Worlds of the Nether: Irden Reichs

The Irden are today one of the greatest powers in our sector of the galaxy, but every great power must begin somewhere. It may be hard to imagine their beginnings seeing their influence, but once, a long time ago, the dwarves that became the leaders of the Irden Reichs did not even dominate their homeworld of Zvargoff. Over 3500 years ago, it was a world of giants. All of the dominant races were various kinds of giants, from fleshy hill giants, through mountain and stone giants, through the sea giants dominating the seas, through ogres and ettins stalking the valleys, through fire giants dwelling underground and coming up to gather more slaves, up to the rare cloud giants. That last race was in that ancient era the definite overlords of Zvargoff, then known as Tyrinsal.

Cloud Giants

Cloud Giants

The cloud giants come from a flesh-cursed standard model of Titanic watchers, akin to Loken or Archaedas. They’re positively gigantic, bigger even than most giants, and have come to dwell on the highest peaks in large, marble-white towns from which they oversaw the rest of Tyrinsal. Although not malicious, their actual level of control over the world below was fairly limited. Fire giant raids and hill giant, ogre and ettin cannibalism continued to trim the numbers of the smaller races, such as dwarves or halflings. It is believed that a native race of humans even went extinct because of ettin aggression, although the archaeological evidence for that is lacking.

Despite all that, the world of Zvargoff is a rugged, mountainous and fertile world and when left alone long enough to recover, the industrious dwarves hiding in the valleys could flourish in a simple, rustic culture. Some time around 3300 years ago, however, a new movement arose in the local dwarven populations. A hero known as Buri became famous for slaying giants. Many clans rallied around his leadership and Buri’s soldiers started causing serious damage to the giants. Being mostly primitive creatures, having lost most of their intelligence to the Curse of Flesh, the low-dwelling giants failed to respond strategically. It’s said a storm giant named Thias, however, managed to corner Buri alone and slay him. Buri’s sons, Hoder, Vay and Vili reacted with fury and tore Thias apart. On that day, Sons of Buri decided to have no more mercy to the giants or those who sympathise with them.

After a century of constant warfare, dwarves began taking control of Zvargoff, relegating most giants to secluded, remote communities. It is around this time that most of the local halflings died out, either due to misplaced giant reprisals against the “small ones”, or to crossfire. Despite this victory, Sons of Buri refused to settle down and saw the cloud giants as their last great threat. Despite the cloud giants’ occasional help in the past era, they stayed out of this conflict, for they did not desire to partake in the genocide of their giant kin. Sons of Buri led armies up the mountains and laid siege to cloud giant towns. With the fall of their great Archons, alleged descendants of the custodians of Tyrinsal appointed by the Titans, Sons of Buri announced from now on the world belongs to the dwarves and the custodianship passed on to them. This is the mark upon which most historical sources begin to call the world “Zvargoff”, although the name itself is over a thousand years younger. Sons of Buri likely used a variant of “Zvargheim”.

Over the next two thousand years, the political control of Zvargoff was fractured into many small states with their own agendas. Sons of Buri became mythical figures, the fabled heroes and giantslayers. Giants themselves remained in their closed-off communities, many of which became special reserves guarded by dedicated dwarven units. It is some time during this era that a race of rock trolls, who may have been troggs, went extinct due to dwarven expansion. Many kings and presidents sent expeditions to various forgotten giant forts, looking for Titan facilities that may shed the light on their great progenitors. Most discoveries were ultimately of little use, if archaeologically curious.

Around 900 years ago, one particular dwarven supremacist and archaeologist, Oserich Altmann, became known for trying to piece together the original Titan language. While most attempted to translate the Titan inscriptions using what was known of Giant languages, he remained steadfast in the belief that dwarves are the chosen creations of the Titans. In this era, a gigantophilic movement arose, feeling the genocide of the giants was a mistake and seeking reparations for the former overlords of Zvargoff. Altmann staunchly opposed that stance, seeing giants as usurpers from the start. He finally translated some version of Titan inscriptions in the ruins of Telekinthus and came up with the now famous verse describing “the earthen” (or Irden) as rightful inheritors of the world. He published his findings in the now-revered “Irden Destiny” book. Although at the time his translations were widely disputed and his contemporaries brought attention to multiple dubious leaps of logic Altmann made, Irden Destiny sparked the imagination of thousands of young dwarves and a new movement was born.

In the following century, many Irden parties and local movements sprang all across Zvargoff, demanding recognition of ideologies espoused by Altmann in Irden Destiny and his later, even more propaganda-laden books. Although many governments tried to show some good-will towards these movements, the disagreements soon turned to violence when the first militant Irden circles attempted to take over their nations. Over the next thirty years, persecution of the radical Irden movement caused civil wars all across Zvargoff. 773 years ago, Union of True Irden Power finally succeeded at toppling a local government in Harz and established an absolute monarchy, with a king claiming descent from Buri’s son, Vay. Over the following fifty years, more governments were brutally toppled. 716 years ago, all the Irden kings met in Telekinthus with the remaining non-Irden leaders to unite most of Zvargoff under the rule of one Kaiser, ruling from Harz.

The newly-formed Irden Reichs began tightening its grip on Zvargoff and making sure giants stayed in their isolated reserves, or using them as shock troops against the few opposing forces. Irden archaeologists continued Oserich Altmann’s work on deciphering the Titan language and at this era, they finally completed one of the devices for which blueprints Oserich found in Telekinthus – a nether-traversing engine that allowed Irden to leave Zvargoff and bypass the vast swathes of empty space to quickly get to other worlds. Using this and other new technology reverse-engineered from Titan technology, Irden caused and industrial revolution that saw their numbers quickly boom. Irden began spreading to other, unoccupied worlds in their system, always looking for trace of the Titans, believing them to be responsible for all order in the universe.

In thirty years, Irden were beginning to colonize nearby worlds, paying little heed to previous inhabitants. Non-Titanic creatures were seen as little more than beasts and monsters. If it didn’t have a place in the Titanic Order, as deciphered by Oserich Altmann, it had no humanoid rights. When they found remains of tol’vir on an arid, unpopulated world now known as Lamienheim, they found first proof of the fabled creatures from Altmann’s writings and became even more convinced of their Titanic Order. Their expansion continued until, 640 years ago, they found the world of Gnegav, dominated by a race of religious tinker gnomes (with fairly low-level of technology for tinker gnomes). Gnegvis were allowed entry into the Irden Reichs, although they found little attraction in the ideology which gave them the position of inventors at best and menial laborers at worst. The two factions parted peaceably, for a time.

For the following twenty years, at Irden insistence, Irden citizens were allowed to settle on Gnegav. Because of the world’s abundance of natural resources such as wood, coal and very nutritious fauna, soon dwarves began swarming Gnegav and quickly straining the ecosystem. Having great respect for nature, seeing its balance as very important in Light’s demands for them, they demanded the Irden government to rein in their citizens. Unhappy with the turn of events, Kaiser ordered a provocation where a few gnomes working for them attacked Irden citizens of Gnegav, justifying Irden’s declaration of war. In a brief war where Gnegav’s towns and temples were bombed from orbit or invaded by troops dropped from orbit, the gnomes had to surrender after just a few months.

As Irden continued to explore space, they also decided to put the Gnegvi “where they belonged as gnomes”. The great temples of Gnegav were destroyed or turned into civilian facilities and the gnomish race was put into diaspora all across the Reichs, where they were refused most jobs that weren’t involved in engineering, manual labor or economy. Despite that decentralization, Gnegvi managed to maintain a level of their own identity, united by their religion, practiced in the seclusion of their homes or led in small prayer circles by the local priests.

One other populous subject race of the Irden are Yotvian humans. Their homeworld of Yotvia was shaken by some ancient cataclysm and became barely habitable. The Curse of Flesh had more drastic effects on the locals, leading the dominant race of humans to have flaps of loose skin around their body, leading to many comparisons between them and pugs or other similar breeds of dogs. Because Yotvia was disorganized, with no central authority, the Irden began simply colonizing it. A few Yotvian groups opposed them for a short time but in a series of short, brutal wars most of those groups were summarily destroyed. Afterwards, Yotvians were incorporated into the Titanic Order as humans, serving mostly as soldiers and personal servants of dwarven nobles.

The Irden met other major members of the galactic community shortly before the emergence of the Xa’tac over 450 years ago. For that brief period, the antagonism between the Irden and other factions was rising quickly, with the Gnadra and some other powers gearing for potential war. It was then that the Xa’tac struck, forcing everyone to divert their attention to the new, active threat. Over the course of the war and its final conclusion at the hands of the Burning Legion, the Irden worked out a sense of cooperation with the other powers. When the Gnadra Accords were first signed 417 years ago, the Irden happily joined this community, seeing more prospect for expansion in the unclaimed and mostly uncivilized sectors, as opposed to tangling with factions that could actually damage their own planets.

Although this situation continues to this day, the Irden are distrusted because of their fanatical devotion to the Titanic Order, which sees all their allies “rightful places” as either servants or enemies to be destroyed. Although the Kaiser and his Reichstag have always voted for cooperation for centuries, there are growing dissident voices that want confrontation and “Final Ordering” for the whole Galaxy. Irden and Gnadra have both very active spy rings which constantly make sure the other isn’t a threat. This animosity manifests in popular culture of both states, with Gnadra-made popular combat simulator including Irden as an enemy faction together with Xa’tac and Burning Legion, and in Irden politics where a radical faction which openly agitates for the Final Ordering and promises to put it in action if they’re voted into office (even though such final decision would belong to the Kaiser).

About Arakkoa

Verroak Krasha, an Arakkoa druid with over 50 years of experience. Formerly from Farahlon, during the Orcish expansion relocated to Skettis, then to Sethekk Halls, then to rebuilt Shattrath, following the heresies in each of those places. Finally, he founded his own succesfull alchemy business and set out into the wide cosmos to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and boldly go where no bird has flown before. View all posts by Arakkoa

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