THE KURAKIM DWARVES

APPEARANCE - COAT OF ARMS - TERRITORY - PEOPLE - HOUSING - CLOTHING
DIET - WEAPONS - OCCUPATIONS - GOVERNMENT - PRODUCTION/TRADE
 
NATURAL RESOURCES -
FESTIVALS - ACHIEVEMENTS - HISTORY - MUSICAL THEME

The Kurakim Dwarves (Thergerim name Kurakergerim or Kurakergerim) are the most important Thergerim clan of the three known to reside in Northern Sarvonia. Located in the recesses of the craggy, conifer-clad Prominent Mountains, they are undisputed masters at smithery, as with most dwarves, but even more notable for their masonry. Many of the great bridges, fortifications, and cities in the region were built by Kurakim masons and architects, sometimes in conjunction with human effort or elven magery.

They share a very close bond with the Injerín elves and have forged lasting trade links with the Shaded Forest region. Once a belligerent and war-like clan, the Kurakergerim have become more philosophical and patient during their association with the elves of the Folkmore, though both dwarf and elf will gladly take up weapons together against the frequent orcish raids.

The Kurakim Dwarves
View picture in full size Image description: A typical Kurakim Dwarf with knotted beard standing in full armour in front of the Prominent Mountains. Picture from the game Mystical Empire™, used with friendly permission. Illustration by Faugar.

Appearance. The Kurakim Dwarves are stocky, bearded humanoids, standing about one to one and a half peds tall, and about four spans across the shoulders. Chest barrel-shaped, rounded stomach with slightly bowed, thick legs. Strong arms, calloused hands with well-defined knuckles and fleshy pads. Almost always brown-haired and brown-eyed, though deep gold, black, and reddish hairshades are known, and the hair does whiten in older dwarves. Ears, nose, and molars appear proportionately larger on the face than on humans. The Thergerim as a race are densely-boned and muscular, including the females. Return to the top

Coat of Arms/Sign. No details provided yet.
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Territory. Heavily fortified, disguised, and guarded, the entrance to their main cavern city is located somewhere in the central ravines of the Prominent Mountains in Northern Sarvonia, near the headwaters of the Luquador River.
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People. The Kurakergerim have a long and war-torn history (see below) but from their long association with the local elven tribes have come to prefer peaceful mining and trade as a way of life. At least, so they say. Certainly they have produced some of the most beautifully crafted sculptures, manuscripts, and interesting scholarly dissertations ever to come from a dwarven hand, but their weaponry and armour-craft does not seem to have suffered in the process, either.

The Kurakim are less agoraphobic than their southern cousins, and frequently come above ground to tend small patches of grain for their dwarven spirits or to hunt and climb among the Prominent Mountains’ wildlife-populated forests and rocks. At one time during the Age of Myths several groups of dwarves even settled above ground; these were the ones who had grown closest to the Injerín elves and Mynian humans. However, during the Year of Burning Nights they drew back into the customary seclusion and safety of their mountain fastnesses.
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Housing. The Caverns of Kalern, as the main city is known, is said to have spectacular columns and halls hewn from the living granite, and many a dwarf-friend has been welcomed under the diamante light of the great Kalern Timeclock. Other lesser caverns are strewn about the mountains, each with their own central cave, waterfall, clock, entrance pitfall, communication tunnels, smoke filters, aboveground garden patches, and associated mines. (For more detail on dwarven cavern cities, see "Een Puvtyr".) The dwarves stay clear of the southern foothills, which are rife with the nests of the so-called “Noble Orcs”, or Ashz-Oc. Famous for their military strength and their skills in combat, but also for their strong steel and brightly-dyed clothes, these more-intelligent-than-average orcs often send out raiding parties and have instigated many scuffles with the dwarves.
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Clothing. From their long association with the Mynians, the Kurakim dwarves have learned to favour human cloth over the traditional southern Rockwool. Much of their trade is for the beautifully dyed "blockcloth" in deep earthen tones and the classical square patterns and plaids of the Kuglimz weavers. Wrapped and fastened with dwarven-wrought iron pins and brooches, then overlaid with leather workvests or scale/plate/chain armour, the cloths form striking garments worn by male and female dwarves alike.

Female Kurakim wrap their bodice cloths in a tight X-shape across their heavy bosoms for better support, then cover the X with a further loose layer from over the left shoulder to under the right arm, letting it hang in graceful folds across the chest and stomach but freeing their hammer or sword arm. (“X” being the Mark of Coór, this shape is never displayed openly!) Male Kurakim wrap one layer around their torsos, under their arms, for warmth, and then drape left to right in the same style as the females. The wraps are then pinned at the shoulder and waist with wrought-iron brooches, often in the shape of a lesser beast (cave drell, cave rat, a nesting cuuloo, a roosting bat, a slow-wyrm, or other common small animal).

When above ground, or in the coldest winter seasons when the caverns cannot be heated sufficiently, the clan often wears vests stuffed with ulgaroth pelt, sheep fleece, or rockwool. Wrapping their legs in strips of blockcloth and then pulling their huge climbing boots on over the strips, the Kurakim often are able to plow through snows that would fatigue a human in short order.
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Diet. The Kurakim's diet is richer in meat than the south as the hunting is rich and they go above ground more regularly. The Kurakim clan also enjoy eggs (usually wild-birds’) more often and frequently get to sample Folkmore elvish cuisine. Fish is brought from the western coastal city of Darooth for the elves’ sake, but unappreciated by the thallassa-phobic dwarves. A strong dwarven spirit known as “Scutch” or “Rot-tin” is made from the Scutch plant and frequently consumed and traded by the Kurakergerim.
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Weapons. The classic picture which humans have of a heavily armoured dwarf, his eyes shadowed under a huge helmet, and an axe over his shoulder, most accurately describes the Kurakim Clan. Famous for their beautifully crafted Fang-Axes, with gracefully-arced blades balanced by an armour-piercing spike, the Kurakim are masters of axework. Let me note here that the famous “Riton’s Birth-Blade” is not, as some Southerners seem to think, a magical sword, but rather a marvelous human-scale axe made for King Minar II’s first son (see the Histories of the Mynian Kingdom).

And it is well for the Kurakim that their axes are sharp, for Ashz-Oc (Noble Orcs), from the southern foothills of the Prominent Mountains, send out frequent raiding parties, while the Losh-Oc from the Mountains of Oro and the Wilshirer Heath often bumble down out of the north-east looking for food and plunder.

Like all dwarves, the Kurakergerim carry eating knives and small smithy/jeweller’s hammers on their belts; however, they also usually have a set of rock spikes and a few wire nooses handy as well. If caught out overnight they can snare birds or rabbits, and one never knows, in the crags and crevasses of the Prominent Mountains, when climbing might be preferable to delving.
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Occupations. As with all Thergerim, occupations are gender-segregated and one’s role in life is defined early within the community. Everyone has a place, and a task to perform, which ensures the individual dwarf food, shelter, medicine, and clothing within the clan circle. Some common occupations are Miner, Smith, Teacher, Mage, Healer, Drumsender, Singspeaker, Foodmaker, Brewmistress, Woodsmith, Weavewender, Farmtender, Leader, Hunter, Dowser, Guide. There is always one Denirim (
Denirim, "Holy One"). who performs rituals, teaches the Trumesdrummerons (Trumesdrummerons), or “RockTales”, and officiates at ceremonies of birth, wedding, and death. For further detail, see the entry on Dwarven Society. Return to the top

Government. Each clan of Thergerim has a single leader or clan chieftain (the dwarven term is unpronouncable) , who may be of either gender, but must be past his or her Age of Choosing, sexual maturity, usually at around 90 human years; known as “Huregozar" (
Huregozar) for females or "Baregozar" (Baregozar) for males. The leader is elected by common consensus, although he or she is often from a popular family within the clan. The chieftain then makes decisions aided by his/her council members and if the council sees fit to bring any particular decision before the clan, it must then be supported by consensus voting of all adult dwarves. Leaders also have a sub-leader, or “travel-chief”, as it can be literally translated; this dwarf (male or female) will often be responsible to travel to annual clan meetings and stand for the leader in a Thergerim Great Council. The Denirimerons (Denirimerons) also travel outside the clan and meet, but their religious gatherings are shrouded in mystery and fanatic secrecy. Return to the top

Production/Trade. Quite a bit of traffic goes back and forth in the region, although caution must always be exercised because of constant orcish raids and the strong orc presence in the southern foothills. The dwarves trade obsidian and granite for gold and mithril with their southern cousins. Kuglimz trade dyed and woven "blockcloth", fresh vegetables, mutton and the occasional wagon of smoked horsehaunch for dwarven masonry and armoury skills, cut ashlars of stone, and also coinage. Elves trade timber rights and herbal medicines for dwarven spirits, goldwork and smelted arrowheads.

The dwarves trade for fresh vegetables with the Kuglimz, and some spices, dried fruits and vegetables come up from their southern clan cousins.
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Natural Resources. The Prominent Mountains are coniferous, craggy highlands, populated by great wolverines, red deer, elk, wolves, wild hare, cuuloo pheasants, and hawks. Some spiny bears can be found, and the dwarves are restricting their hunting so that the population will grow. A few wargs roam the southern slopes, and it is said that some iron dragons live in the higher fastnesses of the mountains. Very rocky granite outcroppings are thickly forested with scrub pine, eu’r-oak, cinnabarks, sahnrix pines, and the slim but tough golden strands of wolf willow. Here and there the bright sour fruits of medlarapples show among the deep green of the conifers.

Heather, scutch plant, moonmoss, and lythien are all found on and harvested from the foothills. Bearbane grows at the northern edges of their territory, and Krragghi, the orcish equivalent of chili peppers, to the south (see Herbarium Overview for detailed descriptions of these plants). The mountains contain obsidian, coal, and iron deposits, which are all excavated and claimed by the Kurakim clan.
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Holidays, Festivals and Obervances. In this category we have to mention the following:

Important Achievements. The Great Mithril Bridge, constructed in the Age of Myths, was Kurakim handiwork; so was Vermoth the Many-Towered, the capital city of the Kingdom of Mynia. The Vermoth Tri-Bridge project was completely masterminded by Kurakim masons, and indeed, though Vermoth itself has fallen under the claws of war and time, the noble granite arches still stand high over the branches of the Liben River. Dwarven builders in unison with elven mages built one of the largest fortified cities of the region, O'krói'pardá'aél ("Everlasting War in the West"). Return to the top

History. Please note that the following time table was set up by the Kurakim dwarves themselves and thus represents a dwarven perspective, not a human one.

Time Table of the Kurakim Dwarves

Date

Incident

Unknown Kurakim Move Into the Prominent Mountains
2097 b.S. Peace Pact with Humans and Elves
The Kurakim Clan signs a peace treaty with the Shaded Forest Elves and the Mynian Humans. For the first time since the Years of Cleansing, dwarf and human work together and begin to build faith. Humans are flighty things, but the dwarves won’t be the first to break their word!
2039 b.S. Minar II Allowed to visit the Caverns of Kalern
For a human, this king is quite respectable. Dwarves have learned that his promises can be trusted and the trade routes have been unencumbered for fifty years. The Kurakergerim renew the vows of the Peace Pact over fire and spirits, and draw up a blueprint for the city of Vermoth.
2038 b.S. Building of Vermoth the Many-Towered
King Minar II wants a capital city for a central seat of power and government in the Mynian Kingdom. Dwarf masons plan and build Vermoth with elven wood-witchery and human builders’ assistance. The Cloud Tower and the Hawk Tower are built at opposite sides of the city wall, soaring into the sky. Signal fire domes are placed at the top, lined with huge elven crystal mirrors, so that messages can be sent back and forth from one side of the city to the other, or out into the surrounding villages.
2035 b.S. Moorthraz Arrphzin (Riton’s Birth-Blade) Forged
The Kurakim are invited to a big party for Minar’s firstborn son. This is the occasion for the forging of the Craftpiece Moorthraz Arrphzin (“EagleAxe Birth-Blade”). It is presented to Minar’s son, Riton, along with a full set of Calendar Stones (diamant, aemythyst, aquarine, saffire, peridon, emeraud, ruby, carnelion, topazum, garnet, turkoise, and opallios - one for each month of the dwarven year) Lots of food and drink provided.
2000 b.S. Coining of first Mynian Currency system
The dwarves offer to create a system of currency for the Mynians to replace their existing primitive barter system. The first coin is struck with an etching of Prince Riton’s face on one side and a mountain eagle on the other.
1649 b.S. The Burning Night
Córt'ometrá: Gouran the Vicious comes into Coór's favor. He marshals his powers and lends her his support. The uppergrounders marked by the Black Shard run amok across the continent, looting, burning, and destroying. Dwarves retreat into their cavern fortresses and withdraw from the upperworld. Many treaties go unkept and much honour is lost.
1648 b.S. Battle of Tak'Dinal
“Days of endless fighting occurred under the shadow of Tak’'Dinal, finally after a great push the dwarven forces were able to gain the gates. The elves raced in and joined up with the dwarves, once inside the battle was soon over. The elven mages attempted to obliterate the citadel, but were only able to destroy the new additions. So, the great catacombs remained intact, and any who ventured into it whether warrior or mage was not seen again.” ( Carved on a large stone fragment near the gates of Tak'Dinal by an unknown warrior)

Rising of the Sun
For over a year the Kurakim have survived underground without fresh vegetables or outside trade. Their grain fields have withered in the Long Dark and even their much-loved mushrooms are beginning to pall. Brave dwarves still venture aboveground to hunt in the perpetual night, but little is to be found. Finally Injèrá rises.
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"Theme of the Kurakim Dwarves", composed and performed by Ralrok
Format: MP3, Length: 8:23, Original Title: "Ralrok - The Third Guardian" from the album "Elsidox: Volume One".

Click here to download the song, use right-click and "Save as..." (7.7 MB) Return to the top

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