Large The Spine Low
- The Gates
- City Center
- Middle City
- Outer City
Dwarves Council Republic Dwarves, Common tongue Under A Mountain, Great Stone Gates, Magic Wards, Professional Army Arms, Armor, Dwarven Crafts, Siege Weapons Luxury goods, Food
Belgrath is without question one of the largest and most beautiful cities in the world of Arethil. It's halls were built millennia ago, cut and carved into the mountains of the Spine. Tunnels and caverns dominate the architecture of this great metropolis, it's stature unmatched by anyone or anything.
This city is absolutely sprawling, reaching dozens of miles in every direction and stretching out beneath the Mountains of the Spine to such a degree that even the Dwarves have forgotten where everything goes. Everything within the city was built to last, built not out of stone, but instead carved into the very mountain itself. The streets, the houses, the mansions. Everything from the smallest home to the largest citadel were all created from the stone of the mountain.
There is something intensely intricate and detailed about Belgrath itself, and there are many parts of it that have been entirely forgotten.
Over the millennia for varying reasons the Dwarves have left Belgrath in droves. Their exodus pushed by wars, economics, and political strife. Though once this city was occupied by over a million of their kind, now only a few thousand remain within the city center of Belgrath itself.
Much of the great metropolis lays entirely abandoned, the outer reaches laying completely empty save for the brigands and monsters who have made their home there.
DemographicOver the years the demographic of Belgrath has changed perhaps more than any other city in Arethil. Of course originally Dwarves were the central species of the city, populating all walks of live from the poorest to the richest. This was standard for many centuries of the city's life, though it changed as the metropolis began to grow and expand into different functions.
Originally Belgrath was an almost xenophobic city state, putting Dwarves first and always ensuring their supremacy. This changed however during the War of the Spine, a massive conflict that saw Belgrath pit itself against a union of Orcs, Elves, and a renegade band of their own kin. It was only through the aid of the Humans of Alliria that the city managed to survive.
After this conflict Belgrath opened itself to friends and former foe alike, allowing anyone with desire to live in the city. This caused a massive economic boom within the city, and over the next few centuries Belgrath exploded in both size and population.
Unfortunately, this golden age was not to last.
Eventually the politics, strife, resources, and economy of Belgrath began to slow. The mines dried up, a radical section of the Dwarven public pushed to throw out the other species, and a small schism occurred. This drove a great deal of Belgrath's population away, and while there were once hundreds of thousands living within the city now there is only a fraction of that.
Though most of the population is still Dwarves, there's a smattering of other species living in Belgrath. They can particularly be found in the middle city.
DesignationThough once one of the greatest economic centers in the world, Belgrath has fallen far from it's heights. At one point Belgrath was responsible for nearly half the trade within the Dwarven world. It was the absolute center of everything. Smiths, tanners, craftsmen, and everything else could be found within the reaches of the great halls.
The Dwarves were famous for their weapons, armors, and siege engines specifically. It was said that a Dwarven sword would last a thousand years and a Dwarven ballista would pierce dragon hide.
Since its halcyon days things have changed drastically in Belgrath.
Though the forges still burn and the great engineering halls still thunder with the sounds of a hundred hammers , things have dramatically slowed. Belgrath no longer supplies the entire Dwarven world. It no longer produces treasure troves of gems and minerals and it most certainly doesn't produce the same amount of arms and armor.
Once Belgrath could have equipped and entire army of a hundred thousand with their weapons, now they would struggle with only a thousand. Due to this tragedy Dwarven crafts have become something of a rarity.
Belgrath weapons and siege engines are valued across Arethil, and it is for only this reason that the city manages to survive. The perfectionism of the Dwarves and the desire by other species to carry their weapons allows them to sustain themselves, trading just enough to feed the city's current population.
ArchitectureBelgrath is one of the ancient cities. Everything built in the metropolis was carved into the rock of the Spine long ago.
The method of the city's making is lost to time, and with even the oldest libraries in Belgrath having no record of the building of the City Center. It is thought that most of the main parts of Belgrath were created not by magics or machines, but rather the careful labor of thousands upon thousands of Dwarves. The intricate carvings and the methodical nature of the buildings themselves reflects true and purposeful craftsmanship.
Whether or not this is true cannot be known, but Belgrath is nevertheless a true sight to behold. A city carved not in the side of a moment, but into the mountain itself. Tunnels, massive caverns, and buildings that rise into the open air truly make Belgrath feel like a city within the mountain.
A constant ambient light glow from the top of the hollowed out caverns, ancient lanterns fueled by Dwarven magic. Even middle city these lanterns glow bright, but within the lost districts they have long since lost their luster.
Despite this, even the parts of Belgrath that lay abandoned by the civilized are something to behold. Much of the metropolis was built in the greatest age of Dwarves, and the architecture reflects this. Every house, every hallway, every little piece of Belgrath was intricately designed and created. The city, even in its current state, is a point of pride for all the Arragoth.
Points of InterestThe Gates – Belgrath is a city beneath the mountains of the Spine. It sprawls for many miles in different direction and was designed as a sort of juncture to the many paths that one can take into and out of the Spine itself.
Due to this multiple gates into the city were constructed throughout the ages. There are officially six gates, though all but two have been permanently sealed and shut. The two gates that are still guarded and operational are those of the Arkath in the North and Irithul in the West. The other four were sealed with rock and stone, left abandoned like much of Belgrath itself.
City Center – Though much of Belgrath now lies abandoned, the city is still home to thousands of Dwarves, Humans, and a few other species. Most of these residents make their home in what is known as the City center. Just as the name implies, the City center is the very middle of Belgrath.
It is here where the most intricate and beautiful buildings of Belgrath were built and kept. The Council house, the Archive, and dozens upon dozens of Clan strongholds are all located within the city center.
This is also where most of the activity of the city still takes place. Markets, merchant shops, and the renowned Dwarven craftsmen who live and work in the City center. Everything here is still alive and well, the lanterns still glow, the streets are clean and bright, and order seems to be the way of everything.
Middle City – As one might expect, the Middle city gathered it's name due to it's place between the outskirts of Belgrath and the City center. Though not divided from the City center by a wall or any such nonsense, there is a distinct difference between the architecture of the two. Both are beautifully carved and crafted, the Middle city tends to be more spacious and open.
Though held within the same carved caverns as the City center, the buildings in the Middle city are further apart. The streets are wider here, some of the bigger homes have their own walls, and in general everything seems to simply be more open.
During the Expansion era the Middle city was the home of many foreign species, and thus the architecture of the buildings tends to match their different styles.
The Middle city is still somewhat occupied now, though mostly by foreigners who dwell within their ancestral home. This area of Belgrath also houses the professional army of the city, and the training grounds take up a large portion of the eastern side.
Outer City – When the expansion reached its height, the Outer city was born.
It is said that Belgrath never truly ends until one reaches the last mountain within the Spine. Whether or not this is true, the simple fact is that the Outer city reaches extreme limits. Not technically a city itself, the exterior section of Belgrath is really more like a series of forts, holds, homes, and clan manors connected by dozens of maze like tunnels.
Most, if not all, of the Outer city has been completely abandoned for centuries. Even before the collapse some of the Dwarves retreated from this part of Belgrath, and since then things have only gotten worse. Those areas of the Outer city still occupied are most often held by brigands, outlaws, or worse.
Belgrath-Akkar – There is one thing more than anything else that allows Belgrath to survive, and that is Belgrath-Akkar. Located within the City center, Belgrath-Akkar is a massive forge fueled directly by the magma located deep under the Spine.
It is here that the Dwarves work at their craft. Swords, armor, and the famed Siegeworks of Belgrath are all made and created here. Special ores and alloys melded in ways that only the Dwarves know how are crafted into weapons of war, old magics still looming in the air even as the smallest knife is made.
Belgrath-Akkar is the lifeblood of the city, and truly a wonder of the world.
BackgroundThe history of Belgrath is almost as long and storied as the history of the Spine itself. No one is quit sure when the city was built or really when the Dwarves decided to move beneath the mountains. The only thing that is truly known is that Belgrath has existed as least as long as Fal'Addas, and there is evidence the two interacted with one another more than once despite the great distances between them.
Other than that the long story of Belgrath can be broken into dozens of different novels each with hundreds, if not thousands of pages.
The most important, and perhaps interesting part of the city's storied past is the Expansion era and the eventual collapse of the Golden Age. Though both events occurred well over a millennia ago they are still set heavily within the minds of most Dwarves and other species who live within the city. The Expansion era was what made Belgrath into a city of industry and power, giving it the ability to expand.
Different factions gained power within the controlling council of the city, Radical Dwarven clans grew tired of foreigners within their city, and a sudden lack of new ore veins struck all at once. A great flux erupted within the city.
Not quite a civil war, but instead a schism. Great droves of people, both Dwarves and other species, decided to leave Belgrath. Instead of allowing their great city to fall into ruin the people simply decided to go, and thus the exodus began. Thousands left, fleeing to different parts of Liadain and Epressa, others leaving the continents completely.
Within a centuries time Belgrath contained but a fraction of it's former population.
Still, stubborn as they were the Dwarves refused to let their city die. Within the great fiery heart of Belgrath-Akkar the Dwarves continued their work. Day in and day out they forged, and over the time people began to return. Though the city is still a pale shadow of what it once was, Belgrath still lives.