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A Time Before Darkness

The following is an account taught to all within the great dwarven society.

In the age before the beginning of time there were no dwarves, elves, or humans, and the world was not yet made. Only the Eternal Forge existed, in the Home of the Maker, in the Caverns of the Everlasting Flame. Into the Eternal Forge the Maker placed stone and fire. As the fire heated the stone it expanded, and rivers of molten ore ran from the interior of the stone, flowing along its sides. With tongs and hammer the Maker forged the world. He struck with a mighty blow, and titanic mountains rose from the surface. Again, he struck, and hills formed, leaving deep valleys and great hollows.

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When he was pleased with its shape and form, he quenched the world in the Trough of Life. As the water struck the surface, clouds of steam rose to form the sky. The waters of the Trough settled in valleys and flowed into the hollows to become seas.

The Maker held up his work and saw that it was fitting. He set the world upon a great pinnacle of the finest mithril, and there it remains until this day. The Maker laughed and decided to test his world. He would make a race of miners and forgers and they would strive to find the mithril pinnacle upon which the world rests, deep in its heart.

And so the Maker returned to the Eternal Forge in the Caverns of the Everlasting Flame. Taking water from the Trough of Life and stone from the earth he held them together. When he was satisfied, he added molten iron to strengthen it. He gathered this fine alloy and shaped it on the Anvil of Spirit. To assist him, the Maker created the gods. He beat them into their shapes.

Like him, the gods were broad and stocky, with fine, long beards of rusty-red iron or shimmering mithral. Then he quenched them in the Trough of Life so that they, like the world, could take part of its life-giving waters. One by one he lifted them up and blew on them. Their eyes opened and they lived.

The Maker had forged the gods from the elements of the earth, but his work was not yet finished. He took the Gods of Crafts and taught them how to make things that would please him; he taught the God of Fire to burn and to fan the flames of life. He taught the Gods of the Elements the use of their powers. He revealed to them all the place of the gods in the world.

Then the Maker took rock and iron and heated them in the Eternal Forge. He forged the most pleasing shapes. These he took and quenched in the Trough of Life, and so the first dwarves were created.

Each of the gods then took one of the dwarves and revealed to him the secrets imparted by the Maker. But to Dain Silversword, the Father of Dwarves, the first King, the Maker himself spoke. He told Dain of the mithril pinnacle and gave him the gift of wisdom to rule his people. And so the First Dwarves came into the world in full knowledge of their arts and crafts.

Once the First Dwarves had learned these things, the Maker placed them in a land he had chosen for them on the earth, into the mines and caverns he had created for their entertainment and their joy. In these sacred caverns the First Dwarves multiplied and prospered.

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