For a time after the Elves were created, the gods all worked in harmony, more or less. The Elves slowly spread throughout Tineré and many great works were created. After a while, however, some of the Mondi began to chafe at the restrictions that Ashandra kept the Elves under. They began to feel like their works were less well regarded as unless they had the Goddess of air’s explicit approval, then the Elves would not be involved in them. Many centuries passed and the discontentment grew amongst the gods as well as within the Elves themselves.

Then there came a time when Ashandra and Rakor had a disagreement and parted bitterly. The discontented Mondi approached Rakor and beseeched him to lend them the essence of the earth so that they may created their own race in rivalry to the elves. Rakor spent some time in contemplation of the request and all of its implications but still being greatly displeased with Ashandra finally granted the request. From the bones of the earth the Dwarves were born and life was breathed into them by Katjya.

The dwarves stayed hidden for many long years under the earth. They learned to delve and build inside their caves and grottos. They learned the secret of the underground waterways and to grow plentiful crops of plants that needed no sun. They prospered and spread throughout the mountains they’d been born in until one day it became obvious they were outgrowing their home and would require more space to live. Many councils were held and the gods were consulted and finally it was decided that they should make their way overland to the next mountain range and start a new colony.

They were fearful of the sky however and not many wanted to go. It took great courage to step out into the open and travel above ground and not all were capable of doing so. Even then, it took a number of expeditions before a party reached their destination. They encountered all manner of animal and natural threats they had not seen before. The most dangerous of these were the Elves.

Upon the Dwarves being revealed to her, Ashandra was furious and felt she had been betrayed by the other gods, Rakor most of all. The love the two gods shared made her anger all the deeper and it was a long age before she forgave him. For his part Rakor felt remorse at the act and sought to make amends while also working to protect the Dwarves so they should not be destroyed.

An age past and the Elves were riven with strife as the Ilah Ri and Cirgoth sought their own freedom. At the same time, the Dwarves had troubles of their own. Some of the Dwarves that had tasted the open air began to long for it once more and argued they should also be allowed to live above the earth. Many clans held many gatherings to decide the course of their future and eventually a few resolved to leave the mountains for good.

These clans then became the basis for the present day Hill Dwarves. They forsook their mountain halls and began to build structures above the earth. They learned to till fields and to domesticate animals that also lived under the open sky. Their skins and eyes darkened and they lost their fear of the sun.

The Hill Dwarves also learned to fight as the Elves did. In ranks with bow and sword and axe. But being clever with runes from their days under the earth, they also created machines of war that frightened and dismayed the Elves. Their runic craftsmen created great walking suits that thundered along like mechanical Treemen as well as huge cannon that spat great balls of stone clear across valleys and even gliding machines that took to the skies to rival the Eagles and Pegasi.

Being originally made of the stuff of the earth and having spent many centuries in hardy toil, all Dwarves are tough as stone. While small in stature compared to an Elf, they are nevertheless a formidable foe.

The next blogpost will detail a little about the Dwarves that stayed behind and continued to live in the mountains.

Figure painting and photography by Kle MIller