The Undiscovered Country

An Ordinary Morning in Mwynglawdd-Orllewin

The altar was laid out exactly as specified in the Llyfr, measurements precise to the milfed. Moreg had always insisted on it. She wasn’t among those filing into the Sereneglwys this morning, but the elder priest’s health made that almost impossible these days.

As the last of the congregation shuffled in to the stone pews, Carreg sensed unease. To see an elder at death’s door was a rare and unsettling occurrence. Dwarvenkind society is a well-oiled machine, and Moreg’s gear meshed with so many parts of it.

Carreg clasped her hands and muttered a command in infernal, dimming the patches of algae around the room to a dull glow. Another word, and the intricate mechanism of the serentalflwr whirred into life. It cast a bright white point on the hemispherical ceiling, just above and to the left of the altar.

“Star of the morning, guide us.”

later

“Followers of the Authority believe that He is justice. No. Justice is balance. Justice is scales, with the Authority on one side and our Lord on the other. There is no night without the morning, no morning without the night. While it is true the Authority is the arbiter, even his followers concede the Lord is who reads our Ledgers. Never forget that.”

later

The second case came that morning. Owain had ceased work at the rock face. That afternoon, Ifanna froze while pouring a crucible. By the night shift, all of Mwynglawdd-Orllewin had stopped in place.

Except for one.

later

Carreg knelt by Moreg’s bed. The elder’s ashen grey face— not the pallor of death, but the solid unwavering grey of cast iron— took on the greenish glow of the algae. She brushed away a tear. No good to start breaking down now. No. I’m a dwarf. Dwarves fix things.

“I can fix this.”

“Just give me time, mother."

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