There have been dwarves in Norvic since before there were humans, living in the easily excavated chalk beds.
Before the advent of bronze (and subsequently, iron and steel) tools, the excavations were deep open pits excavating down to the black flint layers and then outwards to form galleries. At the time the Dwarves lived on the surface, and were mining the flint for tools.
The increasing numbers of foulspawn and other dangerous creatures led the dwarves to begin reinforcing these excavations initially as temporary refuges. However, over a period of many years the discovery of food crops and animals that could be raised underground, and easy access to water in chalk aquifers, allowed the Dwarven community to move wholly underground, surfacing only in armed expeditions to obtain supplies that were not available below, such as timber, peat and metals (which in Norvic is, ironically, found most often in the form of Bog iron rather than in underground deposits). The chalk tunnels became well appointed passages supported by wood or by dressed flint blocks. The tunnels could not go too deep due to the chalk aquifers, and so spread quite widely.
By the time humans began to build notable settlements in the area there were few signs of the dwarves, as most of their original surface pits had been backfilled with spoil from the extensive tunnelling. Those encounters that humans had with dwarves were generally with the surface foraging parties, heavily armed groups encountered only in the deepest wilderness where the dwarves would have set up temporary armed camps whilst cutting lumber, burning charcoal, cutting peat or probing for bog iron.
(as an aside - the need for charcoal meant armed camps of dwarves staying on the dangerous surface world for long periods, facing the dangers of foulspawn and other hazards. As a result, charcoal burners have a moderately high status in the Dwarven community that is completely opposite the view of them in human society)
As a result of these initial contacts, the human settlers mistakenly believed that the Dwarven -communities were all deep in the wilds, and did not realise that the convenient clearings in which they built their settlements were the areas in which the dwarves had previously settled before moving underground. Thus in some of the human settlements in the Norvic area, (Norvic, Corby, Maltask) there is a corresponding Dwarven settlement beneath.
Since humans arrived in the area, some dwarves have resettled the surface. This is partly due to the surface becoming less dangerous as humanity takes its toll on the foulspawn in the area. It is also due to having increased opportunities for trade and industry - making and selling items for human communities means the establishment of permanent above ground lumber camps, bog-miners, peat cutters and trading posts.
Dwarven Clans Edit
Each area is home to a different clan. The clans tend to be quite insular, most of their settlements being self contained with only limited trading contact with the surface world.
Norvic - Clan Greybeard Edit
The first clan to move wholly underground, the greybeards have a long and proud history. Originally known as the Blackbeards they gained the nickname greybeards from the effect chalk-dust had on their facial hair when they moved underground. Whilst originally coined by other clans as mockery, when it became clear that their move had been successful, the other clans followed suit. Greybeards thus became a sign of respect, and the clan adopted it proudly. The Greybeards are the only clan that has fully embraced human contact and thus the only local clan from which adventuring clansmen are commonly found. Greybeards can be found in all (dwarf-legal) walks of adventuring life.
Corby - Clan Flintheart Edit
From the Brandon area, the only clan who’s economy is still primarily based on flint. Suppliers of dressed flint as a building material to a number of important buildings in the area. Not, therefore, as prosperous as the other clans and thus tend to cling very tightly to whatever money they have.
Brandon - Clan Bloodfell Edit
Beneath the wild woods of... this clan now have semi-permanent camps above ground in the depths of the woods. They have thus been encountered by the most adventurous of humans, who believe them to be a purely above ground community of forest dwarves. As the clan that has always managed the forests, they used to be known as the Green-axes, but with the incursions of elves and other foulspawn they have become the most militant of the local dwarves, their constant willingness to shed blood in battle garnering them their current clan name.
Maltask - Clan Blacknail Edit
Bordering the Peat Bogs on the east coast, Clan Blacknail were traditionally seekers of Bog Iron, but since humans opened up trade routes to other area of the country where iron is more easily obtainable, they are now predominantly peat cutters.
Gelded Stones - Clan Steelhammer Edit
The smiths. Very strong links with the Bloodfell’s (for Timber and Charcoal) and the Greybeards (who control most of the trade with humans, including metal ingots), and historical links with the Blacknails. A very friendly, social group for whom making - and keeping - deals is king.
The Sixth clan Edit
There are rumours that once their was a sixth clan known as the shattered shield, but these were banished hundreds of years ago and none of heard from them since.
The Clanless Edit
Any Norvic dwarf who wishes to reject the insular nature of his clan and mingle with the humans outside of the approved clan trading is free to do so, but, except for the Greybeards whose clan ethos embraces trade with the humans, such a dwarf will have to give up his or her clan name.
They are not outcasts, as such, nor dishonoured, but as they no longer follow the will of the clan, nor can they call upon it.
It is common for such dwarves to give themselves a new last name based on the name of a parent, EG Kragg’s son or Godric’s son.
According to the Elves The Earldom of Norvic, known to the elves as Harma has long been their home before any dwarf or human settlements came. At one with nature and often abroad only at night the elves are seldom met and many may question if there are truly any or have ever been any elves living in the region at all.
The Legends of the Elves claim that the Elves of Harma sprang from three seeds which the God Longstor sowed upon the fens, woodlands and countryside. The three seeds grew into three tribes the Elen, the Isil and the Naur, known more commonly amongst men and dwarves as the Star, the Moon and the Comet tribes. In ancient times the three tribes weaved great spells upon the land. In these spells the elves gave fully of themselves and tied their lives forever with that of the land. Bond together the elves and the land prospered and were free of invasion for a long time. However as time passed the magic faded and with it the power of the elves waned too. It is said that as the enchantment of the elves grew faint the dwarf and human communities grew larger until the elves retreated into the dim shadows of the trees and woods.
Elven Tribes Edit
The Moon Tribe Edit
The tribe of the Moon once lived on the coast in a warding north of where Lynn Regis now lies. After the rise of men and the diminishment of their magic they left their ancestral home to seek a new place to live. At the end of their journey their came to their present home in Elveden Forest. Abandoned and now beneath the sea the great magic of the moon tribe is now lost however fishermen and sailors from the area claim that sometimes when the moon is bright and the tide low that a circle of wooden pillars can still be seen on the seabed or elves can be seen paddling silently along the rivers in grey ghostlike boats.
The Star Tribe Edit
Also originally from the coast the tribe of the Star lived north of Yurnemouth. There they also weaved their magic into a great circle known as the gull stones. This stone circle was destroyed by the Comet tribe when a rift grew between the three tribes of elves. During the war the Star elf king was killed. Legends say that his people then took their king and buried him in a great elven ship. The remnants of the tribe then leaderless fled to join the Moon tribe who were by then at Elveden. The two tribes then merged into the one tribe of the elves, the Elenisil that still live in Elveden Forest today.
The Comet Tribe Edit
Due to the war between the Comet tribe and their cousins the Moon and Star tribes little is known of the history of the Comet tribe. What is known is that while the Moon and Star tribes gave freely of themselves to the lands they dwelt in, creating great magic with their stone or timber circles to which they protected and nurtured the lands the Comet tribe sought to draw power from the land for their own ends. As time passed a bitter war broke out. The Comet tribe would have won had it not been for the merging of the Moon and Star tribe into one tribe powerful enough to repel them. It is said the descendants of the Comet tribe still linger and fester in the dark parts of Norvic, plotting and scheming the destruction of their hated enemies.
Elveden Forest Edit
In harmony with the great forest and the it’s spirit which they know as the Margwyn, the remnants of the Moon and Star tribes live in scattered communities. The largest settlement is Elenmallen warding and it is in the deepest and darkest woods of the forest. Here the Moon Court resides, a council of Longstorian elves led by Lord Alwyn. They rule the Elenisil Elves of Elveden Forest. However Elveden has become a very Closed community where those not born of elven blood are rarely welcomed.
Other Elves Edit
At varying points in their History the Elves of Elenisil have tried to re populate other areas of the land. However these inevitably fail. One of the most successful was at the Forest near Dareham, however after many centuries the elves were once again forced from this land. Other groups of Elves looking to avoid the isolationism of Elveden have tried to integrate themselves within Human society but there numbers are small as they often face persecution.
Half Humans Edit
Coupling between elves and humans have occurred throughout the time since elves and humans have lived together in the same place. These half humans can be found in both elven and human communities. Generally they are accepted but there are some elves that rumour that it was the creation of these half humans which has brought upon the elves their decline and the fading of their once great magic.