Know Your Lore: The Anvilmar line
Dwarves today are ruled by a Council of Three Hammers, representing the Dark Iron, Bronzebeard and Wildhammer clans. Yet, in truth, none of these clans deserve to rule. Indeed, none of these clans have ever deserved to rule Ironforge. All three are traitors to the true line of Kings, the true family that held the title of High King first among the Dwarven people. The War of Three Hammers that divided Ironforge, the civil war that led to the foundation of Thaurissan and Grim Batol was a war of traitor against traitor, and one thing is clear — No Bronzebeard, no Dark Iron, and no Wildhammer ruled in Ironforge before it was waged.
The greatest High King of the Dwarves was not of any of these clans.
He was Modimus Anvilmar, and his descendants would see their rightful place stolen from them. Rather than continue the strife and further divide their people, they instead accepted the rule of the Bronzebeard usurpers, and simply carried on caring for their people and their responsibilities from their position in the Ironforge Senate. Anvilmars have defended Ironforge ever since. To this day, Anvilmars have fought to preserve their people and even followed the orders of kings who should have been their servants.
Let Moira Bronzebeard agitate for her son, Dagan Thaurissan II, to rule. Anvilmars know the truth — the true heir to Modimus lives on, and as long as an Anvilmar draws breath, the only rightful king of Ironforge is no Bronzebeard, no Dark Iron, and no Wildhammer.
The End of the Beginning
From the time of its founding, the Dwarves of Ironforge slowly fragmented into three large clans which contended for power and position over the city. The Anvilmar line wasn’t really of any of these clans, although the Bronzebeard line claimed blood relations with them. Thus, they spent many years cementing their rule by diplomacy. And this worked well, for a time. Sadly, the prosperity and peace created by the long and prosperous rule of Modimus Anvilmar ultimately ended that diplomacy.
In these days all Dwarves were considered part of one clan, the Ironforge clan, and the clans we have today were originally families within that clan, and those who followed them. The Anvilmars were hereditary leaders of the Ironforge clan, and as such they had no special loyalty to any of the clans that had arisen after the foundation of Ironforge.
While times were hard, none of the clans could focus on their ancient quarrels with each other. But Modimus led Ironforge wisely and well, and in that time, giddy minds had no other distractions from how much they believed all would be better if their clan held sway over all of Ironforge. Their hostility increased, held in check by the High King as best he could. Indeed, when Modimus finally succumbed to old age no one could foresee what would come next. After all, the High King had an heir, ready and waiting to be crowned.
Instead, war erupted
The War of the Three Hammers is still hotly debated. The Bronzebeards and Wildhammers blame the Dark Irons for starting it, the Dark Irons claim it was the Wildhammers. However, while the Bronzebeards and Wildhammers may agree on who started it, they certainly didn’t mind fighting each other as much as they did the Dark Irons. The war soon raged across every part of Ironforge, and the Anvilmars were forced to stand and watch as their kingdom was torn asunder in internecine war, until finally the Bronzebeards leveraged their population as the most numerous clan, and the one that made up most of the army, and managed to push both the Dark Irons and the Wildhammers out. As the victor, Madoran Bronzebeard was the de facto ruler of Ironforge. He certainly wasn’t going to turn over the throne to the son of Modimus Anvilmar after he’d killed so many of the Dark Irons and Wildhammers to get it.
And so he offered the rightful King of Ironforge a permanent set on the Senate, a sop meant to appease those few loyalists left who might have backed the Anvilmars. What surprised many was that the Anvilmars took the deal. But in the end, it wouldn’t have benefited the fragmented kingdom to have more war just to place a king on the throne of a nation that simply hadn’t wanted to remain united. Khardos Wildhammer and his clan were gone off to found Grim Batol, the Dark Irons had decamped to the Redridge Mountains where they would build a city named for the Sorcerer-Thane Thaurissan, the united Ironforge clan was dead. Rather than fight for no purpose, the Anvilmars settled into their new role as defenders of Ironforge and their people.
After They Were Kings
The war eventually continued, with Thaurissan waging a combined struggle against the Bronzebeards in Ironforge and the Wildhammers in Grim Batol, resulting in that city being cursed by Thaurissan’s wife Modgud. This ultimately led to the destruction of Thaurissan’s city and the enslavement of the Dark Irons by Ragnaros, and the alliance of the Bronzebeard and Wildhammer clans to stop the Dark Iron advances led to peace between those two clans. The Anvilmars remained as they’d become, however. And for centuries they served as Senators and in defense of their people. By the time of the First War, two brothers, Hjalmar and Thargas Anvilmar were the last descendants of Modimus and both fought fiercely to defend their human allies.
At present only Thargas remains of the Anvilmars. Hjalmar gave his life to prevent the destruction of the Thandol Span by a Dark Iron raid, and Thargas aided Varian Wrynn in his return to Stormwind and battle against Onyxia. At present, having served Magni Bronzebeard faithfully Thargas is a Senator of Ironforge, as the title is hereditary — he has served as a representative of Ironforge to the Alliance at least twice, when Gilneas was petitioning for admittance and during the Horde blockade of Kalimdor in the aftermath of the city being destroyed by the mana bomb.
The Anvilmar Legacy
Even after the petrification of Magni Bronzebeard and the rise of the Council of Three Hammers, Thargas has made no move to attempt to supplant it. While he could certainly argue the hereditary right, none of the three clans would likely support him, because while his family lives in Ironforge they are the last remnant of a time when all Dwarves were of one clan, a living link to a past that was destroyed by the three clans and their war. Still, while Thargas lives, the Anvilmar line endures, and the Anvilmars are the true High Kings of all the Dwarven people.
Today the Anvilmar line is honored by the people of Ironforge — the large statue of Modimus greets all visitors to the city beneath the mountain, and many young Dwarves pass through Anvilmar itself, the settlement named after the family. Both Hjalmar and Thargas have fought to defend Ironforge many times, and while one could argue that Ironforge proved disloyal to the Anvilmars, the Anvilmars never proved disloyal to Ironforge.
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