Updated: 11 March 2009

The Battle of Ajukit Shadow

Near the end of the Dwarven Civil War, in 48 OE, shortly before the departure of the Stone Druids, the Battle of Ajukit Shadow was one of the last great battles between the Steel Dwarves and the Dwarves of the Heir - that is, those loyal to the Maddock. The Maddock's Dwarves were slaughtered, and those few of them who survived the day wished they had not. Though the Steel Dwarves carried the day, historians accept that it was the Maddock who won the battle. The Battle of Ajukit Shadow marked the beginning of the Steel Dwarves' final defeat.

Ajukit Cavern is a marvel of Dreii Undermountain. Bisected by a roaring underground river that flows from Lake Seluna to Lake Dakar, it is a site steeped in Dwarven lore and a vital strategic hold in the Underdark approach to the Axes Bithtat. The battle for its domination began with a daring attack by the Maddock's forces. The Steel Dwarves fought ferociously, but their leaders were confounded by the Maddock's forces time and again. The battle raged for several days, and soon, it began to appear the Lake Dwarves might win back the Cavern. On the seventh day of fighting, the cavern began to shake, and the earth seemed to shriek as a massive rift opened on one side of the cavern. Dark forces of elemental and negative energy roiled forth from the wound in the earth. Fell creatures set upon the Steel Dwarves' flank, and began devouring their ranks at a horrifying rate. Their battle-priests were powerless against the foe. Meanwhile, a force of of Undermountain Orc skirmishers began a surprise assault on the Maddock's rear.

All Dwarfdom might have been dealt a horrible blow that day and the Undermountain could well have been lost but for the honour and quick thinking of the Maddock's General, his son Menhir Gemfist. The Steel Dwarves faced the greater and more horrifying foe, and the consequences of a rift in the planes that poured forth undead earth elementals was immediately obvious to the Priests of Moradin. A small, doomed defense was set against the Orkin marauders, their only job was to take as much time as they possibly could to die, to give the remainder of the Maddock's forces time to shore up the weakened Steel Dwarf defenses.

For the first time in hundreds of years, Steel and Lake Dwarves fought side by side to hold back the nightmares spewing forth from Sentar's darkest depths. For the Division of Moradin's Priests, the casualties were catastrophic, but their bold maneuvers and sacrifice averted a massive disaster. Menhir Gemfist himself plunged into black oblivion with a roar, stemming the evil flow long enough for the Priests of Moradin to finish their work. The planar rift was sealed. The Maddock's rearguard, meanwhile, took long to die indeed, and against all odds, their line did not break. Not, at least, against the Orcs that they sent into full retreat.

The Maddock's forces were devastated in the battle, and the Steel Dwarven generals were not about to let the sentiment that swelled their ranks rob them of a victory. The order was quickly delivered to finish off the Maddock's force that had so quickly come to their defense and, indeed, the defense of the entire Undermountain. The Steel Dwarven rank and file obeyed with their blades but not their hearts - such was the discipline of their militarist masters. The Maddock's forces were nearly obliterated. The only ones to survive the day came from the rearguard, those who, ironically, had volunteered to die holding back the Orcish opportunists.

The Battle of Ajukit Shadow became a rallying cry for the Lake Dwarves, Moradin's priests and the bankers of Kronos set aside their growing differences for one final push against their Steel Dwarf cousins. For the other races of Sentar, particularly the Elven and Human nations who lived in the shadow of Axes Bithtat , it was a wake up call. They finally realized how vulnerable the sundered Dwarven nation left all of Sentar, to say nothing of the consequences of a Steel Dwarf victory. For the Steel Dwarves themselves, a stunning turn in the fortunes of war though the Battle of Ajukit Shadow might have been, it was poison for the morale of its soldiers and its people, who began to question why it was that they were fighting their own kin, as never before.

That seed of doubt, planted with the blade of an axe, only grew greater and more poisonous to the Steel Dwarves' hold on power as the end of their dominion over Axes Bithtat drew near.