Duervan Legends Of Styladuum

The Duervan Legends of Styladuum*

Arnost knows very little of Styladuum, but it is honestly more than most. It was once home to an ancient hold called Imbar’s Deep. There are a couple legends about the keep.

I. The Axe of Golden Beard:

Duervan legend tells of a mighty hero named Valdrig Gildedbyrd, who led his people against an army of giants on the shores of Deepening Lake. The Titan Lagmar was father of these cave giants, which held domain over the hills and valleys west of the Stronghold of Imbar’s Deep. The Duervar fought a long and bitter war against them and this came to a head on the shores of Deepening Lake where Lagmar himself stood upon the field of battle. Valdrig brought forth his mighty axe, forged by the god Belderak for this very day. This divine blade, when thrown, would be carried far and strike true, then return unerringly to his hand. Valdrig, it is said, with eyes shining in rage and golden beard soaked in blood, reared back with his mighty axe and hurled it at the titan. Over and over again his axe slammed into the Lagmar’s flesh, always flying back to his hand, until the titan bled from many wounds. But, Lagmar did not fall, and in his wrath he brought a great landslide down upon the battling armies. Valdrig survived, though, and raising his axe once more he threw with all his strength, and his aim was true, for the axe buried itself into his foe’s skull. Lagmar, stiff as stone, fell back into the vast lake, huge waves crashing against the shore, and sank deep into its depths. The axe never returned to Valdrig, though, for it had done the deed it was created for. Valdrig lived on for many decades and eventually sat upon the throne of Imbar’s Deep as Thaim of his people.

II. The Maul of the Titan

Legend speaks of how that mighty hold called Imbar’s Deep came to an end. It is an ancient tale, which has been retold many times, in many ways. In fact, so old is this story that it is hard to know for sure if the events as they are told truly occurred, or if they are embellishments from later days.
It is said that when the Age of Ice finally ended and the glaciers began receding, many duervan strongholds opened their gates. Imbar’s Deep was one such hold. However, not only were the duervar re-awakening, but so too were those ancient allies of the Titans, the Dragons. One mighty wyrm of old awoke from the ice with a ravenous hunger and fell upon Imbar’s Deep. The fore-gate of this ancient hold was a door, flanked by pillars, and set in a deep crevice. The dragon overcame this gate and forced its way into the keep, entering the main hall of the hold. The duervar there made a stand while their priests retreated to the alter of Belderak, where the anvil-alter stood. It is said that Lagmar’s hammer still hung in that chamber and so the duervar heaved it onto the altar and called upon Belderak to bless it for their need. Then came forth the forge-master, Tholdin, with arms like stone columns. He heaved the titan’s maul onto his back and, climbing into the higher chambers and tunnels, made his way to a large outcropping above the great crevice. Raising his maul he called out to Magmodin and the other gods, and then hammered it down upon the mountainside. The earth split with a thunderous crack and the ledge upon which he stood shook and gave way beneath him. A massive sheet of the mountain then fell upon the burning ruins of the duervan gates. The inferno was smothered in blasts of shattered earth, and the dragon was buried in the mountain. But Tholdin, too, was buried beneath the rubble. Though they searched for many days, they never found his remains, only the mighty maul. The legend goes on to say that a group of brave men went back into the duervan stronghold to make sure the dragon was dead and return the maul to the Reliquary, but they were never seen again. It was soon learned that the dragon still lived, trapped in the depths of the mountain.
Thereafter the duervar who survived moved down into the valley and settled a new town, called Imbardun (Imbar down). They live there to this day and have become Keldravar, for they no longer live within the earth. Stories were told of the dragon emerging from the mountain halls and scourging the lands, but after only a few generations they became nothing more than legends. Though it is true that many tried to return to the mountain. They either never found the entrance or were never seen again. Thus the mountain was called cursed and has been left along for many ages thereafter.

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