The great fortress of Barkarin is the dwarves last true city and stronghold on Karandia. A huge underground city with a massive network of caverns and tunnels. Few non-dwarves have ever seen the ‘impenetrable fortress’ and even fewer have ever entered. Since the Wars of Betrayal when the humans rose up and forced the dwarves and elves their tutors into corners to hide and protect themselves the dwarves have resided primarily here. Once the wars were underway in earnest the dwarves moved swiftly into the mountains to disrupt the humans use of cavalry and overwhelming amounts of magic. Once there however they like the elves could concentrate their forces. The humans discovered then to their cost that like the elves, the dwarves had not surrendered all their secrets. Suffering crushing losses in the Battles of Mithril Valley and the Ill-fated Thousand the humans withdrew from their attempt on Barkarin and left the dwarves to it.
Barkarin’s link to the outside world is Farmount a fort by dwarven standards, a well defended castle by human ones. Behind Farmount is Mithril Valley the only real overland route for any group of people (say 20+) to Barkarin itself.
It is ruled by a Thane, currently Dougan Mastermace. He is supported by his three Marshals of the Iron Rank, his High Priests and his Rune Lord. Yet the Thane is the ultimate and absolute leader of the dwarves, they have no split loyalties whatsoever. His word is law, in buisness, trade, alliances, religion, crafting and politics and law.
The Thane is considered the leader of all dwarvern temples. To assist him each temple has a high priest to help organise the affairs and teachings of the temple under his overseership. This leaves the Thane open to handle his many pressing needs. So day to day these High Priests are the real runners of religion.
Before the return of the Avatars the dwarvern temples were as follows:
- Talon the Great World Smith and patron of dwarves. (Knowledge)
- Emms the craftress, 1st crafter. (Knowledge)
- Harrun The god of life and healing. (Light)
- Sveth The theif and trickster. (Darkness)
- Varkass The god of battle. (Justice, Wild and Death)
Since the return these ‘gods’ have been recognised as aspects of the Avatars. The crafting gods as Knowledge, life and healing as Light, war as Wild and Justice, with Darkness representing thieves and tricksters. It is important to mention that the worship of Knowledge out-masses all the others’ followings combined, twice over, in Barkarin. The followers of Darkness do not openly worship him and his ‘temple’ is hardly such. The dwarves do not tolerate religions that openly promote selfish interests over the common good.
The Barkarin military is important to to dwarves as a militaristic race and nation. Some detail follows. The dwarves are as you would expect highly organised when it comes to their military. They are not a prolific race, though their birth rate does not seem to be suffering as much as does the elves’. Still they are more defensive than offensive. So it is rare to see main dwarvern units outside Barkarin or their fort at Farmount. When they are seen they are wearing the rouben-red of Barkarin and either protecting supplies or fighting for the Army of Seven Colours.
Within Barkarin the Thane is the ultimate war leader. He carries the Mastermace and wears Thanegeld, the royal armour. Under him he has three Iron Rank Marshals each with their own responsibilities.
The basic units of the dwarvern military are the Riven Axe units, represented by a Black Axe on a red background. There are also Hammer Watch units who wield blunt weapons such as hammers or maces but they are not as numerous.
These form units as follows: -
Dwarvern Fist = 5 dwarves, led by corporals
Dwarvern Unit = 20 dwarves, led by corporals or sergeants
Dwarvern Division = 100 dwarves (A fist of units), led by lieutenants or captains.
Iron Rank = 1000 dwarves (10 divisions), led by captains or Ironguards.
If dwarves operate in formations larger than Iron Ranks a Helmguard will usually be appointed to over see the Ironguards. If the Thane is present he is always in command. If it is someone acting under his authority and with a Hammerer bodyguard then they operate over the Helmguards as Thaneguards.
These are divided into several sections armour and weapon smiths, home carvers, tool smiths, potters, joy makers (themselves split into toy makers, cloth weavers and leather workers for clothes or decoration and jewelers in search of beauty) and artists (workers with paint, ink or chalk).
All crafters have the possibility if they are capable of learning to become Rune Masters. This represents the very height of their craft. The greatest of the Rune Masters becomes Rune Lord to the Thane the true leader of all the crafters.
3689BE: Dwarves found Barkarin.
3300BE: Elves (allies of Barkarin, lose the Armlet of Strength to the Orcs.
3300-1800BE: Rise of the Orc Empire. It grows to cover Saracan and brings the dwarves into conflict with the orcs.
3300-2000BE: Elves and dwarves suffer defeats at the hands of the orcs, their control over Karandia as a whole is weakened for the first time.
2646BE: Barkarin gains the name/title Stonehold as the dwarves withdraw there due to relentless orc attack. The battle of Stonehold is fought in which the Hammer Bodyguard of the king are killed to a dwarf. The king however lives and the dwarves carry the day. This prevents all out orc victory.
2620-2570BE: Humans under the tutelage of the elves and dwarves mature and go from simply building huts and villages to towns and founding their own civilisation. Humans start using wheels, farming and crowning kings. Is is thought, that there were human settlements built at the site where Dusken now stands, as early as this.
1950BE: Dwarves share the secrets of metal working and alloys with the humans. Importantly they share the working of iron and steel allowing the humans to make weapons and armour to match (or come close to matching) those of the other civilised races. They learn very fast and make in mass quantities.
1875BE: The Battle at Helm’s Gate. the Catlords and Kenchillians who have fought relentlessly against Chaos are facing extinction. Heartcleaver and his ally Faithsblade ride to their rescue. There on the tor they face down and destroy the Chaos Lords at incredible cost. Heartcleaver, the orc leader and holder of the Armlet of Strength, dies and seals a four way alliance with his blood. The Helm’s Gate Alliance built on four towns surrounding the crossroads at Helm’s Gate is born. The Armlet is buried with Heartcleaver. This signifies the beginning of the end for the Orc Empire.
1950-1000BE: Humans form city states and countries, with laws and governments. Due to their physical strength, incredible adaptability, growth speed and accelerated birth rate, they become the most populous race of the continent.
1400BE: Elves believing humans evolved enough to use magic share its secrets with them in hopes of helping them further their stuides> The elves had already shared the secrets of languages, sciences and mathematics with them. Human adapt to this power just as they did the crafting skills of the dwarves and immediatly found organisations on magic and develop the power independently.
1000-100BE The Wars of Betrayal. The humans now populous and very strong, force the dwarves and elves back. They cut down the forests to build and do not replant, hunt heavily to feed their huge populations and soldiers. By the time the elves and dwarves are warned enough to object forcefully it is too late. Though they can win individual engagements they simply cannot stand the loss of life that the humans are capable of inflicting. The humans seem unconcerned about loss of life rather that seems to ease their own burdens of feeding their constantly growing population. Elves flee to the woods and seas and dwarves to the mountains.
999BE: Once the wars start the dwarves try to seal off the route to Barkarin by founding the fort of Farmount.
960BE: Human raiders attack Farmount, still only partially finished and are given a descisive battering. The humans withdraw from the whole area and no longer pursue dwarves once they have fled to the Barkarin Mountains.
948BE: Farmount completed but repaired and extended many times over the coming centuries.
900-800BE: At some point this century the Hidden City builds the Skirge Wall and mans it with the Skirge. By the time the humans expand far enough to see the wall it is already complete. The elves have no record of the city existing during their age of dominance.
728-9BE: The Four Race War. Some human armies coming from the area of modern day Dusken attempt to attack Greystone as they had the elven and dwarvern cities. The Helm’s Gate Alliance activates and all Four races catlords, kenchillians, orcs and even the humans of Faithsblade castle come to the rescue. The human armies are defeated and to make a point the alliance continued to their lands and raised their city to the ground. The shock especially of the humans working in concert with the other three races, shook the new human nations to their cores. None of them attacked the Alliance again.
90BE: Dusken ‘Trade City’ is officially founded. The elves and dwarves have all retreated completely by now. The dwarves have sealed Barkarin and the elves of Woodguard are unseen, their is no actual settlement at this time. To all intents and purposes the Wars of Betrayal are over the humans have enough space to fight each other now.
30BE: A tomb robber steals the Armlet of Strength from Helm’s Gate where Heartcleaver’s body was intered. He flees south and becomes Vizier to one Jomark of Auria.
10BE-10PE: Many elves and dwarves flee into Saracan from the growing lands of the Aurian Empire. Saracan gains a reputation for tollerance and being home to many races. The Barkarin dwarves secure in their fortress begin to send out caravans and trade once more with the wider world. It is suggested in some histories that the Helm’s Gate Alliance put pressure on other human settlements to treat the refugees well. The elves formally found Woodguard with human knowledge. It is not openly attacked.
50PE: The Aurian Empire tries to expand further into what is now Saracan. They are turned back by an unlikely alliance of elves from Woodguard, humans from Dusken and an army from Barkarin.
51PE Having seen the effectiveness of the Saracan Alliance in resisting the Aurian Empire and fearing the return of the Empire only much stronger the Helm’s Gate Alliance offers to form a mutual defence pact with Dusken, Barkarin and Woodguard. Many are astounded that the dwarves so far from the border and so well protected would agree to this. Nevertheless they do and have never failed Saracan since. In many ways this is the early founding of Saracan itself.
498-502PE: A huge invasion from Wargak sweeps through Saracan without warning. Many small settlements of human, dwarf and elf alike are destroyed. The dwarves of Barkarin send a huge army to beat the invaders from the gates of Farmount.
501-502PE: The Helm’s Gate Allies, Dusken and the elves of Woodguard march to the assistance of the dwarvern armies already trying to hold back the expanding frontier of Wargak. They are successful.
505PE: Battlerock founded by those who never wanted to see the Wargak War repeated. over the next 40 years gems are found and Battlerock becomes a prosperous frontier town and finally a city.
550PE: Battlerock’s proximity to Farmount reopens regular lines of commmunication with the isolationist dwarves of Barkarin. Trade between the two becomes non-stop.
687PE: Aurian Invasion of Saracan. The legions are now proper Protectorans on the modern design. The whole country begins to collapse before them. Only through the actions of a group of heroes and the newly created Seven Colour Army is Saracan preserved.
694PE: After ceaseless efforts by various leaders the mutual assistance pact operating in the land is declared permanent. Dusken is chosen as the nominal head and logical capital of a new country called Saracan. Hopes are that this will make invasions and raids from Alkan and Auria things of the past. Vigriss and the Hidden City do not technically join Saracan though the land they are on is certainly within its borders.
810PE: Northport is recognised as an important world port and now a key city in Saracan. it has become a large population centre for halflings and rivals Kolaran and Gan Tarak in its naval successes.
1240-1242PE: The Northport War. Hoping that they could aquire the jewel of Northport and force a peace settlement leaving it in their possession the Empire sends in the Protectorans to take Northport. They are successful using an art of combined warfare never before seen. However word does reach the rest of Saracan and instead of chosing the easier route of appeasement they decide to honour their agreement made under the Saracan treaty to treat any land within the Saracan borders as one country and their country. The entire alliance under the Seven Colour Banner marches on Northport and after terrible and bloody fighting Northport is freed.
1112 PE: Beginning of Dusken Monarchy with the Mayornen line.
1200-present: Visks who escape captivity in Elygia, Auria, Torash, Saracan, Danaspree and elsewhere start to flee to the Swamp of the Free Visks. This becomes very safe for them as no one can attack them without ‘invading’ Saracan. In recognition of this some argue the Visks should be formally a part of the alliance and help pay for Saracan and fight in its armies.
1258 PE: A huge comet slams into the lower Barkarin Mountains. A dwarf named Ammanan Tefras leads an expedition to recover the Star Metal for forging by the current Rune Master Cobalt Irontone. In the end his son Roigon Tefras will wield the Star ore after it has been forged into a sacred hammer (Indomitable) and shield (Eternal Vigilence). Known as the Stone Paladin for his Stoneforge armour Roigon began a meteoric rise to prominence in the dwarvern clans of Barkarin.
1260 PE: The halflings of the Midfield adopt a policy of isolationism and bar trade as they openly declare their allegiance to Colossal Fury their dragon/deity.
1264 PE: War racks Saracan over the independence of Midfield and its terrorizing ruler. Dusken is powerless and enforcing obedience through war is controversial and so the Seven Coloured Army will not march. Dusken tries to force them back using the military and suffers a huge defeat. In the history books this will become known as the ‘Field of Fury’. This ends up resulting in ‘The New Crowning’ a rebellion which leads to the end of the Mayornen line.
1265 PE: The Stone Paladin with his closest allies the group called the Hammer of Justice (Or the Hammer of the Light depending on the text) engage and defeat Colossal Fury freeing the halflings of the Midfield from his oppressive Immortal reign. It is this deed above all others that has immortalised the legend of the Stone Paladin. The midfield is reabsorbed into Saracan proper.
1300PE: Free Country founded at the axes between Auria, Saracan and Alkan.
1360 PE: The Stone Paladin passes from this life. His regalia is passed to his heir his younger brother Garret. Though he is never called the Stone Paladin he is sometimes called the Heir of the Stars, meaning the weapons made supposedly from Star Ore.
1372 PE Stonetower dynasty start their rule in Dusken with Grantham Stonetower taking the throne.
1503 PE the death of Ernest Stonetower the last monarch of Dusken to carry the Stonetower name.
1520-22PE: First Invasion of the Dragon Armies though they never got as far as Saracan. Racque Overon King of Dusken insisted on sending forces to help to repel them. The decision is resented among the merchant classes and some trace the eventual Crownfall to this origin.
1550-1600PE: Founding and building of the Seven Sea Brothers in northern Saracan.
1649 PE The Duskfall comet hits the Barkarin Mountains.
1650PE: End of the Dusken Monarchy, the Crownfall.
1898-1900PE: Second Invasion of the Dragon Armies turned back by the Stars of Destiny.
1906 PE: The Sevenfall
1924PE: Rise of The Avenger.