This page last updated on 2016-12-27
Coin Name : Dwarven Treasure
Edition Name: Brimstone
Finish: 24 Karat Gold
2012 – 50 coins
2013 – 30 coins
2014 – 50 coins
The Dwarven Treasure coins are 2 inches in diameter and have their own custom icon. This edition features pearl enamel on 24 karat gold. It was inspired by the sulfur given off when coal is burned. It is a big problem for air quality when making steel or generating electricity and this sulfur is often vilified just as the Dwarves were often vilified. However, industry has been misunderstood just as the Dwarves were misunderstood. This edition was about seeing the positive side of sulfur.
*** Narrative ***
Aaben and I did not start as friends. We had been hired, along with hundreds of others, to dig a canal for the Lords of the city. He was the only Dwarf among many hundreds of men, but he proved himself to be the equal of twenty in digging trenches. One might think that his strength and skill at digging would win friends, but he smelled strange, he spoke oddly, and his clothes were a shade of red that some found offensive. Why would someone so different from us choose to lift our burdens and take our wages? It was only much later that he told me why he was alone and away from the company of his people.
One morning, the foreman ordered me to hold a heavy iron spike while Aaben swung an impossibly large hammer and struck the spike in order to split rocks. I hated the Dwarf more than I thought possible. I was terrified that if the hammer slipped, or if he misjudged the swing of his hammer, I would lose my hand or even my life. I hated the way he breathed, and I despised the way he put words together in our language. What right did he have to speak our words? How dare he breathe our air? I was also too aware that I envied his strength and skill. In this moment I noticed that he was wearing some sort of necklace that in his exertion had broken and was slipping from its hiding place under his shirt. With the next swing, it came fully loose and tumbled to the ground. I saw on the ground heavy links of a chain made perhaps of brass and a locket of the same metal that had fallen open. He bellowed with a near insane rage and shouted out “if you touch that, I will kill you!” He snatched it up and stormed off, far from the camp. No one saw him for the rest of the day or for three days after that. However, while he had been picking up his necklace, I notice two things: Inside the locket was a yellow faceted stone unlike anything I had ever seen before. It was the color of buttercups. I also saw his face. Underneath the mask of rage, perhaps just in his eyes, I saw a profound grief. It was as if a tense cord inside of me suddenly snapped and my heart went out to him.
I don’t know how opinions change, or wars end, but my hatred for him became a friendship; perhaps we had similar interests. After several seasons we both were found by our employers to be gifted engineers. A few seasons after that, we went into business together. Our strengths and weaknesses were well matched so that we became wealthy. In time I met Eva who became my wife and she later became pregnant with my son.
One evening late in her pregnancy, Aaben, Eva, and I were finishing dinner when Eva gave a sudden cry. I looked over to see a wet stain spreading across the front of her dress and heard alarm in her voice as she gasped, “the baby is coming!”. Aaben said that he would get the midwife, but Eva insisted that the baby was coming now and that Aaben and I would be her midwives. I was paralyzed with fear, but Aaben calmly rose to his feet and said “I have done this before.” Apparently he had, because my son was born easily.
Later when the midwives and other women were attending to Eva, Aaben sat with me by the fire. He looked thoughtful and said “did you notice the smell when your son came into the world?” I looked at him unsure of what he meant. He returned my gaze, “it smelled bad, yes?” As a father of only a few hours, and the terror of being a reluctant midwife still so close, I became enraged. I began to shout many words that I wish I had never said. How could this ugly creature be in my home? what business did this Dwarf have being among civilized people? In his calm way, he reached into his pocket and removed something that I had only glimpsed once, years ago. It was the locket. My anger began to leave in waves and be replaced by what? curiosity?
He opened the locket to reveal the yellow gem. This was the first time that I had seen it closely and I was amazed by the Dwarven craftsmanship. It was simply the most beautiful thing that I had ever seen. He put it in my hand and began to speak. “I’m sorry if my words were clumsy, my people say things differently than your people do.” He took a long drink from his stein and continued, “this was given to me the day that my son was born and now it is yours.” I looked at it, but this time my eyes were more experienced and I knew that the metal was not brass, it was made of solid gold. I could only whisper as the emotions swept over me. “I never knew that you had a son”. Aaben waited a long time before answering, “I did, but not now”. “He was only five when he was crushed by a falling roof. I was teaching him how to use a pick to find ore in the mines. He was so eager and I was so proud of him, but I was not a good father, because I could not stop the rock from falling on him. Afterward, I could no longer look at his mother or any of my people and I had to leave. This is why I now live with your people.”
I looked at the yellow stone in the locket. It seemed to be a single crystal cut into myriad facets and it almost glowed with an internal light. “It’s brimstone”, he informed me “some of the people in your cities call it sulfur.” I reflected on this. Brimstone is the smell of evil. It hangs in the air around demons. I’ve been told that tormented souls breathe it in hell. “Your people don’t like it and they say that it smells bad, but that’s not how Dwarves feel about it. Brimstone is always found in coal, the coal that we use when we smelt metal. Dwarves are born from the earth and we believe that each metal is a different facet of the Dwarven soul. We are a people who have the strengths and weaknesses that are found in iron, tin, lead, silver, gold, and mithril. We take the ore from the earth and in furnaces it glows and becomes soft; the air hangs heavy with brimstone. Sometimes it is so thick that we choke and our eyes water, but it is a holy moment when metal is born. For us, brimstone is the smell of new life.”