Dwarven Soul – Shadow and Flame

This page last updated on 2016-12-25

Coin Name :     Dwarven Soul

Edition Name:     Shadow and Flame

Finish:     Antique Copper

Years Minted

2013 – 120 coins

2014 – 50 coins

The Dwarven Soul coins are 2 inches in diameter and have their own custom icon. This edition features red and black resin enamel with an antique copper finish.


*** Narrative ***

Something grabbed Math’s shoulder and he awoke in terror. Was he being attacked? He was lying in bed and standing over him was a dark figure blocking the dim bluish light coming from the phosphorescent mushrooms in the corner of the bachelor’s quarters. The figure was huge and silent and for a moment Math feared that some Dwarf who did not like Humans was about to rid the city of the stranger. If this Dwarf wanted to kill him, Math would not be able to call for help in time. He would be dead before any of the other Dwarves around him would even be out of bed. Now, more than ever, he felt that his Dwarvish name ,’Kitten’ was too appropriate.


The figure said “SSHHHHHHHHHH” and Math instantly recognized the voice. He felt profound relief to realize that it was Remkkel, but what did the old Dwarf want? Remkkel bent close to his ear and said, “keep quiet, I want to show you something, but I don’t want anyone to follow us.”


Math dressed as silently as possible and the two of them began a journey through the city crossing regions that, until now, he had never been invited to. Based on the symbols and the runes he was seeing, this district must contain the sacred halls where The Maker was worshipped. Was Remkkel going to show him a temple or ask him to take part in a rite? They passed through rooms that appeared to be under construction and finally stopped in a chamber full of piles of sand and which also contained a very small coal fire, a hammer, and tongs.


Remkkel turned to face Math and from within his coat he pulled out a band of heavy iron that had been formed into a circle. He said, “Kitten, I have a task for you. I want you to unbend this crown until it is perfectly straight. Math heated the crown in the fire until it glowed and was soft enough to be hammered straight. There was a hairline gap in the metal where the two ends joined together and it appeared that this task would be simple, except that there was no anvil. The metal was hot and malleable, he had a perfectly adequate hammer, but he had nothing to strike it against and the floor seemed to be deeply covered in sand. Math thought about holding the crown against the stone walls but they were covered in holy runes and Math knew that it would be blasphemy to strike the walls. He adjusted his grip on the tongs, held the crown as firmly against the sand as he could, and tried his best to hammer the crown back into a straight band of iron. He knew that without an anvil it would be hard, but he did not realize that it would be impossible. No matter how he struck with the hammer, the crown remained a circle and the best that he could do was to produces a shower of sand. Normally when Math was this incompetent, Remkkel would laugh heartily and say something like “Kitten thinks that it is time to play, but work must be done!” This had bothered Math at first until he became more used to Dwarven humor and realized that this is how Dwarves show affection. Now, however, Remkkel did not say anything funny and just watched in silence. After a while, Math threw down the hammer and said, “if you want me to do anything, I will need an anvil.”


Remkkel looked like he was going to say one thing but then changed his mind and instead said, “What you are doing is a part of a ceremony that all Dwarf children go through known as ‘The Seven Tasks’ It normally lasts a number of weeks and ends in a giant feast, but we don’t have a lot of time tonight so I will just get to the point, you cannot straighten out that crown without an anvil. It is natural to think that work is done with a hammer, but an anvil is also needed. Dwarves have a number of symbols to represent The Maker, but a hammer is not among the greatest of them. The single greatest symbol for The Maker is an anvil because He is the thing which does not move. All work, all creation, requires something that acts and something that stands still. There is the hammer, and there is the anvil.”


Remkkel looked over his shoulder and wiped his hands on his shirt, as though the palms of his hands were sweating and continued speaking. “I want to show you the center of our city, but it has to be now when everyone is away, because I am forbidden to show you certain things and this is the most forbidden. I disagree with what the others say; I think that you need to see this in order to complete your task.


Math’s mind raced. Here it was again, the Dwarves wanted him to do something, they EXPECTED him to do something, but they weren’t telling him what.


Remkkel was hunched over as though trying to make himself small and said in a hushed voice, “follow me”. They made their way from room to room going past alters, braziers, statues, and other things that Math guessed were used to draw the Dwarves closer to The Maker. They came to a somewhat largish door made of many types of metal that flowed in an abstract design. Math could not tell if the design was supposed to represent water, liquid rock, wind or, spirit; perhaps it was all of those things. The design also included glowing points. Were they fires, stars, or souls?  It was a door; it was a work of art; and most likely it was a prayer. Remkkel pulled back seven bolts, muttered something under his breath, and swung open the door to reveal the cavern.


As far as Math could tell, the huge cavern was entirely natural. There was a sound of rushing water and Math’s face was hit by a strong breeze. This made him think that perhaps this cavern went on for many miles and that it contained secret places full of wonders. Some distance off, there was an enormous stalagmite, growing out of the ground. Remkkel pointed to it and said, “There is our destination.”


They walked along a well worn path lit by luminous fungus and glow lamps and as they drew closer, Math gasped when he realized that the stalagmite was truly huge and that it was not natural, but a product of Dwarven hands. The structure was far taller than the tallest tree and made entirely of polished iron. There were numerous shelves and projections coming off of the structure in all different sizes; some were no larger than a slice of bread, while others were tens of feet long. Before coming to the mountain, Math would not have known what they were for, but he now knew the ways of the Dwarves and he recognized their purpose instantly. “Those are anvils!” Remkkel smiled broadly at Math and the Dwarf shuddered with a primitive emotion.


Remkkel spoke: “No, those are not anvils, what you see there is THE ANVIL. That is Shreesh, The Maker’s anvil. It is the one thing in Midgard which will never move. It was created, when the world was new, by the first Dwarves and the Maker, for those were the days when he still walked with us. They dug a wide shaft down until they approached The Central Fire and the rock was so hot that it turned water to steam. The shaft was filled with the strongest liquid iron and allowed to cool to create what you see before you. Shreesh is much larger than what is visible. One end, far below us, touches the central fire; the other end touches our city, and in between is all of the weight of Midgard. To forge here is to forge with the Maker.” Math thought this over and remarked, “making Shreesh must have required an entire mountain of iron.” Remkkel said nothing for a while and Math thought that he was not going to reply at all, but at last he did reply, “Our Priests say that more iron was used to make Shreesh than will ever be smelted by Dwarves after that day of creation.” Math made a comment that he thought would be lighthearted: “I guess there is a limit to how much iron you will make.” Remkkel had a far away look in his eyes as he replied, “yes, it seems that one day we will reach an end.”


Remkkel had one more sight to show Math before it was time to return. They left the great Cavern that held Shreesh and walked for several miles. At first they passed through parts of the city familiar to Math, until they reached areas that seemed less frequently used. This could be seen by the accumulated dust and the lack of light. Still they continued on past rooms full of boxes and chests that appeared to have not been opened for generations and piles of rubbish left over from another age. At last they reached two bronze and oak doors so large that one hundred Dwarves would have been able to march through them side by side. The doors were slightly ajar. Remkkel walked over to a box about the size of a bed. When it was opened, Math could see that it was filled with torches unlike anything that Math had ever seen before. Remkkel took one of these strange torches and a regular looking rock oil torch. He lit the regular torch and beckoned Math to follow him through the giant doors.


They passed into a chamber that was completely dark and judging by the sound of the echoes, large beyond imagining. It surprised Math that it would be so dark because the Dwarves had countless ways to light a space. They produced lamps that would illuminate for hours, days, or even years. They also grew fungus that would produce various colors of light for as long as the fungus lived, but this chamber had no light at all except for the totally inadequate light of the rock oil torch. All that Math could see was a tile floor that obviously continued far beyond the tiny circle of light created by the lone torch.


Remkkel held up the strange torch in a way that made Math think that the Dwarf was afraid of it. He walked behind Math and said “do not look at me or the torch.” Like a brainless deer, Math continued to watch as Remkkel used the rock oil torch to light the strange torch. He held the flame to a gray piece of rope on the torch’s top which then caught fire with thousands of sparks. Remkkel glanced up and saw that Math was still looking. He yelled with a combination of anger and fear, “LOOK AWAY YOU SIMPLETON!” Math immediately turned his head in the opposite direction as the sun rose underground. The light given off by the strange torch created a terrible and sickening day. The light was harsh and stark and it flickered in a manner that immediately made Math’s stomach turn. What he saw kept going from bright to dim in a most horrific way. But Math was still filled with a frightful and marvelous awe. This sun torch was a wonder that Math would always remember because it truly rivaled the intensity of full daylight, but that is not what gave Math dreams both beautiful and horrible until the day that he died. It was what the light revealed.


Stretching before Math and Remkkel was a stone bowl many miles in diameter and filling the bowl was a city. There were mansions, courts, castles, temples, parks, boulevards, streets, towers and beyond those were more of the same. The city was larger than any city Math had seen before or after. It was lovely and it was dead. Math Tried to explain in later years to countless people what it looked like, but he could never find the right words. It was a child snuffed out by fever. It was a young couple killed before they could truly know what their love for each other meant.  It was a valiant warrior rotting alone on a battlefield. It was a beautiful maiden dead in her sleep. This city had once been alive and now it was a carcass. No poet, no song writer, no painter, would have the power to capture what Math felt as he stared at the corpse in the stark light.


Behind Math, Remkkel spoke, “The hammer swings and the anvil remains constant. We once thought that Dwarves in Midgard were constant. We believed that we were like the mountains and that we were like the anvil. Yet it seems that the hammer swung and we were sparks that quickly fade and are extinguished. Where have the sparks gone? I no longer see them.” The sun torch flickered one last time and the light died down until it was fully gone. Remkkel and Math sat in the darkness and neither of them said anything further.


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