The Origin of the Dwarves - Aetolia Online Help
16.3.5 The Origin of the Dwarves
As told by Tordahl: It was the time of the great unknowing. Having only instincts to rely upon, mortals just understood enough to form tribes, little different from packs or herds. They huddled together for warmth in the night, and kept each other safer from the animals that would prey upon them. Where food was scarce, and children plenty, they became territorial as any other creature in duress. Two such groups lived in the high mountains, where little more than grass grows and those that survive must be strong of heart and will. With the goats did they dwell, and lightly did they sleep, in fear of the prowling lions of night. When summer began to fade to autumn, bringing with it the smell of snow and death, the two groups could not coexist. There was not enough to eat, and both groups had women with swollen, heavy bellies. Neither could leave. They did not quite comprehend the problem, and its complexities, but they knew the end was close. Like sheep did one group huddle for warmth, searching desperately for the smallest leaves and grubs to devour and sate their hunger. And like wolves did the other group fall upon them, teeth flashing and growling with hunger. The first group was entirely slain. The bodies, half-eaten, gave of their blood and meat to the earth, mingling with the snow and sharing that which the second group did not devour. Their competitors disposed of, the second group still barely survived the harsh winter that followed. As the ice melted, the ground that had been seeded with the flesh of the fallen flourished and grew green with beauty. The mortals, still ignorant of what they had done, gazed at the vegetation without understanding. Yet through the sprouts and buds murmured a voice. "You have given to Me nourishment, and glory," said the Voice with pleasure, murmuring from the very mountains themselves. "Come, little ones, you have suffered long enough under wind and water. Like pearls from sand you come. I shall protect you when you cannot protect yourselves, and long shall we sup together." Soon we realized that the Divine, the spirit of stone and strength, had made us different from the others. More enduring, and without the unsightly gangly legs of others. So it was that our people, then called the Dowaf, lived in the tunnels and sanctuaries of the Earth, in seasons both green and cold. In the mountains were we born, and to the mountains shall we ever return.