The dwarves made valiant attempts to establish themselves in the Lortmil mountains. They peppered the peaks, hills, valleys and depths with strongholds, guard towers, citadels, keeps, and underground forts. Almost without exception, those halls became tombs for the dwarves who defended them, overrun by kobolds, goblins, orcs, hobgoblins, and gnolls. The denizens of the mountains quickly learned the quality of dwarven construction, and they fought wars among themselves for possession of forts and outposts even before the dwarves had completed them.
One notable exception was the fortress of Hoch Dunglorin (Yduin), a stronghold atop a steep hill, situated near the head of the Kewl River. It is the oldest continually occupied dwarven fortress in the Lortmil Mountains. Thane Olbryn Hammerhowl established the fortress to control a strategic canyon-way that cuts through the mountains, connecting the Shedolamer Valley with the east side of the Lortmils – the Pass of Ulek (also called the Celene Pass).
Prior to Hoch Dunglorin, the feet of goblin-kind stomped up and down the Ulek Pass. The hobgoblins used it as a main thoroughfare when journeying from or to their holy city of Grot-Ugrat. The monsters walked that path openly, in numbers small or large, by day or night, as if they had nothing at all to fear. Thane Olbryn Hammerhowl realized that if the dwur should ever hope to establish a permanent presence in the mountains, they needed to control that passage. He built the fort of heavy granite stones, quarried from the living rock, and raised high walls and battlements which stand atop that steep hill to this day.
The hobgoblins fought hard to dislodge the dwur from that fort. They assembled an alliance of orc and goblin tribes and made valiant attempts to overrun Hoch Dunglorin, but Thane Olbryn Hammerhowl and his heroic warriors staved off siege after siege. It must be mentioned that they did not always stand alone. They found help from the lowland elves of Ulek. Thane Olbryn forged an alliance with those high elves, one of the first alliances of dwarves and elves in recorded history. Their pact was one of necessity, for a united stand was required to resist both the threat of the Lortmil tribes and the threat of the lowland kingdoms of men (-288 CY). This first of the Lortmil alliances, now the longest-enduring, was ultimately the decisive one. In later centuries, when borders came to be defined, the stronghold fell within the territory of the Duchy of Ulek and under the authority of the high elf lord, the Duke of Ulek, but he did not greatly impose his governance upon his stout allies, the proud Hammerhowl dwarves. The fortress itself remained under the control of that dynasty, and they profited richly from the trade that passed through their gates.