Aule's Despair

Now Aule worked ceaselessly at his forge, devising new and intricate weapons and tools for his chosen children, the Dwarves. And as his mighty hammer swung down over and over on the white hot steel, he thought always of his, whom he had created and how he might improve upon them.

It was just that way when he heard that fatal scream of one of his Dwarven Fathers and he instantly flew to those caves in the Realms where lay Goldenrod, and where he beheld the fangs of Shehob sink deeply into the flesh of Stonegrip.

And Aule wailed a great sound and flew at that moment unto the very throne of the heavens and threw himself at the feet of Iluvator, weeping and groveling there.

Iluvator arose and stepped down to Aule and comforted him, and soothed him and held Aule close.

And Iluvator spoke: 'Aule, Aule - what has overcome thee?'

And Aule spoke of what he had heard and seen of the trial of Stonegrip and Shehob and of the lifeless form snared in the web there. And his tears rolled down his cheeks and the heavens opened and the rains of those tears drenched all of Ea.

And Iluvator spoke softly: 'Yet do you not know we cannot interfere with these mortal sagas? Have ye not learned that all things have a destiny now in the song that we have made, and that the conclusion of some is the beginning of others?'

But Aule quailed: 'I beg thee, I have lost already the great Father Stonepick and I have endured deep pain and grieving of that loss. The Gods could not intervene then and I was silent. I accepted the fate of my very own though I could not understand such emptiness. I despair that all of my children are fated to be lost. And I grieve for my work and for them. Have we not been true to you and have they not toiled mightily to enhance Ea in your name? Please, please do not let this pain enlarge. Have you no mercy on my efforts. I beseech thee do not let your great Father Stonegrip die. I could not resolve that great despair!'

And seeing Aule wailing, and recalling all the manners of fine crafts and great wisdoms that he and his Dwarves had passed on to the Children and what they had done for the greater work of Ea, Iluvator took mercy upon him.

At that moment Iluvator reached out and touched Aule's brow and they transported to that place in the maze where lay Goldenrod and Stonegrip. And as Shehob rose to sink the final poison into the lifeless body of Stonegrip, Iluvator pointed a finger and the flesh of Shehob was ripped living from her bones. And her great form exploded, and she was killed for all time.

And Iluvator walked to Stonegrip and touched him, and warmth returned to his body and the strength of the Kindred again flowed in his veins. And Iluvator left them and smiled - for Aule's despair had been answered.

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