The Lost Kin
Although they are still clearly Dwarves in basic appearance, over the centuries Dvärg have become distinct from the Dwarves to the south, and are often referred to by the Dwarves living in The Union of Mishtoon as the ‘Lost Kin’ due to the fact that they maintain such little contact with the rest of the southern brethren. Indeed, Dvärg Clans very rarely participate in the ‘Great Clan Moot’, that takes place every 10 years in the Union of Mishtoon. In fact the Dvärg actively shun the Moot, as they see it as an attempt by Mishtoon’s High Kings and Queens to stick their noses into other peoples’ business, and try to influence the politics of other nations in an underhand way. Compared to other Dwarves there is much higher percentage of individuals with ginger, copper or red-blonde hair, amongst the Dvärg, and the most common eye colour is green, as opposed to the browns and hazels most common amongst their cousins in the Union of Mishtoon. Dvärg also tend to be slightly shorter and stouter on the whole than other Dwarves, and are much better at coping with the cold.
Shared customary codes and values
For the Dvärg, honesty is one of the most prized qualities amongst there people. This should not be confused with the bluntness characteristic of other Dwarves, but is instead a concerted effort to not be deceptive, and to speak the truth unless it directly places a life in danger. Dvärg will also extend this desirable quality to members of other sapient species, including other Dwarves that they come across. This means that Dvärg will expect other people to not try to deceive them, which can come across as Dvärg being too trusting, or even naïve. Should a deception be detected, however, then the Dvärg will not hesitate to show the full force of their wrath. This may not lead directly to physical violence, but at the very least can mean banishment for Dvärg territory, and being universally frozen out of dealing in any capacity with a Dvärg ever again. In extreme circumstances, a discovered deception can lead to a declaration from the Clans for any Dvärg to kill the perpetrator on sight, should they come across them. Age is also a greatly respected thing amongst the Dvärg, and in Dvärg communities and settlements, the greater ones age, the greater their social standing within a Clan. Often in Dvärg meetings, especially where official or clan business is discussed, Dvärg wishing to speak on a topic will do so in age order, starting from the eldest down to the youngest.
Common Etiquette rules
When invited into or entering the home of another Dvärg, it is customary for the guest to leave a small offering of grain seed or salt, either on the doorstep of the dwelling, or in the shrine to the spirits of the house. In order to ensure that they are able to do this, Dvärg will always carry a small pouch of either salt or grain seed on them at all times, to ensure that they do not offend anyone if unexpectedly invited into another’s home.
Common Customs, traditions and rituals
All Dvärg households maintain a small shrine, often in their kitchen spaces, where offerings are left to the spirits of the household. This custom stems in part from the stories of The Fairy Folk of Hafr, and the tradition is maintained to bring protection from unnatural ‘occurrences’ taking place in the house. Dvärg also maintain a custom of ritual tattooing, which they use to mark the passage of years in their lives. This almost always takes the form of a thin ring being tattooed around an individual’s arm, with odd years being recorded on the left arm, and even on the right. These rings are normally very plain, often just being an simple line in either red, black or blue ink, however to mark the passage of a decade, a Dvärg will have a much thicker and very richly ornamented ring marked on their arm. This tattooing traditionally takes place at sunrise on an individual’s birthday.