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Monday, May 14, 2012

Pellatarrum: Dwarven Body Part Trafficking

This was brought to my attention by Demonic Bunny, who has helped so much with the creation of Pellatarrum that he's basically earned the position of co-creator for the world. Anyway...

This is a pendant designed to ward off the "Evil Eye."


Creepy, yes? Not only does it look like an eye, it looks like an unfocused, dead eye. Eyes in living dwarves are more dynamic, having a kind of sparkle or internal light. This just looks... unclean.

It also highlights how only the lowest of the low traffic in the body parts of dwarves. Never mind that they are a warlike people with a generational memory who hold grudges like some people have hobbies, there's just something revolting about it. No civilized jeweler or pawnbroker would traffic in these.

No, if you want to sell dwarf parts, you have to either do business with the orcs and their ilk (and all the risks which that entails), or with certain shady kobold fixers who would no doubt take the opportunity to blackmail you for your trouble. "Well, since you're here and I see you have no moral qualms about this sort of thing, why don't you go to X and perform Y task for me. No? Well, what would happen if the local dwarf enclave were to find out there was an eye-gouger in the area?  Ahh, good to see that we understand each other."

Dwarven hair is less of an issue, being metallic and therefore easily melted down. Its chief demand, however, is as thread-of-gold (or similar valuable metal) which is finer than any spun metal. While only the most destitute and outcast dwarf would sell his beard or her hair, strands or locks are often given to loved ones as a token of devotion. If a dwarf wanted to acknowledge a debt (not of money, but of honor or life-saving) then it is not unknown for hair to be given as a sign of respect. Treaties between royalty are often marked in this way, with the hair of the signatories being melted down and poured into the carved letters of the stone document, or woven into paper in the case of treaties with other races.

In very rare occasions, a dwarf will present an honoree with a banner or article of clothing embroidered with such hair. In these situations, it is considered a sign of respect to proudly wear or display such an article when dealing with that dwarf's family in all future instances.

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