Province of Ironhelm (Balnorhak Clan)

It took several centuries for the dwarves to establish a stable kingdom of their own in the contested peaks. The great kingdom of Balnorhak began with a single fortress of the same name, built of hewn halls beneath the low peaks north of the current Principality of Ulek (-211 CY). The Kingdom of Balnorhak spread out from that settlement of the Lortmil mountain dwarves. The first undermountain king of Balnorhak dedicated the city to Ulaa, Berronar, Dumathoin, and Moradin. Summoning Toherntik-dwur kinsmen, he raised a formidable army to stand against the orcs that descended from the eastern slopes of the Lortmils and the marauding bands of trolls and hill giants who came up from the lowlands to assail the fortress. In addition to these challenges coming from surface dwellers, the first undermountain king found war beneath the earth when the tunnels and shafts of Balnorhak opened into ancient, natural caverns where tribes of goblin-kind made their nests. Then began the wars of iron, stone, and steel. Hard-pressed from above and below, the undermountain king invoked the gods, pleading for their help against his foes.

The high priestess of Moradin gave heed to the call. She fasted for the twenty-eight days of Fireseek, invoking the power of Moradin, beseeching him for a gift with which to smite Balnorhak’s enemies. On the twenty-eighth day, Moradin appeared to her in a dream and gave her the design for a great anvil on which to strike steel made red in the forge of the gods. The finest craftsmen of Balnorhak gathered in the shrine of Moradin to craft the item according to the pattern revealed in the dream: the legendary Anvil of the Lortmil Mountains. This largest of all the dwarven high anvils was forged from alloys of adamantine and steel and adorned with elaborately carved depictions of Moradin and Berronar laboring at the soul forge from which the soul of every dwarf is drawn and hammered into shape.

Any weapon fashioned upon that anvil yielded twice the strength and keenness of edge as might be obtained otherwise. The dwarves of Balnorhak forged legendary enchanted blades which they wielded against their foes in the Lortmil Mountains. Moreover, nations far and wide coveted the weapons forged in the fires of Balnorhak and beaten upon that high anvil.

When the Anvil of the Lortmil Mountains left Balnorhak, the blessing of the gods seemed to leave with it. As Dengar prospered and flourished, disenfranchised clans from both Gilmorack and Balnorhak joined Thane Erverast in his sheltered valley, establishing a third dwarven kingdom in the Lortmil Range. Dengar grew larger, but Balnorhak diminished in strength and prestige until that ancient kingdom became naught but a shadow of its former glory. One after another, the outposts, deep mines, and ancient halls of the kingdom fell into disuse, abandoned to the incursions of goblin-kind (and some say to grey dwarves). The last undermountain king of Balnorhak died, leaving behind three daughters but no heirs and none to rebuild the glory.

In the last centuries of Balnorhak, the dwarves of that kingdom intermarried with the hill dwarves of the foothills, and, ultimately, they became the dwur of Ulek. The outlying cities and territories of Balnorhak are today called the Principality of Ulek, and what was once the center of the Kingdom of Balnorhak has been reduced to the Province of Ironhelm (the common tongue translation of Balnorhak). The last vestiges of the royal house of Balnorhak now rest within the House of Corond.

Kelly, Thomas. “Dwur Kingdom of the Lortmils – History, Development, and Locations of Dwarven Strongholds.” Oerth Journal #33, Summer 2020

Ulek, Principality of
Lortmil Mountains

Province of Ironhelm (Balnorhak Clan)

Greyhawk Samaryllis Samaryllis