The first passage starts with three single runes, which can be translated into the dwarven virtues.
Tenacity, Loyalty, Tradition
We crawl through rocky crevices, filling our bellows with soot. A chill kiss upon our beards, only the sounds of our bodies in our ears. Rewarded perhaps with a glimpse of glimmer, unspeakable beauty not viewable elsewhere. Toiling away, one chip at the time, hours, days, until dear mother yields her treasures. Our arms may tire, but never will our hearts. That is what it means to be dwarva.
I feel I need to clarify, dwarves use the same word for lungs as bellows, I stuck with bellows for the artistic feel of it. The mother referenced therein, most likely pertains to the earth itself. For those who have never met with a dwarven woman, it is worth pointing out, that only a handful of them sport beards, nevertheless, it isn't uncommon for female dwarves to be miners, blacksmiths or to have other strenuous professions, but it is much more prevalent among the caste-less. The word dwarva is the dwarven' name for their kind, out of respect I decided to keep the original name.
After dropping our haul, We see the welcoming lanterns. Frosty brew flows past our lips, warming all that we are. Welcoming arms and shouted merriment, we revel in the moment of community, for tomorrow we are once again apart. But still we stand together, bound by rune, bound by word, bound by blood, by clan and by walls. We may be apart, but alone we are never. We are one, and so were our fathers and mothers, and their fathers and their mothers. That is what it means to be dwarva.
Bound by rune can pertain to both laws and tradition. It should be pointed out, that the poet worked as a miner, and while this poem has become somewhat of the norm for the stereotypical dwarf that exists in the minds of most simpletons(contrary to popular belief, the dwarves have no known songs containing the lyrics, hi-ho, hi-ho), it's worth noting that not nearly all of them work in mines and drink their evenings away.
When we stand in defense of our hearths, we never falter. Even in the long sleep, we are remembered. Embraced by our mother, we are safe from all harm. And so we stand, the taste of iron in our mouths, swinging away, shields locked. A great clamour of metal and confusion. We stand, and we win, there is no other way. That is what it means to be dwarva.
The long sleep is what the dwarves call death. Once again we see references to the earth mother, worth noting is that dwarves are traditionally buried in stone coffins.Or for the caste-less and poor, cremated and honoured with a small plaque. But everyone's names, no matter the station, are recorded by the lorekeepers, first at birth with station and familial ties, any note-worthy events throughout, and finally the moment of death. To be stricken from those records is the worst punishment known to any dwarf.
The name of the poet wasn't mentioned anywhere on the runestone this was carved upon, though it was old, there were no big chunks missing, so we can conclude that the poet wished to remain anonymous. Perhaps, one may muse, because of his (or even hers!) given profession. While looked upon fondly today by any dwarf, it could be that poets and bards were not as respected among them as they are today.
It is also worth noting that the cultural values of surface dwelling dwarves are strongly influenced by other races and therefore not perfectly indicative of the cultural values held below. It is also true that most surface dwelling dwarves happens to be caste-less, even though not all of them choose to wear the tattoos. It is considered very rude to ask about such things though, I learned that the hard way.
About the Author
Matteus Carter was born the youngest of three children in the village of Eastbrook year the 23rd under the rule of his Glorious Emminence Kyron IV. His father was a humble carter, his mother a housewife. During his younger years he was apprenticed off to become a woodcutter. But alas, it was not to be. Instead, he decided to devote his life to the pursuit of knowledge, and transscribing lost lore for the betterment of future generations. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the lute and go riding (weather permitting) an accomplished equestrian, it has been said about him.
5 years of research went into transscribing this poem, using some pre-existing translations.