Bonus Story: Dwarves Do It On The Down Low

on November 17, 2008 in Other Tales

I got a couple requests to write a story with a female dwarf in it. One has actually appeared in the story before, but it was quite a ways back… in the 40s, I think… so I figured it was time to give her some more screen time. Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

“Hey, Caron!” Rosalie called as she bounced down the stone steps into the subterranean store, her tight pink pigtails bouncing up and down.

“Who’s that?” a female voice said from behind the counter before a head with short black hair and several facial piercings popped into view. “Oh, hey, Rosie!” Caron said, hauling her small but solidly built body up onto the counter with strong arms. “What brings you down?”

“I just need to get some more of those tights,” the human woman said, heading to the wall where packages of striped and patterned leggings were on display.

“What, again?” Caron asked, dangling her leather-clad legs over the front of the counter. “What the hell do you do with them, girl?”

“Eat them, of course” Rosalie said, picking out a few selections.

“I’m serious,” Caron said. “I know they aren’t running. If they are, I’m going to have to kill somebody.”

“They aren’t running,” Rosalie said. “I just keep losing them.”

“Why do you bother buying permanent tights if you can’t keep track of them?”

“Because the cheap ones don’t last a week,” Rosalie said. “I go clubbing in them once and they’re ruined.”

“But you’re in here every week anyway,” Caron said.

“Yeah, but if I ever quit losing them I won’t be,” Rosalie said. “I’m buying extra this time, too.”

“How do you lose a pair of tights?”

“Alcohol is usually involved.”

The bell over the bottom of the stairs tinkled and the sound of booted footfalls echoed down to them. A human guy in his late twenties, a semi-regular that Caron recognized without knowing his name, came into the store.

“Hey,” Caron said, giving him a little wave. “Help you find anything?”

“Nah, just need a new chain for my wallet,” he said. “So, uh, Caron… you ever stop beating your girlfriend?”

“Ha!” the dwarf woman said. “That’s funny! So funny. You know what else is funny?”

“No,” the guy replied.

“That sign to your left,” she said.

She watched him turn and read the sign placed at eye level for a human. It said “We reserve the right to refuse service to anybody.” The word “service” was scratched out and the words “unshattered kneecaps” was written above it.

“What?” he asked, turning back to look at Caron.

His confusion turned to a look of pant-wetting terror as he saw the iron-hafted mattock she’d pulled from beneath the counter, and he fled from the shop, scrambling up the stone stairs back to towards the street.

“I hate that shit, seriously,” Caron said, shaking her head.

“Fallacies of many questions?” Rosalie asked, bringing her selections up and putting them down next to Caron.

“The idea that because I’m a dwarf, I can’t be in a relationship with anybody without beating seven kinds of hell out of them,” Caron said. “I hate that. That, and humans who blame domestic violence on great-grandpa who was a dwarf. Like full-blooded humans can’t ever haul off and pop somebody in the mouth without dwarven blood being involved… anyway, that whole thing is about dwarves on dwarves. It’s why I don’t date my own race.”

“Yeah, you don’t have to tell me that,” Rosalie said. “My grandfather is a dwarf, and he was always sweet as pie to Grandma, that I saw.” At Caron’s look of skepticism, she elaborated. “Oh, they adopted my mom. I’m not saying I’m dwarven.”

“Oh, okay,” Caron said. “I was going to say something, otherwise.”

“Anyway… since I’m in here so often buying them anyway, is there any possibility I can get something like a bulk discount?” Rosalie asked.

“Sure,” Caron said. “Just open a store and buy them wholesale. Don’t make me make you read the sign, girl.”

Rosalie sighed and pulled out a coin purse.

“Seriously, I hate talking myself out of business, but if you’re back in here next week buying new ones I’m going to have to cut you off for your own good,” Caron said.

“Oh, I can afford it,” Rosalie said, dropping a small pile of coins onto the counter. “My rent’s pretty cheap, and tattoos is good money. It’s a college town, full of people out on their own for the first time, their pockets full of their parents’ money.”

“Who am I to argue?” Caron said. She swept up the money and put it into the pouch on her belt, which did not bulge out at all even after the coins were deposited. “So, what’s the weather like up there?”

“Sunny but cold,” Rosalie said. “It’s been pretty clear lately… there was one hell of a rainstorm over campus last night, though.”

“Just over the campus?” Caron asked. She shuddered visibly, then stuck out her tongue. “I don’t know how you people can stand it.”


“Weather,” Caron said.

“Don’t you ever go up in it?” Rosalie asked.

The dwarf shook her head.

“The last time I saw the sky was twenty-three years ago,” she said. “And that wasn’t my idea, I can tell you that.”

“So… what do you do when you want to leave the store?”

“Oh I just use the underground,” Caron said. “As long as I remember what days it’s safe.”

“What do you mean?”

“We take turns,” Caron said. “One day it’s ours, the next it’s the boys’.”

“So, unfunny asshats aside, this ‘battle of the sexes’ thing really is serious business?” Rosalie asked.

Caron nodded.

“What would you do if a dwarf guy came in here?”

“He wouldn’t,” Caron said. “There are runes by both entrances telling him this is woman’s space.”

“What if he ignored that?”

“Well, then, things would get ugly,” Caron said.

“You’d fight?” Rosalie asked.

“Probably not,” Caron said. “I’m sure as stone not looking to get married… but I take my space very seriously. If he didn’t respect it, I’d have something to say about it.”

“Wow,” Rosalie said. “Can I ask why?”

“Because it’s my space,” Caron said. “You carve out a space for yourself, it should be yours forever. That’s how it works under the mountains. Sometimes you have to fight to keep it, but it should be yours.”

“I mean, why is there all the hostility to begin with?” Rosalie said.

The question surprised Caron.

“Oh… I don’t know, honestly,” she said. “It isn’t anything that I was taught to do… I was raised by a human couple. They taught me about dwarven culture, as much as humans know… I’m ninety-four and I’m still finding out bits they missed… but they didn’t grind it into my head that I had to fight with male dwarves. They did the opposite, actually… they kept telling me it was something that some dwarves did but that I shouldn’t feel like I had to.”

“But you do anyway?”

“Yep,” Caron said. “One day, they decided to introduce me to another dwarf… without warning him… and nature took its course. Once I made some contacts with other dwarven women, I learned about warning signs and things like that. They told me a story about how it all supposedly came to pass. Do you want to hear it?”

“Are you sure you’re allowed to tell me?” Rosalie asked.

“I can tell you the broad strokes,” Caron said. “They probably didn’t tell me the whole thing, anyway. They acted like I was a human as long as my human parents were still alive. I’m still treated like an outsider sometimes.”

“Okay, then,” Rosalie said.

“So, the first dwarves were… well, no, I should probably skip that part. It’s boring. But there were seven of them, anyway, all brothers. They lived together on the surface of the world until the first rains came, and they said ‘What the fuck? Water’s falling!’ and scratched out a shelter out of a mountain side. But they started fighting right away, because dwarves have always been stocky little fuckers and so each of them thought the others were crowding into the space he’d dug out. When the rain stopped, they each set out in a different direction to make their own place.

“But they’d never been on their own, so they prayed… well, that part is kind of boring. But, anyway, each of the brothers got himself a wife, and they started the first seven clans. They didn’t give a shit about sharing tunnels with their own children, because they figured they’d had a hand in making them, too, or whatever, so everything was good for a while.”

“So, what happened?” Rosalie asked.

“Well, the clans started growing all over the place and pretty soon their borders were butting up against each other,” Caron said. “And they started fighting again, only instead of just the seven brothers it was whole armies going at it with axes and hammers. It actually got so bad that at the height of it… well, that part’s boring, too.”

“You’re a terrible liar, you know that?” Rosalie said.

“I’m a terrible liar who likes her fingers where they are,” Caron said. “So, anyway, when the dust settled, half the race had been wiped out and all the kingdoms were in ruins. They took care of their dead and patched things up and then they started assigning blame. The version I heard was that the menfolk tried to pin it on the women and the women threw them out of the halls. I think the men tell a different story for that part, though.”

“So what do dwarves do with their dead?” Rosalie asked. “I mean, I can’t really see the point of burying when you live in stone tunnels anyway.”

“They haven’t told me that yet, either.”

“Oh, whatever… you’re still a lousy liar,” Rosalie said. “I wish you guys would realize that making everything a great big freaking secret just makes people more interested in finding it out.”

“It’s not really that interesting or even all that different from what other races do,” Caron said. “It’s just… ours.”

“Yeah? Would you say it’s more not all that different from what elves do, or humans?” Rosalie asked.

Caron just glared at her.

“Okay, okay… sorry I asked,” Rosalie said. “I should probably think about heading back… I told Jeff I was just popping around the corner. But, hey… am I ever going to meet your girlfriend, or is she a secret, too?”

“She isn’t, exactly… we’re just not ready to go public,” Caron said.

“What, you mean she’s in the closet?” Rosalie asked. “Because all the dwarves I know have human girlfriends, and nobody cares. Or is that different for girls?”

“It’s complicated,” Caron said. “Let’s just leave it at that.”

“That sounds like the truth,” Rosalie said. “But if you ever want to get something off your chest, remember that dwarves aren’t the only ones who can keep secrets.”

“Okay,” Caron said.

“Anyway, I’ve got to get going,” Rosalie said, gathering up her packages of tights.

“Yeah, see you next week,” Caron said with a smirk. “Hey, close the door when you go, okay? It’s time for my lunch break, too.”

“Alright,” Rosalie said, and she did.

The door was designed to lock from the inside when closed… as Caron never went out through it, she had never bothered to get a second key for it. A few moments after the lower door had clicked shut, the bell above it tinkled to signal the opening of the door at the street level. A few seconds after that, a kobold with skin the color of rust and eyes the color of rubies stepped out through the beaded curtain that partitioned off the back room. She wore black leather pants like Caron’s, but the only thing she wore above her waist was a leather collar. Her bare chest was covered in swirling tribal tattoos.

“You never told me that story,” she said.

“Only because you never asked about it, Nae,” Caron said.

“So, would you tell me the parts you skipped, if I asked you to?” Nae asked, fluttering her eyelashes.

“Oh, it’s bound to be rubbish, anyway… if your great-grandmother has a fight with your great-grandfather, it doesn’t bind you into fighting with your cousin all the time. There has to be more to it then that.”

“So that’s a no, then,” Nae said.

“Sorry, little mouse,” Caron said. She put her hand on top of her lover’s bald head and gave it a gentle squeeze. “I’m going to catch enough hell if they find out about us as it is.”

Discuss This Chapter On The Forum

Tales of MU is now on Patreon! Help keep the story going!

Or if you particularly enjoyed this chapter, leave a tip!

Characters: , ,

3 Responses to “Bonus Story: Dwarves Do It On The Down Low”

  1. pedestrian says:

    I suspect that the original tales that supplied the base material for today’s imagineerings of dwarfs are the badly translated and garbled interpretations of the original mythology of the Turk people.

    Their history, oral traditions and literature, is a rich tapestry. For anyone who wants to understand historical and current events of PanAsia, these sources are an excellent place to delve.

    Current score: 2
    • Zukira Phaera says:

      I saw what you did there. 😉

      Current score: 0
      • MackSffrs says:

        You mean, where he went with that? 🙂

        Current score: 0