In their own tongue, they call themselves the DroCh. “Ch” is used to represent a voiceless uvular fricative, a sound that does not exist in the common trade languages but is common in the language of the DroCh (also known as DroChlaCh). They are an isolated people that have little contact with other races, but when that contact does occur, they are referred to as either “Dwarfs” or “Dragons”. As a species, they are an example of extreme sexual dimorphism and a resulting high degree of division of labor along the lines of sex.
The women are the ones who “bring home the bacon”, often literally. They manage vast tracks of grassland and tundra where they engage in open range ranching. Massive herds of wild beasts are carefully monitored and culled for food (the DroCh diet is almost exclusively meat). Their large size and sharp talons allow them to easily take down any of their prey species with ease. Meanwhile, their powerful wings allow them to cover large areas quickly as well as bring home their kills with little struggle.
The men are the homemakers, carving vast caverns out of mountains for the DroCh to make their nests. The region they inhabit is very cold, so a high-quality dwelling place is crucial. The men will also mine for coal to heat their homes, metal to craft tools with, and precious gems with more of an aesthetic value. Because their mining doesn’t take them far from home, they are the ones who take the lead in caring for the eggs and rearing young children. Their short stature allows them to more easily squeeze into tight mineshafts while their broad shoulders aid them in powerful swings of their pickaxes and carting rock around their mines.
Because of their reticence towards interacting with other races, most are unaware that the DroCh represent a single people. A passing glimpse of either a man or a woman does not lend itself to the assumption that they are the same species. Most of the time, interaction is limited to passing glimpses of women in the sky as they move towards their hunting grounds or men quietly entering non-DroCh settlements to try and trade their low-quality metal for exotic goods (incidentally, this is the best quality source of metal for the rest of the world).
Though it isn’t obvious to most, the common terms for the species actually share a linguistic root with the word the DroCh use to refer to themselves. It can be traced to two separate instances of the word “DroCh” entering other languages and it is assumed that in one case the source was a man and in the other a woman.
“Dwarf” originates from a kingdom close to the mountain range that the DroCh make their settlements in and it is a place where the men occasionally go to trade. Because the “Ch” sound did not exist in the local language, “DroCh” was rendered as “Drof” using the local common phonemes. This language later went through a non-rhotic phase where it became “Dwof”. Later, when the language became rhotic once more, instead of the “w” returning to being an “r”, an intrusive r was added causing the word to become “Dworf”. This is how it entered the newly forming common trade language.
Meanwhile, in another kingdom further to the north and closer to the DroCh hunting grounds, the word entered the local language there. Here, local linguistic properties rendered “DroCh” as “Drog”. Grammatical rules for the local language added the suffix “-en” due to the word being a collective noun. This combination of “Drogen” is what entered the common trade language.
Later, this trade language underwent a vowel shift causing “o” to become “a” and “e” to become “o”. So, “Dworf” and “Drogen” became “Dwarf” and “Dragon”. It is this form of the words that is still used today.
2 thoughts on “The DroCh”
This is another example of great worldbuilding. I wonder how scaly the male Droch are. Do they have scales and small horns or are they mostly covered in skin? Do the females breathe fire or have another type of weaponized breath, that they might use while hunting? The females being a lot bigger means it makes sense that male Droch areas would have high ceilings so they could accept their mates in with food. Do the males and females simply meet each other to exchange meat and rocks/ metal and have sex, or are there subcultures that interact more? Good article!
Male DroCh have skin while the females have scales. I was going for the classic appearance of the tropes while changing up a lot of the background details. The females do not have a fire breath, but as a species, they have a lot of access to fossil fuels and experience in manipulating them. They use what amounts to napalm to conduct controlled burns to drive herds and keep the grasslands clear of trees. The males and females live together. Females might leave for days at a time to hunt, but “home” for them will be living with their mates. A major part of their courtship rituals is the male showing off that they have successfully carved out a large enough domicile for them both to live in as well as providing enough coal to keep it heated.