Hammerhold was known as the City of Metal, and the dwarves there were the Founders of Forge. Many saw it as the capital of all crafting guilds, and all dwarves, regardless of clan, saw it as the pinnacle of dwarven culture. Many warring clans held negotiations there, traded supplies through it, and understood it as a neutral ground in their battles.
These ideas did not leak into the human kingdoms. When the Forgeborn Clan waged their holy crusade against the lands of Signus, the armies of Man saw Hammerhold as the only place of weakness in the dwarven armies. Tragically, the dwarves of Hammerhold did not believe an assault would ever reach them and chose not to fortify the trade city. When House Ruduval joined armies with Signus against the city, there was virtually no defending force to stop them. The humans did not stop the attack after pillaging the city’s wealth, but ceased only after they had burned buildings to rubble and completely destroyed any reminder of the Jewel of the Mountains. The Kingdoms of Man saw this as a great victory – they won their first offensive and gained an advantage against their opponents.
To the dwarves, this attack incited fury. For the first time in their long history, the dwarven clans set aside their petty internal squabbles and united under one banner to eradicate the human forces. Hammerhold became a symbol of vengeance and a battle-cry for soldiers on the field. Their armies together outnumbered the humans six to one and decimated Signus to near rubble. It was not until the elves joined the war that the humans were able to quell the fires of dwarven fury, leading to peace negotiations on both sides. The tragic fall of Hammerhold is a tale of many heroic tales and laments, but the city itself remains desolate. It is said among the dwarves that if one who has the blood of a Forgeborn stands in the desolate streets of Hammerhold, they can still hear the distant echoes of their kinsmen hammering below.
Art Credit: “Castle Age – Burning Village” by Andreas Rocha – http://www.andreasrocha.com/