Publicada por Arith Härger / 11:19 PM /
Durin was one of the Eldest of the Duergar Fathers. He built the World-Mill to create fertile soil in Svartalfheim, but it did not work for him, and was eventually bought by Frey, who is far more skilled at using it. He (along with his friend and partner Dvalin) was also the crafter of the cursed sword Tyrfing of Germanic legends. Durin was chosen as the first chieftain of the Duergar, and his memory is still loved and revered. His death is considered unlucky to speak of for some reason, unless you are one of his close relatives, and even they are closemouthed about it. His hall is one of the grandest cavern-mazes in Nidavellir, but rather than keeping it as a private hall or passing it along to the next chieftain, his relatives decided instead to open it to the public as a place of respite and peace.
To stay in Durin's hall is quite possible, but rather expensive unless you are a friend of the family. The atmosphere is somewhere between a high-class hotel and an ashram, with bubbling hot springs and quiet, peaceful, beautifully carved caverns glittering with lights and mica mosaics. Don't disturb the quiet by making a ruckus; if you want to do that, getting a room at a local tavern will give you plenty of noise and partying.
Dvalin is one of the most powerful Duergar in Nidavellir, and the most skilled runemal in that world. He is actually half-Jotun, as his father was the famous Mimir, who had an affair with the famous Duergar-woman Lovar, and sired Dvalin and his three brothers, Alfrik, Berling, and Grer. Dvalin's daughters (for he had several wives) became the progenitors of the Lovar family of dwarves. The four of them are a sort of corporation, creating beautiful items on commission. Their most famous creation was Brisingamen, the fairest necklace in the world. Freya desired it, and paid for it by spending four nights making love to the brothers. Even though they didn't get a single piece of gold for it, they still consider it to be their greatest sale.
At first, Dvalin was just a powerful Duergar-lord in Svartalfheim, and then through a miracle of near-death at the moment of Odin's torment on the Tree, he received the Duergar-runes into his hands. He taught them only sparingly, to a secret society of hand-picked Duergar, and eventually he mysteriously vanished, only returning home a few times during the long Svartalfheim year. His family know where he is, as do many of his people, but it is considered bad luck to speak of it. What happened is that he - along with a Jotun, an Alf, and a mortal man - shapeshifted into one of the Deer of the World Tree, who guard the paths of energy so that no one else can rip open Ginnungagap and bring in what they choose.
It is very rare to find Dvalin at home, as he does not answer pleas for aid that have to do with Duergar matters - he considers his other work to be more important, and figures that there are enough of his people around who could answer any ordinary question quite handily. If your problems are issues relevant to his other job - which would be very serious issues indeed - you won't have to travel to Svartalfheim to talk to him about it. Indeed, he would more likely show up no matter where you are, accompanied by his three co-workers. None of the others - Dain the Alf, Duneyr the Midgardian, and Durathor/Asvid the giant - bother to keep earthly halls or realms any longer; Dvalin was the only one of the four who had an extensive family to keep his hall going, and so he visits his descendants periodically. Among the Duergar, he is treated with quiet reverence, rather like a living saint - the first and greatest of the Duergar runemasters. If you catch him at home, don't bother him with petty issues; he is busy with greater matters and would rather spend his precious home time playing with his great-great-grandchildren. Pay your respects, leave a gift (which he will probably pass on to his family, as alone among Duergar he has rather gone beyond a need for material objects) and go.
His hall is administered in his absence by his three bachelor brothers, who are still acclaimed as some of the best master craftsmen among the Duergar, and are decent runemasters as well. They have extensive workshops in the hall, with many apprentices learning under them. If you have questions about craft, it is better to approach them, as they are still very much in the family business. Don't ask them rude questions about their nights with Freya; they consider it a sacred subject and will not have their memories degraded by lewd gossip.
Aurvangar is the place in Joruvellir (an area of Svartalfheim's surface claimed by the Duergar) where grave-mound of Svarin and Lovar is found, from which came the Lovar family of Duergar. They were the first Duergar couple to mate and have a child together, although both often took other lovers. Aurvangar refers to both the above-ground and the underground areas. The great grave-mound towers in the midst of the flat area; theirs is the only above-ground grave of a famous Duerg. It is usually covered with offerings, and is guarded - a hidden door to Nidavellir, with guards who watch over the grave, is nearby in the mountainside.
The grave-mound lies near Juruvale Marsh, the only place in Svartalfheim with wetlands, and the only sacred bog. It is used by both races to drop offerings. The Duergar generally drop in items, and the Dokkalfar generally drop in freshly murdered bodies. They try to make their visits not coincide with each other.
Ivaldi is the Emperor of the Duergar, also called "Vidfinnar" and "Svigdar", both nicknames referring to his ability as a champion drinker. His children by his first (Duergar) wife are the champion craftsmen Brokk, Eitri, and Sindri. With his second wife, the Aesir Valkyrie Hildegun, he sired Iduna, Bil, and Hjalfi. Hildegun was captured coming off of a battlefield by Ivaldi and his men, who took her as an inadvertent prize of war. The story is unclear as to whether she stayed with him so long by force or choice, or first one and then the other.
Ivaldi is a tall (for his race) Duergar with dark skin, long black hair, and a long jet-black beard that he is quite vain about. He is handsome, in a hook-nosed, craggy way, and he is quite brilliant; he did not get to be the emperor of his canny, fractious race through accident. He holds the title of Emperor - a rather pretentious title, given that the Duergar hold only one world - by wealth, bribery, force of arms, and general charisma. He is also one of the greatest sorcerers among the Duergar. He is the son of Svarin and Lovar, and thus of Lovar family descent, and the half-brother of Dvalin.
He lives surrounded by a court full of his kinsmen, including his umpteen Lovar brothers and sisters - Draupnir and Dólgthrasir, Hár, Haugspori, Hlévangur, Glói, Dori, Ori, Dufur, Skirfir, Virfir, Skáfidur, Ái, Eikinskjaldi, Frosti, Finn and Ginnar. His brother Andvari has his own hall, and his brother Yngvi fled to Niflheim where he is the custodian of Fenris. His remaining two brothers, Fjalar and Galar, were the infamous pair who were exiled due to their habit of murdering people, and eventually killed Kvasir the Vanir in order to make the Mead of Poetry from his blood.
Ivaldi's Hall is located high in one of the mountains; it is not difficult to get in, but seeing him personally is less easy. If you speak to Ivaldi, make sure that you gift him as the King that he is. He is canny, and his first thought about anyone he meets is how he can best use them to further his ends, if it is possible. However, he is not an unfair man, and will return fair service with fair accounting. Like many skilled leaders in the Nine Worlds, he is good at telling when someone is lying to him, so don't blow yourself up or exaggerate your powers or abilities. He will just look right through you with those cynical dark eyes and you will feel like shriveling up. His courtiers enjoy a good song or story, but he is more interested in news of the outside worlds, any of them.
This is an empty well standing on a mountaintop in Svartalfheim. At one time it poured forth magical waters that gave the gift of poetic power and ecstasy, but Ivaldi magically emptied it, which stopped its flow and ensured that the holy water was in limited supply, and thus more valuable. When Ivaldi's brothers Fjalar and Galar came to him with Kvasir's blood, he lent them enough water to make the blood into the Mead of Poetry, intending on a share of it. However,they fled with the Mead of Poetry and Ivaldi's price on their heads and curse at their backs, saying that they would not live another six turns of the Moon - which was true, as Sutting hunted them down and killed them soon after for the spiteful murder of his parents.
While their mother, Hildegun, was still a prisoner at Ivaldi's court, her three children were hostage to her safety. The eldest, Iduna, escaped to Asgard where she became the gardener-goddess there. The younger two, Hjuki and Bil, a daughter and son, had the job of bringing back buckets of holy water from Byrgir, a job which Ivaldi would not entrust to anyone else. He thus slowly emptied out the well and sold its contents bit by bit to the Aesir. On the last trip, however, when the children were dredging up the very last bucketful, the Moon-god Mani (whom the Duergar name Nepur) seized them and the bucket up to the sky. (This story is said to be the basis of the "Jack and Jill" rhyme.) The Moon-god had a history of attempting to rescue children from mortal parents who abused them, but he had not counted on their father Ivaldi, the Emperor of the Duergar and a determined and powerful sorcerer.
The tale goes that Ivaldi chased the Moon across the sky through many worlds in pursuit of his children, and finally caught up with him under a mountain. He fought Mani withsingleminded wrath and a great axe, and the frightened Moon-god (never much of a warrior) fell back before the Duerg-King and yielded. Ivaldi reclaimed his children and his holy water, and returned to his hall in Nidavellir. There, with an empty well and weeping children, he reconsidered, decided on mercy, and allowed Hildegun and their children to go to Asgard. Bil later renamed herself Saga and became the goddess of lore, and one of Frigga's handmaidens. Hjuki, on the other hand, returned to his father's side where he lives mostly at court, and is Nidavellir's ambassador to Asgard.
The empty well is something of a shrine to the Duergar, and they throw offerings down into it. They also throw in gravel and sand and concrete, in order to discourage people from climbing down and stealing the offerings.
The Duergar Andvari is one of the top ten smiths in Nidavellir, and one of the few who will actually take commissions from non-divine people, if you are willing to pay his extremely high prices. He specializes in jewelry, although he is quite capable of forging anything from pots to armor. Andvari seems to be fonder of humans than many other of the Duergar. Indeed, he is an odd sort of Duergar, much given to wandering about in his earlier days, and he used to hole up in a pond by a waterfall in Jotunheim, where he would change himself into a salmon. His treasure was hidden behind the waterfall. The Duergar have many tales about their folk doing such things - temporarily hiding out with one's hoard in a paranoid fear of being robbed - and it is referred to as "dragon disease", in memory of the half-Duergar Fafnir who turned himself into a dragon in order to better guard his hoard. Generally it is considered a kind of temporary insanity that one outgrows, with the implied idea that the powers of Wyrd will set you up to lose such hoarded treasure anyway, as is what happened with Andvari.
Currently, Andvari keeps a hall in Nidavellir with his several grown sons. Narvi, the eldest, is a fine smith in his own right. He has close ties with Loki, who named his own ill-fated eldest son with Sigyn for him. He drives a hard bargain for work, so be careful and stay sober when negotiating with him.
Hall of the Four Directions
This is less a hall than a temple. While the Duergar have few buildings that could be considered temples or shrines - their worship is more of a homely sort of thing, done in privacy by families - the biggest exception is the Hall of the Four Directions, a sort of ongoing architectural artwork dedicated to the Dwarves of the Four Directions, who guard the far corners of the World Tree. These entities are not actually Duergar - at least according to the Duergar themselves - but greater deities invoked into the Nine Worlds by Odin, who set them to guarding the four directions.
According to Duergar myth, they looked down at the various races inhabiting the Nine Worlds and noticed that the Duergar seemed to have gotten the worst of things. The Aesir, the Vanir, the Alfar were all powerful and beautiful, with lovely worlds near the top of the tree. The Jotnar, for all they had been disenfranchised, were the most numerous and still claimed the most land - four worlds' worth. The Duergar, on the other hand, were scorned as mere maggots, cast into the darkness of the lower limbs of the Tree through a power struggle they did not understand and had no part in; struggling to carve a living out of a cold world of mountains. The four Guardians admired their strength and persistence and creativity, and chose to take on the form of dwarves themselves in honor of their favorite race. The Duergar revere them as Gods, and swear their most sacred oaths by their names - Austri, Vestri, Sudri, Nordri.
The temple itself takes up the entire top section of one of the highest mountains in Svartalfheim. The central chamber is perforated with many glassed windows to let in light, and the four wings spreading out from it are each decorated with statuary, mosaics, and some of the most amazing and intricate carving in the Nine Worlds - all in honor of the Four Guardians. Austri's wing is themed as a field of spring flowers, with every petal a jewel inlaid in a stem of precious metal. Sudri's wing is filled with more gold than is seen in any one place in the Nine Worlds, with a great golden sun filling the whole ceiling, and a floor like the iridescent ocean itself. Vestri's wing is decorated like a multicolored autumn, with entire trees built of copper twigs and leaves of precious stones, the floor a stone mosaic of a forest floor. Nordri's wing is decorated in silver and alabaster and thousands of glittering crystal gems, with a ceiling of blued steel and a marble floor so slick that one could skate on it.
The Duergar are constantly adding tiny bits to this living, growing sculptural temple; the four wings keep expanding outward and becoming more glorious. They are generally pleased to have people visit their great temple of devotion, as it is a noted tourist attraction. If you go, bring an offering, but give it to the temple keepers; don't lay it in the temple itself. Only the finest offerings are eventually added to the permanent temple, and to assume that yours is worthy would be considered an act of hubris. No one ever steals anything while there; they wouldn't dare. If so much as a petal was removed from a gemmed flower, the horde of praying Duergar who were visiting that day would rend them to pieces for the great insult.
Supported by RavenKaldera , Rod Landreth and Elizabeth Vongvisith