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The Dwarves

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This article describes the race of the Dwarfs, their history and background. See the article The Oathbearers for information about the Dwarfen army of WAR.

Dwarfs, or Dawi (dwarf in Khazalid), are short, stocky humanoids who possess remarkable levels of strength, toughness and endurance. They are highly skilled miners and metalworkers and items of Dwarf craftsmanship and engineering are highly valued. It is often said that the Dwarfs are a broken people - their once-great empire of Karak Ankor now lies half in ruins and many of the Dwarfs' mighty mountain holds have been abandoned or conquered over the years. However, although this might have once been true, it is no longer.  The resurgence of the dwarves has conicided with the founding of the many human kingdoms and empires. Despite great tragedies and trials, Dwarves bear these woes with their customary stoicism and remain fearsome adversaries in war, with their destructive war machines, mastery of arcane runes and ranks of formidable warriors proving more than capable of standing up to the most terrible threats they face in the World of Warhammer. In recent times High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer has revitalized the Dawi spirit by swearing he would fufill every grudge in the Great Book of Grudges and restore the lost holds of the Dwarfs to their former glory.  He has gathered a great army at the dwarven capitol of Karaz A Karak and is arming them with the intention of retaking Karak Eight Peaks.  This is an impossible oath to say the least but shows just how stubborn a dwarf can be! There are several ways to reference dwarfs. The most common are dwarves or dwarfs, however, Dawi is also used mainly among the dwarves themselves. There is no difference between them.

Society and CultureEdit

An enormously proud people, the Dwarfs are quick to react to any slight, real or imagined, and remember any such infraction for years, even passing on the responsibility of vengeance to their heirs through their Books of Grudges, the greatest of which is the Great Book of Grudges; written in the Dawi language of Khazalid and carried by the leader of all Dwarfs, the High King. Currently Thorgrimm Grudgebearer. The great motto of the dwarves that they cry before every battle "Never forgive! Never forget!" is a testament to their dedication to repaying every slight perpetrated against them personally or against their race. It is perhaps because of their obstinate pride that the Dwarfs refuse to openly admit that their culture has lost much to the mists of time.

It is not uncommon to hear a Dwarf wistfully recall the great glories of the past, observing bitterly that little the Dwarfs do in this day and age can compare to the majesty of what once was. The arrival of humans and the empires they created in the Old World triggered a proxy renaissance within the Dwarven realms. The humans with the aid of the Dwarfs pushed the orcs out of the Old world relieving the constant pressure on the Dwarf holds, freeing dwarf troops and resources up so that they could relieve the constant seiges that beset their holds, and opening trade routes with human cities. This has allowed the Dwarfs to consolidate their reduced realm and even gave new motivation to take back old abandoned holds.  As the Dwarfs have slowly rebuilt the great strength of their realms since the time of woes and the ensuing goblin wars they know that only the determination and stubborness of a Dwarf will allow them to return the glories of old. &nbsp

Ironbreaker concept art

A Dwarf Ironbreaker

The only thing that the Dwarfs love more than a good mug of ale is gold. A Dwarf in the throes of goldlust is a thing to behold. The race's legendary drive and stamina is brought into sharp relief when they are presented with the opportunity to acquire gold. Their lust for gold has often led them into much trouble. It has been known to cause a dwarf to sacrifice his own life rather then escape and leave their gold behind. The mines beneath their holds are the deepest and most exstensive in all the world a testment to the Dwarfs drive and determintation. Even the homes of the Dwarfs themselves began as simple mines expanded over tens of thousands of years into wonders of architecture and craftsmanship hidden from the world beneath vast mountain realms. Their holds have endured even in the current lesser age when many have been lost to natural disasters or orc invasions. As miners and experts on ore and metals, the Dwarfs are without peer. Items of Dwarf craftsmanship and engineering are the most valuable in all the world, revered even by the Elves.

Dwarfs are defined by their reverence for their past. They carve out monumental tombs in order to worship and venerate their ancestors, their oldest treasures are highly valued in order to respect the craftsman who originally fashioned it and to preserve an element of the continuing Dwarf culture. It is said that when Dwarfs are in any doubt as to how to proceed they look to the Dwarf with the longest beard to tell them what to do. This is invariably the wisest solution, since he will be the oldest and most experienced among them and with a life span of centuries that is wise indeed.

Dwarfs have exceedingly good memories, and live to a very great age: usually upwards of 500 years, often living to 600 and in rare and exceptional cases 1000 - the latter is evident in the case of Rune Lord Kragg the Grim who is literally too stubborn to die and because of his age one of the wisest dwarves alive. This side of their character is epitomised by Dammaz Kron - the Great Book of Grudges – a massive tome written in the blood of the High Kings which recounts all the great wrongs, unpaid debts and deeds of treachery perpetrated against the Dwarf race. Although the grudges listed in the book are occasionally avenged (and in extremely rare cases, partially forgiven - more akin to recompense), Dwarfs on the whole tend to prefer to hold a grudge rather than let bygones be bygones, and certainly never forget a grudge. Indeed, the Dwarf language has no word for forgiveness, but many subtle variations on revenge, recompense and retribution.

Dwarf clans are made up of extended families that trace their lineage back to a founding ancestor that performed a great deed, founded a mine, built a hold, or settled a valley. Dwarfs have great pride in their clans and consider family to be the most important thing in existence there is nothing they will not do for family, and no lengths they will not go to in order to keep them safe. It is the job of every dwarf to memorize the name of every member of their family and extended clan back to the founding ancestor of the clan. Dwarf clans often fued with one another and grudges between them can stretch on for millennia passed down from generation to generation until it is fulfilled. Before clans of a hold unite to wage war or defend the hold the heads of the clans gather before the king and have him make judgement on their grudges.

The religion of the Dwarfs revolves around three major ancestral deities: Grungni, who is said to have first taught to the Dwarfs the skills of stonecraft and smithing; Valaya, who protects the Dwarf race from harm; and Grimnir, the warrior god is worshipped mainly by Slayers and to a lesser extent other warriors.

HistoryEdit

The Ruinous PowersEdit

The Dwarfs have been fighting the forces of Chaos since the very first page of the Great Book of Grudges. Despite the strength of their mountain strongholds, when the power of Chaos grows strong and the followers of the dark gods sweep down from the north the Dwarfs inevitably suffer. Many are the grudges against the Ruinous Powers, but the greatest must surely be that held for the loss of Karak Vlag. During the first Great War against Chaos when the Dwarfs fought side by side with the elves in a desperate struggle for survival the hold of Karak Vlag in the north of the Worlds Edge mountains was enveloped by the warping influence of Chaos, cutting it off from the rest of the world. After the Chaotic hordes had finally been driven back to their own realm, the Dwarfs returned to the site of Karak Vlag to find that the stronghold and its entire garrison had disappeared into the Realm of Chaos, as if it had never existed. It was after this first coming of Chaos that the Dwarf Ancestor Gods disappeared.

The Great BetrayalEdit

The event that sparked the Great Betrayal is recorded in Dammaz Kron as a relatively minor grudge concerning the theft of a caravan of gold and other goods being transported across the Old World. The attackers were described merely as Elgi – Khazalid for Elves – since at the time the Dwarfs did not distinguish between the Asur and the Druchii. The Sundering of the Elves had not concerned the Dwarfs in their mountain kingdoms since the war was contained to the isle of Ulthuan and the elves never asked for dwarven aid.  As far as the dwarves knew dark elves did not exist.  They had maintained good relations with the Elves of Ulthuan. In fact, on the orders of Malekith, the Dark Elves had been secretly raiding Dwarf caravans disguised as High Elf warriors, and as the raids continued the Dwarf king, Gotrek Starbreaker, issued strong protests to the Phoenix King demanding compensation. Caledor the Second, the Phoenix King at the time, was considered arrogant even by Elf standards, and he ignored all demands made against him, saying only that the Phoenix King did not answer demands but granted pleas. Relations between the two races became increasingly acrimonious, and things reached a head when the ambassador sent to Ulthuan by an infuriated King Gotrek in order to prevent a war was sent home with his beard shaved off, causing the ambassador to take the slayer oath in shame. The inevitable war that followed is recorded as the War of Vengeance, although the elves refer to it as the War of the Beard. For the next four centuries the two races slaughtered each other on battlefields across the Old World and many great and powerful grudges were added to the pages of Dammaz Kron, until the Battle of Three Towers at the gates of Tor Alessi, where King Gotrek slew Caledor and took the Phoenix crown from his corpse as payment for the many wrongs suffered by his people. The Dwarf army marched back to Karaz-a-Karak and laid the crown to rest  in a vault built from blocks of stone taken from the elven capitol in the old world and placed among the treasure hoard of the High Kings, where it remains locked away to this day.

The Grobi WarsEdit

By far the greatest and most vengeful of the grudges held in Dammaz Kron are against the Grobi – Khazalid for Goblins – and those who aided them. Page after page of the tome records in grim detail the events of the thousand year long period of Dwarfen history when the tribes of Goblins swarmed over the Worlds Edge Mountains inflicting unthinkable suffering on the Dwarf kingdoms. Earthquakes, eruptions and floods weakened the impregnable defences of their strongholds, and when the Goblins attacked not even the unbreakable axes and hammers of the Dwarfs were able to stop the never ending tide of greenskins and skaven from overrunning their holds. The Everlasting Realm was shattered as countless beleaguered outposts, settlements, mines and temples were destroyed and occupied by their enemies. Among the grudges in Dammaz Kron, the most grievous losses ever suffered by the Dwarfs occurred at the hands of the Grobi, the Skaven, and the Orcs as entire kingdoms were consumed. Karak Ungor the delving hold, now known as Red Eye Mountain. Karak Varn and its gromril-rich mines by the shores of Black Water. Ekrund, home to the Dragonback Clan, in the shadow of Mount Bloodhorn. Mount Gunbad, the largest and richest mine in the Worlds Edge Mountains and home to the blue crystal Brynduraz. Mount Silverspear, seized by the Orc Warlord Urk Grimfang and renamed Mount Grimfang. Karak Eight Peaks, Karak Azgal and Karak Drazh, all ravaged in the space of fifty years. The loss of these treasured holds is still felt by every living Dwarf as though it happened yesterday, and all Dwarfs dream of the day when they can purge the greenskin filth from their ancient halls forever.

MilitaryEdit

The Dwarfs are a martial race hardened by thousands of years of constantly defending their holds from would be invaders both above and below the ground. Follow the link for more description of the many Dwarf military forces, their background, and effects in the game:

The dwarfs military forces

Chaos DwarfsEdit

The dwarfs never speak of the Chaos Dwarfs. Nor much is known except that they live in Zharr Naggrund.

Dwarfs in the Age of ReckoningEdit

As the Bloody Sun Boyz marched towards Karak Eight Peaks, the Dwarfen garrison gathered within the walls of the citadel, confident the impregnable fortress was in no real danger. When the greenskins used their amplified magic to blast a hole in the rune-strengthened thick stone wall of the citadel, the Dwarfs were dumbstruck. The unthinkable idea of an invading army breaking into the heart of Karak Eight Peaks was becoming horrifyingly real. As a wave of snarling, bellowing greenskins poured through the breach, the dour but determined defenders of the doomed hold steeled themselves for a final, heroic stand.

The news of the fall of Karak Eight Peaks spread like a shockwave. How could one tribe of greenskins capture the seemingly impenetrable fortress? High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer vowed revenge, determined to restore the ancient city to its former glory. Thorgrim had been working to restore the kingdom of the Dwarfs to its lost prestige and considered the loss of Eight Peaks as a great setback to his plans. The ancient city was now polluted by grobi.Thorgrim has rallied the throngs and ordered every Dwarf under his command to make preparations for war. Old oaths of allegiance were refreshed, and bands of Dwarf warriors from every corner of their kingdom has been gathering at Karaz-a-Karak. This seemingly impossible defeat has awoken the primal nature of many a Dwarf. Even those Dwarfs only concerned with their own business dealings in the human empires and kingdoms has found themselves rekindling their dwarven hostility felt towards Orcs and Goblins.  Those dwarves long seperated from their ancient homelands have been slowly making their way back home. The taking of Karak Eight Peaks will not go unavenged.

The fates of the Dwarfs and men of the Empire are inextricably intertwined. Ever since the day Sigmar united the tribes of men in the defense of the Dwarfs at the Battle of Black Fire Pass, the stout warrior-folk have honored their oath to come to the aid of men in times of need. With the fate of the Empire now hanging in the balance, it seems that this old debt may soon come to call and no dwarf willing betrays a debt.

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