The Dwarves of Egoth
For centuries, the humans of Egoth have shared the world with a variety of fey and humanoid creatures, but the race they have had the closest ties with, for weal or woe, has been the Erok. Called "Dwarves" by humans and Tisoliyida ("Earth Dwellers") by elves, the Erok are an ancient race that lives primarily below the ground, in large city-state nations carved into the rock. The history of their interactions with humans goes back as far as the human races have recorded history, and although in the past, Humans and Erok have come to arms over the disposition of valuable ores, they currently share a kind of alliance with Serentian and Trentish humans, but tend to be wary or outright spiteful of Olgothians, whom they blame for the destruction of the lower continent during the Great Mage War.
Erok are short in stature, even more so than elves, but possesed of great strength and fortitude for their size. Many dwarves are just as strong and heavy as a full grown human male due to more tightly packed muscle and dense, solid bones. All Erok have profuse facial hair which never seems to thin or fall out, even in old age. The men style their beards in a particular way to denote clan, guild, rank (if military), and order of ascension within the family. Females also have facial hair, but it never grows long enough to be as intricatly woven as the males. Goatees and lamb-chop sideburns are popular among female Erok, and are considered attractive on women by the males.
They have a keen affinity for things concerning earth and stone, and are renowned as great metal workers, blacksmiths, and miners. Dwarven steel and refined ore is highly prized by human and elven smiths (even if the elves don't like to admit it). Dwarven weapons are of high quality and impecable craftsmanship. Even the simplest of Erok weaponsmithy has numerous engravings and hiltwork to show the particular clan and guild who crafted it. They are also renowned artificers and engineers. Dwarven catapults, sap drills, and other seige equipment are often found in human garrisons.
Dwarven society is patriarical, with the head of the clan, guild or household always being the eldest male member. The elder females of each clan or household serve as the community builders and teachers of Erok society. While the males are expected to learn some craft or trade, and to serve as warriors either by joining the military or local militia, the females are expected to be the teachers and advisors. No successful dwarven leader has ever taken action without the counsel of a trusted wife, sister or other respected female elder. It is thought that for this reason, most dwarven clerics are female and those dwarves that show some propensity for spellcraft (a rarity amongst the Erok) are also usually women.
With the discovery of Beregoth, a new clan of Dwarves was encountered by the colonists as they made their way east into the new lands. The "new" dwarves outwardly looked slightly different than their cousins from the Old World, with lighter colored hair and slightly less stocky builds, but that is where the major differences end. Both dwarven nations speak the same tounge (The "new" dwarves refer to their race as the Errok. The only difference being the slightly trilled "r" sound), and have much the same social structure. However, Beregoth dwarves have a somewhat more liberal society, women are allowed to hold military rank, and men are as often seen in diplomatic or teaching positions as women. However, the upper castes still conform to the Old World template, with males holding the highest positions. The current Underking of the Errok is Borstandil Grell son of Vaggren. He is famous for allying the Errok with the human colonists against the elves during the colonization wars, during which time he took his surname of Grell as a sign of his bond to the human commander, a Trentish knight of the Order named Kalastus Grell, whose grandson still heads the Order today. Likewise, the Errok capital is called Grellhalden, after its leader. Some sages theorize that at one time, the large network of tunnels beneath the earth may have (or perhaps still does) connect both the old and new continents, and that some time in the distant past, a mass migration of dwarven peoples may have led to the development of these two distinct yet amazingly similar cultures.
Another unique thing about the "new" dwarves is the Erja. At first glance, the Erja appear to be shorter than normal dwarves with no facial hair, and were at first mistaken for Errok children. They are, in fact, their own seperate race, coexisting with the Errok of Beregoth in their large underground cities. Erja are for the most part handled seperately in society by their Errok neighbors, and although they live together somewhat peacefully; Erja are treated as second-class citizens. Erja are extremely inquisitive and lively people, with a talent for artifice and magic greater than their dwarven peers. In fact, despite their lower caste in the greater dwarven society, Erja artificers are respectfully thought of, and often collaborate with Errok engineers on various constructions, machines and enchantments. The Erok of the Old World are so impressed with the water drainage and pumping systems that the Erja have created, they are constructing similar infrastructures in the great holds of the west, paying large sums to have prominent Erja artificers make the sea voyage to Serentia in order to advise them. Erja speak their own language, which is a direct offshoot of Erok, but similar enough that a speaker of either language can understand the other with a little patience. Most large city dwelling Erja speak regular dwarven fluently as well as their own dialect. Most Errok on the other hand, rarely bother to learn Erja properly.
Excepting local leadership in the form of constables and maybe a mayor or warden in an Erja-dense area, they have no king or other overlord of their own. Instead, they live under the rule of the Underking, sacrificing some of their independence as a people for the greater security of being part of the dwarven nation.