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Emdief, sometimes called Emdief Twiceborn, was a dwarf and former Overseer of Steelhold.



Emdief Twiceborn

Race Dwarf

Male (First Life)

Female (Second Life)

Both? (Ghost)


Tinker (First Life)

Guardian of the Revolution (Second Life)



Rhaken's Gang (Former)

Marble Faction (Current)



Emdief was an engineer in the mountainhomes known for his fine mechanisms. At some point, he married Derroth, although they became estranged before the later's conviction. Emdief was contracted by a group of nobles to construct mechanisms for immoral medical experiments which involved forcibly replacing bodyparts of unconscious dwarves with prosthetics - which considering the state of dwarven medicin went about as well as you would expect. Although not convicted, Emdief was encouraged to leave town lest he suffer an unfortunate accident involving some stairs and a knife. Emdief latched on to a passing carvan. Unfortunately for him, it led straight to Steelhold - and he wasn't going to be able to leave for a long while.

At some point before Steelhold, Emdief constructed a thaumometer. Although the Masked Dwarf and the Fractal Entity both recognized the device, Emdief sincerely believed his was the first of its kind. Much like the thaumometer itself, little is known about this.

Rhaken's Gangster

Upon arriving at the fort in 255, Emdief originally attempted to stay out of the way and earn enough to live comfortably. However, once his thaumometer began detecting large quantities of magic, he decided he needed protection and attatched himself to Rhaken's Gang, which required an engineer.

Emdief grew increasingly loyal to Rhaken as the schemes of the magic users became more apparent, eventually enlisting in his military as an archer and commanding his own squad of marksdwarves/engineers. Emdief also took part in study and dismantling Lenehan's machine, and helping to plot the transition of power from Rhaken to a triumvirate of Rhaken, himself and the FractalEntity. However, the Masked Dwarf interfered, rendering Rhaken an invalid and Emdief permanently shaken. Emdief was subsequently killed during Fractal's reign under uncertain circumstances.

Twiceborn & Overseer

Emdief was subsuquently reincarnated as a woman. During his dead period, Emdief's being was apparently substantially changed; now naturally repelling/detecting magic and occasionally holding covernsations with the spirits of other departed dwarves, Emdief began plotting his/her revenge.

Eventually, Emdief was able to harness a wave of discontent in the fortress to overthrow and execute Fractal (or so she thought). Thus began a massive effort to resecure the fortress, as the defenses had been effectively dismantled by the previous overseer. Rebuiliding and modifying Steelhold's defenses, alongside concerted efforts to improve living conditions, took a tole on Emdief's already strained mind. Eventually, she withdrew from fortress society altogether, leaving the fortress in the hands of Corley.

Death & Post-Mortem

Emdief was killed again during Corley's reign in a training accident involving a live goblin. Since her former body was already occupying her tomb, she went unburied.

After Corley dug into Hell, Emdief came back from the dead as a terrifying half-male half-female spectre. From beyond the grave Emdief instructed the dwarves to construct a trap consisting of numerous retracting spikes to combat the demons. However, due to the entrance to the tunnels containing the hellspawn mysteriously opening and closing, one demon managed to enter the fort and kill/chase away the workers, leaving the project a failure. Emdief's ghost has not been seen recently as Asmoth had a memorial engraved, banishing it from the world again.

Fall of Steelhold

Emdief's ghost returned once again and possessed Uristador's body during the Fall of Steelhold. He used this time to hunt down and mortally wound Oku Constructcudgel before succumbing to his wounds and dying for a third time. His reappearance was most likely unrelated to the appearance of the other ex-overseers, as his inherent magic-repelling nature seemed to deanimate them when he drew near.

After the fall of Steelhold, Emdief was reputed to be the avatar of a god or a god from some unknown pantheon himself, or even the incarnation of Armok in the flesh. The fact that he was dubiously moral in method, half mad and extremely gender confused never seems to figure into the legends somehow.

Post Steelhold

Emdief is still existent by the time the fortress Demongate was founded, but whether or not the entity is still the same dwarf that lived in Steelhold is debatable. Time has eroded much of Emdief's former personality, and he/she likens himself to a mere tool used by Armok. Emdief is currently employed by Armok, and spends time floating in oblivion when not being used to implement his will. The latest sighting of Emdief involved his assassination of Queen Brasswords; utilizing his latest creation, the Bloodkin queen was removed from reality.


Emdief's personality has fluctuated wildly throughout his/her presence within the story. In fact, the only constants between his/her multiple lives have been an infatuation with engineering and a pathological hatred of magic and magic users. Since his first death, the spirits of past Overseers have continously been whispering into his/her mind - this is, surprisingly, actually supernatural influence and not a symptom of madness.

In his first incarnation, Emdief was a reserved, pragmatic individual. Emdief was noted as being highly mercenary, selling his services to the bidder that could best ensure his continued survival and comfort. Emdief was not very emotional during this life, but as it drew to a close Emdief became increasingly paranoid. This, however, might have been justified, as it's well established that the magic users were conspiring against him and Rhaken.

In his second life, Emdief's personality became increasingly distorted as her host body's emotions could not be controlled. In addition to this new volatility, Emdief started to manifest symtoms of OCD, at one point abandoning her revolution to make an artifact mechanism and attempting against all reason to clear the fort entirely of litter. Emdief's motivation drained as time went on, becomming distant and withdrawn. This absent-mindedness may have contributed to her eventual death in a training accident.

Following his return as a ghost, Emdief's personality has reverted somewhat to its original state. Emdief appears to have given up asserting his independence and accepted his role as a tool of Steelhold's former Overseers. However, his hatred for magic has now started to grow so intense that he willingly risks his life to combat it, something his original incarnation would have found unthinkable. Emdief also seems to feel legitimate remourse for those killed at Steelhold, again far different from when he arrived at the fortress.