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Tre 1 year ago
In the Dawn of Days, the time just before the War of Times began, the world was young, and so too were all the species that inhabited it. They were in their infancies and were still learning. The diverse species of the young world had yet to find their natural strengths and talents. The Dawn of Days begins after the 4 Primaevals and the 8 Proarchs each created an army of their ideal champions, and let them loose on the world to wage war on their behalf. These champions became the twelve species of legend.

The Angels and the Tengu both felt as though they had each been inheritors of two opposing sides of the same timeless conflict that had been raging since the first instant the universe churned; light versus dark, order versus chaos, structure versus spontaneity. Following this instinct, the Angels and the Tengu each sought to rally an army in order to vanquish the opposition. The Angels and the Tengu turned to the other species in their respective vicinities, not realizing that this was all exactly as their unseen creators intended.

An essence of ignorance and confusion permeated the Dawn of Days. No one species was sure which others they could not trust, not knowing they were predestined to align along lines of light and dark. No one species knew that they had been purpose-built to excel in their patron’s area of specialty.

None of the species were more confused or unsure of themselves than the Dwarves. These stout people were easily overpowered by many of the more over-proportioned species of the time, but they were hardy and managed some semblance of safety in the early days by laying down prostrate and hiding among stones. Their backs were covered in a sort of carapace that resembled rock and stone in appearance as well as hardness. However, the Dwarves would challenge their first impression as cowardly pushovers, and eventually come to be regarded as one of the most valuable and stalwart allies of the Sun’s Army.

The Granbar clan of Dwarves would be the catalyst to the awakening of their species to their purpose, and in so doing, find their talent. Their own story begins when the patriarch of their clan is kidnapped by one of the Tengu generals. Such tactics were commonplace after the early alliances had begun to precipitate; when real defences had yet to be mustered, and both sides hoped to gain an early advantage.

The next morning, upon learning of their father’s capture, his three sons: Thorbold, Samlis, and Hardin, resolved to save their father. They packed their bags quickly and set out in search. The three brothers spent a good many weeks following scant trails and traces of their quarry. They were only able to catch up after the Tengu had made it back to its lair.

That day, after the brothers all agreed to set up a shelter while they made further plans, but they could not reach an agreement about the shelter’s construction.

Thorbold, the eldest, thought the brothers should construct their shelter of twigs and leaves. “Twigs and leaves are everywhere!” he said, “we’ll find enough to build shelter in no time at all, it will blend in to the surroundings,” he followed, “and besides, it’ll be easy, so we’ll have time to rest afterwards”.

Samlis, the middle, thought they should build their shelter of logs and branches. “Twigs and leaves are too weak and flimsy,” he argued, “there are plenty of trees for chopping logs and branches, it’ll just take time,” he retorted, “and a little hard work chopping wood will be good for us.”

Hardin, the junior, thought they should construct the shelter out of stone. “Our foe is powerful beyond our knowing,” he lamented, “stone will afford us the most sturdy shelter,” he states, “but it is difficult to find in these parts, and we won’t be left with a single extra moment of rest.”

Since an accord could not be reached, the brothers simply decided to each build his own shelter. Thorbold didn’t have to spend any time gathering his chosen materials and was finished constructing his shelter before the afternoon had passed, so he rested. At this time, Samlis had chopped enough trees that he began arranging his logs and branches into a shelter, yet Hardin had only gathered a small pile of stone so far.

Samlis finished constructing his shelter as evening began sweeping over the land, and it was at this time that Hardin had finally felt that he gathered enough stone, and began chiseling and hewing the stone. Hardin found his hands to be unusually nimble and deft when working the stone, and by the time night claimed the land with full dark, Hardin was laying the last stone in its place, and not a moment too soon.

The Tengu rises with the dusk, and at full dark, he finally takes notice of the intruders to his land. The Tengu conjured massive gales, blustering squalls, and raging winds to expel the trespassers, and the leaves of Thorbold’s shelter could not withstand the tempest. His shelter was toppled, and he was blown away by the Tengu’s mighty magic.

When the Sun next shined day upon the world, with the tempest settled, the Shelters of Samlis and Hardin still stood firm. They searched for high and low for their brother until the fall of night, and found no trace of him. They decided they could find him later, but their father must remain as their top priority.

That night, the Tengu again noticed there were still unwelcome guests in his land, so he spent much energy conjuring another, larger storm to lash out with wicked lightning that shakes the earth beneath your feet. The Tengu’s lightning smote the two shelters, and Samlis’s shelter erupts into flames and crumbles.

The next morning, Hardin emerged from his shelter after a nearly sleepless night. He searched again for any trace of either of his brothers among the ash and the wreckage. Again, he found nothing, so he refocused his attention on his father, returning to his shelter in the evening.

That night, Hardin braced for another catastrophe, but it didn’t come. His mind began racing. He eventually concluded that conjuring such powerful magic two nights in a row must have consumed great amounts of energy on the Tengu’s part, and he was probably too tired from his exertion to try again tonight.

Hardin steeled himself and determined to finally take vengeance for his family, and snuck into the Tengu’s lair. Within, he found his assessment to be accurate; the Tengu was sleeping on the floor, a shrill raucous sort of snore emanating from its gaping, sable beak.

Without making a sound (at least, not one that could have been heard over a Tengu’s snores), Hardin ended the cruel Tengu and his terror over the surrounding region. Hardin found his father, chained up in an underground chamber of the Tengu’s lair.

He brought his father back home, and on the way, they found Thorbold and Samlis, both lost and confused, but they recovered quickly. Hardin bragged to his brothers of how his stone shelter stood up to the Tengu’s assault, and he was able to catch the Tengu unaware. He also told his brothers how he found the stone so easy to work with. The stone always cleaved exactly where and how he wanted it to, the weight and burden of the stone always seemed just a little bit less than he expected, and it seemed to carve more like clay than one would expect from stone.

After returning to their home village, and sharing the story there, Hardin quickly became a local legend. His tale spread like wildfire among the neighboring Dwarf settlements, and even further from there. Soon enough, all Dwarves wanted to be like Hardin Granbar, and tried their hand at working stone. Each dwarf in turn found that they too had a knack for it.

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Tre 1 year ago