The gods of Nevre: The Smith – After

Avron loved working the forge and the dwarves had the best forges. Sure, it had taken a while for him to get used to being underground every day. He had tried to keep a normal sleep-wake cycle but eventually gave up. As long as he had his orders filled on time it didn’t matter when he slept.

– – –

The clanging of hammers at the Forge of Time was loud at all times of the day and night. Nobody lived in the same cavern. People only visited to work, place a work-order, or pick up a work-order. There was no housing within the cavern…except for Avron’s house.

The house stood in a secluded section of the cavern where most of the hammering had fallen silent. He needed no food or drink so he rarely left the forge.

“M’lord?” A child dwarf stood next to Avron at the forge. She had waited until Avron was between items to speak.

Avron turned to face the dwarf. “Well, what is it, little one?” He bent over to be more on her level.

“An automaton is here. He says he needs your help. His name is Slapper.” The girl paused for a moment. “Well, he wrote it down, anyway. He’s an older one. He can’t speak.”

A smile spread across Avron’s face. “Yes, Slapper. I remember him.” He set down his tools. “Well, lead me to him.”

– – –

An ancient automaton stood in the corner of a small tinker shop in the citadel. The tinkerer kept glancing over at him in a distracted manner.

After a few more moments of silence the tinkerer set down his project and walked over to the automaton. “Look, I know you can’t speak and you aren’t trying to distract me, but you’re distracting me just by being here.”

Slapper nodded and slowly walked to the door. His gears groaned as he moved. As he was about to reach the door it opened.

“Ah, Slapper. So good to see you.” Avron stood stooped at the door and glanced at the tinkerer. “I trust he was no trouble?”

“No, but he was a little distracting just standing in the corner. I need to get back to work if you don’t need me.”

Avron looked Slapper up and down then chuckled. “You don’t want the opportunity to work with a god and fix up an ancient automaton?”

The tinkerer turned to his workbench and shoved everything to one side. “He’s not distracting if he’s a patient.”

Slapper nodded at Avron and sat on the bench, squeaking the whole way.

“Hmm…when’s the last time you had an oil bath?” The tinkerer asked handing Slapper a parchment and quill.

Avron turned to the girl and gave her a gold piece for her troubles. She smiled at him then turned and grabbed a tool set. “My grandfather will be happy to be paid.”

– – –

Avron was back at the forge, this time building parts for an automaton. He knew just as well as Slapper did that if Slapper wanted to he could let the wear and tear take him and he would get a fresh, new body. If he was not willing to do that then there must be something else going on and Avron aimed to find out what.

He pulled round disk from the fire and hammered it into a sprocket. He quenched the sprocket and added it to a pile of cooling metal. Slapper was getting a new chassis. Hopefully, the soul that was Slapper would remain even after replacing 90% of him.

– – –

The dwarven tinkerer pulled the face plate off of Slapper’s head. “You original models can’t talk. I have some newer parts, but they don’t run off clockwork anymore. They run off of something else. Difficult to explain. Anyway, I digress.” He held up a small box with gears on the outside. I reverse engineered this back when I worked with Zdenko at his workshop. The Tinkerer himself. Well, you probably know him too. I’ll hook this up and you tell me if it works.”

There were a few screeches as Slapper attempted to speak in the first time since the incident at The Fount of the Gods. “I thiiiink theeere’ssss aaaa proooobleeeem.”

“Ah, one of the sprockets is the wrong size. Let me see if I have something for that.” The tinkerer walked behind his counter and started rummaging through some boxes.

The door swung open and a cart pushed through it. The child dwarf rode atop the metal pieces. Avron peeked out from behind her. “How’s it going buddy?”

“Theeeere’ssss aaaa hiiicuuuup.”

“Oh, that’s great!” Avron shooed the dwarf off the pile of metal and started sorting it. “I mean it’s great that it’s even to that point. Here, why don’t you help me arrange this stuff?”

“Ok, leg pieces there, arm pieces there, and main chassis pieces there.” The tinkerer pointed in three cleared areas. “I’ll start assembly as soon as I finish with the talk-box.” He motioned at Slapper. “Lemme see it again, please.”

– – –

Avron began to disassemble Slapper’s chassis. He unpinned the front from the back and shook his head. “I was the best smith in the land even then, but this was my first time working on parts so small with such precise measurements. I’m surprised I did as well as this. I’m even more surprised you’re a legitimate mkI that’s still functioning.” He looked at some of the pieces and saw some wooden replacements. “Hmm. No wonder you need repairs so badly. They did a good job, but wood is not a good replacement when everything else is metal.”

The dwarf tinkerer slotted the talk-box back into Slapper. “Give that a try while he roots around inside you.”

“Testing one-two, testing one-two. I am Slapper, the one who slaps dwarves.” Slapper nodded. “Not today, of course. You’re amazing.”

Avron smiled. “Ok, sorry old friend, but I need to detach your head from your chassis. I don’t know what this is going to do, but it needs to be done.”

“Do it.”

A few grueling hours later The Smith and the dwarven tinkerer slotted the last cog into place. Slapper slowly sat up and started moving all of his parts. Now he had a much slimmer chassis and looked more like a human. He smiled at Avron.

“My friend. I haven’t felt this good since the explosion in the palace. Thank you.” Slapper shook Avron’s hand then turned to the tinkerer. “And thank you. Next time I see The Tinkerer I’ll let him know about this amazing shop.” Slapper rummaged through his pack and pulled a pouch of coins from it. “Here, keep the change.” Slapper picked up the pack and walked out the door. He glanced back and waved at the dwarf girl trying not to cry then the tinkerer and the girl never saw him again.

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The gods of Nevre: The Burning Ice – After

Ana sat on the frozen ground of the ice plains. The heat she was radiating had called some of the animals to her. The animals were adapted to the cold, like her, but unlike her they needed warmth as well. She didn’t need the warmth she radiated, but she didn’t want to spend the night alone. The animals of the ice plains were better than nothing.

Reaching out a hand Ana cooled it so that it wouldn’t burn skin and petted an ice rabbit. “Hello there, friend. How are you?”

The ice rabbit couldn’t respond to Ana, she knew that, but she just wanted to talk, she didn’t care if conversation actually flowed.

A small voice piped up from the ice rabbit. “Warm now that you’re here. Who are you?”

Stifling a gasp with her other hand Ana stared at the ice rabbit. “I’m Ana, The Burning Ice.”

“Oh.” The ice rabbit blinked at her. “I’m Thrum.”

“Nice to meet you, Thrum.” A smile spread across Ana’s face. “I’m going now. Hurry home before you lose my warmth.”

The ice rabbit turned and started hopping away rapidly.

“That goes for all of you.” Ana said this loud enough for the other animals to hear. “I’m going soon, so hurry home.”

The other animals dispersed, some more slowly than others. Once they were a distance away Ana teleported back to a temple dedicated to her. She pulled a sheet of paper from a small stack, wrote a note on it, and left it on her head priest’s lectern. It read: “Discovered new ability. Will be gone for a week or so. Ana.”

– – –

The Burning Ice stood in a small clearing in the forest in Aliaz. Several elves looked on as she fed the warmth of life into a small acorn. The transfer was visible as an orange haze flowing from her into the acorn. The acorn started to sprout and Ana backed away. She motioned for the elves to do the same.

“Today, the elves find a home. The people who were once afflicted by a disease and were purified by the Fount of the Gods shall at last have a homeland. This forest.” The small oak sapling behind Ana burst up, out of the ground with a thunderous crack and the ground trembled violently. Reaching up to the sky the oak sapling became a massive oak old-growth with strong branches. “This is the first iron oak tree. Use its bark to create tools, and its branches as foundations for your homes. If you live in the tree, the tree will live in you.”

The elves, recovering from the shock of the tree bursting from the ground, began to approach her one by one. They showed her their thanks and worshiped her.

The last elf that approached her was their leader. He bowed deeply to her and kissed the back of her hand. Her hand was the perfect warmth. “If I thought you would say yes I would ask for your hand in marriage, Burning Ice, but we both know better than that.”

“Yes, we do.” Ana smiled at the elf. “Here, Grevak.” She put something in his hand. “When this grows I will be returning. I have other places to be, but I will be back.” She let go of his hand and vanished.

In Grevak’s hand was a small, metallic acorn. He smiled and held it up for his people to see. They cheered and began using the magics Ana had taught them to have trees give them branches without being cut down. They used the branches of the other trees to start building houses in the branches of the iron oak.

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The gods of Nevre: The Balance – After

Brevman sat at a small desk. He was staring at the talisman that The Calculating had given him. He stood up and stretched. His lower arms mirroring his upper ones. He then turned to leave the room.

“Where are you going, Balance?” A voice whispered from the shadows in a corner of the room.

Shaking his head Brevman turned to face the source of the voice. “Not now Desecrator. I have to go do funeral rites for some people.”

“Those dead have been claimed by me already. They cannot be blessed away.”

The door handle was grasped by one of Brevman’s lower hands. “I do the rites for the appeasement of the living. Funerals are for the living, not the dead.”

Mrto materialized from the shadows. “So you won’t attempt to take them away from me?”

“You know I could if I needed to for the balance.”

“You don’t answer my question, salaman.”

Brevman opened the door and stepped through it. “You don’t listen, human. If that’s what you still are.”

– – –

The Balance walked through the streets of Rentaz. He was in the poorest part of the city. Many houses were nothing more than canvas tied to posts. He pulled bread out from his pack and began handing it out to the children.

“Come, little ones, and collect some bread. Balance says you should not die so young.” Brevman was dressed in a cleric’s robe with the hood up. Many of his local clerics had told him they were being attacked when they gave bread to the children. He had to know why.

After spending most of the day handing out bread Brevman was surprised that nothing had happened. He pulled out the last few pieces from his pack, and that is when they began to filter out of the dark places. Adults, thin with starvation.

“At least you still have the decency to let the children eat first.” Brevman set down his empty pack and next to it he placed his basket with the last of the bread. “Will you talk with me while you partake?” He was hoping this would not turn violent. The balance did not require their deaths, but if they attacked after a peace was offered he would find the balance elsewhere.

Surprised at the demeanor of the salaman the adults walked forward and cautiously took what was left of the bread. When the bread was getting low Brevman cast a small spell on it, careful not to let the people notice what he was doing.

When the last man approached for his bread he took the last piece. When Brevman had set the bread down there were ten pieces left. Now, after over forty people, the last piece was taken. The skravyn who had taken the last piece looked up at the salaman in recognition.

“You’re no cleric. You’re-” the skravyn stopped seeing Brevman hold one finger to his lips in the universal sign for keeping quiet. “Thank The Balance for this bread.”

Brevman took the talisman from Gormaliev and removed it from his pocket. He looked at it then back at the skravyn. “Here, I want you to take this.”

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The gods of Nevre: The Calculating – After

Gormaliev stood in the great plains in the realm of Nevre. She enjoyed visiting the realm from time to time. The salamen intrigued her greatly. She had once set one on the path to godhood. She smiled to herself and in her distraction she tripped over something.

Standing and brushing herself off Gormaliev turned to look at what she had tripped on. Sitting in the middle of the road was a small, wounded red fox pup. She reached down and picked it up. “Well, I’m sorry. I didn’t see you there.” Gormaliev looked around. “Where is your mom, little pup?”

The fox stared up at her. The fox’s eyes showed an intelligence behind them. It shook its head, as if to say it didn’t know.

“Very well. I guess I’ll just have to look after you myself.” Gormaliev used a little of her power to heal the tiny creature. “There. Now let’s go to the Feylands. You’ll love it there.”

The fox pup licked Gormaliev’s nose.

“That tickles. Stop it.” Gormaliev made the jump to the Feylands. Once there she started a ritual to tie the fox to her as a familiar. She always wanted a pet, and this one would be tied to her even tighter than the Aelfson line was.

– – –

“Aliziyah, what are you doing?” Gormaliev looked around the clearing. “You’re trying to hide from me. That doesn’t work very well.”

The red fox walked from between two trees. Her stomach was swollen with a litter of pups. “Sorry, I just wanted some rest.”

Gormaliev smiled at Aliziyah. “Oh, well if you just told me that would be fine. There are a few warlockes I want to give your pups as familiars. Is that okay?”

Aliziyah thought for a moment. “As long as they will be cared for. I also need to ween them first.” She sat down on her side. “They should be coming any day now, I think.”

“Yes, the weening time is definitely the earliest. Your first pup will go to a Sorley in England. He has a great destiny ahead of him and some companionship would do him good.”

“Well, then they shall grow up together. You’ve mentioned him before.”

“Yes, my fox, I have. I had a vision of him longer ago than I want to think about. He will be a great force in Domhan.” Gormaliev rubbed Aliziyah’s belly gently. These pups will know the joy of friendship from the very first.”

“How emotional of you. You’re supposed to be calculating, not caring.” Aliziyah stretched out on the soft grass of the Feylands.

Gormaliev smiled. “That’s the name the people of Nevre refer to me by, The Calculating. That doesn’t mean I’m cold, that just means I calculate.”

“Keep telling yourself that.” Aliziyah fell into slumber.

“I do, every day.”

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The gods of Nevre: The Tinkerer – After

The Tinkerer sat at a workbench and started to disassemble a piece of a machine that was able to fly. Not glide from a high place, but actually fly. The technology had come from another realm and it wasn’t clockwork or magical. It had wires and other things running through it. Unfortunately, the object only half manifested on Nevre, causing it to crash.

On the workbench behind him Zdenko had started construction on a clockwork version of the machine. He didn’t have access to wires with the strange substance covering them that the machine had, but he was doing his best to recreate the form and function of the craft itself.

Zdenko began to think about the other people in the workshop with him. Most of them salamen, halflings, and gnomes. The other races rarely had representation in the workshop, not feeling the same curiosity at the machines that Zdenko had acquired throughout the years. Recently a skravyn had come to learn the ins and outs of tinkering, but he had to start from the beginning. He was from the city of Rentaz in Zentar. The skravyn there weren’t treated very well by the other races. Especially humans.

“Ah, my mind is wandering from the task at hand.” Zdenko stood up, his white, wispy hair taking a moment to realize it was moving, then another moment to realize it had stopped. He addressed the workshop. “Where’s Skreeve?”

There was a hush in response then a skravyn stood up, lifting his feathered arm up above his head. “Over here! I’m coming!” There was some plodding and scraping as the skravyn hurried over to Zdenko. “What does The Tinkerer ask of me?”

“First, I ask everyone else to focus back on their work.” The workshop returned to the sounds of gearwork. “So, I wanted to ask you a few things, Skreeve. First, how did you learn of me?”

“At the temple to the known gods in Rentaz. One of the priests there was surprised I was interested in tinkering and recommended I visit here.”

“Okay. Do you prefer fine-tuning things or scrabbling things together to do what you need even if it only lasts a few times?”

“Putting something together quickly and maybe later working on the finer points.”

Zdenko nodded. “Last question. Are you devoted to the work you’re doing here?”

“Very.” Skreeve looked down at his feet. “But my instructor doesn’t like my improvisational techniques.”

The Tinkerer nodded. “I don’t have many clerics in my order. Mostly just tinkerers. What do you think about doing that?”

“I can give it a try.”

“Well, I give you the position of cleric.” The Tinkerer waved his hands a little and some power moved from him into Skreeve. “So, look at this piece of machine here. Not the clockwork one, the other one.”

Skreeve looked at it. “Very well made. Probably not made by hand.” He reached a hand out then stopped himself. “May I?”

“Go ahead.” Zdenko smiled, waiting for the power he had given the skravyn to manifest.

The taloned hand touched the machine and Skreeve started moving a few of the wires. Suddenly a dim light jumped from his hand to the machine and back. “Wow!” He started pulling some of the wires out of the machine. “These are for lights. They’ll just distract you.” He grabbed a tool and unscrewed one of the housings. “This in here is the actual engine…” He started to sit at the workbench and began pulling off all of the unimportant bits.

Zdenko sat at the workbench with the clockwork engine and continued working on it. He glanced back at Skreeve every once in a while and noticed he was cobbling together his own engine. It was going to need some tweaking, but it wasn’t a replica. It was an improvement.

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The gods of Nevre: The Sneak – After

In a dark corner of The Cave in the city of Rentaz in the country on Zentar a small figure waited. He had been waiting there for hours, hidden from view, waiting for the right noble to walk by. His halfling feet hurt terribly from the positioning of the wooden ceiling supports but he didn’t so much as wince in pain. He smiled as the noble he was waiting for walked directly underneath him. He whispered a word and his amulet activated, turning him into a black mist. He dove down from the ceiling and down the noble’s throat. She struggled for air, lasting for almost a minute, before she succumbed to unconsciousness. As soon as she was unconscious the halfling deactivated the amulet and stood over the noble, drawing a dagger. He plunged the dagger into her heart and left it there. A note on the hilt read: Don’t cross The Sneak.

– – –

The Sneak smiled at the halfling. “Yes, you did well. You can keep that amulet. You may need it again.”

“Thank you, goddess. Is there anything else you require of me?” The halfling bowed deeply.

“No.” Taithleach turned and faced the back of the barren office. “The man outside will pay you. If the guild has need of you again we’ll find you.”

The halfling nodded to himself. “Very well, I will take my leave then.” He turned and started for the door. As he did so he looked to the corner of the room. “That spell works better in deep shadows.” He walked through the door, not waiting for a response.

Taithleach turned back around and smiled at the corner. “He’s right, shadow cleric. This room is too bright to meld into the shadows.”

“I think I did rather well. He almost didn’t see me.” A man in dark cleric robes, who was just barely visible, walked out of the corner and shadows dripped from him, making him completely visible. “So, do you think the duke will get the point with his niece lying dead in a corridor?”

“If not he’s an even bigger fool than I thought.”

The cleric nodded. “The thief guild is completely above board. They don’t mix members with the assassin guild. Every investigation…well I guess that the assassin guild members wouldn’t be found out if there were any…but the wrath of a goddess is not something you want to play around with.”

“Yes. That’s the problem. He’s the only one who’s trying to shut down the guild, but he does have a few good reasons. With the grey area legality and whatnot, but all the other nobles use them to steal secrets…and goods but we don’t talk about that.”

“Of course.” The cleric nodded then he looked more serious. “I hear you are going on a trip to Aliaz.”

“I am. What of it.”

“Who is going to head the guild during your absence? We need someone competent at the head of the thief guild while you’re away. Especially in these times.”

Taithleach smiled. “The Jester, for some reason, has seen fit to propose he watches over the guild while I’m away. We aren’t friends by any means, so I have no idea what his plans are. Maybe there’s someone who’s destiny will begin while I’m gone. In any case, I leave it in his hands. He knows what he’s doing, for good or ill.”

“As you will, my goddess. Though I have my reservations.”

“I would be concerned if you didn’t.” She pulled a stone from a pocket and handed it to the cleric. “If he does something stupid, message me through this.” She tossed the stone.

The cleric caught it and a whisp of shadow rose from it and dissipated. “How?”

“Speak to it and I will hear. It’s one-way only so you’ll need to take my word for it.”

“I usually do.”


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The gods of Nevre: The Sorceress – After

The first thing Taika did after she realized she was a goddess was free Ana from the block of ice that had kept her frozen for months. It wasn’t hard to do magic anymore. In fact, it was easy to reach into that place within herself that held her abilities. Shortly after discovering this new power she traveled to the city of Rentaz in the country of Zentar. There she met with the order of wizards. Old men who thought knowledge of the arcane would be enough to wield magic. While there she rebuilt the order from the ground up as the Sorcerer’s Guild.

– – –

At the top spire of the Sorcerer’s Guild Taika looked into a pool of water inside a silvered bowl atop an ornate pedestal. She had been searching for The Vengeance for some time now. Stigr hadn’t deemed to tell her where she was hidden so the only thing Taika could do was search for her. This time she was trying out a new scrying spell. The gods usually couldn’t be scried, but she was a goddess so she figured she could be the exception.

“Ervat! Bring me the feather of a scravyn, the toe of a salaman, and the horn of a zarx. The latter two should be ground to a fine powder,” Taika yelled over her shoulder. “Oh, and the toe should be fresh. The horn doesn’t have to be, but the toe is important.”

Her salaman assistant looked at his feet. “Yes, The Sorceress, I’ll get right on that.” He knew his toe would regrow, but he wasn’t looking forward to having it chopped off.

“Oh, here. This blade cuts without pain and cauterizes wounds.” She walked over to a shelf and pulled a knife from it. The knife glowed a pale green. “Don’t lose that. I also have a spell somewhere that can regrow it faster. Let me look for it while you get to work. The toe should be the last thing, of course.”

The salaman nodded and hurried off to gather the reagents. He set the knife down on a table and started going through organized drawers. “Now what did I put the zarx horn under?”

Taika sighed and moved over to a large, stone chair and sat down, rubbing her temples. “This is getting annoying. Why don’t you just show yourself, Adalet? We need a god with justice in her hand that’s supposed to wield it. I’ve felt the stirrings of vengeance within myself, and I’ve heard that Kemp has wielded his sword for vengeful justice. The kind without honor, and he is the god of honorable warriors!”

Suddenly an idea wormed its way into Taika’s mind. “Ah! No, I don’t need your toe!” She rushed into the other room and saw her assistant about to cut his toe off. “I need my toe.” She took her sandal off. “Quickly.”

“Uhh…” the salaman took the knife and instead of his own toe he cut off the toe of The Sorceress. “I hope you know what you’re doing.” He picked up the toe.

“Grind it into a powder, quickly.” She watched as the magic that infused her started healing her foot. “I need to get this scrying underway.”

It wasn’t long before the ingredients were prepared. “Ok. Powdered toe of god.” The salaman handed Taika a bowl of powder that she dumped into the water. “Powdered horn of zarx.” Another bowl of powder was poured into the water. “Feather of skravyn.” The feather was gently placed on the surface of the water. She said a few words in a strange tongue, then said a command in common. “Show me Adalet call The Justice and The Vengeance.”

The image of Adalet appeared on the water. “Where is she?” The image zoomed out and showed a small town in the northern plains, just to the south. Adalet was running through the town with a quarterstaff. “Oh, she found something it seems. What is it?” The pool seemed to show time in reverse. The town was unbuilt before Taika’s eyes. Eventually the image froze on Grigori Petrovich who was paying a man for a hut with the same quarterstaff on his back. “Oh. Interesting. The quarterstaff of the man who killed her parents. I’m surprised the town is still standing.”

Taika returned the image to the present and watched as two figures followed Adalet, attempted to get her to give the weapon back, got attacked by her, and then defeated the god. “A zarx and a wick just killed her…ah they left before she reconstituted.” She watched as Adalet’s body turned to smoke and reformed next to the pile of her clothes. She redressed and walked away from the town.

“Ok, write the ingredients down. It worked better than I expected.” Taika poured the water from the bowl into a stream of water flowing down the tower. “That’s got to be the most useful of the eight-hundred spell variants I’ve found.”

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