The Imlith Dwarves, as they are commonly
referred to by humans, live in
Northern Sarvonia in the
aptly-named Imlith Mountains. Amongst their own kind though they refer to
themselves by the name "Susilgerim" (Thergerim
which is believed to have been taken from "Susilthergetyr" (Susilthergetyr),
literally "quiet clan", a curse the Rhom-Oc
utter when they have been ambushed yet again.
The Imlith dwarves are very unlike other dwarves of Sarvonia, and this has led a few researchers to claim that they are in fact not true dwarves, but rather a sub-species of dwarf. This opinion has not been widely popularized and one can only hope it never comes to the ears of the Susilgerim...
|Image description. A Susilgerim Dwarf gathering plants in a ravine of the Imlith Mountains - he just seemed to have heard a strange noise... Picture by Quellion.|
One way in which the Susilgerim differ from the rest of their brethren is in
their physical appearance. First of all they are on average nearly one and a
half ped in height,
about half a ped taller then many
Not only are they taller but they are leaner as well. For example, the
Kurakim dwarves average four spans across the
shoulder while the Susilgerim only average three. Also due to the environment
in which they live and the way they use their bodies, they don’t have bulky
muscles, but rather defined and sinewy muscles.
The most interesting thing about them physically is their colouration. They are a gray-brown from head to toe, with their hair being slightly darker then their skin color and their eyes being a little lighter, and various shades of grayhade. While the exact hue of color may vary from one individual to the next, males tend to be on the darker side while females tend toward a lighter colouration.
Coat of Arms/Sign. Although the Susilgerim have neither the dwarven custom of stamping their products with an oremark, nor adopted the human tradition of a coat of arms, they have chosen a symbol to represent their clan. While not often displayed, the Susilgerim symbol is a gray, needle-shaped piece of rock lying diagonally on a light brown leaf. The background is a dark brown. The piece of rock is indicative of their favorite weapon, the leaf is of the variety known as Khorimherinn (lit. "death leaf", Khorimherinn), and the background stands for the Imlith Mountains.
Territory. The Susilgerim live in the Imlith Mountains in Northern Sarvonia, from which they receive their common name. To the south and east lie two small forests once thought to be part of a larger one (these forests are simply referred to jointly as Khorimkaom, Khorimkaom, “The Dead Tree”). This is in reference to the trees' black bark which is shredded and flaky, and the brown leaves used to brew poison. A little further to the south lie the Water Marshes, home to the Shadow Elves. Eastward lie Chapel Fjord and the Peat Hillands. The west is confined by the Eight Winds Bay, and to the north lie the vast Heaths of Wilderon with the numerous Rhom-oc orcs.
People. The Imlith Dwarves differ from most humans' perception of the typical kind of dwarf. In fact, they are jokingly refered to as “Wild Dwarves” by the Kurakim. This is due to the fact that for the most part the Susilgerim live out in the many narrow ravines and winding valleys of the Imlith Mountains. Others live in still a most undwarven manner, dwelling in the forests that are around the mountains. This is not to say that they live directly under the glare of the sun and the moon rather, their habitats are considered so crude and shallow by other dwarves as to be the same as having no shelter at all.
Since they do not delve deep into the mountains, they also do not do much in the way of mining, which in most Thergerim eyes is unbelievable. This accounts for many of the differences seen in the occupations and craftwork of the Imlith Dwarves. They use stone much the way others would use metal. Plates, weapons, jewelry-everything is made of stone. In fact over time they have become so skilled with working stone that the designs they impart into their carvings are of the highest level of craftsmanship and in the south are considered artwork.
The Susilgerim have accustomed themselves to spending more time outdoors than
most dwarves. This does not imply that
they go strolling around at noon though, if
dwarves can even be said to stroll. Their eyes and skin are still sensitive
to bright light, and when they go out during the day it is for short periods of
time. Most of their activities - including fighting the
Rhom-Oc - take place during dusk or night,
and it is there that they prove their prowress.
Housing. The design of the Susilgerim housing is considered to be due to the pressures of the nearby Rhom-Oc Orcs and the Susilgerim's need to hide when possible from roving hordes of Rhom-Oc Orcs and their warg riders. Those who live in the ravines dig out a small indentation or artificial cave against the cliff face, they then use dirt and rock to create an angled covering that would stretch from the top of the indentation that was dug to the ground. It is made to look as natural as possible, to the extent that it looks like a normal spur of rock that is formed from the mountain or cliffside. There have been times when raging orcish warbands have swept directly through narrow ravines, never noticing the extensive dwarven community there.
Those that live in the forest usually hollow out small hills for a living space, and even hollow out the trees atop the hill to use as lookout towers. The Kurakim find these burrows most distressing, and in fact have even offered to build their brothers a "proper" home in the depths of the Imlith Mountains. The Susilgerim have declined. They do still retain several of the deep fortresses that they dug out centuries before in the depths of the mountain. These, however, are rarely lived in and are kept more as a last resort against a Rhom-Oc invasion.
Clothing. To aid them in their ambushing of the Rhom-Oc and to conceal them from their foes' retribution they wear clothing that helps them blend into their surroundings. The males dress in light brown breeches and long-sleeved shirts woven from the common rockmoss. The shirt is often slightly darker then the breeches. Matching high socks provide warmth and cushion the heavy climbing boots. A long, narrow scarf is variously used as a belt, neckwrap, bandage, or all-purpose tie-up. Over all of this they wear a hooded cloak that on one side has an irregular pattern of grey and brown splotches to allow them to be better concealed in the mountains. The other side has a mixture of greens, browns, and blacks for use in the nearby forests. These cloaks are very common because of the Imliths' constant traveling between the forest and the mountains. The females wear a tight bodice and dress of the same coloration as the men; the dresses have several slashes up to the knees to allow for more freedom of movement. They wear the same type of cloak that the males do.
Diet. The Imlith dwarves eat more fruits and vegetables then any other dwarven clan. They hide their field of crops in secluded ravines and hidden clearings. Some of the vegetables they cultivate are the althz'onn, the caroot, and the onion. They seem to prefer different varieties of mushrooms and other fungi though, as well as the green leaves of sunsmile, brownie-leaf and shallots. Susilgerim have whole groves of fruit and berry trees such as the meldarapple tree and the tulmine tree throughout the mountains and nearby forest. Their housing is far from their fields so that if anyone finds their crops they cannot use that more easily discovered item to find the Susilgerim's dwellings. This causes some extra work in transporting their foodstuffs, but it is more than worth it in their eyes. In some cases they have dug shallow tunnels or covered trenches to more easily move from field to home, especially when the crop is bulky, such as gourds or tuberroots.
Weapons. Since the Susilgerim do not mine or use much in the way of metal they do not wear armour. This is fine in their mind since it allows them more freedom of movement anyway. As far as weaponry goes, they use stone instead of metal. Although this sounds, and appears crude, in reality it requires careful artisanry to be successsful. The preferred weapon of choice is a thin, needle-shaped piece of rock. However, the tip is hollowed out and filled with a deadly poison used from the leaves of certain trees found throughout the forest. The item is thrown and when it pierces an opponent the tip breaks off and the poison goes into the blood system causing paralysis and then death. The Imlith Dwarves also use stone spears with the same poisoning system, which have actually proved very effective against the wargs that the Rhom-Oc ride.
Picture description. A Susilgerim dwarf riding on a Krumhorn Beast ("Khrum", "Plodder"). Image by Seeker.
In common with their other dwarven
brothers, occupations are gender-segregated among the Susilgerim. The males are
the ones who are used for hunting along with the gathering of the crops and
fruits as they are commonly believed to be better at hiding and going about
unseen. The females are often employed in looking after the households and in
the mending and sewing of the concealing clothing that often gets ripped and
shredded through constant use in the harsh land.
Government. It is here that the Imlith Dwarves are identical to other dwarves. This, most sages point out, is the proof that though different, they are still dwarves. Each clan of Thergerim has a single leader or clan chieftain (the dwarven term is unpronouncable), who may be of either gender, but must be past his or her Age of Choosing, sexual maturity, usually at around 90 human years; known as “Huregozar" (Huregozar) for females or "Baregozar" (Baregozar) for males. The leader is elected by common consensus, although he or she is often from a popular family within the clan. The chieftain then makes decisions aided by his/her council members and if the council sees fit to bring any particular decision before the clan, it must then be supported by consensus voting of all adult dwarves. Leaders also have a sub-leader, or “travel-chief”, as it can be literally translated; this dwarf (male or female) will often be responsible to travel to annual clan meetings and stand for the leader in a Thergerim Great Council. The Denirimerons (Denirimerons) also travel outside the clan and meet, but their religious gatherings are shrouded in mystery and fanatic secrecy.
Production/Trade. There is not much trade that goes on except from one member of a clan to another. The harsh environment and the aggressive people that inhabit the surrounding areas make any sort of continued trade between the Imlith and others almost impossible. On occasion an intrepid member will meet with the Kurakim, but that meeting is rare and usually made awkward by their racial and cultural differences.
As far as production, the Imlith Dwarves make some rather amazing carved items. It must be said, judging from pieces that have been collected by Compendium writers, that the detail and craftsmanship is nearly unequalled in Sarvonia.
Natural Resources. There are not many resources in these mountains. Thus the lack of mining by the Susilgerim is not completely of their own initiative... There are, however, plenty of fruits and other edibles in the form of trees and bushes that grow in abundance throughout the twisting ravines. One of the trees in the nearby forests, after its leaves and sap undergo an undisclosed process, becomes the potent poison that is the stock and trade of the Imlith Dwarves. The actual tree used, along with the process, is a well-guarded secret.
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. No details yet.
Myth/Lore. The following brief statement is felt to be the reason that the Imlith Dwarves no longer live in the mountains. It is said that during the “Year of the Burning Night”, the Shadow Elves and the Rhom-Oc invaded the Imlith Mountains. It is then said that they cornered and slaughtered the majority of the Susilgerim. Those who survived escaped into the dark and mustered themselves, vowing revenge upon those that killed their kinsmen. When the sun returned they shielded their eyes, took up their arms, and, attacking by surprise, beat back the Shadow Elves and the Rhom-Oc orcs that were still in the area. Ever since that time they have vowed to never be trapped again, and it is said that is why they live above-ground now.
Another myth, though one not spoken of to the Susilgerim, concerns their appearance and ability to spend more time aboveground than other dwarves. It is whispered that during the Year of Darkness, when they were driven from their homes they encountered humans of dark colouration that had likewise been driven out of their lands by the Shadow Elves. These humans joined the Susilgerim in their war against the elves and orcs, and eventually, by sorcerous arts, interbred with them. Some scholars believe that there may be a kernel of truth to this legend, claiming that the Imlith met and aided Kanapans who had lived in the area known as the Contested Lands. This theory is gaining more popularity with time as actual interaction with Kanapans have become more frequent.
History. Though the Susilgerim do not keep a written history, the reason for their current style of living is much debated. There is a strong oral tradition that is upheld by the head of the clan and all of his or her closest kinsmen. This has caused differing stories about some events, depending upon which clan you talk to. This has caused no end of difficulty for the researchers of this tribe, some of whom have actually thrown up their hands in disgust. However, the few following events have been agreed upon by at least a majority of the Susilgerim.
Information provided by Drogo