Monday, October 13, 2014

The Flawless Fire

Unklar turned then to Aufstrag, and in the bowels of it he carved out a forge. The size of it defied comprehension, sprawling over many levels of the tower. Rooms were hollowed to hold mountains of coal and wood. Hearths, many as large as ships, some as small as shields, he set to fire with bellows of flesh and bone and these burned for as long as Unklar sat his throne. The largest hearth he set in a hall of pillars and there lit the fire himself and set his breath upon it, and thus he set it to burning, remaining so until the Gonfod and the end of days. This he called the Stodtine Plum, that is the Flawless Fire, and he alone worked this forge, until Dolgan the Dwarf came to his service. Here the hounds were made, the mogrl, and many other horrors besides.

An army of slaves descended into the pit to suffer the making of armaments and devices of the Horned God’s desire. Many of these were dwarves, and they took up hammer and tong, chisel and wheel reluctantly, but they served Unklar’s desires for those who did not suffered death, and their All Fathers cautioned them that their race must never die for the debt to Al-Erde had not been paid. The dwarves must keep their lives, and not throw them away upon the dark. Many listened, though some took up arms and took the battle to Unklar, but to no avail, for he was in the full of his powers and no force in Aihrde could stand against him.

The forge changed the nature of Aufsrag, for it created such a wave of heat that the structure suffered damage from top to bottom. Her walls dried and cracked, and the weight of stone began to settle. So Unklar ordered the stacks constructed. The walls were hollowed and chimneys built, some as wide as tunnels, others smaller and these crawled their way to the surface of Aufsrag and vomited smoke and ash, so that the swamps all around were covered in a black darkness, and the air became acidic. They were called the Stacks by all who lived there, and they became roads through Aufstrag, though dangerous for they were flooded with sudden gouts of flame and heat. Despite the danger, creatures used them to travel to and fro in the mighty tower, and others came to live in them.

The forge became a place of wicked experiments, tortures, and crafting. The folk of Aufstrag named it Klarglich, that is “The Pit of Woe,” for the suffering screams of the damned filled the forge and carried through the Stacks, so that all in Aufstrag came to know them. Unklar first used Klarglich to create the Hounds of Darkness. Those sulking beasts, birthed from the tortured bodies of faerie kin, possessed but one purpose: to root out the elves upon whatever plane they existed. Though the creatures never found the elves in the Land of Seven Rivers, many dying in the attempt, they signaled things to come.

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