The fortress of Pax Tharkas resides on the border between the realms of Qualinesti and Thorbardin, and was erected as a symbol of peace and unity between the elves, humans and the dwarves. The name Pax Tharkas translates into Common as "Peace among Friends" or "Citadel of Peace" and symbolises the alliance forged by Kith-Kanan, leader of the Qualinesti, with the dwarves of Thorbardin and the humans of Ergoth in the Age of Dreams.
Pax Tharkas is situated in a mountain pass and prevents travellers from heading southwards into Thorbardin or northwards into Qualinesti, without traversing past the fortress first. Above the northern valley floor around the fortress lie two great walls, which had steep ramps that led to open gates that allowed the only access through the walls. Beyond the two walls lay the fortress itself, which housed two monstrous towers and were separated by a large wall manned by two large gates. Past the gates, an open courtyard opened up and extended to the very cliffs of the Tharkadan Mountains. Openings within the cliff face led into the Iron Mines of Pax Tharkas.
History of Pax Tharkas
After years of fighting between the elves, humans and dwarves during the Age of Dreams, which culminated in the vicious Kinslayer Wars, a treaty was finally called by Kith-Kanan, leader of the Qualinesti elves. The humans of Ergoth and the dwarves of Thorbardin met with Kith-Kanan and the elves, and formalised the treaty, forging what became known as the Swordsheath Scroll. In 2072 PC, construction began on a new fortress on the border between Qualinesti and Thorbardin, which would become the great fortress of Pax Tharkas. The fortress blocked the only pass between the two nations, and served to create a trade route for the two nations.
Elves and dwarves manned the fortress for the Age of Dreams and all through the Age of Might, however the Cataclysm brought great changes with it. The elves left Pax Tharkas to the dwarves and withdrew into the forests of Qualinesti, as they blamed the other races for the disappearance of the gods. The dwarves continued to maintain Pax Tharkas on their own, guarding the mountain pass into their realm.
Age of Despair
Following the Cataclysm and the defeat of the dwarves who occupied Pax Tharkas by the Army of Fistandantilus during the Dwarfgate War, Pax Tharkas was left abandoned for some time. During the War of the Lance it was claimed by a wing of the Red Dragonarmy who used it as a staging ground to launch campaigns into the settlements of Abanasinia, the elven realm of Qualinesti and also into Tarsis. The Dragon Highlord Verminaard turned Pax Tharkas into his personal headquarters, and in the early part of the war, it was here that he was defeated by the Heroes of the Lance, who infiltrated the fortress, freed the slaves and killed the highlord.
With the freeing of the slaves and death of the commanding officers of the Red Dragonarmy, Pax Tharkas was again left abandoned. The fortress bore considerable outer structural damage following the dragon fight between Matafleur and Ember, however it remained intact overall.
Secret tunnels were built by the Daergar in order to smuggle iron ore and weapons out of Thorbardin in a deal between the Red Dragonarmy and the Thane of the Theiwar. These tunnels allowed the transit of goods and people between the fortress and Thorbardin in less than a couple of hours. Just before the Battle of the Temple of the Stars, dwarves from the Klar clan found some of the entrances and collapsed them. The rest were sealed up by the retreating Red Dragonarmy.
Age of Mortals
Following the defeat of the Dragonarmies during the War of the Lance, the fortress stood desolate for a number of years. During the Age of Mortals, Pax Tharkas was again occupied by hill dwarves and exiled Mountain Dwarves, who resumed their role in manning the fortress and guarding the pass into Thorbardin. Also, exiled elves of Qualinesti joined with the dwarves there.
Areas of Pax Tharkas
- Art Gallery
- Chamber of the Chain
- Chamber of the Nursemaid
- Ember's Lair
- Iron Mines of Pax Tharkas
- Kith-Kanan's Burial Chamber
- Lord Verminaard's Chambers
- Fortress Towers
- The Great Wall
- The Annotated Dragonlance Chronicles, Autumn Twilight, p.240, 321, 374
- The Annotated Dragonlance Legends, Time of the Twins, p.50, 143
- The Annotated Dragonlance Legends, War of the Twins, p.565-567, 700, 740-741
- The Atlas of the Dragonlance World, p.32-39
- The Dargonesti, p.297-298
- Dark Thane, p.15, 24, 26-27, 312
- The Doom Brigade, p.18
- Dragonlance Campaign Setting, p.182
- Dragons of a Fallen Sun (HC), p.291-299
- DL2: Dragons of Flame, p.2-4, 10, 14, 19-29
- DL3: Dragons of Hope, p.2, 4, 9
- Dragons of the Dwarven Depths (HC), p.4, 84
- Dragons of the Dwarven Depths (PB)4, 9, 386, 450, 575
- Fistandantilus Reborn, p.47, 73
- The Gates of Thorbardin, p.11, 56, 82, 87-88
- The Inheritance, p.14, 168-169, 171
- Kendermore (Novel), p.31
- Kindred Spirits, p.4, 9, 91
- The Lioness, p.14
- The Qualinesti, p.2, 41
- The Rose and the Skull, p.276
- Stormblade, p.8, 15, 34
- The Swordsheath Scroll, p.301
- Tasslehoff's Map Pouch: Age of Mortals, 'Ansalon Map'
- Theros Ironfeld, p.232
- The Thieves' Guild (Novel), p.262
- Weasel's Luck, p.29
- War of the Lance (Sourcebook), p.126, 186-188