Gendin’s Journal – Dwarven Families

a page from the journal of Gendin, son of Arissa and Temone of the dwarven Clan Gilderlo


Dwarven Families

September, 1443 AWR

I can’t count the number of times a non-dwarf asked me if dwarves are really sexless drones who are born fully adult emerging from certain stones. A few have told me it was a fact, and one storyteller claimed he had seen a dwarf being born in such a fashion. Once I heard that new dwarves are carved out of stone by existing ones. Even my hard, taciturn nature had to battle hard to keep me from laughing out loud.

This page of my journal may be published in the near future, unlike the remaining pages that will not be public until after my passing.

Dwarves have two sexes, male and female, like all other mammalian and reptilian sentient bipeds. We reproduce and raise our children in the same fashion as mammalian races.

The stories arise from the fact that very, very few non-dwarves see our women or children. They are kept carefully sheltered and protected — hidden.

Why? This arises from dwarven biology. Virtually all dwarves are fraternal twins. A dwarven woman produces two eggs in each cycle, and in the normal course of things, bears the twins. Half of the births are both male, the other have are a male and a female. Only one quarter of all births is female.

And no, there are no documented cases when the twins were both female. Why? You’ll have to ask the dwarven gods, as no mortal has a rational explanation.

As a result, only one-third of the males marry, and roughly half the population must produce enough children to fill the next generation. This is different from every other known race.

Additionally, other than elves, dwarves have the longest time to maturity, forty-three years. Even then, few marry before fifty and many do not have children until sixty.

In comparison humans are capable of reproducing at age thirteen, although in most of the human societies I’m familiar with, a more typical age for marriage is fifteen or eighteen. I have little interest in human customs, as there are so many, so I have no idea why those ages are typical. Some goblinoids start reproducing at age eight.┬áIn the competition for land and resources, dwarves cannot easily replace our people the way these races can.

For all these reasons, married dwarves and children are kept protected inside a clan’s city. This is true even when the dwarves live within a human city. Married dwarves may never come within a hundred yards of a non-dwarf.

I am told this is harsh and sexist. [I had to ask a scholar to explain that to me. It is a foreign concept.]

Our leading councils are weighted heavily in the favor of our women. Each council has representatives that speak for:

    • Children under forty-three
    • Unmarried men
    • Unmarried women
    • Married couples of child bearing age
    • Post-child bearing couples and singles

One-eight of our population is children. Of the remaining seven-eighths, one-half (married men) have one representative. Unmarried women, child bearing couples, and post-child bearing couples have a total of three.

Unmarried men are represented by a man. Of the other four representatives, typically three are women. Why? Until this moment it did not occur to me to ask that question, as the answer doesn’t matter. It is the dwarven mindset to work together for the common good. Our system of government works for us.

Non-clan dwarves do not necessarily have this mindset, but that is often the reason they are clanless.

That is our leading council, which chooses a clan patriarch as the visible leader of the clan. All dwarves that interact with outsiders are unmarried men, so obviously the patriarch is an unmarried man. If it often believed the patriarch is like a human king, as one will remain in power for decades, even centuries. This is incorrect, as the patriarch does not make laws, he carries them out, and if he’s doing a good job there is no need to replace him.

Back to why women and children are hidden:

The simple reason for this is that the clan always comes first. The married dwarves and the children are the most important thing, they are the future of the clan. We unmarried men protect that future, even if it means sacrificing our lives to ensure that future. No, none of us wants to die, but death in defense of the clan is acceptable if it is necessary.

Married dwarves’ first responsibility is raising their children. A woman is often fertile from the age of fifty to the age of two hundred fifty, and bears children every ten or fifteen years. It is common for a woman to be pregnant along with her daughter and granddaughter.

Beyond raising families, married dwarves have skills and jobs fill their time and give them extra purpose in life. Those skills and jobs consume more of their time when the child rearing years have passed and it is time for a new phase of life.

Unmarried males? One concept non-dwarves find impossible to comprehend is that we have no sex drive. It is foreign to us, and we do not truly understand the sex drive that married dwarves and other races have. We have no frame of reference to understand.

Obviously, we don’t miss it. We devote our lives to our careers and our extended families. All dwarves are taught fighting skills as tweens, although only non-married men will use those skills in the outside world. Yet professional soldiers such as myself, have skills and interests beyond the martial skills. We have very full lives, full of love and joy.

We also have our nieces and nephews. I have dozens of nieces and nephews, with some of whom I have a close blood relationship. Most are more distant relatives, and some may have no blood connection as far back as we can trace. But they are my family, regardless of bloodlines. Given that dwarves often live for more than four hundred years, it’s common for an elderly dwarf to have seven generations of nieces and nephews. These tight, interwoven bonds make the clan strong.

How do married dwarves get married if there is no sex drive? When a man and a woman make a connection — and no, I have no words to describe this as I have never felt it — they develop sexual urges and act much like lovers of every other species. I’m sure our gods understand why this is so, but then again, they made us so they should.

If it’s going to happen, it typically occurs between the ages of forty-five and sixty-five. I reach one hundred fifty years next month, so it is highly unlikely that I will ever experience it. But that has happened before, so it’s unlikely but not impossible. I don’t expect it to happen to me as my duties as Champion of Cieldren are the highest priority, but it if does? I’ll accept it as my god decrees.

My great great and then some uncle Baldor, son of Meselda and Thorin of the Clan Gilderlo, married the Elven Queen Leannah when he was my age. Yes, it is bizarre that a dwarf and elf formed a connection, but it happened.

Dwarven society is a complex thing, far more intricate than non-dwarves understand.

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