Thursday, June 02, 2005

COM Prelude 2: Dukalb

You've all heard the story of how Magic came to the world, in the Dagger of Arconolia, and how the oceans churned, and the earth split, and the magic belts were created. And most of you probably know the story of how Fahren and her sister fought, and Fahren was expelled from the Citadel of Decorgio and led her people on a twelve year exodus to the forest of Virii. But this shoustory you have not heard. It takes place a few thousand years later, in that same forest.
Once upon a time, in the forest of Virii, there lived a fair elf maiden, with beautiful yellow hair. Now, for those of you less knowledgable in elf lore, yellow hair was the sign of the elven aristocracy among the elves of the citadel- among the children of Fahren, it is considered a curse, a reminder of the oppression they went to the woods to flee. So the girl was ostracized by her fellow elves, and when she came of age, she trained to become a ranger, spending her time defending nature, far from the disapproving looks of the other elves. One day, as she was patrolling the outskirts of the forest, she came upon a dwarf cutting down one of the trees.
This was exactly the situation she was trained to deal with, of course. She silently crept up behind him and poked the very tip of her javelin into his neck.
"Good afternoon, sir," she said, casually.
he jumped, nearly impaling himself on her weapon, then turned to face her.
"You are aware," she asked, "That logging in the forset of Virii is strictly forbidden?"
The dwarf looked frightened for a moment, but he quickly recovered his cool and launched into an elaborate explanation.
"YOu mean, I'm already in the forest of Virii?" he said, questioningly. "Well then, forgive me. I was under the impression it began some miles to the west,"
"You should have checked more thouroughly, then," said the elf maiden, "Though this is the outskirts of our land, you are still in Virii, and chopping down our trees is punishable by death,"
"Surely you would not punish me for that which I did not know I was doing?"asked the Dwarf, backing up away from the tree.
"I'll let you off this time," answered the elf, "But you'd do well to leave as soon as you can,"
For most this would have been enough, but this dwarf, an ambitious young entrapenuer, decided to push his luck one more step forward. After all, the trees of Virii are legendary for their lightweight but durable wood, and a single log would be worth it's weight in gold to an armorer.
"One more thing," he said to the woman, "It seems I've already made quite a dent in this tree trunk. Do you think it will survie?"
"Perhaps," she said, "With the minstrations of our Druids. There is a chance,"
"But not a large one," He said.
"No," she admitted, "Not a large one,"
"Then perhaps you should let me just finish it off," he said, "Seeing as I've come all this way and all. Otherwise I'd be losing quite a bit off of this whole deal - I mean, the time it took me to get out here, the price of my cart to transport the wood and the oxen to pull it, all of this was intended to make itself up when I chopped down a cart full of trees. But if this is one of the magic trees of Virii, well then one should be more than enough to make up my losses. So hows about this - I finish chopping this one tree, load it onto my cart, thne we forget the whole thing. Deal?"
The Ranger just looked at him, with a mixture of confusion and dismay. She couldn't believe a person could not only be this selfish and greedy, but also stupid enough to just admit his motives to her, a sworn protector of the forest. What an idiot, she thought.
"I was about to let you off the hook,"she said, drawing her sword and leveling it towards his head, "Thinking this an honest mistake. But you obviously have no respect for the trees of Virii, or for the gods you put them here. You don't deserve to live,"
"On the contrary," said the Dwarf, raising his axe to block her attack, "I have the utmost respect for the tree and the gods. That's why I want to use their gifts, instead of keeping anyone from having them,"
She pushed his axe out of the way with her sword, then kicked him in the face. Just in time, he ducked and rolled out of her way. She took the opportunity to draw her other sword.
"If you're type had their way," she said as he lifted his small axe to defend himself, "Ther'd be no trees left in this forest, and my people would have no where to live,"
"You think we're that stupid?" said the dwarf. "Look at all the forests that don't have your protection. Have we completely chopped them down yet?"
She pounced at him, swords drawn. He rolled out of the way again, and stood up.
"Obviously, it's a matter of supply and demand," he yelled as he tried to deflect the blows that fell from her swords with his axe, "If we cut down all the trees, we'd be out of business. Obviously, we'd work it out so there were always more of these things growing, and we'd plant new ones to replace them. The only differance would be that-"
He stopped talking because her sword had managed to chop the blade off of his axe. He was now holding a useless handle, two sword points poking into his neck.
She could have finished him then, but something about what he was saying intrigued her.
"Go on," she said, relaxing slightly, "But keep in mind I reserve the right to decapitate you,"
The dwarf was startled to be alive, and nervous as hell, but somehow he managed to keep his cool.
"Well," he said, "The way I see it, as long as you elves are protecting these trees with your lives, the wood will continue to be extremely valuable, and more and more people will come looking for it. Seems to me the best way to protect your forest would be to plant more of these trees elsewhere, thus increasing the supply and decreasing the value of your wood. You give me one seed, and I'll make sure that happens"
"And that you reap all the profits," she said.
"Or we could split them fifty/fifty if you like," he suggested, "I just didn't mention that plan cause I didn't think you'd be interested in it. Wood elves don't tend to care much about money, rangers even less so,"
A thought was now going through the elf maidens head. An evil thought to her, but probably a decent one to most of us. You see, having only become a ranger to get away from the other elves, she had never really been all that happy in the job. Now she was thinking she could go away from this place and live a much more comfortable life. And having never had more than the spartan accomodations of Wood Elf society, this is something that appealed to her.
She pulled her swords away from his neck and placed them back in their scabbards.
"We'll take the tree, and sell the wood," she said, "Then we'll use the profits to buy some land, and plant more of these trees there. We'll run the bussiness together, and split the profits evenly. Sound good?"
"Wonderful," said the dwarf. He looked down at the handle in his hand. "I'll need a new axe," he said.
She handed him one of her swords, then took out the other one and began chopping away at the other side of the tree. It felt good, to defy the elven authorities. She felt so rebellious - cutting down a sacred tree - and she loved the feeling. When the tree fell, they loaded it onto the ox cart and headed for a city to sell the wood.
They sold it for a good sum of money, bought a plot of land, and planted the young saplings in it. And as they waited for their fortune to grow, they fell in love, and built a nice house on the land. They got married and had a beautiful baby boy, whom they named Dukalb, after the Dwarf's father. All of this was on credit from investors who thought they'd be payed back in valuable Virii wood.
Of course, their plan eventually failed - it turns out it was the soil, not the trees themselves, that gave the wood it's special properties, and when they discovered they had been growing useless wood for five years they went into huge amounts of debt, and lived the rest of their lives in poverty. But that's a story for another time. What's important is the child, and maybe this insight into his parentage will help you to understand his actions a little better.


Erin said...

Very awesome post. That is some great writing. I'm impressed. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey, I think you stole my D+D character, except the personality´s a bit skewed. I think my ranger would have finished him off, justifiedly, because he was about to do the same to the tree.