Proper Name: The Dwur Kingdom of Glorvardum
History: Millennia ago, giants and ogres infested the lower slopes and foothills of the Glorioles Mountains in great numbers, preying with impunity upon the Flan dwelling on the plains below. At this time, hobniz and noniz did not yet make their homes amid the forested hills, but the dwur had already come to the high crags and peaks. Eventually, the dwur and ogres with their giantish leaders drifted into conflict that quickly escalated into a genocidal war that raged throughout the Glorioles.
The dwur were doughty but were not skilled at fighting in the confines of the forests, while for their part, the giants and ogres were simply too large to invade the cunningly crafted holds and citadels of the dwur. So the war dragged on; decades of conflict served only to bleed the dwur and giantkin white. Thousands died until the war simply petered out. Typically, both sides claimed victory. The dwur interred their honoured dead in the Crypts of Iron Souls. Here, loremasters and the high priests of the Soul Forger (Moradin) and the Father of Battle (Clangeddin Silverbeard) sang the death eddas of the fallen and symbolically interred a warrior’s slain enemies with him.
The balance of power however, had irrevocably changed in the region. The old order had been swept away in a tide of violence and quickly the vacuum formed by the blood-letting was filled. Migrating noniz and hobniz found the mostly uninhabited forests and valleys of the lower slopes to their liking and established settlements along the breadth of the range, avoiding only the still-dangerous interior.
As the turmoil of the Great Migrations reshaped the political landscape of the Flamni Basin, some Flan tribes fled into the mountains. Claiming large swaths as their own, they hunted the upper slopes driving to virtual extinction the great cats of the interior and aggressively warring with the giants and their ogre vassals. Inevitably, squabbles over the limited resources of the range broke out, resulting in several minor skirmishes between rival clans. During this time, at least one Flan chieftain sought to carve out a nation for himself amongst the peaks of the Glorioles but rivals threw him down. The only remnant of these times are the oral traditions of the settlers and the occasional grassy, tree-topped burial mound that can still be found dotted throughout the range.
In the centuries that followed, small numbers of Oeridians also settled the region, intermixing with the Flan. Although in close proximity to the Great Kingdom of Aerdy, imperial forces never made any serious attempt to conquer the interior of the range and the settlers have remained fiercely independent.
The bloodshed and instability sparked by the Turmoil Between Crowns affected the mountains little. Dwur nobles of Glorvardum stood alongside representatives of the dwur of the Iron Hills and Hestmark Highlands when Irongate, Onnwal, Idee, Sunndi and the Lordship of the Isles declared their independence from the Great Kingdom in the Free City of Irongate. They were again present when Irongate, Onnwal and Idee founded the Iron League, late in 447 CY. Only when imperial troops attempted to force their way through the Pass of Anbek to deal with the recalcitrant province of Sunndi in 455 CY, did the dwur of Glorvardum stir from their high halls. A few survivors of the Aerdi host struggled back to Kalstrand to bring tidings of the wrath of the Glorioles. The dwur of Glorvardum had helped preserve Sunndi’s independence and this battle formed the basis of the alliance between these two nations that has endured ever since.
Glorvardum again came to the aid of their Sunndian allies when the Greyhawk Wars erupted throughout the Flanaess. Secure in their mountain fastness, the dwur repelled imperial assaults on their sacred mountain home. Such was the weight of the assaults however, that the passes could not be held and Sunndi fell to the mad aggression of the Overkings.
Rulership and Law: The north-eastern reaches of the Glorioles are claimed by the dwur of Glorvardum. Their realm is centred on the peaks and high places of Kilvangath and Bolwhurgirn. Both peaks are riddled with mines, holds and citadels and warded by strong fortifications – a legacy of the ancient dwur/giant wars. The delvings have bored deep into the very roots of the mountains, ever questing for the rich veins of silver that once ran here. Now all but exhausted, these mines and workings lie silent and, in the main, abandoned.
Barely numbering 10,000, the dwur are a dwindling people, still clinging to their independence. While closely allied with Sunndi, they do not actively participate in defending the rest of the range except when an enemy force is attempting to force the passes. The scattering of noniz, hobniz, and human settlements in the lower portions of the range are wholly independent of Glorvardum although some trade is carried on between them in the summer months. A few hundred noniz and hobniz dwell amongst the dwur, acting as intermediaries, negotiators, mercenaries, scouts or in other specialist roles. Although on friendly terms with the humans, the dwur avoid contact with them in the main and no humans dwell on the high mountains. Glorvardum holds a seat on Sunndi’s Congress of Lords but does not often participate in council sessions except in times of war.
The dwur are led by their thane who is elected for life by an advisory council comprising of the seven clan-elders. Six of these clans are powerful and influential families specialized in a specific trade. The most influential of these clans are the Ironbeards, the merchants and diplomats of the kingdom. The seventh clan is not actually a clan in the strictest definition of the term. The Samryntar (“The Favoured”) is the religious caste of Glorvardum, and a member of this group cannot be a member of another. For most, it is the only way to leave one’s clan of birth without leaving Glorvardum forever. Even members of the Samryntar are expected to remain in touch with their old clan, because their children (if any) are returned to be brought up by their kin.
Besides the seven clans, there are two other powerful groups within Glorvardum. While neither have a seat at the clan council, no thane ignores their leaders lightly. The most important and influential is the Barakadar [BAH-rahk-adahr]. The Barakadar is the army. Any able dwur has to serve five years in the army during their prime and train two weeks per year in the militia afterward. To maintain the unity of the kingdom, the dwur serve in units with members of other clans and during this time, they are expected to treat the Barakadar as their clan. A few dwur remain in the Barakadar permanently, again as a way to leave their old clan. The second group is a relatively new addition to the kingdom known as the Olsamman (literally, “Magic Shield-brother”). With the rise of the Ivids, the need for an organized magical defence became apparent and the thane decided to unite all elementalists and artificers under one banner.
The sigil of Glorvardum depicts a battleaxe crossed with a warhammer and can be found on way markers, fortifications and mine entrances throughout the Glorioles.
Trade and Commerce: The deep places and mines of Glorvardum have been worked for centuries by the industrious dwur and much wealth has been brought to the surface. While literally hundreds of miles of passages and chambers exist under the mountains, there is still wealth to be found in the depths of the Oerth. Careful dwur mining yet brings considerable amounts of gold, silver and gemstones to the surface. Blue and white stripped banded agate, mottled deep blue azurites and grey-black hematite can all still be found here in quantity. Much rarer though are the fiery orange jacinths and star rubies now found only in the deeper mines. Iron ore is also mined here in modest quantities. Traded almost exclusively with Sunndi now in decades past merchants travelled from Idee, Onnwal and Nyrond to bid for the gemstones of Glorvardum.
The noniz and hobniz of the lower slopes trade with Glorvardum, exchanging wood, foodstuffs and well-made cloth for iron, steel, precious metals and gems. Few dwur merchants now walk the sunlit lands of Sunndi. The dwur of Glorvardumkn are increasingly an insular people, only stirred from their mountain halls by the clarion call of war.
Intrigues and Whispers: A nameless adventurer staggered into Kallstrand in late 593 CY proclaiming that he had discovered one of the legendary Crypts of Iron Souls. The only proof he could provide was a battered but plainly magical battleaxe and shield both bearing the sigil of Glorvardum. The veracity of this individual’s account cannot be verified as he promptly disappeared. Several dwur and the authorities are known to be interested in his whereabouts.
Attacks by ogres and their hill giant masters against the lowlanders are growing in frequency of late. Several villages were attacked and cattle and other goods taken. What this portends is not known. Several small forays were made into Ahlissa itself. Ahlissan forces are thought to be massing along the foothills to counter any further raids. What would happen if imperial forces were to follow retreating giants into the hills in strength is the topic of much debate in Kalstrand.
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