One could ask any Clansman of any other Hold and the answer would invariably be the same: Ghe’Domn is… odd. In that regard, it would seem counterproductive for one to explore individual Dweghom Holds starting with Ghe’Domn. While not a typical Hold, however, it is an example of Dweghom culture as a whole, a sample of their mentality as a civilization, instead of a single Clan’s, caste’s or Hold’s.The oddities of Ghe’Domn start in a very obvious manner. Where most if not all other Clans chose to establish their Holds on mountainous ranges, forging gigantic entrances on the slopes of high peaks, often on the ruins of Dragon Rooks, the deathbeds of greater Dragons they had slain or the dwelling places of their forefathers, Ghe’Domn was dug on a valley. Right in the middle of a natural passageway crossing the sharp Zahnügel hills of today’s Hermania, a Forefather head was built, a massive structure, rivaling the neighboring hills in size, whose secrets of construction are craved by many a human stonemason to this day. Two gigantic hands made to seem as if they are crawling out of the ground were also built, possibly serving as watchtowers during the Hold’s early days, when Clans still fought openly and frequently among themselves.
The Memory of the reasoning behind this choice is not shared anywhere visibly on the Hold’s gates. This in itself is another oddity; a Hold’s founding Memories are usually a source of pride and boasting, a statement of the founding Clan’s strength. Quick to declare weaknesses in others, many a Dweghom from other Holds readily claim that this can only mean that the abomination that is Ghe’Domn is standing proof of a weakling clan, that survived because it hid from combat, both with the Dragons and with other Clans, establishing its Hold far from the battlefields. Others, perhaps more reserved, note that it is not unheard of for one to keep a Memory which hides strength, preserving an advantage for the future, as Memories of the Hold’s first Raegh name him a dragon killer proper. Some human researchers on the other hand, speculate based on the symbolism of the structures that the Hold is actually the place where the first of the Dweghom returned, the site of their rise from War’s Chamber to the surface. To this, the Dweghom shake their heads, claiming humans always see patterns and symbols where there are none.
Whatever the reasoning, it was the choice of Anaghallosh, Ghe’Domn’s founder and first Raegh, to establish his Hold where it is and it was the first of many odd choices that went against what would become Dweghom tradition. Slayer of the Great Dragon Bhaigharrodhakk, Anaghallosh had earned his right to be Raegh of his own Clan through his deeds, much like any other of his station, yet the similarities with the rest of them stopped there. Within a mere century after the end of the open Memory Wars that followed the Dragons, when the Clans retreated to their Holds, Anaghallosh declared that each of his twelve Thanes, who helped him bring down Bhaigharrodhakk and wetted their blades in its blood, would forge and lead their own Clans, within the Hold’s Clan*.
This decision ensured a sudden, almost violent burst of population within the Hold. Mirroring the behavior of the entire race, the Thanes led their clans to their corners, as new tunnels and halls were opened with unparalleled speed. Once settled, each clan strived to become stronger, more populated and their warriors better trained than the rest. This, some speculate, was the intention of Anaghallosh. Others speculate it was what, almost inevitably, followed next: a miniature of the Memory Wars of the entire Dweghom race.
It was not long before clan rivalries erupted into skirmishes and even less until the skirmishes led to all-out war between some clans. Ready to expand their influence, such rivalries were constantly fueled by the castes of the Ardent and the Tempered, who sought like-minded Thanes to promote their creeds. Direct involvement of the two castes was rare (it has happened but four times), but two clans or more, often urged by one creed or the other, have always been locked in some form of conflict with each other since then.
The presence of multiple, smaller clans within the Hold Clan, ensured Ghe’Domn’s survival and even prosperity, despite the conflicts. This, coupled with its location, made Ghe’Domn the most well-known Hold to humans and its Dweghom the most familiar with their neighbors. Through the occasional surface patrols of one clan or another, Ghe’Domn witnessed the birth and rise of the Hundred Kingdoms firsthand, observing from afar the short lived humans expand. It goes without saying that when contact inevitably happened, it was bloody. While such skirmishes were limited, they were brutal and one-sided enough to carve the area around Ghe’Domn as hazardous and not fit for settling.
In time, however, some patrols would make limited trades with the humans. Many a story in Hermania speak of the first such occasion, when a Dweghom patrol was lured near a camp by the smell of spiced meat roasting. Whether any of them are true or not, the Dweghom would indeed now and then trade, buying pure spices, sugar and sweets, whose’ strong tastes appeal to their kind. In return, they offered useless creations made of weak metals, like gold and silver. While the value humans gave to such trinkets would eventually be understood, many of the rumors about mountains of buried treasures in the Holds originated to those first dealings with Ghe’Domn. They were also, possibly, the birthplace of the lethal misconception that those Holds that never traded were abandoned. Much of what the Hundred Kingdoms know about the Dweghom, limited as it is, was learned by those trades, directly or indirectly.
Still, despite the outwards façade of calm offered by these mostly peaceful dealings, of all the Holds, Ghe’Domn could claim it has the bloodiest history and its Mnemancers have the Memories to prove it. The fights and wars among its small clans have continued without stop; war, either limited or more wide-spread, has been the default situation in the halls of Ghe’Domn. Isolated from the world around it, the clans that Anaghallosh’ Thanes founded have seen innumerable heroes and enemies rise and fall, unknown to all but the Dweghom of Ghe’Domn themselves. Three of the original twelve clans are no more, the loss of each signaling the end of Hold-wide war in Ghe’Domn. The fourth such war is ongoing and already it has changed not only the Hold, but perhaps the world as is known.
Ignited by a Thane named Alekhaneros, called Azdhaen, the Fire Thane, for his retinue of Flame Berserkers, Ghe’Domn plunged into a war that no clan or caste escaped. Fueled by his fervent belief in the Ardent creed, while not a member of the caste himself, Alekhaneros tried to unite the Hold and form a Host that would remind the world of the power of the Dweghom. Many disagreed and did so in typical Dweghom manner. Interestingly enough, Alekhaneros seemed not intent on fighting other clans or uniting them by becoming Raegh by force. He took his own clan and two that followed him and marched to the surface, an act that many fear will prompt a response by Dweghom (and not only Dweghom) all over the world.
Ghe’Domn’s bloody history is a perfect opportunity for some Dweghom versus Dweghom battles, with a thematic battlefield, primed with special, Dweghom terrain, such as the buildings created by MicroArt Studios. On the other hand, Alekhaneros’ small Host includes almost everything in the Dweghom army roster, making his march a chance to pit your Dweghom against any force. His first declared stop was Riismark, where the Spire of Nepenthe and the humans wage war, while his destination is the Hold of Orobdhuo, where Nord ships have landed at their doors, for reasons unknown. While the march from Ghe’Domn to the Claustrine Mountains is long and may prove a challenge even for the Fire Thane, it also provides multiple settings for your terrain along the way.
* Heĝe is the word for Clan and describes both the entire Clan of Ghe’Domn and the smaller, Thane Clans. However, there is a difference in both inscribing and pronouncing it, one being Heĝe or Heghe and the other Hege. To any Dweghom outside Ghe’Domn, the word is still the same but Hege sounds like a clan with less weight than Heghe. This was very likely the effect to his own people, when Anaghallosh first declared his Thanes would lead their own Hege.