Not quite fey but not quite humans, the dwarves of Greystone Valley inhabit the darkest depths of the mountains. They are fierce protectors of the treasures that lie beneath the earth, and often fight dragons and trolls, whose greed for wealth they don’t need drive the dwarves into a frenzy.
Dwarves are also called mountainfolk, since they almost never venture beyond the mountains that the live in. They are short and stocky, usually between three and four and a half feet tall. They look very much like the earth that they live in, with dark brown or slate gray skin. Some even have cracks and crags in their faces like the surface of the rocks that they work with.
Dwarves are relatives of the fey, and some people make the mistake of assuming that any suitably short fey creature can be called a dwarf. In reality, they seem to have been part of the fey once, but chose to remain beneath the rocks rather than enter into the wide and wild world like the rest of their cousins did. Unlike their fey cousins, the dwarves don’t seem to know the paths into and out of the valley – or maybe they do, but are too comfortable in their mountain tunnels to want to leave.
Dwarves very rarely leave the mountain halls where they make their homes. The open sky seems to make them nervous, and some dwarves even display the fear of open spaces known as agoraphobia. Contact with the sun seems to make them uncomfortable. Dwarves who spend a lot of time in sunlight start to experience a bleaching of their skin, which changes from the dark hues of rock to a pale white. This condition feels about as painful to a dwarf as a severe sunburn.
In their natural state, dwarves are usually clean shaven. They are usually bald, including the women of their race. However, they are capable of growing hair very quickly if exposed to light, almost as if they were developing some sort of natural defense against the painful light. Very rarely throughout history, there have been a few dwarves that have left their mountain halls and begun traveling in the worlds of humans. These dwarves tended to disguise themselves as short stout humans and were known for their thick heads of hair and long beards. They also wore heavy cloaks that covered most of their skin, even in the summertime.
The dwarves see themselves as guardians of the rocks and stones throughout the valley. They have a strong connection to stone, metal, and jewels, with some legends even suggesting that they can talk to the mountains themselves. Dwarves absolutely hate dragons and trolls, and they see these creatures as defilers of the natural beauty beneath the mountains. They are also not fond of beast-men, although the actual source of this grudge is a mystery.
Dwarves don’t appear in Greystone Valley, but a part of Sarah’s journey does take her through mountains and into contact with both trolls and dragons. It’s not hard to believe that these creatures were watching her from afar and will be ready to speak with her the next time she comes into the valley…
Image: Old Dwarf, by Rotox