Mitharim ("Metalfolk") are the main dwarven clan in the area of the Mithral Mountains, along the east coast of the Santharian province of Manthria, producing a great deal of ore and metal work, as can be seen by their name. They are used to extra-racial contact and do quite a bit of trading with the humans of the region. As a result they tend to ‘represent’ the dwarven race in human eyes, and may be considered characteristic of Thergerim ways, habits, and culture in most areas of their lives.
|Image description. A Mitharim Warrior with the classic diamond-scale armour and his beard in war-braids. Picture from the game Magical Empire™, used with friendly permission. Illustration drawn by Quellion.|
The Mitharim are archetypal dwarves in
appearance: short and stocky compared to a
human, proportionately much broader and heavier. The average adult Mitharim
stands one to one-and-a-half peds tall, and averages four spans across the
shoulders. Their chests are wide, sloping down into flat, broad stomachs and
solid hips. Their legs are sturdy and the major bones dense and
breakage-resistance. Arms are well-fleshed, and hands muscular, with short,
strong fingers, padded with calluses from the daily labour the
The typical Mitharim face is wide, with broad cheekbones and a firm chin. The space between nose and upper lip is long and deeply indented, while the lips themselves are full and of a faint brownish hue. The eyes are deepset and large, as indeed are all the features of the Mitharim face when compared to a human or elf; ears, nose, and teeth are all prominent and well-shaped. Their skin is pale, almost pallid, and the hair a solid black, dark brown, or deep grey (even among young dwarves). Reddish and golden highlights sometimes occur in head and facial hair, but it is unusual.
Both genders are naturally bearded and long-haired, like all Thergerim, but the females of the Mitharim, most unusually, depilate their facial hair almost completely, except for lashes and brows. It is unknown how long this custom has existed (for example, whether it began as a result of frequent contact with humans) and how exactly it is accomplished. A secret herbal lotion is suspected, but apparently the Mitharim women also add a certain plant or fungus to their diet to reduce the natural growth to a minimum. The knowledge would doubtless be a profitable source of income for the Mitharim, but they are reticent to the point of rudeness on the subject…
Coat of Arms/Sign. Although dwarves do not use coats of arms or other insignia as humans do, they consider their steelmarks and orestamps highly important. Steelmarks identify the product of a particular clan, while orestamps signify the origin of an item from its cave or mine. Simple and unique, these graphic designs are etched or cut into every piece of dwarven metalwork, and painted on every orebag that leaves a cavern. A particularly talented smith, jeweler or armourer may also have his own personal forgemark, though this is rare.
|Image description. The steelmark of the dwarven Mitharim clan, a stylized anvil on a square. Picture by Artimidor Federkiel.|
The Mitharim steelmark is a stylized anvil on a square. When painted it is
usually shown as a bronze anvil on a red square.
Territory. The Mithral Mountains is the name given to the rugged range along the eastern part of province Manthria. These mountains were so named both for the vast amounts of mithril ore mined there and also because of their overall silver-gray coloring when seen from a distance. The Mithralrotrumerons (as the mountains are called in the dwarven tongue) are rich in mithril, naturally, but also in iron, lead, copper, and other industrial ores.
The main Mitharim city-cavern,
the famous Kor Mithrid, is located somewhere near the source of the Mashdai
River which flows into the Adanian Sea. It is the oldest known
dwarven settlement on
Caelereth, according to the ancient
Thergerim histories and engravings.
Occasionally a traveller along its banks may see large barges going down to
Chrondra and Marcogg, laden with ore-bags stamped with the Mitharim runes.
The dwarven settlements Tyr Donian and Tyr Ethran are smaller caverns in the Mithralrotrumerons. Originally established as trading posts, their location was known to humans at one point (though the misanthropic nature of dwarves usually prohibits revealing the whereabouts of their home caverns). However, a rich vein of gold ore was uncovered in exploratory digs at Tyr Ethran at one point, and its entrances were immediately concealed and its location eventually forgotten.
Tyr Donian, however, is still an active trading post as well as home to a small community of resident Mitharim. For the benefit of the human merchants and traders who regularly visit, Tyr Donian is exempt from the usual dwarven security features, such as hidden entrances, concealed smoke vents, and reliance on underground springs. Also, the Mithrarim of Tyr Donian have considerately cut the tunnel ceiling levels to tall-folk height and provided a number of guest-rooms in their caverns, close enough to the surface to fit out each room with an exterior-facing window! This dwarven clan is on the whole accustomed to extra-racial contact and will be courteous even to elves and halflings should they meet in the trading-caves.
The Mitharim are ‘typical’ dwarves in
character, except less suspicious of change or novelty than others of their
race. They are forthright and their emotions are obvious. Very persistent and
opinionated, they are devout believers in
as humans name him), their great
Forgelord. They make their deeds and words accord as far as possible, saying
that to do a thing that one would not say is as much a lie as lying words. The
Mitharim are also loyal to their family and clan far beyond
human comprehension; the attachment of a
mother to her newborn seems lackluster compared to the amount of effort and
devotion one dwarf will give another who
is of his clan.
The Mitharim have excellent hearing and eyesight, and it can seem to humans that they have an extra-sensory ability to detect falsehoods, hedgings, or emotional reservations – which makes bargaining a tricky action indeed! Possibly it is simply that they can ‘read’ their guests’ body motions or even hear a quickening heartbeat. Although Mitharim do not get angry easily and in fact are very difficult to rouse to passion, they have no tolerance for lies or evasions – even the tactful vocabulary of diplomats and shopkeepers – and will quickly terminate a relationship if one is not direct with them.
|Picture description. The location of the Mithral Mountains close to the Adanian Sea at the east coast of the Santharian Kingdom. Maps drawn by Artimidor.|
Like all Sarvonian
dwarves, the Mitharim dwell in
underground caverns, linked by a network of sleeping cavelets, storage caves,
and traveling/transportation tunnels. As noted above, the location of most
caverns is kept a secret from other races, and the entrance is carefully
concealed, in some cases with elaborate pit traps and guard chambers, in other
cases with labyrinths of fallen stone made to appear natural above the surface,
and in still others with magically-created
illusions of solid mountainside where in reality a portal stands. However, once
inside the main cavern, the layout is very similar from clan to clan, with
variety created mostly by the texture of the rock, the depth below the surface,
the range of lighting (torch, glowmoss, hearth, lightshafts) and the
subterranean vegetation. See the entry on
Een Puvtyr for more details about cavern living…
Dwarves generally plan their dwellings, or subcaves, in careful detail before setting their hand to a pick; the outline of the cavelet is sketched out with the sleeping ledges, shelves, and carved-in-place furnishings all meticulously drawn to scale. Even eating tables and benches are hewn from the living rock and remain attached to the cave floor. The dwarves say that they don’t so much carve out the shapes they want as they simply remove the volume of rock that isn’t the right shape!
Deep, cozy recesses are carved into the walls, from about hip-height to just above headheight. A skillful excavator will try to place the sleeping recess back-to-back with someone else’s hearth, so that the heat will permeate the naturally cool stone. The recess is given a shallow lip, about two hands’breadths down from the bottom of the aperture, and the space filled with local vegetation. The Mitharim prefer pine, where other dwarves might use heather, willow, moonmoss, or the scented rosemint branches. Layers of overlapping furs and tanned skins then cover the plant layer to create a springy, aromatic bed with a sensuous texture and fragrance.
Benches are also carved in the same way, with a handsbreadth of stone scooped out where one would expect a flat top. In the resulting tray-shaped recess the woman of the cave places a thick hide cushion stuffed with moss and more scented leaves, bringing the seating surface level or slightly over the top of the bench. Wooden inserts can also be made, or slim metal boxes into which hot cinders from the hearth can be scooped, so that one’s haunches are resting not on cold stone, but a comfortable warmth.
More niches in the walls serve for storage or spots to set cherished artifacts, places where a glowglobe can rest, or a copy of the "Rock Tales" (the Trumesdrummerons). Small grooves and projections in the walls which open towards the ceiling serve as hooks to rest dowels in, for tapestries, artworks, or hanging clothes, while forged rings set at regular intervals into the ceiling allow for even more flexibility – reed mats can be strung up to subdivide the space, lanterns can be hung to allow task light at any location in the cave, and bunches of herbs or drying sausages can find a home.
|Picture description. View on the silver-gray mountain range of the Mithral seen from the Adanian Sea. The double-peak to the right is named Chalbern Peak, the central one Gray Hood, and the one to the left the Cloudtop Peak. In the center you can see the Ravenwing Falls very clearly. To the left of the pic there are the large hills of the Twynor Grassland (in the south). The front the picture by the way shows the village of Nepris. Image drawn by Quellion.|
The public floors are smoothly-polished stone, sometimes inlaid beautifully
with contrasting minerals or colours to indicate main pathways or to pick out
natural features of the cavern, such as the bathing pool or a particularly
lovely stalagmite. Floors in the subcaverns, though, are raised by about a
thumb above the main level and are usually covered. An entry area where the
homecoming dwarf can take off the boots
and set them on a ledge has shallow grooves cut directly into its surface, for
scraping away dirt and providing traction to wet feet. The rest of the cave may
have reed matting, fur rugs, inset wood flooring, or even traded-for woven
carpeting, depending on the family’s disposable income. If there is
free-standing furniture, such as a rocking chair or a dwarfbabe’s cradle, it
will inevitably be made of the local pine wood, stained to a dark grayish
brown, with the Mitharim anvilstamp burnt into it. Such furniture is almost
indestructibly sturdy, if squat and undecorative by
Clothing. Because of their wide-ranging trade network with humans and other races, the Mitharim have possibly the most variety of clothing and fabrics of any dwarven clan. While some still prefer the traditional rockmoss weaves, and most have sturdy work leathers to hand, the majority of Mitharim wear tunics and trews in the same range of material that any human city might display. They prefer a strong texture and deep, saturated colours.
The women wear soft, creamy linen underblouses, with sleeves fitting tight to the wrist that will not catch and tear as they work. Over that is usually an ample bodice of wool in some bright, rich shade, with leather thongs laced from the top to the bottom. (A nursing mother can be marked by her two-piece, practical garb of ample underblouse and toggle-fastened vest, much easier of access). Skirts or full-legged trews may be worn depending on the woman’s occupation, also often in wool.
The males favour shortsleeved or sleeveless tunics in darker, earthy tones which set off their pale skin and don’t show dirt stains and burns as easily. The tunic falls to the knee but when belted with the characteristic leather sash tucks up to mid-thigh. Assorted small pouches, and a sheath for a belt knife, are fastened to the sash. Working miners or gardeners also wear a shoulder strap which goes diagonally across the chest and is riveted into the sash front and back, serving as a support for a pick holster or shovel thong.
The Mitharim prefer to buy bolts of solid-coloured fabrics which they make up into their own cut and styling, and then add embroidery in gold or silver threads. Dress clothes are richly detailed and often have gem-quality cuttings of crystal or semi-precious stones set amid the metallic embroidery; the firelight sparkling off these robes makes a holiday cavern a veritable jewelbox of light and colour.
Their magic-users (generally only one or two per cave, with perhaps as many as five in the largest city-caverns) wear the prerequisite bat or mole-skin capes; these softly-furry, multi-pocketed garments are difficult to fabricate but uniquely combine lightness with warmth.
The Denirim, or Holy One, wears a flowing linen robe - which seems to be the cross-cultural mark of a priest throughout Caelereth! Smiths prefer heavy leather aprons with a single large front pocket and side lappets that wrap around their hips to tie at the back, and generally braid their hair back with matching leather thongs.
Diet. Deer, goat, rabbit (coney, tarep, hare) are all much-appreciated puvjor (potmeat) for the Mitharim, while trout, mithanjor, caéh-fish, blind-fish, and pool shrimp also contribute their protein. Despite the title of ‘potmeat’, these foods are prepared in a wide range of flavorful ways, boiling and stewing being only two. Roasting, grilling, hearth-baking, coal-scorching, frying, and clay-baking are all well-known to the she-dwarves, and they have spices and sauces aplenty to add even more taste.
A variety of fruit and vegetables are available either from their own low-light gardens or through trade: Green-Leaf, potatoes, orange-roots, carroots, turnips, blood-fists, and mezpuu are all popular, as are redberries, waterberries, apples, and pears. Sulcho and gebl’s nose mushrooms, like most fungi, are quite popular. Imported grains, mossbread and borwul (lichenbread) round out the dwarven diet.
The small grayish seeds of the sunflower are harvested, dried, and treated by the Mitharim with trumpuk (rock salt) and a kind of lichen distillate to create a salty snack food known as "sunseeds". The invariable accompaniment to a mug of dwarven ale, or in a pinch a cup of cider, sunseeds are loved by Thergerim children and adults alike.
Weapons/Tools. A dwarf would appear naked without his axe, whether it be the heavy-bladed wood axe of the forester or the sharp-beaked pickaxe of the miner. Women carry miniature versions known as Thrazeen (Little-Axe), which are about the size and shape of a human hammer or hatchet. Honed to a razoredge and kept in a leather sheath on the left hip, these Thrazeen are multi-purpose blades which can be used for most household, gardening, craft, or kitchen purposes. Some have been carefully balanced for throwing as well, thus making them formidable weapons.
Most Mitharim also carry a signal hammer, a testing punch, and an eating knife as well. With these simple tools, and a firestone pouch with flint, steel, and tinder, they can make themselves at home anywhere underground. In fact, the Mitharim claim that a dwarf only needs a pick and a coal – because from those simple beginnings he can forge whatever else he needs to carve himself a dwelling, obtain food, or defend himself!
Slim, sharp-pointed knives with a single edge are commonly used for eating and preparing food. Spoons are generally carved from wood rather than cast from metal, and dwarves disdain the human two-pronged ‘fork’ that is in fashion in the cities, preferring to scoop their liquids with spoons and stab their solids with eating knives.
The various crafts and occupations (see below) all have their own specific and esoteric tools which we do not need to list here, and part of apprenticeship in any Thergerim trade is learning not only the names and uses of all the tools but also how to replicate them. Dwarven hands-on practicality ensures that any member of the community can be self-sufficient in a pinch, despite gender-specific roles. This training also creates confident, determined adult individuals who are ready to set their hands to the community’s tasks.
Occupations. The Thergerim are a very organized society, who have specific occupations within their communal clan or cavern; the occupations are divided by sex and sometimes age or experience, so that each person knows his or her place in the community from a fairly early age. One of the main reasons for this gender segregation of various jobs is, of course, cultural. But another, more powerful reason is actually biological. Both genders of dwarves, as we've noted before, appear very similar (secondary sexual characteristics such as musculature, facial hair, and so on, are in evidence for both male and female). However, primary sexual distinctions (see the entry Dwarven Mating, Marriage and Reproduction) are MORE distinctive, because of vastly varying differences in Thergerim hormonal levels.
These hormonal differences mean that the females are (like humans, to some extent) more 'nurturing', have greater manual dexterity, better linguistic and verbal skills, (compared to male dwarves, but not to humans!) and are able to 'multi task'. They also have a stronger psychic and empathic ability, when such abilities are present. Males, however, have greater endurance, lower oxygen consumption (a plus when working underground), claustrophilia, and more highly developed spatial relationships. Neither gender is particularly aggressive but either may have strong leadership and organizational abilities, and what passes for 'people skills' with dwarves.
Since dwarven science is not greatly advanced, the way they put this is, "Man's blood, man's life, man's work Woman's blood, woman's life, woman's work." A list of typical occupations is given below, with details.
Miners excavate tunnels and homecaves as needed, work the gem and orefaces, retrieve various minerals and gems for use in smithing and trade, carve larger items of stone furnishings, and identify specific stone types for building and trade to human artisans. Male, often younger.
Smiths are males who refine ores into metals, and forge the metals into items, artifacts, and utensils for daily life. Often cast small and large simple machine parts to Brownie or human specifications (based on wood carvings or clay molds). Some smiths focus on weaponry and tools, while others create jewelry and artworks. The younger smiths begin with pickheads and shovel blades - skilled smiths can work metal into woven necklaces or intricate mail shirts.
The Teacher cares for and instructs children, from weaning to apprenticeship (age may vary). Female, usually pre-mating or aged.
The Mage works with tools, items, spell components, reagents, and other physical material to create magic and change his/her environment. Requires excellent memory and concentration skills. Often low in emotional expression or solitary. Either gender.
The healer uses herbs, potions, food, psychology, and some limited empathic magic to cure and heal physical and spiritual injuries. Either gender.
Senders are skilled in sending and receiving several levels of drummed code. Usually male.
The Singspeaker interprets bats' radar messages, trains them to send messages. Can repair and sometimes rebuild the complex Brownie machines which are used in the training. Infrequently develops the skill to ‘hear’ the radar blips and translate directly, without the machine. Depends on innate ability, usually a male trained from an early age.
The Foodmaker stores, prepares, and creates food for everyone at the communal hearth. Skilled in uses of spices, flavourings, basic food chemistry, baking, and dietary needs. Trained to make food appeal to each of the senses (in a low-light environment, how the food smells and its texture become relatively more important - and dwarves have excellent hearing....) Female.
The Brewmistress stores, mashes, ferments, and brews various beverages, alcoholic or otherwise. Works closely with the Foodmakers and Farmtenders. Older female with experience.
The Woodsmith cuts, stores, seasons, and prepares lumber. Designs and builds any furniture not carved from stone, and small utensils, bowls, and decorative items. Usually female.
The Weavewender works in conjunction with the Farmtenders to harvest rockmoss, a type of heavily silicate growth which can be prepared and spun into a thin, strong fiber. Weaves rockwool, as it is then known, into the fabric mainly worn by dwarves. Usually older females with some experience.
The Farmtender plants, tends, and harvests crops. Responsible for gathering seeds and storing tubers, culturing moss growths in appropriate places, pruning back cave vegetation, providing a consistent water supply to crops and Thergerim, and controlling small above-ground plantations of photo-sensitive chlorophyll-based plants. Female, any age or experience.
A Leader is elected by common consensus, although often from a popular family within the clan. Makes decisions aided by his/her council members and supported by consensus voting of all adult dwarves. Either gender.
The hunter goes above ground to find larger animals, or roams the uninhabited caverns in search of rock game, as it is called. Skilled in use of various weapons, can make and set traps, read signs, and navigate above ground. Usually female.
Dwarves who have perfect pitch are chosen and trained from an early age to tune their resonances to such a focused degree that they are able to make certain types of crystalline structure reverberate within the rock around them. By alternately singing or humming a single note, and then ‘tuning’ that note slightly flat or sharp, they can ‘search’ for a particular gem type up to ten or fifteen feet away through solid rock. The effective range varies with the type of rock oddly enough, hard stone such as granite increases the range, while soft porous rock such as limestone tends to decrease it, possibly by absorbing or otherwise altering the vibrations.
An Earth Guide is a dwarf with an unusually acute sense of direction. It is believed that it may be related to the magnetic or the ley lines running through Caelereth. Even in coal blackness, spun around and turned upside down at an angle, these dwarves have an unerring sense of which way is ‘up’, which way ‘down’, and which way their home cavern is, not to mention a feel for the nearest open space. Those few who make it aboveground are eagerly sought after by human mine superintendents and treasure divers, or employed as night caravan guides or mountain rescue specialists. At least one such talented dwarf made a very good living as part of a circus troupe, but he is not a lauded character in Thergerim history. Usually male, but not always.
The Mitharim clan is led by a single Gornegron (Gornegron),
or clan chieftain (may be male or female) who is elected by common consensus.
Every dwarf in the cavern who is past the
Age of Choosing (sexual maturity - known as "Huregozar" in females, "Baregozar"
in males – occurs at an age of approximately 90
human years) may vote for a candidate out
of a small pool of well-known individuals who have put themselves forward.
Whichever dwarf receives the
second-highest number of votes will become the subleader or Gorkavon (Gorkavon),
literally "travel-chief". Her responsibility will be to support the Gornegron,
put forward various dissenting points of view, travel to clan meetings when the
chieftain is unable to do so, and generally assist with whatever other
administrative work is required.
Under these two leading dwarves sits a Trutharoon (Trutharoon, Council, literally, ‘rock family circle’) composed of well-known and respected clan members who are chosen by their peers from a specific age group. The Mitharim clan, like most Thergerim, uses the Council as a representative for the clan, or a sort of sieve to decide what is best for the clan as a whole, and the Gornegron makes decisions with the Council’s assistance and information. If there is opposition or a varying point of view, the Mitharim patiently but bluntly state and restate their cases until they can reach a consensus, no matter how long this takes. Generally the Gornegron will resolve an issue before it becomes a deadlock or resentments can build up.
When the Mitharim clan meet with humans for any ritual or barter purpose, the Gorkavon or subleader (for reasons of security not the chieftain him or herself) and a Denirim must be present, along with the most skilled workmen of whichever trades are represented in the barter. The Denirim must also be present at Trutharoon meetings, births, deaths, weddings, and other significant occasions in dwarven life.
Production/Trade. Various ores (see Natural Resources) go down the river, as do finished bars of various precious metals, while fine metalwork, jewelry, and armour is traded at Tyr Donion.
Dwarven ale is prized in the area, and the Mitharim-produced salty, nutty, addictive snack known as ‘sunseeds’ is a popular accompaniment. Extra sulcho mushrooms are always welcome, too, whether fresh or dried, for the city markets.
The Mitharim import cloth, various medicinal preparations, grains (which do not flourish in the salty coastal air, nor on the rocky slopes of the Mithral Mountains), leaf vegetables, and assorted gnomish chemicals for tanning leather and tinting their iron.
Trade is regular, reliable, and a daily part of the Mitharim Clan’s life. Many dwarves have human friends or at least acquaintances, while humans in the area have had the chance to become familiar with a culture other than their own.
The Mitharim also trade with the local gnomes – usually raw materials go one way and refined chemicals return, but the gnomes are also fond of sunseeds and ale in return for their alchemists’ labours.
Hunters of any species are welcome to bring smoked, dried, or fresh meat to Tyr Donion for good dwarven coin or services, and even a young boy with only a small trout or sling-shot kuatu to trade can be sure of having a new edge put on his blade or a handful of arrowheads in return. In fact, the dwarves of the Mitharim clans have come to rely on human hunters and butchers for their meat almost entirely, and only the few misanthropes who prefer Aboveground by choice currently serve as dwarven rangers.
Natural Resources. The area of the Mithral Mountains is both spectacularly bleak, and marvelously rich. The soaring, stark peaks of the mountains themselves from a distance hide the wide variety of wildlife and vegetation in the area. The low, rolling foothills are covered with ferns and brush, while around the knees of the mountains pine trees form a verdant skirt and a habitat for many beasts. The Ravenwing Falls, or to give it its proper Thergerim name, UravAnul WaaInn, (UravAnul WaaInn, "True Water Falling") is a massive waterfall plunging several hundred peds from the mountain crest to its cauldron pool below. The deep, dark pool ringed by fir and pine is a haunt of both the great aurium-eyed trout and the same, tiny, silvery mithanjor that crowd the Olantani River and the lesser streams and springs of the mountains. Ravenwing Pool is a day’s walk from the little human fishing village of Nepris, on the east coast.
In terms of natural resources, the Mithrals have a wide range of plants: pine, sahnrix, juniper, willow, moss and fern form the forests, and sunflowers, redberries, waterberries, and mushrooms all grow wild on the foothills.
Deer, hynde goats, capricus, rock tarep, coneys, tiny surica rodents, the tree-dwelling kuatu, and grey wolves roam the range of mountains freely, most providing meat to the hunters of the Mitharim. Ravens, crows, banded ricau and the great golden toran eagles have their nests in the pines.
Copper, iron, lead, fyrite, herne, ithildin, and gold are all to be found here. Some small silver and aurium veins have been discovered but never in great quantities, while the vast mithril deposits that gave the mountains their names have long since been mined to naught. In fact, mithril is no longer excavated anywhere on the continent, and artifacts made of the bright metal are correspondingly ever more precious.
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. Dwarven festivals can be summarized as follows:
These days are observed weekly, as with all Sarvonian Thergerim. For further details of these service-centered days which help to foster community equity and encourage healthy gender relationships, not to mention promoting romance, see the Kurakim Clan entry.
UnphvilDen (Day of the Basalt-Lord)
UnphvilDen is celebrated monthly, on the first day of new moon. For further details, see the Thrumgolz Clan entry.
Avefer (Holy Writing-time)
Denimett Avefer is not exactly a festival but more a religious observance, undertaken individually by a dwarf who wants to refresh himself/herself spiritually. Taking her handscribed copy of the Dwarven Holy Book, the short and pithy Trumesdrummerons (Rock Tales, as the humans call it), he/she will seclude himself/herself in a chamber in the Denirim’s suite of rooms, and take a week or so to recopy it onto fresh parchment, rune for rune. Denimett Avefer is also practiced as a ritual of adulthood, when a dwarf wishes to leave childhood behind and become a full member of the community. A single rune out of place ensures failure, a year’s wait before the scribing can again be attempted, and the miscopied text burnt in the Denirim’s own hearth.
Z’golz (The Night of the Hand)
The seventh day of Gnasthom (the fifth month) is set aside as a solemn memorial to all Thergerim fallen in battle. Dwarves go aboveground the day before to pluck flowers and blooming fruit tree branches to set around every entrance in the cavern, and prepare food which can be eaten cold on Mortil Z’golz. The day itself is spent in prayer, in getting by heart passages of the Trumesdrummerons which may have escaped one’s memory, and in individual meditation or group song.
(Brok Strongarm’s Day)
Once a year the festival of Brokden is celebrated among the Mitharim Dwarves. We quote from the writings of the well-known sage Artimidor Federkiel here:
"You don't need to say much about the importance of Brok Strongarm, as it is obvious, at least among Santharian dwarves. It's very unlikely to meet a dwarf of southern Sarvonia who hasn't heard of Brok's fearless expedition straight into the unknown of the Adanian Sea. Brok is not only the most famous figure among the Mytheron dwarves in Deni'lou, whose founding father he is. He is also mainly a worshipped figure among the Mitharim, from where he originates, which is also the reason why many Mitharim travel to the Iron Realm to see the statue of Brok at the entrance of the great underground empire of Toll Brok'Baroll in person. Once a fervent reader of dwarven myths and legends, Brok now has become myth and legend himself."
Indeed, to a human observer, the extravagance with which Brokden is celebrated might surely lead one to believe that Brok is almost of divine status to the Mitharim Dwarves. The caverns are illuminated with carefully-harvested glowmoss and colourful magelights, the rock tables crowded from edge to bank with heaped platters of foods and dewy pitchers of drink, and everyone wears their most spectacular clothing.
The women put their long hair up into elaborate twirls and loops, supported on dainty metal frameworks, from which depend tiny silver bells, or golden leaves, or miniature jade drells, or some other trinkets. Full skirts are layered and made even fuller with petticoats, so that a pretty dwarven maid may look almost as wide as she is tall. The men braid their beards so tightly that their lips begin to stretch into smiles, and trim the ends with Brokbeads, little cunning spheres of metal that can be pressed to open and then pressed again to snap closed over a curl of hair. Their jackets are triumphs of embroidery, studded with nuggets of crystal, gleaming with gold thread, and their moleskin boots brushed to velvet.
Out come the Baroomith flutes and the Mezusil pipes, the nasal Knertmor, and the deeptoned Krumhorn. Resonant melody with a thrumming bottom line fills the cavern, making the glowlights tremble and pulse in time. The Kaorpuveen, a bat-membrane drum and her lizard-skinned brother Kaorpuvkor take center stage for a percussive show of beat and rebeat, pattern and rhythm that few human musicians could sustain.
The feasting, dancing, and music go on for a full twenty-five hours, from 1Sun (dawn) to 25Moon (just before dawn the next day), and the following day is usually declared a rest period as well, fortunately for those who have had too much of the dwarven ale…
Vradvo (Hundred Year Pilgrimage)
Every hundred years or so, Mitharim dwarves make a pilgrimage to Deni’lou to pay homage to the statue of Brok Strongarm. This usually takes place in a year ending with 9 (such as 1509, 1619) in the month of Anurilos (Sapphire, the fourth month, which is associated with water). A human ship is retained for this voyage, which begins at the port of Ciosa, hugs the shore of Doranthakar, and then cuts east-nor’east across the open waters of the Adanian Sea for the island of Deni’lou. Since we know that the densely-boned dwarves generally abhor water in larger quantities than their bathpools, and are very poor swimmers, we can perhaps appreciate the significance of this pilgrimage to the Mitharim.
For many centuries, since humans are such short-lived creatures with such poor memories, the dwarven envoys responsible for obtaining the ship invariably had to begin negotiations from scratch, their prior visit having passed into history and in some cases myth. However, in 1129 a treaty was negotiated by Kuan Kasthomin, Earthguide, and a foundation set up in order to procure a permanent retainer. The responsibility for having a ship always in good sailing order was passed down in the Avennorian family of Harooming, human merchant traders from Ciosa, and the bargain has been satisfactorily met on both sides to this day.
Information provided by Bard Judith