The Last Remaining Light
Scarlet Beryl Dreamer
Artisan Jadeborn, or 'mountain folk'
Far from the stereotypical short, stout and grimy dwarves out of storybooks, Beryl is lithe, tall, and elegant, every expression and gesture possessed of a natural, unaffected grace. Her striking beauty is still reminiscent of the earth, however, with flawless skin reminiscent of polished marble and strands of her hair glittering like spun gold. The apex of mountain folk society, the artisans put humankind (and perhaps their creator) to shame.
Beryl is a young artisan, having only recently grown up in a society far removed from its ancient roots, although hints of that history can be found all around. In their beginning, the Jadeborn were all Enlightened, whether their talents tended toward war or sorcery or craftsmanship. In their now-distant past, the mountain folk were cursed, broken into more numerous but lesser shards of themselves, lost and forgotten along with the wars they fought against the races of monstrous Darkbrood buried with them.
In the time, so much time, that passed, the curse or Great Geas waned, and the broken souls of the Jadeborn regained some of their former glory. With that, however, came fewer numbers of them to be born and reborn in a cycle of reincarnation. The Jadeborn solved this with a small but nurtured underclass of half-human, half-Jadeborn dwarves who could procreate and grow; also with automata, some so ancient they still have the shorter, rougher look of the mountain folk’s ancestors; and by making peace with some of the Darkbrood.
This stability was shattered, quite recently, by the arrival of unwelcome outsiders from the surface world, spreading madness through Jadeborn society and corrupting its magi-tech toward the fulfillment of a terrible goal — the destruction of the surface world, an idea with some appeal for any who might harbor some seed of jealousy or resentment for the ancients who cursed them.
As the waves of insanity spread through the cities of the mountain folk, most bar their gates, dig in and endure, or else flee further into the depths of the earth. And a few, like Scarlet Beryl Dreamer, explore higher, not deeper…in search of escape, or hope.