Wednesday, June 1, 2022

QHW, Day 1: Art

I'm doing Red Kangaroo's challenge for June.  You can read more about it here, but essentially, you use the generator at the end of that post to gain a prompt and then write about it for fifteen parts.  Then post what you made.


Dwarves are said to be incapable of Art.  This is a common theme you'll here repeated in stories about them.  "Dwarves are too practical," you'll here them say.  "They only care for what works."  And to an extent, this is true.  Dwarves are an imminently practical people.  Unlike the flighty and mysterious Elves, with all their imagination and cruelty, Dwarves are solid and reliable.  It is said that Dwarves cannot break their oaths, so rigid are they. 

This is another thing about Dwarves that you will find is not true.  It's just that Dwarves take honor so seriously that most Dwarves would rather die than forswear an oath. 

Dwarves are also known to be hard-workers.  They are said to make the best slaves, as a Dwarven slave can work longer and harder than most other races.  They can also consume things that humans would find unpalatable or toxic.  Just don't make a Dwarf cook for you.  Unless the Dwarf is familiar with humans, he might add some poisonous mushrooms to the stew "for taste" and accidentally kill you.  He might not have even meant to do it.  But more than a few Dwarven slaves have escaped this way, then claimed ignorance of the fact that humans could not consume that specific root or herb.   

This is a lie.  And that's the thing about lying.  It's not a matter of science.  Lying is an Art, and one Dwarves are quite good at.  Even with magic that can detect falsehoods, such abilities are limited.  This is because truth, at least as far as mortal beings are concerned, is a matter of perspective.  Only Gods and Angels deal in absolutes.  

And part of the reason why Dwarves are such good liars is because no one expects them to lie.  Dwarves have a reputation for being dull, hard-working and honorable.  They work hard, pray, and go to sleep.  They do not properly worship the Authority, but instead a muddied mix of their own ancient religion and Hesayanism. 

That being said, it is rare that people find themselves angry to have Dwarves as neighbors.  They do not wage war nor engage in meaningless saber-rattling.  They will defend their hovels diligently, but they do not seem to even have much worth stealing.  They will sell you things, plain swords and unadorned mail, cut timber and glassware, if you ask.  But their products lack any form of artistic spark or inner life.  They seem to only make things that have any form of function. 

This also reflects in the way they dress.  Dwarves seem to only wear the colors white, brown and black.  Each color corresponds to a type of person in society, with bright colors only permitted on special occasions.  Dwarven women are said to be extremely plain, shaving their heads and never wearing any form of make-up or clothing that accentuates their features.  Some even disguise themselves as men when traveling.

But there are many stories about Dwarves, also told by ignorant peasants.  These contain fanciful tales of huge underground cities concealed in the mountains or in deep caves, far from the light of the sun.  These cities are built of jewels and carved stone, and each one is said to contain more wealth and beauty than the greatest of human cities.  There Dwarves wear only cloth-of-gold, as they are so rich, they could not spend it all.  

Down there, in the dark, the Dwarves scoff at us men.  They think us stupid, for we have only found the tiny remnant that they left behind on the surface, a decoy to distract us from their true dwelling places.  It is said that those who discover their cities without permission are killed, and any who escape are dismissed as liars by the Dwarves on the surface.  And most often, those people are dismissed as mad. 

After all, is it even possible for a Dwarf to lie?

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't be surprised if the surface dwarves were criminals. They swear an oath to protect the deep cities and in time, their sentence is over and they are allowed to return. After all, dwarves live for a long time and being forsworn is worse than death, so you will rarely find an honourless dwarven criminal.