Hoth is dwarf-lord from the ancient realm of Carthak, which extends far beneath the mountains of north-western Maristonia. The Carthaki Mountains, separating the inner lands of Maristonia from the outer, and which take their name from the ancient city, are his home, and he is the first dwarf to have dealings with the outside world for many centuries.
The fabled history of Carthak goes back millennia to its founding in the early years of the Second Chapter and its glorious heyday in the middle of that chapter when its mountain-seat ruled both deep caverns beneath the mountains and wide territories above ground also. Soon after the zenith of its wealth and power, however, its outer realm was destroyed in the calamitous Carthaki Wars, when the dwarves fought a life-and-death struggle with the elves of the south. After this devastation, the dwarves retreated underground, shut their gates, and had but rare contact with the outside world thereafter.
Throughout the Third Chapter it had its own secret history, of rising and declining fortunes, and of great wars and epic struggles beneath the ground that surface-dwellers knew nothing of. Four hundred years before Kulothiel’s tournament, Hoth’s father’s generation played their part in the Second War of Kurundar, emerging from their hidden halls to help overthrow evil in Dorzand and Aranar. Yet afterward the dwarves again went underground, shunning the outside world once more. Most of Hoth’s contemporaries were resolved to ignore events above ground and manage their own affairs, but Hoth was of a different mind.
He was descended from the noble House of Kharad and had blood-ties to the throne, but through his father’s warlike career he also had strong connections with the military brotherhoods and secret societies of Carthak. This combination of influences made Hoth both an erudite scholar and a fearsome warrior, a rare dwarf who both cherished Carthak’s lost traditions and trained for a day when he would play a part in great deeds above ground.
Hoth had many motives for retaining an interest in the outside world. His wife’s kin were peak-dwellers who breathed the thin air of the mountaintops and whose spies followed events in Maristonia from afar. The death of his wife and daughters in a raid by orcs and evil dwarves left him nursing a terrible desire for vengeance. And in the midst of his arcane studies, he also encountered Prélan, in such guise as the dwarves knew Him, and so he gradually became convinced of a divine calling far removed from the secular mindset of most of his race.
This mixed heritage and varied influences made him a strange figure in Carthaki society, feared and little understood. It prepared the way for Kulothiel’s invitation when it came, making him the only dwarf willing to answer the call of Oron Amular. He went to that tournament to the astonishment of his peers but with the grudging leave of his kinsman, King Arkhond. He returned an even more terrible figure, bearing the burn-marks of battle, ingenious fire-proof armour and new friendships among the Free Peoples. His part in the outside world did not end with the adventure to Oron Amular, and now Hoth waits for a sign that the time has come for him to lead his warriors forth again.
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