- “Drink deep of the ale while it's still cold.
Marvel at the breadth of the hall.
Once you couldn't move for the host.
The Stone now embraces them all.” ―Shaper Tole
The dwarves believe that they are the Children of the Stone, born of the earth itself. According to Shaper Czibor, this veneration of the Stone has been practiced for two thousand years by the dwarves. They refer to the Stone as "she". Being practical, the dwarves venerate her, but do not worship her as a god. The Stone is believed to be a living and a shifting entity with a will that surrounds and guides the dwarves. She supports them, shelters them, and offers them the most priceless gifts of the earth, such as ore, gems, and lyrium.
Influence of the Stone
Dwarves experience a unique and all-encompassing relationship to their progenitor, the Stone. They are born of it, they serve it in their deeds, and they feel its impact upon their lives in many ways. In Orzammar, the Shapers who maintain written records in lyrium are said to document the Stone. Dwarves from the mining caste are able to find lyrium veins by ear and some of them claim that they hear the Stone sing. Before the darkspawn, the Stone once held an empire—dozens of thaigs—and according to the dwarves, the Archdemons are sleeping deep within the very Stone itself. The dwarves who fight the darkspawn, including the Legion of the Dead, are believed to fight for her.
Dwarves who live underground possess an ability called "Stone sense". This ability provides subterranean navigation and dwarves believe that it is derived from their connection to the Stone. Amongst dwarves, Shapers reportedly possess remarkable Stone sense.
The dwarves who leave the Stone's embrace to live on the surface are so reviled by their brethren that their caste and status is lost and their deeds forever removed from the Memories. The only exception to this rule are the Grey Wardens. In fact subterranean dwarves are so wary of losing their connection to the Stone that their embassies in Tevinter are underground and the dwarves never step out of them. Similarly the underground port of Daerwin's Mouth in the Storm Coast is built beneath the coastal cliffs.
Return to the Stone
Dwarves entomb their dead to return them to the Stone. Nobles and Paragons are entombed in vast and elaborate crypts while commoners are encased within stone cairns. Dwarves of lesser caste are buried in mausoleums in which the dead from many houses are interred together. Failing that, they are buried in the dirt, though this is never ideal.
The soul of the worthy who were not blind to the Stone's influence and lived by her are believed to return to and to rest in the Stone after the words of a ritual are said. In death their spirits become part of the Ancestors who guide and care for their descendants for eternity as well as make the Stone stronger. and believe that the victors of the Provings are favored by the Ancestors who "speak" by showing their favor. The most worthy, the Paragons who are the greatest examples of lives spent in service to fellow dwarves, are believed to join with the Stone in life and to become the living Ancestors.
The unworthy such as the casteless or surface dwarves are said to be outright rejected by the Stone so that their failings may not weaken her. Even during their lifetime, the surface dwarves lose their connection to the Stone. The spirits that are rejected by the Stone are believed to be unable to rest, and after their death they become rock wraiths or other restless and often malevolent spirits wandering remote caverns.
Dwarves believe that the Stone is not pure, for she bears a corruption as old as balance. For the dwarves to prosper the gangue — the waste and unstable rock — must be cut away from the raw Stone. Each dwarf must carve the worst of themselves away, but the Legion of the Dead bears a unique responsibility to protect the Stone herself from the darkness that afflicts her. The gangue can also be translated from Old Dwarven as "impure spirit-of-the-stone" and manifests as demons bound into the rock.
- The dwarven notion of the Stone doesn't contradict the idea that a creator might have created the Stone itself. Dwarves just don't believe that. However, according to the Chantry, the Maker did not create the dwarves.
- Tug's axe in Leliana's Song DLC has the phrase "The Stone lives beneath Orlais" engraved on it. The same phrase is repeated by the Nexus Golem in Dragon Age II.
See alsoCodex entry: Dwarven Faith Codex entry: The Shaper's Life Codex entry: The Gangue Shade Codex entry: Demons of the Stone Strength of Stone