Let us tell you a tale.
≈ II ≈
ii. The Dawn Of Trade
And so he went, from his tall peak Maegoroben, over the ranges and through the valleys north to the craggy peaks where the dwarves made their home. But while Angolon made his home upon his mountaintop, the dwarves dwelled beneath miles of rock in vast caverns carved by nature and chisel.
After many leagues, he came upon a massive door carved into the living rock of the mountain, lit on each side with ensconced torches made of entire trees, burning with cracking fury.As he approached, the doors swung open with a creak that shook the earth and sent shale skittering down from above.
Before Angolon stood Harrl Darkmine, the dwarven king, and friend of many years. Angolon had a hand in dreaming the dwarves to life, as he did all of the speaking creatures of the world, and his face on your doorstep was always a welcome sight in the realm. The bearded brethren embraced, and entered the hall to share stories and meat and mead.
They ate and drank and laughed long into the night (although who can tell the hour under the mountain), but at last Angolon admitted that his visit was not strictly meant for the hearty pleasures of dwarven company. He told Harrl of his troubles with his beard, and of his findings of the butter of the deep mountain.
The dwarves knew it well, and used it for a great many things that required making hard things soft, from their beards to their rough, leathery skin to oiling the joints in their armor. Angolon asked Harrl if he would be willing to share this treasure with the realm, for the giants and men in particular would make great use of the butter.
But although Harrl had a merry spirit in his heart, he was still a dwarf, and dwarves have never been known for their generosity. The king would allow the export of large quantities of butter to Angolon’s tower, but not for nothing. If he was to spread the riches of his kingdom throughout the realm, he expected reciprocity. He expected gold.
Angolon agreed heartily. Gold. The oldest alchemist trick in the book. And so he set off back to his tower, trailed by a hundred sturdy mountain goats, packs laden with butter and possibilities.