I’m rushing headlong into the second year of writing Coldforged Material, and this year I hope to cover enough topics in preparation to print as is possible. I hope we’re in the home stretch. This week we’re going delve into how the Drimmen civilization, now confined to Aldashir Citadel, used to exist, and how it exists now within the Citadel. There may be information here that contradicts previous information, but this is specifically something that I’m building on from prior iterations, so don’t be too concerned. So, with that, let’s dive in.
The Old Ways
In alignment with many of the situations around Tysis, the current situation of the Drimfolk is a result of actions taken on their prior, more stable situation. This means that much of what is discussed here may no longer physically apply, but it works to build the foundation of what currently exists, and puts the structure in place that then makes the system at Aldashir work.
A half-generation ago, the Drimmen, a mix of Dwarven, Human, Gnome, and Half-giants, lived in the vast halls that they found, carved by an unknown race eons ago, beneath and within the mountains of Drimm. Though the Drimm are often seen as a monolithic society that landed on the islands outside of the mountains, they did not agree on everything, together. They were devout even then, and it is said that there were six prophets in the original group, each devoted to a different god, referred to by the Drimmen as the Fundamental Gods – Takannas, Nera, Conadral, Evalrun, Taralin, Dagor; Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Life, and Death respectively. These prophets each saw, given to them by their deity, their own direction, and path. They argued but eventually came to the conclusions. Taralin, Conadral, and Takannas had seen and felt a pull to the north. Nera, Dagor, and Evalrun felt their pull to the south. They would take those who would follow them and head their separate ways. Through this split, they each migrated and, over time, located their own halls among the mountains.
To the North, along and within the steep slopes, Taralin found his hall, which they called Yormarak, “The Breathing Halls”.
Conadrals followers found the highest twin Peaks, connected by a massive antediluvian bridge across their valley, and massive halls within. These they called Gimrak and Losrak “Hall of Winds” and “Hall of Heaven”
Edging into the lands the Tyndarians would eventually call their own, Takannas prophet found the Halls of Inferno, Sarakarak, which reached into the heart of the mountain, and boiling and active volcano.
Near the Sea, along the border of the Tempest tossed oceans, Neras prophets were the first to find their home, called Elsurak, or the Flooded Halls, for its lower, massive cistern system and caves that opened to the ocean.
To the south, deep within the mountain chain, deep underneath a massive mountain, those who followed Evalrun found their home, Plathrak, the Halls of Gemstones, so named for its pre-existing decorations from all sorts, types, and cuts of gems both massive and minuscule.
Lastly, the diety Dagor’s followers found their halls, the morbid Othrak, Halls of Bone carved into the razor-sharp and pitch-black stone of the belly of the mountain.
As each of these cities was located and adapted to life under the drimmen religious sects, they formed themselves into devout and holy orders that focused on their god’s goals and desires. While the followers of each religion found their callings within these individual fortresses and their respective halls, they did not become isolationist zealots. Each of these cities, though ruled and controlled by the one religion, were tolerant of each of the others, and allowed enclaves, missions, and communities to form within their midst.
Each of the Prophet seers founded an order dedicated to their god’s ideals in order to preserve and protect their society. These orders, over the years, blossomed into full-fledged governments of their own and became the backbone of the entire society. This culminated when, generations after the first Halls were located, the greatest hall of all, Thrunak, was discovered. This was greater than each of the others in scale and grandeur. A war ensued over this great hall, and in the end, there was a stalemate and finally truce. A High Council of Priests was formed, and they elected the Archdeacon, a king in all but name, to watch over the Caverns of Thrunak and to keep all of the other orders in check. This city, the last to be discovered, was also the last to fall to the giants in the Great Exodus and will be the first target of the Aldashiri Drimmen to reconquer when they begin their campaign against the giants.
The Drimmen Orders has maintained law and society for generations within the Mountain holds, and now within Aldashir. These are the foundations of the society, and they are the bodies of law and structure that the clans of Dwarf, Humans, Half-giants, and others pledge their faith and power.
That was longer than I thought!
The Order of Zeal
The God Takannas’s oracle Gruthim Flameseer Founded the Order of Zeal when they located Sarakarak late into the expansion. They had fought their way directly inland against the Voskag along the peaks, as well as through the troglodytes of the underworld as they discovered first the tunnels leading to it and finally the hall itself.
The Order of Zeal is focused on the ideas of the fire god Takannas. He is a lover of bragging and battle, as well as cheating, raucous drunkenness and intense passions. His followers adhere to the Tennants of Zeal, a three-section treatise written by Gruthim prior to his death.
The first section, the Argument of Battle, implores its adherents to fight for glory and power whenever possible, but defines the limits of that combat, seeing as civilians, innocents, blacksmiths, and those who do not wish to engage in combat to be off-limits. It also restrains those who are overeager to push their zeal towards those who are not of the Drimmen.
This leads directly to the second section, the Argument of Righteousness. This directs its followers towards outside threats, and not toward political or oppressive ends. It warns of threats from ” beyond the mountains” and suggests that its followers seek battle with those enemies, those who would challenge and harm the entirety of the Drimmen, and who would cause the downfall of the society if left unchecked.
Finally, he penned the Argument of Zeal, which the Order takes its name from, as though it was his last, he clearly extolled it as his most important and powerful argument. Here, he informed his followers that whatever the choices they make in life, make them with great zeal. Follow those choices like a flame follows fuel, and engulf oneself in these passions. Not all those who follow the lord of Battle can do battle themselves, but they should not be turned away for their lack of physical prowess. Instead, embrace their inner fires, and guide them along the path of zeal.
While within Sarakarak, the Grand Marshall of Ember Dragon rules the city, and controls what the order does, setting their goals and directing their tasks, outside that city, the Order is generally used as an outside defense force, sometimes sent on punitive missions against those who have wronged them, and are the scouts and front line to the defense of any hold.
This role has followed them to Aldashir, where they are the guards on the walls and the fire-zealot berserkers who’ve pledged their deaths in fiery wrath. They form a significant portion of the Kings army at Aldashir, and are often assigned where the greatest of numbers are needed. They are not often the most skilled or the best disciplined – the Argument of Zeal ensures that – but their sheer desire often makes up for it at the end of a battle.
The order takes it especially hard that they were unable to prevent the fall of their Kingdom to the giants, and have taken on their king’s assignments with a penitent fervor that attempts, poorly, to make up for what they see as a failing of their duty just years ago, something the Current Grand Marshall, a Dwarf named Koldith Gutbreaker and his personal unit the Blackscale Dragoons, takes seriously.
Well, that history portion took longer than I expected, so we’ll have to catch up next time on the other 5 orders, but I’ll name ’em here for ya.
Nera: The Bulwark Order of Elsurak
Taralin: The order of the Holy Light of Taralins’ Ankh
Conadral: The Skyshield Order
Evalrun: The Order of the Sentinals of the Mountain Depths
Dagor: The Order of Bones