Bal-Dwin the Shining Brass never thought he would become a warrior. His grandfather was a senior blacksmith in one of the largest forges of Gwar, his father was a coppersmith, and Bal-Dwin himself was always attracted to mechanisms. The young dwarf showed great promise, since childhood he easily handled complex tools. Twice Bal-Dwin tried to become an apprentice in the legendary workshops, but there were always more applicants than mechanics were willing to teach.
Perhaps perseverance would have helped him achieve his goal, if not for a series of misfortunes that fell upon the people of the dwarves. Bal-Dwin’s father was wounded during terrible earthquakes, and his grandfather died almost on the threshold of the forge, when Bal-Dwin was lucky to survive, if you can call the fate of a slave lucky. In the first years of his life as a slave, he still hoped that everything would change soon – after all, their great people could not surrender! But no matter how long he waited, no one was in a hurry to raise a rebellion. The rare daredevils, too proud or too stupid to endure humiliation, quickly lost their heads, and all the others preferred not to waste their lives in vain. The pessimism inherent in their people did not allow the dwarves to engage in a hopeless battle with the goblins.
Then Bal-Dwin clung to his dream, because the invaders kept several workshops. The mechanics, constantly surrounded by guards, did not take any more students, and Bal-Dwin decided on a desperate step.
– I am a hereditary mechanic! – He lied to the face of the goblin Creosote, appointed head of the city. – I haven’t had time to learn all the secrets of steam yet, but you will need new masters. Let me finish my training!
The young dwarf was ready to live under the vigilant supervision of enemies, if only he was given a chance to work with pistons and gears. But after listening to all the explanations, Creosote ordered to send Bal-Dwin to the deepest mine and not to give him anything more difficult than a pickaxe.
– There are already too many of you, mecha-geeks, – said the goblin, dressed in hopelessly soiled pieces of exquisite fabrics, with disgust. – If not for the will of the emperor, I would have slaughtered all of you.
Unwittingly, Creosote prompted Bal-Dwin to think that the city really should have had enough dwarves who did not become mechanics, but at least knew something about steam business. And all these dwarves couldn’t just forget everything, give up and watch their people being trampled deeper and deeper into the mud. Bal-Dwin’s rare spare hours were spent on careful questioning and even more careful searching, until he managed to join the city’s underground.
Its leader, Llevis, understood that the forces were too unequal and that without steam weapons, any rebellion was doomed. Bal-Dwin, whom he approached, preferred to think that this was not a problem, but a challenge. For several years, half-educated mechanics secretly collected steam weapons. Primitive, heavy, but reliable.
Thanks to this weapon, the dwarves managed to kick out the hated goblins from their hometown. Bal-Dwin The Shining Brass could finally fulfill his dream – the revived guild of mechanics willingly opened its doors to the heroes of the underground. But he remembered all too well what it was like when someone else’s order deprives you of the chance to achieve your dream. Instead of learning from the masters, he went to serve in the army in order to restore freedom to other dwarves. And then he remained to serve, because even the free dwarves had too many enemies.