Saturday, December 15, 2018

Duergar Part 2

The Duergar or gray dwarves were physically separated from their people around 4,000 years ago, when Pel Thorin, the greatest underground fortress in dwarven history fell to an illithid incursion. 

Queen Nori Ironhearth had just fallen and her sons, Dwaren and Dueren were arguing about how to proceed. Dwaren thought they should lead the survivors away, to retreat from Pel Thorin. Dueren, calling his brother a coward, felt they should live or die there in the great fortress. Finally, their uncle, Nagar Stonefist separated the two and chastised them for in-fighting.

It was then the brothers said their farewells as Dwaren led his followers to safety and Dueren led a final charge against the mind flayers. A doomed and desperate act that saw most of Duren's followers die and the rest wished they had.

The illithid experimented on the survivors and used them as slave stock. For decades they toiled, were bred, and were experimented upon. However, the duergar, as they came to call themselves, had a talent for psionic abilities and soon, two gifts were bred into them. The ability to grow to double their size and invisibility. Within three generations this trait bred true and it proved to be the key to their freedom. For whatever reason, the illithid underestimated the tenacity of the duergar and they rose up and fled from the ruins of Pel Thorin, now known as Illithome.

They were led by Anga Smokestone and she talked to her kin about finding their departed brethren and reuniting the with the children of Dwaren.

However, there was still too much resentment there. Too much pain had endured and they viewed their cousins as cowards. Plus, their people had changed with the breeding programs. They were gray of skin and hair and many among them had psychic talents now.

They decided that the Underdark was their home now, that they would live with their decision to stay in the deep and they would rule it one day. And then, maybe they would return to their cousins to conquor them too.

Soon, they found and took a small drow outpost. From there they trained physically and mentally and began an annexation of the Underdark. The only areas they avoided moving toward was Illithome, they were not ready to face their former masters or their past.

Eventually, they came upon New Thorin, a new fortress that was home to the Dwarves as they began to expand their territory after the humiliation by the illithids. 

When the Duergar came upon it, a blood madness overtook them and they made siege upon it, slaughtering every male, female, and child within its halls. They even sent an envoy to deliver the news and a warning. The Dwarves had forfeited their rights to the Underdark when they fled Pel Thorin and the Duergar would always remind them of their cowardice and make them pay for it. To this day they uphold that vow.

In the last 50 years, a smallish cult of devil worshippers has sprung up. Their cult, known as the Hellfire Path, teaches that now is time for the Duergar to explore the surface and seek out allies so that the can commit full time to the genocide of the hated Dwarves. Many who have joined the cult have willingly left their places in the Underdark and found ancient and sometimes abandoned places to begin reaching out to new allies. While the Duergar have little respect for gnolls or orcs, they have found kinship amongst hobgoblins and those walk the Path are willing to set aside their natural dislike for such lesser races in exchange for the end of the Dwarves.

In the Hells, Mephistopholes laughs as his plans unfold. He knows in this old bones that the Duergar have not yet realized that they have simply found a new master to replace the illithid and he yearns for the day that those that have damned themselves will look upon him with fear, knowing that he tricked and ruined them. He wonders if on that day, the gray dwarves will cast a tear as they stand upon the skulls of the Dwarven race that fell to them.

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