Outsiders know them as Dwarves, but they refer to themselves as the Dwergen. Each Dwarven ethnicity has their own name for themselves, the Aziaat’s, the Kaukasisch and the Zonverbrand.
Among the Dwarves there are multiple ethnicities, the Zonverbrand, Aziaat and the Kaukasisch.
Zonverbrand roughly translates to “sun burned”, which is in apt name for these darker skinned Dwergen. Located in the northernmost and more temperate regions, these dwarves range from woodland brown colors, to “darker than coal” (As other dwarves would say jokingly, and perhaps other races as a racial insult). These Dwarves also typically possess deep brown, almost black freckles, as if the soot and coal of which they are accustomed created a permanent marking on their face, a symbol of their kind of society. Now the Zonverbrand’s other key and notable features are their extremely curly hair (Shortest of all three) and their long - though not overly so - facial hair
Now the Aziaat’s are essentially a mix between the Kaukasisch and the Zonverbrand, in regards to skin tone at least. They possess tanned skin, along with its light and dark variations. These Dwarves are located in the middle-eastern regions of the world. Aziaat’s are most noted for their slightly slanted eyes, as well as their little to no facial hair, but longer hair in general, with its color being black more often than not
Kaukasisch are most easily described as simply white. Taking the appearance of a mini santa, the Kaukasisch possess light skin, and rosy noses and cheeks. Located in the southernmost regions and mountain ranges, the Kaukasisch live in rather snowy blanketed areas. They also boast substantial amounts of facial hair and longer hair than the Zonverbrand, but not the Aziaats, with their color ranging from blonde to brown
Coincidentally, the first instance of recorded history for each of the Dwarven ethnicities is when each ethnicities many villages came together to began building their respective cities; Aziaat Wetenschap, Zonverbrandian Naarstigheid and Kaukisisch Gevecht.
After substantial growth in Wetenschap the Aziaat’s sought to discover new land to colonize and sent scouting parties north, south and west to do so. All three scouting parties found ranges, but what the ranges contained differed between each group. The party that set out to the west discovered and uninhabited range large enough to accommodate a Dwarven city and returned to Wetenschap early with the news. On the other hand, the ones heading north and south both discovered Dwarven civilizations already inhabiting the mountains, the Zonverbrand city of Naarstigheid to the north and the Kaukasisch city of Gevecht to the south. The leaders of the Kaukasisch and Zonverbrand each decided to send diplomats back to Wetenschap with the scouts who arrived within weeks of each other. All three ethnicities discovered that their cultures, religion and language were almost identical. Believing this was work of their gods and that they must have once been a united civilization, they formed a single race, the Dwergen.
Formation of Smeltkroes
With the unification of the Dwarven race came the inevitable desire to solidify this coalition. The Dwarves decided this would be done by forming a capital city in the western mountain range the Aziaat scouting party had found. Convoys set out from all three cities loaded with building supplies and other resources to begin settling the mountain range that the Dwarves refer to as the Westelijk Mountains. It wasn’t long before villages were established and construction of the new capital city, Smeltkroes, began. After nearly a decade of construction the city was finally complete. Tucked away in the mountains buildings towered above the surface, some as high as the peaks themselves, and tunnels crisscrossed under the surface like the inside of an ant hill. Many Dwarves of all ethnicities began to migrate to the city, filling it to the brim with citizens prepared to advance the Dwarven civilization.
With the formation of Smeltkroes and the unification of the Dwarves came the need to recreate the government. Each of the original three Dwarven cities already had a king and each wanted to play a part in leading the Dwarves. The three kings decided to hold a summit in Smeltkroes to form the new government and spent two days sitting around a square stone table arguing and laughing as they discussed how things will be run. After the two long days they finally came to a conclusion, a king would be crowned to rule Smeltkroes and the four kings would rule the Dwarves together as a council they called The Hofraad. Meetings would be held in Smeltkroes around the square stone table they named the Vierkant, if decisions ever came to a stalemate a pre-determined third party would be brought in to decide the outcome.
After their union the Dwarves began facing the challenge of the four cities interacting with each other from across the continent. To negate this inconvenience the Aziaats sent their best scientists to spearhead a project in Smeltkroes to create a form of transportation using magic that would allow them to almost instantaneously travel between cities. After three years of working they discovered a way to use Void Magic and machinery to create portals that are able to be kept open indefinitely if needed. The results of the project were taken up with the Hofraad and in the end they decided to keep the technology behind this discovery a strict secret. The next step was to integrate it into the streamlined routes within each of the cities so commuting between them would be relatively easy for the general population. To do this they created The Kruising below Smeltkroes, The Krusing is a large room containing portals to and from each of the other three Dwarven cities. Large dead-end tunnels were also constructed in the other three Dwarven cities that housed large portals leading to and from The Kruising. This allowed Dwarven citizens to freely commute between any of the four cities with ease, it made it possible for someone to even travel between all four cities within a day if they so wished.
The Dwarves do not have a typical country or province that they call home, they come from multiple mountain ranges (Bergen in their native tongue) throughout Entheria. Originally there were three mountain ranges that Dwarves called home; the Zonverbrand’s home known as the Kruin Mountains, the Aziaat’s home known as the Binnenste Mountains and the Kaukasisch’s home known as the Uiteindelijk Mountains. After all three ethnicities came together they formed a civilization in a fourth mountain range, the Westelijk Mountains, here they constructed their capital city and inhabited the surrounding mountains.
The Kruin Mountains
Standing tall above the jungle is the rocky Kruin Mountain Range. Covered in small, sporadic bundles of flowers and mossy green vegetation that is supported by constant and ample rain showers, these green mountains serve as the perfect home for the Zonverbrand.
Located in the Kruin Mountains, Naarstigheid is a towering spectacle of gold, iron, stone, and glass. As if a shining ode to themselves, the Zonverbrand are large manufacturers of those two metals. Something notable about the Zonverbrandian city of Naarstigheid is its pointed towers, many appearing to resemble obelisks; as well as the thick black smoke that is emitted from the city almost constantly, like an active factory amongst the hustle and bustle of a city
The Binnenste Mountains
The rocky and canyon like mountain range known as the Binnenste Mountains is home to small almost desert like flora, seeing as these mountains typically experience a more or less wet and dry season, with many of the plants having to retain water for long periods of time
Amongst the rocky mountain range, Wetenschap has to be the most uniquely abstract of the Dwarven cities. Much of the city’s architecture revolves around the unique use of metal and a gemstone known to the same effects of a focusing stone, known as opals. To create vibrant colors that quite literally flow through the buildings and towers themselves, the Aziaat’s empty their magical energy into these stones, to keep the colors perpetually in motion, so the city becomes an amazing display of colors that light up the night sky and bring great aesthetic appeal during the day
The Uiteindelijk Mountains
Snow blankets the rocky mountain range upon which the city of Gevecht rests. Very little vegetation is able to survive the harsh weather these mountains experience and they are virtually unable to support agricultural practices. However, Evergreen forests surround the range at its base, among a plethora of other cold dwelling plants.
The city of Gevecht is most notable for its towers of silver amidst the snowy environment. These towers are mostly known for their ability to reflect colors and to a lesser extent images, creating a rather pleasant look on bright days. Smoke is also emitted from the city, but not the industrial smoke that the Zonverbrand’s are associated with, but the smoke one would see escaping a chimney on a cold winter’s night
The Westelijk Mountains
The mountain range the Dwarves claimed in mid-western Entheria consists of some of the tallest mountains on the continent. Covered in coniferous forests most of these mountains remain green year round, the peaks however remain a crisp white from snow that does not melt due to the temperature at such heights. The Westelijk mountains retain a cool climate throughout most of the year getting colder at higher altitudes. While these mountains are home to the capital city of Smeltkroes, many Dwarven villages and mining towns are still scattered throughout them.
Very contrary to the popular architectural design of the other famous Dwarven cities, Smeltkroes remains a simple, yet elegant city of stone, glass and wood. Rather than having overly stimulating aesthetic appeal, Smeltkroes takes pride in the elementary stonework that is typically attributed to old royalty. Significant to this city is the Dwarven use of a castle like design when constructing their towers and other structures.
The large dome known as the Kruising beneath Smeltkroes was once a magical laboratory, and portions of it still are. The circular main chamber houses six portals to and from each of the other three cities, the portals are large enough to fit dozens of people at a time. The Kruising is heavily guarded to prevent foreigners from spying on the technology used to keep the portals open but citizens are granted free access to the portals allowing them to travel between all four of the cities at will. Large rooms wrap around the edge of the main chamber containing magical laboratories used to research properties of magic and develop magical technology; these areas are off limits to the general population. The Kruising is always crowded with Dwarves travelling to and from each of the cities, many of them hauling materials and goods in carts towed by Bighorn Rams.
All four mountain ranges are home to different species of sheep whose males, known as Bighorn Rams, grow to be roughly the size of a small horse standing around four and half feet tall (One point thirty seven meters) and weighing around five hundred pounds (Two hundred twenty five kg). The Bighorn Rams of the Kruin mountains are Blackbelly Sheep, the one found in the Binnenste are Churra Sheep (They can have up to four horns) and the Rams of the Uiteindelijk Mountains are known as Ovis Sheep.
The Dwarven religion is known as Geloof and it’s followers are referred to as Gelovige. Before the Samenkomen, each Dwarven ethnicity had their own God that they believed created them, but once they came together and became the Dwergen the Gelovige Godspraaks discovered a fourth God, the God they then believed to be their true creator, Scheppen. Their view of the other three Gods then greatly changed, the Godspraaks came to the conclusion that the three separate Gods were in fact the sons of Scheppen, tasked with guiding and protecting each of the Dwarven ethnicities.
The Gelovige’s spiritual leaders are oracles known as Godspraak in Dwergen, they use enchanted artifacts and other forms of magic to communicate with their Gods. Each Dwarven city has their own Gelovige Church where the Godspraak of said city stay, every church has a lead oracle known as the Aanvoerder of Geloof who is always the oldest living Godspraak of the church. The Gelovige Churches run orphanages where they have a school to teach the children to one day become Godspraaks, though only a handful of the children actually graduate and become a Godspraak.
The Zonverbrand once believed that Arbeid chiseled them from a enormous golden ingot; but since the origination of Geloof the Zonverbrand Oracles have “discovered” that Arbeid did not create their people but instead coated their ancestors in gold to give them their skill as craftsmen. Arbeid reveres works of extraordinary craftsmanship and looks upon those with the ability to make such things with favor. Arbeid is portrayed as a Dwarf ten times larger than normal whose skin is made of solid gold. He uses his knees as anvils and wields an iron obelisk shaped hammer known as Vakman; Vakman is covered in ornate engravings filled in with gold and has large a large glass marble set into the sides and top.
Unlike the other two Dwarven ethnicities the Aziaat have always believed that there was another God that created them, but did not know who; until the Gelovige Oracles discovered Scheppen that is. Though they have always believed in a God known as Toverij, the father of invention and the keeper of the Aziaat. Toverij is pictured as a modest Aziaat Dwarf who wears plain linen robes and wields a silver staff known as Hevel which he stores all of his mana in. The Gelovige believe that the reason Dwarves are naturally mana deficient is because Toverij uses Hevel to siphon mana from every Dwarf, in return he utilizes this mana to give the Dwarves a natural skill with all magical objects.
Originally the Kaukasisch believed that Versteris was their creator and placed them upon the frozen mountain peaks amidst harsh weather and unacceptable living conditions because he believed his children to be the strongest, toughest and most hardy of them all; them being specifically chosen to prove themselves as survivors, and prove their loyalty to him. To this day they believe Versteris is the being that imbues each and every Kaukasisch dwarf with the strength and willpower to overcome all obstacles. He is depicted as a large, burly and bearded dwarf with hair of crimson and shining armor of white and gold.
Scheppen is the creator of all Dwarves and was brought to light by the Gelovige Oracles shortly after the Samenkomen. Some time after creating the Dwarves Scheppen tasked each of his children to look after a group and shape their society how they saw fit. He is able to undertake the most difficult of tasks with ease and inspires all Dwarves to have a vast amount of pride in themselves, accounts of divine intervention from him are said to be scarce as he leaves that responsibility to his children. Scheppen is seen as the largest of the Gods, standing high above all of his children. His facial features are said to show characteristics of each of the three ethnicities though accounts of which are more dominant change between every Gelovige Church. Scheppen dons spectacular armor of an unknown material and wields a longsword so thin that it is invisible at certain angles yet so strong that it can slice through mountains with ease, his square shield is said to be weightless yet virtually impenetrable.
The Dwarven government consists of a king, also known as the Koning in Dwergen, for each of the four cities. Each Koning has absolute rule over his city, though if he is seen to be corrupt or a hinderance to the city he will be impeached and stripped of his Koning status by the other Konings. The four Konings form a council known as The Hofraad which collaboratively makes decisions on behalf of the entire Dwarven race. Every three months The Hofraad gathers around the Vierkant in Smeltkroes to discuss current events in the Dwarven kingdoms and relations with foreign countries. Of course, a successor is needed for each of the Konings and is chosen a year after said Koning is put into power by the Hofraad and the Aanvoerder of the Geloof faith, from the city at which they are choosing the successor for. However, typically the son of the Koning, if one exists is chosen and enters the grooming process to becoming a Koning. Though another method that is employed is to have the Aanvoerder find men who are at the top of their trade and bring them before the Hofraad where a successor will be chosen from within that group. The Koning of Smeltkroes is a bit different in that he can be any of the three Dwarven ethnicities, but a Koning of the other three cities must be the same ethnicity of the city in which they govern.
Zonverbrands are a hardworking and industrial people, basing much of their culture off of the innovations in the many different fields of crafting and to a lesser extent agriculture. The Zonverbrands are all about pulling your own weight and giving all of your effort to get the job done, be that as a team or individual; because of this ideal their city functions like a well oiled machine. The Zonverbrandian naming system is a very basic one, they do not have any desire for their children to be recognized by their family and due to this they only use one name. This has lead to a certain uniqueness among Zonverbrandian names, names of renowned individuals become socially unacceptable to use in the naming of future children as it is seen as a sign of disrespect to give away a well known name.
Zonverbrandian artwork involves a large number of metalworking, weather it be designs in furniture or statues of immense proportions it almost always revolves around a metal of anything from iron to gold. Zonverbrandian instruments reflect their affinity for metalworking as the most well known instruments are made of metal, some examples are the steelpan drum and their take on wind instruments such as saxophones, trumpets, flutes and many variations of horns that have made the sound of Zonverbrandian music very unique. Their literature revolves around crafting techniques and tales of legendary feats of craftsmanship, whether these tales be fiction or not depends on the writer.
The Aziaat are a very scientific people, valuing intelligence, creativity and ingenuity. Due to their fascination with discovery gathering are held annually in Wetenschap where inventors, scientists and philosophers share their latest discoveries and are judged by a board to determine a winner who is awarded with funding for their next project. When it comes to naming their children the Aziaat always use a family name as a middle name to show where the child comes from, the first and last names are based on the parents personal preference. Aziaat children who have family names that tie them to great inventors, scientists or philosophers are expected to produce works that can compete with those of their ancestors, this leads many people with a renowned lineage to spend most of their lives trying to achieve fame for their discoveries rather than enjoying themselves.
Aziaat artwork usually consists of three dimensional pieces that often times have moving parts, floating objects held in place with enchantments or some sort of practical application. Many depict constellations or natural anomalies while other are things such as telescopic devices allowing the viewer to see into space. Their ability to invent such devices has given their music a uniqueness not found anywhere else. Instruments can be simple or extremely complex, many relying on gears, slides or odd shapes to produce their sound. Aziaat literature contains a large number of scientific and philosophical works, but what really stands out is their fiction. Most Aziaat fiction looks into the future and tells stories of nearly inconceivable inventions and some times even stories of travel to other worlds. This has lead to many Aziaat fiction novels to be brushed aside by writers who originate from other cultures.
The Kaukasisch are a very strong and determined, yet simple people. When Kaukasisch set their mind to something they will do everything they can to see it through, this has made them fierce warriors. They name their children with a first name that is a typical name you would expect, but the last name, or family name, originates and changes based on the title of the most famous warrior from the family; if a warrior from the family become more well known than their predecessor then the family name will be changed to reflect this. A warrior may have a title such as “Stone-Hammer” or “Head-Cleaver” derived from their weapon of choice, fighting tendencies or martial achievements. Every five years a tournament known as The Strijden is held just outside of Gevecht where warriors fight to submission, which often times results in an overly-prideful participants death. Many Kaukasisch are known to be heavy drinkers and are rumored to be able to drink huge quantities of alcohol without becoming intoxicated. Kaukasisch pubs, or Kroegs in Dwergen, are always filled with laughter and song as drinks are bashed together in cheers and heads are butted in sport.
Kaukasisch artwork is mostly made up of stonework depicting famous warriors of legend carved into walls or made into statues. Their music is very simple yet tasteful, instruments are usually small sheepskin drums or handheld stringed wooden instruments. What the Kaukasisch are famous for though is their drinking chants which tells tories of companionship, feats of amazing strength and tales of men who drank enough to fill an entire house. Kaukasisch literature is scarce and almost all of it is either stories of war heroes or fiction revolving around people of extraordinary martial talent.