The dragon had made his lair in a cavern rich with silver ore and a rich vein of silver lay in the surrounding rock. Prince Grom became the first king of Karak-Khazril and his descendant, King Gorrin rules to this day. The throne room of the Hold was established in the former dragons lair and such was the natural beauty of this place that it has been changed little to this day. Natural light enters the room through carefully cut shafts and this reflects off the silver laden walls to create a spectacle unrivalled throughout the whole of the Dwarf realms.
The Hold lies at the head of a narrow valley built into the cliff face with the river crashing over a great waterfall just beyond the walls. This powers the great machinery of the mines as well as providing running water throughout the Hold. Karak-Khazril is accessed from the south via a steep winding roadway dominated by the Hold's walls and fortifications. The road passes under the walls and traverses the cliff face to a high plateau. From here it makes its way through the montains to the realms beyond.
The prosperity of Karak-Khazril primarily lies upon the mining, working and trading of the abundant silver that gives the Hold its name. However, as the Hold is situated at the top of a tributory west of Skull River, it has ready access not only to Barak Varr and beyond but to the Old Dwarf Road at Black Fire Pass. It is therefore a vibrant trading and market centre, not only for local dwarfs but as it controls routes deep into the mountains, trade passes through Karak-Khazril on its way to and from many of the great Holds of Karak-Ankor as well as the Empire and the Border Princes.
The dwarfs of Karak-Khazril tirelessly keep Black Fire Pass open to traders journeying to and from the Empire. However, in recent years a new route has opened directly through the mountains via the Hold. Access to this route is controlled by the dwarfs and many smaller caravans opt for this safer but slower pathway rather than risking the more dangerous but faster route through Black Fire Pass. Larger caravans not only require less protection as they travel but would find it almost impossible to traverse the steep paths and narrow tunnels of this alternative route.
In recognition of the deeds of the dwarfs of Karak-Khazril the Emperor Karl-Franz instructed that a Knightly Order, the Order of the Unicorn, be founded. The Order's mission is to keep the southern passages to the Empire open and it's headquarters are situated in the forests to the south of Karak-Khazril, within the Border Princes.
The Hold's wealth and prestige are further enhanced by a small scale (in Dwarfen terms) mining project that pans gromril particles as they are washed down the Skull River towards the sea. Small quantities of ore are collected using huge panning machinery protected by a stone stockade. The settlement and route along the river to and from Karak-Khazril are protected by dwarfs from the rangers clan, the Silverstreaks. Ore quantites are generally too small to warrant the forging of armour or weapons and for this reason Karak-Khazril gromril rings and other rune engraved jewellry and trinkets are much prized throughout Dwarfdom.
The Hold itself is underground but a small walled ghetto/market town is open to traders of all friendly races and a small clan of Dawikoni call the Hold its home. It is not unusual to see traders from as far as Araby and even the occasional Elf selling their wares within the walls, safe from the raiders that frequent the lowlands of the Border Princes to the south. The Gate to the Hold-proper is at the top of a steep flight of steps and is guarded by members of the King's Hammerers to prevent non-dwarfs from entering.
Presently the Hold is populated by dwarfs from ten different clans and guilds representing all of the major craft clans/guilds, totalling just over 800. Of these approximately 300 are fighting Dwarfs. There are also a number of dwarfs from other clans, although these represent only a handful of individuals. Together these make up the "Stoutlegs" Clan as it has become known since the Hold's founding 1500 years ago. During the summer months when dwarfs from outlying settlements and Holds deeper in the mountains flock to Karak-Khazril to trade, this number can easily double.
The ruling clan's symbol is the great dragon Skarrz and the Banner of Karak-Khazril depicts a stylised version of Prince Grom standing over the slain body of Skarrz with Mount Silver-Hall in the distance. The Hold's primary colour is red but each family is represented by colours of its own chosing with green and blue popular.
Edited by King Gorrin, 12 February 2009 - 12:42 AM.