Here’s a really short, concentrated version of something I’ve been working on.
Dwarves are dying out ever so slowly. The light in the Dwarven halls are fading. The mountains and hills are riddled with Dwarven ruins, abandoned over the last hundreds of years. The few remaining dwarven kingdoms are small and kingdoms only in name. The great powers of the Eastsea mostly respect their autonomy but allow no pretence of actual rule outside their halls. Every year that passes, the number of the dwarves dwindle. Their spells are broken and they no longer can work metal like they could in the past.
What humans would see as a crisis and a tragedy, the dwarves see as business at usual. Their history is filled with ups and downs and shifts happen slowly. While this might be the deepest and longest fall of dwarven civilization yet, they’re not worried. Humans see the dwarves as a sunset people but the dwarves themselves carry on with their life like nothing has happening. And no one knows who’s right.
Dwarven holds exist the the Salpa mountains and in the Scande Mountains. Not all dwarves live there though, a not-insignificant minority has chosen to live amoung the human population. Quite a few of them actually hold high positions in society, the Hanseatic League being the most welcoming the dwarves. While the high mark of dwarven manufacturing is past, they’re still an industrious people capable of great works.
What’s the greatest tragedy of the age? It’s the lot of the elves. As the story goes, when the Old Empire with it’s allies defeated the Old Enemy, most of the elves left the world. Where they went, no one knows. Not even the elves themselves. Some stayed here though, for various reasons.
And then the way out for them was lost. Those who stayed behind realized that they had lost their inheritance. They would never make it to the bright shores and the lands without sorrow, instead they had to live forever in a world that had moved on. Some went mad, some succumbed to grief and lay down to die. Others somehow coped with the sorrow and kept living in the once bright cities, trying to find a new way to live.
There they are still. The elves are few in number but since they are effectively immortal, that’s not much of a problem. Their birth rate is low because quite a few don’t want to bring children into a world that doesn’t have a future for elves. Much like dwarves, most elves live in their own communities out in the wilderness. They’re quite friendly with the dwarves, in fact and it’s not uncommon to find elves and dwarves living together in the dwarf holds or the elven cities. Elven cities aren’t mostly subject to the laws of the human nations, because of the fact that most of them exist way beyond the borders of the human nations. They practice limited agriculture, do some metalwork and some elves that dwell in the cities, particulary the Sea Elves that live on Gotland, are renowned as unrivaled gunsmiths. The more traditionally-minded elves can find gainful employment as border guards for the human nations.
The Elves are a living tragedy. They will either need to find a way out of it or succumb to their grief.