Watch where ye stand. This forge was not made for your kind. T'would be a shame for ye ta come all this way only ta burn yerself up. Funny, aye… but a shame.
A job, you say? Tha’ word means nothing to my kind. We have no jobs. No professions. No hobbies. We have only the Great Work, That-Which-Must-Be-Done.
My kind was born of Gaea, Mother of All. All my brothers, brought forth in that single moment. Bastard sons of the Wretched God – I shall not honor him by name. The pain of our birth broke the world and killed our mother. This is our eternal shame. It falls to us to dress her wounds.
Stoneborn take no wives, sire no children. When a brother falls to the Hunger, we mourn. We weep. We sing. We return to the Great Work. We do this, knowing that we shall fail. What is broken cannot be unbroken.
Until the End of Days, we shall toil in the belly of the Realms of Man. We shall keep your fires lit, unless the last of us is no more.
When the Hunger comes, the flame falters. The warmth bleeds away. The Hunger is our shame; they are the same. Now you understand, yes?
Then leave me now, Son of Arkon, for there is work to be done.
Eldest of the races, the Stoneborn are technically not mortal beings of flesh and bone. They are enchanted creatures shaped of raw earth and living tree, with skin of living stone and beards of twisted vines and earthen roots.
The Stoneborn do not take wives and never reproduce. They were created at the beginning of time to service our worlds, to tend the fires that burn deep beneath the surface of our worlds. They call this effort “The Great Work”. It is said that they take orders only from Kronos, Lord of Time, and used their mighty hammers to carve out the tunnels and channels through which magma, the living blood of Gaea, might flow. This blood has been cooling since Gaea’s death, the flow slowing as it cools. The Stoneborn work tirelessly to try and keep it warm and moving, but there is little they can do to help.
The elder races – the Elves, the Fey – call them Stoneborn, but the younger races call them Dwarves. This name is odd, for they are massive creatures, almost as tall as men and easily twice as wide. They are dwarvish only when compared to those of Giant blood.
As they were shaped, not born, there are a limited number of Stoneborn in existence. Whenever a Stoneborn warrior dies, that is one less servant to tend to the fires that burn in the belly of our worlds.