Ezdhûl Ethnicity in Zheng-Kitar | World Anvil


The people of the great mountaintop and underground citadels, diligent and hardworking


  A dying people in the modern world of Zheng-Kitar, the Ezdhûl are those who yet adhere to the ancient Dwarven ways of life above and below the world's mountain ranges - and while not specifically restricted to the likes of dwarves, they are the main race that makes up this ethnicity. As a whole though, they are those who dwell in one of the surviving mountaintop or underground citadels that remain under Dwarven control after eons of use - though the exact founding date of each of these citadels is known only to the most dedicated of Dwarven Scholars, they have stood long enough to spread a unified and diverse culture across the stony halls of each, full of humans, dwarves, and any other races who seek refuge alongside the Dwarves who constructed them.   However, it is also the ethnicity for the Frost Dwarves and Frosty Citizens of the far north, in the Shenchuan Tundra - after the fall of Nan-Dhurgalir, the city of a thousand smiths, the surviving members of the northern Dwarven Citadels fled north into the tundra to the open arms of their old allies the Dai-Yukai, whom these frosty folk have lived beside ever since. They yet retain their ancient culture, though with their own unique spin after centuries lived alongside their new titanic allies.  

The Citadels

  Due to the most ancient of deals with the land's most notable mapmakers and powerful arcane rituals, the citadels of the Ezdhûl do not appear on any maps, and their exact locations are somewhat well-guarded secrets. They are not closed off, but instead traffic is directed down into the citadels through roundabout routes to make invasions harder. Their names and general locations are listed below for Ezdhûl looking to choose where they are from. Frost Ezdhûl from the far north are the exception to this - they typically come from various barbaric villages and cities across the north, and are much more open with possible home locations.  
  • Kal-Dûlhral - The last great citadel left in the world today, and capital of the Ezdhûl people. Found in the Northern Tianzhao Peaks.
  • Bal-Wahrûm - The other underground citadel left active alongside Kal-Dûlhral. Rumored to be found somewhere in the Southern Tianzhao Peaks.
  • Nar-nolûhm - The largest of the Mountaintop Citadels, said to be found somewhere in the central Tripalm Spine Mountains.
  • Dirkihm - Sibling citadel of Dhiggrim, and one of the two great "Mining Citadels" - resource hub of the Ezdhûl. Found in the central Guezhan Mountains.
  • Dhiggrim - Sibling citadel of Dirkihm, and one of the two great "Mining Citadels" - resource hub of the Ezdhûl. Found in the far off land of Myrkheim, somewhere in the central Nidavellir Mountains.
  • Thileldûr - The newest of the Mountaintop Citadels, and common trading hub of the west. Found in the central-south of the Great Vhudsing Range.
  • Kar-faldihr - One of the furthest and most distant of all the Mountaintop Citadels, not commonly traveled and one of the few with ocean access. Said to be in the central Seitenno Mountains.


  The appearance of the standard Ezdhûl is one of simplicity, practicality, and quiet embellishment - true to the Dwarves who form the core members of this ethnicity, the Ezdhûl are a people who prefer function over form when it comes to their apparel. Sharp edges, jutting mettalic ridges, and thick sweeping curves designed for protection first and style second are cornerstones of Ezdhûl clothing, which is almost interwoven or worn above actual armor in some way. It is typically built with thick materials capable of resisting the heat of a strong forge(or the cold of a rough northern winter) and resistant to abnormal levels of wear and tear - their clothes and apparel must be durable enough to survive mining work, forging work, and a rough life lived beneath the earth, after all.   The one exception to their normally mundane appearances is jewelery - golden clasps and locks on hair or beards, rings, necklaces, and other items made of precious metals are common to the Ezdhûl, who use such things as status symbols. As to their physical apperances, they tend to be abnormally hairy - even Ezdhûlian women often have the capacity for enormous amounts of hair just like men, though many prefer to keep it shaved. They are often stocky and tend to be on the shorter side, but regardless of height are broad-shouldered and powerful from lives of manual labor or hard craftsmanship, as even the highest Ezdhûlian noble has, at some point in their life, spent time in the mines or forges as a laborer or smith to give them proper life experience.   Male and female Ezdhûl tend to decorate their hair or beards with clasps and locks like totem poles to symbolize important life events - so their history can often be read in the beautiful adornments in their hair. They also typically have their family crest somewhere displayed on their person, armor or clothing, and tend to have one important keepsake or memento from their family as well, be it a sword or weapon or armor.   The Ezdhûl who dwell in the frozen north alongside the Dai-Yukai tend to wrap themselves the same, but with the addition of enormous furs and thick cloaks - their hair tends to be a bit thicker, as well, to help ward off the cold.  


  A culture as old as the firstborn Dwarves, the Ezdhûl are an ancient people who have only dwindled in ancient times - they came into existence when the first Dwarves were reborn after the Arrival of The Spirit Kings, who quickly spread out across the land and built mighty citadels, from their towering Capital now lost to them, Nan-Dhurgalir, to its lesser sibling citadel, Kal-Dûlhral - prototype built to test out the ancient Ezdhûl designs that would in time be implemented into Nan-Dhurgalir to finalize its splendor. Though they may now live apart, they at one time were one people united in their vision for a sprawling underground empire, of massive citadels linked by enormous underground highways - and though that vision may now be lost to time, they still share a brotherhood and bond that is much stronger than the distance they may now stand apart.   In recent years, with the loss of their ancestral capital, Nan-Dhurgalir, to the armies of the Celestial Host that appeared during the Age of Descent, they have been on a slow decline as most all of the underground Dwarven Citadels now stand lost and overtaken by time and monsters - only a couple remain alongside the Mountain Citadels that stand across the world as the last bastions of Ezdhûlian culture. Now, however, with the fall of that capital has seen the rise of a new sect of Ezdhûlians in Zheng-Kitar - the Frost Ezdhûl, who fled from the falling citadels during the Age of Descent into the north, into the tundra to the open arms of their old allies the Dai-Yukai, whom these frosty folk have lived beside ever since. They yet retain their ancient culture, though with their own unique spin after centuries lived alongside their new titanic allies. They might have much less contact with their old, more traditional Ezdhûl brethren to the south, they have retained their cultural identity and found a new niche in the new life they have forged.  


  Central to Ezdhûl culture are the notions of Tradition and Family - both run deep in their society, right alongside the central notion of excellence that permeates their entire civilization. They are avid lovers of history and tradition, and place massive importance in one's family - the "clan" that one was born into that serves as an overarching societal unit to the Ezdhûl that often has dozens of families inside of it. They are incredibly and staunchly hard workers - their work ethic tends to be second to none, and they have an almost spiritual obsession with crafting and hard work, which they believe is a proud and time-honored hallmark of their people that they are bound to uphold and continue. Many Ezdhûl also hold the idea of 'honoring their family and clan' very close to their hearts - they tend to be a people obssessed with legacy, and often despise the idea of doing anything that would bring shame to their family, clan and ancestors that they often hold in enormously high regard.   However, though many may look at them and see a people frozen in time, they tend to be thoughtful and imaginative, and eagerly willing to experiment and dabble with brand new techniques or products. They are often cunning and overjoyed at the idea of a thing they have no idea how it works or how it was made, and their feats of metallurgy, stonework, and engineering have consistently and constantly outpaced those of other races time and again, thus proving the immense power of their burning curiosity and inventiveness. Much like the Dwarves from whom the Ethnicity originates, the Ezdhûl tend to be stubborn and courageous, as well as having a strangely zealous dedication to seeing what they start finished - which has carried them far and wide across the world to its most extreme heights and depths.   Hair is also incredible sacred to the Ezdhûl - tugging, shaking, or otherwise touching another's hair unwantedly is typically seen as an offense worth getting punched over, as most Ezdhûl believe that one's very strength and soul dwells within their flowing follicles. Typically, a child's first haircut is an enormously monumentous occasion, and one undertaken with all the delicacy of a heart surgery. Hair is sacred to the Ezdhûl, and a thing of great reverence to them - though many joke that they are too obsessed with it, there is truth to it, and it is where they happily use jewelry and metal to carve their life's achievments onto - a totem pole of their life. Understandbly, they do not take well to others meddling with it, insulting it, or otherwise - such is tantamount to insulting them, their family, and their history, accomplishments, and soul.   They are not inclined to over-extend themselves, either - their usual approach to problems tends to be methodical, logical, and mathematical, as they tend to apply tried and true tools and techniques systematically and using existing methods rather than trying to invent novel solutions...though when a new problems arises in which a need arises for a new procedure or tool, they tend to eagerly embrace the challenge to develop the perfect method to do so. As this might hint, the Ezdhûl are a very methodical and logical people that, while they may have a tendencay to overdesign the sense of scale of a thing - they have a penchant for ordered solutions and problems, and tend to have a natural talent for mathematics, planning, and strategy, making Ezdhûlian cities some of the most enormous, sophisticated, and well-built in all the world.   Ezdhûl also tend to be an incredible communal people - that is not to say they are averse to competition or the like, but that they instead are very much understanding of common goals and desires - they tend to be willing and understanding of making sacrifices to achieve the communal good, and often see a communal victory as a personal one as well. They, as a result, tend to shun excessive individualism and 'lone-wolf' syndrome in favor of those who, though rowdy and foul-mouthed and independent, understand that sometimes one needs to fall in line to achieve a common good. Ezdhûl are also some of the most notorious partiers in all the world - their distinct division of work and play means that Ezdhûlians are typically all business at work, but are rowdy, rambunctious, and wild off the job - drinking, shouting, fighting, and outright brawling and insulting is commonplace in Ezdhûl taverns, and can unnerve many other weaker-nerved cultures who are not used to such intense play that the Ezdhûl perform, that leads to broken noses and bloodied floors.
Naming Conventions
Ezdhûl names tend to follow Scottish naming traditions, with older and more ancient Ezdhûl who come from distinguished families carrying Celtic Scottish names.
Male Names
Niall, Findlay, Caelan, Angus, Sòlas, Dùghall, Cosgrach, Flannagan
Female Names
Willow, Aila, Niamh, Talia, Méabh, Catríona, Bríd, Aislinn
Family/Clan Names
MacPherson, McLeod, O'Neill, Chapman, Macdougall, Macginnisi, Keefei, Whelani
Encompassed species
Related Myths


  "Rust and ruin!" - A common expletive used for a variety of situations. Similar to "fuck" or "shit".   "Baoshan's bouncing breasts!" - A colorful expletive that many consider slightly blasphemous.  


  "Fair-Cheeked" - A Colorful way of calling someone beautiful, though it also has a meaning similar to "Nice ass" if used in certain scenarios. Can be an insult when used in the sense of "pretty boy" or saying someone's too pretty, or dainty.   "Halehaired" - A very endearing compliment that is an easy way to get on someone's good side. A compliment that likens one's hair to a luxurious, great river of beauty.   "A whole forge" - A compliment that implies one is looking top-shape, healthy, and impressive. Also used to compliment one's prowess on the job.   "Goldchinned" - A compliment used to refer to someone's frugality. Implies they're good with money or as a more broad compliment of their wealth, and that they wear it well.   "Widewaisted" - The opposite of "Willow-waisted". A compliment referring to one who is strong, thick, and powerful. Someone who looks impressive and healthy.  


  "Beard-shaver/Beardless" - An enormously vile insult that will start fights. Essentially calling someone a coward and/or weak-willed - also, to Ezdhûl, insinuates one doesn't have or is unworthy of a soul and lineage.   "Willow-waisted" - Another enormously vile insult likely to begin fights. Refers to someone especially thin, implying they are dainty, weak, or pathetic.   "Tree-climber" - An insult that once literally referred to elves, but has now come to coloquially mean a windbag, or someone who talks too much.   "Oathbreaker" - An insult that is especially heinous, which simply insinuates one is untrustworthy, and goes back on their given word.   "Clanless/Topsider" - An insult used to refer to outcasts, exiles, and the unwanted. An insult that has lost most meaning, but is extremely offensive and used to very rudely tell someone to go away.   "Rockrunt" - An insult used to refer to a moron or an idiot.   "Cave-in" - An insult used to call someone ugly or just plain hideous. Can also refer to someone who is just awful news, or a walking disaster.   "Limpknot" - An insult used to refer to someone young, without experience, or who lacks sufficient talent or time for what they're trying to do.  

Turns of Phrase

  "A single shave brave" - A turn of phrase used to refer to someone with an enormous amount of unearned confidence. Someone who boasts alot or thinks highly of themselves but is, in actuality, weak and likely somewhat lame.   "Between the hammer and the anvil" - A phrase used to refer to when one is trapped, caught, or stuck in a bad situation.   "One beneath, ten above" - A saying commonly used to refer to the ease of defense compared to offense. Also used to refer to the simplicity of staying as things are rather than changing.   "You have five fingers. I have a fist." - A saying commonly used by soldiers or those in the military to refer to the power of unity and discipline. Also used as a high-handed way to say you're better than someone.   "Fools will follow their gold." - A phrase used to refer to how every creature has something they lust after, no matter what. Also used as a phrase in the military.   "Carting Dust/Heating Slag" - An expression used to refer to a futile action, or something that's just no use.   "First the battle, then the beer." - An expression used that's similar to "It ain't over until it's over".   "Rocks crack; they never bend." - An expression used to boost morale - a saying meaning no surrender, no giving in, fighting to the death, etc.   "Stone's Blessings" - A common saying of farewell.


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