Nibeline (pronounced NEE-bell-een) is a fortified hillside city and one of the four duchies of Grandévere. The largest surviving structure of pre-imperial Grandévere, Nibeline was home to the western hill dwarves since time immemorial, but was conquered and nearly destroyed by goblins in service of the Du’un Empire circa Y149. The dwarves were liberated and Nibeline restored by the dwarven crusader Andvari the Cunning following the Du’un Emperor’s defeat in Y498.
After Sheol XIV‘s defeat at Thariz, Andvari immediately flew westward with Baldur and Ulir, his two closest companions, to free his dwarven kin who had been enslaved by the Du’un Empire. Under Du’un rule, the hill dwarves had suffered torturous physical labor and crushing humiliation at the hands of their goblin wardens in a vast cave network of imperial iron mines. While it is agreed that the goblins and hobgoblins of the western hills were among the first to be subjugated by the empire, some historians believe that the goblin chieftains welcomed the imperial soldiers into their villages with open arms, willing to go to any lengths to conquer their dwarven neighbors. Andvari and his companions arrived with such haste that they crushed the imperial remnants and liberated the dwarves before word of the emperor’s demise had spread to the west. Nibeline was once the capital of the dwarven people, a grand acropolis overlooking the rolling hills of western Grandévere. Andvari and the dwarves reclaimed their once-great city and pledged their allegiance to Freya, the first queen of Grandévere.
The Nibeline acropolis has stood for centuries, its stone ramparts weathering even the harshest storms. Though the city houses many people of many different races, Nibeline is home to the largest dwarven population of the civilized world, and it is reflected in the city’s grand architecture. Most public buildings have only a single story, but that story may rise to over fifty feet at the top of its vaulted ceiling. While most Nibeline dwarves prefer living alone in their home, their entire clan tends to gather in districts. Dwarven nuclear families live together under one roof until their children have reached adulthood, then mother, father, and children go separate ways. Because of this, most houses in Nibeline are a mere five feet high to accommodate their dwarven residents. Taller races purchase taller houses if they have the money, but vagrants and destitute families often crowd into abandoned dwarven houses. Vagrants in Nibeline are called burushrûm, or “wounded-backs,” because of their perpetual hunch.
Like all Grandéveran duchies, Nibeline is ruled by a single independent lord who alone answers to Hildsvine. Duke Ulganûn rules Nibeline from Nibeline’s ancient fortified hall. A descendant of Andvari the Cunning, Ulganûn protects the legendary helm of invisibility, Tarnkappe, for it bestows its power only to Andvari’s kin. He is immensely loyal to the Grandéveran crown. Though Grandévere has known peace for the past two dwarven generations, Ulganûn is a renowned warrior among the dwarves, having led countless covert attacks against the goblin tribes in the nearby mountains. He is a master of guerrilla tactics, and is practically invincible while he bears the legendary Tarnkappe.
The Ravenswood Dispute
See main article: Ravenswood Dispute
In Y826, the Ravenswood Trading Company, a merchant company owned by the wealthy Ravenswood family, suddenly refused to trade with the rest of Grandévere. This unexpected trade embargo, stemming from the southermost tip of Nibeline, sent a wave of confusion across the kingdom’s western reaches.