Dwarven City-state of Brong

Brong

(Bron-zong [Stone-Song])

Brong is the westernmost dwarven city and center of the civilization of the Khani [Seeker] dwarves who left Kalavar many centuries ago [around -900 G.R.].  The city of Brong itself is the center of the civilization, but there are numerous trade-towns, outposts, and strongholds in the region that all swear allegiance to Brong and the Mountain-King of Clan Drongrund [Thunderhammer].

History

In the mid -800’s G.R., the Nomen Empire had created a vast peace and trade network in the region around Kalavar. Additionally, the dwarves’ enemies, the orcs, giants, and dragons had become quite quiet. This resulted in the dwarves experiencing a period of intense economic prosperity. The unfortunate consequence of this was a boom in the dwarven population. There were many young and eager dwarves who wanted to hone their craft and create something lasting, but there was fierce competition and minimal opportunities at home in Kalavar. Thus, many dwarves began to emigrate from their ancestral homelands to found new settlements and outposts.

The largest groups of dwarves headed to the west. The Nomen Empire had just completed its Great Road project into what would be the lands of Korenell and began trading with Arathkelsara. Numerous dwarven clans followed that road into these new lands, searching the mountains of the region for ores and gems. Some settled in the Solenmars, the Coastwatch Cliffs, the Highcrest Hills, Kelsus Mountains, and even the Golbez mountains. It was not until the year -820 G.R. that a few dwarven clans settled even farther west, past the Basmian Scrublands into a region beset between two small mountain ranges.

The mountains had no known name to westerners at the time and no one can recall what the local gnolls and Avandrie men called the place. When the dwarven clans came to the mountains, they found a wide open valley that rose high to a tall peak. Near the top of that peak, fissures in the stone howled with the wind and resonated like giant organ pipes. The dwarves settled in that valley and named their new settlement Bron-zhong, or Stone-song. Over the centuries, the name finally shortened to just Brong, likely by the influence of its many (less patient) trade partners. The surrounding mountains became known as the Brongus Cliffs.

The Twelve Clans [De Throng Tvaton]

There were twelve original clans that settled Brong. These twelve families have expanded to the most powerful clans of the city and surrounding region.

Mrokklad – [Shieldhelm] Lingrimdug – [Dark-Iron Sages] Harragg – [Firehide]
Oggol – [Wisebrew] Lanndgoruz – [Earthhorn] Drongrund – [Thunderhammer]
Tagstrol – [Deepstride] Lhunmrok – [Moonshield] Khantaglannd – [Deep-Earth Seekers]
Linnhar – [Ironfire] Grontdrengi – [Giantslayer] Gormgrundgryn [High Justice-Hammer]

When Brong was initially formed, it was controlled by a council composed of the Elders of each of these twelve clans. However, about five centuries ago, the worship of Nuegar, as the aspect of toil, began to increase in the city, largely spread by the Harragg clan. A fierce civil war broke out [138 G.R.] and the city was greatly fragmented. Worshippers of this dark god of toil were expelled and were rumored to have set up a new fortress in the Golbez mountains.

During the civil war, the Drongrund clan took control of the city and led the defense against the cultists of Neugar. The Drongrund family has ruled as the Mountain-King [Karak-Varrik] ever since, imposing some executive order and control the local military. There is still a council of elders [de Gamiret] who advises the Karak-Varrik and presides of much of the law-making. Many of the old clans still hold much power, such as the Mrokklad clan who controls much of the mining and prospecting in the city’s mines, and the Lanndgoruz who control vast trade networks. However, some of the original clans have lost much station over the years, such as the Lingrimdug clan who’s name carries little weight these days.

City Districts

Brong houses a population of more than 60,500 dwarves. The city is divided into a number of districts that are vertically oriented above and below each other in the grand mountain.

Mirkarakden [Skymountain Town]

[~4000] – Mixed Class – Visitors, Non-dwarves, Military families, Farmers, Shepherds, Hunters, Loggers

Before one enters the city of Brong proper, they come across the trade town of Mirkarakden. The town sprawls over the rocky hills that rise to the central peak and entranceway into Brong. The town is close enough to the city that it is often considered a district of Brong itself. Many non-dwarven immigrants to the city prefer to live in Mirkarakden, where they don’t spend all their time surrounded by stone and encased inside the mountain. Mirkarakden is a natural trade hub for visitors, where foreign traders can trade their wares with the many fine-crafts that come from within the mountain. Mirkarakden also houses much of the Brong military as the first line of defense for the city.

Entrance-Hall [Vazrrik] (Lords’ Faces)

[~400] – Military Stronghold and Important Checkpoint

The entrance-way into the city holds a large garrison of the Brong military, ever vigilant for external threats. There are built-in watchtowers, barracks, and armories built into the entrance façade. The stone entrance maintains the original stone ducts and chasms in the rock face that create the singing sound of blowing wind that gives the city its name. Additional resonate chambers also amplify the sound, such that all who enter into the city hear the song of the stone. The grand face of the mountain bears realistic carvings of the twelve original founders. As one enters the city, the Brong guards, the Durdain [City Guardians], keep a close eye on all who enter. There are often close inspections of merchandise to ensure no one brings any threats into the city. There are also magical runes etched along the floors of the entrance-hall. Rumors persist that the runes will glow if someone has ill-will towards the city. The runes are also said to be powerful magical protections against dragons.

Big Grand Halls [Marrorden]

[~15,000] –  Middle to Upper Class – Merchants, Travelers, & Craftsdwarves

Upon entering the grand entranceway of the city, a visitor enters the Marrorden (Grand Halls) district of the city. New visitors are often shocked at the immense size and height of the halls of Marrorden. Wide stone avenues stretch along cardinal directions, forming a perfect grid. The avenues are five stories high with numerous walkways, bridges, and stairs connecting the upper layers across the avenues. There are bright magical lights along the buildings and at the octagon-shaped intersections of the avenues there are bright octagon windows on the ceilings. It is said that there is a clever network of mirrors that brings natural light down into the mountain.

The Marrorden district is the center of trade and craftswork for the city. Raw goods are imported into the district, and out goes numerous fine crafts. There are numerous ale-houses, inns, and guild-houses on every block. In addition, there are plenty of stores and workshops of finely-crafted items.

The Marrorden district serves as the central point of the city. In the center of the district is the Tagvelalf Ekrund [Deep-And-Sky Stairway], sometimes just referred to as the Ekrund, that connects Marrorden to the other districts of the city.

High Sky Halls [Gormalfden]

[~1000] – Upper Class – Mountain-King Palace, Nobles, Grand Treasury, the Rock Gardens

The Gormalfden district was built when the Drongrund clan had ended the civil war in the city. The district serves as a celebration of dwarven culture with some of the most attractive architecture in the city. The district is not nearly as large or as tall as Marrorden, but features many intricate buildings controlled by the richest and most powerful clans in western dwarven culture. The entire district is shaped like a large octagon. Each of the eight main clans have their clan houses built into one of the walls. Each clan house features elaborate dwarven architecture on the front façade with a large number of rooms and chambers beyond. The northern wall is the grand palace of the Mountain-King and clan house of the Drongrund clan. Between the clan houses stand many tall columns with carvings of various ancestral heroes and clan leaders. There are also numerous fountains, pools, and rock gardens, showing off the best crystals and gems found in the mines. There are always plenty of guards around, so few would consider trying to steal any of these artifacts. In the central plaza near the Ekrund, is the Alfkhauled [Sky Windows]. Eight windows composed of gems and colored glass sparkle on the ceiling, surrounded by magical lights. This is a composed of reinforced, thickened glass, and is a real window through the top of the mountain.

Under Halls [Morden]

[~20,000] – Middle to Lower Class – Common-folk neighborhoods

The Morden [Under Halls] district sits directly below Marrorden. The halls of Morden are not nearly as tall, only two to three stories, nor nearly as wide. The district is otherwise laid our similarly, with very straight and organized streets along cardinal directions. The streets, corridors, and bridges of Morden are usually bustling with the everyday dwarves of the city. Most residents in this district live in multi-room apartments and spend much of their day working. There are plenty of simple ale-houses and neighborhood eateries. However, few in this district can afford imported foods, and thus one is unlikely to find more than mushrooms, eggs, and lizard meat in their dining experience.

Deepcliff Halls [Tagvosden]

[~15,000] – Lower Class to Destitute– Poor neighborhoods, Nefarious cults, Black markets

The district of Tagvosden [Deepcliff Halls] is below Morden. Unlike the above districts, Tagvosden is an unplanned district, it grew organically. The halls of Tagvosden used to be old mines from the early days of the city. Over time, the curved tunnels of the mines were expanded and the walls somewhat smoothed. Various apartments and dwellings were then dug out of the sides. The result is a sprawling district of curved tunnels and dark alleys, often filled with the sound of dripping water and overcrowded with the poor and mentally unhinged. It is where the poorest of dwarven families often reside, along with criminal elements and secretive cults.

On the western-most portion of the district is a large natural cavern. There are high cliffs that drop down over a wide subterranean lake. The Grimmor [Dark Lake] is more than fifty feet below the top of the cliffs where the district lies. After the rainy season on the surface, numerous channels and gulleys fill with water that works its way down into the Grimmor. The caverns of Tagvosden are particularly uncomfortable during this time of year, as diseases and molds often run rampant. However, not far from the Grimmor and its natural cavern, are the numerous agriculture caverns where mushrooms are cultivated. The farmers there also raise various types of subterranean livestock for both eggs, fur, and meat.

Magmaforge Halls [Kodkodden]

[~5000] – Middle to Lower Class– Metalwork forges, Smelters

The dwarves who live deep below Tagvosden, down the Ekrund, are some of the most honored dwarves. Dwarves with any talent or skill in metalwork find themselves seeking work in these hallowed halls. This district is much smaller than the others, supplying housing for only a limited number of dwarves. Some dwarves live in other districts and commute to working in the forges and smelteries, but the most honored dwarves are members of the Dakthrynaz [Metalworks Guild]. The most fantastic portions of this district house the Markodkod [Grand Magma-Forges] that the dwarves use to smelt and work metals.

Halls of the Dead and the Mines [Mornden]

[~150] – Middle to Lower Class – Tombs, Temple, Ore Mines, the Deep Road

Deepest into the mountain, and deep below the earth, at the bottom of the Ekrund, one finds Mornden and the tombs of the dead. There is a vast collection of tombs and crypts where every dwarf of Brong has been interred for centuries. One can spend days exploring the network of tunnels, reading the names of all the dwarves that have passed from Enelis.  There are few permanent residents in these halls, and most of them are devotees of Lagmud the Torchbearer. There is a large temple to the dwarven god of death and time and its priests look after the crypts.

Another main feature of this district is the entrance-way to the many ore mines. Most dwarves live in the upper halls and commute down to the mines each day to work. However, there are also some dwarves that live near the mines to ensure that the tunnels remain strong and open during the night, listening for shifting of the stone. The miners [Grungi] are typically of lower class, but have high honor for the work they provide to the city.

The last feature of the bottom-most layer of Brong is the small military installation that guards the gate to the Tagdrin [Deep Road]. It is a long dark tunnel that connects Brong to other outposts and towns in the endless caverns and tunnels knowns as the Deep Underground [Tag Mordtag].

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