403. Volenfell 5 – Out of tune


I was never comfortable with the theory I was taught concerning the fate of the Dwarves, that all at once they just suddenly disappeared. I’ve always harboured the suspicion due to the misanthropic nature of their automatons, that they were in fact wiped out by the very machines they had created to help sustain them; their bodies being efficiently disposed of in the great kilns and furnaces of their own design.

My campfire theory was thus. All societies, even this totalitarian society of machines, are like music boxes. Each member of the society is expected to take their obedient place and become yet another cog, spring, coil, or pin in the boxes inner workings, letting the mechanism spin them around, passively accepting the compositions and orchestrations handed down to them from their leaders, teachers and preachers; lest they are to become persecuted or ostracised. Because the one universal sin in every society, whether it be a society of men, mer, or machine, is to be different. And the vagaries of the Dwarves from the precision of their automatons may have been such that the machines felt the need to remove them from their music box, in the most efficient way possible.

Yet here in the ruins of Dwarven city of Volenfell, I find my theory about to be rebutted by the automatons themselves. For in these halls known as the Guardian’s Skull which houses yet another of the city’s defensive levers, I come face to face with an aberration from the uniformity. An Unstable Construct, seemingly malfunctioning with charged blue sparks fizzling across its surface, erratic, out of tune, and not at all following the established score. Yet the machines around it do not attack it because it is different and does not fit in with their melody, they try to maintain it, treat it as any other machine, tolerate its idiosyncrasy, and finally, defend it against my blade.

So much for my campfire theories… perhaps I’ll take up the lute instead.


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