The Elemental War
The Dwarven empire of Giz existed nearly two thousand years ago under the mountains far to the south, across the great ocean. Giz was a diverse empire including clans from many walks of life. Mountain dwarves, hill dwarves, Svirfneblin, and other under-races found themselves under the umbrella of the ancient empire. Giz was very similar to the Macedonian Empire of Earth. The empire was unified and steadfast for many years until it collapsed due to internal strife. The civil war that caused the dissolution of Giz was known as The Elemental War.
As the citizens’ expertise in both magic and technology grew, a fundamental idea would eventually split the empire in half. Half of the empire saw the world as a tool to better their own goals. Dig deeper, work harder, due whatever is necessary to empower the great empire of Giz. The most noteworthy clan who held this belief was the Gravelheart Clan. The other half felt very differently. They saw the world and the elements as a gift to be revered and respected. They believed that the abuse of the great powers would bring the end of not only the empire, but the world itself. Many citizens of Giz even saw the elements as holy, and worshipped elementals as deities. The Vyaturchuk or more commonly known Doomhammer Clan helped rally people together under this belief.
The first main conflict arose when the Gravelheart clan’s patriarch, Azghal, ascended to the throne. Azghal was the lord commander of the Gizkari vanguard, a ruthless army that conquered many of the lands the empire now controlled. The lord commander was the highest ranking dwarf outside of the royal family. Many think the sudden demise of the royal family due to a great avalanche was actually orchestrated by Azghal or the Gravelheart clan. The Doomhammer clan members were staunch believers that Azghal did not belong on the throne. They believed the kingdom should be ruled by an elder council until a proper king could be discerned by the seers. Unfortunately Azghal had the backing of the strongest military force in the empire, causing those opposing him to fall in line.
The menders of the Gravelheart clan were skilled summoners and could craft extremely powerful binding runes. These abilities would eventually tear the empire of Giz apart. Azghal new the empire of Giz was strong. He believed he would be able to conquer anyone who got in their way. Giz was very isolated, but did have interactions with other races on the far northern borders. Azghal also wished to expand deeper into the ground and completely wipe out the creatures known now only as “the denizens of the deep.” Azghal sought out to bolster the power of the empire like never before. Menders began to summon powerful elementals of all types. With their powerful runes they would bind these elementals to servitude. Elementals were able to create arms and armor the likes of which no one has seen before. The Gravelheart clan were creating slaves out of the very beings many of the citizenry worshipped as deities.
The Doomhammer clan was to have none of this. They demanded the Gravelheart clan stop these actions immediately. They believed this abuse of power would only lead to a terrible fate. Azghal would hear none of it. Many members of the empire began attacking these forges freeing the elementals from their binding. The Doomhammer clan did not openly declare war, but they never lifted a finger against these freedom fighters. Some historians even think many of the freedom fighters began to the clan themselves. Many lives were lost during these incursions, but the war was just beginning.
The final conflict that caused the Elemental war was when Azghal requisitioned the ancient artifact known as Vyaturchuk. Vyaturchuk is the hammer the Doomhammer clan is named after. They were entrusted to protect it from misuse and trained the clan members how to wield it effectively (See Cenarian Magi). The clan elder, Harkyn I, refused to allow Azghal to wield Vyaturchuk. Azghal saw this as rebellion. This was the spark that ignited the war between these two clans.
The empire of Giz was divided in two: Those who followed Azghal, and those who followed Harkyn. Most of the citizens followed Azghal out of fear, but those who put their ideals over safety followed Harkyn and the Doomhammer clan. War had begun. Tens of thousands of people lost their lives during this great conflict. The greatest battle occurred at the great forge known as Ragnazek. Hundreds of elementals were forced to work on a giant machine meant to burrow through the mountains providing a path for the Gizkari Vanguard to subjugate their nearest neighbors. Harkyn and his strongest Magi fought to free these elementals. A huge number of Gizkari warriors met them head on. The magi were totally outnumbered and most died in the conflict. The details of the battle were lost to time. It is known however, that it resulted in the destruction in not only the great war machine, but the forge itself. Many historians believe the elementals fought alongside the Doomhammer clan for revenge. Harkyn I survived the battle but was very badly injured. It is also known that Harkyn I did not wield Vyaturchuk in battle. Harkyn refused to wield the artifact against his fellow countrymen. He knew it would only bring doom to all.
After the battle of Ragnazek, Azghal lead an offensive on the main fortress of the Doomhammer clan. He sought to steal Vyaturchuk away while his foes were weakened. Rather than using the weapon against the attackers Harkyn and a few powerful seer allies hid Vyaturchuk away where Azghal would never find it. The whereabouts of Vyaturchuk are unknown to this day. The most common belief is that the seers hid the hammer in the weave itself. There is a prophecy in the kingdom of Cenaria that Vyaturchuk will present itself to a hero worthy of wielding it in a time of great need. Azghal’s offensive on the fortress cost him his life in a battle with Harkyn I. Both of the clan elders slew each other in combat.
Without leadership, the empire of Giz fell to chaos. Old ties and ideals kept the flames of war burning for many years to come. Most of the Doomhammer clan had fallen in battle leaving only a few members alive. The remaining members hid themselves and their allies away while the seers attempted to find a place they could live in peace. Without warning the Doomhammer clan and their allies departed the lands of Giz to somewhere far away. The exact location is unknown to anyone excluding those who took the journey.