he Duergar were described thus, in the Icelandic Eddas: "Then the gods sat on their seats, and held a council, and called to mind how the Duergar had become animated in the clay below, like maggots in the flesh of the earth. Modsogner was the first of them, and then Dyrin. The duergar are described as being of low stature, with arms almost reaching the ground. They are skilful and expert workmen in gold, silver, iron, and the other metals. They form many wonderful and extrordinary things for the Aesir, and for mortal heroes, and the arms and armor that come from their forges are not to be parelleled. Yet the gift must be spontaneously bestowed, for woe betide those who extort their works by violence." It was one of the Duergar who made the magical golden hair for the goddess Sif, at the behest of Loki, that was made by the dwarf Suartalfar. The mighty forges of these folk must have been a wonder to behold, and their fiery caverns underground were marvels of fantastic workmanship, though they must have appeared rather hellish to mortal folk, with fires and brimstone at every turn.

he Mer folk, while not traditionally native to scandinavian lands, can be said to live wherever the seas are strongest and most powerful, and the archipeligos surrounding Kungshamn must have seemed a paradise to them when first they arrived. Traditionally, they deal with no metals except golden treasures sunken beneath the seas, and they would use their beautiful voices to lure unwary sailors into their doom, so they might acquire these baubles. Their homes, their castles, all of their decorations were crafted from the natural beauties of the seas, mother of pearl and all manner of beautiful shells were theirs to command, and they ordered the corals of the sea to grow at their whim that they might always be surrounded by beauty. Still, it was a cold and heartless beauty, for while their years were without number, they possessed no souls, and if by chance they perished, they perished for good, they owned no afterlife.

n ancient times, when ice owned most of the world, and the seas were shrunken from their present state. The hills and valleys around Kungshamn were the domain of the Duergar, and they rejoiced in the icy heights, broken by the volcanic rifts where they made their forges, crafting the weapons of the gods. True, the youngish race of humanity shared the land with them, but the glories of the volcanic fires, the splendour of their underground caverns, this was theirs to command, and they were content. The sea and it's folk, the Mer, were far from their thoughts, and they had little converse. Over the years, human heroes came and went, and the folk of the Duergar learned caution, and retreated to their underground kingdoms. So time passed.

ea, time passed, and so the world changed over long ages. The heavens spun, and a new age arrived, one where the sun shone down on the world below with greater power. The ice and snows retreated, and slowly, slowly, the seas returned to claim their prize. With the seas came the folk of the Mer. They gloried in the new worlds opened to them as the valleys filled with the sea, and the archipeligos formed. They discovered places where the skin of the earth was thin, and the fires below warmed the seas uncomfortably for them, as they were always a cold-blooded folk. Where they could, they helped the seas along, urging them to flood these underground fires and so quench them. Thus enmity was born.

he Duergar were aware of the encroaching sea, but paid it little heed, figuring themselves safe in their underground lairs. Once the seas came flooding in, they had little choice but to notice! The seas were beyond their control, but not so the fires beneath. With subtle craftings, they urged the earth to rebel against this, and molten magma poured forth, creating new lands and driving the Mer from their domains.

This is where matters stand as we enter our story. All but a few of the Mer have fled the area, but their underwater wonders still remain, as well as some of their heartier guardians, for they have vowed to return. The underground caverns are also sparsely populated, and only the stubbornest and heartiest of the Duergar remain, unwilling to yield lands once theirs, and theirs alone. Rifts have occured throughout the area, and a well equipped and canny traveller could enter one realm from the other, through the gaping rifts in the sea. Oddly enough, while the Mer and the Duergar have mostly fled, finding the new conditions unpleasant, this is the time when other life, both under the seas and above the waves, has flourished the best. The volcanic eruptions pump nitrate rich nutrients into the seas, and the increased warmth, while death for some, allows other, newer lifeforms to flourish. Likewise above, the lands are green and lush, and the hills and valleys abound with game.

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