The horns from the city gate blasted out their call, the citizens of Pendar spilling out into the streets to see what terrible event had befallen their army. The young dwarf Relysis stood atop the wall next to his mother waiting for the soldiers to enter the gate. They were at the gate visiting his father, a captain of the home guard assigned to securing the portcullis. Peering between the battlements, Relysis could see the army approaching. The dwarves all had the hoods of their cloaks pulled up, their faces hidden as they crossed the bridge below him. At the center of the detail, they bore with them a litter, the body covered with a simple non-ornate blanket. Following along, immediately behind, was the pony of the dwarf king, Orvald Karan, its saddle empty.
Relysis tried to run to the inner wall but his mother, sobbing, held him fast to keep him out from underfoot. Men scrambled to their posts along the wall and messengers were sent to alert King Rommel Ellingstone. Relysis finally pulled away from his mother’s grasp when the way was clear, running across to see the dwarves. Hoods cast, they were forming up in the courtyard, lining the roadway to receive their fallen king into the city. Upon seeing the body of the king pass below him in the courtyard, Relysis instinctively moved to pull his hood over his head, struck by the moment and vowing to someday bring justice to the gnomes who had slain his king.
The funeral lasted a week, as was dwarf custom. Throughout the entire city, men and dwarf alike were in mourning. Shortly after Orvald Karan was laid to rest with his ancestors in the tombs of the ancient mountain city of Zoisite, the dwarf council met with King Rommel to determine the ascension to the dwarf half of the shared throne of Pendar. Orvald was without an heir so the council voted against elevating one of their own in exchange for the highest cabinet position on the council, and so it became that the two races combined to be one.
Pendar remained strong and united for the next hundred plus years without being threatened … until now….