Dragon Age - The Wandering Blades
Kal-Sharok is a thaig and one of the remaining dwarven kingdoms in Thedas. The capital lies deep beneath the Hunterhorn Mountains, between Orlais and the Anderfels.
Thousands of years ago, Kal-Sharok was the capital of the dwarven empire. It is considered as a “great thaig” along with Orzammar and Kal’Hirol. While enjoying good trade with the Tevinter Imperium due to its proximity to the Tevinter capital of Minrathous, the seat of power was eventually moved to the current dwarven capital, Orzammar, in -1170 Ancient (25 TE) during the turmoil in the Imperium following the death of the Archon Darinius but also in order to focus on the trade with the surface. Soon afterwards large construction projects started in Orzammar, while the taxes drained by Orzammar from Kal-Sharok’s trade profits began to grow burdensome.
In the aftermath of the First Blight the darkspawn kept pushing underground, which virtually brought the empire to its knees. As they had to close the passages leading to most of the thaigs, in an effort to save Orzammar, High King Threestone declared lost to the horde the kingdom of Kal-Sharok as well as the kingdoms of Hormak and Gundaar in -40 Ancient (1155 TE).
In recent times, however, it has been discovered that Kal-Sharok miraculously survived the darkspawn onslaught in 9:12 Dragon, 952 years after Threestone’s declaration of being lost. However, the few dwarves living there are said to be extremely reclusive and unwilling to re-establish contact with the rest of the world as well as being deeply embittered towards Orzammar for abandoning them. However, an active communication between the two remaining dwarven cities does exist, as King Endrin Aeducan is seen discussing trade contracts involving Kal-Sharok with the heads of House Meino and Bemot in eve of the Fifth Blight. This communication is hindered however as Orzammar demands Kal-Sharok to submit to their authority, as it used to.
With far fewer resources than Orzammar and no known access to the surface, Kal-Sharok has had to do some very questionable things to survive. It is believed that when the darkspawn invaded, the kings of the old empire retreated to Kal-Sharok, where they were able to defeat the darkspawn but suffered heavy casualties. It has also been intimated that Kal-Sharok’s isolation and perhaps their interaction with the darkspawn during this time may have changed them in some unknown way. Descriptions of Kal-Sharok dwarves depict them as physically different than their fellow Orzammar dwarves. They are described as being pale, and possibly “tainted” in a way that is hard to define.
It has been suggested that the isolation of Kal-Sharok after its separation from Orzammar may also not have been due to fear or disinterest but for some reason as yet unknown. Kal-Sharok dwarves apparently continued to trade with the surface during their isolation and this puts in doubt the official date of Kal-Sharok’s “rediscovery” by Orzammar in the Dragon Age.