In an age before Ale there were two ‘Awakened Races’: Humans who had settled in the sweeping plains to the south, and the Elves who resided in the forested Wilderlands in the north. To say that they lived in harmony would be stretching the truth…but it wasn’t entirely false either. Instead, they treated each other as neighbours—neighbours who inherently annoyed each other, but not enough so to do anything about it.
It was some time after the first ‘Great Cave-In’ that the third Awakened Race emerged: Dwarfs. And they were only discovered because one surfaced from beneath the throne of the human king, Edudian the Eighth, on his inauguration day. The Dwarf claimed to have taken a wrong turn whilst digging out his home—the executioner’s axe didn’t believe him. Dwarfs were considered to be the unifier race, and that was only because they were the only thing that both elves and humans could agree on being stranger than them.
A hundred years passed relatively peacefully until someone accidentally discovered counting. Historians typically agree that it was at this moment the downward spiral of society began as, once you introduce the idea of quantity—so does come the idea of having more of it. And the three awakened races, along with their newfound counting abilities, decided equally that they wanted a higher number of things to count than the others. And thus, began the ‘Mine Wars’.
The Mine Wars would reach its peak in the year 164 B.A. (Before Ale) before abruptly ending when, during a combined dwarven and elven raid on the human settlements, the second ‘Great Cave-In’ occurred—swallowing the entirety of both races deep into the vast network of caverns below the surface of Dinidae. And it was in these caverns that they would remain, locked away below the world’s mantle for the next one-thousand years.
During this time humanity prospered. Unfettered by petty border disputes with their elven kin, they quickly developed a stranglehold on the surface—expanding rapidly in all directions as their population exploded. It wasn’t long though until resources dwindled, and humanity had begun to focus their sights downward into the caverns below. It was in the year 1,012 P.A. (Post Ale) that, during a ten-year-long expedition into the caverns, humanity stumbled upon the Dwelven race—and, along with them, the discovery of Ale.
It was quite evident that the dwelves were the product of an unholy matrimony between Elves and Dwarfs, but nobody quite knew how this abominable amalgam took place. Some say it was a necessity of survival; with both fighting over limited resources and space and eventually being forced to live as one or risk the extinction of both. Others believe that once the art of brewing was discovered, the caverns simply degenerated into that of a snake-pit during mating season—with naked dwarven and elven limbs flying free liberally between one another. Regardless, whatever was left of the two races now lived only in their dwelven offspring.
The Dwelves were unusual, to say the least. For example, much unlike their short and stubby dwarven forefathers, they could grow tall and lithe thanks to their elven ancestry. But at some point the dwelves decided to compromise and settle for somewhere in the middle—around five-feet to be exact. This ended up being such an important decision that their culture now hinges on this fact as, having already exhausted all contractions within their nomenclature, the sudden emergence of abnormally sized folk would cause quite an enormous headache for dwelven linguists. It is highly encouraged then within dwelven society to cease any further growth after reaching five feet. This, of course, poses a unique problem for parents of rebellious dwelven teens.
Dwelves inherited the worst qualities of both races. They lacked decorum and any sense of propriety whilst also being highly pretentious and arrogant; which can be wholly summed up by a common dwelven saying: “The only gas I wish to smell is my own.” Thankfully (and most fortuitously—as it’s the sole reason as to why the dwelves survived), they also inherited the dwarven keen stone sense—more specifically, an innate sense for Malt Crystals—which, when combined with their Elvin ancestral skill for artistry, allowed the dwelven race to flourish into the pre-eminent brewers of Ale; which has only in recent years been matched by the humans thanks to their adept mimicry and adaptability (or as the elves of old would describe it, “Human see, Human do,”).