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:
It is currently believed that Corunvil was the one to originate the idea of copying his own maker and creating life from stone in HIS own image. Proposed it to the other Un’Sthommerons who eagerly if somewhat ham-handedly took it up. Corunvil is associated with the chisel and the small stonemaul, and sometimes traditional smiths carve his rune on their tools to make them ‘strike sure’, as they say. Highly conservative dwarves hold Corunvil to be a sort of arch-power or demi-god, above the other Un’Sthommerons. Female dwarves also invoke Corunvil during pregnancy and labour (the ultimate creative activity...)
Hothesvil (Lord of
Hothesvil’s particular responsibility was to create and shape the intricate forms of stalactites and stalagmites, according to dwarven beliefs. Whenever a particularly attractive or aesthetic formation is found below ground, it is usually left in place where possible, rather as humans would spare a large old tree. Sometimes parts of the formation are ‘painted’ to bring out their shapes, with a luminescent ink derived from fungal growths, as a kind of homage or offering to Hothesvil.
Said to be the handsomest Un’Sthomm. There is a legend that he was unsatisfied with the short, rough bodies of the Thergerim he carved and sought out a massive deposit of alabaster in the high mountains, where he hid himself from the other Stone Fathers and began creating a lovely female form to match his own size. Alas, when the last chisel-stroke separated her from the living rock, and the pale marble woman arose, she fled from Kannvil in terror and flung herself into Nubil’s Gorge. Kannvil in despair would have followed her save that his brothers leapt from the ground and restrained him. Yet he grieved all his days thereafter. Hot springs are still often discovered underground and used by the dwarves in their caverns, and they are always said to be the Tears of Kannvil.
Actually spelt "Kwontvil" in Thergerim-Taal. Believed to be the creator specifically of the Morgerim, whom he carved from obsidian after seeing how inflexibly similar the granite-formed Thergerim were. The only Un’Sthomm said to possess anything resembling a sense of humour. "Trickster" stories are sometimes accredited to Quontvil, as in when a tool goes missing after just having been to hand; “Quontvil took it!” This has also been adapted to a curse; “Quontvil take it/you/him!” His symbols are an obsidian ax-head and the small rocklizard commonly used as a roasting beast among the Thergerim. - Note: The Morgerim will neither use obsidian (“Stoneflesh will cut flesh of our stone,” they say, obscurely) nor eat that particular species of lizard...
Not much is known or written of this reclusive Father with the unimaginative name. However, it is said that he was given the responsibility to count and name every pebble that Trum-Baroll shaped in making the Earth, so it was extrapolated that he be Master of Gems as well. It has, in the last few decades, become fashionable for dwarven couples to exchange various precious stones and jewelry pieces as betrothal gifts, rather than the traditional utensils and tools, and quite frequently Trumvil’s Rune has appeared as a common decorative motif on these betrothal pieces. Some more liberal dwarven priests currently name Trumvil as the Wedding Presider, who aids in the joining of man and wife, but this is a fairly recent belief.
Particularly appealing to the dwarven females, Unphvil is the master (subcontracted by Trum-Baroll, of course) of basalt and other mephitic rocks. He is said to have power over lava, volcanic eruptions, and other netherworld heat sources. He was Trum-Baroll's assistant when the Dwarf God invented cooking and food preparation, so he is often invoked when dealing with hearth-matters. Dwarf couples will ask for Unphvil’s blessing over their food after they eat it, and if herbs or medicines are to be imported/exported, they are often rune-protected in Unphvil’s name.
The Trumesdrummerons. This
compilation of dwarf religious writings, tales of
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…
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.
Celebrations and Ceremonies. A list of typical special days is provided below; see also the entry on Dwarven Recreation.
Weekly, on the second day and fifth day of the week respectively. These service-centered days help to foster community equity and encourage healthy gender relationships, not to mention promoting romance… For further details, see the Kurakim Clan entry.
(Day of the Basalt-Lord)
Monthly, first day of new moon Fires are extinguished and the ashes strewn on the underground farming ‘fields’. For further details, see the Thrumgolz Clan entry.
Vradvo (Hundred Year Pilgrimage)
Centennially - takes place in a year ending with 9 (such as 1509, 1619) in the fourth month, Anurilos. Mitharim dwarves make a pilgrimage to Denil’lou to pay homage to the statue of Brok Strongarm.
Holy Writing Week Every five years, or at the discretion of the Denirim. Dwarves who wish to refresh their copies of the "RockTales", or adolescents going through the Time, may rewrite their scriptures under strict supervision. See the Kurakim Clan entry.
Denimett Avefer (Holy Writing-time)
Individual religious observance, taking about a week to perform. Dwarves who want to refresh themselves spiritually seclude themselves to recopy the Trumesdrummerons.
KwontvilDen (Day of the Obsidian-Lord)
Monthly among the Kurakim, cusp of the dark moon. An evening of entertainment and music, and a chance to tell stories, riddles, and jokes. See the Kurakim Clan entry.
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.
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.
The females of the cavern stood in a quiet circle around the
motionless form on the stone.
Information provided by Bard Judith