The Bromekel Dwarves and the Giants of Fire and Stone
Once upon a time, before the times of fertile lands, and long before your great grandparents were babies, the stars fell day and night without ceasing. As the stars fell, they shone brightly in the sky—red during harvest time, white when the snows fell, and green during the growing time, just like the star showers today. Most of those falling stars never struck the ground, leaving only emblazoned trails across the day or night sky. Sometimes, though, as the stars burned in the sky, they left behind their metallic hearts. And sometimes their metallic hearts set fire to the trees—the heart of a star is very hot.
In the times of the dragons, powerful giants also dwelled upon the many lands of the world. The weakest giants roamed the hills; taller, stronger and more cunning giants lived within the sheer cliffs of the mountains; atop the mountains amid the clouds lived yet more terrible giants capable of flight and thunder; and most devastating of all were the giants that only appeared when the greatest of storms crashed into the mountains and sent lightning and hail into the lands below. All of the giants were powerful, and some of them were so strong and resilient that they challenged the dragons for ownership of lairs. While the dragons greedily hoarded the metallic hearts of the fallen stars, the giants made war upon each other and grew in their battle prowess.
Unlike the weaker beings, the giants were not easily killed or frightened by the dragons. In those days, there were fewer creatures on the land, in the water and in the air than there are in the times of the fertile lands. The giants’ appetites were as ravenous as the dragons’. The dragons would often feast on the creatures they killed, even if those other creatures were dragons. The giants were no different. But whereas a dragon would not eat another that shared the colors of its scales, the giants took no notice of the creatures they ate. In those days, these creatures that we rightly call monsters had bodies capable of eating nearly any food. In these times of fertile lands, we know that many creatures are unfit for consumption and that human bodies are unsuitable as food. In those terrible times, only the rarest and most fitting beings restricted their diets: the dwarves, elves and halflings did not eat one another, nor did they poison their bodies with the foul flesh of monsters.
Monsters have monstrous ways. Your parents have shared with you this proverb they’ve learned from their own elders. There are many proverbs; some, we say, come from the halflings, some from the elves, and some from the dwarves. No one can say for sure as these beings no longer exist, but the sages are wise and we should attend to their counsel. This one, monsters have monstrous ways, we know from the Bromekel Dwarves for it was they who finally ended the brutal reign of the Giants of Fire and Stone. While the Grendian Dwarves mastered the shield and spear and devoted their race to the elimination of the dragons, it was the Bromekel Dwarves, with their axes, hammers and swords, who stopped the giants.
Some say the dwarves would be alive today, if they had worked together to defeat the dragons and the giants. None will ever know. Others believe that had they not divided the dragons and giants between them, that not only would there be no dwarves, but that there would be no fertile land and so no world like the one we know—for the giants and dragons would still dwell upon this world and their wars with one another would be raging to this day. But there are no dragons and there are no giants and so we know that the stories of how the Bromekel Dwarves finished the reign of the Giants of Fire and Stone are true.
Giants fall hard, so said the dwarves. The Giants of Fire hurled star hearts when they could find them, and molten rocks at other times. When the Giants of Fire attacked at night, the skies were lit as if by the harvest starshower, such was the horror of their assault. Scores of flaming rocks battered victims, laying waste to the unprotected. But such was their hubris that the Giants of Fire were sure none could withstand their barrage. In dark caves, the Bromekel Dwarves trained their bodies to withstand unimaginable punishment and even the direct hit of molten metal would not stop the hardiest dwarf. The Giants of Fire could catch and return boulders and could wade waist-deep in rivers of lava, but the dwarves learned to craft metal weapons with edges capable of cutting through the hide of the toughest giants. However resilient they were to heat and stone, the Giants of Fire were brought low by sharp steel and unbreakable tenacity.
Stones break stones, so said the dwarves. The Giants of Stone burrowed deep into the sides of the hardest mountains. They mastered stone crafts unappreciated by the other giants and gleaned secrets of gems and minerals that none but the dwarves had known. But whatever their skills and learnings, giants are still giants, and as we know, monsters have monstrous ways. The Giants of Stone thought themselves greater than the stones, greater than the mountains. The Bromekel Dwarves, however, gave the mountains their due; they took from the mountains only what was necessary to defend the mountains. And, as the mountains stand to this day, we see that the mountains stood with the dwarves, for the Giants of Stone are no more. The Bromekel Dwarves live on, not as individual beings, but as the spirit of the resilience of mountain stone.