Songs of Varen
Hrokilnn, or the Old Hearth as it translates in the ancient dwarven tongue, is a dwarven capital city with some of the finest glassblowers in the world. The sister city of Monadrin, this city young and energetic in comparison. The city is arranged vertically in twelve layers, with the upper four built in tiers on the mountainside, the lower eight carved out of stone reaching down to the heart of the mountains.
Hrokilnn is ruled steadily by King Angi IV and Queen Laora. Law enforcement in the city is very good, led by commanders known as the Gold Knights (named for their signature armor, Goldsteel plate, commonly known as Goldplate, in which the plates are forged from a durable steel alloy inlaid with gold along the shoulder plates and helmet. They are indeed knights, hand-picked by the King.
This city is mainly a settlement of mountain dwarves, though hill dwarves comprise a significant minority, as do humans and gnomes. Elves and halflings are rare, but not unheard of. Magic of all forms is strictly prohibited inside the city, though clerical “magics” are viewed as divine will and miracles to be respected, so this decree effectively only covers arcane (called “occult” among the dwarves) practices.
Mythology and Worship
The twin creator deities of dwarven mythology, Ferrudin and Galdi, are celebrated throughout the city. Ferrudin the Strong, god of the fires of the earth, and Galdi the Wise, goddess of storms, are brother and sister. Many epics tell the tales of Ferrudin’s exploits in warring against the evils in the mountains, and tell of Galdi’s role in quenching or pacifying her brother when his rage intensifies.
The aboveground layers, collectively known as High Hrokilnn, are green with topiary gardens and elaborately carved forest walkways. This is one of the wealthier areas of the city; houses are spaced more liberally and craftsmen congregate in the parks. At the pinnacle of the city in the highest tier, a temple dedicated to Galdi surrounds the mountain peak. A massive stone and glass statue of Galdi reaches for the skies in the center of this temple. It is built such that rainwater spirals down the fanned horns of Galdi’s helm and deposited into a basin formed by the statue’s cupped hands. This is referencing a common tale about Galdi in which she carries water on a trek for days to bring to Ferrudin, who is dying from battle wounds. Her water heals his wounds and calms his fever.
Consisting of the middle four tiers of Hrokilnn, Central Hrokilnn is the heart of the city. The topmost tier of Central Hrokilnn is where most of the city’s trade occurs; there are courtyards of stone carved between shops, inns, and other buildings. The ceiling is highest here among all the underground tiers of Hrokilnn, towering thirty feet overhead. The city is lit by many lanterns and fiery gemstones secured in tall sconces on the sides of buildings. A great uncut star ruby lies lodged in the ceiling over the King’s Court, a great open-air hall of fitted stone. The gem is called the King’s Star; it is said the gem will glow as long as Hrokilnn’s rightful heir rules the city, and will falter as the nobility (and dwarven society) weakens.
The lowest four tiers of Hrokilnn are the least governed of the tiers, but the most well-known. It is here that the world-famous glassblowing industry is located. A few very wealthy dwarven lords of the industry live on the lowest tier, which is organized in concentric alleyways adorned with beautiful glass structures. The lowest level of Deep Hrokilnn holds a temple to Ferrudin. Priests and monks of Ferrudin maintain a constant flame burning in the palm of Ferrudin’s statue; it is said that Ferrudin could stoke life’s fire from the earth, which he used for smithing and drawing the dwarves out of the rock. The smoke from this fire curls up through the delicate grooves carved in Ferrudin’s beard and up behind its gemstone eyes. The effect results in a movement in the eyes that makes them seem to twinkle with life.
Among the darker folks that live down in the depths of the mountain are the Final Dagger Mercenaries, led by Dodrum. These are skilled mercenaries with few moral quandaries and fewer allies.