Dwarves generally live in City-States underground, clustered around resources. While individual city-states can vary widely in their cultural celebrations and traditions, they generally follow the model laid out below.
Each kingdom, or stad in Dwarven, is overseen by a ruling body of dwarves, called the Otenfar, with each individual member given the honorific title, Ota. Overseeing the Otenfar is the king or queen, called the mbret or mbretere respectively. Positions are passed down from parent to eldest child, regardless of gender. Generally, the Otenfar governs the country, only seeking the input of the Mbret to settle ties or for matters of great importance, but the Mbret is an absolute monarch, and if they hand down a decree, it must be followed.
Outside of the the Otenfar, most governance is handled at the family level. If someone has committed a crime, the eldest member of their family, called a Tev is held responsible, and punished. Crime and punishment from one family member to another, however, is considered to be family business, and the rest of the City-State does not involve themselves, except in the case of Murder.
Since Dwarven pregnancies are long, and arduous for the mother, murdering any dwarf is considered a capital crime against her. A dwarf who commits a murder is forced to make a vow before the Altar of Varsera that they will give their firstborn child to the family of their victim, in recompense.
International Relations Edit
Most Dwarves despise going above-ground, and dislike having to negotiate with the more spacious and populous surface kingdoms. As such, they will band together into a Velk-Otenfar. These are alliances between multiple city-states, that agree to negotiate as a whole with outsiders. Velk-Otenfar are formed for different topics, like religious matters, economic matters, defense matters, etcetera. Each will have a handful of ambassadors from within their ranks, that are sent to the surface nations to handle foreign policy.
Most dwarven families specialize in some kind of trade. Children born into the family are given extensive training in the subject, and will not cease working it, unless they marry into another family after their Kiezen. Generally, dwarven families will focus on a trade revolving around whatever resources are near their home.
Dwarves are stereotypically known for their mining, smithing, and metalworking abilities, but they engage in far more than these.
Dwarven Life Edit
Every dwarven birth is met with great celebration. A typical dwarven pregnancy lasts two years, but it is not unheard of for them to last up to three, if the mother is 'particularly stubborn'. All dwarven children are born sexless, and given a pet name that will last until their Kiezen. These names are generally diminutives of their parents' names, or terms of endearment. At whatever age their particular stad has deemed 'adulthood', the child will present themselves to the Kahin, or priest of the Dwarven God, Kovar, for their Kiezen, a mysterious ritual during which the child selects which gender they will be, and they receive the functioning genitalia for it. From this point, their roles in life change, depending on the one they select, or if they select none at all. The Kahin are, to the last, sex and genderless, and most who choose this path become a Kahin as well. The Kiezen ends with the dwarf being reintroduced to the stad under their new name, which follows the format [Stad-name] [Family Name] [Personal Name]
Courtship and Marriage Edit
After the Kiezen, those who chose to be women are seperated from their families for a time, and instructed in the care and keeping of their bodies, while their families begin searching for a husband. Dwarven marriage and Human marriage are different, in that Dwarven marriage is not binding in any sense other than the procreation of children. One famed dwarven heroine, Gilgyth Belvir Beatrix, had no less than ten lovers, but only had children with her husband, Handiak Zakil Eienaar.
The search for a husband begins with the Otenfar. The member of the Otenfar who best represents the family will announce that the others that the young woman in question is available for marriage. If the woman is considered of sufficiently high rank, this information may also be sent to other members of the Velk-Otenfar. Representatives will return to their homes, and notify their constituencies of the young dwarf's availability.
After the woman has finished her time learning of her body, her family will hold a party. Most Stads will hold multiple at once, turning it into a large festival. Young, unmarried men will come from all over to meet these young women, and see if they take a liking to any of the women in question.
Courtship from this point is rather dull. Letters are exchanged between the Tevs of both families, seeing if some sort of trade agreement can be reached. As much value is placed on children, a woman is often worth quite a bit of money to a family, and astronomical prices have been paid for a bride. It should also be noted that this is one of the few matters in dwarven society where the final say-so rests with the bride in question, and not her Tev. If she doesn't like someone, the match doesn't proceed, regardless of the riches offered.
If no one pleases the woman in question, or in much rarer instances, no one is interested in marrying her, the woman's life continues on. She may, from time to time, attend a festival and see if she can find any takers, but usually she will remain at home, having children when and with whom she pleases.
Dwarven Marriages bear little resemblance to human ones. The Dwarf woman continues to live with her family until her first successful birth, at which time, she and her child move in with her husband's family. At that point, the marriage is considered performed, and everyone moves on with their lives, and work.