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  • Writer's pictureCal W

Prologue

Of The Age of Men and the rise of The Dwarf Empire of Lochnagar


For many thousands of years, the lush green land of Brittanni was ruled by the Kings and Queens of men. As Unremarkable and short-lived a race they were, they were strong of heart and keen minded - living prosperously and peacefully for millennia. For the most part, they honoured the balance with other creatures with whom they shared their lands, treading not too greatly or too greedily on the vast wildernesses of Their somewhat small, emerald isle in a seemingly endless sea. From the Kingdom’s capital of Obolique, the noble houses of Brittanni cared not for conquest or expansion - nor would they settle conflicts with blood and steel but with their minds and with the exchanging of ideas upon which they would ponder until coming with solutions never to harm others, but to benefit all equally. The greatest of noble houses - who would come into possession of the throne by way of democratic selection in the year XX337am(1) - was the Line of Anâlin. Strong and fierce were those of that blood - protecting the realm of men from the more nefarious of their neighbors such as the various uprisings of orcish persuasion and the occasional assault from conquerors from far flung shores of unnamable continents.


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There was another race however who would arrive in Brittanni not as conquerors, but as refugees. In the year IX469am, great ships of glistening white timber and silver sails arrived on the southern shores of Brittanni. With them came an ancient race, pre-dating all written history and humans themselves - The Elves. Upon hearing of the arrival of these ships, then King Forödin of the house Duén rode out with a company to meet these refugees; and within 3 days of their arrival he would treat with them. Upon the Golden sands of Dervin, King Forödin would meet with the Elven High King Quinarin of the Line of Eilianther. The land of the elves had been lost to a great cataclysm - the ocean had swallowed their ancient island whole, with only around 500 elves surviving the great flood. Benevolent and kind, Forödin offered to the elves the Forest of Pübiß, wherein they could build their new settlement and live in peace under the condition that they never seek to take more lands from the Kingdom of Brittanni. And so, the elven kingdom of Sherwood was formed and the Oath of Quinarin was made - “We shall seek not to take more than this gift, and so our two races may live in harmony.” The Elves, in exchange for their new land, would bestow upon The Kingdom of Brittanni three gifts - Three Spears carved from the teeth of dragons - The Spears of Brittanni.


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Though it was men who stood at the helm of Brittanni’s rule, they were not the only free peoples of land. Far to the North of Brittanni, beneath the jagged mountains cloaked in mist and storm grew another kingdom; one rich in industry and technological advancement - The Dwarf Empire of Lochnagar. While the Kingdom of Brittanni grew and flourished above ground, the dwarves, under the rule of Emperor Thorumm I, delved ever deeper beneath the earth in search of precious ores and new elements with which to strengthen their creations - all while cultivating new spaces within the dark caverns to further expand their cities. In time, they mastered steam powered technology, an innovation which would drastically increase the rate at which the dwarves would expand and grow. The Dwarves lived separately to The Kingdom of Brittanni for millennia, that is until in the year XXIV987am, when the great collapse of Yorevik took place. Unlike men, the dwarves were slaves to their hubris - never considering the other peoples with which they shared the land; caring not for the overlanders’ cities or settlements. So when the dwarves tapped into a new found deposit of Platinarium(2) directly beneath the city of Yorevik, there was no hesitation. The steam powered machines chewed through stone at an unnatural rate, sending tremors through the foundations of the city. Closer and closer to the surface the dwarves ascended, gathering the precious ores they so desperately sought, until catastrophe struck. In the blink of an eye, 13,000 humans and 210 dwarves lost their lives as the entire city of Yorevik plunged inwards on itself - crashing down through the dark chasms of the dwarves. This cataclysm ushered in with a new period of unrest between The Kingdom of Brittanni and The Dwarf Empire. Within a fortnight, a summit was held between King Galährim, his council and Emperor Thorumm I at the Citadel of Obolique, wherein the pressing matter of Dwarven expansion was discussed. It was agreed upon that surveys would be conducted in every large scale Brittanni settlement to determine a safe perimeter up to which the dwarves would be permitted to mine beneath these settlements - with the exception being beneath the city of obolique, for the vast tombs of kings dwelled beneath there. And with that, the final civilized discussion between the Kings of Men and Emperors of Dwarves concluded.


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Two Centuries would pass with little to no interaction between Dwarf and Man - save for the occasional halting of dwarven work beneath Brittanni’s great cities. Thorumm I had since passed - and soon too approached the final days of his heir, Thorumm II. Much less noble of temperament, Thorumm, second of his name, despised the agreement between his father and King Galährim - seeing his own people as a far more advanced race more deserving of the foundations of the land. This same hatred and malice was bred directly into his own heir, Thorumm III, who sought a means of deposing the rule of men over the Kingdom of Brittanni. When the time inevitably came and Thorumm II reign came to an end, his son was prepared to enact his great plan. For only the second time in recorded history dwarves rode above ground, on their mechanical steeds, upon the human city of Caerhirfryn, one of the northernmost settlements of Brittanni. Thorumm III came not as a conqueror however, but as a bringer of gifts. His company bestowed upon the nobles of Caerhirfryn piles of gold and Platinarium ore - and together they drank and made merriment for a number of weeks. This friendship blossomed and with it, news spread to Queen Charlise I, then ruler of Brittanni, of the dwarves’ newfound kinship with man. Little did she know however, this was but a ruse - a clever plan by The Empire to establish smaller, much less invasive mining operations in all of The Queen’s cities north of The Mountains of Titus. The Dwarves came with promises of riches and new technologies for Men and would even take on apprentices in stone-craft to further secure trust with the overlanders. With their strategic placement of mines throughout Brittanni, the dwarves stood on the precipice of enacting their great plan. In XXV190am a day which would later become known as “The Day of Blood and Stone” came to pass. Throughout the north of Brittanni, the shallow mine shafts cultivated by the dwarves and their human apprentices had their true purpose revealed; the tips of these shafts burst open with great explosions, and through dust and smoke burst forth hundreds of dwarves - armed with axe and hammer. The bloodshed that followed was far greater and more devastating than any known word could ever account for. In a matter of hours - every city in Brittanni once allied with The Empire was now under their control.


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What followed was ten years of bloodshed between Humans and Dwarves. On “The Day of Blood and Stone”, the entirety of Brittanni north of Titus was conquered in a matter of hours - and soon followed the great hollowing of Titus wherein the Dwarves burrowed a straight tunnel through the mountain range and established a toll gate through which no man was permitted to pass. The massacre and sacking of the northern settlements of Brittanni heralded the beginning of “The Great Fall of Brittanni” - a war destined to be lost by Mankind. Much of the middle-lands of Brittanni were laid to waste by the devastating weapons of the dwarves - worst of which was their prized air fleet. The dwarves had mastered the technology to suspend great battleships in the sky using gasses found deep beneath the earth, upon which was mounted several large canons capable of dropping explosive charges onto the forces of mankind from great heights. City after city fell, and with each defeat against men the fist of The Dwarf Empire grew tighter around the throat of Brittanni. No victories were won by men until the year XXV199am, when Thorumm III himself was felled on the battlefield outside the city of Caerllion. The Dwarf Emperor was a bloodthirsty and skilled fighter - well trained throughout his entire life by his father, for the High-Born Dwarves held fast to the belief that a ruler should defend his kin both in matters of council and of warfare. But on this day, The Dwarf Emperor’s pride would be his downfall - for as his great mechanical mount charged through the battlefield bearing the gold and Platinarium clad ruler swinging his great war-hammer to the heads of men one after the other, it was caught unaware by a well placed Brittanni lance. The Dwarf Emperor would crash to the ground, snarling ‘Who dares raise their steel to The Mighty Thorumm, Third of His Name, Rightful ruler of Brittanni’. The answer to this was an unremarkable, freshly blooded warrior from Caerllion - who would later be regarded as one of Brittanni’s greatest heroes - Named in records only as The Lance of Caerllion. As the heroes stepped forth, lance in hand, he found himself weaving and ducking blows from the Emperor’s great war-hammer. Try as he might, Thorumm III could not seem to land a single blow until - in a moment of enraged abandon - he was struck in a gap in his armour just below the breast. The mighty tyrant roared with furious anguish as the lance pierced his twisted dwarf heart. So sure of his own victory was the Emperor, he did not account for the strength of will born into each and every man and woman of Brittanni; and so - there in fields of Caerllion - The Mighty Thorumm, Third of His Name fell in battle. Word quickly spread throughout the city and the Dwarves, much to the chagrin of their pride, ordered a retreat. The corpse of their ruler was collected and the forces of The Empire, for the first time, retreated from the city.


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The following year, the morale of The Empire was shaken. They had no ruler - for Thorumm III had no issue - and the stranglehold of the middle-lands of Brittanni began to loosen. An audience was held between Queen Charlise I and The Lance of Caerllion where he was granted the freedom of the city of Obolique and was named the greatest hero in all the lands of Brittanni. Months went by, and by the following winter - many of the surrounding settlements around Obolique were reclaimed by The Queen’s forces. For a time, it seemed as though the war was finally coming to an end; for months not a single dwarf airship was seen in the skies of Brittanni and many of the patrols often spotted close to Obolique were absent. As the frost laden days of December XXV200am started however, the peace enjoyed for those months was interrupted. Once more, the great fleet of The Dwarves came crawling from beyond the Mountains of Titus and with them came a fortnight of fire and ash. Every settlement between Obolique and Titus was razed by balls of white hot flame. The true fury of the dwarves was realised when Caerllion was levelled - reduced to the form of a great crater in the earth much like that left by the cataclysm which wiped out the Dragons in far gone ancient times(3). The Queen, much to his reluctance, sent forth The Lance of Caerllion to face the Dwarven firestorm head on - but he was seemingly lost during the obliteration of his city. Before long all that stood in the path of The Dwarf Empire’s total domination of the island was the capital Obolique. The day came at last - and outside the frost and snow coated walls of the city, the Dwarf army approached - both by air and by ground - poised to lay siege to the final obstacle in their path. The Queen herself stood upon the walls in those days - prepared to fight and die for the peoples she had loved her whole life. But all hope of victory - and survival - was quickly dashed upon the sight of a great terror. Through the middle of the assembled Dwarven forces rode forth Emperor Thorumm, Third of His name, The Immortal Ruler of Lochnagar - though his form had changed. No longer was he short of stature, but instead he was taller than most men and broad like a bear - clad entirely in his battle armour of gold and Platinarium. The circumstances of his return however remain the subject of debate; some say that despite it being witnessed by many, the Emperor never actually fell in battle. The truth of it however, was far more unnatural; for throughout his rule, Thorumm III had experimented at great lengths with dark arcane studies - seeking to immortalize himself and rule over his Empire for eternity. Through these forbidden learnings, Thorumm found a way to bind his very soul to physical matter - in this case the very steam with which the Dwarven war-machine was fueled.

This bastardisation of nature resulted in The Dread Emperor’s ability to command a great suit of steam-powered armour with which he would continue his violent rule. Upon the banner held by the Emperor was the remains of The Lance of Caerllion. Then, for the first time since “The Collapse of Yorevik”, the rulers of Men and Dwarves held council.

‘Queen Charlise, first of your name, ruler of The Kingdom of Brittanni and all its people - I hereby demand you release the custody of your capital to The Mighty Dwarf Empire of Lochnagar at once.’ Bellowed the sharp metallic throat of the Emperor.

‘Thou hast defiled these lands, Dwarf.’ The Queen retorted. ‘Raping our green island until now you stand before the free peoples of Brittanni seeking to enslave them under your barbaric rule. We shall not surrender this city, nor shall we allow thine bloody desire to conquer to continue.’ The Dwarf Emperor, and in turn his forces, laughed at the pitiful threat from the all but defeated Kingdom of Men.

‘Then remain in that city you shall.’ Roared the Emperor. ‘For long after your demise, your restless souls will forever be cursed to wander your barren and broken streets. Never again shall you know peace, I curse every man, woman and child that dies within those walls to an eternity of suffering away from the great paradise of beyond.’ The Queen remained speechless, drenched in fear. The Kingdom of Brittanni, hoping that the kinship of the elves established long ago would bear the fruit of alliance in this war, looked to the south for the aid of their neighbours - and though the elves would arrive, it would be too little all too late. Upon their arrival, High Elven King Quintas of the line of Eilianther - and his young son Prince Quinn - were met with the flame washed walls of a crumbling city. The stench of burning flesh lay thick in the air, and the screams of Human anguish and Dwarven glee rang through the trees at the back of the Elven forces.

‘Fall back, this is not our fight.’ The High Elven king coldly commanded, much to the displeasure of his young and noble son Quinn.

‘But father, these people will not survive!’ the young Prince cried.

‘And that is not of our concern.’ The King snapped. ‘We were not put on this earth to care for the fates of men, nor is it our duty to die in their war. I will not have elven blood stain these lands. We return to Sherwood, as is my will.’ And with that, the small Elven force turned and returned to their home deep in The Forest of Pübiß.


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By nightfall, the city had fallen. Fallen and destroyed were most of the great towers of Obolique, as was the grand Citadel - birthplace of The Kingdom of Brittanni. Outside in its great courtyard, Queen Charlise I’s head was mounted upon a dwarven pike - and so The Line of Anâlin was broken. Content in his total domination over men, the Evil Emperor called for the sacking of the city of its riches, and returned to his great mountain Palace in Lochnagar. Called to an end, in its 25,200th year was the Age of Men - and in its wake began a new age - Nanum Imperium.


Additional Information


  1. The years of the rule of men in Brittanni are denoted first by the millennia and then the years within. In this example, the written year “XX337am” denotes “the 337th year of the 20th Millennium of the Age of Men.” - (return)

  2. Platinarium - An almost white precious metal discovered deep beneath the earth by the Dwarves. Cumbersome and heavy, but harder than any other known ore in existence. - (return)

  3. Evidence has been found of the existence of - long before The Age of Men - great serpentine beasts which ruled throughout the world. Terrible and Fierce these beasts were thought to be - until they were wiped out by the coming of a great calamity from the sky sometime thousands of years before recorded time. Legend tells of at least one Dragon still living however; deep within the forgotten dwarf caverns of Náve. - (return)


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