Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tannhauser: Gateway of the Dwarven Kingdom

This post started as a meandering and aimless 400 word post. At about midnight, I realized that this little excerpt did a better job of broaching the subject of Thylian dwarves.

Tannhauser - Southern most outpost of Elmoran, dwarven capital city
Current Population: ~2000 dwarven soldiers and craftsmen plus 400 human men-at-arms and wizards and ~50 gnome architects
Leader: Lord General Lathman

More than 300 years after its fall to the orc plague that swept out of the eastern lands, General Latham of the Hearthwarden clan led the assault that finally reclaimed the gateway fortress of the dwarven kingdoms. Though triumphant, the dwarven forces were too late, for in the centuries of the siege, the great glaciers of the mountains moved with greater speed than even the oldest dwarves had ever seen. Contact with Elmora was lost as the ice closed the passes north through the mountains, and nobody has been able to determine the fate of the northern settlements.

Lathman considers his conquest to be his craft masterpiece and has petitioned for induction to the gerontocracy. The elders' slow deliberation is a source of great friction as they scold the general for presuming too much in conscripting the majority of the city's populace as his apprentices and beginning intensive militia training for all citizens. As a result, other crafts in the city have suffered from neglect causing agitation among the older castes.

Those who have not been inducted into the militia have been put to work strengthening the outer walls and fortifications and, more importantly, carving away at the advancing glacier with picks before it can scour the last outpost of the dwarven kingdoms from the face of Thylia. Slowly, the ice carvers are losing the battle.

The gnome population has constructed what they call "The Great Glass Gardens," massive structures that harness what weak sunlight there is in this extended winter and protect crops from the cold. Local human leaders have sent emmisaries to learn the secrets of these gardens in hopes of providing food for their populations in the face of the advancing cold.

At its deepesst level, the mines of Tannhauser - the only source of iron south of the moutans within a thousand miles - have been reoppened and all the scrap stone has been strewn before the walls for a full mile preventing enemy armies from approaching the walls easily, except by the ancient road which has been left clear.

As the last outpost of dwarf law - for dwarves will establish no kingdom other than their lost Elmora - Tannhauser serves as a beacon for The Diaspora. After learning of the retaking of the city, many clanholds in the boreal forests of the Northern Marches and even further abroad have abandoned their homes in exile and begun the journey home.

Dathmor, a small village two days journey south, sends daily shipments of coal, Tannhauser's only source of heat. Premin, leader of the coal mining operation and the local representative of the Gerontocracy, is worried about Lathman's preparations and about his blindness to the increased activity of hobgoblins in the forest. The humanoids have taken small keep only a week's journey from Dathmor, and despite requests for aid, no soldiers have arrived to defend this vital link in Tannhauser's supply line.

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