Then, they came. A race like no other appeared in the skies above Ursoule. Cautiously, the Dwarves watched these new arrivals, sizing up whether they were friend or foe. They were good at making war, maybe better than the Dwarves. They descended on the Human populations and - at least at first - began sweeping over the lands of the Humans. They built a capital, began civilizing the hordes, and brought a new feeling of order to the surface world. They were called the Feldarin.
Cautiously, the Dwarves began making contacts with the Feldarin and their new Empire. They found that as long as an agreement could be made to co-exist, the Feldarin posed no threat to the Dwarves. Indeed, it was even whispered in some circles that if the Dwarves helped the Feldarin with their problems, the Feldarin would help the Dwarves in The Beneath. This was good news for a people who were tired and reeling from years of the attrition of war. Many Clerics spoke openly about the Feldarin being sent from Aulay to help the Dwarves return to their former glory.
Finally, one day a delegation arrived from the Empire, agreements were reached, plans were made, and many Dwarves began looking to the future with a renewed promise of greatness. Not only would the Feldarin help the Dwarves in The Beneath, it was said, but they would also help the Dwarves recover artifacts and relics lost to "explorers" from the surface world over the centuries.
When the call came from the Empire, the Dwarven Clans answered, and those who resisted the Empire either fled or were put to the Axe. But the Empire had a problem... As soon as one rebellion was put down, another rose up somewhere else. The Empire paid the Dwarves well, and granted them Imperial favors, but some began to wonder when the seemingly constant fighting would end. But Dwarven lives are long, and life for them progresses more slowly than the other races.
Eventually, the wars did end, and a relative peace settled over the Empire. The Dwarves began to ask the Empire when it would honor its agreements and join them in The Beneath. Emperors came and went, and the Dwarves were seemingly always pushed to the back of the line. Then the Empire descended into a vicious civil war, and nothing was certain any more. Once again, the Dwarves were called upon to wage war on the surface, but many chafed at the thought of being nothing more that the Empire's mercenaries. It was called The Time of Many Emperors.
The Time of Many Emperors finally ended, and once again the Dwarves began to have hope. As they waited, more Underhalls fell to their enemies in The Beneath. Clans were being forced to establish bases on or near the surface, something the Dwarves found unnerving. Yet each time they approached the Empire, its energies were devoted elsewhere. An Empress issued a proclamation outlining how the Feldarin have a Divine Right to explore and - some would say - rule the world. This caused some concern among the Dwarves, but the Empires emissaries assured them that the Empire had no plans to rule The Beneath.
Then the great plague came, the disease that was called The Weeping. It seemed a minor thing at first, but then it came back, much worse than before. Millions of surface dwellers died, the Empire crumbled, and even the stout Dwarves suffered massive losses. Many died far from home, in service to the Empire, and so were denied traditional Dwarven funerals.
Today, the world is recovering, The Weeping seems to have vanished, but the Dwarves are different. Most are now mercenaries, their Clans selling their axes to the highest bidder. Still, many Dwarves long for the old days to return, and wait for the Empire to keep its promises...