THE DWARVEN BELIEF

UN'STHOMMERONS - THE TRUMESDRUMMERONS - THE URAVDENITRUMHUND

AGING, DEATH AND FUNERALS

Trum-Baroll, the dwarves say, is the God who created the world and all things within it, from his own substance. In the "RockTales", Tablet One we read the following narration: "Trum-Baroll lay sleeping in the Great Dark. He awoke. There was nothing but Trum-Baroll. So he scratched his head and dust fell. Then there was earth. He spat, and water came upon the earth. He pulled a hair from his beard. Trees and all growing things sprang up Then Trum-Baroll shouted, and his Hammer became. He coughed, and the Chisel was born. So did Trum-Baroll begin to carve, And all things were made from that time.

He then carved the Un’Sthommerons from various rocks, and they in their turn carved the Thergerim from granite. Of course, they experimented with other substances first, such as wood, copper, iron, and so on, which were found to be insufficiently sturdy and were tossed out of the forge door upon the surface of the earth. Thus the elves, Brownies, orcs, hobbits, gnomes and other races came to be. “But the Thergerim found favour in the eyes of Trum-Baroll when the Un’Sthommerons brought them before him, and he graced them with life and the blessing to live beneath the surface of the earth and be its masters…” (translated from the "RockTales", Tablet One)

In many dwarven tales it is told that these first carved ancestors, as well as the Un’Sthommerons themselves, are still in existence - in the great underground empire of Toll Disporbaroll ("Realm of the Lost Father"), which refers to Trum-Baroll's domain. It is common dwarven belief that Trum-Baroll is not a spiritual, incorporeal deity but an actual living being of stone who to this day reigns over the Un'Sthommerons in his domain deep in the rocky bones of Caelereth. According to dwarven belief Trum-Baroll is the god who created the world out of his own matter; other races are seen as "by-products" of his forging and carving. Trum-Baroll directly watches over the Thergerim, blesses their doings, and protects them from the harmful happenstances of life.

These tales and other holy writings are contained in their sacred book, the not-so-lengthy Trumesdrummerons, or "Rock Tales".

There are obvious similarities between the dwarven Trum-Baroll and our own Urtengor, Forge-Lord of the Aviaría. However, the Thergerim as a race do not admit the existence of any other gods, although the Un’Sthommerons (see below) seem to be at least demi-gods who are the focus of some worship ceremonies and rites as well.

Un’Sthommerons.
The UnSthommerons (Thergerim
UnSthommerons or "Those Like Stone", also known as the Therbarolerons, "Dwarven Fathers") are the seven giants carved from living stone by Trum-Baroll, the Forging God, the Shaper of Earth Himself. They are called Aephesvil, Corunvil, Hothesvil, Kannvil, Quontvil, Trumvil and Unphvil:

The Trumesdrummerons. This compilation of dwarf religious writings, tales of Trum-Baroll, and Un’Sthommerons' stories is known as the Barollegendia to human scholars, but as Trumesdrummerons, “Rock Tales” to the Thergerim. It is their only ‘holy’ book and physical copies of the book are revered in an almost talismanic sense among the older dwarves.

One reason for this is that every copy is made by hand, by the book’s future owner - the paper cut with a stone blade, stacked and pierced, and sewn with natural fibers. The dwarf then binds it, often with bat skin or drell leather, and grinds her own ink from lizardgall and urav-lichen. Then, under the stern eye of the Denirim, she painstakingly copies the runes from the Denirim’s own Trumesdrummerons. A single mistake means the book is burned; fortunately the text is not a long one, and Thergerim-Taal not long-winded. Generally the successful completion of a “RockTales” text is celebrated as the young dwarf’s coming-of-age in religious and social affairs, and is a good excuse for a feastday. Dwarves will often make several copies in their two to three-century lifetimes, at various significant occasions which they wish to commemorate, or simply because the first copy is wearing out and becoming illegible. Different clans may have different requirements or ceremonies surrounding the scribing of new texts; see the various clan entries for details.

This fanatical attention to detail means that dwarven historians can be highly certain of their sacred texts’ veracity, or at least legitimacy - since the original (the "Uravdenitrum" in dwarven) was literally carved in stone, contemporary copies can still be checked against it! What we might think of as ‘chapter’ divisions which exist in the written texts come directly from that original as well, and since they retain their titles as "Tablet One", "Slab Two", etc. up to five sections, we can conjecture that the Uravdenitrum was inscribed on at least five distinct pieces of rock. What we have here translated as ‘tablet’ is possibly better indicated by the word ‘monolith’ or ‘stele’, however; one should not imagine a small piece of loose slate but rather a gigantic monument of living rock rearing up under the stars… Return to the top

The UravdenitrumHund. The actual appearance of the original "RockTales" monument, and the site of this holy place, however, is only known to the Denirimerons of the dwarves, and their pilgrimage there (where it is believed that they make their copy directly from the sacred stone itself) is shrouded in secrecy, lore, and misdirection. In fact, a Denirim will occasionally travel without any purpose, various distances from his home cavern simply to mislead any observers (dwarven or otherwise) who might wish to spy out this sacred location. The dwarves say, with a cold look in their eyes, that no other race has ever seen or learned of the location of the UravdenitrumHund, the True Holystone’s Home. Return to the top

Celebrations and Ceremonies. A list of typical special days is provided below; see also the entry on Dwarven Recreation.

Aging, Death and Funerals. Dwarves remain active and vigorous well into their late age, but eventually a certain physical change overtakes them, relatively suddenly. In about the course of a month or so, the elderly dwarf will find it much more difficult to move about than she used to. Her bones feel heavy and massive, her joints solidifying and grating together. Her skin becomes even more rougher, almost scaly and calloused, and sensation dims. Her eyes will film and begin to bulge slightly, so that only far-off objects become clear and focused. In an underground low-light environment where fine work is prized, this is a severe handicap. The dwarves say that this change in vision is preparing them to ‘see Trum-Baroll beneath the earth’, and they call this time of change ‘Pragorsthomm’, the Stone-Turning. When the Pragorsthomm begins, a dwarf must put his affairs in order, dispose of his personal possessions, and prepare for his funeral, as he will have one to three months before ‘Aveferpesthomm’, the Time of Stone - death - overtakes him.

A Dwarven Funeral

View picture in full size Picture description. Scene from a dwarven funeral: dwarves gather to say good-bye to a dwarf that "has become stone". Image drawn by Arbaon.

“S/he has become stone” is the way dwarves refer to a dead dwarf - a euphemism for ‘Khorimyeh’, to die, or ‘Khorim’, death. The dwarf is mourned with physical expressions of grief that are restrained and low-key, but deeply felt. It is believed that this form of mourning and the attendant rituals were evolved out of the Thergerim sensitivity to excess noise, as well as a security precaution - loud wails could carry well through rock, attract unwanted attention, or even cause cave-ins. The body, now completely rigid and extremely heavy, is taken to the lowest levels of the excavations for disposal. In volcanic regions it is preferred to utilize a magma pit, but in other areas a bottomless crevasse or non-connected cave pool is used.

Once the body has petrified and the life-force departed, most Thergerim believe that the ‘forgespark’ (soul, spirit, essence, or whatever name you care to call the mind and heart that animates a sentient being…) returns to meet its Creator – the great Trum-Baroll – and will dwell in his realm, the underground utopian empire known as Toll Disporbaroll. We say most, as this is the common belief; some of the older members of the more traditional clans will inform you fiercely that the body itself returns to be animated by the forgespark again, so that the deceased dwarf may have a corporeal existence in Toll Disporbaroll. Arcane dwarvish writings (not an accepted part of the "RockTales", but rather apocryphal) claim that there are in Toll Disporbaroll itself layers within layers, depths within depths, and the purified essence, with or without its body, will move ever deeper, to ever more fulfillment and joy.

Note: The Thergerim do not believe that Caelereth HAS a netherside. They don't believe it's flat. Or rather, it's flat, but not a disc - the earth continues downwards almost infinitely, like a column. The Overworld, or surface, is the flat, circular top of the column. The Thergerim live and mine in the upper layers of that column, which becomes, as they have observed, ever-hotter as they descend... At some point that heat becomes intolerable and dwarves can neither live nor work there: they say it is because they have not yet 'become stone' (see Dwarven Death Rituals). Death, then, is a way in which they can pass that 'barrier' of molten rock and descend even further, into the semi-spiritual, semi-physical realm of Trum-Baroll, the Stone Father.

Apparently the further down, the better - dwarves who have perhaps not been all they should have been in life, will remain on the shallowest levels of Trum-Baroll's domain (we humans would say 'on the outskirts' or 'on the lower levels'), labouring to feed His forges or pump His bellows. Work, effort, and loyalty may 'redeem' them from this service and allow them to move downwards, ever closer to the true heart of the Stone Father. Thergerim are reluctant to speak of these mystical lower levels, but apparently the Book (Trumesdrumerons) has a few archaically-worded passages which describe them...

An intimate look at a dwarven funeral may be had here, in the story of Mututaph Foodmaker.

Mututaph has become Stone. The females of the cavern stood in a quiet circle around the motionless form on the stone.

Mututaph Foodmaker, skilled cook and tastesinger, had ended her Pragorsthomm in the same dignity with which she had always moved through her life; she had felt the final stiffening coming upon her and laid herself down on one of the great hearthstones where she had served the clan of AverimTyr for so long. She had set her favourite pareknife and ladle beside her, a small bag of spices, and a tiny book - her much-thumbed copy of the RockTales, the sacred writings of the dwarves. "Mututaph has become stone," her friend and co-cook Tareignzen finally broke the silence, "she has gone to Trum-Baroll as she hoped..."

The silence broken, the dwarven females began to move in the patterns of the death ritual - unplaiting their hair to hang loosely, rolling down their sleeves, untucking and untying parts of their rockwool garb. Their feet moved on the cavern floor, back and forth in a slow shuffle that became a sibilant hissing of sound, the drag and roll of leather against stone like deep tides in unlit pools. Breathing became faster, audible, blending with the hiss and echoing eerily from the stalactites high above. One dwarfmatron lifted her arms high and began rubbing her palms together in imploration, quickly copied by the others.

In the shadows around them the males watched, heads bowed in respect. As the dwarven females began a soft wailing, the Denirim emerged from among them and came towards Mututaph's body. The females moved to let him through, still shuffling their erratic dance, the wail mounting. Behind them, the hearthfire leaped, painting orange light on the Denirim's wrinkled face. He touched Mututaph's open, filmed eyes, a symbolic confirmation of her death, and then picked up the little book with respect. "She held Trum-Baroll high," he intoned, "She will be truestone of his choosing."

The wail rose louder at this, and the dwarf males began a sympathetic patting of their legs and knees, rocking back and forth on their feet. "Hush, hush, hush..." Tareignzen's husband was the first to speak for the men's group. "Hush, hush, she is stone, she feels no more." The males moved forward, splitting up to choose a female partner and join seamlessly in the griefdance with her. Palm to palm they joined, their feet moving unlifted across the stone, a waft and shift of sound made lyrical by the muted cries of the dwarfmaids and matrons.

Above them, the Morjualerons - the batkeepers - released their charges into the confined "sky" of the cavern, and the hardly audible sound of bat piping joined with the emotive song.

"Hush, hush, hush," the males crooned, "she is stone, she is stone..."

"Truestone," sang the Denirim, tossing Mututaph's flavourbag into the flames.

An aroma of spice and savory filled the air, a scent so poignantly associated with the dead dwarf that many gasped aloud in reflex, male and female alike. The dance blended, softened, became a bare swaying of motion, a comforting hug, shoulders touching; a reassurance that the community was still bound together, still whole.

"Carry her to the Lower Ground," came the Denirim's voice again, as the hum of music faded and the cavern became still again. "Carry her down, and lay her with care, for she is stone, truestone."

Mututaph's friends and family moved around the body, setting her rigid form on a litter made of crossed shovels and picks, hefting it to their shoulders, and standing ready. The Denirim glided to a tunnel mouth and took a covered lantern from the ledge beside it, gesturing them onward and down the tunnel.

"Truestone, true stone....true…stone…" their voices faded against the moss-hung walls, and the bat echoes sang their answer.
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