Thousands of years ago, Kal-Sharok was the capital of the dwarven empire. It is considered as a "great thaig" along with Orzammar and Kal'Hirol. While enjoying good trade with the Tevinter Imperium due to its proximity to the Tevinter capital of Minrathous, the seat of power was eventually moved to the current dwarven capital, Orzammar, in -1170 Ancient (25 TE) by Endrin Stonehammer during the turmoil in the Imperium following the death of the Archon Darinius but also in order to focus on the trade with the surface. Soon afterwards large construction projects started in Orzammar, while the taxes drained by Orzammar from Kal-Sharok's trade profits began to grow burdensome.
In the aftermath of the First Blight the darkspawn kept pushing underground, which virtually brought the empire to its knees. As they had to close the passages leading to most of the thaigs, in an effort to save Orzammar, High King Threestone declared lost to the horde the kingdom of Kal-Sharok as well as the kingdoms of Hormak and Gundaar in -40 Ancient (1155 TE).
In recent times, however, it has been discovered that Kal-Sharok miraculously survived the darkspawn onslaught in 9:12 Dragon, 952 years after Threestone's declaration of being lost. However, the few dwarves living there are said to be extremely reclusive and unwilling to re-establish contact with the rest of the world as well as being deeply embittered towards Orzammar for abandoning them. However, an active communication between the two remaining dwarven cities does exist, as King Endrin Aeducan is seen discussing trade contracts involving Kal-Sharok with the heads of House Meino and Bemot on the eve of the Fifth Blight. This communication is hindered however as Orzammar demands Kal-Sharok to submit to their authority, as it used to.
With far fewer resources than Orzammar and no known access to the surface, Kal-Sharok has had to do some very questionable things to survive. It is believed that when the darkspawn invaded, the kings of the old empire retreated to Kal-Sharok, where they were able to defeat the darkspawn but suffered heavy casualties. It has also been intimated that Kal-Sharok's isolation and perhaps their interaction with the darkspawn during this time may have changed them in some unknown way. Descriptions of Kal-Sharok dwarves depict them as physically different than their fellow Orzammar dwarves. They are described as being pale, and possibly "tainted" in a way that is hard to define.
It has been suggested that the isolation of Kal-Sharok after its separation from Orzammar may also not have been due to fear or disinterest but for some reason as yet unknown. Kal-Sharok dwarves apparently continued to trade with the surface during their isolation and this puts in doubt the official date of Kal-Sharok's "rediscovery" by Orzammar in the Dragon Age.
Kal-Sharok dispatches a delegation led by Lord Lyulf Azaharg to compete in the Grand Tourney of the Free Marches in the early Dragon Age, hoping to win the prize offered by its patron, the Anvilbreaker, the legendary forge hammer of Paragon Zardol, the Weaponsfather.
Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age II
Dragon Age: Inquisition
In 9:41 Dragon the dwarves of Kal-Sharok involve themselves with the Inquisition. They first come into contact with the Inquisition via the Dwarven Slaves in Venatori Hands war table mission, during which the Inquisitor decides to free dwarves being held captive by the Venatori. However, upon reaching the slave camp, the Inquisition agents realize that the dwarves were already freed, for Kal-Sharok sent their own agents to rescue their people.
The dwarves then contact the Inquisition directly, saying that they will help the fight against Corypheus if he is the one who brought on the taint and thus the darkspawn. They will send An Offer of Help, on Their Terms, with the location of a Venatori camp close to Kal-Sharok in the Deep Roads.The Dwarven Merchants' Guild sent emissaries to Kal-Sharok, but they have heard no news from the delegation since, which makes the Guild doubtful that they will find them alive.
Trading With Kal-Sharok
My approach was carefully observed. This was not a thaig unused to watching its boundaries. I got the impression that if I'd been one of his Orzammar cousins, our meeting would've been swift and bloody. That is, if I'd been allowed to find the passage at all. As it was, he was polite and efficient, and he knew well the current market for everything he offered. Clearly their isolation is not because of fear, and certainly not disinterest. Among his wares, I saw the latest fabrics of Val Royeaux and volumes by a Free Marcher poet three centuries dead. This only added to my doubt of the official year of Kal-Sharok's "rediscovery" as declared by the Assembly of Orzammar. I didn't mention this to my host. As curious as I was, there was an undercurrent I found unsettling. I must stress that he and his helpers were professional and honest throughout. But there was something I can't describe. While he remained hooded the entire time, he looked me square in the eye when our deal was struck, unashamed.I lived through a time of Blight. I've felt the gaze of a Grey Warden and seen the corruption of his prey. Why I remembered both in that moment, I still can't explain.
The centuries of isolation endured by Kal-Sharok after its separation from Orzammar has caused the thaig to develop in a far different way from Orzammar. Where the influence of surface races and culture have affected Orzammar's culture and development to a certain extent, the same is not the case with Kal-Sharok. Both thaigs share the same base language but Kal-Sharok dwarves speak with a regional dialect that reflects language far less impacted by interaction with outsiders. Outsiders are only slowly being allowed into the secretive thaig.
Kal-Sharok does not recognize the Paragons of Orzammar, and Orzammar likewise does not recognize Kal-Sharok's Paragons. In Kal-Sharok Paragons are not rendered as giant statues as in Orzammar, but as massive posthumous wall carvings that span lengths of the Deep Roads. Additionally, Kal-Sharok Paragons are nominated based on their promised deeds and not on past deeds.
While Kal-Sharok diverges from Orzammar in many ways, the thaigs share the concept of the Legion of the Dead. Kal-Sharok's unit is known as the Rock-Knockers, a less stoic version of the Legion of the Dead, and less committed to inevitable death, honorable or not.
The King of Orzammar is not recognized in Kal-Sharok in any official capacity. In Kal-Sharok the highest elected government office is known as the Paragon-Elect. The thaig does not have a king.
In matters of day-to-day life, Kal-Sharok also places far less importance on castes than Orzammar and members of the Kal-Sharok Assembly can be drawn from any family, not solely from influential noble families as in Orzammar.
The Assembly of Kal-Sharok meets in the Sharokovar thaig.
The dwarves of Kal-Sharok speak an unusual form of the dwarven tongue. Few examples of this dialect exist. An example of Kal-Sharok's language appears in a letter, demonstrating words in common between the languages of Kal-Sharok and Orzammar:
"Kalnath-par Kallak, Kalnath-gat Parthas."
Translation: "Family through war, family into peace."
Known Kal-Sharok dwarves
- Binthus Warhelm Kal-Sharok: A contact for the Inquisition.
- Lyulf Azaharg
- Novas Sturhald: A Kal-Sharok merchant.
- Paragon-Elect Sturhald-Sharok
Related war table missions