The Grazund Empire
The Grazund Empire once ruled over all the lakelands and beyond. The mountain-city of Grazundir united the dwarves of the Ulkesh mountains, then began to expand. The warriors of the empire first defeated the demonic forces that ruled over the humans of the Eastshore. They then marched east, toppling the heathen tyrants who ruled over the dragonborn. They taught civilisation to the elves in the north, then warred with the ancient human kingdoms beyond the deserts to the south.
Legend has it that at the height of their power, the dwarves of the empire had mastered all four of the elements, granting them great power. They were said to be undefeatable in battle, for they could call upon great magics to destroy their foes. Their legionaries wore armour of adamantine and wielded blades that could kill a dozen men with one blow.
Yet for all its power, the Grazund Empire collapsed four centuries ago. Though the dwarves refuse to speak of it, it is clear that war had broken out amongst the cities of the Ulkesh. The legions were recalled from the borderlands and did not return. The elves declared independence, driving the last dwarven troops from their territories. The humans and dragonborn remained loyal, until the Eastshore was conquered by orc hordes. The dragonborn realised that the power of the dwarves had been broken. Rather than declare independence, they instead established a new capital for the empire at Drakess, the greatest of their cities, and crowned a new emperor. The dragonborn tried to drive the orcs from the Eastshore, but had limited success. They eventually gave up, abandoning their few holdings in the region.
The Grazund Empire continues to survive in the east, in the cities of the dragonborn, though the dwarves of the Ulkesh refuse to recognise its legitimacy. The Eastshore is now divided into a number of kingdoms, ruled by the half-orc descendants of the orcs who conquered the region. The Ulkesh Mountains are now divided into over a dozen city-states, none willing to recognise the primacy of any of the others. Grazundir remains the seat of the Church of Moradin, but despite the best efforts of the Patriarch, the Church has not been able to convince the dwarves of Ulkesh to set aside their differences and unite.