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| The Foundations of Civilization - Lecture Transcript

Written by Demonwolf141

The Foundations of Civilization

Master Grimdall Quickpen, Scribe of Mercosia, Historian, to the History class of the Scriptorium
Transcribed by Aliss, Grimdallsdaughter
13th day of Dverna Dain, Year 762 Order, Calendar of Humans
“Have a seat young ones, and I might tell you about how important the Dwarves really are to us. Despite their stature, they are the giants upon whose shoulders all civilization rests.”

“In our world of Strattera, the Dwarves, eldest and wisest of all races, have set an example throughout time of the importance of tradition, law, and discipline. They were the first to form any form of government, the first to wage war, the first to diplomacy, and the first to trade. They’re the masters of this life, for each Dwarf knows what they will do for their existence by the time they’re a hundred years old. They are like a coal forge, burning low and slow to keep it warm, but when provoked immediately fires into an inferno.”

“Why are you telling us of the dwarves, wise man, when we could instead join the festivities with normal folk, instead of being here for another one of your silly lectures?”

“Well, aside from your insolence, your question is a valid one. As such, I will deign it worthy of an answer. Today is the thirteenth day of Dverna Dain. Do any of you know what that means, or what language it is? Correct, it is Dwarven, but what does it mean? Ah, I see. I’ll have a chat with the Master Linguist. It translates, roughly, to ‘Dwarven day,’ or ‘Day of Dwarves.’ It more metaphorically means the day the dwarves were created, starting the cycle of sentient life. The dwarves were brilliant, even upon creation, and immediately started a calendar of sorts. I doubt even the eldest dwarves could tell you what it was, but records of that day still remain and are widely considered factual. Does that answer your question? Yes? Good, we shall move along.”

“The dwarves lived peacefully for millennia, in a manner akin to the idea of a social contract, where society lives with itself and helps itself, every member participating or else it all fails. Unfortunately, there were dwarves who were becoming corrupted by the evil influence the Drow were having on the surface world. More and more, dwarves began to steal from each other, commit acts of adultery, break tradition, and worse. Much worse. So, the elders who were still good gathered at a single location, which was secret and never recorded, that they might figure out a way to save their race from themselves. Who here knows how long they met for? Correct Devi, they met together for almost a year before coming to a conclusion. In the end, they decided to form family clans. You see, the only authority at the time was placed in respect, and the elders came to realize who more than your family holds respect? Who more than the eldest and largest of families in an area deserves the respect that leadership holds? So they found younger folk who could speak loud, and as heralds sent them among the communities of the dwarves instructing them to elect a family to become leaders of their region. There were 8, all said and done. 8 areas, each with a family with newfound power, each with a community looking for freedom from such things, each with its trials and tribulations, but despite all that, they reigned golden. Each family learned quickly how to manage a clan, and each community soon adapted to such life, as long as their rights were respected.”

“We know this Master, why are you telling us again? Quit wasting time and tell us the important things!”

“Now you are beginning to anger me, boy, I encourage you to clamp that loose hanging jaw shut and plant your behind on the floor so everyone else can pay attention.”

“Bu-... yes Master…”

“Now, moving forward. This system of clans worked exceptionally well for the dwarves, who value discipline and loyalty, but over time the clans grew apart, some forming prejudices against others. Unfortunately, to compound the issue, another organization was arising, among the race of Goblins. A single goblin warlord had managed to gain enough followers to become king of all the goblins, forcing them to either labor over forges to make implements of war, raiding towns and harvesting for food, or training to fight in an army. Soon, he was powerful enough to start making moves among the now-divided dwarves. Does anyone know the Goblin King’s name? No? I’m disappointed, but it is of no consequence. His name was Ikthtut Gru’ul, which translates, mostly, to Aekthu the Cruel. And he was, so I’ve heard. Few goblins today are friendly enough to talk about their history, despite being millennia past. That’s beside the point, however, and I will not dwell upon it.”

“Again, I have yet to say why this is important. Patience is key to understanding. That which takes long to write should take just as long, if not longer, to read. So, I continue my, near, monologue. Each of the eight dwarven clans, most of whose names are long forgotten as they were changed, came together to debate how to deal with such a new and terrifying threat. For 13 days they met, which is why 13 is a lucky number, Dverna Dain lasts 13 days in celebration, and we are discussing this today. It is also, unfounded, commonly believed that the gods took 13 days to design the dwarves, which is why they are so hardy and tough. Again, I digress. For 13 days they met, and on the 13th a proposal was made, motioned, seconded, and voted upon. It passed. That motion was to elect a King, who ruled his clan and governed the others so that they might be organized enough to fight the Goblin King and his horde. So they decided, so it was. They also decided they had 13 days to choose, for the Goblin King had not yet attacked and because they took 13 days to come to such a conclusion. On the 13th each clan cast 3 ballots, not permitted to vote for themselves. In the end, the leader of the clan we now call Kongr Ugnst, or ‘The First King.’ The new King’s name was Abarath Swordtongue, though his name soon became Giltbrow after his golden crown which was little more than a circlet upon his brow and temples, which he wore that none may feel inferior to him, but may still recognize his authority.”

“What was the first act of King Abarath? Does anyone know? Ah yes, Yolkth, go ahead.”
“Didn’t he order all the dwarves of… what's the name of the smith's clan? Oh, Frroj. He ordered them to start making swords and armor, and that one other clan to train beasts that they might be used for battle in mountains.”
“Close enough, do you know why they needed the beasts? They lived in the mountains, surely they had no need for such primal animals.”
“Well, one they were fierce, and two, the dwarves had no trouble navigating, but it was the travel and logistics that made them necessary. They were just a bonus in battle.”

“Correct. Moving on, the King prepared for a war he hoped wouldn’t but knew would be coming soon. He had the Miltai clan train officers who would go to every town, training even the dwarves of only 40 years to defend themselves in case of invasion, encouraging enlistment while they did. None, of course, matched the Miltai’s prowess in battle, but that was not easy to repeat. What’s that Joan? Why was the King called ‘Swordtongue?’ Good question. He came from a clan of philosophers, politicians, poets, authors, screenplay writers, and masters of debate. His entire life he was taught the use of words, and how people think. That may be part of how he succeeded in becoming King, but I know not.”

“I draw close to how this is important to us. I’ll not delve into the tribulations of the Goblin Wars, but I will say this: As clans, the dwarves were weak, almost frivolous. As one, united, they were like a glass forge burning white, so hot it cracks the stone around it and lights the night like day. That was their ferocity, their power, united. Needless to say, they set an example for all peoples to come. Their influence from ancient times is still found today, styles of architecture not used by Dwarves in thousands of years being used on our governmental buildings, their strategies of war now, sadly, employed by the raiding groups of goblins, their original philosophy scrutinized and quoted by the elves, and many of the words we use today originate from those used in Dwarven. Kongr, for example, means King and is very similar. Dverna to Dwarves, Dain to Day, Militai means Military, though not originally, and more."

"Their influence is found amongst our governments as well, though none so more than the Orcs. In our government, that of Mercosia, we have a single king, yet he keeps a close counsel of advisors by his side that he may never folly. The elves took a step in the other direction, each separate branch creating their own forms of High Councils or Jurors. Even the pirates have their groups, their own councils, inspired by the original clans of the dwarves. The orcs, however, nearly copied them completely, forming a similar monarchy with tribes ruling underneath them, but with the addition of a council of elders. It's more complicated, of course, but the orcs are not important right now."

"So you see, students, this entire time I have been celebrating the dwarves, properly. If my memory serves, storytelling is a traditional celebration on the last day of Dverna Dain, and I have followed suit. I have told you of the dwarves, only a little, but enough for you to know how necessary they were for Order to come about, and to fight off evils that, at the time, we had little idea about. I ask you now, do you truly consider this time wasted?"

Major organizations

Dwarven Government: Federal Elective Monarchy, Clan-based Oligarchy Also called a Sub-Monarchical Confederacy
(Image in processing)   Dwarven leaders seated in intense discussion, hoping to figure out who should lead them.
(Image in processing)   Master Scribe, Pip, a female bluebird resting on his shoulder
It's funny, to be honest, that I would write about dwarves when the contest I'm entering it in is called "On the Shoulders of Giants." Might be part of why I've written it. Anyway, I sincerely hope you enjoyed this article, I love writing it, and I hope to make many more like it. If you want more content like this, feel free to send suggestions my way. Check out my "Contact Me" article in the Player Handbook, or add a comment down below. Thanks!

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Sep 23, 2022 11:59 by Demonwolf

For those of you who notice my Pub/Cre/Update dates are all 9/23, I worked using google docs so I could get a visual layout and accurate word count and switched to WA for the final stuff. I worked late enough it became early, and I didn't actually "finish" until about 2:00 this morning.

Sep 30, 2022 05:34 by Tlcassis Polgara | Arrhynsia

This is an interesting story!

Follow my worlds: Arrhynsia and Compendium and check out my author website at tlcassis.com to see my latest work!
Sep 30, 2022 12:39 by Demonwolf

Thank you! I wanted to make something that was a bit different from a normal article since I'm not very good at formatting yet, so I went with a dialogue.

Oct 4, 2022 01:59 Private by Tlcassis Polgara | Arrhynsia

Yep - totally understand. I've only been at this for about 6 months myself. I like stories and a lot of the articles don't tell stories as much as they give information. The great formatting makes it go down better, but it isn't as interesting as an actual story with dialog and insolent students!

Follow my worlds: Arrhynsia and Compendium and check out my author website at tlcassis.com to see my latest work!
Oct 4, 2022 11:38 by Demonwolf

Thanks so much, I'm glad you like it, I knew the insolent students were a good idea. Bit of distraction and humor to what would otherwise be a boring monologue. I'm working on another article right now using a similar format, but less professional as the story is coming from a local storyteller rather than the Master Scribe.