by The Republic of Sunset. . 170 reads.

In the Age of Myth and Legend...

Under the Sunset Mountains
...Since the Dawning of the Age the Dwarves of the Sunset Mountains have made their home deep under the Range, sheltering themselves against the harsh world outside. Here in their new home they have turned themselves to Industry, Family, and Clan, building their strength as the world outside turns in a new Age. Here they are happy and prosperous, though often wary of outsiders who might bring war and strife.

The Kingdom was founded sometime after the Great Cataclysm that Rendered Katlantis and shook the First Kingdom of the Dwarves to its foundation. It was the survivors of this lost realm that roamed the World that Is, looking for some place of safety. Eventually they would come to the high shores of the Lake of Long Shadows and it would be here that they would find a great yawning cave that disappeared into the side of the Mountains. Inside they would find wealth - some say the horde of a long-dead dragon - as well as the great Nor Trees that provide much for the Dwarves' needs.

Whatever this cave once was, it is no longer. All traces of it have been erased to be replaced with a great City Carved from the Depths, its Gates, and its Palisades. Wealth and Industry now pour out of the City and the Dwarves are again a People, their numbers growing to stretch the breadth of the Sunset Mountains.

Into the Depths
...Built Layer Upon Layer, the City under the Mountain descends from the rocky mountain face and the titanic gates that bar access to all outsiders into the darkest depths at the Roots of the World. The first of these is the Hall of the King, which is located above the main city in the Mountain Pinnacle. Despite rumors to the contrary - and the occasional facade of a tower or deep-cut window - the only true way to access the Halls is via a fortified archway behind the Mountain Throne. Lit by Runic Sunstones, the Halls house not only the King and his Household but also the ready Garrison. These are also the King's Guard, their daily task to see to the security of both the City and the surrounding Mountains.

Below the Hall and the most readily accessible to outsiders is the Steward's Market. This area encloses both the Great Gate, the assortment of stalls and temporary merchants quarters that stand on the enormous steps, and an inner market that may only be visited by those who have gained the trust of the Steward. This inner market is the only place where one may acquire Runic items at something approaching a fair price; The outside market is unregulated and prices are either exorbitant or deceptive. At the back of the inner market stands the Steward's Chair and behind it are the archways that lead to the Throne and to the City. Five enormous tunnels provide ready access for those willing to risk the passage over the stonework drawbridges, themselves a marvel of Runic Engineering. It is rumored that in time of crisis these bridges have come to life to snatch up demons and marauders alike to fling them into the crushing Depths.

Behind and Below the Market is the City. Sprawling and Vast, it houses the majority of the population in reasoned comfort; Most established families have a large multi-room Manor that they have carved out and expanded themselves over the many years with either a storefront, workshop, or other business serving as the front-most room. Light is typically provided by either a Runic Sunstone built onto a pillar in a central room, or by an enormous fireplace where blocks of Nor Wood are burned. Only the most wealthy of families have a Sunstone in more than one room though Nor Bahts and small Rune Lanterns - one of the more common items exported - are regularly found. Carved out of the heart of the mountain, most of the chambers are intricately and carefully decorated with braided molding, cut panels, and wall-spanning friezes common. For those that can afford them, tapestries from the far lands of Elves and Men are used as door coverings while a thick gear-work pillar decorated with the name of the family is typically used to bar the door into the City at night.

Where the City was originally confined to the Mountain itself, it has slowly expanded to sprawl through the entire Range; those who judge the City by the relatively small size of the Market are apt to quickly find themselves lost among its sprawling galleries and grand halls. While it is referred to in the singular by the Dwarves who live there, the City is not in fact a single construction. Sometimes many miles of halls and passageways link one populated area to the next. These are then usually built up and around some particular point of industry, such as an ore vein or Nor branch. As old as the City is, the Mountains are larger still and there are many who make their living prospecting inside the Mountains.

Between the City and the next layer down are the Warrens. This is an unofficial area; the labyrinth where mine shafts begin, foundries store their slag & tailings, workers stop to carouse in dingy taverns, and the first creeping tendrils of the Twilight Forest can be found. This is the most dark and dangerous part of the City and the rare outsider who is granted unrestricted access to the City is warned not to venture into them even with a stout mace and strong arms at their back. Most Dwarves who frequent the area do so out of necessity; Only those Families that find themselves marked as Outcast - but not Exile - make their homes here. The safest passage is to be found by accompanying a shift of miners traveling to or from the deep shafts where the wealth of the city is steadily carved from the roots of the Mountain.

The Twilight Forest is the lowest but some might say most important layer of the City proper. Running through its echoing chasms and chambers are the lifts and shafts of the mines that run deeper still, but the Forest is home to the enormous Nor trees that provide both sustenance and fuel for the people and industry of the Mountains. Many a scholar has asked about the origins of the Trees and none have received an answer; It is possible that they were there before the Dwarves and will remain after they are Gone. Their roots lie in the tepid waters that accumulate from above and their trunks grow long and thick before branching off to wind through the very roots of the mountain and sometimes erupting into the Warrens. Their outer bark is a meaty reddish brown and can be eaten both raw and cooked while the hearty fibers of the trunk burn hot and clean as hard coal. Sap veins run up the center and it is from these that the Dwarves brew Nor Mead, a staple at every meal. Harvesting these Trees is hard work but some Families are as famous for the Tree they harvest and its particular flavor as for the deeds of their ancestors.

Below the Forest lie the uncharted depths of the Dreaming Lands. It is here that the hallowed dead are buried and it is here that the bravest adventurers seek treasure. There is no map to the Dreaming Lands and it is said that the way one reaches them immediately closes after so that another may open in its stead. Others say that they are the realm of a ancient dragon who slumbers while her dreams send the shiver of earthquake up through the mountain while others contend they are the home of demons, devils, or worse. Even those who find themselves Exile are hesitant to venture into the depths despite tales of adventurers returning with riches beyond belief - when they return at all. There is but one fixed entrance to the Dreaming Lands and it is the most dangerous; the Great Chasm that falls away below the stonework bridges just inside the Great Gate.

At the very edges of their Realm under the Mountain, one may find the Deep Roads. Cut through the Heart of the World after the War of the Blazing Deep, these Roads offer safe but narrow passage between the Mountain and far-distant Holds in the midst of other Lands. Barely the size of a Man and carved out by the unceasing fists of Rune Golems, these Roads are further lined with Runes that speed the passage of the feet that tread upon them. But there is a price to be paid; A journey of a Month may only take a Week, but a Month will still have passed on the traveler's Journey of Mortality. For the long-lived Dwarves this is not so much a burden but for a Man this is a burden they are often unwilling to bear - but a profitable one. Porters along the Deep Roads are well-paid, and the goods they carry often of great value.

Lastly are the Roots of the Mountain, though to think of these as the bottom-most layer is incorrect. Instead the Roots rise and fall, sometimes piercing up to the Warrens and other-times falling far below the Dreaming Lands. These are the spires of solid rock where are found the richest seams of gold, silver, iron, and other forms of mineral wealth. Great Mines run through them and many tens of thousands of Dwarves labor tirelessly, the whole ringing with the blows of pick and hammer. Gems of great sizes are found here and it is every day that some new vein or chasm is opened up to delight the eyes - until the tools of the Dwarves fall upon it. Typically each Mine is controlled by a Clan, rich or poor, and access to them is strictly controlled. A thief who managed to make their way inside might find themselves wealthy in a day and just as likely unable to be able to carry it all out.

Outside the Mountains and the Dwarven Holds
...Far From Under the Mountain lie the few Dwarven Holds. Linked to the City by the Deep Roads, these outposts of the Empire serve as home away from home for Dwarves traveling abroad as well as places of trade and commerce for the nations surrounding them. Each is built somewhat the same; An isolated hill, a singular mountain, or the last of a trailing range that has been dug out by the strong hands of Dwarven stone masons and fitted out as both Fortress and Town. Often they also play host to a small village outside their gates where those merchants and craftsmen having regular service with the Dwarves have built houses and workshops. Caravans often list these Holds as their destinations as well, returning to the Mountain through the Deep Roads with chests full of coin and exotic merchandise bound for the City.

Most of the Holds are laid out along the same lines; A broad platform or square in front of the lone gate is flanked by a number of siege engines while the gate is separated from the platform by a deep trench three or four men wide and crossed by a drawbridge. Above the trench a huge stone slab waits to drop and block the entrance completely while beyond the drawbridge is another trench crossed by a single dog-leg bridge that ends at a portcullis. Beyond this is the Lord's Chamber, where all official business is conducted, and two doors lead out of this - one into the Town beyond and below, and the other into the Barracks and Lord's House. Dwarf Holds typically number no more than a few thousand souls though a few will sometimes choose to live in the Village outside.

The list of Holds is few, though many more existed before the Fall of Kalantis. Often those Holds that exist today were restored from those destroyed or lost during the Fall, with known Holds in Auallonia, Kyngardr, Tehrinfield, Zakazakraja, the Devanti Wastes, and Persitama. Most of the Lords that rule these Holds are former Princesses and Princes of the Kingdom who struck out to establish their own lands when their King or Queen died.

Closer to home, one of the more important features of the Sunset Mountains is the Lake of Long Shadows. Laying between the high mountain peaks of the Range and the southern lands of the Silmari, the Lake is wide, deep, and clear. So clear in fact that one can see the enormous skeletons of several long-dead beasts laying still on the bottom. Whether these were dragons, serpents, or something else no one can rightly say but it is the shadows cast by these bones that gave the lake its name. Fed from the glaciers that spill over the mountains and down to the edge of the lake, it then empties over a great waterfall on the western edge and empties to the sea as the Mare's Leg. Sitting astride the border as it does, the Lake is often the point of diplomatic discussion between the Elves and Dwarves over its management and usage.

On the north side of the Range, where the mountains rise up from their foothills in the Gatalands, the higher mountain valleys and false summits are dotted with monasteries, hermitages, and retreats established by religious and spiritual Orders. Sometimes these are places of quiet contemplation and study while others are dedicated to the practice of certain martial arts, their harsh location a suitable training ground for those who seek physical or spiritual perfection. Not a few are also fabulously wealthy, but woe be to those who think to challenge the Monks of the Iron Jaw for many have fallen to that trap.

Hearth and Anvil
...Despite the Hard Exterior that they might present to those outside the Mountains when they are at home the Dwarves of the Hold are both boisterous and gregarious, enjoying each other's company and trading ribald jests and laughter between them whether it be around the forge or across the table at a tavern.

...the Dwarves are a Practical
People; They find pleasure in craft,
and during their leisure hours they
will indulge in drink and fellowship
and small table games somewhat
like checkers or chess but without
the board. The idea of spectacle as
entertainment is both foreign and
wasteful to them.

However, the Dwarves do have a
place in their hearts for wordplay,
with riddles, songs, and intricate
insults being especially popular.
Thus jesters, minstrels, and other
performers can find the Holds a
profitable stop on their travels.

The City is not divided into different wards but instead into Districts, which are either broadly or narrowly representative of a certain profession depending on how many members of that profession there are. Those with small numbers will be included in a larger general District while others will have their own District; The Barmaids and the Smiths being notable former and latter. These Districts are not physical. While certain professions tend to live together in the city for practical reasons - such as the Tanners - most others live in mixed groups such as there is hardly ever a time when one cannot walk a very short way and find someone who does what one needs to have done.

While many Dwarves learn their first profession at their parent's knee, the Dwarves are a moderately long-lived people and it is very common for a Dwarf to learn one trade while young and then another and finally another more sedate profession as they move into their later years. Thus the Elders in the community are typically very respected for their wide-ranging knowledge and skill and are often sought out for counsel by those making that transition from first to second or third. If this change involves some financial risk or needed backing, the Elders are often the best place to go for this assistance as well.

Beyond the Districts are the Clans - those Dwarves who are related by Birth. In the great scheme of things a Dwarf's Clan is less important than her Trade, but by no means unimportant. Her Trade is her living and her Clan her loyalty and honor though it has been noted that a Dwarf's Clan seems to be more an excuse for drink and celebration rather than anything else. Still, if a young woman has need of hard currency, the Elders of their Clan are the best to approach about such things and it is in this manner that the great wealth of these Clans is sustained.

The Laws of the Kingdom are simple and fair, with justice meted out by an Elder for small matters, a Council of Elders - at least three and up to nine - for large matters, and for great matters and the appeal of lesser the King sits in Judgement. Fines and punishments are the most common outcome; Among the Dwarves the punishment for Murder and Rape is Exile while only Treason is deserving of Death. For lesser crimes it is left to gossip to carry the word around the city while Exile and Death are announced at the top of the Great Stairs before the sentence is carried out.

An Armored Bulwark
...While It Is Rare that the Dwarves take to the field as an Army, when they do it is as a single heavy infantry force that moves with and protects the Clerics of the Silver Dawn as they in turn augment the infantry around them. The King and his retinue form a Steel Hammer that then either strikes at a weak point in the enemy or reinforces their own defenses where needed. Mixed in among the infantry the Blades of the Silver Dawn act as snipers, killing opposing officers and leaders with precision attacks. Whatever formation they adopt, the outer-most edge or corner is typically held by a massive Rune Golem that simply smashes everything that gets close into a bloody ruin.

The Army of the Dwarves is formed from the people of the City. Each family is responsible for keeping a quarter of their adult men and women in arms and equipment and typically each District of the City will turn out their own for drills and maneuvers every month in the Great Square that is otherwise occupied by the Inner Market. This means that in the full Army each Regiment is known by their District; Iron Smiths, Silversmiths, Potters, and the like. This also creates a natural division of responsibility within the Army if it ever takes to the field with the Barmaid Regiment responsible for keeping the rest fed while the Smiths would care for the armor and weapons.

Each Dwarven Regiment is led by the head of the most respected Family in that particular District and by tradition this leadership must be in person. Thus it is that the head of a Family cannot simply grow wealthy, fat, and lazy but must also be ready to take up arms and represent their District in the field. They are also expected to provide much of the logistical resources for their Regiment by way of wagons, haulers, and the like. Thus if a particular Family and the head of their Clan cannot keep up both physically and fiscally they will find themselves replaced by another Family and lose the considerable honor invoked by being the most respected. This has led to both easy rivalries and harsh confrontations between Families within a District at times but as the position is decided by the King, most keep their squabbles small as to avoid drawing his attention.

On occasion scouting or raiding bands will be dispatched from the Mountain to supplement the less-numerous forces of the Silver Dawn. These will typically operate in support but importantly they will always, by tradition, include at least one member from each District among their number. Sometimes these will split into smaller parties to support individual members of the Dawn, but when they leave the UnderMountain they will always be at full strength. It is typically considered a great honor to be chosen for one of these bands with either the head of the District Regiment selecting the individual or, if the head is out of favor or a pointed note to be made, that individual selected by the King directly.

With a general preference for not going Outside, Adventurers and Exiles are both an important if often overlooked part of the Defense of the Mountain. On their first coming to the Mountain the first can be expected to present themselves to the Steward who will question them on their travels. Those who present themselves well or who have stories of especial interest will often be invited to dine formally with the Queen, who will then question them further. Those who provide her with an enjoyable, useful story may find themselves further rewarded with coin and treasure. For an Exile, the opportunity is to tell a stone-faced border guard their story and hope that it is important enough for the King to grant them Pardon.

Elune, the Goddess of the Moon

...Among the Dwarves under the Mountain, religion is mostly a personal thing. Most Manors will have a small communal shrine where a simple ceremony is held every full moon to honor Elune, who is credited with guiding their ancestors to the cave that once stood where the Great Gate now looms. For those more fervent in their worship - particularly those of the Silver Dawn who derive their holy powers from the Moon Goddess - there is a matching ceremony but much larger in both scale and pageantry on the Steps just outside the Gate. Here the Silver Dawn turns out in full fighting array while the High Priest of Elune prays over them, blessing them for their fight against Evil. This ceremony continues from dusk to dawn and is often attended by both dignitaries and priests from foreign lands, particularly those who worship one of the many faces of Elune.

Where in other lands an eclipse of the moon might be the herald of dark tidings, the Dwarves have taken to celebrating it as a holiday of renewal. Gifts are exchanged and children born on this night are often dedicated to Elune and the priesthood. Some aspects of the Scribing of Runes are also particularly potent on these nights and thus despite the revelry the workshops of the Scriveners will still ring with the sound of hammer and chisel. Trade Caravans in foreign lands will also celebrate, though many a canny caravan master has used both as an excuse to draw those frightened in to examine and consider their wares more closely.

The Silver Dawn

...The Silver Dawn is the Light that pulls back the Darkness and it travels freely in both. Clerics who spread the word of the Light and bring healing to ease the suffering are shadowed by Assassins who cut out the heart of evil. There is no competition between the two but rather an exacting cooperation that sees white robes fighting back-to-back with black leather. To the Dwarves there is no strangeness in this; Both Darkness and Light are required in the fight against Evil and to allow one or the other to be claimed as exclusive domains is to sacrifice half the battlefield before the war has even begun.

The symbol of the Silver Dawn is a knife-blade hammer under the outline of a many-ray sun and this in turn symbolizes the three-fold aspect of the Order. The Silver Hammer oversees the recruitment, training, and ordering of the Clerics while the Silver Dagger is responsible in a similar way for the Assassins. Uniquely, these two then meet in the middle with the Paladins. Rather than wearing heavy armor and adopting tactics more similar to heavy infantry, the Paladins of the Silver Dawn are a mix of the two; Holy Assassins who use their magical abilities to smite evil in the darkest places.

The War of the Blazing Deep

The Dir'Morka
...Deep in the Winding Warrens
between the City and the Twilight
Forest a hidden cult lives out their
lives in secret, constantly on the run
from both the clerics and the
assassins of the Silver Dawn. This is
the Dir'Morka, a group dedicated to
the demonic Lord of Darkness; Morka.
Their constant goal is to find a way
past the vaults, paladins, traps,
assassins, and wards to the Black
Gateway. If they ever succeed they
will unleash a prophesied doom that
will spell the end of the UnderMountain.
...Hundreds of Years Ago, when the Dwarves of the Sunset Range were a younger People, there lived the greatest Rune Scribe to have every laid chisel to steel; Dolir ScrivenBorne. His skill and insight were such that many of the marks laid out by his hand still survive to this day and even now both weapons and armor crafted by his hand are among the most treasured. It is said that it is he who created the Rune Golems - though this seems apocryphal, as tales of similar works circulated before his time - and that his prestige was second only to the King. But it was this very prestige and his arrogance that ended the first Golden Age.

To link the far realms of the King, Dolir ScrivenBorne was asked if there was some method that might be constructed using Runic Magic and the Master Scribe responded by creating the Black Gateway. Forged out of pure black iron and inscribed with runes of power that none but he understood, the Gateway was erected in a special vault built under the Grand Staircase that now hosts the Outer Market. When properly linked with other gates built in the distant corners of the Empire, they would allow trade to pass rapidly between the cities but that promise proved disastrously misleading. What was not known - and what is still a closely held secret by the Silver Dawn - is that the Gateway would work by opening a portal into another realm and through it allow swift travel to the other portals.

This was the Nightmare Realm of Kinok and the Pit.

In his arrogance, Dolir failed to both investigate and consider the aspects of this unknown dimension. What he at first assumed to be a wasteland of Giant Monsters and Elder Dragons that would pay no notice to his portals proved instead to be the home of an endless ocean of demons and horrors, a land of strife and conflict that would boil over into the land of the Dwarves when the gateway was discovered. Grand plans were laid to construct more portals and their carving was begun but barely had the Master Scribe laid chisel to iron when the inevitable happened and a small party of Demons discovered the portal and ventured through. While they were slain in short order, that too proved disastrous.

Presuming that the Demons were part of a larger settlement that must be near the Gateway, the King ordered an expedition through to find and destroy it. Considering the matter settled, he watched as a band of warriors hundreds strong marched through... And never returned. Instead a boiling tide of Demons erupted from the portal that very afternoon, quickly wiping out what little resistance there was - and killing Dolir ScrivenBorne in the process - before launching a vigorous attack directly on the Steward's Chair. The Inner Market was seized and it was only through the swift actions of the Garrison that the City was closed off and so began the War of the Blazing Deep. Free to roam, and with the defenders of the Empire bottled up inside the City, the Demons were free to do as they pleased and every day more and more flooded through the Black Gateway.

A vast pit was carved out at the foot of the Stairs and at its center rose a Dark Citadel. Through their arrow slits the Dwarves could only watch as wild packs of Demons were sent forth to despoil the countryside, returning with both slaves and treasure that could only be destined for dark tortures in the Citadel's depths. Plans were laid but every foray was met with the overwhelming strength of the Demon Tides but neither could the Demons break through the stout defense of the Dwarves. The avenues between the City and the Market became a battlefield with many sections from that time still blocked off by the mighty battles that raged. Many thousands were slain on both sides and the great chasm below the bridges that guarded the last passages into the City rose with the scent of death.

It was a young Dwarf who would finally break the siege. Courageous and deft, he was able to slip through hidden ways and the darkest shadows to carry a message past the Demons to distant Zin-Silmari and rally them together for a single grand battle that would decide the fate of the Kingdom. While the gathered armies of Elves and Men clashed at the edge of the Dark Citadel, the Dwarves made one last great push from behind the gates of the City and fought through to the foot of the Stairs. There, before the very Gateway, the King fought together with a great Champion of Kinok and drove him back through the portal before collapsing of his own wounds. The Gateway was sealed behind stone, iron, and ward and set under watch by the newly founded Silver Dawn.

The Dark Citadel itself was razed and then rebuilt, rising into a stout tower peaked with a great fire that now serves to guide both traders and those who venture out on the surface back to the Mountain. Climbing the many thousands of steps during the day is considered a fitting trial for those wishing to join the Silver Dawn or settle some manner of honor. Once a year the King too climbs the steps with a torch in hand to light the brazier at the top. It is said that if he falters and the flame is not lit then the Demons will return before he dies.

The Carving of Runes
...With Few Exceptions, the Magic of the Dwarves under the Mountain is accomplished in the form of carved runes that contain and channel the forces of magic in a useful direction. This knowledge is both widespread and specific; While a smith or a barmaid might know how to carve a rune into their anvil to keep their hammer face clean or the mug on the table cold, only the mostly highly skilled of Runic Scribes can accomplish the crafting of runes across multiple disciplines and these Dwarves are highly sought after and nearly all taken into the service of the King. Working with the elder smiths, they can accomplish the forging of great weapons, armor, and artifacts of power and most of these are dedicated directly to the service of the Silver Dawn.

Despite this, some few runic weapons and other items drift out of the Mountain though the least likely and yet most desired will never leave their gates. These are the titanic Rune Golems, living guardians of the mountain who stand implacable at her gates. It is these that have proven the staunchest foe to the demons that have made the occasional attack; Incorruptible, they are juggernauts of destruction that care not for the blows of claws or the scorching heat of fiery breath. On rare occasion a trade caravan will depart the Sunset Range with one of these stone warriors at the front, a sure sign that a member of the King's household is among them.

...An Inescapable Facet of the
Construction of Runes is that
their power is intrinsically
linked to their size. The larger
and thus more complex the
Rune, the more powerful and
more complex the effect of its
Magic. Small items like Rings
and Pendants have singular
and very distinct effects while
others like the Rune Golems
may have many different
effects and have incredible
power. However; The larger
the potential Rune the harder
it is to construct. One false
blow can ruin many months
or even years of effort.
The selection of a Rune Scribe and their training in the art is a carefully considered thing under the Mountain. While most of the Dwarves will be able to produce one, two, or even a handful of individual runes with enough skill to empower them, the truly gifted are often able to scribe them from a very young age and it is these that the Masters of the Scribes keep a careful watch out for. When one is uncovered - and only one in many thousands may be born - they are immediately inducted into the Order and educated by the Masters themselves. The discovery and induction of new scribes is of the highest importance to the Order; Not only are they individually rare, but an untrained scribe is potentially dangerous and often reckless with their skill. Runes interact in seemingly strange ways and without a lifetime of experience to guide a young hand the untrained often die at their own hands.

Once correctly carved a Rune is permanent, lasting until the item it is carved on is destroyed or the Rune itself is sufficiently damaged. Each Rune takes about a month to scribe thus items with multiple runes represent a significant investment in time and are worth more and more for each. Some scribes are willing to take work on commission; An item of masterwork or better quality is provided, along with a suitable payment per-Rune (typically two or three ingots of a rare or magical material) and work begins.

...The Realms Under the Mountains are home to many strange and unusual creatures and those who find themselves in the Domain of the Dwarves are bound to encounter some few sooner rather than later. Some, like the Nor Baht, are harmless while others such as the Scrivener's Torment are deadly foes.

...At the Western-Most Edge of their
Holdings lies the extinct volcano Xtayk.
It is said that the heart of this volcano
was not the heart of the earth but instead
a portal to the demon realms, where
metal flows like water and the air burns
the lungs. It is here, where the strange
magics of that foul land met the heart of
the earth that one can now find Xtaykium,
a black glass-like metal that works in
shards and flakes, though far harder than
obsidian. It is said that weapons crafted
from this metal can pierce the soul, while
armor made from it can keep the soul in
the body past death itself. Only a few
Rune Scriveners can work this material
and so items made from it are
exceptionally rare; A ring, a circlet, a
dagger - nothing more than that has been
seen outside the Dwarven lands.

Traders and Travelers from Far Away Lands
...While the Dwarves Under the Mountain prefer their own company - and their own Market - rare trade caravans do occasionally depart the Mountain bound for distant lands. Some travel on the Deep Roads while others take to the rutted wilderness and these - with heavy wains laden with treasures from under the Mountain - are the most fabulous as well as desirable; both for those able to afford trade with the Dwarves and those not. Thus the caravans go out with both merchants and guards and occasionally a massive Rune Golem to dissuade most any potential bandit.

The following are both common Dwarven exports - for their definition of common - and regular imports. Imports are more common than exports; The Dwarves are rich with coin but things that grow are hard to find in the depths of the Mountain. High on the list for any Caravan Master are items of rarity, then exotic foods, liquors, and animals.

The Republic of Sunset