History of Nod, Part III – The Dwarves

Today, we cover the ancient history of the dwarves of NOD, with a special bonus at the end covering the identities of the major Kabir and Igigi.

Image by Jon Kaufman (pachycrocuta at DA – check him out for commissions!)

The ancient elves, being fey creatures, were physically malleable. Not to the extent of the Kabir, of course, who could assume any shape they pleased. The elves were humanoid in shape, and humanoid they would stay. But when they were angry, their faces twisted and their bodies distorted (sometimes called a warp spasm), and when they were happy, they almost glowed with joy. An elf’s children were physical duplicates of their parent’s emotional and spiritual selves.

As the ancient elves grew darker, their children grew uglier. Thus were born the orcs, goblins, bugbears, hobgoblins and dwarves. These waifs were turned out into the wilderness by their disgusted parents to die, but many were rescued by entities who saw them either as useful pawns in their own sinister games, or in the case of the dwarves, who were born of greed, by the compassion of Ys, who believed they might be brought up to do good in the world despite their parentage.

Ys was correct about the dwarves, hiding them in the mountains and under the hills, and shepherding their development until they were honorable men and women, industrious, clever and just. Of course, they were still greedy and stubborn as all get out, but nobody is perfect.

As was mentioned before, the dwarves were no match for the ancient elves, and were forced to pay tribute to them. A dwarf loves his gold, and being cheated of it brought a terrible hatred for the elves among the dwarves, and they bent their minds to one day throwing off this indignity. They were a patient folk, the dwarves, and they had much time to plan and scheme. They forged weapons of power and hid them away, and watched as the debauched elves grew insular and petty. They had long ago stopped having children with one another, choosing instead to produce children with their more handsome human slaves, that they might escape the aforementioned curse of “ugly children”. In time, there were many more humans and half-elves in their kingdoms and empires than true elves. The time the dwarves had waited for had finally arrived.

In this time, the disparate elven kingdoms had come under the control of a queen-of-queens, an elf called Vinrix. Vinrix was the most powerful elf of her age, and nothing to be trifled with. When her people came to the high king of the dwarves, Dvalinn, with demands that a hundred-thousand of his people be delivered into slavery to build her monuments, he declined, and sent back from his halls a few bloodied and blinded survivors carrying the heads of their comrades. This, of course, meant war.

War between the elves and dwarves centered around the dwarven holds in the Bleeding Mountains, which in those days were known as Golden Mountains. The elves besieged the dwarves in their mountain holds, as Dvalinn had desired, and slowly but surely the dwarves chipped away at the strength of the elven armies, slaying their great wizard-lords with such mundane things as rockets and cannon. More importantly, they undermined the positions of the elves, and bypassing their enemy’s lines worked their wiles on the human slaves that formed the bulk of the elves’ strength. Before the elves knew it, their human subjects were in open revolt, and they were forced to divide their armies again and again until they were spread thin across the globe.

It finally came about that the dwarves left their strongholds to challenge the army of Vinrix in the field. The elves had made camp around the base of the Crown Stone, the keystone their magical network of standing stones, which augmented their eldritch power and denied it to most other folk. There the dwarves went with humans and others in tow, and joined battle with their ancient enemies. Eventually, it was a matter of High King against Empress, and finally, her back pressed against the Crown Stone itself, the dwarf made a last mighty swing with his hammer and missed. The hammer, forged in the raging elemental fires beneath the earth, tempered in the immaculate grudges of the dwarves, cracked the great stone his people had raised, and everything was cast in a brilliant white light.

Those who were far enough away to have seen the event and survived tell of a great white light that lasted but an instant and then disappeared, followed by a great rush of wind. Vinrix and Dvalinn and their armies were gone, as was the Crown Stone and, with it, the network of standing stones. Some toppled physically, others remained standing, but the great network that channeled magical energy was gone. Where once there stood the Crown Stone on a lush prairie, there was now a great, gaping gulf – a piece torn from the Material Plane. A few bits of land floated in this black gulf, this void-scar on the landscape, but the rest was gone.
With the magic dissipated across the globe, the impossible cities of the elves toppled and those who were left found themselves the inheritors of wrack and ruin.

Needless to say, the elves were none too happy about this. To be sure, the greatest of their cities still stood, fabled Tara Tilal, but most of the others were gone. The elves were now weakened, and they were forced into the wilderness by their former slaves. While some repented and turned back to their ancient gods, many others had revenge on their minds, and magical communications sent a great many (perhaps two-thirds) of the surviving warriors and wizards marching to the wondrous western mountains known as the Pillars of Asur, where that grand old kabir’s great temple stood. They gathered in the foothills and swore oaths and forged weapons and summoned demons, and then started up those slopes to topple their ancestor-god’s house of worship.

They did not get far, though, before the old god himself did appear and whisper a single curse. The sun would be denied these elves for all eternity; it would become to them a hateful thing of pain, burning eyes and flesh, an eternal reminder of their fall from grace and final punishment. These elves turned and fled from their god and the sun, which burned their skin black, and hid themselves in dark places under the earth, and would come to be known in future centuries as the drow. They would eventually have their revenge on the dwarves, though, as they excited the fires that burned beneath the Golden Mountains and gathered the foul goblin folk who dwelled near them and finally freed the last of the elder things that were chained therein. As hundreds of volcanoes exploded simultaneously, the skies were blackened and the holds of the dwarves were cracked and destroyed. The goblins swarmed these strongholds and the dwarves were forced to flee. The Golden Mountains had become the Bleeding Mountains, so named for the red rivers of lava that now flowed there and for the copious amounts of dwarf blood spilled by the goblins. The dwarven diaspora had begun.

THE MAJOR KABIR

ASUR: Kabir of the Sun; ruler of The Noble Procession (the aristocratic and beautiful, chivalrous and vain fey, especially the ancient elves and even the rebellious drow who are their closest relatives)

BEL: Kabir of death and rebirth; rules the Mourners (fey concerned with the dead, such as banshees)

GHOBB: Kabir of geology; rules the Keepers of Kitchen and Pantry (the household fairies, as well as the useful folk of the fairy world such as leprechauns and brownies)

KARN: Kabir of the hunt; rules the Bloody-Minded Lot (mean-spirited killers and torturers, such as red caps and trolls)

NUDD: Kabir of the oceans, the “ancient mariner”, who went to sea and never again set foot on land; he might be said to rule the fey of the water, though he shows little interest in doing so and generally leaves them to their own devices

TUT: Kabir of mischief; rules the Merrie-Met (tricksters, dancers, and makers of mischief like satyrs and sprites)

YS: Kabir of fertility; rules the Painters of Flowers and Dapplers of Dew (the fey that make the world go ‘round, the nature-workers of Nod such as the flower fairies, nymphs and dryads, as well as the storm giants – though nobody really rules those folks)

THE MAJOR IGIGI

ALAD: Igigi of Benevolence (NG)

AZAG: Igigi of Morbidity (NE)

AZUR: Igigi of Virtue (LG); After Azur’s destruction by Zid during its crusade in the Material Plane against evil, when it stretched itself too thin and made itself vulnerable, Azur was shattered into seven archangels (solars), generally known as the Seven Virtues.

GUZU: Igigi of Rage (CE)

NIM: Igigi of Love (CG)

SUUL: Igigi of Madness (CN)

ZID: Igigi of Logic (LN)