Saturday, April 5, 2014

A to Z Challenge: D is for the Dwarves' Shame

Jarlsburg is a medieval fantasy city of my creation that is the location of for Pathfinder and DnD Next games I have run in the past.  This A to Z is my effort to better introduce others to the locale and continue to flesh it out while the game is on hiatus.

Nearly two-hundred years ago, Jarl Morgo Flameheart handed what had been the capital of the Dwarven Confederacy for the previous six-hundred years over to the Mayors of all four villages in the Oleander Valley.  Morgo's terms were that the Mayors and their descendants on the future Oleander Council would sign the pact that handed the city to them lock, stock, and barrel.

After that the Jarl led most of his people back to their ancestral home, Starmetal, leaving only as single dwarven embassy in the Twin Rivers region, the Seminary at Golen Hall in the Duchy of St. Cuthbert.

While rumors swirl that the Plaza of Remembrance hides some terrible secret, the truth is that the dwarves toiled very thoroughly before they handed Jarlsburg over to make sure no one could ever again enter the Dwarves' Shame, the vaults below the city, with all entrances being sealed in adamantine and the liberal use of diabolical traps.  This is because the largest provision of the pact is that no one may ever enter the Shame below the city for any reason, ever.

What is known about the pact, is that the dwarves of Jarlsburg had brought a great shame to their race and that their legendary leader, Dremmel Stonepillar stepped down as Jarl and became an exile to atone for his people's sins against their god, Moradin.

The trouble while  Dremmel was away from Jarlsburg, defending the Stonemill Hills against a crusade by the elves of the Heartlands.  The Stonemill Hills had been the site of seven crusades by the elves because they held that the area was sacred to elven history and accused the dwarves of profaning it with their mining.  However, this latest attack used magic the dwarves had never encountered causing the death of General Dora Westrock and Dremmel's only son, Brock.  This forced Dremmel to leave the city and his grieving wife, Scylla to take charge at the Hills.  Sadly, Dremmel underestimated the Scylla's grief at the death of their only son which lead her down an unspeakable path of vengeance.

As always Scylla was Regent in her husband's absence and sent secret envoys to the drow city of Xi'Nuln and solicited the aid of Queen Bafte Jeel'zin as an ally in the war of against the elves.  Scylla promised dwarven war engines and a huge cache of mithril weapons for the crow if they aided in the total extermination of the Heartland elves.

When Dremmel inevitably discovered the drow aid and his wife's treachery, he withdrew all of his dwarves and surrendered the Stonemill Hills the elven crusaders.  When he returned to Jarlsburg he discovered his wife was dead from poisoning.

It was then that the Jarl appealed to Moradin for forgiveness for his family's sins and accepted exile willingly, but his god required that his children leave the tainted place and never return.

Dremmel's final act was to negotiate the handing over of his capital and to watch as his people returned to their ancestral home, and then he began his exile.

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