Unearthing the Past

Sweet Dreams (A Brief Lesson)

It has been several days since the party returned to town with the children and in that time the city has gone to great lengths to learn to defend themselves from the dangers in this harsh environment. During this time Dyne has taken groups out into the wilderness to train them on herbalism while Uthad trains others on martial techniques and spirituality. Niene instead spend most of her time in the library of the local church. It’s not very big, most like a small cupboard with a few books and scrolls, but there are a few notable books. She collects notes of everything learned in the caverns and takes a chance on speaking with some of the dwarves in town. Many of them don’t know much, but a few of them mention the Sunhammers.

Taking what was learned from the dwarves Niene scours over the books relentlessly. She finds a fragment of text here and a smattering of legend there, but the most she can gather is that the Sunhammer clan was a group of dwarves that disappeared eons ago and to many dwarves that wasn’t thought of as a very bad thing; seems they were thought of by many as kooks and to others as zealots.

As Niene studies she found herself growing more and more tired, but refused to give up the hunt. Unfortunately sleep proved itself to be more powerful, and before she knew it she was snoring loudly with her head upon the table. In her sleep, Niene dreams of what she has read, of a clan of dwarves living on the surface in a great city, then of a great darkness covering and enveloping their lands. The imagery causes chills to run down her body but the discomfort passes and the imagery changes. She dreams of studying in the library again, scribbling notes on a page that can hold no more marks. She turns and walks to the cupboard and crouches down. Reaching into the very back of the bottom shelve she pulls out a book. As she begins to open the book he finds herself instantly awake, stiff from sleeping in the chair, but refreshed never the less.

As she surveys the table she come across a page of notes she don’t remember writing, but is clearly in her script. On it are several mentions of the Sunhammers along with one prominent name, Karthas Hewnbeard Sunhammer. Remembering the last part of her dream, Niene runs over to the cupboard and reaches into the bottom shelve. Nothing. It was a crazy thought, oh well. As she starts to pull her hand back though, she feels it brush against something that seems to have fallen into a broken corner and is hanging partway through the bottom. Grabbing a hold and pulling it out, an old and dusty copy of “The Histories and Legends of Darkmoon Vale: A children’s story book.”

Briskly flipping through the pages, something catches her eye. Flipping back until she finds it, a single page denoting a new chapter, emblazoned with a glyph of the sun, with a golden hammer placed before it, “A Tale of the Sunhammer Clan”.

Thousands of years ago, in the great forge city of Karak Algaz, a simple dwarven tailor toiled to make ends meet. Karthas Hewnbeard was born to one of the lower castes at birth, and was not afforded many benefits in life. Many nights he and his family would go to bed hungry, unsure if they would be able to afford their next meal until one day while at his loom he was presented with a vision. In this vision Pelor spoke to Karthas, teling him to take those that would follow him and head east and start a new kingdom where no one would go hungry. Karthas began preaching his vision to anyone that would listen and found that he had a great way with words. Many turn him away as a mad man, but many of the poorer individuals in the city looked to him for salvation. Soon he had a great following and had earned the ire of the dwarven king. The king, afraid that there would be an uprising called for a meeting with Karthas and demanded he return to his job as a tailor and leave this nonsense of Pelor behind, dwarves came from the stone and were the children of Moradin, not Pelor. The surface was a fine place to visit, but no where to form a kingdom. For hours the debated until finally Karthas convinced the king he meant him no harm and that rather that leading his subjects away from him, he would instead be founding a new settlement that would expand the influence of the dwarven kingdoms.

With the king’s blessing, Karthas’ group set out from the great stone gates of Karak Algaz. They traveled through rocky terrain and across barren lands for weeks until they came to a region where the sun shone brightly. Karthas gathered the followers and announced they had arrived where Pelor had shown him the new kingdom should be built and stated that this day forward they would no longer be outcasts, but members of a new clan, the Sunhammers.

The dwarves toiled for years, building a great city and soon found a great vein of gold right beneath their feet. They sent shipments back to Karak Algaz as tribute and thanks and used the remainder to adorn their great city so it shone as brightly as the sun. The kingdom grew quickly and prospered greatly with the dwarves working both the earth below and the land above. But all was not to remain prosperous for long. Soon reports surfaced of dwarves working in the deepest parts of the mines that appeared to have lost their minds and attacked their comrades. First attributed to having been underground too long, believing that Pelor wanted his people to be in the light of the sun, the new king, Karthas Sunhammer, decreed that the dwarves were all to spend several hours a day working in the sun, then once night arrived they could return to the mines.

The reports of dwarves going mad and attacking others grew and many reported cases of strange boils or growths being found on those that had lost their minds. The king attempted to cover up these reports, not wanting word to spread to the other kingdoms until one day he closed the gates to the city and allowed no one to pass. Traders reported being turned away and others threatened with death if they did not leave. Later visitors claimed no one seemed to be on the walls at all, but they could not find any means to enter the city and had abandoned the search. Then finally one group of travelers reported that when they visited, all the surface buildings lay in ruins. Dwarves from the Seven Kingdoms formed an expedition to see what had happened to their cousins. When they returned they told tales of how their inspection of the site appeared as if the city were toppled on purpose, the entire surface kingdom designed to collapse in on itself if it were under siege. Seeing as dwarves will design their tunnels to collapse should they be under attack, knowing they can dig their way out elsewhere, this seemed a valid reasoning. The accepted theory was that some darkness had come upon them, whether from outside or within was unknown, but the Sunhammers had felt their only recourse was to retreat underground and cut off all ties to the surface.

With no contact from the kingdom, people slowly forgot its location. Many would go looking for treasure, but as they years passed so too did the thoughts of dwarven treasure buried beneath the earth, and as the stories died away, so too did knowledge of where this once great city once stood.

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