From his saddle, Fürd Garmürgon stared at the valley below. An adviser drew up beside him and reported, “Three thousand.” The king motioned for the next adviser. A young man stepped forward, the crest of his helmet barely reaching the goat’s shaggy shoulder. “Second army arriving from the west. Will arrive tomorrow, tonight if they run.” The king motioned for the next adviser. An old Dwürdènyn rode forward. “The fire-potters await your command.” Garmürgon looked away from the scene below, meeting the gaze of the old woman. Her deep wrinkles and shadowed blue eyes mirrored his own. How had so much time passed and so little changed? He took his general’s hand and held it tightly. “Dear Sister, how will we be remembered?” The woman lifted her chin and replied “With drinks, drums, and song.” The king chuckled mirthlessly, returning his gaze to the valley floor. Something had changed over the years. Each radius of tents ended with a fire-ring where beasts slowly turned on spits. At the camp’s center a circle of blacksmiths repaired broken armor and weapons. On the outskirts, the enemy drilled with spears, swords, and shields. The Murdrū were learning. “A hundred battles, uncountable dead, and yet they return. Always they return. Our songs do not celebrate victors, only men that stood against the wind while the mountains crumbled.” His sister squeezed Garmürgon’s hand. “We do what is needed. In time we will sleep and the burden will be passed.” The king grinned, shaking his head. “If death is our only reward, it would be easier to open the gates.”
The Dwürden have lived alongside Yrūni civilization since before Mortal memory, guiding and protecting the Yrūn from other Elder Races. In those early times, the Dwürden people were numerous and their cities rose upon every land. Today their numbers have diminished, leaving only a handful of scattered kingdoms (see Thirün, Mirün, et al.).
Dwürden are recognizable by their short and solid stature. Most are proud of their long beards and large feet; both are a sign of virility among their kind. Their distrust and hatred for the Eylfāe is legendary; the scars of ancient battles between these races may be found throughout the world. This ancient warfare continues into the present only in the Underearth and through Yrūn proxy.
If the legends are to believed, the Dwürden were the first of the Immortal Races to meet the Yrūn. The Dwürden hoped and believed that the new race would be as magicless as themselves in a world suffused with all manner of Awakened creatures. When the Dwürden learned of their mistake, many retreated into remote lands. Others saw an opportunity by allying themselves with the fledgling Mortal race. It was this “adoption” that would eventually nurture the Yrūn to become the most numerous (and powerful?) race in the World of Teréth End.
There are five subraces of Dwürden:
- Dwürden Fal (i.e., hill Dwürden)
- Dwürden Flog (i.e., fire Dwürden)
- Dwürden Mor (i.e., mountain Dwürden)
- Dwürden Nar (i.e., dark Dwürden)
- Dwürden Skral (i.e., underearth Dwürden)
Over the ages, Dwürden would appear that could touch the Skein and control its flow. The reason for this “evolution” is unclear, though the Unawakened Dwürden have long maintained that it must be the result of complicity with outsiders, namely the Eylfāe. These Awakened Dwürden are shunned by the barren Dwürden Fal and Dwürden Mor, Continued differences between the two groups have sparked many hard feelings and conflicts that survive into the present.
Throughout Dwürden society there are two accepted truths. The first is the innate stubbornness of the race, a trait found in all but the most forgiving Fal. Many of the Dwürden remember wrongs done against them for centuries. Among the Yrūn of Vulmùra, a popular phrase translates into the double entendre “As stubborn as a Mor” (rather than mule) where Mor refers both to a “mountain” and the haughty subrace of the Dwürden. The second truth is the race’s phobic aversion to deep water (anything above their waists). With the exception of the non-buoyant Dwürden Mor, it is not only the case that they have no ability to swim, rather than they refuse. This is probably a combination of the two truths, stubbornness and fear. For these same reasons, very few Dwürden can swim and fewer willingly board boats and ships. This phobia extends to aircraft too (i.e. dirigibles, gliders, etc.) but the rarity of such transportation means that the opportunities to face these fears are very rare. Most Dwürden are unaware of their fear of flying for few have a fear of heights, provided their feet are firmly planted on solid stone.
Most Dwürden live about three to four times the number of years that is standard for Yrūn (i.e., 180-240 years). Exceptional Dwürden have been reported to live much longer than this. It is explained that Dwürden longevity is tied to an individual’s purpose. Should a Dwürden have some great task that needs completing, they will live until it is done, perhaps another aspect of their legendary longevity is stubbornness.
Superficially, Dwürden look like squat Yrūn. They are typically stronger than Yrūn, pound for pound. Dwürden have four digits on each hand and foot. Though sexual relations are possible with some other anthropoid races, they are incapable of cross-breeding naturally with them.
Both genders are able to grow beards, though not all Dwürden societies encourage beards on their females. Beards on female Dwürden are more common at the extremes of their society. Noble women groom and decorate their beards with intricate weaving, accented with precious stones and metals. Rural or uncivilized women stereotypically grow beards because grooming is too much of a hassle.
Unlike the Immortal Eylfāe, the Dwürden do not enjoy one homogeneous society throughout the World of Teréth End. Dwürden societies have diverged based on geography and to some extent, sub-race. The Dwürden of Teréðor are very different from those of Vulmùra and Lyrast. There are no native Dwürden strongholds in Tassèrus, where the Gnor are believed to have filled their niche.
Dwürden culture revolves around community, gods, and the essence of the Land (i.e., Heart). Each faction of the Dwürden is tied to the Heart of its particular Land. These Hearts are not philosophical constructs, but physical locations believed to contain the essence of the Land they inhabit. It is to these Hearts that all Dwürden spirits return after death, and from these Hearts that all Dwürden souls emerge at birth. The Hearts therefore contain both the ancestral spirits and all the potential of the Dwürden race. There are three Hearts in the World of Teréth End: Dergàrdgurün, Felhòrmorgrūmeð, and Gemürjordok. The exact location of these Hearts is a secret known only to Dwürdèni priests, though all members of a Heart may be able to discern its general direction.
- Dergàrdgurün (i.e., Heart of Vulmùra)
- Felhòrmorgrūmeð (i.e., Heart of Teréðor)
- Gemürjordok (i.e., Heart of Lyrast)
In ancient times, each Heart served to unite the Dwürdèni kingdoms of that Land. Though kingdoms would rise and fall through the Ages, allegiance to the Heart was fundamental. Each Heart was served by a High Protector who was elected to a lifetime term, from among the rulers of the Land. This official was responsible for the Heart’s well-being and acted as an arbiter between the Dwürdèni tribes and kingdoms, when one was required. It was also the High Protector that the kingdoms rallied around when the Land was threatened from the outside (e.g., Eylfāe, Zru).
Dwürdenyr are typically organized by clans, tribes, kingdoms, and Heart, respectively. A number of clans might form a tribe. A number of tribes may form a kingdom. A number of kingdoms may constitute a Heart. While politics, laws, and social structures may vary between Hearts, these organizational layers are common throughout Teréth End.
- Falwurd (Dwürden Fal language group) Falwurd is an off-shoot of Murdwürmor.
- Flogwürn (Dwürden Flog language group) Flogwürn is an off-shoot of Murdwürmor.
- Murdwürmor (Dwürden Mor language group)
- Ornwürd (Dwürden Nar language group) Ornwürd is an off-shoot of Murdwürmor.
- Skwürn (Dwürden Skral language group) Skwürn is an off-shoot of Murdwürmor.
Most Dwürden languages share common properties. A common property of the language is the absence of the “sh” sound, which is pronounced “ch”.
Most Dwürden adhere to one of three branches that comprise the Pantheon of Jord. Branch adherence is largely based on birthplace. All Dwürden acknowledge the importance and divinity of the Old Father, though worship varies between Hearts. Followers of Felhòrmorgrūmeð for instance, make no obeisances toward the Old Father in deference to Morgrū the Deaf, who was maimed by the Old Father.
Dwürden clergy cannot channel magics, though some magicians exist among the sub-races (e.g., Nar, Flog).
Most Dwürden have no innate magical potential, though they are able to initiate magics that have been established by others. Such magical constructs are usually imbued or charged with energy that can be wielded by mundane users.
Because of this, many of their magic objects are imbued with aid from outside their races. Yrūn weavers have been very helpful in this regard. While the Dwürden Nar and Flog have some abilities, they very rarely assist their kin in these matters.
Nomenclature: Dwürden Dekàlic: Dwürden (race, singular and plural), Dwürdèni (pertaining to), Dwürdènyn (individual), Dwürdènyr (people)