Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Atlantean Myth (Part V): The Kobold's Tale

The Kobold just passed on his gun-carriage way, old beyond his years, pleasant beyond his early nature, just another nonagenarian gone to seed and dust. So little of his story is known, and yet so much. His was a contrary nature, and a sharp-edged one.

He was there at the beginnings of the Third Age; it was he who held the Hammer of Might as the Thunderer was confirmed in place as the First Among Equals. And few noticed who sat in the chair, who deputised, who querulously grumbled about the cold and yet wielded colder powers. For the Kobold was master of iron and steel, as are most of his kind, and his ways were those of the dark arts and the academic life.

My revered ancestors worked with the Kobold. Like a lizard, he would sun himself cold-bloodedly on the metaphorical sundial or lawn and pronounce judgement on those he felt were lacking. In those early days, he was the main purger of the heretics, the heterodox, the insufficiently rigorous. Indeed, my near ancestor was nearly purged himself, save for the intervention of the Gnome.

The Kobold was steel to Golden Mountain's concrete, was iron to Black Diamond's diplomatic charm. His was not the art of compromise, although in later days he mellowed. He railed against the Thunderer's excesses, as all smiths will against the warlords who use their tools.

Like a Lear, he let drop the reins of power, and found no leverage to take them back. He had seen the Thunderer dissolve in tears, he had put courage into the heart of the Gnome. But all that was taken from him, and he descended into obscurity, scattered moments and a wheelchair.

I used to greet him, mornings or evenings. He had become gracious, relaxed as he contemplated the end of a story that had dragged on too long. Very few caught any glimpse of the dragon, the iron chancellor, who had wielded the sword and lash over the temples of the Book in the bad old days. I remember him both ways. But morning and evening pass, and thus the day is done.

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Note: For other mythic discursions into this modern Atlantis, see here. Yes, some of you might have noticed, this was Toh's day.

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