The History of the Children of Erda
The Dwarves of Râmd’Ankellé – or the Svérk – were the third sentient race created by the Cadásur. It remains historically unclear which individual among the ancient celestials progenerated the Dwarves; their lore claims the grew from the earth and mountains under the power of their first ruler, Erda-König.
Erda-König had been Cadásur… that much is clear, but it is not known what his true name had been before transubstantiation into a mortal form. What is known is that Erda-König created enough Dwarves to be a self-sustaining race and they started a singular clan – the Díkendróv Erda, or the Children of Erda.
All Svérk lived underground in the mountains and mines of northeastern Râmd’Ankellé. As the Children of Erda grew and expanded, they began to break into mostly peaceful factions based on their specialized skills. The first clan to branch off came from the families involved in the stonecutting used to expand the halls and corridors of their subterranean kingdom. Calling their organized clan the Stynshyd, they just as easily added artistic flourishes to their stonework as they did efficient function of the infrastructure they built.
Their skills were legendary as they helped build their halls and those of their fellow Dwarves. They occasionally though not often partnered with Elves to help them craft some of their cities. The Stynshyd were involved with two of the Elder Dragons: Græko and Belaryn. They learned to magically manipulate stone and earth from the former as Græko constructed his monolith in the eastern wilds of Râmd’Ankellé. They were then contracted by Belaryn to build his Citadel around which the future metropolis of Cí-Cen would later flourish.
Ten centuries passed before a son of Stynshyd discovered a diamond vein in his vaulted hall. Using enchantments to trace the gems’ different lengths, he discovered generous deposits of rare gemstones.
Arbysbaggár – the Son of Stynshyd – started a new clan called the Edlesten. The clan diligently mined for diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and topaz. They quickly learned each type of stone possessed the potential for attribution with elemental magic. They infused diamonds with the power to generate light; sapphires to channel water; rubies for conjuring fire; and topaz to directing air. Eventually the Edlesten discovered three more deposits of emeralds, opals, and onyx.
The power infused into emeralds allows them easier methods for manipulating the earth than had been thought of by the Stynshyd crafters. This magic made digging and tunneling faster. The power the Edlesten added to opals brought higher spiritual enlightenment and stimulated physical healing from major wounds. These were given to the Dwarven womenfolk who became the healers within their families. However, they accidentally stumbled upon dark magic by infusing the energies with onyx stones.
These infused gems could be used to summon evil spirits or impel curses upon someone. Because of the dangerous possibilities these gem-based magics posed, strict laws were placed on their usage by the Dwarven rulers of the Erda clan. Those same laws carried over when the Edélmena Clan of metalsmiths and miners splintered off the Edlesten Clan.
The Precious Metals
The Edélmena Clan specialized in both mining for gold, silver, and iron as well as crafting those metals into incredibly strong allows, beautifully artistic pieces of armor and weaponry, and currency. They learned that by pulverizing gemstones, they could craft the color of gold into different shades such as red, green, black, and blue. Cousins – Klínga and Müt, each from Edélmena and Edlesten clans respectively – crafted a sword that later passed down to the hands of a Human. The weapon was named Fyrbrón, meaning “firebrand”. It was forged out of silver and red, yellow, and black gold with rubies set into the hilt and pommel and it was given great elemental magic. The cousins also created the Sword of the Dragonmyst, a stylish though less-ornate weapon that was given to Dragons to present to their champion.
The Edélmena coinage of Dwarven money made them the most profitable clan, only slightly more wealthy than the Edlesten Clan. As Humans eventually migrated from ancient Ronso in the west to Râmd’Ankellé, the Humans tried to raid Dwarven mines and vaults in search of treasure. At first, the Edélmena case magic upon their money to protect it from thieves. Some coins cast simple, non-lethal curses upon the thief while others transported themselves back to their masters after sundown. Still other treasures were masked filth and rocks of no value that revealed themselves after a day, a trick played on Humans. The Dwarves often hid their treasures among the Dragons living in the wilds; the lairs made for perfect hiding places because Humans were too afraid to face Dragons and didn’t possess the magical skill to protect themselves. These arrangements often led the Humans to assume the Dwarves paid tribute to the Dragons and that the fire-breathing lizards deliberately collected these hordes of treasure upon which to sleep, giving way to the legend of the Dragon vaults. This is not true of course; Dragons want nothing of treasure and prefer knowledge over trinkets. One of the last untouched Dwarven collections resides within the secret halls of the Counsel of Dragons deep within the Sanctuary Forest of what is now Pasco-Dál.
However, the trickery of Dwarven security eventually prompted Humans to build an invading army to wage war against the Children of Erda and take the treasure for themselves.
The Sword and Shield
As a response to the Humans’ raging army, a new Dwarf clan forged out of the greatest warriors from all pre-existing clans. They became members of the Svar’úntskilt, the official Svérk army. They received their armor and weapons from the Edélmena with ornate, jeweled inlays crafted by the Edlesten to give them added protection. The Svar’úntskilt purposed themselves to the protection of their people and homeland within the mountains of the Great Chain. They trained themselves not only in traditional combat and using the mountainous, cavernous terrain to their advantage, they learned warfare magic from the Álgherí of Lacígra-D’antenati.
The War Hammers
After five and a half decades of defending the Dwarf halls from Human invaders, two brothers – Yaga and Dráh – raised an army to officially go to war against the Humans. With more than 300,000 soldiers, they marched on the Human city of Cí-Cen, devastating the forces fighting back. Having given no prelude to war, the Dwarves overran the Humans, killing nearly seventy percent of the Human army and leaving the city’s architecture – which the Dwarves admired – virtually untouched.
The sudden, decisive victory resulted in a truce brokered between the two militaries by the Maígan Elves. Yaga used the success of the campaign to expand Dwarf holdings over gold and silver mines owned by the Humans, granting them to the Edélmena as thanks for financing the battle. Dráh used it to unseat Hragar of Erda as king. The tenuous peace and the attack were used by Menonias to justify his later wars against the various non-Human races of Râmd’Ankellé. Menonias sent an assassin who killed the king; it was the inciting incident drawing the Dwarves into the Menonian Wars.
Yaga reorganized his people under a unifying banner, calling the clan Yaga-Dráh in honor of his brother. They fought, losing large numbers of their people in the wars. Most of their heaviest losses were suffered during the final battle at Menonias’ fortress at Helson. When the wars ended, Yaga’s grandson Flægnîr ascended the throne. He committed the Svérk to helping the Humans rebuild some of their cities, like Cí-Cen.
Once peace and rebuilding were reestablished, Flægnîr took the remaining Dwarves deep underground. But they traveled too far to the southwest and found themselves by the Three-Sands Desert’s ebon soil. They were cursed to rise as Zéví roaming the black stretch of sand every night until the destruction of the Womb of Shadows at which point the curse was lifted and the desert became the forested valley floor ensconced within the Ring Mountains. Even free from their zombified curse, their ghosts can still be seen roaming the forest on full moons.
Dwarves No More
There are few Dwarves in what is now called Icínq-Régn. Those who refused to leave the Erda homeland eventually dispersed among the various kingdoms when the mines and mineral deposits finally dried up. Many Dwarves migrated to Maíga where they were welcomed warmly by the Halflings establishing their new way of life. An even smaller few lived among the Humans in isolated pockets. Those remaining underground became food for the Úpírshi – the Vampires – who annexed the now-empty subterranean halls to thrive in the darkness.
The Svérk are all but extinct and the name, “The Children of Erda” is dead.