Broken Lands Faction: Clan Dollogh
From the journal of Barnard of Shelton, master trader in the employ of the Illyria Trade Council, recording his journeys to the Broken Lands.
When the Sundering ripped across the land at the end of the Second Age, the magics tore trees from the ground, whipped the air into great cyclones, and tore at the earth itself. The lands shook, plains rose up to form ridges, and mountains plunged into an abyss to be swallowed by the sea. For surface dwellers this was a cataclysm. Millions died, and only thousands survived.
But how much worse for races that dwelt beneath the ground! The deep halls of the Dwarf clans collapsed, their tunnels caved in, the entrances to their strongholds were buried. And not only the Dwarves were thus destroyed. In five hundred years no Kobold, those scrawny underground-dwelling greenskins, has been seen in these Broken Lands.
Of all the underground strongholds, only one survived the Sundering. It is a Dwarven hall. Its masters are Clan Dollogh, and they call their home Lasthold.
For five centuries they have dug in, built up, reinforced, defended. They are the last survivors of the Dwarves in these lands, and they will, they insist, endure.
I went to visit Lasthold. I passed through seven sets of gates, set in huge walls, and at each gate I was quizzed, searched, regarded with suspicion and fear. At last I thought that I was in, as I emerged into a broad market square. But then I noticed that there were almost no Dwarves here. And the Dwarves that I did see in the market, were surface-dwellers, from settlements in the lands about, visitors just as I was.
Beyond the market was another set of doors, made not of wood but of granite, set in yet another sturdy wall. I approached, but saw no guards, nobody I could speak to. As I stood there another visitor smiled at me. “That is Lasthold, in there. Nobody gets in, unless you were born there. And you aren’t a Dwarf, so you weren’t born there.”
All the gates and checks I had been through had not even been to get into Lasthold. They were just to get to the market where visitors come to trade.
I returned to the seventh gate, and attempted to engage the sergeant of the guards in conversation. I explained that I wanted to talk to their rulers, about trade deals. He did not answer. I asked who his rulers were. No answer. I pestered for several minutes, until in the end I hit a nerve and he exploded in a rage, shouting at me as his face turned deeper and deeper scarlet. My mistake was to ask how emissaries from “his King” (meaning the King of Virten) gained access to Lasthold.
“A thousand years,” he fumed, “a thousand years! For a thousand years we were slaves to Elf wizards, duped by their human servants, and abused by their Orc dogs! For a thousand years we were tortured, forced to work until we died. And then we were killed. All of us. When the mountains fell everyone died except five hundred Dwarves here, and a few thousand out on the surface! My people here, my forbears, they clawed through the cave-ins with their bare hands, and rebuilt! Now you think some human Orc-lackey is our King! He’s your King! Or he’s the Orcs’ King! You think after everything we’ve been through, we’ll let some human peasant, raised up by the Kartur-Hhakrall, tell us what to do? Out there, he’s your King. In here, we are free, and we will stay that way even if the mountains fall again!”
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