Home of the 'Dark' Elves, more popularly known as 'Dwarves'. Few gods have actually visited Svartalfheim, for the only route from Asgard required a long trip beneath the earth, through a labyrinth of ancient tunnels. Far easier to wait for a dwarfish trader to visit and then send her back home with a commission.

Those few who knew the mountain paths and have attempted the journey since the awakening have found the entrances caved in.


“The home of the dwarves, nordic sources are indeterminate as to whether Svartalfheim is its own world, or merely a region under the earth of Midgard or Asgard, but it is clear that the dwarves themselves live in great caverns. Craftsmen second to none, they made many of the great artefacts of the Norse gods, including Thor's hammer, Mjolnir. One reading of the Norse creation myth would even seem to suggest that they created humanity from the earth (though this can alternately be read as saying that humanity was created, and the dwarves were created from the earth).”

- Excerpt from The Nine Worlds, a Primer to Norse Mythology

“Svartalfheim, home of the dwarves! Magnificent caverns, encrusted with all manner of gems! If you wish to visit, and I urge you to do so, then there is a passage behind Heimdall's Hall which leads deep underground to their caverns. While you are there, you may be lucky enough to persuade one of the master craftsmen to take a commission, for there is nothing that can equip anyone, man or god, as well as a dwarf-forged weapon, shield, or steed made for them.”

- Jarndir the Wanderer

The land of Svartalfheim, as it was known to the gods before the Odinsleep, is a vast network of underground tunnels, accessible from all the worlds except for Hel, Niflheim, and Muspellheim. The dwarves live and work in houses fashioned from the bare rock, and sparkling with gems hewn from the stone. Large chambers house great cities, and every passageway is filled with sculpture and carvings from the dwarves practicing their craft. Great manufactured beasts perform all the heavy lifting and hauling, transporting the materials from the deep mines up the the workshops.


The dwarves are pale, with thick black hair and beards. After some initially confusing talks between the gods, UNITED, and some scholars of Norse mythology, it seems that they are not in fact as short as some myths make them out to be. But all the tales and the memories of the gods agree that they are craftsmen second to none. They are longer lived than humans, but not nearly so long as the elves. They are ruled by a High King, who takes advice from his council of Speakers.

“These aren't your typical permanently Scottish, permanently violent, big axe, big beard, big jug of mead dwarves. Those come from later mythologies. The dwarves of Norse mythology are somewhat different, and there is little written about them. Sometimes called dark elves, or black elves, they are described as having pale skin, but thick black hair and beards (at least in the case of those described). They are skilled craftsmen, and fiercely competitive. most of the famous items in Norse mythology were created in a competition between two dwarves to see who could build the best gift for the gods. They probably weren't even short, the word “dwarf” comes from the Norse “Dvergar”, Dark Ones (presumably referring to their hair).”

-Excerpt from a lecture by Professor Fitzwilliam

“You'll never meet anyone as stubborn as a dwarf! If you tell him to go left, he'll go right, unless you say that his neighbour is better at going left than him! But give them their payment, and they will craft you the finest things you have ever seen.”

-Jarndir the Wanderer

Dwarven Items

“A gentle breeze blew over Asgard, and Thor awoke to a peaceful morning. But as he awoke, his eyes fell upon his wife, Sif, and he saw that she was sad, for her hair had been stolen in the night, and she stood before him, bald as the moon in the sky, or a cornfield after harvest. And Thor guessed the author of this misdeed, and sought out Loki. Holding him high by the throat, Thor swore vengeance on Loki (not for the first, nor the last time), and refused to let him go until he made an oath to obtain a new head of hair for Sif.
Loki traveled to Svartalfheim, and there sought out the sons of Iwaldur, known to be smiths of excellent craftsmanship. He commissioned from them a head of lustrous golden hair, which grew more radiant and stronger than Sif's own glorious locks. To appease the other gods, Loki also had gifts made, the spear Gugnir, which never failed to strike, and the ship Skid-bladnir, which could sail in any wind, and which folded up so small that it could be put in a belt pouch. Loki presented these gifts to the gods, and was delighted by the praise he received from the others. He proclaimed that the sons of Iwaldur must surely be the greatest of the dwarven smiths!
It so happened that the dwarf Brock was present in Asgard at the time, and hearing Loki's boasting, he proclaimed that the sons of Iwaldur were mere amateurs compared to Brock's brother, Sindri, and furthermore that he would be his head against Loki's to prove that Sindri could make even more glorious gifts for the gods. Brock returned to Svartaflheim, and manned the bellows for his brother as he worked. First, Sindri placed a pigskin on the fire, and began to carve runes of power into it. A fly buzzed around Brock's head, but he paid it no heed as he pumped the flames. Soon after, the great boar Gullin-bursti, his radiant golden bristles glowing, stepped forth from the forge.
Sindri laid some red gold in the furnace, letting the gold tricks onto a hot stone and shaping it into arcane patterns. The fly darted past Brock's eyes, crawled over his neck, and hummed into his ear, but he kept working the bellows as Sindri formed the gold into the ring Draupnir, from which eight identical rings drop every ninth night.
Sindri then placed a bar of iron into the furnace, using many tools to brand powerful enchantments into the metal, infusing it with the other components of the miraculous dwarf-steel. The fly bit Brock on the neck, and again, he ignored it as his brother began to attach the handle. But then the fly bit Brock on the eyelid, and as the blood ran down into his eye, he reached up to swat the fly, his grip on the bellows faltered, and the flames flared and were extinguished. Sindri's craftsmanship ensured that the hammer emerged complete, although the handle was over-short. Loki (for it was he who had transformed into the fly) flew away, sure that such imperfection would win him the bet.
The time came to present the gifts to the gods. To Odin Allfather, the ring Draupnir, and he was well pleased. To bright Freyr, the boar Gullin-bursti, to carry him swiftly through mist and clouds. And finally, he handed the hammer Mjolnir to Thor. Thor swing the mighty weapon in a great arc, and as he did so he grew tall as a giant before they eyes of the gods, and great stormclouds gathered about his waist, lightning flashing over the heads of the assembled, as peals of thunder near threw them from their seats. Only Fearless Odin did not throw himself to the ground at such a display, and he declared Brock the winner of the bet.
Brock took his axe, and advanced on Loki to collect his winnings. But cunning Loki pointed out that while Brock had ownership of his head, he had no claim on the neck, and so was not permitted to sever it to claim his prize. Undeterred, Brock asked Thor to restrain Loki as Sindri took his awl and pierced his lips, and then Brock sewed Loki's mouth shut with hairs from Sif's golden crown. ”

- Tales from the Eddas, Norse Mythology Retold

Each of the items made by the dwarves was made for a specific person. The items work best when used by the person they were made for, but will still be very potent in another's hands. Dwarf-forged items are not common in Asgard, but a fair few gods have some of at least minor power. As far as anyone knows, none have survived on Midgard.

svartalfheim.txt · Last modified: 2013/09/23 19:14 by gm_michael
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