Background: The World Hymn

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  • The World Hymn is a reproduction of an Equitan tapestry, itself believed to be a copy of an ancient dwarven carving and poem dating from the first century A.S. It describes the history of the nine separate ages that the world has endured.

    Table Of Contents

    Transcript

    The following is a transcript of the World Hymn. [1]

    I

    In cavern deep, in mountains old
    We sing the hymn, we mark the way
    Remembrance past, to future’s day
    Let none forget, the ancient ley
    To mark the path of home and hold
    Our tale begins in Sauran yoke
    In chains and pain forlorn of hope
    Without our pride we labor’d ‘til
    In darkest days our fate unmade
    For comet’s fall our shackles broke

    We mined the gold they craved and stole
    With which to power arcane machines
    And build their ugly ziggurats
    So old were they, while we were young
    As yet we had not found our soul
    Unmeasured Ages came and went
    So long that none can know the count
    But wait we did with vigilance
    Until we saw an opening
    A time to make their cities rent

    Skyhammer’s gift a vengeance born
    We slew and killed who’s blood was cold
    Together bound as brothers sworn

    II

    A time of gold a time of growth
    The world was our inheritance
    So rich the land so ripe it lay
    Our people free, we grew at last
    In riches grand and oathbound troth
    And long lost kin we were to find
    That golden time as West met East
    Though trouble brewed and ne’er we saw
    That fair-eyed orc that Akrübad
    Who soon to come would take and bind

    We folk of stone our oaths as firm
    And in the Mountains of the Moon
    We bound our fates and paid our debts
    To kin and kith our honor bound
    And wealth to grow to come full term
    And all this while the elves did sail
    To take the seas and make their seat
    On island shore so far from home
    Fair Celeda Ablan they wrought
    To ply the world on ev’ry gale

    And men did then forge crowns and kings
    O’er land as far as grass does grow
    Yet no good lasts all things take wing

    III

    The Age of Death, the loss of gold
    A time when earth would swallow whole
    Nor fae nor men nor orc nor we
    All lost and toss’d and bent and broke
    A time of pain to each ring Hold
    The beasts did rise and burn and loot
    No wall of shield or hold could stand
    And fickle elves did leave and run
    And men so quick to alter word
    Do promise cut and render mute

    The dead did rise on southern shore
    An empire dead its heart torn out
    No aid to come from human hands
    The hour grew dark, and foes in count
    So press’d were we, like ne’er before
    We call on elves to help us hold
    ‘Gainst all that stood to break us then
    And end the light of dwarven works
    They turn’d their backs on us those days
    Betraying us, with scandal bold

    Now allies old do stand as foes
    As mountains fall so too we break
    And thus bring close this Age of Woes

    IV

    An Age of Ruin, an Age of Iron
    As split was world so too were we
    Our only hope a foreign truce
    With Avras proud we did ally
    To war ‘gainst fate we did return
    From elves disloyal no aid was found
    ‘Cross endless sea retreat and flee
    Unfit they are of dwarven aid
    Not worth the fire of dwarven rage
    The path they tread is ruin bound

    Of orcs of men of beasts no end
    Now war and siege and misery
    As one we kill so sprout two more
    And flight nor fight avail a dwarf
    Our dominance so too now rent
    Endless foes did split us sunder
    The orc and beast our gates did press
    The hold’s rings split like maille from axe
    No valour won could mend the loss
    As foreign blades took our plunder

    Our kith and kin no longer free
    Our axe and shields unequal were
    Our vengeance sworn forever be

    V

    An Age of Plague the Third of Ruin
    Redoubled might, redoubled maille
    We thicken armour, sharpen blade
    We harden hearts, and bolster soul
    Unknown to us new foes drew In
    We paid it back the gift of men
    Who came to aid when so beset
    We shared the greatest gift of all
    The gift of stone and mountain’s call
    Thus we built great Avras’ wall

    The Mountains White once lost to us
    We marched upon and took anew
    Alliance made at last with men
    A peace to hold and carry forth
    O’er earth and mount an honoured trust
    At last we saw our hidden foe
    As elf slew elf across the sea
    Great sickness spread ‘cross ev’ry land
    And vermin rose upon its wake
    To murder men and dwarf to woe

    The empire fell the rats took throne
    Did murder life and poison land
    They left in wake but Avras’ bone

    VI

    The Age of War, of Ruin the Fourth
    The time our foes do fight betwixt
    We sharpen axe we ready blade
    In dungeons deep we plan and wait
    For chance to move our armies forth
    Each Thane each King each soldier in
    Our people sworn to hold the line
    To march together step in step
    To turn each foeman’s sword aside
    With faith in kin alone we win

    And yet with all in steel and arms
    Our fight was not without its trials
    The orcs had numbers beyond count
    And war thus raged across the age
    With no-one spared its many harms
    For all this though we did win out
    No hope had orcs enclosed by all
    To beasts they fell and feast be made
    No hope had beast whose end was next
    As Vermin Swarm did make them rout

    Yet far kin sorely sought respite
    Did plot to win with daemon fire
    And risk all life in burning blight

    VII

    With fire enslaved our kin now set
    To savage foes now weak and spent
    Enslaving all that once had fought
    With crushing might but morals less
    They scour the world for slaves to get
    But magic tests and poisons soul
    And even dwarven might is sapp’d
    As nether power must be shunn’d
    All who dare It become debased
    And tear the world and harm it whole

    So evil flourished cross the land
    With mountain quakes and floods and storms
    And daemons came like never hence
    To bring us death and rage and scorn
    In truth our end does seem at hand
    The East remains a place of death
    And Vetia vermin conquered
    A dark King rules the last free men
    And so they live in fear and dread
    No place of peace no easy breath

    These darken’d days these forlorn nights
    This Age of Thunder so did rage
    With none to set the wrongs to right

    VIII

    The Age of Waste the time of Fire
    Our kin have fail’d and woe have wrought
    For devils cannot loyal be
    And all is lost in burning death
    With daemons free the world a pyre
    A cataclysmic wake they left
    And burn the land and open gates
    To realms unholy, realms debased
    And men such fools do worship Hell
    And left us all of peace bereft

    But one good thing did come from fire
    That men at last did come combined
    Together stood o’er vermin slain
    Held back the dark and worshipp’d day
    Thus did It end this time of ire
    The girl of sun and steel arose
    She slew the King of rats and filth
    So like a dwarf she stood so proud
    Remembering the oaths long lost
    Renewing friends and true allies

    The swords of men ascendant now
    And much a mess and much a ruin
    And they will rule with troubled brow

    IX

    Our past did end in fire and rage
    Out from the ash and bitter smoke
    We look to hope and keep it close
    As all did see our near to end
    Yet live to see this, our Ninth Age

    Sources


    [1] The World Hymn, a reproduction of an Equitan tapestry, itself believed to be a copy of an ancient dwarven carving and poem dating from the first century AS. (Main Rulebook)

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