Durad-Om is the ur-home. It is the mountain beneath all mountains, it is the final refuge of the living. It is the first line against the fires and it is the place of our ignoble birth.
An old poem. But it is literally true, in a way. Durad-Om is the mountain beneath all mountains. We dwarves were not born as you elves were, we were forged in the Underworld, in Tarthrunas. We were forged millenia before even my time by a covetous demon prince who found his own demons too talentless to plumb the depths and mine ores and gems. The anvil of our making, where we were created and enslaved, is Durad-Om.
It wasn’t called that at the time, of course. It didn’t take on its name until after our ancestors overthrew the demon prince and made Durad-Om our home, a sacred place.
If you seek Durad-Om, you are going to need to brave dangerous places. The underworld it resides in—Tarthrunas—is beautful beyond description, but it is also a dry, hostile place. It is the place the dead are called to when they leave Materia. It is a place not meant for the living. And the places here in Materia that will take you to Tarthrunas have a share in its mesmerizing hostility. There are, indeed, passages to Tarthrunas and Durad-Om from here in these mountains. But reaching them will be treacherous, and the journey will be no easier beyond the threshhold.
One more thing about Tarthrunas. The same way you can get from Materia to Tarthrunas, the demonic horde climbs from Hell into Tarthrunas. In my time, Durad-Om was a great fortress garrisoned by the legions of the dead and the living alike, holding back sorties from Hell itself as well as flanking maneuvers from the demons that had already arrived in Materia. I know not of the state of the home-beneath-homes now. I only hope that, since you say the battle was won nigh three thousand years past, that the defenders held out until they were relieved.
-Algot the Shield
Orfko-Mount-Phalden searches for Durad-Om, believing it to be located in the Ki-Rin ridge. Gremoira of the Iorvethen claims that the city is hallowed ground under the protection of the elves, sacred to them in some way, too.
The reality is that Algot the Shield is right: Durad-Om is the birthplace of the dwarves, an ancient city in a deep mountain in the Underworld. Hialathar confirmed his tale that the dwarves and their cousins the halflings, were forged in Durad-Om in service to a divine being who needed mortals to work his mines. Hialathar, however, characterized this being as a “petty and jealous God,” where Algot called him a demon prince.
But Gremoira, though he knows little about it, speaks to another truth: Durad-Om is also the Crypt of Twilight. Durad-Om was where Tormus-Iliath, The Wanderer, the God of the Wind and the Herald of the Orcs, made his last stand with a garrison of dwarves, elves, and orcs in the War for Morning. He fell, as did most of his soldiers. When relief came, just ten mortals held the city’s walls. Ever since, Durad-Om has been a holy place, a monument to their fight and their fall, and their tomb.
Tormus-Iliath is entombed in Durad-Om, in so far as a God may be entombed. This is likely why the Iorvethen believe they must protect the city from incursion at all costs.