Phantomdaggers strode into the Age of Heroes under the guidance of the last surviving elder, Evan Dunestorches. Evan is known for dealing harshly with high nobility and low peasantry alike. Due to the "mysterious" deaths of barons and other rulers (before the king settled there, Phantomdaggers was regarded as a Barony and then a County), in time the fortress came to have six baroness/countess consorts.
The greatest danger to the underground metropolis came in its infancy. For those too young to recall the bitter attacks and subversions of the Jaundiced Vice, it was ruled over from the citadel of Seducedbrute where the vile demon Ostru made his home. Two other fortresses there were, the Bastion of Malice and the Citadel of Hate, and from these, hordes of goblins assaulted all of the kingdom. The ten year-long Searing Assault on Phantomdaggers, most famously defended against by master mason Benjamin in the Assaults of Craziness, took a toll upon the fortress. The Jaundiced Vice was irreperably maimed after this all-out attack, leading to its eventually demise.
Several issues have impacted the vast halls over the past few years since, yet each time the dwarves overcame them magnanimously. Worst of these, in the year 49 of the Age of Legends, a plague of cats threatened to throw the fortress into disarray. Dwarves of all walks of life could be seen hoarding newborn cats in their quarters and in their overcoats, while simultaneously insisting to the mayor that something be done about the overpopulation. The butcher tried in vain to separate the cats from their owners, only to be met with dwarven terror that a favourite pet would become tomorrow’s supper. Today scholars believe that the breed of cats which once dwelled in Phantomdaggers was a manipulative parasite, which produced unyielding feelings of attachment in certain dwarves through a specialized musk gland. Luckily, the mayor was not susceptible to the animals, and set up a euthanasia clinic. It was never called anything of the sort, of course, but nevertheless served its purpose well. The clinic functioned thusly: dwarves would be drafted auspiciously into a new “emergency militia” to deal with the cat issue. They would be stationed in a room with numerous automated spike traps in the floor and the dwarves would be tolden the correct path to trod to avoid impalement. Their beloved cats meanwhile, would follow them into the death chamber, only to be quickly dispatched.
Likewise, problems from without threatened the fortress as well. In the year 52, the constant disappearances of caravans affected on the mentally deficient elves prompted the druid circle to send a diplomat to investigate. Cata Fuitylords by name, never was he permitted to speak to the merchants of the city. He did however insist to those who guarded his quarters that the woodsmen impose a quota of logs upon themselves in the coming year. Like most dwarves who ever set foot inside the fortress, he was drowned. Instead of a caravan, an elven war party arrived in the area in the following year. Fruitylords, it seems, was the beloved nephew of the elf king. Their soldiers sneaked into the fortress and past the traps, but the alarm was sounded by the trusty war dogs . Bearing only wooden weapons and armour, the elves were easy targets once they made their first strike. For some time afterwards the craftsmen busily whittled some of the finest elf bone bolts and crafts ever seen to date.
As you may see, the problems faced by Phantomdaggers after the first nine years were no less numerous, yet fell far short of the gravity of earlier dangers. Gone were the horrours of the deep, yet still remained the precious adamantine of the glowing pits. Slain were the local goblins, but now their iron contributes to the massive steel forges. The dwarvish ingenuity and industry only increased with time.
Perhaps the secret to the fortress’s continuing success is that even the less respectable professions have their adherents. Truly, Phantomdaggers now supplies half the kingdom with foodstuff and the end products of once living things. And the brewery! Though it is yet a secret what plants they use, the “sunshine” brew is the most popular in all the land. And now the tower cap farm in the deeps surpasses that of the old capital in Ezum Cenath. But most importantly, Phantomdaggers is one of the precious few sources of raw adamantine. New pockets continue to be found almost yearly. Any waste of the material is seen as an insult to all those killed at the massacre in the pit, most of all to elder Joshua.
Alas! His death was unjust and came long before his time. If Joshua can be said to have had a fault, it might only be that he loved riches of the earth too much. Benjamin likewise had a lust for beauty. The great hall stands as a testament to his dedication, but also his singlemindness. Dwarves I have interviewed say that this great dwarf scarcely saw the sun the entire time he worked upon Phantomdaggers. His love of the beauty trapped within every stone made him unable to see the gathering storm of political intrigue that nearly brought down the the stones of the vault. Perhaps only they who love control, such as Evan, will survive at the reins of the birth of a mountainhome. This I know: though the elders may have placed importance on vastly different things, such as the mineral riches below, the beauty of the great hall, or that of a masterpiece in dwarven steel, they all took pride in the work of their own hands.
-Deler Bunemustuth, Philosopher
Twentieth of Slate, fifth year of the Age of Heroes