The Eight Crimes of The Iconodules

The Museum, Part Two

The dwarf in black entered the museum, and the scout followed.

It was, of course, a less momentous occasion than the previous sentence may suggest. The dwarf was, for instance, wearing glasses, which took away much of the solemnity of his all-black garb. So too did the small steel board that he carried, covered in papers, add to his considerably more bureaucratic than villainous appearance. For years the scout would wonder how those two things ended up growing so close together. The scout, despite acting in an official capacity, was on a tour. A tour of a supposedly independent city. Dwarves had always been, historically speaking, slow to adapt. For instance, this concept of ‘two cities’ was absolutely insane. Twenty years ago, maybe. Now? Crazy. Just crazy. Still, she smiled and nodded, acting the diplomat she had been assigned to be as she was taught history like a child, even the parts she had been alive for.

“The time before the Edge was marked as a period of cataclysmic upheval.” the dwarf told her. She smiled. It wasn’t an appropriate response for the subject matter, but it was keeping her face from breaking into a massive roll of the eyes and a sigh, the likes of which her teenage self, now decades dead, would have been impressed by. The dwarf looked her expression over carefully, and after a pause to make certain she was completely bored, continued down the row of displays. The scout clicked after him, the shining black of her boots and the leathers of her outfit well out of place in the cavern-home the dwarves had dug beneath the earth. How did they always find hollow spaces? She wondered. They had to dump all that rock somewhere. She knew she was out of place down here, even with the strange black and white vision her necklace gave her, or the official permission to act as a representative of the city, that crisp paper folded in her pocket.

“Diplomat.” had been her cover, but “Scout” was really her profession, and her mind had little patience for being told what was happening, either now or in the past. She wanted to see it. Wanted something worth looking at. Circumstance provided, of course, as it always did. “…which lead to the creation of the Deep Bore, with the end of natural caverns and trade cut off for the most part with the citizens of the orc fortresses in the region now called Kelasho-…”

“The what?” the scout asked, sharply stopping her instructor, tilting her head in almost avian curiosity.

“Kelasho? It’s a district in-”

She waved a hand to silence him. Probably not a diplomatic gesture, but she wasn’t a diplomat. “No, no. The first part. What bore?”

“The Deep Bore is a project I’m afraid we can’t take you to see. Too dangerous. We have completed a tunnel to the Edge, where it exists far beneath the surface. If you’d like, the memorial exhibit for those miners who gave their lives in the discovery of-”

When the scout cut him off this time, the dwarf seemed genuinely annoyed. Not being interested in history was one thing. Not being interested in memorials was a dwarven high crime. What were they without their ancestors, after all? The scout would’ve had an answer for that, borrowed from a friend, but now wasn’t the time. “You dug to the Edge? You reached it?” she asked, the questions becoming pointed, more like an investigator who had discovered a crime. This confused the dwarf.

“Yes, the project has been complete for months now. Work still continues to perform experiments, but I am told that some promising-”

“Oh sweet Idols you are all fucking dead.” Aris Gammond said, holding the top of her head with one hand, crushing her hair between her fingers in exasperation. “He’s going to be furious.” Again, probably not diplomatic. But she wasn’t a diplomat.

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Zeral

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