the future like a ball and chain but do not allow the past to be forgotten. Value the experience of your elders and ancestors.
V & VI. Prosperity VS. WorkThis is perhaps the hardest struggle of dwarfkind.
All dwarves should seek prosperity. The material world exists so that we can experience it. A dwarf should seek to create wealth and prosperity for himself and his descendants. The pleasures of the material world and financial security are the rewards that all dwarves should seek to reap. Every dwarf is entitled to the sweat of his own pits. And that is the key:
Every dwarf deserves to profit from their own labor. They should not fall to greed and excess. There is no shame in wealth but there is terrible shame in becoming wealthy at the expense of your fellow dwarves.
Furthermore, wealth for the sake of wealth is a terrible crime. Instead of building material wealth, instead seek to invest that wealth into building materials to build your legacy. Those who find wealth should seek to reinvest the wealth into their community. A healthy community will create wealth for generations.
Remember King Ragar Widebelt and the flooding of the Widebelt Goldmine. King Ragar and his kin could have escape the flooding mine but instead tried to fill their boats with gold. Their boats sank and they were killed by their own avarice.
Greed is the greatest evil of dwarfkind. Know it and oppose it.
VII & VIII. Honor VS. Common Sense
The last pillars concern passion and logic.
Good dwarves are honorable. They keep their oaths, they obey their lords, and they do not show cowardice or cruelty. These are all good values and yet, more often than not, the nobility of a good dwarf has been their downfall. It important to maintain your reputation and standing among dwarfkind but do not foolishly throw your life or, worse yet, the valued lives of others to the wayside for the sake of your honor.
It is often wisest to abandon your pride for the sake of survival. Sometimes, you must be willing to throw down your life for a cause but not all battles are worth fighting. Do not throw away your life for nothing. Live to fight another day.
Too many warriors, including Durn himself, let their anger and pride get the better of them. Furthemore, the tragedy of dwarfkind is vanity and pride. Too often do dwarves dig where they should not, build what they should not, and challenge those they should not for the sake of their own stubborn pride. Do not be the reason behind the next fall of dwarven society.
As dwarfkind struggles to rebuild, will they learn from their mistakes?
URD THE FORGE FATHER AND
DURN, SON OF URD
Title(s)The Father and the Son of Dwarfkind, The True Kings, The Hammer and Anvil, The Mine Master, The Underkings
Power LevelGreater Deity
A hammer and anvil
PortfolioThe forge, engineering, mining, family, community
DomainsForge, Protection, War, Life
Dwarves, smiths, miners, engineers, warriors
LOLGAR THE HUNGRY FLAME
Title(s)The Ceaseless Burning, The Secret Flame, The Sphere of Chaos
Power LevelLesser Deity
A spherical face spewing flame
PortfolioVolcanoes, fire, sacrifice, destruction,
Evil dwarves and azer, fire newts,
AXERON THE PAIN LORD
Title(s)Master of the Chain, The Gear Master, The Grand Torturer and Executioner, The Firebrand,
Pantheon(s)Dwarf and Naryan
Power LevelGreater Deity
Flaming gears and chains
PortfolioTorture, execution, machines, war, domination
DomainsWar, Light, Death
Evil dwarves and azir, demons, tyrants, executioners, torturers,