The Kingdom of Ironforge (Aradur Angor-Kost) is a dwarven nation in the Eastern Kingdoms, governed by a feudal clan monarchy. It borders the Durotar Dominion to the east and north, the Shadowforge Empire to the south and the Republic of Gnomeregan is composed of many enclaves inside of Ironforge's territory.
Ironforge City was founded in 2,536 b. O. by Arad-Khaz Ironforge, founder and leader of the Ironforge Clan, a polity comprised by those earthen who, having suffered the Curse of Flesh, became dwarves and were exiled from the ancient underground chambers of Uldaman by their earthen kin. These earthen were part of series-two, and feared that the fleshcursed dwarves may degenerate like the troggs have degenerated from series-one when they were afflicted by the curse. The exiles wandered the badlands northwards, crossing the mountainous region they called Khaz Modan (the Khaz Mountains, after the earthen's creator and patron deity, Khaz'goroth). In such region, they looked for a mountain suitable for digging caves, tunnels and mines so thay they could reconstruct the underground chambers they were used to. They found the snowed peaks of Dun Morogh (Snowed Mountain), and its highest peak Grim Angor (Iron Peak). Inside the peak, they began digging their caverns, and built their home, which they named Ironforge, after the eponymous leader of the clan.
While diggin the city's chambers, the dwarves settled on provisional camps around Grim Angor, and they regularly sent off caravans of miners to gather materials in the sorrounding mountains and bring them to the construction site. At the time, the mountains were home to ice trolls, who dominated a large realm from the Shimmer Ridge to the west. This troll nation was governed by the Frostmane tribe, and they resented the dwarves' intrusion intro their territory. The trolls started launching assault against the dwarves' caravans and camps, taking them as slaves, harassing their scouts. Arad-Khaz, now proclaimed High King of Khaz Modan, would not stand these aggressions, so he gathered his most trusted thanes and prepared a retaliative expedition in 2,497 b. O. His son, prince Kharan Ironforge, led his clansmen up the Tundrid Hills, in the south, and striked by surprise on one of the trolls' msot populous villages, on the western hillfoots. They massacred the garrison and took all other inhabitants prisoners, burning the village to the ground. King Arad-Khaz then sent a delegation to negotiate the return of the captured dwarves in exchange for his troll hostages, who were thrice as much. He also established a demarcation line, a formal border which the trolls would not be allowed to cross from here on.
The dwarves built a road to secure their supply lines in their newly acquired territory, they caleld it the Iron Road, and constructed a city west of the Tundrid Hills, named after prince Kharan. The city of Kharanos became home to more than thirty clans, whose thanes dedicated themselves to the building of the road, the mining of the southern Grizzled Den, and protecting the border.
The Trogg Wars Edit
With the troll menace averted, the dwarves focused on eastern expansion. They were being harassed by marauding band of their ancient enemies, the troggs. As Ironforge was closer to completion and more clans went out searching mounts to build their own clanholds, various groups of adventurers and pioneers started clensening the land from troggish threats. The several clans often traveled worried about their own business, so if they wanted to establish a clanhold, it was considered their duty to defeat the sorrounding troggs and wendigos, often in alliance with other clans or with the help of mercenaries. But the hostilities grew, and some trogg tribes began preemptive strikes which reached as far as Kharanos, endangering the dwarve's position on the valleys, as without Kharanos they would have no defense against the trolls.
The third high king, Raegar Ironforge, was the first to call for an organized all-clans attack against the troggs. Various tribes were gathered for one of their traditional festivals on Helm's Bed Lake, on the winter of 1,999 b. O., and dwarvish scouted informed about this. The king himself, along with his most trusted thane Brahnmar Armorfist, attacked the feast site with a legion of dwarves. Brahnmar led the ram cavalry (dwarves started steeding rams in the later days of Arad-Khaz) that chased the troggs to the northern hills, were he would establish an encampment to defend against further incursions. The encampment would later beocme the clanhold of the Amberstill Clan, and the dwarven settlement near Helm's Bed would be named Brahnmar and delivered to the Armorfist Clan.
It aws in the early times of Raegar that dwarves started diggin the Coldridge Pass intro the eponymous valley. The works would be ended in 1,970 b. O., and the land would be granted to one of the main investors on the Coldridge Pass Project: Bolgaff Anvilmar, thane of the Anvilmar Clan.
Raegar's heir, his brother Brohann, would conquer the northern reaches of Dun Morogh, prompting the nearby troggs to escape. In 1,682 b. O., Brohann's cousin and successor, Dargal Ironforge, died in battle against Plumbfist, the leader of the Rockjaw tribe of troggs. It would be his nephew, Thorvald, who would slay Plumbfist in 1,678 b. O, and drive the Rockjaw tribe out of Gol'Bolar Quarry. Thorvald's experience with the Gol'Bolar Campaign taught him that the old-fashioned dwarven militia could not stand moder warfare. The Ironforge army had a feudal structure, it was just a collection of dwarves-at-arms who answered to the call of their thanes, and were loyal only to them, so the king had to relly heavily on the thanes' good will. Rellying on his vassals for military assistance had costed king Dargal his life, so Thorvald passed the Twion Decrees, one creating a professional full-time state-paid army, the other creating a standing navy. This way, the throne would stop rellying on merchants to provide ships and on clans to provide soldiery.
Thorvald's closest advisor, Camran Boldhammer, is considered one of Khaz Modan's greatest statesmen; he made the economy grow by creating more flexible laws which gave greater boost to small businesses, increasing industrial production. Camran started a policy of economic cooperation with the arathorian humans, importing technologies and magicians, and sending dwarves to study magic in Dalaran. He gave greater liberty to individual dwarves by relaxing the strict principles of clan culture. Boldhammer started a tradition of delegation of powers by the king in his advisors, a time known as the Time of Stewards.
During Thorvald's time, the Frostmane trolls allied with the Caverndeep troggs to wage war on Ironforge. The Frozen Axe, as the alliance came to be known, besieged Kharanos for two hundred days, with heavy casualties on bothsides. Thorvald assembled his army and had the chance to test it on the battlefield. He broke the siege and drove the trolls to the Iceflow Valley and the Shimmer Ridges, striking a final blow on them.
Thorvald's son, Durnan, and his brother, Dagnon, introduced great reforms in the dwarven legal system, sanctioning the first compilation of dwarven law, the Dagnon Codex. Durnan's own son, Gamlen, conquered the rest of Dun Morogh by 1,211 b. O., and started digging the passes to the south. On 1,156 b. O. he would build Dun Algaz, and colonize the southern Wetlands. During his time, the Arathorian Empire split, and Warrior Queen Elwynn led the azerothians in an exodus through Khaz Modan to the southern continent. Gamlen would then establish some dwarven settlements north of the Thandol Span. Several dwarven communities were growing on the newly independent human nations.
Gamlan's second cousin Sigrun completed the South Pass Gate on 1,101 b. O., building the statues of the Valley of Kings to honor his ancestors. He then marched on to the Stonesplinter Valley, on Loch Modan, to conquer the trogg tribes. It was during this time that the song of Corrigan Foehammer, the dragonslayer, was firt sung.
On 933 b. O., the last Ironforge king, Dagran, died without male heirs, so his thaneship over the dwarven clans passed to his sister Khadra's husband: Kazdun Anvilmar. The Wildhammer Clan, led by thane Khadgar, setteld the peaks of Grim Batol (formerly a clanhold of Foehammer Clan), and initiated an aggressive campaign against the wood trolls. In less than a century, the Wildhammers and their subject clans dominated the swamps and the highlands, becoming one of the most powerful and influential clans of Khaz Modan. At the same time, Thargas Dark Iron, who had just returned from Dalaran, started his own project to colonize the southern Badlands. He led thousand of young adventurers and fortune-seekers through the Searing Gorge into the Redridge Mountains, were they settled the Blackrock Mountain. Excavations began on the Uldaman ruins, and the last Trogg Wars were waged against the Stonevault tribe. Kazdun finally ended the soc alled Blood Feud with the troggs, closing the Badlands Campaign with a tiumphal speech. His famous Five Oration before the Senate, known as the Kazdian Reforms, brought political and economic stability to the kingdom.
The Anvilarmar Clan reigned peacefully for centuries, holding cordial relations with the young races of the continent (mainly the humans and gnomes). The Anvilmar high kings brought great prosperity to the mountains, but social divisions were ever greater amongst the many clans. A faction, led by the thanes of the Bronzebeard Clan held highly conservative views on the dwarven social and political structure, and made up the majority of the king's Advisory Council. Others followed the reformist thanes of the Wildhammer Clan, who sought to strengthen relations with the high elves and end the kingdom's isolationism by opening to foreign cultural influence and political change, specially in limiting the high king's absolute rule and giving more autonomy and participation to the clans. A last faction emerged from the radical Dark Iron Clan, whose thane wanted to introduce innovations through sorcery and a heavily nationalist agenda. Tensions among the factions rose up.
In 230 b. O., Modimus Anvilmar, last High King of Khaz Modan, a great peacemaker among the clans, died. He had no male heir, so the Interregnum could not decide on who to crown. His wife Norna Ironfoe, a shadow dwarf, was discovered to be pregnant on the first week of the Interregnum. The so called Womb Regency began, as the Interregnum would decree that if Norna's child was a boy, he would be crowned king, and Norna's uncle Franclorn Forgewright would be regent; if he was a girl, clan succession law would be applied, and the kingship would pass to the husband of the oldest married Anvilmar dwarvenmaid. This was, however, a problem by itself, as Modimus and Norna's first daughter, Krona, was engaged to young Kyrstad Wildhammer, son and heir of thane Khardros Wildhammer, at the time of his father's demise, and they married on the second month of the Interregnum. Krona's younger sister, Modimus' second daughter Mycah, had been married for years with thane Madoran Bronzebeard.
Sources differ from here on: Bronzebeard and Wildhammer accounts claim that Thaurissan Dark-Iron, the sorcer-thane of his clan, close friend of Norna and Franclorn, gathered his supporters' armies on the Searing Gorge that led from the Redridge Mountains to Dun Morogh, and occupied the Valley of Kings up to Thelsamar, then marching into Dun Morogh via the Amber Road with the intention of forcing the Interregnum to decree that Norna's child would inherit the throne no matter the gender, and Norna would be regent.
Dark Iron traditions rather claim that thane Khardros Wildhammer instructed his followers, Cogran Firebeard and Thorim Thundertamer to attempt a coup against the Interregnum to place Kyrstad on the throne, which eventually failed. Gnomish and orcish historians have supported this version, though there are different theories about the intentions of the coup. Orc archaeologist Rogahn Sabronsbane thinks that Cogran and Thorim acted out of their own convictions, an planned to call Kyrstad to be the new high king. Dark Iron achivist Kaltor Flyntrock mantains the official version of the story: Khardros gave direct instructions to his followers on what to do and how to do it, and he intended to place himself as the power behind Kyrstad's throne.
No matter what happened, Madoran Bronzebeard had to take up the regency to repell the Wildhammer coup and the Dark Iron offensive. Norna would eventually die on childbirth, delivering a son, Algras.
Whatever is the truth, war broke out, with violent clashes between the Dark Irons and the Wildhammers in Thelsamar, the Dark Irons and Bronzebeards in Amberstill and the Bronzebeards and Wildhammers in Irontomb (present Whelgar's Retreat). After repealing the coup and occupying the Iron Road, Madoran Bronzebeard received an oath of allegiance from Algras Anvilmar, creating the paradoxical situation of he being the thane of his would-be-king. The Bronzebeards quickly secured most of Loch Modan and drove the contending factions out, chasing the Wildhammers through the swamps and the Dark Irons through the Searing Gorge. The Dark Irons fortified their strongholdof Blackrock Mountain, and the Wildhammers took a position on their Grim Batol fortress. The war was on stalemate and the sieges where costly to the Ironforge treasury, wasting resources much needed for the post-war reconstruction. On 235 b. O., Madoran declared a unilateral quasi-truce, delivering a speech before the lawfathers declaring the Wildhammers and Dark Irons to be exiled from the kingdom.
To solve the problem of succession (now made more difficult by the fact that many thanes, including Algras himself, had swore loyalty to Madoran), the Interregnum decided that, by binding himself to obey Madoran, Algras had transmitted him the throne. Madoran introduced a series of reforms, including a Senate that would control the king's powers, made up of those thanes subject to the king himself. He opened the economy to foreigners and agumented the industry, and, in order to gain popularity amongst those who had been pro-Wildhammer, he accepted to strengthen ties with other nations and allow some cultural exchange, relaxing the strict social laws of dwarves.
Many years later, on 262 b. O., the Dark Iron, havin built their capital of Thaurissan City and consolidated their power on the region, launched an attack on both Ironforge and Grim Batol, forcing both into an alliance against the common enemy. Grim Batol was rendered uninhabitable by the dark magics of emrpess Modgud, Thaurissan's wife. After they had drove out the enemy forces, Madoran and Khardros signed the Skyforge Truce, a compromise by which Madoran recognized the sovereignity of the Wildhammer and all subject clans over their territory and their clanholds, all prisioners would be released and he would renounce the title of High King, rather calling himself High Thane over his clan and Lord of Ironforge. Khardros would release his prisioners and lead his people out of Khaz Modan, which he recognized as Bronzebeard territory.
The War of the Three Hammers ended with Thaurissan's desperate attempt at resistance by summoning firelord Ragnaros, which ended in the destruction of Thaurissan City and the creation of the Burning Steppes. Yet, he had succeded at driving out the enemy forces, who for years would not set foot on Dark Iron lands.
The kingdom's government isheaded by the High Thane of the Bronzebeard Clan, who passes his title and dignity under dwarvish clan laws. He is styled Lord of Ironforge, King of Khaz Modan and Allfather of Dwarves.
The main policy-makers of the realms are the members of the Senate of Ironforge, a body with legislative and judicial functions. Senators are chosen by royal appointment (following recommendation by the Senate itself) or co-opted into the Senate by a special committee elected every five years, called the Censorial Assembly. In both cases, the proposed senator requires confirmation by one-third of the senators. Those thanes who are subject directly to the king are automatically called to be senators, unless a two-thirds vote of the assembly blocks their nomination, these are called inborn senators, and if they cannot seat in the Senate, they can nominate a member of their clan to act in their stead. All other senator introduced by appointment of cooption are called inbred senators. The Senate is presided over by a Convenor, who is elected by the Censorial Assembly every five years.
Initially, the king was assisted in daily governance by the Officers of the Forge Staff, led by his personal bodyguard, the Keeper of the Forge. But the position was overshadowed during the times of Camran Boldhammer, who creatde the Council of Keys, an official body of advisors taking charge of the various aspects of government. The Key of the Silvers Vaults handls the treasury and financial affairs, the Key of the Bronze Vaults handles internal affairs, the Iron Vaults correspond to defence, and the Mithril Vaults to foreign affairs. Their leader is the Master Key, a prime minister.
Executive officers are technically allowed to be members of the Senate, but it has been common to expel them.