The Dwarven Salvation

New arrivals in the Open Port of Tarlock will be greeted with what first appears to be a massive Acredian Frigate which has run aground and on the small peninsula at the ports opening, before their captain will inevitably cry out "Feast your eyes on the Dwarven Salvation! Long may she stand!" Few people outside the continent of Ikar will not have heard of the fabled ship, stolen by slaves and used to liberate all of the enslaved dwarves in the Acredian Empire, as this story is central to nearly all civilized life in the Kytaran Sea.   Naval Supremacy   The Acredian Empire is a nation that was forged in the fires of war; bringing death to all others is, and always has been, one of the most prominent aspects of their culture. There wasn't much of a need for a navy during the actual Nightmare War, but in the years that followed, Acredian leadership agreed that the construction of a heavily armed armada was not just necessary, but vital for survival and expansion into the rarely traveled Great Ocean that covers most of Gadria. That meant they needed to be prepared for any threat they could imagine lurked beyond the horizon, and as a result, the Acredian Indomnious Class ship had a substantial armament, despite the fact that it was predominantly used as a cargo ship. The Acredians fit 6 ballistae on each side, as well as a small trebuchet on the bow, and a rather vicious ram beneath the prow on each member of the class. The ship that would one day be known as the Dwarven Salvation was originally named the AIS Judicator, was roughly 300 feet long by 75 feet wide by 50 feet tall, and was theorized to have been intended as a slave transport ship.   Escape   Morwr Strongarm was a slave shipwright in the Port de Misère, acting as a foreman to a team of 30 other dwarven slave shipwrights on the ship that would have been designated the AIS Judicator. He and his team had been concocting a hypothetical escape plan, intending to commandeer whatever ship they happened to be working on at the time with the intention of sailing due west with whatever they could carry on their backs. To the shame of these dwarves, the plan involved every member of this crew, who had no families, as dwarf men women and children were kept separately, dropping whatever they were doing, killing any Acredian they happen to come across and making way straight to whatever ship was targeted for these purposes at the time. The dwarves would have to completely abandon the others of their kind, and leave them to face the wrath of the Acredian Taskmasters for what the free dwarves had done. The opportunity came with a particularly high profile Men Mori sacrifice, which were ordinarily spectated by hundreds of Acredian citizens, but on this occasion, a high profile member of government had been convicted of blasphemy, which was considered important enough to be mandatory for everyone in Acredia. Morwr and his crew, who were not permitted to see the execution, were being taken back to their cells by their Taskmaster, when Morwr suddenly broke a sconce from the wall of the dungeon, and used it to rush the human, and beat him to death. His crew leapt into action, running straight back out of the corridor from whence they'd come, and clamored onto their chosen ship of the week, the AIS Judicator. The dwarves cast off in the unguarded ship, with nothing but the provisions that were onboard, as well as the small, unnoticeable pouches of food they had each been carrying on their persons since they'd first devised this plan.   Liberation   After reaching the Kytaran Sea and recuperating for a month or so on Tarlock, Morwr and his crew were overcome with the guilt of leaving their fellow dwarves to their fate. A return trip and a rescue mission began to form almost immediately after the needs of the Strongarm Shipwrights had been met, and the dwarves began using the tools on the rechristened Dwarven Salvation, and the bounty of their new home to begin making two more, smaller ships, and an advanced form of weapon that only dwarves had the natural ability for metalwork to make; the cannon. These heavy pieces of artillery are still thought to be the original reason for the dwarven enslavement in the first place, as any smith worth his salt could easily create a heavy steel tube and the dense iron spheres they projected at an enemy, but what no other sentient race had been able to create up to that point, perhaps to the benefit of all life, was it's ignition source. Using this mysterious black powder and the armaments they unlocked, the Strongarm Shipwrights spent one full year, working day and night to build these ships and prepare for their passage back to Ikar. Morwr Strongarm prayed to the Old Man on the eve of the rescue, asking that their journey to and from the accursed land be protected from harm, and if it please the god, that it would only take the same 16 days to make the trip one way, as the dwarves were well aware that this journey should take months to complete. The Old Man did not appear to his prophet, but the dwarves did not expect him to, and cast off anyway, assuming that if they continued to follow the gods commands, still the Old Man would protect his new children.   The Failure of Imperialism   The nameless Taskmaster killed by Morwr Strongarm was found not 15 minutes later by another Taskmaster, who's name was Yugof Renshi, and who's contribution to the liberation of all dwarf-kind will likely be lost to the flowing passage of time. Yugof was not a naturally born Acredian citizen, instead having been sired by one of the satellite nations surrounding the Acredian Empire's borders at the time of it's formation, the names of which have been erased from history by the Empire. Children raised by parents had been conquered tend not to hold much love in their heart for the conquerors, and Yugof was no different. Acting entirely on instinct, for if his mind had been involved he surely would have reported this, Yugof hid the body in a nearby water barrel, and used his sandaled feet to agitate the pooled blood with the overflown water and dirt on the ground, to the point where the three had become homogenous, and indistinguishable from each other. Yugof quickly ran to the Temple of Xoltye, so his absence from the execution would not lead to suspicion. Once the Great Ashen God was satisfied with it's sactifice, Yugof hurried back to the dungeons, where he quickly and quietly disposed of the corpse, utilizing his garrisons carnivorous ooze to ensure that there would be no biomatter, even bones or hair, left to implicate himself or whoever these dwarves were who'd vanished. Yugof erased all traces of these dwarves, who's identities he discovered in the killed Taskmasters ledgers, over the course of the following few weeks. In his fear of suspicion, Yugof threw himself at his work with such diligence that he quickly gained promotions and prestige, including a luxurious beachside home, reserved for highly respected members of Acredian society. It was while Yugof was taking a nightly stroll along the lapping waves at the back of his property when a man appeared to him, seemingly rising straight from the tide. The old man softly shone to Yugof, and strode through the the waves, the waters themselves parting before his feet, leaving Yugof shaking in fear, believing the man to be some sort of vengeful ocean spirit that his parents had often warned of, being from a coastal society. The old man warned Yugof that the dwarves are returning in one years time* to liberate their fellow kinsmen, and if Yugof was to have any hope of his soul ascending to paradise, he would make sure that the dwarves are successful in any way he can. The man disappeared, leaving Yugof to ponder his orders. In the end Yugof reasoned that even if this man was lying, even if it was some ordinary illusion, it was probably the closest he would ever come to receiving divine intervention. The very next day, Yugof dragged a crate into the nearest public square to his home, and begun to denounce the teachings of Men Mori, and declared the Acredian Empire to be corrupt. Before a minute had passed Yugof was apprehended and beaten by nearby city guards, and found himself being thrown in a dungeon beneath the Temple of Xoltye. After a year with no food or water, Yugof was informed by his executioners that he had the honor of having his death witnessed by every citizen in the city. The poisonous tears that flowed from Yugof Renshi's eyes at the tope of his altar were not the tears of a broken man at the end, but rather tears of joy, that his torment had ended, and that he had given his life meaning in the freedom of thousands more, though he had no way of knowing if that had even happened.   Legacy   After slipping into a deserted city, slightly disappointed that they didn't find any need for their cannons, and freeing the remaining 3000 dwarves** from their pens in the Slave District, Morwr and the Strongarm Shipwrights had an uneventful, if cramped journey back to the island of Tarlock, where the former slaves quickly adapted to life on an island, and soon, other islands. Morwr decided there wasn't much need of a massive cargo ship now that there were no plans of leaving the Kytaran Sea anytime soon, but he did find need of a new government among the islands. He ordered the Dwarven Salvation to be dragged aground and converted to a city hall, and a refugee welcome center, as the one foundation Morwr would find no objection to founding his rule upon is that of aiding those escaping tyranny. The Strongarm Shipwrights were no fools, and they knew their achievement would not go unnoticed by the Acredian Empire and it's subjects, and as they knew they would draw the ire of the Acredians if they ever crossed their paths again, they also knew that there would soon be a tide of people fleeing their rule, and the Free Islands, as they were to be called, needed to be ready to provide asylum and safety to any who needed it. Otherwise, as Morwr would preach from the Tarlock city square from the day he stepped down as governor until his death, the Dwarven Salvation may as well still be a warship, rather than the beacon of hope it has become.
*Another inconsistency with the length of time it took the Strongarm Shipwrights to make their journeys. The Acredians don't ultimately know what happened to their slaves, and of course no non Acredian would ever tell them. It remains unclear how long it took for time to pass on Ikar during these journeys by any historian of the present day, because no historian knows of Yugof's sacrifice. No historian besides myself, that is.   ** This relatively small number of dwarves owes to the fact that the Acredians were not actively breeding their dwarven slaves as they had begun using ordinary human slaves instead. In fact, the Free Island Spy Hive can say with certainty that these were the last dwarves in existence at the time of the liberation, and if it had not been for Morwr and the Strongarm Shipwrights, as well as Yugof Renshi, the Empire was planning to let the race go extinct altogether


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