The Dwarven Twists
"You're awfully hap~ what is that?"
"Oh this?" Vostog stoked his beard and his wife nodded profusely. "Don't you like it? It's my new wig."
"You're not entitled to a wig. You tried it last time and were unsuccessful. How did you manage to get your permission slip?"
The dwarf shuffled closer to his wife and whispered, "I got a counterfeit beard."
"You got a what?!" Vostog's wife took a step backwards in shock. "Do you have any idea what kind of trouble awaits you when they find out?"
Irrean Social StatusThe Irreans have two parallel social status types: the ladder and the mark. The average dwarf will always find themselves on the ladder, while a significantly smaller portion of the population will bear a mark. It is impossible to have both types at the same time, since that would conflict with the meaning of the mark.
The Social LadderThe elaborateness of the facial and head hair of a man or women determines a dwarfs status on the ladder. A more extravagant design will land them in a higher position in the community. Within the Irrean social ladder, there are three primary social stairs. These are the working, middle, and high class. To outsiders, these social stairs are black and white with nothing in between. For dwarfs, however, there is an unspoken rule that the large grey areas exist between the positions such as lower middle class and upper higher class. Most dwarfs receive their starting status the moment they become of service to the community. That happens when they have reached adolescence and have chosen a profession. Depending on their profession, the government assigns them a status in writing as many dwarfs do not have the means or the hair to correspond with the social status linked to it. By growing and grooming the beard and hair, a dwarf can climb the social ladder. However, there are few dwarfs that strive to become part of the highest class. While reaching the top depends on the dwarf's profession, most believe that they should first and foremost enjoy themselves and their work.
The MarksThe dwarfs bearing a mark have a special place in Irrean society. They represent either a temporary social class or the position of the bearer in the community.
Outcast dwarfs receive this status in a public shaming event where they get all their facial and head hair shaved off. Naturally, outcast is a bad social class to be in, since it clearly shows that a dwarf is not accepted by the general community.
They also receive the Mark of the Outcast in their neck that prevents all of their hair from growing back. That way, everyone can see that they are not welcome or that they have to redeem themselves. The latter is the only method to become accepted into society again, but it has not happened frequently.
One surefire way to receive this status, is by partaking in illegal activities. In many cases, these activities often hurt the grooming industry or a dwarf directly. When a dwarf is caught wearing a beard wig without permission from the government, they will receive the status as well including a punishment.
Travellers in Irrean society are the dwarfs that are not contributing to the community yet, because they are in search of enlightenment. Therefore, Irreans deem it fitting that these dwarfs are not entitled to a social status until they do so. Since the search of these dwarfs often requires journeying all over Vallahir, society has given them the name Traveller.
However, there is no shame in being a Traveller. Dwarfs believe firmly that everyone has the right to discover their passion; no matter how long it takes. Especially the two primary undertakings of a Traveller are very important. These are the pilgrimage to Dunfaern for Te Akoranga and the search for a fitting profession. These will decide the path a dwarf will walk for most of their life. Hence, they deserve the right to take their time for it, as it is not a decision taken lightly.
A dwarf becomes a Traveller when they receive the Mark of the Traveller from the government. For that, they have to submit their travel plans. Once the government approves of it, they send the dwarf a set of the mark. These are small wooden slabs that can be integrated in the beard or hair easily, so everyone can clearly see that they are a Traveller.
The imperial social status speaks for itself. People of the imperial family receive this status along with the Imperial Mark upon their birth or when marrying into it. Unfortunately, the beard nor hair cannot help any dwarf in their quest to become imperial.
The Imperial Mark allows dwarfs to recognise those who are of Imperial status. This mark is a magical spell placed upon the right forearm of a member. The mark seemingly does nothing when touched.
However, everyone would love to be Imperial or be seen as such. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that there are fake Imperial Marks circling through Irrean society. For those unaware of the powers of the true Imperial Mark, there seems to be no difference. Yet, there are many people around that can recognise the fakes. Those wearing a fake mark will receive the Mark of the Outcast the following day.
The Akorani are the dwarfs that work in service of the temples and monasteries connected to Te Akoranga. Some branches require the dwarfs in its service to be shaven clean, others demand they wear a specific style of hair and beard. These dwarfs are the only ones allowed to dye their hair on a regular basis if Te Akoranga demands it. All other dwarfs are never allowed to dye their hair, except for a few religious festivals and holidays. Even during those events, the Akorani are the ones actually dyeing the hair of fellow dwarfs to keep the ritual behind it sacred.
The Female Dwarven TwistsIf there is one controversial topic when it comes to this, it is the dwarven twists on female dwarfs. However, the message has become much clearer over the past few decades. However, old dwarfish clans that are not heavily influenced by the Irreans have kept many of their older traditions and beliefs. They believe that any female who is proud to keep their beard, is bound to become a strong and powerful individual. By embracing their traits and who they are, they show true determination and no fear towards what others think of them.
Beard and Hair CareDwarfs take meticulous care of their beloved beards and hair. Many spend much time on grooming and maintaining their works of art. It is customary to try and create intriguing designs that stand out from the crowd. However, even a simple beard that is well groomed and maintained will be received much better than a failed design. After all, the hair and the care that goes into it is a way for dwarfs to express themselves to the world. To make their beards and head hair as elaborate as possible, dwarfs take three primary factors into consideration:
LengthDwarfs use the length of the beard to easily distinguish who works with their hands the most. The longer the hair, the more elaborate designs dwarfs can create with it. In many cases, the beard can get in the way of work such as mining and blacksmithing. Dwarfs in these professions often cut their beards very short to avoid accidentally hurting themselves. It wouldn't be the first time a dwarf would stumble into one of Duran's monasteries with an axe in the beard or a burned chin accompanied with burned facial hair.
"Argh!" The blacksmith roared. "Hawt, hawt, hawt!"
The young dwarf quickly got a wet towel and put it around the old dwarf's beard.
"You really should consider trimming off your beard," the young boy said. "Or you'll rip your chin skin off. Or even worse, burn y our face!"
"Lad, when you grow older, you'll come to understand the importance of the beard," the old dwarf said calmly but still with a hint of pain in his voice. "Now, let's get back to work. This sword won't shape itself."
BraidingWhen the (facial) hair is long enough, dwarfs can add extra finesse by braiding it. Some dwarfs like to make their braiding more intricate to climb the social ladder. Others like the look of a simple but very effective braid that makes them appear clean and strong. For dwarfs, there is a sense of elaborateness in both types of braiding. In the end, it is all about the execution and how well it suits the dwarf to determine its effectiveness. However, for true extravagance, the most intricate design will win. Do not be fooled, braiding is difficult to master, especially on oneself. However, with the importance of this technique, dwarfs deem it essential to learn it as early as possible. Therefore, children learn how to braid as early as ten years old. They practice on their parents hair who often teach their children. If a parent does not have the time to teach their children, they can hire a Beard Groomer. A truly proud parent would never do away with their child's first successful braid for a week to show their community their child has finally started to master the art. As the children grow up, they move from practicing on their parents hair to their hair. At this stage, it has grown enough to teach them the importance of grooming in general. They learn the importance of different types of oil and combs.
DecorationThe next step in creating a more elaborate beard or head hair design lies in the decoration. The types of decoration truly shows the appreciation of the beard. Furthermore, decorating the hair properly contributes to the overall design and occasion. Especially during religious traditions or old dwarfish rituals, it is common to weave specific objects to the grand design. There are a few things with which a dwarf can decorate their hair. These can be jewelry, rings, coils, and ornaments for every day life. Jewelcrafters and blacksmiths can create these based on commission, or they are readily available at groomer shops. Depending on the dwarf, they can decide if they want to rotate their design and therefore the decoration of their beard on a regular basis. Some stay with the same design which becomes their staple and sets them apart from the other dwarfs.
Table of Contents
Come and get your grooming kit at Barthen's Grooming! It has ev'rything you need to grow a proper long beard and hair. We have included four types of oil and three combs to get you well on your way towards the most prestigious beard and hair!
Dwarven Twists in PracticeThe Dwarven Twists are everywhere; ranging from everyday life to religious traditions and old dwarfish rituals. Here are a few notable examples of the importance of the beard and hair in dwarfish society.
Religious TraditionsWith Te Akoranga standing at the heart of most dwarfs, there are a few religious traditions that surround the hair.
Vlezma DopariBefore the festivities of Vlezma Dopari, all dwarfs make their way to the Twilmagne Mountains to search for the Muramura. It is a little glowing mushroom growing in the caves of the mountains. The dwarfs harvest a small number of these Muramura and take it back home with them. On the day of the festivities, dwarfs decorate their hair with them. Together, they watch from a distance the Muramura release their spores. By putting these mushrooms in the spotlight, they celebrate the hidden life that keeps the planet and its natural ecosystem flowing.
According to many a legend, the birth of Ogalthr, Deity of the Earth, was violent. The mountains formed and volcanoes erupted as he stepped out of the core of the planet. Dwarfs celebrate Ogalthr's Birth where they offer their sincerest thanks for his duties to the world, but also ask him to say within the planet to avoid devastating their home.
For the rituals on this day, the female priests of the Pillar of Earth dye the hair of the females fiery red, representing the lava flowing out of the volcano.. The male priests braid the beards of men like a little birds nest. In it, they put a tiny magical fire, which makes the beard look like a lantern. It represents the peacefulness of the deity at the center of the earth.
Old Dwarfish RitualsIn many Dwarfish clans, where they still value the old ways the most, the hair fullfills an emotional role in the traditional rituals.
Departure of ye BelovedDeparture of ye Beloved is an amazingly beautiful example where a dwarf's hair plays an important role in an old Dwarfish ritual. When the partner or parent of a dwarf has left the mortal world to venture on to The Realm of Eternal Slumber, they leave behind their bodies for their family. The head of the clan collects hair of the departed and puts it through a secret process passed down from one clan head to the next. During the ritual, they give small braids made with the hair of the departed to the members of the family, so they can put it as extensions in their hair or beard and keep their beloved one close to their hearts.
Bonding of ye FireAnother old Dwarfish ritual where hair has a central part in it, is in the Bonding of ye Fire where two dwarfs will become bound forever. One step in this ritual consists of carefully grooming the other dwarfs hair the same way they do it themselves. It shows that the two dwarfs truly know each other as taking care of themselves is an extremely personal part of life. To accommodate this step, the dwarfs must prepare by only doing the bare minimum grooming themselves before the ritual, which is the oiling and combing of the hair and the other dwarf will complete the rest.
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