125 years ago The sun shone brightly down on the frozen rocks of Jorrhildr. The clusters of sentinel pines waved gently as a frosty breeze sent its needles dancing. In the distance huge mountains rose high into the empty brilliant blue sky, its peaks were coated with a fresh layer of white snow. A few miles past those mountains lay a small settlement of Burose Urs. A wall made out of the trunks of pines encircled the large Ur camp, and the tips of the large tents could be seen above the wall. Inside the encampment, huge fires blazed to keep the chill away. Because of the intense heat the snow and ice had melted away from the ground leaving muddy gray and brown grass. The Urs believed themselves to be alone in this particular area of Jorrhildr, so they very rarely had guards posted near or around the encampment. The Urs were alone on the surface, however, underneath the frozen earth Dwarven refugees had taken residence and had been building themselves a home there for the past 25 years, almost as long as the Urs had been living above them. The only way to enter the Dwarven stronghold was through a concealed cave at the base of the mountains. These Dwarves had grown fat and lazy after many years of staying hidden underground. There was plenty of food to be had, as the Dwarves raised their own animals, and brewed their own ale. There were 63 Dwarves living in this underground stronghold. Their leader was a stout Dwarf by the name of Bolaf. He was one of the few surviving refugees from 25 years prior to their arrival in Jorhilder after sickness had spread itself to many of the other Dwarves years earlier. The Dwarves had grown bored and complacent in their laziness. A bored Dwarf is a dangerous Dwarf. One night, while the Dwarves were feasting once again, one of the Dwarves by the name of Tolan stood and bellowed out to their leader who sat a few stone chairs away. “Those filthy bears started poking their way into our cave again this morning. I say we go teach those animals a lesson about privacy!” The other Dwarves roared in agreement. Many of whom had no idea what was being said but were too drunk to care. Bolaf steadily rose from his seat. Everyone went silent when they saw him about to speak. Bolaf said in a strong commanding voice, “We have been at peace with the Burose for many years, and I do not see why we must ruin that peace over curiosity.” With that, he left the other Dwarves and retired to his stone chambers located at the main keep. When he left the conversation about the Urs did not die down, but instead intensified. After several more barrels of ale had been washed down the Dwarves, mainly the one who had first spoken about the Urs, continued to complain and speak harshly towards their neighbor Urs. It was now night by the time they had finished drinking all of their ale. The dispute reached a breaking point when a Dwarven scout came rushing into the Dining Hall shouting, “The Urs are back, and there are more of them!” Many of the Dwarves unsteadily stood from their chairs and the second in command Dwarf shouted, “Arm yourselves! We must beat back these intruders before it is too late!” In moments a dozen of the drunken Dwarves had armed themselves with short swords, axes, longswords, halberds, pikes, spears, and any other weapon they could reach with their unusually stubby arms. “Sir, Tolan and the others have armed themselves and are preparing to attack a band of Urs at the mouth of the cave.” Announced the guard that stood outside of Bolaf’s door. The door to Bolaf’s chambers flew open as Bolaf charged out in just his nightclothes and a breastplate, and a wickedly sharp ax in one hand and a large round shield in the other. He and his guard ran down to the Forge hoping to stop the mutinous Dwarves there, but alas they had already left to fight the Urs. Bolaf swore violently and then chugged the contents of a tankard that had been left on a stool. “Quickly” gruffed Bolaf to his guard, “Round up the Dwarves and tell them to arm themselves, and get some of the younger ones to help me move some carts.” The guard nodded quickly and with a frightened expression ran down to the stronghold to alert the other Dwarves. Once the guard had left Bolaf didn’t hesitate and marched back to the stronghold unattended where he awaited the arrival of the Dwarves. The 7 Urs looked up at the sound of approaching footsteps that echoed around the cave. They were surprised to see a dozen armored Dwarves carrying weapons of all shapes approaching them. The Dwarves stopped a few meters away from the Urs, except for Tolan who took a few more steps than the others. “Git your wretched paws off of my stone you disgusting animal.” Yelled Tolan in a slurred voice. The Urs growled in response not appreciating the ill-made threat. “Don’t just stand there like the filth you are, and move before I make you.” Tolan slammed the butt of his halberd on the stone floor to emphasize his point. The 7 Urs hesitated and then slowly unhooked their swords and axes from their sheathed areas. “Oh, so you want to fight you oversized rat scum?” The Ur closest to Tolan roared loud enough that many stones were loosed from the cave wall sending them toppling to the floor. With that, the Urs and the Dwarves charged and crashed into each other with the sound of steel ringing in the air. Bolaf arrived at the scene with 20 well-armed Dwarves ready to stop the fight. To their dismay, all they saw were the bodies of many Dwarves and 6 bears dead on the floor. “You fools!” roared Bolaf as he and the others surveyed the bodies. In a much deadlier and quieter voice, though not by much Bolaf growled, “Bring me, Tolan.” One of the Dwarves dragged the dead Tolan in front of Bolaf. The fury melted out of his face as ice melts in the rays of the sun. In a raspy whisper, Bolaf said to the cold body of Tolan, “What have you done.” One of the few remaining Dwarves that had been part of the fight stepped forward with a large gash on his cheek, “There were 7 of the Urs, but 1 escaped in the fight. He is probably going back to their encampment now.” Bolaf’s set his face in an emotionless stony expression and he said to all of the Dwarves presents, “There are many carts and barrels loaded with gunpowder; bring it here.” One of Bolaf’s good friend and sometimes advisor brought Bolaf aside and asked him as the carts of explosives were being brought to the mouth of the cave. “Bolaf what are you doing? We can’t hope to fight so many Urs who have more and better equipment than ours.” Bolaf said as he watched a few of the Dwarves struggle to push a cart up a ledge of rock, “We can’t defeat them all, but we will take down as many as we can and in the process stop them from attacking us again.” “We could just surrender without anyone else having to die.” Pleaded Bolaf’s friend advisor. Bolaf turned and glared at him, “We will not bend our knees, and we will not let them touch anything that he owns. I promise you that.” The sun rose sending the shadows running to the cave for shelter. The Dwarves stayed in the shadows of the cave as they waited for the Urs to inevitably arrive. The sun had not yet peeked above the mountain when a large group of Urs came into view a few miles from the cave. Soon Dwarven Scouts were reporting back to Bolaf on their position and size. An hour later the Urs held their position just before the mouth of the cave. Their weapons gleamed in the sun sending spots of light bouncing around inside the cave. “Maybe we can still talk this over a nice mug of Ale?” murmured Bolaf’s advisor, who was currently wearing a half helm that kept slipping over his face obscuring his vision. At that moment a taller than average Ur stepped forward into the cave carrying a short spear his huge paw hand. He lifted his arm and hurled it into the mass of Dwarves that stood inside the cave. The javelin landed short and shattered onto the stone floor. Bolaf looked grimly at his advisor, “I think they have made it clear what they want to do, and it’s not talking.” One of the Urs stepped forward, raised a horn to his mouth, and blew with all the force he possessed. The sound the horn made echoed all throughout the cave sending more rocks to fall and crash down. The sound ricocheted off the mountain in waves of power causing huge amounts of snow to fall from the mountain causing multiple avalanches simultaneously. When the sound from the horn finally died away the Urs brandished their weapons and started into the cave, ready to shed blood. Bolaf watched as they entered his cave. He, however, did not lift his weapon nor did he order the others to prepare for a fight. Instead, he simply watched as the Urs stumbled along until they were all fully into the large cave. Every Dwarf stood in a ridged line anxiously waiting for the Urs arrival. A few clutched weapons but many simply kept them sheathed. Once the Urs were all in and getting closer Bolaf turned to one of the Dwarves and grimly said, “Light it up.” That Dwarf passed those words to the next Dwarf, and that Dwarf passed the word down to the next one. When it reached the last Dwarf she grabbed a torch from one of the Dwarves and ignited it by striking it violently against the cold stone. She took in a deep breath and lobbed the torch into a cart that was several yards away. The Urs halted when they saw the flicker of light in the distance and as it disappeared into the cart. A massive explosion shook the mountain. The first cart exploded causing the other crates of gunpowder that they had situated around the mouth of the cave to also explode in a chain reaction. As each one exploded it sent more and more boulders tumbling down upon the Urs, causing huge portions of the cave to collapse down sealing the fate of the Urs and the Dwarves.