Tale of the Fall of Stronbauden
Well, it be seeming to me now that a tale steeped in the tradition of the dwarves be in order tonight. Aye, a tale of old it be, and not one
so dissimilar from the perils ya now face in the Lost Halls I might add. It be a tale of ancient magics, demons, and of the lost dwarven
arts, so listen up laddie and ya might learn something.
Thousands of years now gone the halls of the earth were teaming with our ancestors, yer's and mine.
Before the troubled times of religion we now face, the dwarves there in practiced runic arts now lost to us, and turned their minds to
more mystical things. They built great machines, both mechanical and magical in nature, and worked with materials we can only dream
of today. But there was a dark side to these practices, and it is not being without good reason that today dwarven kind deals as little with
magic as possible.
I don't know exactly who or where it started with, for the voices in my soul of these times past do not tell,
but it was during their time that the first portals began to open. Small though they be (for they still exist), these portals began a trickle that
soon turned flood. The heat of a thousand fires burns through them, and they glow with an unholy energy, fueled with the essence of the
plane they connect to. So long have these portals been in place that the area around them has changed, warped into a form that resembles
the hells they open to.
But enough about that, for I know ya to be a man who cares little of the description of magical things. More
important is the beasties that came through them. I would be guessing that at first only one or two of the lesser types came through, as
servants to some dwarven wizard, now gone. The name of these escapes me, but perhaps you have seen them before. They look not unlike
dwarves, with stone for skin and hair. All aflame are they too, and they burn eternal until death takes them.
These things would have been the first as I see it, but they were by far not the last. Opening portals is a
dangerous business, and soon things began coming through that weren't invited. It only takes one, mind you to bring an army. They were
more subtle than open war though at first. They seeped into the culture, and corrupted the minds of the dwarven lords that ruled these cities
far beneath the earth. In a matter of years entire clans had come under their influence, and the trade routes that kept the clans together
broke as from a weak link in a chain.
The good dwarves of these clans were driven mad, and joined the infernals in their task. Those that fell,
rose again in unlife to serve in tireless corruption of the stone around them. It became known that evil had taken hold of these places and
they were shunned. So great was their influence that even a mighty underground citadel was taken through subterfuge, and to this day the
demons and undead still rule there, spreading darkness out all around them. I have seen this place but once, and it is a frightful presence to
behold, thankfully lost deep inside the rock.
And so it was that the seed of heresy spread. Though they cut themselves off from their brothers, not a clan
was spared. And so it was then that eventually the taint came to the halls of Stronbauden. They who lived there were mighty in all ways of the
dwarf, under wise leadership and ruled justly (and I be not just saying that cause one lives in my noodle) but the forces of chaos were strong.
Those who were easy prey fell to madness first, and summoned forth several potent beings of destruction.
The great sovereign then closed off his people at that time, sealing the mighty doors of his hall and setting
forth great magical minions to keep safe his tunnels. The priests of the day locked down their chapel and sealed the doors to the armory, as
a mighty creature of hate now dwelt there in. And in the recesses of the stone, an evil almost beyond imagination to this day now sleeps,
disturbed but yet sealed inside the vaults of the dwarves.
These things the dwarves then did and more, to keep hold of the evil which flowed through their city. Not
a building was not locked, not a chamber was not sealed, and not a hallway was not trapped, all with a cunning that only a dwarf could provide.
And when it was all done, the dwarves remaining took up what arms they could, and made their final stand in the last remaining chamber they
I know the battle was fierce, for I have seen it with my own eyes, as the dwarves of flame and hate battled
those of earth and law. Mighty champions did lock shields, and many fell. The battle seemed well for several moments, until the arrival of the
He came swiftly and slaughtered all before him. A great blaze of evil poured forth from his presence, and
good men were melted where they stood. He battled with the lords of Stronbauden that day, and though they fought with fierce determination,
their success was not to be. So intense was the fighting that the memory of it was etched into the very stone, to trap the souls of both sides,
and doom them to repeat it for all eternity, till the great demon could be slain. And when it was over, the last dwarf, a forge master still
creating the tools of war in his armory, heard the sound of evil rolling like a great molten stone down his hall and to his doom.
His last piece, a masterwork to be sure, is the very armor I now wear. You might say that I had been
inheriting the legacy of that clan now, but I am not the last with memory. There was one dwarf that did survive the slaughter, though in a
queer way. The prowess of those dwarves was great, and the seals they placed kept the evil contained in their halls for many millennia.
But there was one who did not make it inside before the doors closed that last time. Barred from his halls and chased by the evil that plagued
his land, there was one dwarf who lived to tell what he knew of the tale. Turned to stone he was by the evil, and there he stood for thousands
of years until chance changed him to flesh once again. Though he is not a great warrior, nor a mighty king, he may be the oldest living dwarf
now. He resides in the city of Tel Akbar now, as a sole reminder of why the dwarves abhor strong magic.