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Darkholm Keep – Places of Azure Marsh Preview

Darkholm Keep – Places of Azure Marsh Preview

The Following is a preview of the lost dwarven clan, The Dark-Irons, home in the Forest of Eternal Night. It will feature in rumors and possible side-quests in a lot of the Eira material I’m making. Especially the Azure March/Mad Magus adventure I am slowly crafting.

To that existent, the information posted here are more or less my notes on the Keep as they currently exist. Not everything is done (I have a single cross section of the keep proper on a napkin for instance) and some information is likely to change.

I haven’t posted anything on Genius Loci yet about how Dwarves (a mythological/folklore creature of Northern and Eastern Europe) fits into a world that is primarily based on Celtic and Welsh mythology and folklore.

If any internet Indiana Jones types want to find a little of dwarves in Eira I posted a bit on them in the +Swords & Wizardry Discussion a while back. However, I’m planning on posting a revised version with more information in about a week.

Background of Darkholm:

When the Dwarves first came to Eira from beyond the Eastern Sea, they divided into fourteen clans. Nine stayed on the shores of the Eastern Sea. Building fortresses and walls to protect their new homeland from the unspoken evil they ran from.

Four built great mines in the mountains in the west, beyond the Forest of Eternal Night. For these clans came the ore, stone and precious stones to which the Dwarves gained their wealth and lands.

The fourteenth clan, The Dark-Irons built a Keep deep in the forest of Eternal Night to build and watch the roads between the mountains and coasts.

Over time, and as the Dwarven people became more a part of Eira, the Dark-Irons expanded their roads and their patrols on previous existing ones. For all but dwarves a small fee was demanded to use the Dark-Iron roads or too build near them. The toll and building fees increased the wealth of the Dark-Irons, and these funds were used to better the roads improve Darkholm Keep and delve deeper under the Forest of Eternal Night.

Despite their wealth, despite the fact that the Dark-Irons made themselves a needed part of commerce and trade on Eira, they hated their dependence on the mountain clans for their ore and the coastal clans for their food. So, as their wealth increased the Dark-Irons dug under the Forest of Eternal Night as they searched for metal and precious stones. Deep they went under the forest and at the same time, they began to clear land around the keep and building farms so as not to be dependant on the Coastal and Mountain clans.

For three hundred years the Dark-Irons watched and maintained the roads of Eira near the western highlands. For two hundred they supplied their own metals and food. One hundred years ago, the last patrol of Iron-Beards was seen on the road between Azure Marsh and the Forest of Eternal Night.

For the last hundred years no one has seen a Dark-Iron Dwarf. Their roads decay at a speed that Magus’ and Ardents alike say is unnatural and envoys and warriors from both the Coastal and Mountain Dwarves have never returned from their quest to seek out the cause of The Dark-Irons disappearance.
Legend of Darkholm

Their have been many stories told of what happened to the Dark-Iron Dwarves. These are just a few local legends of the fate of the Dark-Irons from Azure Marsh and a few of the other communities surrounding Loch Sevel.

  1. In their search for more wealth and self sufficiency, the dwarves dug too deep into the land, cut down one too many trees. The Forest of Eternal Night, always said to be truly alive was angered by the Dwarves destructive ways. The very roots of the forest came up and swallowed the whole of Darkholm and the Dark-Irons into the earth. It is the forest’s anger that even now destroys the roads the Dark-Irons built.
  2. The Dwarves bared a disguised Eira from travel on their road. As punishment for their behavior the Goddess trapped them all in their Keep and ripped Darkholm into the dark lands beyond the Eternal Lands. It is said that once a year, Eira takes pity on the dwarves and that the keep reappears in its old home. However, none can leave the fortress; just see the world their greed stripped them of. 
  3. The Iron-Beard, leader and first of the Dark-Irons, lost his mind in his bid for more power through study of ancient Un-Sidhe texts found deep under the forest. According to this legend The Iron-Beard himself, stripped life away from his people to fuel his insane ambitions, and using his power attempted to dominate the living mind of the Forest of Eternal Night. However, his magics failed him and trapped him and his undead clan in between Eira and the Eternal Lands. It is said that Darkholm keep appears and disappears randomly in different locations within the Forest of Eternal Night. The Lich Lord, formerly The Iron-Beard, sits upon his throne waiting for his chance to once more make the power of the forest his.
  4. It is whispered among the Coastal and Mountain Dwarves that the evil they ran from across the Eastern Sea, attacked and destroyed the Dark-Irons.


That is pretty much all I have right now. The biggest problem I’ve been running into in the creation of this adventure is that my mind will always come up with more stuff and I end up getting lost in all the “extras”.  As of now this “alpha” version of Darkholm take more room than either the “Mad Magus’s Tomb” adventure or my Classes of Eira books.


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Arcane Gauntlets are small devices of leather and copper fitted to the wearer's primary hand and feature a small, thin gem imbued with pure arcane energies affixed to the palm. As a standard action the wearer of an Arcane Gauntlet may release its energies up to four times in a single encounter safely, and up to eight times if the wearer is willing to endure the burning residual heat from sustained use of the device.  If an Arcane Gauntlet is used to its maximum effect (eight times) it is inoperable until such a time as its wearer takes a long rest.
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