Newest flash fic at 826 words.
Look at any city in the world, and I guarantee you’ll find magic there if you look hard enough.
Look at all of those spires reaching into the sky. If your skyline’s impaired look at the grid of lights extending in all directions. Question where your waste goes when it leaves your dwelling. The cover story is that we have services in place to handle things, and other places where our discards go. Which is true after a sense.
But, most people don’t dig deep enough to find out how it all gets done.
I dig. It’s what I do. I don’t have much say in the matter. I guess you could say it’s in my nature.
My people were subjugated in the earliest ages of the world. We have never forgotten. Under the constant watch of trolls and goblins, they toiled and bled, wrenching the treasures of the earth from their subterranean lairs. We knew the cruelty of the lash, the exhaustion of forced labor.
I’m told that aside from the whipping, we’d have done all this anyhow. The only real differences were being in bondage and being forced to give away our spoils. If left to our own devices, we’d have dug anyhow. We love the earth. It gives up its bounty to us.
At some point though we rebelled. The partial histories we have are drenched in the blood of troll, goblin and dwarf alike. The others, they did not help us. Not a whit. They couldn’t. They had no way to know who we were. When the first of our kind traversed the realms above from which our malefactors came, we came upon the open sky and cowered in terror. We wanted none of the open spaces. We retreated to our homes in the earth. For a while, it’s said that things went okay.
We found the others when they became curious. There were misgivings. Our ways are foriegn to the Others. There were the tall ones who wished to trade, then the fair ones who sought to lord over us. We preferred the company of neither. Dwarves keep to their own mostly. And over time, we built some relations with the tall ones.
This went on for thousands of years, I’m told. And then, we lost innumerable volumes of our lore. Even what little history we do have is called into question because of the vast gaps in our own heritage. But, sometime during this darkened period of our own history, it passed that the number of the fair dwindled, and the tall ones propagated across the lands. Trolls became rarer and rarer. We lost all contact with the outside world for a time. Those were supposedly happier times. We keep to ourselves and work with the earth. We needed little else.
Then, the tall ones came again. This time, not to our cave entrances and not to trade, but wholly on accident. We must share some blood I suppose. Because, suddenly, the tall folks were digging. They came with the assistance of huge machines. They were building into the earth as we do. It was crude, and their numbers sometimes died in then process of securing what they had dug. Their work was admirable if for no other reason than effort.
And soon, they were everywhere. They were breaching our homes, finding our tunnels and taking from the earth. There was a great cry of concern. We were being invaded all over again.
However, this time, we were smart. We weren’t going to ignore the problem. Some of us advanced toward the digging machines. We called upon those who found us and we took them. We made them understand. It took time. The tall ones were always obtuse. They had a tendency to see things only the way they wanted to see things. I guess it’s why we eventually came to a sort of understanding.
Subways? Their idea, but we refined it, made it workable. Sewers? Dreadful business, but if we didn’t want to swim in rivers of waste in our warrens, we’d have to teach them how to do it in a way that wouldn’t befoul our own. Oil drilling? We know where it is – unfortunate given that theres not a lot and the tall folk seem to pride themselves on acquiring it.
But, that wasn’t all. They brought us up. Showed us many of the wonders of the world. Not many took them up on the offer, but I was one. And in my time above, I discovered one thing above all others.
You humans are not at the top by virtue of your own cleverness.
The postal service? Impossible. The sprites have taught you how to do everything and in many places actually take up the job. Electrical services? Aided by captured Thunderbirds. High speed pizza delivery? Boggans.
You learned from the best, and in many ways still rely on us. You probably always will.
So, remember. We’re the ones keeping the lights on at night, keeping you clean, keeping you informed. The magic is running the show. Never forget that, and we’ll get along fine.
— Sturri Evengard
Dwarf Emmisary, Philadelphia, PA.