“Lord, the gates are barred and the venting tubes are well guarded. We have food enough for a season at the least and water aplenty from our source. I believe we are well situated to weather this storm – you need not worry for Ashcamere nor for the safety of your kingdom.”
–Prince Camere, heir to the Dwarven Kingdom – the last written communication from Ashcamere, AA 1.
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The Dwaven race of Aruneus, on arriving to this world congregated mostly on the west, near the great mountain range known as The Fieldheid. By their nature, Dwarves tend to be an inward facing society. For nearly a thousand years, the Dwarves of Aruneus crafted a society based on strong kinship ties and loyalty to their ruling family. The Camere’s were the first Dwarven family of note and ruled their people for close to 3,500 years, until the dynasty was eradicated in the great undead plague.
Ashcamere was their greatest and oldest city. With a population close to 100,000 dwarves by 100 BA the city existed on two levels. The first, above ground played host to the embassies of other races, all trade and acted as the capital of the Dwarven Kingdom. Well over 80,000 Dwarves called Ashcamere’s above ground (or sun-sighted) city home. In addition to the Dwarven population some 10,000 Humans and Elves also called Ashcamere home, or held legal status there as merchants, traders and speculators.
The second city (or night-blessed) existed below Ashcamere’s above ground face, and extended several miles into the Fieldheid range. Night blessed Ashcamere was accessible only to Dwarves on penalty of expulsion or death. It was the political and spiritual center of the Dwarven Kingdom and had been home to the Camere family since it’s inception before the formation of the League of the Ring. 20,000 Dwarves also called the night-blessed Ashcamere home, residing out of sight of the sun for large portions of their lives.
Ashcamere was the source of most of the Dwarven Kingdom’s initial wealth. Founded not as a city but as a mining camp over a particularly rich vein of gold in the murky past, it did not take long for the Dwarves to capitalize on their wealth and found their kingdom. Through the ages subsequent precious metals and other useful materials such as copper and Iron had been found in mining operations near Ashcamere. It was the work of generations but eventually the mines were connected and the night-blessed city was formed.
The Dwarven Kingdom began to expand through the Great War and at the time the League of the Ring was formed consisted of over 2 million souls and the greater portion of the west of Aruneus. With several major cities and numerous settlements throughout their territory the Dwarven Kingdom was positioned to be the strongest politically and militarily at the time of the Conclave.
Even through the time of their Great Shame, the Dwarven Kingdom remained a political identity. When they emerged and became members of the League of the Earth they found it hard to shake off their long years of isolation. Active in politics to an extend, the Dwarves continued to be mostly concerned with their own, emerging to deal with the other races of Aruneus only in times of great crisis. Even through the rise of the Necromancer, the Dwarves offered only token forces to assist the Humans and Elves.
It was this isolation that may have contributed more than anything else to the destruction of their ruling family and the massive casualties the Dwarven race took in the first years of the zombie apocalypse.
Unwilling or unable to deal with urgent requests from their Human allies, the majority of the Dwarves (those not concerned with outside trade) were taken completely buy surprise when wave after wave of undead humans found their way into Dwarven territories. The King, who at the age of 170 was growing feeble had taken to living well away from the mountains and leaving most administrative tasks to his son and heir, Prince Terriace Camere. Prince Camere was living in the night-blessed palatial residences at the time of the undead outbreak and failed to adequately prepare the underground city to repulse the zombie hordes. According to second hand reports compiled some years later, Ashcamere held out in one form or another for almost a full year after the initial wave of zombies overran the sun-sighted city.
For most of the last hundred years, the Dwarves existed in a quasi-feudal state, although their lords had no King which to go to for final judgements. Only in the last decade have they organized themselves into a cohesive political body based on a Council of Nobles, with one noble from each of the 9 houses being present to represent the remaining 9 Dwarven city-states.
The great Dwarven empire is now a fraction of it’s former self, just beginning to organize their centralized government. Recently the Order of the White Cloth has offered great assistance with the gift of 9 lighter than air craft, allowing the delegates the freedom of travel and the ability to meet yearly and manage their new government.
Ashcamere remains a ruin. Above ground a few Dwarven settlements have sprung up, taking advantage of the ruins for building materials. A few Dwarven scout parties have reached roughly 10% of the night-blessed city but have found nothing but destruction and rotting bones. Rumors do persists of the last Prince of the Camere’s and his loyal subjects living still in their underground world but if this is true, the Dwarves have not provided any proof and the Council of Nobles remains mute on the subject.
[tags]rpg, role playing games, aruneus, dwarves, zombies[/tags]