This page last updated on 2016-12-24
Coin Name : Dwarven Soul
Edition Name: First Gloaming
Finish: Antique Gold
2013 – 120 coins
2016 – 50 coins
The Dwarven Soul coins are 2 inches in diameter and have their own custom icon. This edition features resin enamel with an antique gold finish.
*** Narrative ***
Math was beginning to think that he might spend time in prison or worse. His head and shoulders hurt from worry and there was a sick feeling in his stomach as though he might vomit, but he probably wouldn’t since he had not eaten anything that day. He looked around at all the items in the small stall and knew that he had made a horrible mistake.
Three weeks ago he had left home believing that he was going to return after a few days as a wealthy man. How could he not? He was going to sell the jewelry that he had made and he was going to . . .what was it that he had planned on doing with the small fortune that he would make by selling his rings, bracelets, and pendants? Would he buy a horse? No, he really didn’t need one. Would he buy fancy clothes to impress the girls? No, his clothes were simple but they served him perfectly. He had dreams for his money, he had great dreams. He would take his hard earned wealth and make even more jewelry, because that is what made his heart beat quickly and his breath come fast. It is what made the words tumble so quickly out of his mouth that he could barely put them together in the right order.
He made jewelry, but his was different than anything anyone had ever seen. In his lifetime, he had seen many rings and pendants made of gold, brass and silver, but they all pretty much looked the same. His jewelry was different because the colors of the metal were his alone and when you hefted his metal, it felt different from all other metal. He made silver that was heavy like lead, he made iron that was light like a bird’s egg, and he made bronze in a whole range of different colors. Some artists mixed colors of paint for effect, but he mixed colors and types of metal.
He had learned this craft on his own. His father was a blacksmith and he had allowed Math as a boy to play with the furnace and bellows. From the age of four onward he had fetched coal by himself and put things into the furnace when his father was not using it. He remembered when he was very young finding a broken spoon in the crossroads of his village and putting it in the furnace while his father operated the bellows. He had sung, shouted, and chanted for days after, about how the broken spoon had melted into a puddle. “I made it melt! I made it melt! I made it me-e-e-e-e-lt!” When the furnace had cooled, he had taken out the misshapen disk and turned it over and over in his hand. He had made it himself and it was his treasure. All children at the age of four have a precious thing that they must always be with, for some children it is a doll or a little trinket, for math it was his melted spoon.
His childhood wasn’t that different from the other boys in his tiny village surrounded by farmland for as far as the eye could see. His family was a tiny bit wealthier than some of the others due to his father’s smithy work, but he was mostly a normal boy, except that he was always bargaining for scraps of metal to melt in his furnace. He had also learned to smelt metal from ore. He often put rocks into the furnace to see what they would make. His first truly great triumph was the day that he put some odd looking sand into his furnace (even his father began to think of it as Math’s furnace) and had watched as tiny beads of copper formed in the melt. He learned the trade of being a blacksmith from his father, but his heart was not in it. Any fool could make a horse shoe or a knife blade, but only he could make five different kinds of pink bronze and six different types of green silver.
Just a few months ago he had tuned fifteen and it was high time for him to think about making something of himself and finding a wife. Everyone thought that he should be a smith, but he told them that he was going to become rich making jewelry that everyone would want. He made a few rings and pendants, but no one in his village was interested in buying them. That didn’t discourage him, because what did simple farmers know about beauty? His plan was to make the journey to the town to sell his wonders. He had spent months making all types of jewelry from his many kinds of metal. He hammered all sorts of different colored rings into shape and twisted his hard crafted wire into ear rings and bracelets. He borrowed a lot of money to do this, but with his magnificent jewelry, he would pay it back in no time and still have enough for a comfortable life.
But that was not how it had turned out. He had spent substantial money to hire the horse cart to take him and his merchandise to the large town. He had spent more to rent a stall at the town market. And no one bought his jewelry. That wasn’t exactly true. After three weeks he had sold exactly one brass ring and one pair of brass earrings and only after he had lowered his prices. How could people not be amazed by his pink and purple bronze? How could they not tell all of their friends about his monstrously heavy green silver? It was getting late in the afternoon and it was a slow day in the market so he felt completely alone. He looked around to see if anyone was looking, since no one was, he began to cry, but just a little; he was a grown man after all. Any number of people in his village had warned him not to borrow so much money. They had told him that he could get into enough trouble to last a lifetime. His father had shouted at him several times in the month before he left that he was the king of fools. His father had threatened him and pleaded with him to not borrow so much. “When you can’t pay them back, they will send people at night to hurt you! They will break your fingers! They will throw you into a prison!”
Math tried to think how he was going to get out of the deep hole he had dug. He couldn’t unmake the jewelry. He couldn’t turn the rings back into pure ingots of metal that people would actually want. All that he had was boxes of weird metal that no one would pay anything for.
He heard a woman’s voice say, “this wire twisting is terrible”. She continued on, “and I didn’t expect the rings to be beaten into these poor shapes”. He didn’t see anyone, but someone nearby was saying what everyone obviously thought. The people who had stopped at his stall had simply and politely not bought anything, but over time Math had begun to see that while he could make wonderful metal (apparently wonderful to only him), he skill at forming jewelry was less than rudimentary. There were many other jewelry makers in the town market and each one made him look like a fifteen year old boy whose dreams were much larger than his talents.
He looked around to find the woman who loudly didn’t like his handicrafts, but she was hidden. Where was she? He then spotted some movement lower than he had expected and saw a short woman. She was only a little over four feet tall and appeared to be about nineteen years old. Her lack of height was unusual, but it was her clothes that really stood out. Her boots looked like a man’s boots and her dress was made of an extremely heavy fabric. Math was aware that he was staring at her rudely, but he was not too concerned because she had given herself permission to insult his jewelry. Then again, she seemed to be voicing what all of his other customers had only thought and not said. After several awkward moments of staring at her, he blurted out, “are you a Dwarf?” She shifted her weight and put one hand on a hip in a way that was surprisingly charming and said, “do I look like a Human or an Elf?” Math stammered, “I – I’ve never seen a Dwarf woman . . .I didn’t know there were Dwarf women.” She gave a sunshiny smile and said, “we don’t leave the mountain very often.” What was this creature? She wasn’t like any Dwarf he had ever heard of. She was talking to him so boldly and informally and her face was sort of . . . cute.
She began to pick up the jewelry as though it belonged to her and shake it back and forth in her fingers to test its heft. She commented, “you’ve mixed these bronzes for weight?” “No,” he replied cautiously, “for color.” She gave a little sigh and smiled brightly again, “I see it now, you did get a good color range, but some of these weights are incredible for human work. Did you study in your people’s capital city?”
“Study what?” Math replied
“how to operate a metal foundry.” She continued, “your control over these alloys is amazing. Who taught you how to do this? Who was your teacher?” Math was quickly forgetting his debts and warming up to this Dwarf who seemed to have something to say about his metalwork. “My father taught me how to keep a furnace hot, but other than that I taught myself.”
“What you say is impossible” she said. “Did a Dwarf ever help you out?”
“No, I’ve never even met a Dwarf, you are the first one that I have ever spoken with”.
She looked thoughtful for a moment. and picked up one of his rings. With her other hand she took a small pair of metal snips out of her pocket and cut the ring in half.
“Hey!” Math protested “You can’t do that! you just bought that ring.”
“So I did.” She reached into a different pocket and threw him a coin of moderate value. It was probably about thirty times what the ring was worth. He was beginning to like this woman. Were all Dwarves this interesting and charming?
She looked very closely at the ring’s cross section and then licked the newly exposed metal. She closed her eyes in thought, savoring whatever it was that she was tasting. After a moment she opened her eyes again and spoke:
“You must have learned your craft from a Dwarf. This metal you have made is just too good to have been made by a human boy. I suspect a Dwarf taught you before you were born into Midgard. “
“If he did, I don’t remember him”
“Not him” the Dwarf woman gently corrected. “If a Dwarf taught you before you were born, it would have been a she.”
Math’s new friend abruptly stood up straighter as though she had made a decision.
“Would you like to visit our foundry and forge?”
Math wanted that very much, but he remembered that if he was not careful he would end up with broken fingers and in prison. If that were to happen, it might take him years of labor as a servant to earn back his freedom. He knew that his future was in great danger but he pictured the Dwarves making metal in his mind. He thought about their furnaces and the wonderful ores that they would cart in from distant mines. He could imagine their hammers pounding out wonderful treasures that few human eyes had ever seen. He felt unexpected emotions and had to breathe carefully because he was afraid that he might beginning sobbing and bring shame upon himself.
“How far away is the Dwarven foundry?”
The Dwarf woman answered “About seven days by pony”. Math’s heart sank. That would be impossible. He looked up and saw that she was looking at his face carefully.
“I can see that something is stopping you. Tell me what it is.”
Math was ashamed of what a failure he was so he said, “Don’t concern yourself”.
She looked at him even more carefully and followed his eyes as he looked around at all of his failed metalwork.
She pulled a small leather pouch out of her dress and removed quite a few gold coins from inside of it. These coins she put back into her pocket. She then handed the leather pouch to Math. He opened it and saw seven coins inside. “I am buying all of your jewelry” she said. He felt sudden anger at her gesture and said quite sharply, “You said that my jewelry is poorly made. I don’t want your charity”. She shot back, “right, it’s terrible”. Let’s say that I didn’t buy your jewelry, I just bought the weights pressing down on your chest, and in return I want your time.”
A part of him did suddenly feel like a flying bird, but a part of him also felt very small and stupid. “I don’t want to be your pathetic pet in need of help.” She looked angry now and spat at him. “You are a stupid little boy barely cut off from his mother’s apron strings. This is not charity; this is much bigger than you and if you don’t come to our mountain, then we will find someone else.”
Math came to his senses and suddenly felt both frightened and more alive than ever before. For some reason he remembered when he first put the strange looking sand into the furnace and saw small beads of copper forming. It was happening now. His mind swam with the idea that a fire was burning and something was melting and something was being born.
The Dwarf woman spoke and brought him back to the present. “Go home and say goodbye to the people who will miss you and don’t forget to pay the people who you owe money to.”
“How do you know about them” Math asked in shock.
We Dwarves know money and we well know the look of someone who is in debt. Your face was shouting it to me.”
Math held out his hand and said, “I don’t know your name, mine is Math”
“I know”, she said. “My name is Yaffah, meet me here in fourteen nights and we will go to the mountain”.
She shook his hand with such a strong grip that he winced with pain. Perhaps this was not such a good idea, what did he know of this Dwarf woman? Maybe she would enslave him, maybe Dwarves like to eat human flesh.
“What will we do inside the mountain?”
She replied in a tone of voice, which hinted that perhaps she did not entirely like what she was doing, “I have been commanded to show you our secrets”.