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

The Illithid experimented on the survivors and used them as slave stock. For decades as they toiled, the Mind Flayer bred them like a common dog, even experimenting upon them in horrific ways. However, the Duergar, as they came to call themselves, had a talent for psionic abilities and soon, two gifts of the Mind Flayers bred true.  First was the ability to grow to double their size and the second was the power of invisibility and within three generations the Duergar fought for and won their freedom from their Illithid tormentors. 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 convinced her kin to find Dwaren's children in order to reunite with them once again. However, once reunited bad blood still remained and the Duergar had experienced too much pain not to view their cousiins as cowards. The schism was reinforced by the physical changes that divided the Dwarven people now and the strange new abilities the Duergar were born with.

Anga led her people back into the Underdark in the hope that they could wrestle Illithome from the Mind Flayers that had tormented their people and restore it to Pel Thorin.

Soon, they found and took a small drow outpost and they interrogated their prisoners for intelligence on the Drow, their Gods, and the other intelligent peoples that dwelt with them in the dark. From there they began annexing more areas of the Underdark, moving inexorably toward Illithome, toward revenge.

However, their conquest led them to Nir Thorin, a Dwarven outpost established to assess the who could be counted upon as an enemy or an ally in their plans to liberate Pel Thorin from the Illithid.

Sadly, when the Duergar came upon it, a blood madness overtook them and they made siege upon it, slaughtering every Dwarf within its halls. They 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 amongst Duaren's children. Their cult, known as the Hellfire Path, teaches that the time has come for the Duergar to explore the surface and seek out allies to aid them in the genocide of the hated Dwarven cousins. 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, who seem drawn to the Hellfire Path almost as much as they are drawn to helping to end their Dwarven foes.

In the Hells, Mephistopholes laughs as his plans unfold, he knows in his 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, acknowledging too late that he ruined them. The Archdevil wonders if, on that day, the Duergar will finally shed a tear as they stand upon the skulls of their Dwarven cousins, victorious and rotten with corruption.

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