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During the Time of Testing in Val Grey, when Mal Grey and Ral Grey were unable to aid the new kingdom and the danger of being wiped out was high, two groups emerged as critical to survival of the kingdom - the Academics and the Religious. Both sides came up with inventive and ingenious methods and ideas to combat the foe and save as many Dwarven lives as possible. As time went by a certain degree of envy developed between the two groups.

During one particularly nasty and brutal series of attacks, in fact when things looked very bleak, a core cadre of inventors created mechanical golems that were deadly in battle, not too hard to build and animate, and risked no Dwarven life to kill the enemy. The inventions turned the tide of battle and hundreds of lives were saved. Joy and triumph resounded throughout the Val-Grey Halls... until the inventors, who called their workshop cabal the Marchane (De Maurkkn), announced that their creations came at a price. Among their long list of demands was the claim for a stipend or tax to be paid to them for services rendered in saving Val-Grey and more outrageous was that the High Priest was to be replaced by the Marchane Master as Word Master on the Val-Grey Triad. Temper raged in response to these demands. The King tried to calm the situation by saying he would consider the Marchane’s requests. In reply several golems marched into the Grand Hall as the inventors pointed out that their costs were not requests and would be enforced by force if necessary. Everyone was stunned. Dwarf now threatened Dwarf, risking to violate one of the highest Dwarven Laws... "religious" laws as one of the inventors sneered. "There is no longer a need for religion or the gods now that Dwarven intellect has figured out how to save the Kingdom" (specifically "Bi nai naurv fur goddul, de Tria - de minnd ald khauzd ad skilam hai do taalamorag gelm kurs de Dornat"), he continued.

At that insult, the High Priest moved into action swiftly followed by other Battle Priests. With a combination of divine magic and physical attacks the golems were destroyed and the inventors taken into custody. Despite the cry for revenge, the King held firm to the High Law and announced that the Marchane and all those associated with them would be banished instead. For two days all those who supported or agreed with the inventors. Unfortunately many of these who accepted banishment did so more from Clan loyalty rather than shared views with the Marchane. Far, far away were the Marchane and their kin marched into the wilderness. For three years did their escort march them until at last a broad valley and deep cavern in a tall mountain was found on the far, far side of the Inner Sea. Here the Marchane would live in exile. And here their escort would remain and die from battle or old age for none in the Kingdoms of Mal-Grey, Ral-Grey or Val-Grey were ever to know of their location and no Marchane was ever to return—on pain of death.

Time passed and the Marchane settled into their new surroundings with energy and determination. The various skills that they lacked as a people had been anticipated as within their capacity to learn and develop, much as had the ancient Dwarven forefathers. But instead the Marchane relied upon their skills and crafts to build devices and magics that allowed them to barter or seize from their less sophisticated neighbors all that the Marchane needed to survive and thrive.

Ruled by a Grand Master who is elected from a Council of Craft Masters, the three most skilled from the artificers, mages and scholars, the Marchane society is governed by the rules of utmost practicality and the pursuit of knowledge and perfection of their craft. The Marchane have no priesthood and publicly disavow any religion, although there are those suspected of praying to the Three in private. Loyalty is to their craft above all—except the Clan. In this manner they are as Dwarvish as any that walk the soil of Mellus. But from a moral stand point, they are greatly different as was made clear when Grand Master Ig Mechfingers made an alliance with the Illiadian sorcerer to provide devices to the Katarious in 1001. The Katarious Emperor was so pleased with the Marchane devices that he ordered a Portal relocated into their valley to ensure the steady supply of items for the Empire.

[edit] The Rebellion

When the wars of rebellion broke out, the Marchane chose to honor their alliance with the Illiadians and provided a full detachment of golems, Marchane warriors and support technicians in 2610. This detachment slowly increased in significance until it became a powerful fortress. Unfortunately the Marchane never learned that the Illiadians had risen against the Katarious and that the stronghold was targeted by the Emperor for destruction in 2813. All the Marchane did know was that the Carror attacked the fortress and they fought a fierce and bloody battle that lasted for weeks. But in the end the Carror were able to break through and killed the Illiadian. Sensing that their services were no longer needed, the Marchane detachment withdrew. The Carror, not wishing to suffer any more losses to the strange Dwarves and their devices, let them go. Their orders were to kill the Illiadian and he was dead.

The Marchane have never learned that it was the Emperor that sent the Carror against them and have harbored a hatred for the Carror ever since while still loyal to the Katarious. To make matters worse, the next year, 2814 The StormNexus ceased to function and the Marchane were cut off from their Illiadian allies and Katarious masters. For the first time in centuries, the Marchane were forced to use scouts and scrying devices to try to learn what was occurring outside of their valley. What they found was a world in chaos. Massed armies of former slaves and Legions of Katarious marched and sailed back and forth across Mellus, fighting fierce and bloody battles. Realizing that their once-powerful masters could now be overthrown, the Marchane withdrew into their valley and built up their defense to repel all who tried to attack them—by land or sea. They also blocked off their Portal to all travel as a precaution. But so remote were the Marchane to the heart of the wars, that no one ever considered them as important—in fact, very few were even aware the Marchane existed other than by rumor.

[edit] The Present

When the StormNexus was reactivated in 2869, the Marchane Portal remained buried and the existence of the Marchane unknown. It remained so until 2928 when the newly elected Grand Master Nog Nimbleton ordered the Portal uncovered and tested. Since then the Marchane have slowly began to relearn what the world is like without the Katarious. Still resentful of the actions by their Dwarven kin and suspicious of all races that rose up against the Katarious, the Marchane are very xenophobic and wary. However they are actively looking for any remaining Illiadians and Katarious, willing to serve, but unaware of the animosity between the two races.

In spite of their jaded view of other races, the Marchane remain skilled and ingenious craftsmen and mages who are willing to sell their wares and creations to those that can afford them - with no questions asked. “Iffn ye kin pay, then ye can play”, is the basic Marchane attitude and a profitable, if risky sea trade has been established. But for those who intend to use them against the Carror, special discounts apply. Because of their position on denying worship of The Three, the Marchane are considered as heretics by most normal Dwarves, although few will take any action on this issue unless they hail from Val-Grey.