Bjarghjarta Settlement in Koria | World Anvil

Bjarghjarta

Mountain Heart

Overview

 
Bjarghjarta or Mountain Heart is one - no, the oldest - city of the dwarven clans and the first city in general, originally built, inhabited and maintained by the first dwarven clan, the Stonekin dwarves. In general the word Stonekin refers to all dwarven clans, but often enough it means the clan as well.
 
To be fair, for the most people there is only the difference between the Magmakin with their dark skin and red eyes, the normal dwarves like the Stonekin and the surface dwarves like the Copperkin with their brown-ish skin.
 
The city and the city gates are located in a valley, protected by two large foothills. Located at the end of the foothills where they meet the mountain range, there are the gates of the Mountain Heart.
 

Structure

 
Mountain Heart is a city of three (main) parts: Entrance, Mountain Heart, the Lodes.
   

Entrance & Gates

The entrance is located between the foothills and protected by a really strong and thick gate. Ballistae, catapults, oil thrower and an army of dwarves protect it.
Behind the gate one can find the defenses, small markets for resting and awaiting entrance. There are also the whole machinery for the defenses, ammunition and supply tunnels.

Mountain Heart

The largest part and literally the heart of the entire city. Markets, workshops, garrisons, training grounds, military, the large temple and the entire palace including staff are close to each other.

The Lodes

The Lodes are basically the living quarters of the city. On top are the diamond lodes (yeah, we and the dwarves know that diamonds don't appear in lodes), down the gold, silver, copper etc. lodes. It doesn't matter if it appears in the open nature, it is just the way it is designed. And since lodes are beneath layers of earth the dwarves designed it in layers of layers.
 

History & Age

 
As the dwarves are one of the younger races in Koria, Mountain Heart isn't that old, close to thirty thousand years and started as a small settlement at the foot of the Long Neck in between said foothills. Not on the surface, but so close to the surface it was merely a hole in the ground.
 
Over the years the Stonekin discovered that inside the mountains treasures await, be it in terms of lodes with coal and iron or diamonds. They started to dig, to defend, to prepare for war and to trade.
 
The gates were small at the beginning. Until the Goblins attacked the first time. They were no good fighters, but they were many, butchered and enslaved a lot of dwarves and dragged them into their caves on the other side of the mountain range.
 
Shortly after the Orcs attacked, attracted by the metal and resources the dwarves crafted and had at their hands. It was a massacre and only the first Hearthkeeper could halt the advancement of the orcs with a firestorm and a self-sacrifice.
 
The gate was broken down and built up larger and wider than before, outfitted with catapults. Then the Garladans and then the Elves attacked, both for different reasons. Garladans for enslaving reasons and High Elves... they didn't liked the Underground Worms at the time.
 
At some point the Humans waged war against the dwarves, just out of greed and fear. They thought the dwarves wanted to summon demons from behind the veil. The war was long and exhausting, tested the defenses and raised new methods including the feared ballistae. Now Mountain Heart is looking like it does.
   

Defenses

 
Mountain Heart has only one large gate. It is flanked and overlooked by small towers with ballistae, on the walls oil-launcher and crossbow shooter await incoming forces. A bit before that they have errected Watchtowers which are the first defense and not expected to last long. They are only designed to weaken and beat the enemy as good as they can.
 
Behind the main wall the dwarves put catapults on a moveable base each, accompanied by ballistae-like stone catapults and large trebuchets high up at the side of the mountain sides. They can bring down heavy fire of firebombs, oil, stone or high-explosive barrels. This barrage can turn the entire valley into a hellish landscape. Which was done twice at this point.
 
Additionally the clans of Bjarghjarta had created the Skapaðflaugar, a huge kite which can glide a few hundred meters. It is armed with various pots, be it acid or explosives. Its frame is causing additional damage on impact and its construction is relatively cheap.
 
If one enters the main gate, one will see that the gate to the next district - the literal Mountain Heart - is closed, barred and defended by very, very grim dwarves, a lot of crossbows, ballistae and stonebows: crossbows which shoot round stones in the size of a fist. They can even puncture plate armours and have next to zero ballistics, they just fly in a straight line.
 
If this line breaks as well, the city is going into lockdown. That means the military - which is most of the population - brings the rest of the non-soldiers into the basement of the palace and locks down the Lode district, so it appears that the most valuable stuff, the citizens, are locked inside the living quarters. A few squads arm the defenses to the living quarters, but the rest is divided between the temple and the palace. Both are also heavily defended and fortified and the Hearthseeker try to eliminated the enemy with literal fire.
 

Life Supply

 
Besides trading the dwarves learned a lot of lenses and light and the interaction between mushrooms, plants and sunlight. They built a highly complicated system of gigantic (or not so gigantic) lenses and mirrors which directs the sunlight into the heart of the mountain and to the crops. Sometimes even to their mushrooms, depending on the shroom they want to grow and harvest.
 
Deep down at the bottom of Mountain Heart flows a deep, wide and crystal-clear river, rich on minerals. Three large watermills are carrying water high up to the mountain peak where it is flowing down in spirales back into the river. It is used for mills, workshops, smithies, bakeries and everything that needs water, even the Lodes.
 

Waste Management

 
Dwarven biological waste is going into the large underground fields, other bio-waste is treated like fertilizer or material for the ovens. Everything else they try to sell, to reuse or repurpose. You can't use coins as a steel barrier or a metal beams. So they try to use everything as good as possible.
 

Taxes

  Dwarves pay taxes.
  • 3% every citizen
  • 9% workshops
  • 10% when working for the palace
  • 12% smithies when not working for the palace
  • 20% when creating stuff for outsiders
 
They all pay it at the end of a year to the palace. A financial advisor collects your books and calculates the payment. If paid, you get a nice amulet with a sigil and the number of the year so you have proof of the payment. If not, it adds up to the next year (up to six times) and if you can't pay at the end of it, you lose your shop, employment, other stuff. Not honourable indeed, but it is not honourable to steal from your royal couple.
 

Stories from within the mountain

 
"Dwarves pay taxes."
"Yeah?"
"No, why?"
"Why not? Why wouldn't they?"
"It is kinda strange... to whom?"
"Their king? How else would they make money?"
"Hm... Mithril?"
— Adventurers
 
"By ma beard, why do I need to pay them back 10% of ma hard earned coins? Why can't they just pay me 90% and keep their taxes?"
"So it isn't overly complicated." The counselor tapped with his slender finger onto the thick leather book. "If ya forget to get ahold of ya recipe or if ya forget to mark it as the right amount because ya worked for ya king, then it will cause ripples. In ma nerves, the nerves of ya king and in our books.
So we just pay ya the right amount, we compare it to our books and charge ya the correct amount."
— Angry smith and one of the financial counselors
 
Mountain Heart is an old lady. You might think that she became weak. That time, weather and pressure from all of that stone made her wither, made her uncaring. Making her... unreliable. But you are wrong. Mountain Heart is a home to four dwarven clans and every clans has its own right and interest into the protection of the clan, be it through soldiers, coin or political influence.
One time Mountain Heart was tested as the author was there. Orcs, Trolls, Giants and a lot of Goblins thought the dawn of a new day would be a good time to advance on the probably sleepy dwarves.
Big, bad mistake. I never saw such a beautifully executed massacre. Ballistae, trebuchet, crossbow bolts... fire, explosions, screaming. No Giant reached the gate of Mountain Heart, their bones a testament to the defensive capabilities and the hard stubborness of the dwarves and their Mountain Heart.
— From "Stonekins - Mead, meat and mushrooms"
 
Mountain Heart... well, what is there to describe? The Entrance after the gate? The statues, the carvings or the machinery high up on the ceiling? Ironclad dwarves, grim and grinning, beards braided, axes sharp and ready? Or the statues, shaped like dwarven kings and heroes, their eyes glooming with ember? Or the firebowls, illuminating the entire scenery?
 
Or Mountain Heart itself? A semi-circular district which looks chaotic from the outside, but once you get the view from top, you see it is a well-placed pattern. Distributed into smaller districts of their own, after size and employment, all around the huge palace and the temple which are sitting very close next to each other.
 
And don't let me start on the Lodes. Layer over layer of houses, huts and villas, getting more expensive and pompous the higher up the mountain you travel. Even the Coal Lode - which is the basic Lode, where all the normal dwarves live - is more luxurious than a human house by far. Living here is an experience everyone should make once in their lifetime.
 
Except when you are a Goblin or a Garladan. Then... maybe not.
— From "Stonekins - Mead, meat and mushrooms"
Mountain Heart by CrazyEddie via Midjourney

Dwarven Temple in Mountain Heart by CrazyEddie via Midjourney

Dwarven Palace in Mountain Heart by CrazyEddie via Midjourney
Map of the megaproject Koria.
Type
Capital
Location under
Clans of Bjarghjarta
Stonekin
Claykin
Goldkin
Rubykin


Cover image: Koria Main Header by CrazyEddie via Midjourney

Comments

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Jul 19, 2023 22:36 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love the quotes! They add so much life.   I think my favourite bit is either the section on taxes or the section on defences. I like that the defences section progressively moves closer to the centre of the city.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 19, 2023 23:04

Thanks for reading this chunky boi and it is good to hear that the quotes add the life to the wiki-style article as I intended.   Yeah, I had to think about... well, Moria and the Lonely Mountain in LOTR or Ekrund in Warhammer. Every base of dwarves is beautifully built, but only with one really thick defense. What if that is broken? So I added layers and layers of defenses, made them thick, made them beautiful, made them dwarvish. Glad you enjoyed both of it, taxes and defenses. :)

You wanna see what we did for the last events? Go, click here: Eddies Major Events