A dead dwarf kingdom from about 300 years ago ruled by the tyrannical King Balur Kolgrund.
The Rise of the Empire: (6880 AO – 6898 AO)
For over 6,000 years the dwarves had lived within The Dwarven Lands as a group of separate city-states, each ruled by their elder clansmen. It was a time of relative peace between the cities. The Council of Dwarfkin was re-formed in 6880 AO, and an annual summit meeting was held, rotating between the city-states, to discuss diplomatic affairs and the state of The Dwarven Lands. It was during these annual meetings that an ambitious ashborn clansman from Grongdhur made a name for himself.
Whilst the fellowship between the various dwarf clans was at an all-time high, it was not so between some of the dwarf clans and the surrounding elf kingdoms. Many of the more experienced elders were content with how the elf relations stood, but some of the ‘younger’ elders were not. The loudest of the dissenters was Balur Kolgrund. He pointed out to the Council his grievances with the elves. These included unfair trade deals, elf encroachments into the dwarf marketplace, elf resistance to allow dwarf access to natural resources, and others.
It took several years of convincing, several meetings of the Council and several years of political manipulation, but eventually Balur had convinced the majority of elders the truth of Dwarfkind. Dwarves were the dominant species, put on Sylfaen by the gods to enrich the world with dwarf culture and dwarf lifestyle. All others were fit for subjugation.
Uniting the Dwarven Lands under one rule, King Balur Kolgrund was crowned in 6898 AO and the Kolgrund Empire was born.
The Empire at its Peak: (6899 AO – 6997 AO)
With his new influence, King Balur organized his troops and began an aggressive expansion into the surrounding lands. Over the next 98 years he invaded mostly elf territories and enslaved their people. Lands to the north, lands to the south, and a large swath of forested land west of the Forlorn Peaks were all victims of his influence. Balur the Mighty ruled it all.
All non-dwarves were forced into servitude under the Empire’s rule. The majority of slaves were of elvish blood, though no intelligent race was free from Balur’s grip. Other slave races included dark elves, halflings, gnomes, tengu, goblinoids, and even the barbaric tribes of humans that dwelt within Empire lands.
Many settlements were dismantled and destroyed, but none was so devastating as the destruction of the elf city of Erhothaes. Sitting upon the southeast shores of Lucent Lake, Erhothaes was the hub of elf greatness. It housed several academies, an abundance of the finest craftsmen, and a marketplace full of items from the most mundane to the rare, and sometimes even magical.
The Collapse of the Empire: (6998 AO – 7005 AO)
A couple of key factors contributed to the downfall of the Kolgrund Empire. First off in the year 6998 AO, with his empire already stretched to its limits from the Dwarven Lands to Martivir out west, Balur attempted to expand east into the lands of Brightwood atop the future Eldesh Plateau. It was there where he lost thousands of his best troops at the War of Lost Souls. It was a devastating blow to both his power and ego, but nothing compared to what was to come.
Just six years later in 7004 AO, a rivalry between three powerful mages turned deadly in the city of Martivir (see The Great Mage War), the result of which destroyed hundreds of miles of land in every direction including a large chunk of the Kolgrund Empire. In an instant Balur lost over half his land and people in what is now The Arcane Wastes.
As a result of Balur’s lost influence various uprisings occurred and the might of the Empire was slowly whittled away. In the year 7005 AO Balur’s closest advisors realized the collapse of the Empire was inevitable and assassinated their king, returning power to the elder clansmen of each city-state.