When the Army of Chaos besieged the grand dwarven city of Hammerhead, capital of the Iron Dominions as their second target during the Cataclysm War, the city held out for quite a while. Eventually, however, they were overwhelmed and the survivors were forced to retreat to the central fortified core, there to await destruction. They were spared, however, by the Cataclysm, which broke the armies and sent them fleeing in every direction. The survivors of Hammerhead, however, had other problems. With too few people left to grow food, and all contact (and magic) cut off with the rest of the world, they retreated underground (a very dwarven thing to do) and sought for aid from the ruler of the Plane of Lava, Alastor, named World Judge. This plea was granted, at a cost. All the children were brought before his fiery emissaries. Those considered worthy were transformed into the vulkites, beings of elemental fire in the shape of a dwarf, free of mortal concerns such as compassion or remorse. In exchange for this sacrifice, the newly-born civilization gained access to potent fire-magics and secrets that let them survive the dark years.
For the next 100 years, they mostly dug downward. The surface was a hostile place in their minds, fit only for the lower classes and automatons to grow food on. The advent of the Hungering Frost started a second phase, when the Khaimal (for that is the name they took) started to fortify the core and build manufacturing facilities there, building incomprehensible machinery. Those that did not fit their rigidly ordered society were cast out or enslaved (often by having their souls placed in the control crystals of the automatons on which the Khaimal relied). By 211 AC, the entire city core had been transformed into a single building and a great spire had been built to redirect the sunlight (to counter the effect of the Frost), creating interior greenhouses. An outer area was created as a dead zone--anyone who entered a 1/2 mile exclusion zone without a Khaimal escort was set upon by artillery and destroyed.
Changes in 211 AC