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History of the Filwarvesby Andrew Theisen
The first dwarvish settlers on the Isle of Dawn were stoneworkers and masons who answered the call from Thyatis for assistance in building the fortress of Redstone on the western shores of the Isle of Dawn. Many of these dwarves stayed on after the construction of Redstone, and helped to build many other Thyatian fortresses. As the island began to be settled by more Thyatians, and conflicts between the Alphatians and Thyatians intensified, the dwarves found that their talents as builders could also be used as siege engineers, and they became instrumental in military engagements. A call was sent out to their brethren on the mainland, who journeyed overseas and served the humans as weapon and armour-smiths. These dwarvish settlers found a lucrative trade in the arms business, and quickly found that they could profit even more by selling to both sides of the island conflicts- Thyatian and Alphatian. As they settled into their greed, putting their talents towards war and profiteering, their patron, Kagyar, grew ever more angry with them. His people were supposed to create and build, not destroy, and not for mere monetary gain. In a final fit of pique, Kagyar cursed the two Forges of Power that the dwarves had brought with them to the Isle of Dawn, and turned his back on the dwarves there. The dwarves of the Isle of Dawn, originally known as the "Konwarf" (or, "Those born with the Dawn") became known as the "Filwarf" to all other dwarves- "Those born in the Dusk", and were forever considered outcasts from the mainland dwarvish race. The double-dealing, overly avaricious filwarf are frowned upon by all other dwarves to this day.
Postscript one- Legend has it that when Kagyar threw his curse down upon the dwarves' Forges of Power that they all shaved off their beards, throwing them into the forges, and walked away into the night. Though this story is widely regarded as hyperbole, it is true that filwarf dwarves do not wear long beards like traditional denwarf dwarves. Indeed, most filwarves go beardless or, less often, short bearded or simply wear large moustaches. The locations of the two Forges of Power are unknown. It is rumoured that one is still held by the dwarves of House Blyskyr, and used for occasional nefarious purposes, but the other one is considered truly lost.
Postscript two- Some rumours have it that the turning of the filwarves to the ways of warfare and avarice were the result of the immortal Wayland Smith (known among dwarves as Volund Fotarsky) attempting to draw them away from the worship of Kagyar. It is said that he wanted to regain their obeisance and worship from the Artisan, who stole the hearts of the dwarves after the Great Rain of Fire. Dwarvish scholars, who know Kagyar as the creator of the dwarvish race, scoff at any inference that dwarves ever worshipped Volund. Whatever the truth of the rumour, it is a fact that among the few filwarf clerics, more are followers of Volund than of any other Immortal.
(Back to the history)
The curse of Kagyar deterred the Filwarves not in the least. They experienced some hardships at first, and they splintered, wandering across the land, and finding homes among the humans- dwarven ghettoes in the cities and towns. The strong familial ties that dwarves elsewhere in the world knew were lost to the filwarves. They forgot their native tongue and adopted the decadent ways of humankind. Yet they continued to prosper, using their talents for wartime profiteering.
Eventually, a kind of surrogate "clan" was formed. One group of dwarves, who had turned their racial affinity for precious metals into banking and accounting skills, formed a limited partnership- a trade guild, of sorts. These dwarves were the founders of House Barrklist, and their association allowed them to quickly become the leading economists of the rugged Isle of Dawn. The founding of House Barrklist sparked a similar revolution among the other dwarves, who gradually organised themselves into similar guilds. Houses Blyskyr and Makrak were the next to form, in an attempt to stave off human entrepreneurs into the war markets (Blyskyr was formed amongst the weaponsmiths of the dwarves, and Makrak was founded by descendants of the dwarves who built Castle Redstone, and consisted largely of siege engineers and masons). Eventually, the more artistic House Thraest was formed, followed, finally, by the mining house of Krutar.
The Houses are not clans in the traditional sense. There are no direct familial ties between the members (though many members may be related to one another). Rather, when a filwarf comes of age, his parents apprentice him to one of the houses, in hopes that he will attain his journeyman status there, and become a productive member of society. Which house the dwarf is apprenticed to depends on many factors- location, family preference, and occasionally status (some houses are very picky about who they allow to join). Some dwarves join other, lesser, houses or form houses of their own (though few of these reach the stature of the big 5). Many dwarves either do not or cannot be apprenticed to a house, or simply abandon their apprenticeships out of boredom or laziness. The houses are not like denwarf dwarvish clans.
Filwarf dwarves often wear tattoos, have piercings, spiked hair, no (or rarely) beards. They dress in human fashions. They wear ostentatious amounts of jewellery and other displays of wealth (even the poor among the filwarf try to show off in this manner as much as possible).