The Deep Delve
The first dwarven city, built into the side of The Deep Well, this enormous complex of labyrinthine passages is the undisputed centre of dwarven tradition. It marks the spot where they first broke ground into the open, and it holds the sanctum where the Earth Mother, their guide throughout the Ages, still resides.
Since the Age of Darkness dwarves have been born, have learned, toiled and died in the intricately decorated halls of this keep. Their memory lives on in the statues that grace every corridor and every chamber, and so many are they that it is said that should a dwarven child insist on seeing all of them, he would join them ere his quest were complete.
As the dwarven race has spread through the warrens that reach out from The Deep Well, the population of this first city has aged and dwindled. Those who remain are largely the scholars, chroniclers, annalists and librarians who tend to the Great Archive, the single largest repository of written lore in the Mortal World. “We may not have invented writing, but we are the only ones who can be trusted with safekeeping its bounty,” as the current Lord High Librarian Thefelashka Grey-face likes to say. The Great Archive accepts records regardless of origin with equal solemnity, and in theory their collection is open to anyone “of a scholarly mind”. In practice, however, the Byzantine bureaucracy that surrounds the Archive is so slow and labyrinthine that one needs dwarven persistence, brilliant puzzle-solving or the favour of a senior Librarian to gain access.
As the Archive became more and more prominent during the Age of Magic, the people of the Deep Delve started to feel the lack of able-bodied dwarves. As the keep and its population started to suffer from lacking services, after much intense debate, the scholars of the archive and the greatest engineers of the dwarven people joined forces to create golems – mechanical constructs that could relieve the people of drudgery and hazardous toil. The warrior-traditionalists of Runewall view these almost-statues as tantamount to heresy.