Dwarves have lived in these hills since well before the Great Migrations a millennium ago. Treated as an extension of the legendary dwarven kingdoms of the Lortmils at their height, there has been a dwur prince in these foothills long before there ever was a human king in Niole Dra. These dwarven lords protected the wealth and resources of the southern Ulek hills for ages, establishing their lonely halls in the earth and interacting little with the native Flan who inhabited the flatlands. This remained true until the Suel and Oeridians came together in the central valleys to found Keoland. These newcomers treated well with nonhumans at the fringes of their kingdom, reaching out to them in friendship and alliance. When the other Ulek states were incorporated as provinces of the expanding nation, the dwarven prince followed suit and founded a nation, accepting a seat in Niole Dra and settlers from Keoland to administer on behalf of the realm.
The principality and its lords dealt with its Keoish neighbor well, if somewhat indifferently, until the coronation of Prince Olinstaad Corond in 281 CY. This dynamic young lord of the dwur moved his capital from the ancient city of Havenhill to his birthplace south in the city of Gryrax. When Tavish I of Gradsul took the throne of Keoland in 286 CY, the dwarven prince found in the king a like-minded individual. Within a handful of years, an alliance between the two sovereigns produced an invasion and conquering of the Pomarj, which was granted to Corond as a subfief to administer for the throne. From Olinstaad, Tavish gained the use of Ulek's heavy elite infantry, which he employed in the southern campaign to annex the region between the Hool Marches and Jeklea Bay; the latter eventually became the Hold of the Sea Princes.
It was no secret that Prince Corond, alone among the Ulek lords, was an enthusiastic supporter of the Keoish throne and its ambitions. When Corond refused to disavow the Wealsun Proclamation of Tavish II, his relationship with the other Ulek states soured. This state continued until the incompetence of Tavish's successors forced him to acknowledge the collapse of the empire and withdraw his support.
After the Pomarj fell to the nonhumans in the aftermath of the Hateful Wars a few decades later, the prince made every effort to succor his former subjects and liegemen in the Pomarj. While he rescued thousands of refugees by engaging his eastern border across the Jewel River, he could not conquer and hold any of of the old baronies of the Pomarj from the invaders for very long. A status quo developed over the last century, with the Principality of Ulek maintaining the frontline against the hosts of the Pomarj, receiving aid and support from its northern neighbors in the Country of Ulek and Celene. The rise of Turrosh Mak upset that balance, and the Principality suffered the brunt of the attack when the half-orc and his forces crossed the Jewel and pushed back Corond's forces nearly to the eastern edge of the hills, almost threatening Havenhill until the onslaught was brought to a stance in 585 CY.
The prince has ruled for more then three centuries and is an aging but able sovereign. He has seen the rise and fall of Keoland's brief empire and has survived the bloody Hateful Wars with the orcs of the Pomarj in the last century. The Orcish Empire of the Pomarj now holds a large portion of the open land to the east between the hills and Jewel River. The ground is in active contention by the principality and is by no means conceded to the invaders, but Prince Corond has been desperate for an edge to help him defeat the orcs and goblins of the Pomarj. In 586 CY, an alliance with the Knights of Luna produced a counteroffensive that recovered some of this land.
It is rumored that Corond recently reached out to the Lordship of the Isles for assistance in the form of trade, which caused great consternation in Gradsul and Irongate. Ships flying the colors of the Lordship of the Isles visited Gryrax during most of 591 CY; such trade is expected to greatly increase this year.