By all tales born from the very elements of fire and stone, the dwarves of Gaea are unsurpassed crafters, runesmiths, kingdom builders and wielders of the elemental forces of the world. They are the descendants of mighty elemental lords who Reos called to being during the age of creation during the era of the gods.
From the chains that bound the great wolf Caracoroth to the crowns of the Five-Fold Serpent and even the Arms and Armor of the gods themselves, the legendary works of the first age were unsurpassed by other races. Even the sildanyari said to have learned from the dwarves and their art earned them accolades as well as curses of greed, covetousness and jealousy by those who wanted to see their ancient works undone. Whereas others wrapped themselves in wards against such curses, arrogant to a fault and unknowing of their own potentials for corruption, the dwarves continued on and in time the glories of their ancient days fell prey to all manner of undoing from dragons' fire to infernal corruption.
The khazad suffered a recent blow when ancient races--an alliance of the Khazad-Ur and the mul'niessa, toppled their ancient kingdom and slew their one true king. In Khazad Duin, there once stood a magnificent dwarven kingdom known as The Axis of Gaea.
Yet a bare 500 years ago, when some khazad were still alive, fathers, mothers and grandmothers still tell the tale of the alliance of Iron and Shadow. Then, they say--the mul'niessa nation allied with the khazad-ur and brought down the Great Mountain.
Great was the khazads' loss, great was the blood spilled and the True King slain and his line broken. It was this act that divided the khazad peoples and sundered their mighty kingdom.
Despite or perhaps because of this, they remain implacable foes against the Shadow. They stand as though rock or stone, possessing terrific strength, endurance and determination fueled by their respective affinity to the elements. Many khazad find themselves drawn into the world either as staunch merchants, mercenaries or dignitaries to the western lands. Yet, many are still very isolationist in nature while also fiercely willing to defend themselves against incursions from nations such as Charn.
Mendorn Steamhammer is the current khazad High King, ruling from the seat of dwarven power in Kingsforge, while the Council of Thanes themselves convene most often in Ironforge. Dun Mordren is the name of this kingdom and it sets the tone for much of the Khazad Duin region. Although many khazad ally themselves under the High King in Dun Mordren, there are also many independent and outlying khazadi delves and cities and the people have not been truly united for quite some time, though that may look to change in times ahead, especially with the recent marriage of heirs.
There are many dwarven clans but some examples of them are:
Clan Truehammer: Clan Truehammer is one of their most noble clans. It traditionally produces the kingly line of the dwarven people and their ruling thanes. Consisting of a number of dwarven nobility and households, this clan is the smallest in number but among the most prestigious with a long history and strong lineage. The True Hammers tend to hail from cities such as Kingsforge, Ironhold and Durin's Delve. Their nobility shines in the strength of their Battlehalls and and genius of their military Academies. Their Academies are world-renowned, built in preparation for a time when the members of True Hammer must spearhead the Holy War to retake The Axis of Gaea.
Clan Masterbuilder: The Masterbuilds are by and large smiths and craftsman of world reknown. Nobility of other lands vie for commissions of the most prestigious crafters of Reos' children. True to their birthright, their attention centers on the creation of masterful works of smithing and stone craft. The Masterbuilder folk tend to live almost exclusively in Ironhold though outlying holds of them exist in cities such as Gateway, the mountains around Alexandria and other lands where they are hired to construct keeps, repair and upkeep forms of great technology and more.
Clan Stonesmasher: Storm and Mountain Dwarves make up the majority of this clan of powerful warriors. The Stonesmashers do not have many clan holdings of their own but tend to be stationed within the holds of other clans where they act as bodyguards and security. Among them, they represent the some of the greatest warriors of dwarven kind and are rivaled only by their kin of Truehammer. Deeply religious, they follow the dwarven deities and deities of battle and warfare. They have little interest in crafting and delving but are quick to be on the front line of the many dwarven wars that take place against monsters and other threats against their homelands.
Clan Skyhammer: The Skyhammer Dwarves of Anvil Peak and other outlying settlements tend to be detached from other dwarven endeavors, in contrast to many of the other clans. Setting them apart further, these barbarian dwarves have clan holdings that are located either near or on the surface itself. Consisting primarily of Mountain and Storm Dwarves, they are fierce and powerful warriors but have little interest in the politics or travails of Dwarven kind as a whole. They get along well enough with the Stonesmashers but are considered outcasts, dangerous and volatile by other clans.
Clan Bludstein: The Bludstein dwarves were so named for the discovery of BloodStones, which were rich in magic and value in the now lost kingdom of Morduzum. Their greed over these stones created a schism amongst several families and nearly led to civil war. In penance, they are considered the lowest clan among the dwarven kind and tend to be gem cutters, miners and stoneworkers in the bowels of the mountains. Dwarven memory is long and though it has been many generations since the Bludstein Wars, this clan often finds itself having to work twice as hard to earn power and acceptance among their brethren. They are typically Iron and Mountain Dwarves and can be found scattered in all dwarven settlements.
Dwarves are considered traditional, though what is and is not traditional varies from clan to clan. In general, dwarves are said to be as enduring and as solid as the mountains. They respect the traditions of their clans, of hard labor, skill in battle, determination, loyalty, and decisive action. They trace their homes and fortressess back ages, and their long lives bring with it great memory. Their craftsmanship is unmatched, it is said, and the strength of their axe respected.
There are two main branches of dwarves on Ea. The main branch are those native to the mountainous region known as Khazad Duin, which sunders central Arcania in half via the massive Sky Curtain Mountains. In Khazad Duin, there once stood a magnificent dwarven kingdom known as The Axis of Gaea. Five hundred years ago, barely a generation or two to the dwarves, this land was destroyed and their One King slain, his family line broken. Shadow Elves allied with outcast cursed dwarves were responsible.
Today, the Holds that survive are closer to the surface and ring their hammers and mix traditional craft with artifice in the hopes of one day returning to destroy their enemies. Dwarves today exist in scattered realms, holds and kingdoms with most concentrating in Khazad Duin and adhering to the authority of The High King and his council.
The dwarves stand on the edge of revival and renewal, and some among them whisper of the strength of the old Kingdoms. They have begun to set foot into the world once again, and venture into far reaches of the kingdoms, bringing craft and news and trade. As the world suffered, dwarven explorers and merchant-companies stepped forward to tread pathways and to rebuild roads and contacts. To some communities, the khazad have become their heroes.
Within their own realm, they've begin funding expeditions to reclaim portions of their lost kingdom, to recover treasures, establish colonies, and to push back their ancestral enemies with fervor--particularly near the ancient dwarven site of Morduzum in Alexandros.
Morduzum was the site of an ancient dwarven kingdom. It collapsed in the previous ages during the time of the demon-tainted orcs. Such was its collapse that it was sealed, and enveloped by the ruins of its sister nation, the elven Aranthalas realm. Untold treasures and lore await within--and untold danger. The Iron Dwarves in their malevolence are rumored to hold greater portions of its path--which, should the dwarves move into Morduzum, would put them against enemies who resemble, at least in the mirror, portions of themselves.
Although, not all dwarven communities, having grown content with their independence since the fall of the great kingdom, are happy with the expansion. The recent wedding of the daughter-heir of Vallaheim with the son-heir of Dun-Mordren is another sign of the dwarves' expansion...or source of alarm.