General

Known As:
Towers of Stone and Frost
Region:
Irtuen Reaches
General Location:
Northern Irtuen Reaches
Approximate Size:
150 (width) x 110 (height) square miles

History

In times of war, specifically the Undead War, there is a need for weaponry and while Bhelest had mass amounts of magic at his disposal, his legions could not benefit from that energy. They needed steel - blades, bows and arrows, and axes - anything that was sharp and deadly. As Khy'eras was in a state of development and blended with chaos, there was no place to dig around for a surplus in weapons. Or at least, it was not immediately clear which town could provide these enhancements for combat.

At present, Fellsgard is the largest city on Khy'eras, but at one point in time this title belonged to the northern city, Domrhask. Its origins are a bit unknown, but scrolls that speak of its history say when Bhelest's magic was unveiled and shared to the outside world, this roused creatures that had been trapped in the Slyscera Mountains. Giant stone golems, otherwise known as "Irenohl", broke free from the rocky terrain and laid claim to the open land in the Irtuen Reaches. The Irenohl began to build a home, a city that was, at the start, crafted from the very stone the giants were birthed from.

As the Irenohl endlessly constructed their city, not seeming to desire sleep or food, they discovered that beyond a wealth usable minerals, the mountains harbored an enormous tree with an extensive branching system which managed to grow through the stone. A substantial part of this tree was covered by the mountains, but parts of it would occasionally escape through cracks. With care, the tree could be mined; the bark was used for armor, weapons, or staffs and its leaves (though delicate and difficult to collect) could be used in potions for nearly instant cures to the sick and wounded. The Irenohl called this force of nature "Thraora", meaning "Tree of Blades" as it could cut through the mountains.

While Bhelest and Nihegora raged war across Khy'eras, the giants remained unnoticed. Within their city, they built high walls and eight massive towers that seemingly rose to the sky. Even more was that these towers went at least a hundred feet or so into the earth and underground paths were carved out giving access to the mines inside the mountains. While it was a work of strong and compelling art, it was the presence of the towers that drew Bhelest's attention to the north. After all, he knew of no beings in the realm that could produce such structures and thus, he sent spies to check what was happening. When his minions returned with reports, they spoke of the resources being used to build Domrhask, Thraora, and the overwhelming city that was unfolding. Bhelest then decided that conquering Domrhask was what he needed to make his army more dominant.

In preparation, assuming that the Irenohl would be aggressive and demolish his undead forces, Bhelest amassed an army of skeletons, wraiths, and zombies - at least sixty thousand total - and marched towards Domrhask. It is said that because of the gigantic size of army, the undead caused the land to freeze over and snow - never seen prior - fell from the colossal peaks of the Slyscera Mountains. While the southern mountain environment was hot and temperate, where Domrhask was situated caught constant drifts of mountain snowfall. "The Curse of the Undead", as some called it, turned the land frigid and the condition never faded over time.

When Bhelest got to Domrhask, he was amused and delighted at the golems response to the forces that laid waste to their city. Instead of fighting back, the giants were surprised and gazed on, unable to stop the destruction as it happened. They had never seen other beings, let alone witnessed combat or conquer. In a quick turn of events, the take-over ended abruptly and in the span of few years, the Irenohl were subjected to slavery. Though they knew monotonous work, their tasks were longer to build their city, but to create a surplus of arms and siege weapons.

This capture of Domrhask lasted until Bhelest was defeated by Cecilia. When the mage died, the undead stationed at the city that had been watching the Irenohl fled away in terror, fearing that they would be crushed by giants that might revolt during Cecilia's victory. Though the golems did break their chains, something else unexpected occurred. They transformed into the race of Dwarves, most of which stayed in Domrhask and continued work to restore the city to its once magnificent visage.

Culture

Though Domrhask has its fair share of visitors, the Dwarves that maintain the city are begrudgingly tolerant towards others while welcoming to their own kind. This is perhaps due to being ever cautious that another tyrant might try to control Domrhask and oppress their race. An adventurer traveling into Domrhask might find that taverns are filled with groups of Dwarves drinking and having a good laugh, but when approached, they cease their discussion, go into hushed mumbling, and attempt to wave the outsider off while downing their drink as quickly as possible. It is even rumored that purchasable items are higher priced for anyone not of Dwarven blood. No one has proven this yet (or has cared to), since Domrhask's wares are typically of excellent quality and still worth the price.

Basically, if the traveler is a Dwarf, they should be prepared for hearty meals, fine drink, and challenges over storytelling and blacksmithing, pitting one's talents against the others in friendly competition. Anyone else, however, will be regarded with disinterest. If the Dwarves had the option, they might have considered closing off Domrhask, but as it is the way of a functioning city, they need commerce from outer regions.

Housing

During the construction of Domrhask, the stone towers the Irenohl built were empty and served little purpose besides impressive decoration. After Domrhask gained its freedom, one of the first things the Dwarves did was convert all the vacant space in the towers to a livable structure. Because the Irenohl were no longer around and the Dwarves, in comparison, had emotions and will, they required necessities. They needed a place they could call "home".

The Irenohl built each tower level at least double their own height and since no race has come close to being equal in height, the Dwarves had a lot of excess dimension to work with. Meaning some living quarters had lofts to sleep in. In addition to sizeable floors, the golems considered the tower's circumference and built them wide. Therefore, each floor was sectioned off into ten or twelve different spaces. Most towers are reserved for apartments, but one particular tower on the northeast end of the city is completely devoted to shops, restaurants, taverns, and inns. Basically, anything an adventure could ever need or want, they would surely be able to acquire in Domrhask.

Another major change the Dwarves completed was an update to the towers so they were easier to travel through. Originally, wide spiral stairs had been placed in the middle of each building, but finding the vast layers of stairs too cumbersome (especially for complaining outsiders), the Dwarves built in a system of four pulley based platforms per tower that resembled elevators. The Dwarves found this preferable to walking by people who were slumped along the stairs, gasping for breath when they couldn't get to the higher floors they were attempting to get to.

These elevators serve a dual purpose. The Dwarves who are miners by profession could use the lifts to quickly access the caves that supply Domrhask with an abundance of stone, minerals, and Thraora.

Transportation

Getting to Domrhask is not particularly safe, no matter which method of transportation is chosen. There are two airship docks in the city - one located in the northeast tower (the shopping district) and another in a southwest residential tower. People are cautious about taking airships because of hazards like the Slyscera Mountains and snow storms. It is common that an airship will crash, so tickets are cheaper than in other places. Recovery costs for broken airships are supplemented by high price tags on just about every item that can be purchased in Domrhask.

If there is a soul brave (or desperate) enough to take an airship, the routes are:

There is no train that goes to Domrhask. At one point, an attempt was made, but again, the mountains and snow proved too much of a challenge (even for the stubbornness of Dwarves) and the project was abandoned. One might, along their way to Domrhask, find old train tracks and iron scattered about the Slyscera Mountains.

Otherwise, to get to the city of towers, people lean towards conventional methods of travel such as horses or walking. This, unfortunately, has its own dangers since mountain trails are stalked upon by wild beasts. Wanderers - unprepared ones - are easy prey.

Leadership

To further enforce the fact that the race of the Dwarves will not be easily chained and imprisoned in any foreseeable future, a political organization called "The Armory" determines what happens with all affairs that traverse Domrhask. The Armory is a symbol of the city's fortitude and is broken up into five different branches: The Sword, The Hammer, The Shield, The Staff, and The Coin. Each of these sections is led by a Dwarf that plays a critical role in keeping Domrhask afloat in Khy'eras.

A vital part of this collection is The Sword. Every three years, a Dwarf is chosen to become The Sword by participating in a gauntlet with threatening and usually fatal obstacles that challenge both the body and the mind. This event is watched by the entire city and five days before the gauntlet, Domrhask is overtaken with a festival that includes mini-challenges, arm wrestling, jousting, shows, and of course, the best food and drink folks have been waiting to serve and consume.

Once a finalist emerges from the gauntlet, they undertake the role of The Sword that commands the four parts of The Armory. The Sword signs off on any eventual decisions that would change Domrhask and can participate in conversations that happen within the sections of The Armory. And if this Dwarf elects to, they have the ability to create and eliminate laws or make changes to the city without discussing with the rest of The Armory.

All of that aside, the remaining branches of The Armory are essential and a branch leader is selected through vote every six years. Though the Dwarves will never admit it, occasional prior recipients of The Sword have succeeded when it came to the gauntlet's obstacles, but weren't efficient as leaders for Domrhask. Having the extra pieces of The Armory can serve as a council to The Sword when they may not be able to make proper decisions. The Hammer takes care of the judicial process and determines the logical need for laws that may be added or removed. The Shield watches over Domrhask's military, defensive stance, and weaponry arsenal. The Staff is head of medical and hospitals, approving of remedies and healing processes that do not involve magic. And finally, The Coin keeps track of all commerce that happens within Domrhask, its tower devoted to trade, and ensures that Thraora is not over-mined.

Domrhask does have an army that is primarily led by The Shield which consists of soldiers, officers, and commanders. There is a unit of this army segmented off, led by one commander, that takes care of any crimes or wrong doings that are committed with in the city. All commanders report to The Shield and The Shield and The Hammer decide if changes need to be taken to The Sword.

Views on Magic

In the same way that outsiders are treated, magic is unwanted in Domrhask. While fear is the motivator behind the ban on magic in the city, the Dwarves believe that magic is a frivolous and childish idea and people who rely on it for everyday living are nothing more than weaklings. They are proud of their physical strengths and would rather see the denizens of Khy'eras mimic their standard.

Anyone who exhibits magical force in Domrhask is laughed at and then taken to the north of the Irtuen Reaches, across the mountains and gaps in the ocean to islands that are completely covered with snow and ice. The Dwarves call it a test of strength as there is a very slim chance that a person will make it back from the harsh, unyielding islands to the main land.