To Hold a Grudge
The Grudge Dwarves. The Dwarves properly known as the Grudge Bearers, were titled so by their southern cousins. Ever blaming them for their loss of inheritance, refusing to let go of childish folly. The Canon Dwarves had riches and a new home. They laughed as their northern kin stayed rooted to their mountain. Bent and withering away like a man made sword. But the northerners grinned and embraced the term hungrily. Yes, they were Grudge Bearers. For they would not forget the Duergar threat lying in wait. They would never forget that they were the true face of Dwarfdom. And they would certainly never forget the cunning and lies wove by their former family. Family who now adorned themselves in riches and spices, who went to market like a common gnome and knew nothing of pride or honour or oath!
Grudge Dwarves they became. And they never forget one who has slighted them. Whereas their cousins wear bright armour, theirs is modest and austere. Hard Iron and sharp steel. They still appreciate finery and forge shields as tough as mountains, but they do so with what they believe to be a much more sensitive subtlety to the craft. No need for garish colours and tasteless adornments. No, the old Dwarven way is far superior. Subtle, minimalist, discreet… but never simple. Never, never simple.
Some peace has been made between Grudge and Canon. For the Grudge may not ever forget their loss, they recognize southern kin were not to blame for the burglary. Even they would never have stooped so low.
The Grudge Bearers work well with other races who meet them on their mountain peak. They are willing to trade and are often like to share a drink. But an outsider’s tales mean little to them. Their world is here. In the mountain. As it always has and always will be. Especially when it comes to dealing with… her.
Sometime, as the Grudge Dwarfs raged war with the Duergar, a strange ‘thing’ was seen in a deep tunnel. A slender being that emanated an aura of the unearthly, of the eerie that was so uncomfortable that the miners who discovered it… never were they the same again. They acted strangely, bizarrely. Beasts-like. And all wilted to nothing… The being disappeared. And then, to everyone’s surprise, so did the Duergar. Scrambled away; rats darting from a sinking ship. But they left her behind.
The Grudge Bearer’s call her Mother. And they have been in a clandestine war for over three centuries. What she sends up from her home deep at the bottom of the mountain… Chittering and screeching…. only the Dwarves can tell you.
But they probably won’t. Grudge pride forbids them from asking for aid. Never mind the bloodshed, never mind their fallen kind, never mind the horrors that reach up through the mines and grabs women screaming. The Dwarves have survived a thousand years on their own and will continue to do so on their own. A Dwarf holds strong…. Wage they do, this brutal and gritty war in the dark.
But they will not fault. For a Dwarf holds strong. And every wrong slighted will be remembered. And that wrong never goes unpunished by a Grudge Dwarf.