The Mines, the Lines, or the Fines

As a people besieged, the dwarves of the Halls of Remembrance and Jarlsmount, are centered, as a culture, around the notion of service. This ought not to be interpreted as a dwarvish version of human feudal governmental systems, but rather of a fierce egalitarianism that encourages a spirit of communal togetherness while also demanding that each member of society give their all to the project at hand.

As such, upon reaching the age of majority, all dwarves are given a choice: they may work in the mines for 15 years, soldier in the Jarl’s army for five years, or pay a the mulct, a fine of 1000 gold. Once their term of service is up, they are free to do as they like (within the bounds of the law, of course). Dwarves may stay in the professions they served in – this is how most of the mine management and military officer corps are recruited. They may start families, open businesses, move topside, etc. They are rewarded with lodging that is legally their’s (though it is technically leased from the Jarl). They also have limited access to restricted resources, and receive a loan of 250 gold with which to start their new lives. The loan has a very low interest rate, with debt forgiveness after 30 years – if a dwarf can’t pay back the loan in that time, then it is widely assumed that they are no good at making money, and are a rather poor dwarf indeed. Service also guarantees free healthcare for all, education for the young, and care for the elderly who have no children to do so.

Those who pay the fine get the benefits of being able to start families, businesses, and freedom of movement. They do not get the social services benefits (aside from free education for their children) as it is assumed they are wealthy enough to not have to labor for basic necessities. The fines are, in fact, used to fund the social services. The system is sustained by the decent sized upper-middle class and noble families of Jarlsmount.

Those who are not native to the Jarlsmount, whether dwarvish or otherwise, may attain citizenship by undergoing the same system. As the majority of the still existing Creation Forges are in the Jarlsmount, any Wallmaker created there must undergo the trials of service. The only exceptions are those whose creation is paid for. At that point, they must serve the one who paid for their creation as an indentured servant for five years.

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