The Golden Hand of Benevar
The great red wyrm lit the night skies around the peak of Crags’ Meet the night it was first seen. It descended with great bouts of flame and roaring bellows as it dug its claws down into the mountain’s side, digging out and shoring up ancient dwarven dens, mines and hollows. The cave complex, which Clan Ralikest called home, quaked and caved. Ancient sections filled with dirt and smoke as the huge monster dug it’s way past.
For days the beast dug and bellowed, heating the tunnels and choking out the thin stale air, forcing everyone to the surface. When the mountain finally quieted a few condemned men were chosen to explore what was left of their homes. Banished back into the caves beneath, the 18 chosen descended. No one expected them to return.
With their cavernous home invaded the survivors did what they could to get by on the surface, settling at the foot of the mountain in the crags and foothills below their old stronghold. Clan Ralikest settled for half a lifetime into a subsistence lifestyle of goat herding and stone carving. They hollowed out the hill sides creating shallow homes and crudely built fortifications. The young men of the clan wandered farther afield then any had in many generations. They searched the mountain range in search of a new home and rich sources of ore.
The first 20 years saw the death of many clansmen. The lands they descended down onto had already been claimed by mogrin of all description. These night roaming creatures had never been fond of the dwarves of Crag’s Meet but now, forced to live on the same hill slopes and compete for the same hollows, the conflicts became bloody. From day to day the men of the clan struggled to make a buffer zone between their families and the enraged mogrin tribes. Many in the clan discussed disbanding to other families throughout the range of mountains above them, but the warriors refused the suggestion, insisting on solidarity.
In one generation the clan of Ralikest had gone from a voluntary association of families, prosperous and peace loving, to a barbarous group of warriors. Their livelihood dependent on the frequent raids against both the mogrin and their more peaceful cousins higher in the mountains. Out of sheer desperation the Ralikest began adopting the traditions of the mogrin they warred against. The first children born in the foothills had no notion of what life had been or what security was beyond their own mail and arms. These fierce warriors fell easily into small packs of self governing young men with little regard for the elders of their clan. This first generation respected only strength, feared only aging and took all liberties by right of arms. They called themselves the Ironborn.