There were stone statues of Stoutheart ancestors lining the walls. Golden reliefs on the ceilings depicted moments of heroism from the clan’s history. The warriors of the Stoutheart clan were one of the oldest lines of warriors in Understone, and their history was writ lifelike upon the walls of their home.

from Warriors of Understone, by B.K. Bass

The history of Understone stretches far into the mists of the past. So far, in fact, that even among the long memories of dwarves much of their own history is lost to the ages. As resistant to change as they are physically resilient, the dwarves under the mountain have established a society built upon the bedrock of centuries of tradition.

Nowhere is this more true than in the caste system upon which much of the society operates. One’s place in the kingdom is decided at birth. Every family – be they noble thanes or simple craftsmen – has a long history of plying their craft and passing it down to their offspring.

This is a central concept in Warriors of Understone, the first book in The Tales of Durgan Stoutheart. Durgan himself is the son of a stonecutter, and faces a lifetime of working in the quarries under the mountain. He dreams of more, and a chance run-in with a warrior thane just might lend him the opportunity to change his fate; and that of his people.

Warriors of Understone by B.K. Bass
Companions of the Stone Road by B.K. Bass

Beyond the halls of the city of Understone itself, the kingdom stretches far beneath the Ironfrost mountians. Ancient tunnels carved in a time unmemorable called the stone roads connect the city with thriving settlements and distant outposts.

Upon the surface lies an entire world mostly forgotten by the stout folk, teeming with life from the ambitious humans to the secretive people of elvenkind. In the past, the dwarves worked hand-in-hand with their distant kin. For over a millennia however, they have withdrawn to their stone halls and shunned all contact with the outside world.