"The Complaint" Document in Erisdaire | World Anvil

"The Complaint"

I really think the whole thing was blown out of proportion, linked to several other minor irritations, and thus exaggerated. It's not like many people alive right now were involved in the matter, so holding a grudge just feels like a waste of energy.
— Emerin Nailo, Elven ambassador
  Common knowledge among Imperial citizens tells of how elves and dwarves do not get along, even in the face of such people dwelling in the same city peacefully. Part of this is due to simply not understanding the natures of the other cultures, and believing the choice of different habitats is due to an animosity. But perhaps most telling are repeated rumors of an event which revolves around a single missive delivered from the Goldbraid Clan to elves of Alodel. It never officially received any particular name, but it has come to be called "The Complaint" in the eras after.

Common knowledge, again, suggests dwarves have a tendency to let their rage smolder until it can be properly unleashed on the source of such ire. The truth is a little more difficult to pin down, as there are a couple of important factors to consider. Insulting an individual dwarf may not invoke a strong reaction, but even a mild insult to the clan can bring a dwarf to a violent anger. By contrast, elves have very long lives and learned to take a different perspective on matters. After all, if the insult is delivered by someone who is going to be dead and forgotten relatively soon then there is no need to be upset. Furthermore, those long lives mean it can be very difficult for others to get a full grasp of an elf's personality - how many mature elves can truly claim to be known by someone living for a fraction of their ages?

This is the difference between the two peoples which caused "The Complaint" to be received as poorly as it was.

Historical Details


In the days when the Samerine ruled the elves, they were steadily rebuilding their power and influence on Erisdaire. This meant long-abandoned cities and fortresses became active again, in the interest of securing the borders. Despite the common views, elves do, in fact, have mines they utilize to acquire stone and ore to work with. When elves returned to many of the rich veins they knew of, they found a few dwarven clans had 'discovered' them and moved in to exploit them. At that time House Xilocient had been charged with the task, and the effort was headed by Lord Cianth. Lord Cianth was known among the elves for being "focused on the task", a kinder way of suggesting he was prone to ignoring potential consequences of a course of action. It took some word returned to him about the mines being in use by the dwarves of the Goldbraid and Shieldmount Clans. His response was delivered in the form of a message to one mine, under the belief the dwarves were unified.

At the time, the clans had been grumbling over unification as an option, spearheaded by the Hammerun Clan. Most of the clans were willing to work together, but not to give over any actual authority to people outside their clan. Clans Goldbraid and Shieldmount were on opposite sides of the idea, with Goldbraid being in favor of individual rule while Shieldmount believed a unification could allow the dwarves to handle external threats much easier. This was the situation an elven messenger walked into, delivering the letter from Lord Cianth to the mine overseer belonging to the Goldbraid Clan.

Thus the young elf had no idea why suddenly the dwarves were shouting in their own language to each other and making animated gestures at both the letter and the messenger. The message was impaled on a javelin and handed back to the elf with a terse ultimatum: "bother us again and we'll return the next letter pinned to the messenger".

Elves are known for usually having an abundance of patience, and Lord Ciath did have a diplomatic side. Instead of simply assuming diplomacy was finished, he sent the second message to the mine held by the Shieldmount dwarves with a firmer tone. Naturally, the Shieldmount dwarves had no idea about the events around the first message and were somewhat mystified as to why this letter assumed they were already belligerent. A reply was drafted, and sent back, while another letter was dispatched to other local clans. Once the whole situation began to take shape, the matter of unification suddenly became a much more pressing concern.

It took some years to properly build a framework to satisfy the majority of dwarven clans, but in the end the Adamant Clan was formed to act as the binding force bringing all the disparate clans together. Among their first duties was to draft a response to the elves who lived in the Arodel Forest near the mines, and offer clear details about what the dwarves wanted out of the matter.

This would go on to be known later as "The Complaint", a rather innocuous term for a document written on a scroll nearly seven feet in length.


Following the delivery of "the Complaint", the Lord Cianth was supposed to seek counsel from the elder members of his House. After all, the matter of these mines' ownership now threatened to start a war which neither side really could afford to wage. The dwarves were mustering defenders who were armed and ready to defend the mines from any intrusions. The possibility of an actual offensive strike was not out of the question, as far as the elves knew, and House matters could take many months to handle even a simple matter. Thus Lord Cianth Xilocient made a decision which shaped the futures of these two empires: he ordered the House guard to muster and find any willing to fight. To his credit, he refrained from insisting on action even as there was an implication of an imminent threat. As it would turn out, it would not matter.

History is incredibly murky on exactly who attacked first. According to members of the Goldbraid Clan, elves struck under the cover of night and tried sealing entry into the mines. When they were discovered, they instead opted to fight to the death with incredible ferocity. According to the elves, the dwarves used some of their mining explosives to open a sinkhole under the Citadel of Whispering Boughs which killed hundreds of elves. These two events are both credited with being the first actual action of the First Elven-Dwarven War.

The fighting took place over several decades, yet consisted of relatively few combat engagements. Despite this, the casualties were mounting on both sides with neither willing to back down. It took an extraordinary effort by the Samerine to intervene and directly meet with a member of the Adamant Clan to propose a truce. The Armistice of Holly was signed to cede control of the mines to the dwarven clans in exchange for several shipments of high-quality ore to serve as recompense for collateral damages done during the war to civilians. The elves ceased to explore mining opportunities on their western borders, choosing to pursue other options.
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