Since my Human post wound up being so short, I decided to give a two-for-one today. So here is the culture and custom of the Dwarven race. But wait, it’s more than just the Dwarves. Just like the Elves, there’s some history to tell, and more than one race involved.
The Dwarves and the Sylvan were once great chums! Happy-go-lucky friends that shared knowledge of crafting and magic and farming. There are things that grow in the cold climates of the Hallvardr Mountains that did not grow in the south, and likewise, many things that grew in the south that did not grow even in the warmer Garnet Mountains. When the Sylven were beset by invasion at the hands of the Sidhe, the Dwarves were incapable of going to their aide. Of course, in real life, no group of people is unanimous in their beliefs. So, despite dealing with the birth and the battle against the Primal Giants that Erebh brought into existence, there were many Dwarves that believed they needed to go to the aide of the Sylvan. The nobility of the Dwarves said it could not be done, and kept all attention on the Primal Giants, which ultimately was resolved when the Primal Giants were put to arcane slumber within the northernmost valley of the Hallvardr Mountains. At this time, the Sidhe and the Sylvan battled each other to joint extinction. The Elves were born of their demise, but now the Dwarves were divided. The Dwarves divided into familial clans and though some still sided with other clans, the race was forever divided. The governing body fell to pieces, and the clans began warring against each other in conflicts that would span thousands of years. Even in ‘present’ time, that division is only beginning to be settled.
Aside from the clans, the Dwarves are organized by what metal Terranis carved them from. There are various familial clans within each mineral organization, such as the Rowanspear and Stoneforge clans that are both clans of Stone Dwarves and the Steelbrow and Ironbeard clans that are both clans of Iron Dwarves.
Unlike the Dwarves of Tolkien’s universe, the Dwarves here are not covetous of anything shiny and expensive looking. That is not to say that there aren’t Dwarves that do have that miserly attitude. However, as a general rule, as was stated in a previous post, my Dwarves craft not to marvel their creation, but to pay homage to Terranis. It is Dwarven belief, that in the early days before their creation, that Terranis was a general in some great conflict, and that the deposits of metal and minerals found all over the world were in fact shards that had been broken off from Terranis’ armor. Terranis’ appearance is that of living stone, with gems and minerals jutting out from his body. They see this as what remains of his armor, still worn, as if in defiance of losing the fight.
They are well known for their crafting, and the minerals they use. There are, in fact, some Dwarves that belong to clans that exist within categories named for these unique metals that few other than Dwarves have seen. Like … you guessed it, Mithril. Mithril has existed in fantasy tales outside of Tolkien’s work, and whether or not he invented the word I am unsure of, however… In Tolkien’s elvish, Mithril means Sparkling Silver, and probably is a substitute for Platinum. In lieu of that theory, however, I remain with Mithril simply meaning Sparkling Silver. In addiction, I have taken it upon myself to use the dictionary I have, and come up with Tambaril and Maldaril, which mean Sparkling Copper and Sparkling Gold respectively as two other kinds of Dwarves. I have no named Dwarves of those groups, but Hadrin and Keldrin Lionstone are of the Mithril grouping, and have their surname because of a special stone outside their home, shaped like a Lion, with Mithril deposits in the stone conveniently taking the form of the lion’s mane. Why Elvish though? Well, why did Tolkien use Elvish for a metal worked by the Dwarves? The Elves are a friend to the Dwarves, even in my writing. Not all the clans have matching views, but all of them still view the Elves as children of the Sylvan, and all wish to re-honor their former ties, even if some more so than others. To come up with a Dwarven language to reference from time to time would require even more searching and study. I might try it, but it will take some time.
The Dwarves and the Giants are both inspired by a mix of Celtic and Norse inspiration. The Giants will be more Viking inspired, while the Dwarves are more in line with the other views of Dwarves. I do have a Norse names for the Half-Giant towns, as they, though human originally, take on that inspiration as they come into the story. But still, the inspirations mix, as seen with one of my Dwarves; Lerif Steelbrow.
Nevertheless, there is also some Germanic inspiration in the Dwarves, as they take part in an Oktoberfest-esque holiday, and focus a lot on food and beer as well as their crafting. They do have a magical community as well, and use Earth Magic also to honor Terranis, but they do honor Ignis as well, in thanks for offering the flames for their forges and cooking fires. I might even consider some water affinity, and place another sect of Dwarves on Ivoria alongside the Ice Elves and Snow Orcs.
As with all people, there is the dark side. I do not want to go into much detail and spoil the story, but somewhere in the world, there is a sect of Dwarves that dallys on the wrong side of the spectrum.