At the headwaters of the Clearwater River lies the ruined stronghold of the Kilthduum clan of mountain dwarves. During the Hateful Wars, a fleeing horde of orcs deceived the stronghold defenders into believing them to be a returning dwarvish patrol. Gaining control of the main gate, the orcs swept through the halls and slaughtered its inhabitants, mostly females and children, in a mad frenzy. When the Kilthduum warriors returned to the hold after the Hateful Wars, they found it firmly in the grasp of the orc invaders. Repeated attacks proved fruitless, and in a final act of vengeance the Kilthduum High Priestess of Berronar, Gilvgola, called a curse down upon the stronghold. She climbed the cliffs above the entrance and cast herself from them as a sacrifice to Berronar. The goddess heard her plea, and the entire cliff face broke away, burying Gilvgola and the entrance under thousands of tons of rubble. The warriors left their once-great stronghold and scattered to various parts of the Flanaess.
The stronghold entrance is still blocked by the fallen cliffs, and the rubble is haunted by the ghost of Gilvgola and the guards who allowed the orcs into the fortress. They exists as haunts, and their remaining task is to reclaim their ancestral home. To this end, they will possess the body of any who approach and attempt to enter the stronghold by means of secret entrances. Since the stronghold is now home to about a thousand orcs, they have so far failed in their attempts to recapture it from the humanoids.
History: Not to be left out of trade with the northlands or isolated from the gnomes, the undermountain king of Balnorhak established a colony of dwarves in the Kron Hills. He spent lavishly from his personal treasuries to raise a great and imposing fortress called Dorob Kilthduum at the headwaters of the Clearwater River. He stocked the fort with worthy dwarves who could defend its walls and facilitate trade with the gnomes. The fort sits at a crossroads beneath the cliffs of the Kron Hills. From the security of their fortress, the Balnorhak dwarves guarded the flow of trade over the roads and, at the same time, reminded the gnomes of the strength of their dwur cousins.
There was in that place a certain young dwarf girl, barely weaned from her mother’s milk, to whom, it is said, the goddess Berronar appeared. This girl was named Gilvgola, and she found favor in the eyes of the gods and the eyes of the dwurfolk. Gilvgola grew to be a wisdom-healer among the dwarves and a high priestess of Berronar, goddess of hearth and home and Moradin’s bride. In her young years of adventuring, Gilvgola explored the Low Road and all the caverns beneath, ever looking deeper and further for the roots of the mountains. She wandered far below the chambers where even goblin-kind dared to tread, and there she found a vast underground lake, the lair of a wise bronze dragon. It is said that the dragon shared his wisdom and blessed her. She returned then to her people in Dorob Kilthduum and rose to prominence among all the priests of dwarves.
When the powerful orc shaman, Dregrak the Cruel arose, he commanded powerful devilshine. Goblin-kind united behind him and made war against the dwarves and gnomes, trying to force them from their delvings. The undermountain kings turned to Gilvgola for help. Armed only with prayer and faith, the young priestess led a party of heroes to Dregrak’s lair, slew him, and drove away his fiends. From then on, Gilvgola continuously traveled between Gilmorack, Dengar and Balnorhak to speak the wisdom and the prophecies of Berronar. She became beloved among all the dwarves of the mountains. When she arrived, the people brought her the sick, the lame, the injured, and she healed them. Even men from the lowland villages sought her out for healing and blessing, for which they paid her in food and drink. Despite the fame and glory she had obtained, her loyalty and affection remained with her own people, the small dwarven community of Dorob Kilthduum, northernmost outpost of Balnorhak.
Kelly, Thomas. “Dwur Kingdoms of the Lortmils – History, Development, and Locations of Dwarven Strongholds.” Oerth Journal #33, Summer 2020