Dwarven Children's Tale (book)
Back when I was a lad, my mother used to tell me stories to help me sleep. I was always fascinated by the grandiose. The stories that always had the most meaning to me were ones about great civilizations or wars. Fables of magic and adventure always seemed to have me spellbound when told by my mother's excited voice. She was a great storyteller, by the way. Tales of heroes and the gods always made me think and yearn for the day when I could make a difference. This is one my mother told me when I was very young. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
A Dwarven Children's Tale
"Once upon a time the world was a much quieter place then it is today. There were no yaks making noises of protest as their masters pushed them one way across the trade routes and back again. There was no marketplace where thieves took a Dwarf's hard earned ale money at the same time as a merchant tried to take it with a sale. No sounds came from men protesting a new tax. There was not even the shrill cry of a newborn babe, for you see, my son, there was once no such thing as a Dwarf.
"You looked surprised my child. Did you not know Kertigen created the Dwarves from stone?
"Good, good, I'm glad to see we don't overpay that tutor. So it makes sense that there was a time before there were Dwarves, right? See, you are so smart! Now don't spill your milk.
"Well, if you think about it, there was also a time before there were Elves or Humans. There was time when the soil knew not the touch of a plow to prepare it to grow Olvi Tobacco. Nor when the trees felt the touch of a Toggish lumberjack. A time when the S'Kra were just a lizard in the desert. Before any of the people you know today, there was only the land, the animals, and the Gods.
"Now for a time the Gods became used to this world, and each fell in love with different parts of it. Our own beloved Kertigen found solace in the mountains and the caves, finding them ideal for his love of smithing. Hodierna traversed the fields and plains, loving to romp where all things were alive about her. Everild loved to be where the prey was, and would travel place to place looking for new and terrible beasts to hunt. Hav'roth craved the vastness of the desert, while Eluned found the seas and ocean more to her liking. For you see, my young man, each god and goddess found something in this world to call their own. However, like us, they wished someone to share it with, just as I proudly showed you to the entire clan the day you were born, so too did the gods wish to share that which they discovered about our world.
"Now Kertigen hadn't thought this way yet, as some of the other gods had. He still had his artistry in smithing to work on. He wasn't just discovering, but creating! Deep within his caves he toiled and spent years on each masterpiece, never seeing the sky or the other gods in all that time unless they came to see him. After finishing a project that he was especially proud of, he would step out of his cave and display it to the other gods for a time, letting them gaze upon its splendor. One day Kertigen created a shield that even he felt was awe inspiring and stepped out of his cave as he always had done, expecting to find each god in their respective homes on this world.
"Low and behold Kertigen was met with a sight that he had not expected in the least! Instead of calling the gods to witness his creation, he was gazing upon the creations of the other gods! Now the gods did not create a great shield, not a work of steel or stone, but of flesh. Far to the east in the oceans that branched off from the sea, Eluned and others had created the Elf, tall and slender, and their first clans inhabited an inlet. To the far north Kertigen looked to Hav'roth to ask him
to explain what he had seen and saw him surrounded by his lizards of the desert, but they were not lizards. The S'Kra had been created. Lithe and cunning, these creatures of the wastelands were learning from their creator Hav'roth the ways of survival.
"A noise traveled up the sides of the mountain and reached our patrons ears. He looked down and in the valley Truffenyi stood invisible to mortal eyes. He gazed upon his own creation, Humankind. Here he had a people that he could teach the lessons of mercy and forgiveness that the Gods would not always wish to hear. Even Meraud had created a people, the Elotheans, to inhabit the world. Though knowing Meraud, our patron thought that he did it simply to prove he could after witnessing the other gods create beings of their own. Kertigen re-entered his cave, seeing his world changed. Instead of showing off his work of metal, he had seen the other gods' artistry of flesh and bone.
"For years Kertigen thought of what he should do. He was a gifted artisan, and knew there must be something that he could create to contribute to all the peoples of Elanthia that only he could. Was not he the artisan of the gods? Was not he the creator of their weapons, of their armor. Had he not made Everild's spears for the hunt? Had he not created Damaris' blades? He watched the new people of the world to know what had been created so that he could create something unique.
"Hmm? I told you not to spill that. Here you go, all clean now. Hmm? Yes, hon, he's going to create the Dwarves. No... No... Do you want me to tell this story or not? I thought so, now here is some more milk. No, you can't have any ale 'til you are eight.
"All that Kertigen had done for the gods, he decided to do for the races of the lands. He created the Dwarf in his own image, for all who saw him knew he was the smith of the gods, so that all that saw his image in a Dwarf would know him to be the smith of mortals. Kertigen prided himself on being able to swing a hammer and not put it down 'til the day was done, so he gave his people stamina and strength so that they would not tire easily either. He gave them a sharp eye for detail, so they may know one blade's maker from the maker of another blade on sight. Because of the need to mine metals and stones from the earth, and the dangers and poison gases, he gave them resistances to it. He gave them a love of ale and kinsmen, for he himself sometimes grew lonely in his cave, and wished them to love one another. He instilled in them, their first few years, knowledge of the mountains and what could be found within. He also gave them a lust for those same things, so that they would always be near things they loved. Wisdom was instilled in his creation, so that none may abuse the gifts he gave his people. Lastly he gave them an appreciation of beauty, so that all things made would not only be functional but pleasing to the eye.
"Finally Kertigen was pleased, and the Dwarves grew and prospered on this land. Where some found the living harsh, the Dwarf would prevail. When great deeds were required, a Dwarf did that work. When impartial wisdom was needed, a Dwarf would be found. Quickly the Dwarf gained the respect of the other races. The gods no longer walk among men, but their imprint can be found on every face of ever person of every race that ever was.
"Kertigen made you special, my son, just like he did every Dwarf. As each god made each of his own creation special. Do you understand? Good. I would hate to think that not washing behind your ears would make you deaf. Don't argue with me, I can tell you did no such thing. Well if you are going to argue with me you can go to bed. Hmm? Yes I love you too. Yes we are all made like Kertigen, in his image. Yes I'm sure he does. Alright now, run along to bed. And don't forget to wash behind your ears."
A simple tale, but as a young child I could just see the gods populating the world in my mind, and see Kertigen creating my parents and my oldest living relatives. Children are often told simple stories, but maybe that is because they know how to keep the answers simple.
Hegemonic Blessedbe, son of a loving mother.