The glory of the mountains - a community story about a dwarven mountianhold (non-warcraft story)

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The glory of the mountains - a community story about a dwarven mountianhold (non-warcraft story)

Post by Gahalla on Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:30 pm

Chapter one:
The old kingdom and particularly its capital of Rhyt (lit. First) relied on the trade, the great city couldn’t function if food wasn’t brought in as tribute from the client states, ores from the southern mountains and furs from the vast eastern steppes. Over several hundred years it slowly grew more and more dependent on the trickle of resources that supplied it. Within its great halls the Wrekshyr (“The ones who are here”), known by humans as dwarves or mountainfolk, prospered.

The kings of the mountain was by no means ignorant of this dependency of the trade, in order to protect it they rose great armies to crush any who threatened it and let the merchants of the known world to be aware of the promise of great riches and low taxes for traders within its lands. The combination of low taxes and the protection of armies helped the Old Kingdom to maintain its prosperity.

As time passed the networks of trade spread further and further, incorporating more and more nations. Reaching lands so far away that it could easily take a year for the merchants to travel to Rhyt. But where money travels, so does danger. The travelling merchants were constantly under threat from large bands of bandits, herdsmen looking for a quick profit, monsters and poor villagers.

The goods coming from such far away were by no means necessary, but they were expensive. Luxurious items such as rare cloth, spices, precious glassware and gold. Items so coveted that a single trip along the great route could allow anyone to become a rich man.

In order to protect the tradesmen of the great route, the Yrrad king of Rhyt funded a project to create a series of outposts along it. Each outpost would contain a small garrison and lodgings for travelers. According to the king’s plans, there would be a long series of forts crossing the vast plains and deserts all the way to the faraway lands. Each one no more than a day apart from another, so that no tradesmen ever would have to worry about being ambushed by bandits at night but sleep safely within guarded walls.

The Yrrad king spent fortunes trying to make reality of his plans, the outposts stretching further and further out from the ancestral home. Each outpost manned with a small garrison that easily could intercept anyone trying to ambush the caravans travelling between them. But as time and the project went on, the distances to the distant lands seemed to never shorten and the Yrrad king ran the kingdom deep in dept creating outposts.

As he died the project had ground to a standstill, ending somewhere faraway in the middle of nowhere. Many of the outposts lay in inhospitable areas, unable to support life had it not been for the trade. Many soldiers soon grew fed up with the boredom and having to spend their lives several months away from their families and deserted their posts.

As soon as two or three decades after the death of the Yrrad king two thirds of all outposts had been abandoned and fallen into disrepair. Most of them being devoured by the wilderness or taken as homes by bandits or nomads. A few however, grew slowly. The soldiers there settled down and had their families join them and where soon joined by craftsmen and merchants who supplied them.

Soon many of these outposts lay like islands in the vast spaces along the great route, surrounded by farmlands and each having a small fort cut out from the cliffs. One such settlement was “Trade station 56”, as the administrative name was. The locals however, called it Wrek: Ut Forud Agha (“Location: By the Red Lake” Lit. Location/Here: The Lake Red Next to), or Ut-forud for short. Later Wrek would fall out of the name, only being used in the most ancient and formal of ceremonies.

The settlement wasn’t much to look at; it was a tower rising above the cliffs connected to a underground armoury and barracks. The complex would lead out on ground level through a reinforced wooden gate to a small town of homes, workshops and an inn surrounded by an earth rampart and a short wall. Outside stretched some farmland that provided the settlement with food crossed by the ancient road which was lined with stone for almost a mile out of the wall.

Some hundred years after the Yrrad king’s death and almost twenty years the trade along the route had dwindled to almost nothing, the nobles of Rhyt decided that the few remaining outposts were to become the border guards of the Old Kingdom and that they needed proper administrators.

To Ut-Forud they sent Bithskraín the elder, an old noble who had put his money on the wrong horse in the noble’s struggle for power and was sent to the edge of civilization as punishment. He had lost his entire life when he was exiled and came to Ut-Forud as a broken man. In order to deal with his inner pain he devoted his entire being into making the settlement as efficient as he could.

He established his office in the old tower and divided the farmland into areas each overseen by a man appointed and responsible to him. Giving them the duty to oversee their production and making sure they produced enough to make the settlement self-reliant.

The old garrison had long since vanished, being abandoned as the soldiers had either died of old age or chosen to become farmers instead. Instead Bithskraín established a small militia of the men and the willing women of the settlement that were to train once every week to work as a unit and how to handle their weapons. Ready to defend the settlement at a moment notice should it be attacked.

He established a system that each trader was to inform him of all goods brought into or produced in the city and that a small toll was to be paid for the more expensive goods. Most of the money being handed over to the taxcollectors of the Old kingdom when they made their annual stop at the settlement.

In his hands the small settlement turned from a small insignificant village into a settlement with potential for the future.

---------

This is a story about a dwarven mountainhold and how it grows and develops. How it's society changes and it's people react to their environs and the changing world. How they struggle to survive and how they prosper.

I also intend for it to be a community story, where you all may submit your own little dwarven families and characters and I'll try to weave them into the story.

It doesn't take place in Azeroth at all, but in another world. It is high fantasy and do contain most of the usual elements, but in it's own form.

I hope you'll all find it a good read and feel free to comment.

Gahalla

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Re: The glory of the mountains - a community story about a dwarven mountianhold (non-warcraft story)

Post by Saevir on Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:36 pm

Dwarf Fortress?

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Re: The glory of the mountains - a community story about a dwarven mountianhold (non-warcraft story)

Post by Gahalla on Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:38 pm

Afraid not, as awesome as it is it simply cannot do what I'd like it to do. But inspired by definantely.

Gahalla

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Re: The glory of the mountains - a community story about a dwarven mountianhold (non-warcraft story)

Post by Krogon Devilstep on Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:13 am

interesting... i shall have a think over a cup of tea! (just imagine its dwarven mead...)

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Re: The glory of the mountains - a community story about a dwarven mountianhold (non-warcraft story)

Post by Gogol on Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:14 am

This I really like.

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Re: The glory of the mountains - a community story about a dwarven mountianhold (non-warcraft story)

Post by Dharum on Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:27 am

As a great fan of dwarves, dwarven culture and society and all dwarven I support this idea and really enjoyed the story! Looking forward for more! :3

Once you make us more background for Ut-Forud I'm sure there would be people interested in throwing their own pesky dwarves in there. *nod*

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Re: The glory of the mountains - a community story about a dwarven mountianhold (non-warcraft story)

Post by Gahalla on Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:52 am

Chapter 2
In its 147 years of existence, Ut-Forud had turned from a heavily reinforced and glorified caravan-stop to a collection of dirt huts with an abandoned ruin to the personal haven of an exiled man and finally the beginnings of a prosperous Dwarven colony.

Bithskraín had ruled the settlement for almost half a century. Originally sent there to drink himself to death all alone, the old man had surprised quite a few of his counterparts in Rhyt by turning the insignificant little place to something that could actually pay taxes.

In a way he had modeled the settlement after the capitol; there was the core settlement next to the mountain fortress. Containing the homes for most of the rather few local craftsmen and merchants, surrounded by the innermost farmland tended by a limited number of farmers.

Further out were more farmland, stretching as far away as three days from the settlement. Like the land surrounding the capital, each stretch of land was controlled from a central location: a household that owned and maintained the land. The household provided roof over the heads, food and protection for dwarves offering to live there, work the land and obey the ruler of the household.

The households would maintain their lands and store what food they needed for the year and send the rest to the keep in Ut-Forud. Bithskraín and the keep would then in return promise the households to protect and aid them in times of crisis.

In theory, Bithskraín and Ut-Forud enjoyed the same deal from the Old Kingdom. As long as he obeyed the king’s decree and pay the taxes, he could count on that the king would aid the settlement and send the Royal army if it was threatened. The ruler of Ut-Forud was just one minor noble in the huge organisation that was the Old Kingdom. Many of the households of Rhyt were large enough to encompass the entire settlement and all its lands. The central homes of the capital’s households were virtual palaces, housing several hundreds if not thousands of dwarves, commanding small armies of their own and enjoying a wealth the people of the remote settlement could only dream of.

In the balance of power that stood in the kingdom Bithskraín was, despite all his success, barely to be considered even a minor player.

In praxis however, the distances to the capital ensured that the old man had absolute power over the settlement. Decrees from the king were rare, and like most colonies Rhyt didn’t particularly care what went on there as long as taxes kept flowing in.

Absolute power is however, a phrase that should be carefully used. Power is always something that is provided by the people it affects, they must give it in order for someone to hold it. This even applies to autocratic power, though more through intimidation than support.

Bithskraín’s power was granted to him by the households, the leading merchants and the priests of the settlement. While he had built the system and knew best how it worked, he still had to discuss his decision with the most prominent of them as well as listen to their demands and requests. He may be their ruler, but sometimes he had to work with them to form a compromise or even obey them in order to ensure that the settlement worked smoothly.

The old man, whose hairs had turned grey a long time ago, thus spent much of his time in meetings with the more prominent of the household families. Discussing and debating the plans for the future and the current situation. The fact that he commanded the militia ran the legal administration and handled the diplomatic relations with the local tribes and bands of dwarves and humans ensured that he was more or less untouchable in his position, but he could not run the settlement without their support.

This meant that he had to work to protect their interests, sometimes lowering the toll on goods entering the settlement. Sometimes inviting local tribesmen to try to buy their friendship so they wouldn’t attack any of the households. Sometimes he had to mediate between the families in disputes. In some cases he didn’t have to give more than token support, in others he had to more or less handle it all himself. In return the families generally supported his ideas and projects, only really objecting when they felt their interests being threatened.

*** ***
Bithskraín sat on his small and rough throne, looking with his old and weary eyes at the tall man standing before him. Waiting for the interpreter to finish relaying his request in the human’s tongue, listening to the crude and incomprehensible language of the southern barbarians.

It hadn’t been his idea to invite them to Ut-Forud, one of the local households said they had worked with the chieftain previously and that he was trustworthy and his tribe strong. Bithskraín peered at the members of the households; standing in groups along the walls of the barrack-turned-throneroom, all idly chattering and discussing. Some about how barbaric the tall guests were, others about the necessity of this meeting. Mentally the old dwarf thanked the gods that the humans couldn’t understand what his people were saying.

He let his eyes return to the small group of humans, all but one just able to stand in the room with a straight back. The difference in length between the humans and the dwarves were not the most prominent difference however, but the clothing. Were the assembled dwarves wore expensive woven clothes with inlaid jewelry forming aesthetically pleasing patterns, the humans wore rough, practical but light clothes of fur and linens; made to handle both the cold of the nights as well as the scorching heat of the day.
The interpreter having received the response from the leader turned back to Bithskraín.

“Chief Jaro is willing to agree to keep the Maharegs from attacking the roads to the sea, he says that he finds their behavior completely unacceptable and is more than willing to go to war with them in return for the weapons, the cloth and the gold we are giving them.”

Bithskraín smiled warmly to the large leader of the Oruyyu and rose from his throne, walking up to the man with spread arms. The Maharegs weren’t much more than minor nuisance, but some of the southern households had been a little worried about the tribes increasing size and boldness.

“Tell him I am truly blessed by the gods to have such a friend among the peoples of the sea and sun. He will have what he asks and more. For I consider him a brother, a true friend of Ut-Forud. When the King hears of this he will know, that the people of the stone have mighty allies here.”

The King would never hear of it of course, but it was part of the show. Much of the success in dealing with others lay in making them feel important and appreciated, regardless of how true that was. In this case it was successful for the chief of the Oruyyu seemed both impressed and grateful, gladly shaking the hand of the old dwarf and thus sealing the pact.

_____________________________________________________
"You're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."
-Obi Wan Kenobi

"Praise the god of all, drink the wine, let the world be the world."
-French Proverb

Gahalla

Posts : 495
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Title: Doctor

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Re: The glory of the mountains - a community story about a dwarven mountianhold (non-warcraft story)

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