Background and History
The twin cities of Vwallendorn and Duivelstad has stood for centuries.
Vwallendorn, the first of the two cities, was commissioned by the great Dwarf King, Kolmain the Just. This city was carved deep into the earth and used the rhyolite (thick with olivine) to build the staunch outer defenses. These materials were also used to build the "secondary city" of Duivelstad on the surface, used as a trading hub for the outside world, and to house any refugees in need of safety behind strong sturdy walls. In the light of the rising and setting sun, the city glows a deep green.
Construction of the Vwallendown
While little is known of who precisely oversaw the miners, masons, and engineers who build the city, a journal has surfaced penned by a dwarven paladin by the name of Dain Ironhand, First Hammer of the Order of Moradin, who was charged with command of the security and safety of the workers. His journal outlined the timeline, religious implications of construction, discoveries and other important occurences.
The building site was picked to top a verdant green valley of poplars and aspen with steep impassable slopes leading up to where the city would be. Flora and fauna in the forests provided plenty of food for the construction and security crew, and the nearby elven city of Corlun Tywyll provided anything else that was needed.
The first task of the builders, as envisioned by Kolmain the Just, was to delve deep into the ground in the shape of a great stairway. This stairway was to be sectioned off with massive doors, all to be shut in the event of a siege. There would be smaller defensive stairways, high above on either side where archers and mages would rain down bolts and spells on the enemy from a place of safety.
In times of peace however, this stairway was to be used for great parades and celebration, with a statue of a great dwarven hero in each section to further perpetuate the glory of Moradin and Kolmain the Just throughout the ages.
Miners dug through the mountain ahead of masons, who would follow shaping and decorating the passageway. They first dug through granite and sandstone before hitting the rhyolite, causing the excavation to slow significantly.
Upon completing the final section, or "year," of the Centurial Staircase as it became known the test of the engineers finally came to fruition. A gathering took place as the full moon of Moradin's most holy day sone down to the bast of the staircase to where the statue of Moradin would stand. It was that night that Kolmain revealed the name he had picked for the new city, Vwallendorn.
It was later in the construction of the underground city that a miner discovered something odd embedded in the stone. A massive, immovable vase which the worker that found it claimed that once he accidentally broke it, spewed forth a "ghost woman" that disappeared as soon as it had appeared and the vase grew itself anew.
Dain Ironhand then investigated the vase himself by smashing the vase with his warhammer. In his journal he stated that:
"Time slowed, and purple mist swirled about. When it finally coalesced, the figure of a beautiful woman appeared. Never before had I seen such beauty with a voice so sweet and far away.
'It will not last, the Just City will meet an Unjust end. Its centurion staircase will not see it's fourth decade of heroes, for none shall rise to defend it from the tyranny in the south. Ignorance and bling hatred will hold grip on every races' mind. For all that is good will shatter, but do not despair, it will be reborn in the end.'"
Upon reporting it to Kolmain, the King had called it a hallucination not wanting to think his dream might have been doomed from the start. The people began starting to call the vase and its inhabitant "the Urnengeist."
All was well for months after the underground city of Vwallendorn had been completed, until one night when Dain had assigned himself as part of the night patrol. A duty he saw necessary to earn the respect of his men, siting how he doesn't expect his men to do something he was unwilling to do himself.
On this particular night, his rounds had brought him to the chamber that had been constructed around the Urnengeist. As he approached he found that the doors to the chamber open, and a red light was emanating out into the hallway. Turning the corner, Dain found the king, Kolmain with his sword in hand, standing before the Urnengeist.
Instead of finding the Urnengeist that had appeared to Dain, instead he found a demon. Skeletal, red and wreathed in flame and raising the King into the air using some sort of unknown magic.
Dain called to his king in an effort to protect him, but instead drew the ire of the demon who charged the paladin with a glare that made Dain feel as if the skin were to be ripped from his bones.
He then quickly turned his amulet of Moradin upon his foe, sending forth a ray of radiant light, tearing it asunder as if continued to rush forward. It disintegrated, but not before the demon was able to lay a single finger upon the outstretched arm that was holding the holy symbol.
As Dain approached to check upon his King he fell unconscious, and was in serious jeopardy of losing his life.
Dain's Recovery and the Fall of the Vwallendorn
Dain awoke to find himself in his own bed atrophied, with the arm that the demon had touched bound in herbs, salves and other medicines. Though the best healers of the realm had done as much as they could the corruption was spreading to his heart. He had saved the king, but many feared that it was at the cost of his own life. There was only one chance, the greatest healer in the realm, the wizard Darien Greenwood.
As the dwarves were about to send out messengers to find this great, elusive sage he appeared before the gates. He quickly assessed the arm and set to healing it and the necrotic, demonic possession that had come over Dain as well as speeding up the recovery of King Kolmain the Just, whom upon regaining consciousness himself, granted his daughter's hand in marriage to Dain as reward for saving his life.
On the day of the wedding between Dain Ironhand and Inselid, the King's daughter, Kolmain gifted Dain the "Sword of the Winterforge." This was Kolmain the Just's father's sword, made of unbreakable steel in the oldest, most magical forges in all of creation.
In the following years, his visions and message from the Urnengeist began to haunt his dreams. How much longer does the Vwallendorn have? What terrible catastrophe will befall it?
These questions were answered in the final entry of the journal, written by Dain Ironhand's wife. She wrote that the Immolith that Dain had defeated so easily decades ago, returned with much more strength. The demon slaughtered every member of the Hammer that rushed to fight it. Once again, Dain found himself with the King standing alone against it.
A great battle ensued between the three, as the population of the Vwallendorn fled the city. All save Inselid, who before leaving, saw the Immolith skewer the king through the heart with a spear, killing him instantly. Filled with anger, Dain wrested the spear from the Immolith and charged at the demon. The two fell into a natural chasm, never to be seen again.
Aftermath and construction of Duivelstad
The dwarves of Vwallendorn fled their city, sealing it off as best they could to contain the evil that had grown within. Centuries past, and after a group of adventurers travelled through by accident, a group of Dwarves, Drow and Tieflings decided to venture into the city, in attempt to reclaim it. This alliance decided to call itself the Accord of Dread, embracing the assumed dark nature of the pact's races.
They found that the adventurers had indeed cleared out the greater demons that had laid claim to the city, but were unable to clean out the infestation of lower demons. After years of sloughing through battles the Accord of Dread had finally cleared out the entirety of the city.
Slowly the caverns filled, and overpopulated. The Accord then decided to build out and up, to become a hub of commerce, culture and acceptance. After many years, the city had been completed and the three races lived in peace, accepting merchants, travelers and refugees, naming itself Duivelstad.
The Ivory Contagion and The War of the Last Stands
It was another peaceful spring day, when the first cough started. It's said that a Drow woman was brought in hacking painfully and coughing up a mucus, as white as the driven snow. Soon the pupils and iris of the woman also turned white as did the finger and toe tips. The woman died soon there after.
Within a month the city had been decimated by what came to be known as "The Ivory Contagion," a disease that for month was incurable. It was when an orderly accidentally mixed some Viper Nutmeg into some tea for a patient that positive signs of recovery actually started to show, unfortunately that's when the first attack on the city occurred.
After two months of dealing with disease and quarantine a great gnoll horde appeared, cackling at the gates of Vwallendorn and Duivelstad.
This horde, lead by the great gnoll chieftain Thastrinog Angerhound, laid siege to the city. Effectively cutting it off from the outside world, including the cure to the Ivory Contagion which had made great strides in healing the city before the siege.
After four months of besiegement and skirmishes, including the Attack of Broken Jaws, Battle of Cepuhs and the Assault of Death's Rise, all with massive body counts including those of 2nd Battalion of The Accord of Dread that were stationed in nearby Corlun Tywyll.
Finally the suffering of the city had become too much for one young Drow girl named Abinri Greyweb sent a sparrow to the chieftain with a note challenging him to a duel every day for three weeks. He eventually caved and accepted the challenge with the terms that if she won he would leave, an that if he won the city was his.
The morning of the duel the massive gnoll called up to the top of the gate, asking for this great champion of the cities. When the gates opened to reveal a 10 year old drow girl, the fiend horde cackled up such a cacophony it send wildlife fleeing from the forests nearby. After some convincing, the two combatants stood encircled by Gnolls. Thastrinog was clad from head to tow in plate armor, black as night and as rough as serpent skin. Tanned skins of enemies that he had fell lay interwoven into the armor and red warpaint dried and crackled in his fur. Across from him, the Drow girl stood in a simple woolen dress, with her hands behind her back.
"Now" the massive, hulking demon said inching forward grasping a massive warhammer, "This duel begins, and your puny life ends!"
As he brought down his warhammer, she deftly stepped aside as dirt and gravel exploded into the air besides her. "Indeed the duel has begun."
With that she drew out an orb and a sling, muttered some words and suddenly six other visages of herself appeared surrounding her foe. Thastrinog chuckled in minor annoyance, but every version of the Drow he struck disappeared with an additional two popping up in its place.
Seeing the great warlord grow more and more irate, Abrini began swinging her sling around and around and around giving the sling-stone more and more momentum with every swing. Finally, the Gnoll growled and opened up his maw to yell the moment Abrini was waiting for she let loose the stone and it went down the gnoll's gullet.
Immediately Thastrinog dropped the warhammer and began clasping at his throat and wheezing. Soon he collapsed to the ground dead. Though the Gnolls claimed trickery was used, they honored the pact the two had made and left
It has been five years since Abrini had defeated the Thastrinog, and she now sits on the Drow seat of the council ruling over the two cities. She is joined by Akzire Trorzokoz, a male Tiefling from a merchant family, and Gafren Stonefist a distant relative of Dain Ironhand.
Together they rule over their people fairly, with both compassion and a sure hand on justice. They are much beloved by their people and the refugees that are welcomed with open arms.
By day, Duivelstad is predominately dominated by the Tiefling population, but as dusk falls the population shifts as they retreat to their homes in the city or underground, and the Drow come out in droves as they wake up and rise to revel in the starlight. The dwarves are seemingly perpetually awake, either slaving in front of forges or celebrating by drinking ale and mead.
There is however a small contingent of dwarves that are conspiring to retake Vwallendorn, the city of their ancestors and to kick out the Drow and Tiefling "invaders."