Our Lineage, an Oral History of the Dwarven Peoples by The Keeper of Books, Odred Hrogon u.659

Believe not what is said in the world above, young Dwarves. It matters not who came first or how long ago they arrived, only that we are here now. The need to be first is an arrogant distraction from duty to your people. No matter your family or clan or distant land you may hail from, you are Dwarf. We are all one.

The Hand Underneath the Mountain wrought us from the very bones of the world. Wherever there is earth and rock, there we are. The far western shores, the islands to the south, the deserts and jungles to the east, and even the frozen north: A Dwarf calls them all home. There are even records of Dwarves to the far, far south, beyond the Great Wall that divides our world.

As young Dwarves, you must understand this bond we all hold. Though we are many kingdoms and many rulers, in the end, we are all Dwarf and that binds us as the rocks to this land. Petty squables and arguments are one thing, but Dwarf does not war with Dwarf. As distant as our brothers across the land are, never have we warred against them, and never shall we.

Let the Elves call us bullheaded and warmongers. They still call upon us for help when threatened by hordes of Orcs. Let Men jest about our stature and culture. They beg us for our builders to construct their castles. Let the Halflings think us dangerous drunkards. When their fields are threatened, they beg us for defense. Let Gnomes laugh as they think they have swindled us in trades. They still come for our gems and metalwork.

And let the Orcs and other dark things of the world think they can raid our villages. They still feel the cold metal of our axes and blades. They learn, in those last moments, that our women and children are just as dangerous as our men.

The world above was made for others, the world below is ours to defend. We, young Dwarves, are the bridge between two worlds. In every land that we call home, we are the guardians of the world beneath the surface, the defenders of those above from threats they never see.

Before time was time, when Gods walked this world, dark things were created by twisted Gods in the deep places of the world. Many of the Gods above were fooled, never seeing what was happening below as they made their own creations.

But The Hand Underneath the Moutain saw. Thus, we were made from the strongest materials of the world itself to hold back the tide below. Our Gods created us for this purpose. This is not myth, but fact. I can show you the words of the First Dwarves, written in their own hand, if you doubt me.

Everything our people excel at is because of this purpose. We are masters of metal and gems so as to trade for supplies that we cannot find below and to make the finest weapons and armors known to the world. Our greatest builders can shape the world itself to hold back the tides below. Our greatest warriors can stand alone and hold back the tides. Our greatest minds can devise machines capable of anything we need. Our greatest orators and leaders can inspire us all to be who we must be. Our greatest historians can remind us where came from and what it is to be a Dwarf.

No, we were not first.

But let that not concern you, for you are Dwarf. You were made to stand against evils that the world above cannot dream of. Let them have their words against you, as they mean nothing. Your actions on their behalf will earn you something stronger: Their respect.

For there has not been one from above that has learned of what we do below that has dared assist us. They were not made for this.

We were.

You all were.