Two millennia ago a cataclysmic shockwave rocked the eastern range of the Axeld Peaks, rupturing the land and causing a massive schism to the plains north of the epicenter. Contrary to common belief, this devastation was not wrought by gods or natural forces but rather the power of a Devilish ritual reaching fruition and the Dwarves who condoned it.
During the time leading up to this catastrophe, the Dwarves of the Axeld Peaks had been leading a peaceful and prosperous life; slowly reaching out to other races in trade and diplomacy. Unbeknownst to most Dwarves was the fact that their Royal Mage, Devarian Alding had been working covertly in concert with agents of the Nine Hells. There had been discussion of contacting greater powers in the hopes of breaking through portions of Axeld’s depths to tap more veins and through bribery and underhanded dealings, Devarian coerced the Royal Family into acquiescing to his demands. This pact would soon be the undoing of the Axeld Kingdom years later. The culmination of Devarian’s planning spiraled out of control when his evil masters expended the full might of their power and wrought a terrible spell upon the surrounding material plane.
At the height of the ritual to blast through caverns far below the surface, Devarian was consumed by an extraordinary discharge of magic that shattered the land beyond. Entire mountain faces simply disappeared and for a dozen miles northward the land withered, melted and died from negative energy. Thousands of Dwarves perished in the explosion and many more soon fell afterwards as the true evil of Devarian’s foolhardy plan was revealed.
A legion of Devils flooded all levels of the Axeld Peaks, slaughtering untold numbers of Dwarves caught by surprise. The royal family was slain and the Axeld militia fought a valiant battle to stem the tide of horrors and nightmares that Devarian Alding had unleashed upon them. Only after decades of bloody attrition did the Dwarves establish new strongholds to withstand the constant assault. They soon discovered that the Rupturing had created a portal to the Nine Hells from which their enemies flowed from like a raging river.
To this day that portal still stands. The Dwarves now call this two thousand year battle the Reckoning and many poems and stories venerate the heroes central to this event. Principal among villains is Devarian Alding, the greatest shame of the Axeld dwarves and a figure of eternal enmity. No one knows what truly happened to him, although some bards and sages quietly whisper that he is still lives after all these years…