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.