The Mountain Dwarves of Hastur. An account by Professor Albert Lynath to the Deans of the University of Tyran.
It would be very inaccurate to assume that the only natives of the barbaric and wild lands of Hastur are the tribes of humans that roam at will and spawn seemingly as freely as rabbits. There are an un-known (but it is to be assumed very large) number of Dwarves native to Hastur that not only intermingle but fight alongside and, in some cases, claim to be part of the complex and ever changing matrix of tribes and clans that make up the great “tribe” of Hastur.
It has been known about for some time that the steppe dwarves of Hastur are profligate, but less is known about the mountain dwarves of the same realm. The mountains of Hastur are wild, frequented by their own unique and uniquely ferocious Mountain Ogres and little is known about them. The few outsiders allowed up there by the clans, tend to end up going native and not really talking much about their experiences with people who until recently they considered their kin, and now along with the Hasturians, they now consider to be outsiders.
So it is with difficulty that we have been able to build up a rather sparse amount of detail about the fauna and flora of the internal mountain ranges of Hastur, and we have sadly lost many brave explorers trying to find out what goes on there.
That there are dwarves there is not disputed, the clans have no access to metals that we know of, and we know of no other source of metals than from the mines of the mountains and that is where we understand the Hasturian Mountain Dwarves to reside, perhaps in caves or cunningly disguised open dwellings. There have been flights over the mountains by the Elven dragon masters and they have reported seeing no major dwellings of any sorts. The dwarves, it seems, are masters of their environment.
While we know of the skill, rudimentary as it is, of the barbarian tribes with their arms and basic armour, from time to time we see clans-folk wearing and using arms and armour of a quality far beyond what we are sure the common black smiths of the tribes can produce and it has to be assumed that they are bartering goods from the clans for these highly prized items from the mountain Dwarves, either that or they are gifts or tithes from them.
It also must be said that the clan-folk do not openly talk about their mountain dwelling dwarven brethren, so perhaps this is some sort of protection fee extracted from the dwarves by the clans in return for their silence and protection.
Our only reliable sighting of a mountain Dwarf comes from an account by the traitor Sabarax as he was put to the question by the good settler folk of the continent of Hastur before it fell to the hordes.
I shall quote directly from it…
Sabarax… “They are shorter than the dwarves of the plains, but not by much, what they lack in height compared to their brethren, they make up for with bulk. They are much stockier and tougher than the plains-dwelling dwarves.
We have never seen their homes and they have never offered to show us them, we always met with representatives of their tribes in a pre-arranged meeting place called Skagarox Glen, a few of us and a few of them.
Hastur was keen to build relationships with the mountain Dwarves as he knew of their strengths, they are the ones who provide us with the majority of our mountain ogre horns that we need for our rituals. We also get a lot of metal and finished products from them, when they are in the mood.”
Questioner… “What do you mean, when they are in the mood?”
Sabarax… “We have to be careful how we deal with them, they are miserable. They hardly speak when we meet them, they are liable to just pack their things and turn around and disappear into the very rock themselves. Our best trackers have tried to find where they go, but they just disappear. We have tried to work out what makes them just leave, but it is nothing we have done or said. They can appear and we say “hello” and they can literally just turn around at that point and we have to wait a few weeks for them to send us a message again that they are ready to talk. They are a strange people, but they are gifted with metal and stone in ways we can’t even begin to match. Our weapons are crude lumps compared to their finely wrought weapons. Even better than yours.”
That is the only written first-hand account of their existence, just a few brief lines.
I am hoping at some point to raise the funds to go and explore the mountains and see if I can make contact these enigmatic dwarves. As we all know, the dwarves we see every day in our cities and towns are just like us in many respects, so to see, what I would assume is as close to a true, pure dwarf, would be fascinating in the extreme.
Plus, if they are as good as we guess they are with their metal working and mining skills… Then what treasures are we likely to find hidden in the Hasturian mountain ranges?