Blackfire Stories of Trinity Reach

Librarian note: Submitted by the Ironhold, May 1124


Recorded here are a compilation of the scattered histories of the Blackfire family, both documented and spoken. While ironic that a house of Adaranites could have lost so much history, let this record be a bulwark that defends against ignorance of our own identity. –Brundin Blackfire, 1119.



The arrival of the Blackfires to Trinity Reach

The Cave Dragon Shur-Narok

Blackfire Thaig

The Vile Blendecs of the Oreforest

The Crawler in the Dark

The Blade of Duraccan

The Loss of the Lower Gate

The arrival of the Blackfires to Trinity Reach

In ages old when the first tribes spoke of the mighty Triple peaks of silver with awe and growing avarice; when the land was untamed and it’s riches untapped, When the holds of the dwarves were many and mighty, and our people stood proud in aspiration, this happened.

There came to the reach of the Ironfists two brothers bearing the burden of sacred duties between them, stored in black bound books and resolved with their hefty shoulder-slung Longhammers. Agrek was the elder and wiser, his brother Tordar brimming with fire that smouldered behind his eyes, and the pair feared nothing.

From where they came none might now know, save that all dwarves come from Borthawr and they had travelled the lands since Kin slew Kith in those hallowed mighty halls. Demons, they hunted mercilessly. Greenskins, they slaughtered without relent. Those cursed with foul Unlife, they destroyed utterly. The people of Govannon knew solace and safety as the black-clad tallydwarves roamed the hills and plains, meting out vengeance and death. The grief of the dwarves was brought justice through the bearing of Grudges personal and public, the payment of deserved dues through the sundering of our foes. To make things right before putting matters to bed was their aim, their drive, their service.

To the hold they brought not only their might, but their faith in the form of public sermons that ignited the gritty determinations of the enduring populace, accessible to any and all. The brothers scribed our histories, kept our records and ordered our libraries. They kept the just peace alongside the Unbarakki (law keepers) of the hold, all the while refusing any title barring “Grudge Bearer”, for that is what they would forever be.

They settled in the hold amongst the common folk, they lived for what was right and taught their way to others, and their line continues to do so, battered often but never broken.
Tempered, but never sundered.

The Cave Dragon Shur-Narok

It was during the young days of the hold when the brother grudge bearers came, the dark haired one and the red, clad in black with hammers over their shoulders and fire in their hearts. The monster-killers, the wrong-righters, with long memories and black-bound books.

What my folk were quick to forget, was the horror, the first true horror that they felled amidst these peaks. For a time, none but my house dared recall the dragon-beast ‘Shur-Narok’, the eyeless flame in the first deeps, and they spat its name like bile.

It was the miners who first suffered. The misconception that dwarves may dig too deep given false credence, for the then-outpost that would become the Ironhold had barely picked the surface of these mountains.

To say that half the mining vanguard died is a disservice to the prospectors that gave their lives.

Flames in the earth.
Smoke from the hold.

Next came the roar, like the hiss of forge bellows with the force of a landslide, echoing throughout our halls. Heat, noise, and hatred surging towards our people like a spark in dry hay.

Dwarves spilled onto the mountainside above, as in the steading below iron-clad Ironholders stood iron-hard and with gritted teeth.

It had no eyes, they say.

Instead, two smoking nostrils sat where eyes presumably should have been, erupting great gouts of flame. It’s beak-like maw was filled with perforating needle-teeth, and it came thrashing towards its prey on six taloned gangly limbs, two of which sprung from where a true dragon’s wings would be. A ridge of hornlike spines stuck from its scaled hide from tip to the end of it’s whip-tail. And this beast was out for Dwarvern flesh.

That such unrestrained and monstrous ferocity was given pause by those earlier Dwarves fills me with pride. That my forebears stood unflinching in that ruck inspires me.

And even so, for every blow landed on Shur-Narok another Dwarf was laid low, until only the foundations of that shield wall remained. And two black-clad dwarves stood amongst it, hefting their longhammers and screaming oaths of bloody vengeance.

After the battle Agrek and Tordar Blackfire dragged the beast’s mangled carcass into the open for all to see the fruits of an attack on the dwarves of Trinity reach; it’s skull and chest caved completely in. The pair then joined the expedition into what had been Shur-Narok’s lair, and so it is said the huge cavern it had claimed was walled with veins and seams of native silver, in columns to the ceiling and running thick in the floor below.

Blackfire Thaig

In the time before the doors of the Ironhold thundered shut, the fields of men were an untamed orchard and the sons and daughters of the Brothers Blackfire turned their attentions not to surface and sunlight but to the monstrous low-places beneath our home. Caverns brimming with long unopposed predators honeycombed together in a realm far beneath the mountain, spread root-like through ancient exploratory shafts and other less wholesome channels. In the foot of the reach the Blackfire kin followed the example set by Tordar and Agrek with a new vigour, meting out justice on the child-eaters and tunnel-filth that threatened Dwarvernkind. With each venture we swore to drive back the dark, and each venture saw bit by bit the underground become that inch safer, that much tamer. A Blackfire never swears an oath they know they cannot keep though, and so oaths to return home were traded in face of the terrors that lurk below –but not necessarily to return alive.

In the face of wretched and pale Uggluks, -those malicious oily-blooded Uruk-spawn-, we delved forth like an avalanche against the sea. With each measured strike at their heart they fled and rallied anew, the deeps a contested land to wrest from their clutches. They swarmed like hornets, spread like rust, laid in wait for the tread of our boots like wyrms in the grass.

We were unperturbed, but our efforts were for naught beyond the small scale.

That is until the coming of Luda Blackfire.

Luda Blackfire was the granddaughter of Agrek, his line apparent in her coal-black locks and defiant chin. Luda fought astride her cousins as they “worked the bleak mine” and mourned each loss of kin keenly. So keenly in fact that a fiery determination settled in her very pattern.

She reasoned that the trouble with working beyond the lower gate was how quick and easy it was to burn through supplies.  Any fortification of the Dwarves that stood outside the gates in their scouring of the Uggluk orc threat should have to be self-sufficient, in its own right a fortress hold in miniature.

For years she pored over coarse maps scrawled by returning slayers and heeded the advice of hardened prospect miners, gathered reports on splintered tablets and formulated her plan.

Setting out with six of her kin, Luda led the way through collapsed tunnels and warrens of beasts until, with pick and hammer the future site of Blackfire Thaig was unearthed.

A grand cavern reared up into the blackness, with a forest of fungal growth standing tall and roosted with huge bats, spores glittering in a chill breeze with their own luminescence. In the centre of this Mushroom forest hung a spire glittering darkly floor to ceiling.

Obsidian, the solidified blood of the earth. A tower of Volcanic glass glistening with heat from beneath.

The work began right away with fresh lodgings being carved from the living stone, and as more dwarves arrived to the outpost it grew. Wells were sunk and fed from beneath by a crisp mountain aquifer, and the lush cavern earth was ideal for the kind of growth that would fill Dwarvern bellies.  By the time it came to proper service the entire spire was in use, with outbuildings and bands of fortification all interconnected through a central courtyard. 

Of the spire it is said that the walls glowed with a warm light reflected from the magma beneath, and that within its walls stood a wayshrine to each of our ancestors sculpted from the same backlit mineral. At the highest point there stood a room of Luda’s making, so it is remembered, with the walls carved floor to ceiling with the names of the fallen and at its centre sits her black book of grudges on a plinth of roiling obsidian.

Against such a bastion as the Thaig the Uggluks became little more than an annoyance, and they lost their supremacy over the dark places, until eventually they ground themselves into dust and memories against that hard place.

The Vile Blendecs of the Oreforest

It was during the height of the Blackfire Thaig that a threat once more arose underground. With the pale Uggluk Uruks all but eradicated from beneath the Ironhold the mining trade past the lower gate was booming, and each day saw ore and gems wash into the hold. The Thaig was no longer an outpost on the frontier, but a centre of activity for slayers and grudgebearers alike. A bastion of obsidian and Corundum.

It is easy to imagine the disgust as the first wave of attack lapped at those carved walls. Pallid unliving with glassy eyes and seeping black blood threw themselves at the dwarves, tearing themselves apart on their blades. Subsequent to this first wave cane more and more, the numbers thrown at them growing by the day, and every so often they could be seen at the periphery gazing on with bleached and leering goat-like skulls.

Hoofed lower halves met a humanoid upper of the beings who watched, sometimes alone and sometimes in threes. They could be satyrs but for their fleshless faces and corpse-like company, their tarnished weapons and their perverse stillness.

These were not living Fae.
Their hearts were still.
These were foul Blendecs.

Scouts and slayers scoured the deeps for where the beings kept coming from, but to no avail. A war of cat and mouse played out in the tunnels, and for all of it no dwarf so much as came close to a Blendec. Things grew increasingly dire, and unlife swelled in the peaks.

It was a slayer without a name who first successfully ambushed the foe. They waited in the tunnels caked in tunnel earth and rock, pressed tight to the walls or the floor for days at a time, until one day as the enemy skulked back to the dark places this slayer returned with Blendec bound in tow.

This would be the turning point, as the vile magics of the Blendecs revealed themselves in their presence, or at least the presence of this one’s cleaven skull. And in the depths, great walls of stone shrank from it like the jaws of some great beast. The column of dwarves marched with purpose in their stride and vengeance in their hearts, the grudge oaths on their lips were shared and bound them in their goal.

Justice for the fallen, death to the unliving.

Their march into the depths went unopposed, but a pallor of unease hung in the air like smog, until eventually the throat of stone opened into a great catacomb of veined rocky pillars, a forest of ore with myriad uncut gems glinting like fresh dewy fruit. It was here that the keening started, low and at the periphery, bouncing around the dwarves like an echo and slowly building. Some were so taken with their surroundings that they hadn’t noticed it, until too late.

The party found themselves beset on all sides, having apparently fallen into the enemy trap as shambling pale Uruks burst from the ground, before becoming smears under practiced Dwarvern arms. The Dwarves were harried by the pawns of the Blendecs for what must have seemed an era as they pushed further and further onwards like a stake into this untapped reach, until no more Uggluk uruks came.
What replaced them however was far, far worse.

They were heralded by the clack of hooves and dry jawbones, then their tarnished arrows peppered the Dwarvern shields and chipped the living stone. Volley after volley pinned the Dwarves in place before, like a peal of thunder, they struck. Spears and swords laced with verdigris danced before leering goat-horned fleshless faces, the foul corruptions of the Blendecs creeping like black mold where they found purchase. For some who were struck they bled profusely, while others found that they could not move and yet more felt their bodies grow chill and decay until tended by battlefield healing.  And still the Dwarves gave as good as they got.

They fought on all sides in the enemy’s home, and still the dwarves gave as good as they got.
They fought against magics when they had none, and still the dwarves gave as good as they got.

“For Govannon!” They cried.
“For the Reach!” They roared.
“For the fallen!” An uproar of names echoed in the blackness.

“Iron within!” Came the call. “Iron without!” Came the answer, and with each blow the debt of blood that had been racked up was collected, piece by bitter piece. The losses were great, but the Ironholders were victorious and wrongs were put right that day, and such a threat was unheard of again in the hold under the three peaks of silver, Trinity reach, for the span of a generation.

The Crawler in the Dark

There is a tale from long ago of a hunt beneath the mountains of trinity reach, of Dwarves who set out into the dark between the Underdark and their home to find a beast that burrowed and chittered and scuttled. Such a beast was blamed for disturbances beyond the lower gate, and rich seams of ore and gems seemingly scooped from the living rock like stew from the bowl.

A master miner of house Deepwalker; a caster of the Arcane from house Icefire, a warrior of house Ironshield in his prime, and a Blackfire with their black book close at hand, as a group set out into the darkness of the deeps.

Before long the Deepwalker Dwarf found tunnels not of dwarf make, as though bored through the stone and dripping with slime, with the faintest traces of silver and iron and tin glinting in its walls. This winding tunnel they followed with the miner at the lead, until they stopped and put an ear to the rock. 

“The ground quakes. Something is coming!” is all the Deepwalker Dwarf managed before the wall opened up and swallowed them whole, a torrent of black chitin bisecting their path.

Shaken but all the more determined the remaining three dwarves pressed on, with the Warrior and their shield taking the lead. Clad in Dwarf-forged steel and wise to the burrowing capabilities of the crawler in the dark, the Ironshield Dwarf was ready when the beastie sprouted its chittering head from the tunnel wall. They brought their shield up and swung his axe, hewing antennae and legs and rending the shell of the beast, before in one gulp it gobbled up their shield; then their axe blade, and then the warrior themself whole and kicking. And so the remaining two Dwarves carried on.

The Blackfire Dwarf stepped ahead of the Icefire, as it is often best for a caster to stand behind a more armoured friend from where they can cast their spells, and the Icefire Dwarf drew into their hands his thaums of magic. As before the crawler burst forth from the wall, and for its trouble got a face full of Arcane bolts, driving it away. Moments after it came again, and the same thing happened. The Blackfire Dwarf turned to the Icefire Dwarf, whose focus forward was unbroken as they waited for the crawler to come again. Then the crawler erupted from the tunnel wall behind the caster, and with a flash of expended thaums they too were swallowed whole.

The Blackfire Dwarf was left to continue alone.

Pressing forward with their hammer in one hand and black book of grudges in the other, the Dwarf from house Blackfire wracked their memory for anything that might be of use. Weighting the available information both old and new, they stopped their march and struck one wall of tunnel. As though summoned by a dinner bell, the crawler came through the wall for the last Dwarf in its domain, and when they didn’t react it swallowed them whole and without incident before burrowing once more into the rock.

Within moments the crawler surfaced again, its shadowy chitinous body thrashing and twitching before it fell to the ground, dead. A Dwarven hand erupted from between the segments of its body, and out clambered the Blackfire Dwarf with their hammer held high. They walked down the length of the beast and, striking apart the shell, pulled forth the Icefire Dwarf, then the Ironshield Dwarf, then the Deepwalker Dwarf, and finally a mound of metals refined in the Crawler’s strange bestial gut. Finally the Blackfire Dwarf reached into the felled beast’s throat and pulled loose their black Grudge-book, lodged in the windpipe of the creature.

The four dwarves made their way back to the Ironhold, victorious but with three of them looking rather sheepish. Approaching the hold gate, the posted guard rushed out to meet them.
“What on the egg happened to you!?” the asked, taking in the state of the four hunters and the mound of metal they dragged behind them. One looked to the other, then to the other, before the Blackfire Dwarf stepped forward, Grudge-book held high and still dripping streams of subterranean viscera.
“You should see the other guy.” They said, before striding into the hold without another word.

The Blade of Duraccan

Duraccan Blackfire bucked the family trend: Not a proficient wielder of weapons, he was a creator of them. For years on end he honed his craft, producing sharper and sturdier blades with each one better than the last. Silver, Iron, Gold and Steel were shaped by him as easily as clay, until the day came that most dwarves dream of: The day the crafting madness claimed him. The day that true inspiration overcame him.

Once in a Craftsdwarf’s life it is said to happen, when they attain sufficient mastery and ability. As if guided by the hand of an ancestor, an incomparable work is wrought by their hands. Countless weapons, armour and arcane trinkets are attributed these origins, dating back to the time of legend. For Duraccan it was a blade with unquestionable edge, perfectly formed and relentlessly keen. Unbreakable, un-tarnishing, able to cut armour and hide like butter. He named this blade “Tarmidoren”, or in the tongue of current Albion: “Diamond-edge”.

And this blade, he claimed for himself.

Awe of Duraccan’s creation spread throughout the Ironhold as the humble smith performed feats of swordsdwarfship that before would have been years beyond him, and with each wide-eyed expression his pride grew, and grew.

It was not long before Duraccan Blackfire patrolled the deeps with the rest of his kin, the blade at his command hewing what beasts and foes they faced deep underground, and deep under the Hold. By all accounts however, these were non-threats of the time being ‘nipped in the bud’ before they might pose real danger, and this frustrated the smith-turned-warrior.

All dwarves of a Hold and of an age are taught to fight. As such when enemies march on the Dwarves they find every Dwarf they face not only clad in Dwarven craft, but also competent with its use. For a Dwarf such as Duraccan, this was the extent of his martial prowess beyond the blade he had made, and it was readily apparent among those he fought alongside even as his comparative flailing cut through foes as wheat. It was “Diamond-edge” that was a product of skill, not it’s wielder. And this understanding cut Duraccan deep, despite himself. The smith was done smithing and wanted to fight, the accolades of smith and soldier not being comparable in his mind.

Thus did Duraccan become embittered.

Whatever the events that led to it, whether as a result of the words of other fighters or the internal struggle with being unable to match the martial skill of others, Duraccan left alone for the surface.

Few at this time from the Ironhold had done so, the hold having only recently opened with the meeting of King Kazador and Arthur of the Pendragon, and the last that was seen of Duraccan Blackfire was the determined dwarf disappearing beneath the canopy of the forest heading south.

Years passed and Duraccan and his mighty blade were spoken of little, their apparent loss a sore point best left un-agitated lest tempers flare. A mighty Dwarven heirloom, the pinnacle of skill, lost to the ages over wounded pride?

Well, one can only imagine the reaction when a young Human messenger wearing the colours of York arrived in the hold in Trinity reach, a gleaming and instantly recognisable keen-edged blade of Dwarven make scabbarded at his hip.

The man introduced himself as Winstan of the family Whittaker, a messenger bearing word for our king. Before he could continue a lone throaty voice, hoarse with forge-soot, called out to him.

“And where would a man of the surface come by that sword, I wonder?”

The question rang like the chime of an anvil as those few present fell quiet.

“That blade, the diamond-edge. That blade last seen in these halls borne by my own kin?”

The man turned to face a ragged- and scarred- dwarf leaning on an axe twice his size, eyes smouldering like embers and fixed intently on the messenger.

“I’d always wondered where this came from.” Winstan mused, closing his hand around the pommel of his blade. “It passed to me from my mother-“

But the angered Dwarf snorted loudly, hefting his axe to the ready.

“It passed to you from my kin, manling” he announced. “Messenger or not, this is a matter of honour. Now ready yourself!”

With no time for more words, the two clashed with the ring of colliding metal, then again and again. Such was the skill at arms on show that those others gathered could only watch in awe and dread as the duel unfolded, a storm of steel with the threat of red rain.

At the peak of battle, both combatants chests heaving, both readying another flurry of strikes, they found their wrists wrapped in heavy ring-laden calloused hands as King Kazador of the Ironhold set them with a glare that would give a Dragon pause.


Both combatants turned a wintry pale as they clutched for the words to save face, and under that gaze fell short.

“Save that kind of fighting for your enemies. We are here friends and allies. Behave as such.”

And as the King released his grip, each of the three took stock of the Human’s sundered armour and the now segmented armour of the dwarf, both barely repairable.

What followed is a testament to the force of presence of King Kazador.

With the message relayed to the King, both Man and Dwarf were given both a keg of Forgefire and the use of a forge, and between them were crafted replacements for what battle-clothes had been rendered rent. The Keg was emptied between them, the burning liquor prompting conversation. Thus was the tale of Duraccan finally delivered to the Dwarves of the Ironhold.

The Smith Duraccan, so it was said, had headed years previously for York without really realising it and all the while testing his blade. In the wilds he had encountered the aftermath of an outlaw band’s attack on the people of the vale of York and decided to track them down. On this path he encountered a group of injured humans of the army of York, still determined to fight. Joining forces they engaged in a bloody battle in which many, including the smith, were slain.

Thus the blade passed to the Whittaker line.

The Dwarf, Kurnac, bemoaned the fate of his kin. So too did he bemoan his own rash actions, and between great mouthfuls of the oath-swearing drink he agreed with a grim smile that perhaps the blade had reached a wielder for the best, a wielder better suited to it than it’s maker. And then the pair of them continued to drink, deep into the night.

What became of Kurnac, Winstan and the blade is not recorded within the Ironhold. Indeed, if the same Whittaker line exists in Albion, it is not known to me. However as this Dwarf sees it the bonds between Albion and the Ironhold are ever strong, stronger than both rash action and pride.

With our differences and grievances aside, there is strength in our Unity. And so we prevail.

The Loss of the Lower Gate

During the Orc War of Trinity Peak, burned so recently into living memory, our enemies abounded. From above they came, as from below, and as the war pressed on they spread like a creeping mold through the halls of our home. What has been named by so many through the ages as a “Green Tide” was what my people faced, and far too many did it drag down. Many dwarves, for the sake of morale, would call this a “target-rich environment” and outwardly revel in the bloodshed. “More hit for your swing” I heard the fighting miners say often, “like working the bigger ore-seams.”

My house was less enthused.

Early on, or so it felt, the reaches beyond the lower gate were lost to us, Including Blackfire Thaig.  Whether our post had become too homely, or our grit had become complacency, or our might had faded to pride, I cannot say. To consider it belittles the enemy we faced, and the loss they dealt us. Regardless, we were few amidst the Ironhold throngs and would grow fewer before the end.

There are plenty of stories of honour, glory and sacrifice from this time. Penned here is not one of them. This story is a mark of shame on my family, and our greatest failure to be ever remembered. Adaran permitting, we may prove ourselves again.

With the loss of the tunnels beyond to the Greenskins, our foe threw themselves against the lower gate with increasing fervour. Their warcries merged into a great thrum that shook the roots of the Trinity Peak, driving fear like a wedge into the heart of all but the stoutest dwarf. They were so close that at times you could hear their breathing through the edifice of our post. We had held their gnashing at bay for weeks, and then months on end, with our masons filling each new hole and break as seamlessly as only dwarves can.

Still, it wasn’t enough.

Between their under-mining, batter-ramming, the widening of crossbow slots into useable entries and their sending of smaller foes through the smallest and most unlikely of holes, somehow they managed to get through.

A number of false attacks drew us from their intended breach, cries of frenzy drawing us to and fro like the eager and jumpy beardlings most of us were.

One moment I stood between my elder brother Daegnar and my father, Daedrin Blackfire, the dwarf in command of us. The next a crude orcish axe glanced from my pauldron. They were upon us.

The fury and determination of those orcs was the stuff of nightmares, and the battle whittled us down piece by piece and step by step. The groan of the gate and the clink of it’s chains sounded our doom. The last posting of the Blackfires was lost.

The order came like rolling thunder even over the encroaching horde: Retreat.

And rather than stand with the best of us, we obeyed. A paltry sum of survivors fled before our foes deeper into the hold, leaving that great door rent open even as our elders and kin stood and fought.

The face of the war changed, and house Blackfire failed our given duty.

I regularly find myself asking, what could have been different? What would have tipped the scales for us? Thicker walls, perhaps. Another gate in the gate house, another layer of portcullis. Maybe another tier of wall, or more traps prepared on the other side, be they pitfalls or rows of pikes waiting to rise out of the ground. Perhaps great vats of flaming oil to let flow out onto the approach and sear our foe, with the cavern floor carved to slope downwards for the flow to chase them.

Perhaps if there were more Dwarves present, such as those we lost in the reaches beyond in the lower delvings.

Things might have been different.

The only routes available to us were upwards through the inner delvings and onward towards the hold proper, falling back stage by stage as we tore the scaffolds and collapsed the tunnels around us. Shattered stone and rubble merged with shorn Ironwood, together spilling downwards as the mountains rumbled and shifted.

Downwards onto the swarming green tide.
Downwards as though to hide our shame.

And at each stage, we found they were gaining ground. The smaller, more nimble Uruks were ambling and clawing their way up the shaft face with roughly made hooks, or in most cases their bare grasping hands. Although poorly armed and armoured they were quick and they were many, those of us they managed to bring down each falling to a thousand shallow cuts.

Four levels from the top we could make out the silhouette of the shaft edge where it blocked the light of the true occupied hold. I turned to the shieldbearer next to me, a Dwarf named Thonin, and he looked at me darkly.

“Come on!” I told him “We’re almost there!”

“You are.” He told me flatly, eyes sunken. “Not me chief. Not yet.”

I tugged at his arm, and he glowered at me as no-one has since. It told me all I needed. 

He wasn’t coming.

“Go on, Blackfire. Don’t you have somewhere to be?” He said without turning, a statement more than a question. Then he raised his axe, and stood broad.

I looked back only once before I reached the next tier. Thonin I couldn’t see amidst the throng of green, but at the heart of them his axe was a whirlwind of death splitting our foes and sending them screaming over the side. Then the mountain shook once more, stone and timber and broken bodies spiralling to the pit floor so far below.

When we few that were left arrived at the shaft lip, battlements had already been entrenched and occupied by our relief, alerted by the thunder underground that had followed our wake. Of the two hundred of us posted to the lower gate, forty-three had survived our flight upwards. With the lower gate and so much of the mines lost, this became the new front for us going forward.

And so the war for trinity reach continued.