Table of Contents
The Great Voyage
The Great Rock, at Last
To Make a Castle
The Work of One, the Work of Thousands
Winter in the Cap
Ah, to Drink
Ah, to Worship
Such a Waste
A Strong Economy
Walin's Cap Today
Maps of Walin's Cap
The Great Voyage
The time is 786 P.E. (Human reckoning on Forntol). A fleet of ships, guided to the dangerous shores of Forntol by (according to their inhabitants) Khuldul Rockcarver himself, were helped ashore by the most amazing creatures. Extremely tall and elegant, but with a hint of troll in their air, the Teregnaven welcomed these new beings to their shores. Hidden deep within their memory were the dwarves. Former enemies in a previous life, they soon became fast friends.
Dwarves and Saved Trolls soon learned to speak each other's language. Although still separated by their religion and physical characteristics, the Teregnaven described to them most of what they knew of their new home. But the Dwarves' attention always seemed to be drawn to a high, prominent bulge at the top of a plateau to the east. It seemed to call to them, perhaps through the voice of the Rockcarver himself. After a year and a half, knowing they had to strike out on their own, they bid adieu to their hosts, and with sufficient supplies and a few tamed animals, headed to the north to find a way to the rock that seemed to call them.
The road was rough. But under the direction of Drurin Walker, a capable scout, the group of nearly five hundred climbed the valley that lead to the high plateau. The road itself was scarcely what they were used to. It seemed to be a fault along the massive hard sandstone that made up much of the hills. They were familiar with faults and other geologic formations, many of them having worked as miners.
As they journeyed, occasional glimpses of wild apes startled them. But the gleam of the sun on their shining axes and the brandishing of crossbows kept their would-be adversaries at a safe distance. Wild goats and some roots and grains, along with water from springs and their dried food kept their strength, while faith that Khuldul would deliver them to safety stoked their resolve.
They discovered quite a few interesting places along the way. One waterfall seemed to spring from holes in the rocky wall to the east, appearing out of nowhere and disappearing into another rock ledge fifty feet above them, after falling several hundred feet. It seemed as if the very mountain teased them with water just above their heads. But Burris Climber made his way with piton and rope, passing filled water bags to his friends and family.
A cliff blocked their way at one point, an almost unscalable rift of sheer rock that jutted upward fifty feet, from one side of the valley to the other. After several men made their way along the sides to the top and reeled down ropes to help others, they noticed that the rock was a slice of massive metamorphic stone that was thrust up for seemingly no reason at all. Twenty feet wide at the top and only slightly wider at the bottom, it seemed to defy logic, but nonetheless effectively blocked passage. After a hundred or so were hoisted up and down to the other side, they noticed that there was a hole almost through the rock at ground level. With a few well-placed pick strikes, the hole was opened enough to let the others pass without the dangerous climb. Owin, the dwarf who found the hole and did most of the digging, named it Owin's Keyhole. After the hard work he performed, no one challenged the name.
They were in no particular hurry, as their god called them and they knew they would arrive there eventually. Camping overnight beneath the stars, they saw the constellation that the Teregnaven called "The Sword of Bestra." They looked long and hard for one that looked like an axe to no avail. But one Sulin Proudheart, a young lass at fifty, and younger still in imagination, did find an anvil among the stars - close enough for any Dwarf's heart.
Another few days of walking brought them to a seemingly desolate yet alluring place where the valley spread wide and ended abruptly a hundred feet up in a wide plateau on each side, then flanked on the west of the plateau by a rocky ridge and to the east by high, steep cliffs. The strange, eerie feeling given by the lay of the land was augmented by the even stranger rock formations within the valley itself. It appeared that the valley was once a flat slab of rock that was destroyed in a massive explosion, but in reality, tremendous movement of the fault shattered the stone as if it were rock candy. Huge pieces of rock were strewn about at all angles, some resting on others, some leaning precariously on others, all seemingly placed by a mad mind. The going was rough and dangerous, and many times the slabs would shift at the slightest placement of weight. They realized they had to climb to one side onto the plateau to avoid any mishaps. The entire group camped on the rocky, massive plateau for several days as the rest made the arduous trip, then continued on the plateau, skirting the strange place. Little did they know that this area would eventually be transformed by humans into the nearly impenetrable fortress known as Nopolitus.
A little further brought them to another incongruous sight. The valley dipped and turned downhill slightly, and its sides steepened and were covered with fine, almost volcanic soil. From the soil sprang a thick forest of aspen and spruce, with lush berries and luscious root vegetables growing out of the highly organic undercover. The roots were sweet and highly nutritious, but still the fact remained that this was so out of place. They noticed that the air in this grove was warmer than the thinning atmosphere they walked through to this point. Some investigation uncovered a crack in the ground, which emitted enough steam to heat the air in the entire valley. A spring welled up out of the rock and fed the crack, continuously emitting warm vapors that became trapped in this strange bowl of salad. The name Ironbeard's Garden came to mind. It stuck. They stayed in the forest, wary of others, for a few days, reveling in its lushness.
The Great Rock, at Last
Another fifteen miles brought them to within sight of their destination. The strange lump of rock that jutted out of the horizon filled them with awe. Would it be habitable? Only walking would decide the question. Drurin took the lead - he seemed to be highly motivated at the sight. Others watched as he gleefully clambered over rock and stone, only to realize that he was way ahead of the rest and had to stop and wait.
The remainder of the trip took a full three days, as distances can be deceiving, and they didn't realize just how large the promontory was. As they arrived, almost all of them began to wonder just what it was that the Rockcarver saw in this desolate, stark landscape. It was difficult at first to maintain the same amount of intensity and drive once they realized just what it was they had been chasing: a bulge of solid rock. Since doubts still clouded their minds, Drurin addressed the crowd and suggested that the strange hunk of land should be named Walin's Cap, after the great founding father of the dwarf race, for the dwarves still desired to remember their history in Farland. They all heartily agreed. The rest of the day of the arrival was spent hauling logs to the top of the rock to create a great signal fire. It was answered by a similar blaze somewhere in the distance. They knew it couldn't have been the Spire of Bestra, as the magnificent stone obelisk was beyond the curve of the world, but somehow they knew it was Teregnaven in origin, and that the message would be repeated overland until it reached the Spire.
The next few days were spent trying to discover the secrets that the Cap held. To the last, they could feel that the structure should be used somehow as a fortress or place of refuge. But to build on top of the rock would seem ridiculous. It was Nuris the Hammer who found what was to become the most compelling reason to stay and call this place home. After some loud and boisterous discussions concerning their future, he sat down against the base of the rock to relax. The gravel was uncomfortable, so he raised himself to a kneeling position to brush enough of the loose rock away to give himself a smoother seat. Much to his surprise, he brushed away a shiny piece of stone. This caught his eye, being a miner at heart, and when he picked it up and examined it in the light, he found a pure, raw diamond glistening in the rays of the sun. Showing it to the others brought cries of excitement. This is why the Rockcarver had brought them here! A mad scrabble ensued and other precious gems were found, along with coal and iron ore. They had stumbled upon a virtual treasure chest!
Thalim Goodheart, the priest, spoke up and affirmed that this was the doing of Khuldul himself. The great God of the Dwarves led them here to do his bidding, he said. And the wealth that the Cap held was to be used in trade to help build a great fortress and spread his word. They all agreed, but still the question hovered over them like the dark dome of the approaching night sky - how do they transform this lifeless rock into a home?
To Make a Castle
The group looked to Talus of the Book, he who was trained in the arts of wizardry. He was well read and knew of the amazing feat of the building of Wawmar. Although this greatest of Dwarven strongholds was built almost 11,700 years prior, it seemed to him that the basic ideas behind the construction must still prevail. The great engineer Agralin used his knowledge of structures and mining techniques to create the vast fort out of a dormant volcano. But he had an edge: mining equipment blessed and forged with the power of the sorcerer's hand. If only Talus could duplicate the feat. . . .
Talus discussed the situation with a few other wizards. It seemed that he remembered one of the incantations used by the arcane sorcerers of nearly one hundred and twelve centuries ago, and although the exact words and methods used were doubtless lost in translation over such a long period of time, he felt that Khuldul himself would guide his mind. Using several of the picks they brought, they began to experiment. The first was quickly changed to a three-legged bird, which brought such surprise from the wizards that they released it. The former pick flew fast away toward the hills below to eat.
Talus changed several of the words slightly, and the second incantation changed the mining instrument into a lovely lady who sang a sad tune in a beautiful voice, then disappeared in a cloud of pink smoke. Such are the travails of a wizard removed by so many years, he thought.
The third did nothing, engendering much confusion in the group, not to mention causing a few of the miners to grumble, having lost two picks already to such strange experimentation. The fourth caused even more consternation, as the shiny metal implement turned to a bowl of warm butter. Tasty, to be sure, but not what they were looking for.
Talus stood aside and began to search even further into the history of his race. What word could be missing? Not Agralin's name, as that would seem too vain. Not the name Wawmar, as it was a word that would have been used once the volcano had been christened upon completion. . ..volcano. . ..volcanumin. . ..That was it! An arcane word used to describe powerful forces originating within the earth itself! He turned to the group and chanted aloud. . ."Esta Volcanumin Hechta Nembrus Ectalumbra!" The pick turned white, then a gleaming silver and began to hum and vibrate in the holder's hand. Talus grabbed the pick and walked over to the rock. He planted his feet firmly on the ground and took a mighty swing. A little too mighty. The resultant explosion blew rock all around him, exploding off the face of the stone and landing ten feet behind him. It also knocked the sorcerer out cold.
He awoke to the sound of explosions and the clatter of rock falling all around. One by one, the brazen, life-loving miners took to digging with the enchanted tool, only to be dragged away from the rock unconscious. Once a dwarf, always a dwarf, he thought, as each one decided he was strong enough to withstand the power of the new tool. He stopped their braggadocios behavior and conjured up another spell, one that held the stones toward the face of the excavation, then caused them to roll around the wielder and out of the way. This took quite a lot out of Talus, so he began training the other wizards in the art of the new spell.
At this point, Hessa Rockdreamer stepped forth. Her parents had told her she was a descendant of a man of great scientific skills, but by so many generations removed that they couldn't pin down the exact ancestry. She had quite a way with designs and a flair for geometry, and gathered the group together to lay out a plan for what she believed could be a workable city and strong fortress. At least plans for a shelter for a while.
She gathered some of the miners and a few of her friends close, describing methods she envisioned to keep the excavations straight, and other methods she would use to lay out angles and curves. She also had some ideas for determining how deep into the rock they would go in order to keep the workings away from the edge of the mountain, so as not to break through into the open. With a few sticks and strings, some rocks hanging from poles with straps, a hollow tube of a rotted-out branch and a magnetic steel rod, she began to work surveying what she thought would be the ideal pathways for the workings, drawing them on the rock ledges nearby with charred sticks. The basics of underground surveying were beginning to take shape.
So began the creation of a great fortification; a great city, another in a long line of nearly impenetrable Dwarven strongholds.
The Work of One, the Work of Thousands
The first day brought a very comfortable, livable cave into the face of the mountain. The miners wanted to branch out and create a large room to begin with, but Hessa resisted this. Her idea was to build a long entry into a branching point, and digging housing areas right off would defeat the purpose of this. She could see the finished layout in her mind and had to fight hard to have her ideas accepted over those of experienced miners. She won out in the end but did make a few concessions that would serve the city well. The second day saw several offshoots to the left, and upon mining several yards, they were opened up into a usable room large enough to house the families, although with no privacy. She seemed to be driven by visions from Dhurli Ironbeard and from The Rockcarver himself.
While working the rooms to the left side, she split the group and ordered the continuance of the main entry to the center of mass of the rock. She had them keep the entry narrow and short to make intrusion by larger folk difficult, but this would change later as this main entry was to transform into a pathway to trade and commerce. As the first intersection was reached, she divided the crews further into the housing group, which mined to the right back toward the road, and the other crew, which worked to the left toward a Great Hall.
Work progressed rapidly now, but with three crews and a limited supply way for air, things were getting a bit stuffy and the workers had to rest and switch off more than they liked to admit. Hessa knew that the fortress would have to defend the main road that coursed over the saddleback at the east end of the rock, so a lookout post would have to be made. With her surveying instruments, she plotted a level line around the rock to the road. Measuring up to a point about twenty feet above the road, she broke off still another crew and directed them to climb above the road and begin digging toward the housing crew.
She then directed the housing crew to mine straight forward toward this lookout. When the two met, they would have natural ventilation due to varying terrain aboveground. She guided the lookout crew to cut holes entering into the rock as small as possible, as these were later to be arrow slits. It was a tight squeeze at first, but inside, they opened the workings and created a gallery of connected slits that would allow rock to be rolled out and still provide ventilation. The work was then begun on a ramp to the level of the housing crew.
It took several weeks of work to connect the two crews. As they broke through, only a few inches from being perfectly in line, the air began to move. Their renewed vigor drove them to work even harder, and they began carving out lines for housing units.
All the dwarves were used - each had a job. The women gathered food and fed the hungry miners at the end of the day. Others, such as bards, farmers and craftsmen in their former lives, searched through the stones to find jewels and precious stones. Some iron ore was found, and a few blacksmiths found a coal vein a couple of hundred yards to the south. It didn't take them long before they were forging new picks and drills. Enchanted by the sorcerers, they were welcome replacements for well-worn tools.
Several of the women found that the stones with no value were well fitted to building. Walls were built along the solid rock plateau and filled with every bit of soil or sand crushed from excavation. They formed rich raised beds which were planted with grain given to them by the Teregnaven. At nearly ten thousand feet above the sea, a farm was beginning to emerge.
Mountain goats were herded and kept in pens made of stone from the excavation. The goat's milk was a nutritious drink, and occasionally several of the animals were taken for their meat.
The demands of Hessa's job were relentless. The accelerated speed of mining kept her on her toes every day. As the left crew finished the first set of large rooms, they were directed to begin drilling entries into what was to become a Great Hall. They mined as far as she planned, then turned to the right to work toward the second crew. As they met, more air was allowed to blow through the entries, as more pathways were uncovered. Hessa then planned the hall. It was to be fifteen feet high with several columns left in place for stability.
After a few more weeks, the weary workers were able to sleep in their own places. The housing "caves" were over fifty feet on a side, plenty of room for three or four families. And with each new room, the families were able to move into large rooms they could call their own.
The fourth month of mining had left the dwarves with sixty houses attached by common halls, a guard room to the left of the main entry, and an ever-growing gathering place. It was time to take a rest. Drurin declared the day of celebration. Miners hunted the slopes and brought home boar and goats for the slaughter. A few groups made their way to Ironbeard's Garden, bringing home some of the tasty, nutritious roots for food and transplantation. Spruce and grasses were harvested to produce a grain mash for beer. And on the first Walin Day, all reveled to songs depicting their travels and their travails.
Work began again. Excavation for the housing was moving along well, and soon all had their own abode. The market place moved much more slowly, however, and in the month that followed, the housing crew joined them. With three working areas it advanced better, but quite a large volume of rock still had to be moved. However, an interesting discovery was made halfway through the construction. A large fin of melted rock appeared beneath the steady flow of pickfall. It reached about four feet high, was two feet thick at the base and stretched for fifty feet along the floor of the workings. Gems glittered beneath torchlight, and the dwarves who found it stopped and stared in awe. It was a treasure chest of valuable rock, and Hessa knew what this meant. She immediately split a crew off to build a ramp and round about to a level below this, hoping to intersect what appeared to be a once-molten intrusion that may be much wider and more massive than what they had already encountered. She didn't have to tell the miners twice - they drew straws to see who would be allowed to dig the ramp.
The roundabout was essentially a ramp that curved back on itself. Hessa designed it all on rock with charcoal, surveying the north face of the mountain to assure the ramp wouldn't exit to the surface. This in itself required a great deal of spatial imaging. The market place crew continued to pick at the seam, and a few others separated the valuable gems from the iron ore and rock. A small room was fashioned to store their riches.
Drurin decided that it was time to cash in on some of their good fortune. After all, the days were getting shorter and winter was peering around the corner. He took several hunters and two bags of fine gems toward the Spire to see what provisions he could gain.
Winter in the Cap
The grains the Teregnaven gave the dwarves were taking hold well in the farms they had created. The raised beds were placed near, and where possible, against the rock of the Cap and in close to other large outcroppings of rock. This enabled the plants to winter over through the biting cold that was to follow, partially heated by the Cap itself. Of course, the grains consisted mostly of barley and wheat, and the barley was certainly not slated for use in bread - ales and beers were the intention here. Root crops held their own through the colder times, especially the sweet roots they found at Ironbeard's Garden. Often, sliced wheat bread with goat meat and a side of the root, washed down by a good ale, made for a nutritious meal.
It took a full month, but Drurin returned with almost as many goods as he and his men could handle. The Teregnaven could see the value of the gems, especially their worth in trade with other races. In return, the dwarves brought wool, grain seeds, implements, spices and spice seeds, dried meat and beautiful ceramics from people known as Halkassa'ruukil. Drurin could see how profitable the new trade system could be.
Even though the rock gathered heat from the sun, heat was still at a premium in the Cap. Air was allowed to naturally circulate through the workings, but it was cold. Trees from nearby were selectively felled and chopped into firewood. One housing unit in every half-dozen or so was left uninhabited and designated as a firehouse, where a conflagration was built around some large rocks. When heated, the stones were rolled down the hallways to each house where the family would use it for days, sleeping next to it. The fires were used to dry the goat meat and bake bread. A few air holes were driven with enchanted drill steels to the surface above. On a cold day, one could see plumes of smoke coming out of the rock in several locations - a strange sight indeed.
But the dry cold air never deterred the dwarves of The Cap in their quest to build for Khuldul: rather, it seemed to spur them on. Day after day, they worked with picks and drills, carving life from the very cold stone walls that others of Forntol dismissed as a lump of rock. The marketplace was beginning to take shape. Hessa determined that the opening of such an area would require a certain maximum span and intermediate supports. Rather than create it in a form of honey-combed rooms, she decided to shrink the supporting walls as small as she could and to expand the rooms as large as possible. After arranging the rooms in several different patterns, she came to realize that the excavation would actually approach the shape of a huge opening with columns scattered throughout. This made for a much larger, more impressive place with long views, interrupted only by comparatively slender supports.
No more veins of value were intercepted in the main floor. The ramp crew dug their roundabout to a portion of the mountain directly beneath the main corridor of the first and split into two crews. Anticipating the need for expansion, Hessa directed the first crew to mine parallel and underneath the corridor toward the lookout. The second crew mined toward the expected vein. A third crew was finishing the marketplace above, cleaning the rock floor and mining a few more housing units radially off the cavern. They were instructed to ramp upward to a higher level to create an observatory. At a higher level, Hessa determined that all cardinal directions could be seen from the rounded portion atop the Cap.
The constant din of the picks and the cracking of the rock beneath their enchanted strikes were usually drowned out by the constant rumbling of the rocks as they almost dutifully rolled along the floors and ramps to the open air. It was a strange sight, to be sure. But now the problem of moving the excavated rock became greater. Hessa insisted that each week, a day would be put aside and dedicated to moving the rock and building with it. Grumbling miners, considering this to be a task for women and less hardy of their folk, would drop their picks and drills and join the rest outside.
An intricate set of walls was constructed first, corralling the eventual travelers of the road into a more orderly path. The road was paved with some of the flatter stones, with square-section walls four to five feet higher on each side. Each stone was painstakingly fitted to the holes left by the others, locking them all into place. A second road was built, intersecting the main road and leading to the entrance to the Cap. Other paved pathways were built among the raised farming beds, while other rocks were used to create walls for domestication. Even a few shelters for goats and pigs were constructed of flat rock held by walls of fitted stone. The stone all went to good use, and even among the marginally worthless rock could be seen glints of beryl, tourmaline, turquoise and even bits of diamond in the dwindling sunlight.
But still the rock came. Hessa, and some of the other more military-minded of the dwarves realized the importance of keeping the number of openings of the fortress to a minimum. But her plans included much more extensive mining of the second level. She and Drurin envisioned a gathering place on the lower floor where they could gather, drink, worship, and teach their young. Knowing that they were running out of room for the rock on the surface at the first level, she devised a simple but effective way of driving an opening to the surface.
At the bottom of the ramp on the lower level was a downhill slope toward the north side of the Cap, where it would open to a solid rock slope away from the fortress. She planned a round opening and a much smaller hole. However, in the top of the opening was left a hanging rock, carved into a sphere that was still attached to the top of the cave. The cut rock would roll around and beneath the sphere to the opening and roll out to the valley below. When this slope had lost its usefulness, the sphere would be picked loose and allowed to fall, blocking the opening closed. More rock would be piled into the slope and hammered into place, effectively sealing it from any external force except the strongest magic. And if it could be forced to move, it still would go no further than to block the entry closed from the other side of the round cavern!
The spent trash rock rolled up against the forest below, soon stabilizing and creating a talus slope of stones that would eventually serve as an effective barrier against attempts to encircle the Cap in that direction.
Work continued on the lower level. Crews of dwarves would often engage in arm-wrestling or story-telling contests in order to vie for rights to mine the gathering place. Each miner wanted to be the first one to cut into the veins.
The bitter cold of winter began to subside. Days were getting longer now, and more of the sun played on the surface of the Cap. Consequently, seeds began to poke through the dormant soil as root vegetables and grain began to sprout. Still the hammering continued.
The upper crew entered the new level and began to drive a circular entry well inside the limits of mining. Drurin decided that this would be the optimum configuration to support quick troop movements, inner rooms for training and barracks, weapons storage and a mess hall. Hessa had envisioned a more peaceful setting of schooling or art, maybe reading rooms or a library. A few attacks by wild mountain apes made her reconsider. Coming from the cliff sides of the east was a band of the wild primates one spring day. They took a large chunk out of the dwarves' livestock until the hungry beasts were dispatched by well-honed axes. But they had done their damage. The setback necessitated taking some of their gems to the Spire for trade again, as well as trapping and restocking over the next few months.
Hessa gave up the idea of more enlightened use of the upper level, but insisted that the observatories created toward the outside of the ring entry be open to the public to allow them all to enjoy the beautiful panoramas. Four galleries were driven outward to cross rooms, then windows were cut. They certainly could have seen the same views by climbing the rock, but this was safer and gave them the feeling of merging the underworld with the surface.
Out of respect to the brilliant designer, the military-minded of the dwarves acquiesced and had a large area carved out of the level on the sly. Hessa was surprised to find that they had built a large room for schooling on the level, with easy access to the observatories.
The housing crew of the lower level, now designated Level Three, drove their single entry to and past where Hessa calculated the main road ran over them. She directed them to begin ramping upward toward the surface. As they reached a level even with the Level Two lookouts, she had them cut back and into the open. They now had a method of watching and defending themselves from both sides of the road. The crew then dropped back and began driving an outer ring corridor close, but not cutting through, the surface to daylight. This complicated bit of calculation was tedious, but blacksmiths had fashioned more intricate equipment for her. She felt that the outer ring would be important to aid in balancing the airflow throughout the level.
But good news was to come from the crew dedicated to the gathering place! The vein was intercepted again, this time at a location away from the position found on the upper level. Simple checks showed that the vein was widening as mining progressed downward - a mother lode of valuable gems was within reach! Nothing could keep the upper crew from joining at the lower level, and soon dwarves could be heard merrily singing, laughing and whistling as they pounded the rock. Another crew willingly scouted the talus slope for new valuable rocks, which were hauled to the gem room or the blacksmith's forges.
Six months passed, and the crews were now well into the gathering room. Trade flourished as gems were taken to the Spire and exchanged for more seed, cloth, food, ceramics, even a new transit for Hessa. A new celebration day was planned to enjoy the fruits of their labors. What looked as a promise of a bumper crop of grain made the dwarves realize, however, what was missing. One crew begged Hessa to design a special set of rooms, and she agreed. To the north, off of the gathering place, a set of openings were driven. The first room consisted of a wide, flat area incised into the floor - this would be the grain mash floor. Beyond that, another set of rooms were built to house the primary and secondary fermentation areas - the beginnings of a brewery.
Ah, to Drink
A few dwarves, led by Fane Thundercook, began brewing ale. Fane claimed to have a recipe handed down to him by his ancestors. True or not, he began to put together a fine mash of barley, wheat, spruce shoots and some of the rye grass from the slopes. He used the grain malting room to sprout the barley, adding the other ingredients along with wild hop leaves found at lower elevations. Blacksmiths' work ethics were put to the test as they hammered out heating vessels and barrel hoops. Cooperage was not well practiced among these dwarves, so after gleaning the countryside for help, a group of dwarves came upon the forest known as Melkuul Wesfar. Never having met the fierce Kassa, the dwarves were taken aback by their nature. But in trade for sharpened knives and some gems, they were able to strike a deal for a long-term supply of barrels with the talented woodworkers. The dwarves would drop off hoops, nails and a few gems, and the Kassa would pay in barrels. With barrels and grain, the first batch of fine ale was ready for the celebration. And not much in the way of work was done for the next few days.
Work began anew for the hangover-riddled miners. A few workers were busy trimming and doing fine stone work on individual housing units (called "caps" by the dwarves, probably in reverence to the Cap itself), as well as producing more housing rows and caps along the market place. They wanted it to be a showplace for their considerable talents, so the support pillars were carved with the likenesses of famous dwarves. One likeness was kept hidden from the ever-busy Hessa for quite some time. . . .
Ah, to Worship
In the gathering place, the everyday hustle and bustle continued. The gem vein was being mined selectively, leaving sturdy pillars just where they were designed. The resulting effect was of towering glistening columns, studded with brilliance. Of the dozen columns left standing, only eight were covered in gems, but that was enough to produce a stunning effect. Thalim Goodheart believed that a cathedral was the best use for this area. But it would be in an open area, in the center of the gathering place. Rather than to build stone walls between the columns, it was decided to opt for a different look - wood.
None of the dwarves were, however, proficient in woodworking. So Hessa decided to take a trip to the Spire in search of help. Networking with some of the Teregnaven, she was directed to the Kassa'melkuul. After a trip of several days, she and a Teregnaven interpreter met with Elk-noo Planetree, a Kassa of Wesfar whose family was well known for fine woodworking. The first and previous meeting with other dwarves was successful in producing a trade relationship for ale barrels. Understanding the Kassa was not a critical issue then, as the dwarves showed them a crude barrel and the Kassa understood the concept of trade. But this was to be a contractual relationship with the Kassa, as Hessa had to explain the concept of work performed for others for pay.
She also had to explain drawings, material and workmanship. Elk-noo understood through translation by the Teregnaven and agreed on a price. He showed Hessa some of his finest work - chairs, benches, railings, boxes - all finely finished with varnish made of distilled wood turpentine and bee bodies. She was very impressed with the level of craftsmanship, but imagining how the Kassa could get into their lower workings was another matter. He was seven-foot-six, and his two sons were a shade taller. A deal was struck, and Elk-noo began his search for the proper wood and varnish. After a stay-over and a hearty meal, Hessa returned by the north road through Hilken country, and once back at the Cap directed some miners to raise the entrance a couple of feet.
Several weeks later Elk-noo and his sons arrived with several carts of finely-planed logs. He wasn't expecting to find a huge lump of rock on the top of a plateau, despite what he had been told. He was led in by Hessa and was amazed at the incredible amount of work and level of workmanship involved in carving an entire city out of rock. They made their way around the roundabout to the lower level and his jaw dropped at the sight of the cavern. As dwarves were busily working on the rest of the gathering place, he stared unbelievingly at rocks rolling on their own along the floor and into the chute to the surface below.
Then he saw the columns, gleaming with gems and crystals. He understood the magnitude of what he had to perform: to make a place of worship of stunning quality that would show off the beauty of such a place. He and one son, (snort)Gak, stayed and began to measure, while the other, Nek-(whee), returned with empty carts to Wesfar for more wood.
The cathedral was built of wood walls between five columns with two entrances left open and to the roof. But Elk-noo suggested to Thalim and Hessa the possibility of bringing the walls up only eight or so feet, allowing light from inside the gathering place to shine on the gems of the roof. They liked this idea, and Elk-noo began work. Over the next few weeks he fashioned beautiful walls halfway to the roof. Nek-(whee) returned with several more carts of wood and several baskets of meg-gh roots, a Kassa delicacy, for the dwarves to plant and grow. As the final coats of varnish were being placed, Drurin asked Elk-noo if he could build pews as well. Elk-noo stayed at Walin's Cap for several months finishing the job, and the crew left with unbelievable tales of riches, powerful little beings mining with enchanted hammers and unimaginable work ethics, and a city hewn from rock.
On the third year of its existence, the marketplace was closed for the morning. A candlelight walk was planned as part of the worship service, and every dwarf made the trek to the market. Once there, the false wall surrounding one of the columns was uncovered. There, in front of a disbelieving Hessa, was her likeness carved into one of the columns. As a tribute to her, it was constructed by the very thankful dwarf community.
Such a Waste
The population of Walin's Cap had grown over the time since they arrived. Housing in the upper level was becoming cramped and room for personal duties was at a premium. Drurin realized that some sort of sewage system would have to be made. Hessa drew up some plans for another level below level 3 to handle it all. It would be simple enough to mine slopes to carry waste to a receptacle, but after that, no one was sure what to do with it.
They consulted Talus of the Book once again, who seemed to know enough of Wawmar and how they had handled their waste disposal system. He searched through his texts and discussed it with his fellow sorcerers, and they found an herb growing nearby along the edges of Ironbeard's Garden that seemed to aid in the decomposition of the waste. Talus promised that the use of the herb, along with the aid of some magic, would completely reduce the waste to flammable gas, which Hessa would have to vent.
But Hessa had other ideas. She had read of the gas-powered turbines and fans of Wawmar and began designing a similar location for Walin's Cap. She planned a series of tunnels beneath Level 3 to gather the sewage and a set of sloping entries to a fermentation pit. She gave the blacksmiths a project to perform, as well. They were to build a turbine and fan arrangement to utilize burning gasses to provide mass air movement throughout the workings. Her specifications were exacting and detailed, down to the meticulous balancing of the equipment. Further, all the work had to be performed underground, since the machines were too bulky to move in the narrow tunnels.
She directed a crew to begin digging a maintenance slope down from the gathering place to the location of the mechanical room. Another crew excavated rock to form intersecting tunnels. Blacksmiths and woodworkers set up shop in the new room and began building the machines. Within several months the equipment had a trial run, and with a few tweaks, worked well enough to use. A vent for the exhaust gas and vertical connecting drops were driven up from the sewers to gather the sewage. Another ramp was built to service the machinery, and some air ducts were driven to the level 3 circle entry.
A Strong Economy
By the end of the eighth year of construction, Walin's Cap was a comfortable, livable city. The population was approaching a thousand dwarves, all living in very comfortable quarters mostly in Level 3. Although not self-sufficient in food production, the Cap rested upon an almost inexhaustible cache of gems and ore. The ore was smelted and forged into fine steel and ironware to be sold in the Marketplace. Sufficient grain for fine Dwarven ale was produced in the nearby raised bed farms, and additional wheat and rye were bought from Hilken and Teregnaven farms. Dried meat and fine pottery were traded by the Hilken, who had little use for gems but treasured the fine steel knives and implements. The dwarves felt a little more at ease trading with gnomes and humans, as they knew what to expect and what they needed. Kassa traded fine wood furniture, sturdy rope and roots for steel and gems. Teregnaven traded wool, clothing, fine wine and cheese for gems and implements. The marketplace was a success from the start, bringing trade from all over Forntol. The elevation and remoteness of Walin's Cap was balanced by its strategic location along the main north-south road.
Of those who remembered the stories of the once-great fortress of Wawmar, few dared to compare the city of Walin to that great extinct volcano. The sheer magnitude of the spiral walkway and the legendary force of twenty thousand dwarves that the Farland mountain held far overshadowed its Forntol counterpart. But Wawmar lay in the shadow of the great evil, and the dwarves of Forntol had escaped that shadow. Now there were newer dreams to be grasped, a new mark on the world to be made, a new, bold statement to be uttered.
With the basics of the city having been constructed, Hessa and Drurin realized that the dwarves would not be satisfied with a simple life of trade, commerce, and politics. These people were far too hard-working to ignore their natural tendency to mine. And the majority of building and construction was finished, as sufficient housing units had been built and other maintenance and support construction had been performed. Excavation was complete within the veins of valuable ore; further mining on the first four levels would destroy what they had built in the levels above due to the sheer weight of the rock of the Cap itself. So the ramp to Level 4 was extended deeper into the vein.
Unlike the storied mines of Wawmar, which extended into adjoining mountains, the vein of Walin's Cap extended downward. Unwilling to cut to the surface along the face of the rock slopes, they knew that the mine would require more airflow to enable the dwarves to work. This was accomplished by another design by Hessa: that of multiple entries. One entry would be used to draw fresh air from a few very small openings cut in strategic places, such as along the talus slope and in the forest. This air would course through the entry to the working face. It would then be drawn to the fan by another entry. Depending upon what side of the main entries the excavation occurred, the air either flowed in a simple circuit, or it was necessary to cross the airflows. The latter was accomplished by means of overcasts. These were entries driven over top of another, and separated by a floor and two walls. It was this ingenious method designed by Hessa that allowed mining in more than one place without miners working in spent air.
Blacksmithing operations were moved to near the fan and turbine rooms. This had two advantages. First, the ore did not have to be moved to the surface, so smelting and forging could be done nearer the mine and only the finished product would have to be transported. Secondly, some of the gas produced in the fermentation room could be used to heat the ore and steel.
On the surface, a few adventurous dwarves found a very welcome sight not far from the Cap. To the southeast of the growing city an outcrop of coal was discovered while the group chased several goats for domestication. It outcropped along the bottom of a cliff, and was the perfect location for a mine. The enchanted picks were set aside soon after the first strikes explosively blew the coal away from the face. A small mine was built, large enough to satisfy some heating needs, but mostly to fuel the smithy's fires.
In the Cap, the entries of the mine were driven parallel through the ore body. Off of these secondary entries, smaller stopes were driven into the ore. Only a small amount of the ore was mined in this method, but the structural integrity of the rock and, therefore, the workings above was maintained.
Spent ore was handled much the same as that of Level 3. A very steep slope was driven to the surface far below, exiting along the western slopes of the high rock knob. The slope was steep enough to prevent entry by climbing to all but the heartiest of the dwarves themselves and could be defended easily enough by dropping rocks through it.
Several decades since its original configuration, a second level, Level 6, was driven below Level 5. Some of the ore in this lower level was of exceptional quality, and the size at this lower elevation has been estimated at ten times the width of Level 5, actually reaching around and under a valley to a nearby mountain.
Walin's Cap Today
The fortress of Walin's Cap is now sixteen hundred years old. Though not as grand nor as famous as Wawmar, the city has not lost its luster. Although the forces driving its construction have changed and its history has been steeped in legend and hyperbole, its importance in the continent of Forntol has not ebbed.
Completed just eleven years after its inception, the population has grown to three thousand. Trade and politics now play an important part in the lives of the resident dwarves, more so than the rather limited amount of mining they perform.
The Settun Rengavae was established just a scant two hundred years after Walin's Cap was built. Although the dwarves pledged allegiance to this police force, they still guard their fortress with all the conviction with which they built it.
786 P.E. - Some dwarves, having escaped the destruction of the great stronghold of Dorlhaud, land on the shores of Forntol. Claiming that Khuldul Rockcarver guided their boat to safety, the dwarves settle in Forntol with renewed conviction.
789 P.E. - Construction of the great fortress at Walin's Cap is begun.
801 P.E. - Construction of the great dwarven fortress is complete.
1,000 P.E. - A symbolic council of the races convenes in Vetemus. At this meeting, the Settun Rengavae are set up to govern the land.
1,713 P.E - A vast army of orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, and kobolds attack the divided cities of the northern tundra. Rennok and Nozukal join forces, though reluctantly, and turn back the dark folk army. Their own numbers are terribly depleted. In 1,720 P.E., another attack comes, and the northern cities send pleas for aid. A great contingent of dwarves from Walin's Cap and an army from Nopolitus march north and slaughter the dark folk.
2,430 P.E. - Kunevraxas, the "White Wind," wrests control of the dark folk cities of the east; The dwarves of Walin's Cap may be drawn into battle again, this time for the sake of all Forntol.