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PREFACE: For any questions, see title. Updates weekly. Latest chapter: THREE.


Dwarfs enjoy holes. Pull a dwarf off the side of the streets of Thumper and set the question to them--"Hole?" Some might answer straightforwardly--others may joke of donuts, both frosted and flesh. Yet it is nearly a guarantee their answer won't reveal itself negative (unless one complains of the hole in their coin purse). The answer to "Why?" is simple: Dwarfs enjoy holes. But exceptions can always be carved out from even the stoniest of dwarf, and one exception has currently found himself in a hole, stewing. Indeed, this dwarf hates the hole. However, the mystery of this strange and unnatural hatred is not a difficult solve.

This dwarf was not always dwarf.

Not by extinction nor eradication but by simply never being offered the chance, dwarfs do not exist in all planes of reality. In one plane, a dwarf is in a hole. In another, he was once a boy. In one plane, the fabric of reality is governed by EXP. In the other, he worked on the family farm, tilling its soil, milking its cows. In the plane of dwarf, milk markets at two gold a jar. In the other, the boy built a sturdy back, gained respect for the earth and its creatures, and found his free time sapped from his teenaged hands. And before the boy knew it, he was a man. His hands became calloused with work and wore weary caked into the dirt of his fingernails. He developed a slight hunch. He grew into the clothes of his father, who became too old himself to plow the fields. This task, like all others, fell into his son's calloused hands.

The son swung the scythe against grain on grain until his barbering was complete. The field of yellow fell into itself ready to be swept into bales. This task, like all others, fell into his hands. The sun set itself against the hills, dark beginning its infection of the sky and all below it. The son sat in the shade of his barn, close enough to hear muffled cow. The sun slipped from sight, but the son remained. He had begun to hate his father, resenting what the son saw as no more than an open air prison, and so he did not wish to see him. The dark around him grew darker, and he watched the porch light flicker on as his father came out, calling out for his son. But instead of returning to his father, he stood up from the earth and ran into the forest. The farther he ran, the less his father's voice carried. Skidding against rocks, the son became aware of the imposing noises of nature surrounding him. All else was quiet. He did not feel fear--in fact, he felt annoyed at having potentially disturbed the critters that came for the salt licks he'd laid throughout his life. He also became annoyed at what he had decided was a moment of hysteria, and turned round to trudge back towards both farm and father.

But it was dark. It really was very dark, an eventual realization had by the son. He bumped into a tree, and tapped it lightly. He bumped into another, and he gave it a frown. It was the third collision that caused him to crack, the son kicking the tree wildly in anger. Catching himself seconds later, he fell to the ground, collapsed into a heap he felt was failure. He clenched his fists repeatedly until the strength in them gave out. Moonlight slipping past holes in the canopy of leaves above, he stared at the glinting off his ravaged fingernails. It became cold. He continued to stare, unaware of the branches that began to sag closer and closer--then, he was snatched from the earth and lifted into the air. Struggling, the son watched the bark of the tree before him twist and chip away to reveal a face that stared in contempt.


The son stared back in disbelief. He wished to protest against the accusation, but he could not find the energy within him necessary.


The son shook his head with what little he could muster.

"SPEAK UP, BOY... SPEAK WHEN SPOKEN TO...", the tree demanded. But the son could not acquiesce. And so, the tree decided, he would be punished.


At once, the earth beneath the son gave way to a great fissure ripped apart by wild, thrashing roots. He looked startled and uneasily beneath him, for the only dark darker than the dark around him was that now under him. But he could not contemplate the situation long, for the branches that once wrapped themselves around him suddenly gave slack, and the man plunged into the abyss. The color of him soon faded, and the hole became wholly dark once more.


Dwarfs enjoy holes. The farm boy who went on to become a man, always a son, whose descent into the dark beneath him found itself broken up by and only tree roots, did not share the same enthusiasm for hole dwarfkind committed itself to wholly. In other words, the man who fled in the dark now fell in the dark. And while he fell, he fell as a man.

But he landed a dwarf.

To detail and describe what happened deep in the darkness beloved by dwarfs is betrayed by the very nature of its being dark. If one were to share a space with the farm son (and this would not really be possible on the same horizontal plane), no closing of distance would be able to reveal what exactly occurred to that son. Only he himself could offer insight, and scholars have taken him at his word. First, the hair that had once been rooted at the top of the son's skull suddenly severed their bonds and flitted away to reveal a great, bald dome. At the same time, his cheekbones became ravaged with strands of the same hue as that which remained flowing and flaring out the sides of the son's scalp, the last survivors of his own sudden barbering. The man then felt sudden, great pain in his legs as the bones beneath his flesh shortened themselves into one another, forcibly. Nothing shattered nor splintered, but the man could not shake loose the feeling of having one's limb cave into itself, let alone two. His arms too shrunk in size, but they near doubled in girth. The same had become true of his legs, the mass of his skin seemingly stretching to cover the unexpected new ground. By this point the pain shooting through the man's body hit the peak of its potency, and he screamed. Despite the wind screeching right alongside, his own voice seemed to command attention of the shaft itself. But then all became very quiet.

Some time later, the man who fell into the earth woke up surely at its bottom. His dazed vision caught the same caked with dirt fingernails he had once stared at beneath the branches of a tree that too easily sentenced him, he felt. But he was wrong--concerning the judgment handed down by bark, this is one matter, but it was incorrect for the man to assume he gazed upon the hands of man. Indeed, realization trickled in.

He had become dwarf.

He had not the term to describe the condition of course. But he knew he was changed. His hands were wider than he'd been accustomed to, as were the fingers of course. His arms teemed with hair not too dissimilar to that which hung from the man's cheeks and the bottom and sides of his skull. He was aware of the dull pain that continued to hang in his limbs, and so he did not make any immediate attempt to get up from the dirt he laid in. He did, however, marvel momentarily at his ability to behold himself at all.

The dwarf craned his neck to look straight up and, as if staring at a distant star, the moon met back his gaze.

The dark that returned did so during hours of immobility. The dwarf was aware of the dark and felt he could do nothing. And indeed he did only lay, waiting for the blanket that would smother him and everything around him. Slowly, all once more became very covered and very quiet save for stifled groans and the sound of a world above and unaware. The dwarf shut his eyes and opened them again. He concluded there was no difference.


Dwarfs enjoy holes. Dwarfs enjoy the dark. Dwarfs have even been known to celebrate birthday parties with the lights snuffed for it reminds them of being in a hole. Reverence for hole and dark stems from several facets: one, jewels and gold are found in holes, and dwarfs love treasure. Two, if a hole is lit, one dwarf's beaten another to the punch. There's nothing good about this, not for one's own sake. To slice and serve Chocolate Mudberry Cake in pitch black is thought to be as close a dwarfen child can come to experiencing the adult joy of drunkenness.

It is, of course, the edge cases that prove challenging to what should otherwise be concrete theorems. One edge case indeed has found himself down a hole of which light has fled in hours long past. This dwarf, for he really now was such, felt the continued lingerings of a dull ache in his limbs. His thick limbs, he thought to himself, though he had not had much time to make a visual impression before the moon above him had slipped away from view. He could certainly feel the cartoonish proportions with which he was now attached to, and he swallowed a lump in his thick dwarfen neck. He could also feel the whiskers that hung from his face, a very new development that, actually, brought less stress to him than the forced thickening. Facial hair had long since been a dream for once the son of a bearded father. The wish came from an envious desire that had first surprised the boy, then tortured him as he toured his teenage years without a hair save the top of his head--a place where, now, of course, the dwarf felt naught but smooth skin. Even his own father hadn't gone bald yet.

With having endured such wild changes, the dwarf could only guess at whatever transformation his face had undergone. He obviously felt a wider nose, thicker brows--but he could not picture these features. He could feel dirt. He felt rocks, and a couple of worms. He felt terrible. He thought about his father, and he began to weep bitterly. The dwarf hated the farm of his youth, but even rising dead early in the pale blue to feed his hens beat the current circumstances.

The dwarf sat up. He rubbed his large hands against the cylindrical wall of earth around him. He looked at what he assumed to be straight up, certainly uncertain, and could not discern but dark. He cursed the tree that had trapped him in such an inhuman prison. He cursed his own hands for their lack of humanity. He continued cursing until collapsing back into a pathetic heap, bitter tears once more flowing.

It was very dark.

It was dark for a length of time unknowable to the dwarf, uncountable. He sat up once again and even stood despite the continued ache in his legs. The dwarf could not reasonably assess his new stature, but he did decide he could test it, as he could not stand to cry any further. Knuckles were cracked. His neck bent. Then he slapped his palms at the wall, searching. His hairy fingers pushed and prodded against the dirt until, eventually, the dwarf found his first success: grippable earth. He attempted to hoist himself up, and out reached his free hand further. He gripped another found mound of firm dirt. But the earth loosened, and the dwarf fell.

Yet again he landed a dwarf.

But something happened this time that did not happen previously. The dwarf smacked the ground and groaned in pain--this did happen previously. But something strange met his gaze, defiant of the dark surrounding. Letters and numbers seemed to hover ahead of him, orientated to match his vision. Gas pump prices flashed through the dwarf's mind, another reminder of a life long lost. But what he saw would never run across a station's sign. It read: