The Silver Mountain

Today, the Silver Mountain is just a mountain as far as most people are concerned, but in ages past, it was home to a unique settlement of elves and dwarves. The forest stretches perhaps further up the mountain than it normally would, and hides the ruins of that long lost place, but for those who know to look, great treasures, and dangers, can still be found.

Long ago a clan of dwarves found a deep vein of silver, a rarity to be sure, and while they knew it was a valuable find, the dwarves themselves never cared much for the metal. It’s not the best for weapons, tools, or armor after all, and while dwarves value detailed craftsmanship, if the item in question doesn’t serve a purpose, then why make it?

But the elves did value silver. It was their favorite metal to work with because it was soft and pliable and could be worked into all kinds of fine jewelry and other beautiful if not useful objects. So the dwarves sent out envoys to nearby elf kingdoms and finally one saw the wisdom in making a deal with the dwarves. The two races put aside their traditional dislike for each other and built a thriving community on what became known as Silver Mountain.

The dwarves built an extensive underground city, while the elves used magic to grow the forest up around it and built their homes within that. Sun dappled glades held sturdy mine entrances, while the mines themselves were lit with elegant elven lamps. Because neither quite trusted the outside world, they kept the location of their city a secret, and each race defended it in their own ways, the elves with bows on the surface, the dwarves with axes underground.

Nobody knows how long the city survived like this, the dwarves mining while the elves crafted beautiful works that sold across the known world. From time to time a threat would emerge, a dragon or an army or some giants, and each time the elves and dwarves would fight alongside each other to defend the city they had built. But eventually, the silver dried up, and there was nothing else to pull from the mountain save rock, which the elves didn’t care about and of which the dwarves had more than they could use. The city limped on for a while, but more and more the younger elves and dwarves left, seeking their fortunes elsewhere, and eventually the once great city was little more than a beautiful ghost town.

For a time a red dragon lived there, hoarding the remains of the dwarven mining efforts, but was slain by adventurers. They seized the dragon’s hoard and scoured the ancient city as well. Word got out that the city’s location was found, and the greedy fell upon it, pulling up everything they could find. Today it is just another monster filled dungeon, but one which is rumored to still hold riches among its deepest tunnels and highest boughs.

Artwork: “Natural Hill,” by Auguste Joliet, from Voyage pittoresque sand le grandes déserts du Nouveau Monde, 1862.


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