Avorn Tomebinder's History Lesson
Avorn Tomebinder of Velonstead has the following story to tell:
Long, long ago no dwarf lived in Ulek or in the Lortmils, or in any region east of the Sheldomar Valley. As every dwarf knows, Urdin founded the citadel, capitol of the dwarven empire in time before time, which is the Citadel of Moradin at Deephold in the Crystalmist mountains to the West. There were originally eight great cities of the empire that ranged all over the Crystalmists, and the ranges that sprawl out from them. Of these cities, only three remain. The causes of the loss of the other five vary; for example Gartelem, in Damagath, the Kingdom of Stones in the Yatil Mountains was lost due to the ancient civil war that spawned the Duergar.* In the south, however, three holds that were lost were due to the Rain of Colorless Fire, which occurred one millennia ago (no dwarf lives who remembers it, but the grandfathers of some ancient dwarves were there). Why Surtur was convinced to destroy this part of the world by this doom is uncertain. Some say that these dwarves had forgotten Moradin’s laws, and no longer swore fealty to the emperor. The humans, of course, claim that the fire was intended to destroy the Sueliose Empire (a doom they say was called down by the Baklunish Priests as revenge for a curse they refer to as the “Invoked Devastation” visited upon them, they say, by the Suel)… and indeed what they claim to once have been their homeland is now known as the Sea of Dust, which is certainly a result of the Rain of Colorless Fire, no matter it’s origin or purpose.
Whatever the case, the destruction was wide-spread, and, again, three great cities of the empire were destroyed. Two fared terribly, being ill-suited to survive such a fiery assault from the heavens. It is assumed that all dwarves there perished, and that they lay as dust like the plains beyond the mountains. The third, however, Tergorom was known as the lava-hold in the kingdom of Holgereth, a place deep underground, and one that was already inured to heat by its nature as a place where lava flowed between the streets of the city. This is not to say that the city was spared… the Colorless Fire of Surtur knew no limits and it is said that, for a time, even the lava seemed to burn. But perhaps Surtur favored these dwarves who worshipped him so well, as he did not slay them all. A sizeable group of stout dwarves managed to survive, one way or another, and even managed to escape their burning city with the Great Anvil – that which was used to forge the Axe of the Dwarven Lords by the stone giants.
This group traveled over the distance from the Hellfurnaces, wherin the city existed, and managed to make it to Ulek, and thence on to the Lortmils. These dwarves, spared by Surtur, the only doughty souls to escape the greatest devastation in history, are the ancestors of we hill dwarves who live here today. And thus we are the Helgorem, those who escaped the destruction of the Kingdom of Helgoreth. When we came to this land, it was already populated by the human peoples known as the Flan, and the Elves (who would eventually form their Queendom, Celene, on the other side of the Lortmils). Both of these peoples accepted the hill dwarves, as neither knew much of mining or wished to inhabit the mountains or rough hills of what is now the Principality of Ulek.
What became of the Great Anvil is a mystery. It was lost to the annals soon after its arrival in Ulek.
Only a bit later the Suel (who, again, claim to have been in flight from the destruction of their homelands) and then later still the Oeridian peoples came to the Sheldomar Valley, both quickly conquering the relatively peaceful Flan, and founding the Kingdom of Keoland. The ruling households of dwarves in Ulek created a considerable empire of their own, and often their political aims were allied with those of the Kings of Keoland. Eventually a prince was declared above all other dwarflords in Ulek, Corond. Three centuries ago, he conspired with the Keoish King to take the Pomarj as part of the his holdings, and swore fealty to the King to gain his support in the endeavor.
All that was gained in the Pomarj is, of course, now all lost. After the Hateful Wars (promulgated by the elven Queen’s grief at the loss of her consort) pushed all of the orcs and goblins from the Lortmils, they ended up in the Pomarj, and over-ran what was there. Today the orcish empire owns not only all of that land that once belonged to the Prince, but they have taken parts of Ulek proper, and threaten to take it all if not thwarted. And the elven Queen will not lift a finger to stop it.