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Threetoe's Stories, and Analysis

Dwarven Servitude

By Threetoe

The sun burned high in the sky. The shadow cast by the tower of Temple Cylicus stretched across the city falling on a tiny hovel. Inside the dwarf children played. They moved intricate metal playing pieces across a wooden board. When a piece was captured, a dwarf child would take it apart and combine it with other captured parts to make a new machine. Their father approached from his room. He gazed out the window at the tower. The children winced as he once again recounted how the Holy Emperor had wronged their people.

Long ago the dwarves had been driven from their mountain home by Naroth the wizard and his evil goblins. The men of Gornar hospitably took them in. The ruler of Gornar had different motives. The Holy Emperor knew the dwarves could be used to fuel the industry of the city. If they could not be persuaded, they would be coerced. And so it was that the dwarves became enslaved.

A metal hand crushed the copper cup as if it were made of paper. The ancient emperor looked on his mechanical arm and despaired. It was the only part of his body that still held strength. For months the dwarves labored on it, constantly calling him back for new measurements. The dwarves had given him this. But now he needed something no dwarf could give him. Time. For the last ten years he sent his monks searching for ways to cheat death. It seemed all was lost.

The Emperor was starring out the window of the tower when the guards announced the monk's presence at the outer hall. The Emperor took his place at the throne and motioned that the monk be let in. The Emperor's heart raced as the monk told of an amazing discovery. An ancient tablet had been discovered in a far off ruin that predicted a solar eclipse. On this day, given the proper sacrifice, the life force of one body could be taken and placed into another. The Emperor poured over paper copies of the ancient stone tablets. Dwarves lived longer than any known being. Maybe they could serve him after all.

The two dwarven boys were playing in the field behind the cottage when the soldiers came. Akuri, the shorter of the twins, was pretending to be Cronzer the mighty. Cronzer was the greatest baller that ever lived. For years he threw balls across the great stadium, evading the opposite team at every turn. Akuri cried as his brother Brezner caught the ball. Brezner began to laugh his brother down when a soldier of the temple caught him by the arms. The boys' father emerged from the cottage swinging his forge hammer. Another soldier approached from the side and knocked the aging dwarf down with a swing from his club. The boys were dragged from the yard screaming.

Inside the temple tower the monks had shed their sackcloth robes and in place wore flowing garments. Their ears were adorned with large hooped earrings. Their faces were painted with immaculate makeup. They danced around the altar at the center of the hall. The sun shone straight down through the top of the tower. It was high noon and the moon had just begun to blot it out. The Emperor stood atop the altar, a long black dagger in his living hand. The dwarf boys were dragged before him. The monks fell to their knees and began the incantations. The Emperor gazed down at the tiny dwarves. Their beards were already an inch long. Five hundred years! The things he could accomplish!

Akuri looked into the foreboding eye of the Emperor. The sky went dark. As the Emperor commanded they be brought forward, Akuri looked at his brother. Brezner nodded. Now was their only chance. The boys scattered a dozen metal toys across the floor. A thousand tiny gears began to whir. The monks let out high pitched screams as the tiny mechanical monsters nipped at their feet. The Emperor howled and leaped from the altar, brandishing his dagger. The tower began to shake. There was a loud cracking sound from above. The Emperor looked up. The boys ran from the temple as a huge stone slab fell on the Emperor, crushing him flat.

Far beneath the tower the boys' father dropped the stone he had recently pulled loose from the foundation. The aged dwarf had a sad look on his face. The Emperor's people had been good to him, and for them he and his people had built a great temple. Such a waste of good rock.


    • body part painting, permanent or temporary, for ceremonies or beautification etc.
    • sports, sports heroes
    • ceremonial dress, sometimes required for magical rituals to function
    • important buildings can be the tallest towers, especially religious ones, could be an ordinance or tradition
    • board games for different cultures, features can depend on racial or purely cultural traits
    • state religions and the head of state being the religious leader without necessarily having a full theocracy
    • disadvantaged populations, such as refugees, can be exploited for particular purposes
    • making sure you're in the right place for official meetings, like sitting in the throne, can delay people until things are prepared, can also delay people for no reason
    • children in play can viciously taunt one another to the point of tears and violence
    • people can rant about the same old things bothering them, and people can become tired of this
    • people can be very concerned about mortality
    • if a writing is too large to be moved, it can be copied
    • crushing objects if you are strong enough
    • prosthetic limbs can be tailor-made to one individual
    • tall buildings casting shadows in directions based on sun
    • ancient ruins generated during myth mode that have various occult records and so on
    • children in play can emulate historical or famous figures