For as long as there has been solid earth, there have been Dwarves delving below.
The Dwarves, having escaped enslavement at the hands of giants, only to be constantly embattled with the evils of the Underdark, lived a very militaristic lifestyle for many generations, with all Dwarves loyally serving their clans. Eventually, the Helhig clan arose to dominance, with their elder claiming to be chosen by Moradin to be Abin. Many elders united together under the Abin, though most did so in spirit only, continuing to rule their clans as they saw fit. Others outright refused her claim, though only one clan, known to history only as the banished, actually turned to bloodshed. After establishing her dominance among the clans, the Albin gathered a force to drive the ancient red dragon, Xiuhcoatl, from the dormant volcano Gilral and build a grand city consuming the entire belly of the mountain in glory to herself and to Moradin. Many centuries passed with the dwarves quietly toiling away and keeping to themselves, the Abins successor holding on to rule of the Great City Gilral, though very little else. But all this changed with Bolgirn, or the War of Abandonment.
Xiuhcoatl, having his lair and horde taken from him and barely escaping with his life, turned to Torog for help in destroying the Dwarves, going so far as letting Torog transform him into a Dracolich and swearing allegiance. Soon they had amassed a force from throughout the Underdark capable of destroying all that is Moradins splendor. Slowly Xiuhcoatl started sending raiding bands after the Dwarves. At first it was just little skirmishes with outposts and exploration parties, confrontations the Abin easily passed off as no more than nuisances and surely nothing to be alarmed about. The smaller clans pleaded for help, but the Albin was too consumed with his own power to send his armies far from him, and the other clans to ensconced in their ways to risk life and limb for any other than their own clan. Soon though Xiuhcoatl brought forth bigger battles to larger towns, and just as planned, the Abin started to take notice and grow concerned. Just as Xiuhcoatl predicted, the Albin, not wanting to act rashly and lose his feeble hold on the clans, called a meeting between the clan elders to discuss what should be done about the ever increasing attacks by Underdark Denizens. Xiuhcoatl then waylaid an elder of a small clan and his meager entourage and replaced them with a group of doppelgangers. Once this was done he and his force moved forward to surround the Great City and prepare to enter.
Moradin, sensing impending doom to his glorious creations, appeared before a young cleric and warned him of the danger that was amassing outside the great city. The young cleric immediately warned the Albin and citywarden. The arrogant Albin, not wanting to admit that Moradin would speak to any other than himself had him removed and preceded with the meeting. During the gathering the doppelgangers overtook and slew the elders and the Albin, but luckily the young cleric and citywarden were able to stop them before they could open the gates. Xiuhcoatl laid siege to the city and almost overtook it on multiple occasions, but the dwarves kept pushing them back at the last second. The dwarves sent runners to all the cities requesting aid. Some clans kicked the runners out, others laughed and said that the Hilhig clan was forging what they mined, and even some of the faithful clans were hesitant in supplying a rescue force knowing that the Albin was dead. After four months an army was finally amassed and marched on Gilral.
The army arrived right as Xiuhcoatl was executing a major assault with all his remaining resources. The two armies fought valiantly days but eventually Xiuhcoatl gained the upper hand. Right as he was about to crash through the gates and route the dwarven army, something amazing happened. In a blinding flash of light and crash of deafening sound, the Great City disappeared, leaving in its stead a pit of unfathomable greatness stretching straight up to the surface and down for untold leagues. Xiuhcoatl was badly injured and the remaining dwarves were able to route him and his forces down the pit before returning to their cities to report the unimaginable scene they had witnessed. Some said the Moradin reached down and scooped the great city out of the ground and abandoned the rest to their fate. Others believed it was a trick of Xiuhcoatl or that Torog himself came up from the obis and ate the city. Whatever the cause, the city was lost and all the dwarves returned to their own settlements.
Relations grew strained and most communication between cities ceased. Many towns fell to the evils of the Underdark while others were abandoned. Few but the most heavily fortified survived, and though Xiuhcoatl has not been heard from sense, more and more evil spewed forth from the pit every day. Dwarf kind was all but lost until one day, many, many generations later two brothers came forth to one of the last of the cities, claiming to be from the lost clan. They came with fanciful stories of a flying mountain fortress, of the Dragonborne and Goliaths, and with the dream of uniting the dwarves.
Many scoffed at the brothers and called them crazy, but eventually they were given audience with the elder of city. They offered the elder proof of their claims, and made him an offer to pledge him and his clan, with word and body, to the new rule. Their rule. The elder laughed them off as crazies, but they asked again if he would submit to their laws. The elder went to have them thrown out of his chambers but as he stood he saw from his window an army of dwarfs marching through his gates and he realized that he was now under their law.
So it went for all the remaining cities, two brothers arrive claiming supreme right to rule for the good of all dwarves and if a peaceful submitance was not to be had, then the town was taken from within. The brothers set forth new laws and rebuilt the nation. The seat of government is the lost city, a monumental earth mote almost ten miles wide with various smaller earthmotes connected with various bridges and buildings all controlled by the Elder clerics of Moradin. Around the great pit three rings of watch towers were built each with a magical beacon ensconced in its center. These beacons are connected to runes tattooed on the watchers. If a watcher falls, the beacon dims, eventually going out when all in the tower fall, giving warning to all the other towers.
All dwarves are required at age twenty to report to the great city so that they may pay their duty to become citizens. After serving for ten years each dwarf gains a contract, becomes a citizen and is allowed a name. Service varies between maintenance crews maintaining the cobbled trade tunnels to roving militia groups keeping them safe. No dwarf is allowed to complete their duty in their own town or territory as a way of enhancing the sense of community between all dwarfs. The contract that each dwarf receives upon completion of their duty is a contract of freedom. With it they may go out and participate in whatever trade they see fit to practice. Slaving of a sort is practiced in the new realm. Any dwarf may sell or trade his contract if the need arises, saying that the dwarf in possession owns his freedom. No other races are kept as slaves as it is honor that keeps the dwarf as a slave. Any dwarf may decide they are no longer a slave but in so doing they lose their name, their rights and become social outcast. Stealing or copying anothers contract is punishable by death.
After the two brothers, the new rulers are picked from any dwarven citizen by the council. Only one ruler may lead the armies in battle at a time so that there is always a ruler on the throne (among the dwarves there is a duel to see who gets the honor of leading the army). Under the brothers relations with the other races has flourished and trade with new huis has progressed.
Albin: Forge Keeper; In times past it was used to refer to a king or queen
Bolgrin: Translates literally as Hidden Mountainhold; synonymous with the War of Abandonment