Dwarves turning to stone
Gegnus looks in the library, as well as any library the Dwarves have in the embassy or Thunderholme for any information about Dwarves being turned to stone or metal. As well as this he looks for any details about the life of Durin Ironfell, and the circumstances of his death.
[A tale is forthcoming…]
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With the collective academic might of Thorsten Ogretoes and Head Librarian Sigermane, Gegnus is able to review two separate accounts.
For reference, Thorsten includes a transcription of the hero's tablet found in the vaults of Thunderholme some few weeks ago:
In the year 1184, at the peak of the great war between Clan Thunderhammer and the duergar led by Clan Bloodaxe, the hero Durin met his end. Alone and outnumbered, it was Durin who held the narrow bridge between North and South Thunderholme as his kin helped evacuate many of the children and elderly who could no longer fight. Nearly one hundred duergar warriors attempted to cross the narrow bridge, and all perished by his hand. Durin fought long and hard against the oncoming horde for two straight days, carving the grey-skinned menace or bashing them off the bridge into the abyss below with his massive shield. Such conflict cannot laster, however, as Durin sustained fatal injuries fending off so many warriors. With his last breath, his axe broken and his shield little more than a dented hunk of iron wrapping around his arm, he tore off his helmet and bashed the remaining duergar to death before succumbing to his wounds.
It is with great pride and sadness that we raise high his tomb as a monument to Durin's selflessness and posthumously grant him his own clan.
Here lies Durin, Son of Glin, first and last of Clan Ironfell.
Thorsten further elaborates on the timeline surrounding Durin's death. It seems that some few years before the initial fall of Thunderholme, the duergar Clan Bloodaxe began invading the Undercity with the intent of setting up a staging ground to take the entire Hold. With the Undercity fallen, Clan Thunderhammer, led by King Hagrymm Thunderhammer, began a bloody campaign to push the duergar back to the abyss they came from. Years later in 1184, the duergar finally broke through the Thunderhammer line and invaded the Hall of the Mountain Lords, pushing directly for Southern Thunderholme and the dwaves' only major access to the surface world for trade and reinforcements. Durin met them upon the Great Bridge and single-handedly defended his people while the elderly and children escaped. He died that day, and nearly a year later of further bloody combat, so too did King Hagrymm. The Hold was finally overwhelmed in 1185, at which point the dwarves had to seal off Northern Thunderholme and let the duergar have it.
Why the duergar had not adapted Northern Thunderholme to their own wants and needs is a mystery. Indeed, there seems to be no indication upon exploring the newly recovered Hold that the duergar had ever inhabited it in the first place. Perhaps they too were so bedraggled from the war that they could only deploy a skeleton crew to keep the dwarves from retaking it? Or maybe the wildlife of the dark below became too much to control? In any case, their lack of total domination proved fortuitous, as it means the fortunate preservation of dwarven history.
Head Librarian Sigermane at the Scriptorium spends several hours pouring over old dwarven texts - such as they, often being large, blocky things with few words on each page - until he eventual finds a particularly interesting passage.
It was during the winter in which Kormaag Hellfrost, the Prince of Frost Giants along the Spine, fell that I saw the most miraculous sight. My hunting party and I had been scouring the peaks for game, hoping beyond hope that the recent day of sunlight had inspired a few deer to venture beyond the lowlands below. When we spotted the tracks of a young stag, we sped off in ravenous pursuit. Our clan had not had proper food in days, and some of our elders had already succumbed to the chill touch of death. After crossing a valley and reaching a steep cliff, we peered down below to realize our worst fear - the giants had been herding the wildlife to their lands and hoarding the game for themselves. I saw with my own eyes huts and giant-sized bags filled with meat - meat that could feed our clan the entire season and enough to get fat on. My hunting party and I were filled with a bilious rage, but we hesitated to throw ourselves upon the entire encampment. While I, in my cowardice, suggested we hunted elsewhere, it was Bolgar Brightfist who told me in no uncertain terms my heritage was that of a cock and sped down the cliffside toward the camp. A dwarf does not abandon his friends, so we followed him, possibly to our doom. Luckily for us, the giants were so thoroughly shocked that we would actually assault their hunting camp that two were felled before the warhorn blared. The ensuing combat lasted throughout the day and into the bleak night when a snowstorm began to roll in. We had whittled their number down to just three, despite scouts and lone hunters who came back to join the fray, but they had similarly wounded us. Where we had numbered seven in our party when we left camp at dawn, now we were only four.
Bolgar burst out the side of a tent, having hidden within a stockpile of meat to mask his scent, and leaped onto one of the giants. Using his hunting knives to climb up the beast's back, he stabbed it in the neck, causing it to topple over and ram its hunting spear into the second giant. The third one, outraged, began coming after the rest of us. We made the great behemoth give chase for some time before it eventually had us pinned against a cliff wall. It raised a hammer to slam us to pulp, but before it could connect and squash us, Bolgar came flying off the cliffside above, using a giant's hunting spear as a lance. Bolgar skewered the giant and had thrown himself in the way of the hammer, taking the blow instead. I'll never forget the sound of the great crack it made as it flung Bolgar several meters to the side.
We rushed to his side. The entire right side of his body had been crushed in, and he was having a great trouble breathing. Despite this, he begged us to go and get the clan to haul back all the food. I had left to go do this while the other two watched over him. By the time we came back, this was when the miracle occurred. When we had returned, Bolgar's body had turned to stone - not just stone, but metal as well. At first, we were concerned this was some kind of giant's curse, but our shaman said this was a blessing of some kind for his heroism. To this day, I know not what the truth of it is, but I believe in the craftsmanship of his new shape, and I know that it must be a blessing. We carried Bolgar's statue back to our clan's grounds and built a stone housing around it, and we teach our children that it was Bolgar Brightfist who fed them this day.