For beneath the darken crags of Hohenstein, there still they lie: The most ancient halls of Haukrinnar Stainns, the "Rock Of The Hawks", most ancient domain of Dúrathrond, king of Janpárardal, as the dwarves called it (the dale of making), deeply shrouded by the forest´s twilight, by twilight spell and magic of the mind, by trick of vision and curse of sight, by cunning and veil and magic work, by a cloak woven from moonlight and starlight and shadow and cobwebs... by song and chant and spell and curse, by iron, by steel and slag and fire, by tree and root and rock. There it is that truth fades into dream and dream withers and prospers and therefore it is that truth is born from lie. This magic cannot be circumpassed and not transgressed: Too strong are the spells that are sung into this fabric, the cloak of hiding, woven into the forest´s twilight and made thereof. It is hard to describe and harder to find; this finely woven silver thread.
Once upon a time, in a time, when time was but a mere word, there lived a folk in the crags of Haukrinnar Stainns. We humans like to call them "dwarves", and think of tiny-minded creatures of small stature, and we are quick to laugh and think of garden gnomes.
Let me give you a sincere warning: Nothing can be farther from the truth. And beware: They are often friendly and generous in giving, but their anger is kindled as quick and as fiery as their mirth and joy. Man has belittled them in order to feed his own arrogance and soothe his fear and awe in the face of the true rulers of woodland and mountainside. We tell tales of little beings labouring for man´s industry, but do not understand their gifts. Rarely has ever one man seen a blade made by the folk of the mist, as they prefer to call themselves. Ulfperchto was but apprentice to their mastersmiths, and yet it needs the skills of a master to even recreate his apprentice pieces. He has not given any of his works to humans for a long time and has long refrained from the beliefs of man. Man he once was, but no more... he has lived long now, but still his works improve. I have not met the Smith Of The Lei in person, but have been shown his works. The Niflungar they call themselves, those of the mist, and of the mist they are. They kill stealthily, and stealthily they tread: So alwas keep in mind the warning. Man and these beings are like spirit and water. Spirits burn, water does not. We forget this at our own risk.
Anyway, it was long, long ago, when first the folk of the mist came to the Ennepe valley, which then was not called by any name that is still known to man. They were the exiled survivors of an ancient race fleeing a war that had devastated their land, which some say was found in the "high places" in the South-East of the world. They came to the lands of the far North, and for a long time, settled there in a land of volcanic fire and mountains of glass. Had they been a people that lived in the woods and mountains in domed houses and huts before, they now settled in mountains, where they built workshops, forges and temples in the dark heart of the mountain and ramparts of green glass. There they went into hiding, for they feared a terror that had been wrought by their own people, the "Stone of the Dhuodhai", which some say was an all-powerful weapon, but a weapon it was not, but a sort of artificial focus. One part of their people had worked up a magic that is now all but extinct, for the powers they evocated could never be called upon afterwards; it was a spell that erased their individual reality while enabling them to become virtual. One of their master craftsmen explained it to me that way:
Assume you want to forge a knife. There is a picture in your mind beforehand, an idea, and then you go ahead and make a drawing of this idea, enabling it to become paper. Then you have an image of your idea. It does not incorporate everything the idea had, but still shows close resemblance to it. You draw other pictures, in order to catch the idea, which becomes actual, when you go to the smithy and forge that knife in actual. With creatures theybelieve in a similar process. There are infinite ideas, and, upon being born, from these ideas it is that the being springs to life, and it is rare and seldom that this being remembers what its idea was in the first, and even more rarely it remembers the multitude of ideas. Upon being born, and upon dying, beings lose consciousness. The living normally cannot remember the multitude, the all and the void, and the dead in a similar manner cannot remember life in one shape, for they see all of it and more. What part of the folk of the Dhuodhai now worked into this spell is that they sacrificed their actual bodies in favor of the ability to transgress void and life. Had they been masters of the "dance in the iron wood", their martial arts, before, many say that they became invincible by this act of magic. They did this to protect their loved ones from a threat that brought man to this world as well as endangering the whole of the planes of existence. It was not Evil, as many say, but just a race that was part of the universal multitude as well as their own, but this they only understood after becoming the folk of war. They rampaged among their enemies as a wolf amongst sheep afterwards, for they were not existent and could not be fought, and the primitive people they fought against, the Oreamm, the folk of fury, could not fathom their presence, for present they were no longer, but fictional. In fact, they were their own personification, and the spell was actually and originally a curse they had willfully inflicted upon themselves and altered and cunningly reforged like to the proces of refining a blade. In fact, they transformed into something that became synonymous with Death, and one of their favourite weapons became an attribute of the reaper, the "sickle of blood" became the scythe of Death. But all the killing and the terrors of war and the curse they had inflicted upon themselves had changed them, so that their own kin shunned them, and again those who remained unchanged fled. The stone they feared, the essence and magnifying focus of the bodies of the Dhuodhai na nCaláidhÍrenn, remained a terror that haunted their dreams at night, and who can say if it were not their actual kin? There are rumours that this terror was soothed when they found the heart of darkness, the light of silence, which plays an important role in their rites and culture.
Into hiding they went, and grew ever more subtle of stature, and over the times and eons that passed became a different race, although some say it be in the halls of Wórahhall, the red hill in the vicinity of Haukrinnarshall (which sometimes, by the way is also called "Janpararshall", but do not mention this when talking to one of the Wórahhall, for the meaning of Wórahhall is similar to Janpararshall, but Janpara is a word in the elder language of the "dwarves", and therefore a word of higher status, while the Haukrinnarshall-kin are less powerful in the eyes of the Wórahhall-kin, for they trace their ancestry back to Dúrinn Dúrinnssonar Dúrinnssonur Dúrinnsson, who is said by some to be the "father of stone" of their race and therefore holds a higher status amongst the folk of the mist) that scrolls are kept that state the race of dwarves was born from stone. The folk of Haukrinnarshall is different still; they are more swift and slender and less educated, but wilder than their more civilized kin from Finking or Wórahhall and are more akin to elves than "dwarves", and some of their men even clip their beards or even shave them off. Often, they get taller than their kin, and less muscular, and some are of a stunning, albeit disturbing beauty and irritating grace. One of the first and most disturbing erotic experiences I ever had was when I met a woman of the Janpara kin (which is, in fact, one of their oldest kins) in the woods during my adolescence, collecting herbs nearby an old iron mine ignorantly dug by humans near one of their entrances to an enclave of their kin, I never got over it, and I must admit my taste for female countenance amongst humanity has been changed forever by this encounter. Typically they have a high brow with high cheekbones and almond-shaped eyes, sometimes slanted like a cat´s. Their ears, by the way, are NOT pointed, and they are well aware of the bullshit humans talk about their race. They have a little less curved arc on top of their ears, but the disturbing feature of their countenance is not that they look so different from us. They are typically very small in stature, but not in a way you would notice, say, in a railway station´s hall, and in fact, some of them amuse themselves by walking amongst us unseen and unnotices, making fun of our blindness. Their humour is typically very broad and swiftly kindled, as well as their anger, which is terrible even for the toughest human. But they like to laugh and sometimes their jokes are very gnarled, so to say, and sometimes very strange and deep. They are said to be immortal, but they can be wounded and they most certainly also die a natural death, like ourselves, but they are extremely long-lived, and due to a lot of exercise and certain foods not commonly available amongst men, they keep their health up into very high ages. Some of their folk are most certainly over 9000 years old, but since those are mostly not skilled in speaking a modern human language, and I am not good at speaking the elder tongue, this might be a misunderstanding, for they also believe in the concept of reincarnation, and I can only warn you to go boasting with this assumed knowledge. I have been given free permission to spread the little knowledge I have in order to maybe further understanding between our races-you have not. The Janpara-kin, as I like to call them, for the difference is very stark to the folk of Wórahhall, as I cannot cease to emphasize (and it annoys Grábak who is just now throwing his pint at me;-). But then Grábak is from Wórahhall, and dresses up funny with that camouflage pants and chainmail shirt he so much likes... ouch... :-D), anyway, the Janpara-kin is, as I said, one of the oldest clans in Haukrinnars-Stainns Hall, and they reign supreme over the other clans of the Haukrinnarshall kindom. I take their word in that they claim they first settled in the valley and lived by the creek until the first humans pressed in. At first they helped them a lot, and the first human settlers, who really toiled to make a living, profited from their help and prospered. Those first settlers never forgot to put bread and milk into the stable or on a window sill for the "elves", and both races lived in relative peace. It was with the advent of the new belief that the good relationship was deteriorating and the peasants and local smiths tried to exorcise them, which made them a laughing stock amongst the folk. Still, they retreated into the rampart within the crags and started expeditions in order to play cruel jokes like upturning the milk and disease and storm and havoc. When humans started burning their own, mostly those who had stayed friendly to the folk, they shook with disbelief. Still, they did not want to harm those who had been kind to them, for they did not understand that they were so short-lived that those who wanted to harm their kind were not the ones who had been friendly to them. And they recognized the frenzy of the self-pronounced priests and judges as madness and pitied them for it, but then humans have ravaged the nearby Kindom of Klauti-Radshall by their presence and driven the folk away with ruckus and litter. They have now fortified their remaining ramparts with even more spells of deception and a veil of mist and obscurity and withdrawn even farther into the twilight.
But still, they stick to their friends...
And sometimes, in the twilight, in the mist under the moon, when it rises from the dale, you might hear an eerie pipe or a low tune sung in the woods. Stay respectful, and do not insult them!
But you might obstain from sleeping under the hawthorn tree-you might become like me. ;-)