The Crown Mountains boasted the greatest jewel of dwarvenkind. Sparkling stone, glittering gold, and the beats of the forge all shined from the Spire of Smiths. A utopia of creation, a protector of peace, the shining streets of Hammerhold brought wonder to us all.
My father spoke of his pilgrimage to the city when he was in his young forties. In all of his tales to my brothers and I – the clan wars, meeting my mum, the dragon-slaying – none rivaled his wonder and joy in telling his time in Hammerhold. I remember him speaking of the beautiful mares at the mahogany stables, the townsfolk filling the golden streets, the silvered guards on the Iron Wall, the shouts of the traveling merchants, and the benevolence of the king and his family. Only the greatest dwarves lived there, away from despair and poverty.
I went on my own pilgrimage soon after, serving our culture as a smith. My mother wept in happiness, as my father’s pride gave me the strength to journey on. I journeyed straight to the Crown Mountains, where the splendor of Hammerhold awaited me. The people welcomed me as their own, praised my craftsmanship after a few years, and eventually invited me to the royal court. The king greeted me as a brother, his halls cheered for Hammerhold and its talented people.
Now I am here, clad in my father’s armor. I see the screeching horses running from the burning stables, corpses lining the golden streets, humans roaring on the Iron Wall, the screams of traveling merchants, and the hanging bodies of the king and his family. I escort the refugees and weep as I see the Spire of Smiths topple and burn, the chasms of the mountain devouring the last hope of our people. To you, dear reader, I write this lament to give a fraction of the horrors we face.
— Whurbin Forgeborn
Dreams of a Forgeborn
A lad on father’s knee
I heard tales of your beauty.
To walk the Iron Wall
To see the towers tall,
To stand abreast the Iron Guard
It was my Dream.
When my first helm I did make
I knew the path I had to take
To you, shining Jewel of old
To you, O Hammerhold.
The road was long, and mountains steep
But mother’s love and father’s pride
Kept me safe unto the Golden Keep.
The King called us to his hall,
Young and old, great and small.
“Brothers!” he cried, “Tonight we feast!”
For he had made us greatest of the least.
My beard grew long, my eyes grew dull
And slowly, my life grew full.
To teach my sons the craft
To help them find their own path
It became my Dream.
But dreams are fleeting things,
And some are not to be.
Now here I stand, in father’s plate
My strength all gone, my tears too late.
Blood pours down the street
The gates, they groan,
The wounded moan,
Corpses reek like rotten meat.
The King is dead, his children scream,
And I, alone, stand amidst the rubble of my dream.
Art Credit: Deredias Designs