Monday, July 28, 2008

More Dwarves

Well, I admit that a lot of this will seem like gobbledygook, unless you have a solid grasp of western Siberian topography, but here goes.

In 120 B.C., Ulath the Unshriven, a heretic Dwarven priest, drew together a group of three hundred devout followers from the land of Croft and sought westward for lands unsettled. Eschewing the theology that had grown around the worship of Moradin, Ulath claimed to have had a vision that revealed to him the “First Fathers” as he called them: Motsognir, Durinn and Dvalinn. These were the Dvergar…whom Ulath believed had lived in the west ten thousand years before even the duergar bred in the mountains before the founding of Khath.

For seven years he and his followers travelled westward, encountering human tribes (Turks), orc tribes (Uighurs) and goblin tribes (the Maglosh of the Vasyugan swamp). Their journey was epic, taking them far to the south, through the desert of the Kirgiz, then north again into the foothills of the Eastern Urals. It was there that the first permanent settlement was founded, at Kord.

For two centuries (called ‘the Gathering’) thereafter the dwarves settled through much of the Eastern Urals, through the lands we associate with the Chelyabinsk and Ekaterinburg oblasts; the land became known as Hoth, and was miraculously unsettled before the arrival of Ulath’s people. The Gathering was marked by the arrival of tens of thousands of religious and other Dwarven refugees, who made the long journey west (more than a thousand miles) to settle in Hoth. Even as Altslok successful reacquired lost territories, Hoth expanded also.

Beginning in the 200s A.D., however, the vast movements of peoples, pressured by the Mongols (and to a lesser extent by the expansion of Altslok), would eventually bring about the end of the Roman Empire would also inflict upon Hoth a series of homeland struggles. The Hun orc tribes (substantially orcs with human Turkic leaders) appeared and were driven south and west after failing to defeat the dwarves, whose numbers were perhaps a mere 30,000.

The Huns were followed by the Avars, a human Turkic people, sieged Kord in 320, plundered the city of Toothsmark and were finally driven out.

Other tribes followed: the Cumans, the Pechenegs, the Magyars. In 890 A.D., the Bolgar nation which had been established in the upper Volga (not to be confused with the “Bulgars”), a tribe of ogres, led by ogre mage, migrated northeast into the upper valleys of the Kama and Balaya rivers. They poured over the Ural mountains into the lands of Hoth, which was not strong enough to withstand them. The land was conquered in 895, and held in thrall for until 1022 by a Bolgar aristocracy. Very little settlement occurred, and after the decline of the Bolgar state due to the War of the Horns (ogres against gnolls) and incursions of the Seljuks, Dwarvish independence was won at the Battles of Ramslok (our Kamyshlov) and Magnith (Magnitogorsk).

During the period of 1238-1240 Hoth defended itself (at great cost) against the invasion of the Mongols (haruchai orcs), in which much of the population escaped into the forests of the north. Two centuries thereafter they were again attacked by Tamerlane, whom they successfully turned back.

Since 1400 the kingdom of Hoth has existed in relative peace (there continue to be battles against gnolls, ogres and orcs in the south and west, and goblins in the east), expanded greatly in population and succeeded in establishing firm trade routes with Moskovy through the city of Khlynov. The lands between Hoth and Altslok have fallen entirely into the hands of goblins (the kingdom of Magloshkagok, occupying the middle and lower Ob basin) and hobgoblins (the empire of Vostoch, occupying the upper Ob and the Yenisey basins). As such, trade and indeed nearly all communication between the two dwarven kingdoms has dwindled. Both exist as islands of civilization a sea of lesser-developed but violent humanoid cultures.

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