War of the Shimmering Shar

The War of the Shimmering Shar was a conflict fought between the Shryms of Shrym and the Dweorgs of Shar lead by Ogo the Beardless. The war began when a Dweorg surveyor accidentally drained the Shimmer, a vast underground water network and important water supply for the under-desert land of Shrym. However, there is much speculation whether or not the draining was an accident at all.

Ogo the Beardless, Dweorg chieftain of the Shar was a greedy, monger of gems and riches, but more than that, he was obsessed with what unknown wealth could be discovered in the darkest pits of Shar. And so, with the ringing of the Dweorg bells, Ogo commanded a great expedition into the deep. Thousands descended, building makeshift frontier camps out of the stalks of winnow shrooms and hollowed out stalagmites. Tunnel routes, depth chutes, and ladder matrixes criss-crossed and spiraled deeper and deeper until the molten iron seas of Eem’s core lit their newly discovered chambers and rolled like white-hot waves. Ogo was pleased, but there were no riches to be had, only the inexhaustible iron sea, the ultimate deposit of raw material for sale to Boggart smithies.

A city was built at the lip of the largest chasm overlooking the molten core. The city was called Shar’s Bottom and it was mined for many years until the day word spread that on the easternmost edge of the molten sea, a great vortex spun into a mysterious chamber, leading deeper still. The Dweorgs greedily devised a plan to cool the molten sea and venture down–and so began the draining of the Shimmer.

None alive know how it was done, but the Dweorgs devised boring machines that pricked the stony bed beneath the Shimmer and diverted the massive water flow into the core. Shrym took no notice for years, until there was a sudden and terrible cave-in which flooded the molten core, and produced such a force of steam that Shar’s Bottom was blasted from the surface of the rocks. Ogo was among the survivors of the calamity and wasted no time to explore the rapidly cooled vortex which he proudly called Ogo’s Portal.

Ogo delved and descended, the walls of the hole still smoking. The other Dwoergs in his troupe pleaded to stop, but Ogo would not. The heat began to rise again, at which point Ogo earned his namesake as the glow of the molten sea singed his face and arms free of hair. The temperature rose so rapidly that his lonely, golden ring dangling from his flared nostrils drooped, but Ogo would not stop. Now alone, but for a single scribe, Ogo stepped over the heat-exhausted corpses of his venturing band and towards what looked to be a white archway, seemingly carved by sentient hands. Glyphs were carved on it. The markings hummed at his approach, great vibrating letters of a language he could not understand. Words drummed from gleaming pylons. What wonders had Ogo found? At this point the scribe clamored in fear of the mysterious gate, climbing madly back to the rim of iron sea. Red veins of molten iron glowed, pulsing like veins along the cave walls. The scribe raced to the top, navigating the drooping ladders and lifts. The scribe’s feet were black with burns, his hands and feet raw and searing with pain. At last, at the top, he was assisted by worrisome Dweorgs who expected the molten sea to break free of the temporarily hardened crust. And just as the erupting iron burst, and liquid fire rushed from the blistering face of the deep, a god-like trumpet sounded from Ogo’s Portal and the vortex collapsed upon itself.

In the following days Dweorgs faced the rage of Shrym in the form of clattering bombards, booming across the Underlands, showering Dweorg nomadic camps with tumbling rocks and cave ins. The Dweorgs retaliated, marshaling grand raiding parties, their bells ringing and clanging into the many corners of the underworld. The War spread throughout the Underlands, rising from the depths of Shar.

Boggarts and Goblins were forced to build defenses themselves, walling and bricking up profitable tunnels like the Middle-Route Maw, until a peace could be brokered. And soon a peace was.

From his black cave, Gargamug the Grumpus, one of the last dragons in Eem lurched from his bed to scold the warring civilizations. For Gargamug was a tired dragon, a wyrm of great age who longed for quiet and would have no more racket of any sort, in any part of the world beneath. And so he came with his woolly hide and gleaming eyes and thundering tail and feet, roaring for a cease to hostilities. It has been said that a quarter of Shrym wet themselves when Gargamug came and that Dweorgs did not mine for two years following the dragon’s demands.

Since the end of the War of the Shimmering Shar, Shrym and the Dweorgs have made amends, even trade and share loose relations. Though none on either side would admit to trusting the other, there are far more pressing matters in the Underlands of Eem that demand their attentions.