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The World Hymn is a dwarven poem dating from the first century of the ninth age, which details the nine ages of the world. The hymn was later copied to an Equitan tapestry. A reproduction of that tapestry is now presumably all that remains, at least to human historians.

The hymn is written on a rhyming verse and is divided into nine sections, one for each age of the world. All but the last section is further subdivided into five stanzas. The hymn is also accompanied by an image for each age, which depicts some of the events described in the poem, as well as others. [1] The last image, for the ninth age, appears to depict events that are far more recent than the first century A.S., such as what appears to be human colonization of Virentia and the marriage of Sophia of Destria and Matthias of Sonnstahl. If true, this suggests that the images were not part of the original dwarven carvings but likely added later to the Equitan copy.

The hymn is written is a very personal manner, repeatedly using the term 'we'. This can be interpreted as it's authors or commissioner, neither of whom is known, or as referring to all of dwarf-kind.

The World Hymn as a narrator[]

The World Hymn is the single largest source of the history of the world. Because it is so large, many smaller sources touch upon the events it describes, often giving an at least similar view. The poem is old though, and has been copied or reproduced at least two times before reaching the state in which it is presented in. How much is lost in these copies and reproductions is unknown.

Transcript[]

The following is a transcript of the World Hymn. The stanzas are not originally numbered, this system is added here to ease references to the hymn.

First Age[]

The tapestry imagery of the first age.

1.1[]

In cavern deep, in mountains old
We sing the hymn, we mark the way
Remembrance past, to future’s day
Let none forget, the ancient ley
To mark the path of home and hold

1.2[]

Our tale begins in Sauran yoke
In chains and pain forlorn of hope
Without our pride we labor’d ‘til
In darkest days our fate unmade
For comet’s fall our shackles broke

1.3[]

We mined the gold they craved and stole
With which to power arcane machines
And build their ugly ziggurats
So old were they, while we were young
As yet we had not found our soul

1.4[]

Unmeasured Ages came and went
So long that none can know the count
But wait we did with vigilance
Until we saw an opening
A time to make their cities rent

1.5[]

Skyhammer’s gift a vengeance born
We slew and killed who’s blood was cold
Together bound as brothers sworn

Second Age[]

The tapestry imagery of the second age.

2.1[]

A time of gold a time of growth
The world was our inheritance
So rich the land so ripe it lay
Our people free, we grew at last
In riches grand and oathbound troth

2.2[]

And long lost kin we were to find
That golden time as West met East
Though trouble brewed and ne’er we saw
That fair-eyed orc​ that Akrübad
Who soon to come would take and bind

2.3[]

We folk of stone our oaths as firm
And in the Mountains of the Moon
We bound our fates and paid our debts
To kin and kith our honor bound
And wealth to grow to come full term

2.4[]

And all this while the elves did sail
To take the seas and make their seat
On island shore so far from home
Fair Celeda Ablan they wrought
To ply the world on ev’ry gale

2.5[]

And men did then forge crowns and kings
O’er land as far as grass does grow
Yet no good lasts all things take wing

Third Age[]

The tapestry imagery of the third age.

3.1[]

The Age of Death​, the loss of gold
A time when earth would swallow whole
Nor fae nor men nor orc​ nor we
All lost and toss’d and bent and broke
A time of pain to each ring Hold

3.2[]

The beasts did rise and burn and loot
No wall of shield​ or hold could stand
And fickle elves did leave and run
And men so quick to alter word
Do promise cut and render mute

3.3[]

The dead did rise on southern shore
An empire dead its heart torn out
No aid to come from human hands
The hour grew dark, and foes in count
So press’d were we, like ne’er before

3.4[]

We call on elves to help us hold
‘Gainst all that stood to break us then
And end the light of dwarven works
They turn’d their backs on us those days
Betraying us, with scandal bold

3.5[]

Now allies old do stand as foes
As mountains fall so too we break
And thus bring close this Age of Woes

Fourth Age[]

The tapestry imagery of the fourth age.

4.1[]

An Age of Ruin, an Age of Iron
As split was world so too were we
Our only hope a foreign truce
With Avras proud we did ally
To war ‘gainst fate we did return

4.2[]

From elves disloyal no aid was found
‘Cross endless sea retreat and flee
Unfit they are of dwarven aid
Not worth the fire of dwarven rage
The path they tread is ruin bound

4.3[]

Of orcs​ of men of beasts no end
Now war and siege and misery
As one we kill so sprout two more
And flight nor fight avail a dwarf
Our dominance so too now rent

4.4[]

Endless foes did split us sunder
The orc​ and beast our gates did press
The hold’s rings split like maille from axe
No valour​ won could mend the loss
As foreign blades took our plunder

4.5[]

Our kith and kin no longer free
Our axe and shields​ unequal were
Our vengeance sworn forever be

Fifth Age[]

The tapestry imagery of the fifth age.

5.1[]

An Age of Plague the Third of Ruin
Redoubled might​, redoubled maille
We thicken armour, sharpen blade
We harden hearts, and bolster soul
Unknown to us new foes drew in

5.2[]

We paid it back the gift of men
Who came to aid when so beset
We shared the greatest gift of all
The gift of stone and mountain’s call
Thus we built great Avras’ wall

5.3[]

The Mountains White once lost to us
We marched upon and took anew
Alliance made at last with men
A peace to hold and carry forth
O’er earth and mount​ an honoured trust

5.4[]

At last we saw our hidden foe
As elf slew elf across the sea
Great sickness spread ‘cross ev’ry land
And vermin rose upon its wake
To murder men and dwarf to woe

5.5[]

The empire fell the rats took throne
Did murder life and poison land
They left in wake but Avras’ bone

Sixth Age[]

The tapestry imagery of the sixth age.

6.1[]

The Age of War, of Ruin the Fourth
The time our foes do fight betwixt
We sharpen axe we ready blade
In dungeons deep we plan and wait
For chance to move our armies forth

6.2[]

Each Thane​ each King​ each soldier in
Our people sworn to hold the line
To march together step in step
To turn each foeman’s sword aside
With faith in kin alone we win

6.3[]

And yet with all in steel and arms
Our fight was not without its trials
The orcs​ had numbers beyond count
And war thus raged across the age
With no-one spared its many harms

6.4[]

For all this though we did win out
No hope had orcs​ enclosed by all
To beasts they fell and feast be made
No hope had beast whose end was next
As Vermin Swarm​ did make them rout

6.5[]

Yet far kin sorely sought respite
Did plot to win with daemon fire
And risk all life in burning blight

Seventh Age[]

The tapestry imagery of the seventh age.

7.1[]

With fire enslaved our kin now set
To savage foes now weak and spent
Enslaving all that once had fought
With crushing might​ but morals less
They scour the world for slaves​ to get

7.2[]

But magic tests and poisons soul
And even dwarven might​ is sapp’d
As nether power must be shunn’d
All who dare It become debased
And tear the world and harm it whole

7.3[]

So evil flourished cross the land
With mountain quakes and floods and storms
And daemons came like never hence
To bring us death and rage and scorn
In truth our end does seem at hand

7.4[]

The East remains a place of death
And Vetia​ vermin conquered
A dark King​ rules the last free men
And so they live in fear​ and dread
No place of peace no easy breath

7.5[]

These darken’d days these forlorn nights
This Age of Thunder so did rage
With none to set the wrongs to right

Eighth Age[]

The tapestry imagery of the eighth age.

8.1[]

The Age of Waste the time of Fire
Our kin have fail’d and woe have wrought
For devils cannot loyal be
And all is lost in burning death
With daemons free the world a pyre

8.2[]

A cataclysmic wake they left
And burn the land and open gates
To realms unholy, realms debased
And men such fools do worship Hell
And left us all of peace bereft

8.3[]

But one good thing did come from fire
That men at last did come combined
Together stood o’er vermin slain
Held back the dark and worshipp’d day
Thus did It end this time of ire

8.4[]

The girl of sun and steel arose
She slew the King​ of rats and filth
So like a dwarf she stood so proud
Remembering the oaths long lost
Renewing friends and true allies

8.5[]

The swords of men ascendant now
And much a mess and much a ruin
And they will rule with troubled brow

Ninth Age[]

The tapestry imagery of the ninth age.

9.1[]

Our past did end in fire and rage
Out from the ash and bitter smoke
We look to hope and keep it close
As all did see our near to end
Yet live to see this, our Ninth Age

Summary[]

First and second age: Dwarven liberation and growth[]

The Hymn begins by telling of dwarven slavery under 'sauran' overlords. The dwarves successful rebells in the last stanza of the first age.

The second age tells of a gilded time of growth and riches for the dwarves. They forge an alliance with the elves and watch the coming of man.

Ages of Ruin[]

The Hymn groups at least four ages together as ages of ruin. The Fourth Age is named as 'an' age of ruin, whereas the 5th and 6th ages are called the third and fourth age of ruin, respectively. [2]

Since the three ages specifically noted as ages of ruin are consecutive, it is reasonable to assume that the Third Age is the first age of ruin. This is supported by the fact that the Third Age is called an age of death, whereas the first two ages are described in decidedly more positive terms.

The ages of ruin are all marked by war and calamity. They are not favourably remembered by the Hymn's dwarven creators. [1]

Sources[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 The World Hymn (T9A:FB Rulebook, p126-130)
  2. The World Hymn, a reproduction of an Equitan tapestry, itself believed to be a copy of an ancient dwarven carving and poem dating from the first century AS. (Main Rulebook)​​
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