There have been a few times in which we have not been seen in the Lok' Groton Islands for a long period of time. We felt it necessary to explain ourselves, for many have been worried or curious about our extended disappearances. In order to properly explain, we need to tell you a bit about our past.
-- The Sons of Ironforge
Warplet grew up in a Dwarven village that was hidden deep in the mountains. It had a simple name: Whitestone would be its name in the Common tongue of Men. Although it was small, it was prosperous, and the Dwarves who lived there were great and wise. Warplet and his brother learned much from their wise neighbors, who taught them a lot about what it means to be a Dwarf. Warplet learned much about military matters, but was also schooled in the spiritual side of life. He spent many a day beside the great Dwarven priest Tarok, who lived just a short way from his family. Warplet took a special interest in Tarok's teachings, and perhaps learnt more from him than from any other. What he learnt would later help him greatly when he took up the profession of a healer.
The villagers of this town were strictly forbidden from making any contact with outside people. The village elders forbad them from ever wandering outside the village gates. It had been this way for many generations. There was talk around the time of a nasty plague sweeping the lands outside, killing every race in the land. All the uninfected that were able took ship in search of new lands.
The village of Whitestone was not affected by the plague. Since it remained isolated from the outside world, the plague never spread to the small hold. The Dwarves had their own farms for food and really had no need to go outside their small place in the mountains. There were only two people in recent history who ever ventured forth outside. They were never seen or heard from again. A farmer did once swear that he saw one of the two, late at night, but the elders dismissed it as a drunken tale.
It would be good to tell a little of the history of the Dwarves of Whitestone. The Eldest of the Eleven Families of the Dwarves was founded by Zorax. Zorax is said to have been the wisest of his kin. He is also credited with the invention of beer, although Voltar, founder of the Eighth House, is still known as the patron of beer-drinking, as he drank far more than any of his brothers.
Each of the Families delved a mighty mansion for itself in those days. The Dwarves of Zorax built Zarganax: not the richest or mightiest of the Dwarven mansions, but it was a great center for learning. The legends tell of 121 temples, of a peaceful and well-ordered society. Dwarves of all Families--as well as humans and other races--would send their children to learn from Zarganax's wise priests.
The legends do not tell why Zarganax fell. Some historians have attempted to reconstruct events and conclude that there must have been a war. Others attribute it to the plague. What is known is that the royal priestly family and their loyal servants fled and began a humble existence in a small village in the mountains named Whitestone.
Tales of the great plague inspired the young Warplet to dedicate his life to the healing arts. He wanted nothing more than to help the sick outside the village in the mountains--perhaps to find the great Zarganax itself, ancient home of his people, to see if any still survived there. To reclaim and recover it and to bring it to a new age of glory..! But Warplet knew that if he were to leave he might become sick himself, and infect his own town, thus bringing about the eradication of his people, the House of Zorax. He began to learn all that there was to learn from the elders of the town about spiritual matters. There were many old priests in the town who still knew a great deal. Seventy-five years he studied under Tarok, as years are measured by men.
His younger brother, however, was not interested in such things. He was always kind of different. Brilliant he was, and sometimes he would see things the rest of the world did not. Many a year he spent listening to Marop and his crazy preachings. Marop once had the reputation of being a wonderful priest, but many suspected that he had gone a bit mad by the end of his years. Marop kept mostly to himself and Warplet's brother was the only person whom he would speak to for more than a few minutes.
Their father was Ironforge. Nicknamed Rusty, Ironforge was a great Dwarf with a great heart. He was a very good engineer and designed and built many things. About half the buildings in the town were done under his direction. He was very fiercely protective of his buildings, though. It was once said around town (perhaps a little jokingly) that if you even wanted to paint them you had to first give Ironforge two years notice and wait for his approval before you ever lifted a brush. It was this dedication to his work that led him to be elected the leader of the local Militia.
The fact is, as was well known around town, that Ironforge was descended in a direct line from the old kings of Zarganax. But the town had given up the old ways while they were in exile, as they said. A governor was elected by the people from among the elders, and Ironforge was elected to lead the Militia because of his merits.
This Militia was charged with the defense of the town. Dwarves largely keep to themselves, and Whitestone was no exception. The town was always making preparations to defend itself from outsiders. Luckily, visitors rarely came. Most who went into the passages leading to the village were never heard from again. Others returned with tales of a great beast who would eat a man whole. In this way they managed to live through the plague.
It was always a sad day when someone from the outside came into the town. Those who came in were given few choices. They could live just outside our town, but never return to the surface. Not many chose this one because not many men are cut out for the conditions that Dwarves live in. Most would allow the priests to completely drain and rebuild their minds. The priests would remove all memories of Whitestone's existence and make them think that they had just barely escaped alive from the passage to our village. These individuals were then given a few scrapes and bruises (nothing serious though, and they never felt any pain because of them) and dumped outside the passageway. It was hoped that they would go and tell others about barely escaping alive. None ever returned once they had been here once. Some unfortunately refused either option. With great pain they were dealt with by the Militia. They were held in captivity and while they didn't have to live in harsh conditions they were never allowed to leave.
Of course the outside world was a great temptation to some in the village. The children especially. They just didn't understand the danger in going outside. The Militia would routinely catch the young ones trying to sneak out. They would return them to their parents where many mothers and fathers dealt with them harshly. Once one became old enough it was obvious why one had to stay in town. As was said above, though, two of them escaped once.
As you may have guessed, these two were Warplet and his brother Math. While they were different in ways, in ways also they were the same. They both had priestly ambitions, though their father was an engineer. They both shared a dream. It came twice to Math, and then once to Warplet. Math said the dreams forebode that they were destined to be great leaders, mighty priests who would lead great armies of Dwarves to freedom to recover their ancient mansions and restore the glory of their houses. It was then that they knew that their destiny lay outside their village gates, no matter what the risk.
The fact that their father was the leader of the Militia made it easier for them to get out. Most of the soldiers knew them and feared the wrath of Ironforge, and would let them have their way. The two brothers also knew many things that other youngsters did not, because they would overhear their father and his officers talking in the evenings in their home.
By that time the plague had long died out. The two wandered about, exploring the lands for weeks. Surely the town had no further need for fear, and their territories could be expanded? They never saw any trace of any other people until one afternoon they came across a very strange figure in a little meadow. It was very large, and seemed mechanical, though it moved like a giant man. "Halt!" it cried to the Dwarves. Being afraid, they fled, but the monster caught them and brought them to its masters.
The creature was a Dark Sentinel, a magical creation of Mobius, the evil Emperor of the Ascendancy in the far continent of Shan Deral. The Emperor had sent some Inquisitors and Dark Sentinels to scout out the lands. Since the two Dwarves were the first persons that the Inquisitors caught, they were tortured mercilessly for many weeks, by Mobius's Agents, who demanded to know the location of their hidden stronghold. When it became clear that they would not talk, and since the Compact of the Ascendancy forbad murder, the two were exiled to the faraway islands of Lok' Groton.
At the time of the Great Plague, members of all of the Eleven Dwarven Families on the eastern continent fled to the western continent of Shan Deral. All of the Families, that is, except that of Zorax, the eldest. Most presumed the House of Zorax to be extinct. As for the other families, few of them were able to maintain a distinct entity. Families were separated and mingled with other families. This became especially true once Mobius rose to supreme rulership of the continent. By separating the families and mingling them with others he was able to secure his own leadership. In fact, Mobius outlawed anything that remotely resembled a "clan," of any race.
Of course a few families were able to maintain their own holds deep in the mountains, mansions that for many generations were able to hide from Mobius. One of these was a stronghold of the people of Voltar, a people known as the White Flame. It would be prudent to tell more about this folk.
Voltar was a great warrior and an even greater drinker. He was the eighth of his kindred and a favorite brother of Zorax, although they were very different. The White Flame and his descendants cared less for the pragmatic wisdom that is one of a Dwarf's most dignifying characteristics, and cared more for drinking beer, swinging their axes, and having a good time. Through their simplicity and honesty, they were always a power to be reckoned with, and throughout all the ages were able to maintain their identity and traditions.
Finally, however, they were found out and conquered by Mobius. No force could stand up against his army of Dark Sentinels. They put up a long and unyielding fight, and even after they were conquered, many were uncooperative and refused to go along with Mobius's plans. Thus, many of them were exiled to the dangerous islands of Lok' Groton.
The Lok' Groton Islands are a volcanic chain--some islands contain active volcanoes. I do not know the Sylvan translation of Lok' Groton, but the islands are also sometimes known as the Grey Smokers. It is obvious that, although the law forbad killing, sending someone to these islands was sending them to their death. The central island is a strong outpost of the Darshak Theocracy where they practice strong, evil magic and gather their warships to invade Shan Deral. And the largest island where the exiles are sent to live is largely inhabited by a strong tribe of the Orga.
The exiles tried to make the best of their living there, but much of their time was spent fighting off Darshak and Orga raids, as well as killing other dangerous beasts for the price of their furs and skins. One night, several members of the White Flame were hunting together deep in the Myrm Hive, boasting loudly about their prowess in battle and yelling their love for beer. Suddenly, a mystical being of beauty and light named Gaia appeared before them. The tale is told elsewhere of how she convinced them to start a clan. Let it be said here that they founded the Dwarven Militia, a militia open to all Dwarves and even great friends of Dwarves, but firmly dedicated to the Dwarven virtues of loyalty and bravery, and keeping alive the spirit of the White Flame: to be valiant in battle, but be heroes of the drinking hall.
The Militia grew large and strong, for their air of good-natured heroism in the face of their horrible exile, and their love of good drink, was contagious and rarely failed to awaken something inside every Dwarven heart. When Warplet and Math were exiled, they were greeted like old friends by their Dwarven cousins, and were quick to join the True Dwarven Clan.
A year later, after the strange disappearance of the Militia's last leader, Warplet, who was now a famous healer in the isles, was elected to be the new Clan Lord. Warplet was an effective leader, wise and influential in the isles, born to rule. Yet he and Math, who was growing in the ways of Mysticism and working hard in the cause of the Dwarven Militia, both longed to return to their home. At times one will disappear from the towns for months at a time, searching, perhaps, for a suitable place to build ships, or sailing east in search of islands closer to his home, or traveling to their lands through magical paths, none know. But when they return they strive harder than ever to further the goals of the Dwarven Militia, to strengthen it, to lead it to freedom and glory.
This ends the tale, so far, of the Sons of Ironforge.
Warplet, Son of Ironforge, House of Zorax
|Back to the Dwarven Militia Library|