My people are thriving. You cannot comprehend how much joy it brings me to pen these words after all I have been taught in my life. From the day I could understand my kin, all I knew was that my people were dying out, that our population was dwindling away to extinction. Yet, following the thundering, all of those fears, that resignation to our collective fate, has vanished beneath a wave of relief and celebration. Finally, after seeing my raceâ€™s influence both on and under Faerun diminish to insignificance, we Dwarves are reclaiming our position in the world.
Now our young, who by our standards I am numbered among even though I have spent nearly a century walking this realm, no longer act as if the hand of death is upon their shoulder from the moment their first whisker pokes out from their chin. No more are we a race of naysayers and apocalyptic doom-preachers. Now dwarves once more fill their drinking halls with songs of our ancestors, as once they sang of their ancestors! Our cities expand! Our trade convoys once more stretch from Luskan to Calimport, and even all the way to the powerful nation of Thay. Our armies are once more pressing forth into the dark below, pushing back the many evils that live beneath the earth itself. And what is more, and here I feel the true indication of my peopleâ€™s return to prosperity is most apparent, our sons are once more called to adventure.
We dwarves have a well-earned reputation for stoicism and haughtiness. Our tempers are well feared, our honour beyond question. Our friendship is oft sought, and our enmity avoided with good reason. On top of this, one thing about dwarves is well known by all of Faerun: kin above all. A dwarf is a dwarf, and thus to a dwarf there can be no replacement. Thus it was, for a time, that Faerun heard little from my people, as we turned inward in order to preserve and protect what little remained of our past glories. Dwarves were no longer seen in the parties of adventurers and heroes that sometimes seem as common to our world as merchants. Occasionally a group would set forth from one of the great strongholds, but it was a dwarven party, with dwarven goals, and dwarven members. To the rest of the world, we ceased to be heroes, and began to beâ€¦outsiders.
That has now changed. The thundering has changed everything. Some seventy odd years ago, Moradin, the highest of the dwarven gods, blessed our people. For the first time in our history, our population grew at such a rate that not even the prolific humans could match us! These children became known as the thunder children, and even more unusual for our race were the high numbers of twins that were born since then. Our people have sworn to never forget Moradinâ€™s blessing upon us, and oft does one hear a cry of his name in the dwarven halls.
It has now fallen to these thunder children to lead our people to a new future, and I have taken upon myself the solemn task of chronicling their efforts and their successes in this respect. As one who was born just before the thundering, I found myself in the unique position of being in a state of fluidity, halfway between my mournful elders and my jubilant juniors. I have watched this new generation grow with great interest, first as a young cleric in my dwarven home, and later as an ambassador to human ruled lands. It was in this second position that I was to meet the thunder child who inspired me to pen this work. A dwarf who it is my belief will one day be the subject of legends.
Even before I met the lad, his name had crossed my ears. He was part of a band that were fast building themselves a reputation in the lands just to the north of the Dragonmere. Storming Zhentarim outposts, banishing ancient ghosts from their crypts, slaying all manners of powerful creatures, and forming alliances and allegiances wherever they ventured. There was even a rumour that a gold dragon was indebted to them for some great deed they had performed. Of course, many of these were simply falsehoods, although in my time observing this particular band I was to see firsthand how such tales of heroics could be formed.
(End of the prologue)