A Crown of Frost
“What do I see? I see time as it affects all things. Human flesh whithers and dies before my eyes. Flowers bloom, only to fade. Trees drop green leaves, never to regain them. In my sight, it is always winter, always night.”
The ugly and grotesque features of the Dhyrmgar are all but unknown on most of the surface, as they toil away contently in their vast cities, using the fires that burn at the heart of their mountains to heat their forges and fuel their crafting. Strong and large, Dhyrmgar live for centuries and thus are rather apathetic towards the shorter lived races on the surface. They generally have little interest in affairs of state, and are ruled absentmindedly but practically by a counsel of master craftsmen.
The main drive in the life of a Dhyrmgar is to find perfection in art. For all their external ugliness and raw physical power, they tend to be a peaceful, quiet, passive people preoccupied with beauty in all its myriads of forms. However, with all that time mining, they can crush the skull of anyone who wants to make their life difficult between two large, clawed hands. Their crafts can occasionally be found on the surface, surpassing the work of any normal smith.
Anyone wishing to trade with the Dhyrmgar is advised to be careful. Hospitality is very important to them, however, so if you are not supremely rude, they will treat you well. The best way to earn the friendship of one is to bring them things of beauty from the surface: flowers, paintings, woven fabric, feathers, and similar tokens. Images of roses and other blooms have begun to appear in Dhyrmgar crafts as they fire the imagination of those below.
Dhyrmgar rarely craft weapons, and those that they do are highly prized—they are the only race who have been able to harness elemental earth and fire magic to craft, allowing them to create alloys that the rest of the world cannot dream of. They are more inclined to craft smaller things or armor. Many nobles boast that their family rings are Dhyrmgar-made, but for the most part the claim is just wishful thinking.
Dhyrmgar do not understand the concept of possessions as most people would understand them; they live in a community where most things belong to everyone and are used according to need. This makes them both generous and frequently devoid of materialistic urges. However, the giving of tokens is a sign of friendship and love between them, small trinkets that serve no real use. They appreciate beautiful things, sometimes regardless of their function, and tend to collect them not unlike jack-daws, using them to line the walls of their homes. Dhyrmgar have a very discerning eye for metals, but put no real value on gold above silver or silver above steel. Everything is beautiful in its own way.
It is for this reason one who goes into a Dhyrmgar burrow near the surface may find a delightful and eccentric collection of things: thimbles and shiny buttons, polished coins, shards of mirror or broken glazed pottery, someone’s wedding ring, an empty glass bottle, sparkly river rocks, doll eyes, needles, broken pieces of a sword, and so on.
Living in a closed mountain community has also taught Dhyrmgar to appreciate recycling, particularly of fabrics, which are difficult to obtain. As a result, Dhyrmgar are reluctant to throw anything away (usually claiming they can fix it) and frequently wear clothes that appear to made of patches.