Two thousand years ago the world of Celmae was a different place. Mighty orcish empires stretched across the land. Through the work of their primitive, human slaves, they built towering monuments of stone to their wicked gods and performed fiendish rites in their names. High in the mountains, Ice-giants wrestled terrible, frost-breathing dragons, while deep in the oceans kingdoms, merfolk lived in perpetual peace. Magic was known universally as a gift from the gods and employed by many folk in their daily lives. Gnome wizards from Pesha and Zarnatha succeeded in inscribing the first arcane scrolls. The world was harmonious and filled with wonder.
But beneath the surface the dwarf clans warred with one another, stubbornly adhering to an ancient decree that permitted only one clan to control a single ore. Eventually the clans grew jealous of each other’s wealth and the Kingslayer Wars began, lasting for five long centuries.
In the year 137 B.S. (Before the Shattering), miners and explorers uncovered a rich deposit of an unknown ore. It was stronger than osmium, harder than gnomish amber, and the weapons and armor crafted from it were nearly indestructible. Naming this new mineral, “Deep-Metal” the dwarves greedily harvested it, discovering over the following hundred years that it completely encapsulated the planet’s core. During this time dwarves crafted many of the deadliest weapons of war the world has ever known.
Then, in 41 B.S., the clans were finally all conquered, submitting to the rule of the self-named, Deep-Metal Dwarves. For the next four decades this new empire turned their war-focused attentions towards the surface orcs and the vile grimlocks below. Thousands perished in the onslaught.
In the early hours of the 3rd day of Harvest-Leaf, dwarven miners broke through the deep-ore sphere. Escaping volcanic gas immolated them instantly so no one truly knows what happened next. When a party was sent to check on the missing dwarves, they found corpses, and deep fissures spider-webbing across the deep-ore sphere. Over the next seven days massive earth quakes shook the planet, decimating cities across Celmae. With each tremor the deep-ore sphere cracked further. Then, with a force never before witnessed, the sphere exploded, and the raw power fractured the world.
Continent sized chunks of land were thrown miles into the sky, some crumbling to drifting rubble, others becoming fixed, or floating in their own unique orbits. Cultures were annihilated, empires obliterated, and entire races were wiped from existence in a matter of seconds.
Titanic, horrifying entities long thought dead or dreaming, awoke from their ancient tombs and plagued the new turbulent oceans and the ruined surface cities. Armageddon had come to Celmae. The few that survived blamed the gods.
The dwarves blamed themselves.
Vowing to right this terrible wrong, they destroyed and decommissioned their most dangerous weapons of war, and began the Crusade of Metal searching out the remaining pieces of the deep-ore sphere. They turned their battle skills toward the newly revived horrors from below and unified their faith behind Adan, the Forge-Father, using his divine strength to aid their efforts.
To this day many dwarves carry an inherited guilt for this tragedy and continue battling against the alien terrors now threatening Celmae. Without this struggle, the world might be plunged into a permanent age of darkness.
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