Some Mostali slave critters

From: Erik Sieurin (
Date: Tue 27 Jan 1998 - 23:57:14 EET

Since I missed the bus home...

These are extremely rare, but do exist in some numbers. The secrets
of creating precision clockwork is known only to Diamond Coppers who
have contacted the True Copper Mostali known as the Whirrer, and he
is a most busy creature.

Basically, clockwork automatons are made of pieces of metal, most of
it copper, and sometimes wood or stone. They have a very simple
mind, if one can call it a mind at all: they will react to a finite
number of stimuli in a predictable way.

Whirring cogwheels, spinning spindles and clicking chains enable them
to move their limbs, on which relevant tools are placed. These parts
keep in motion due to enormous springs made from Enchanted Copper
(and thus very thin and still enormously elastic, which means they
can be made bigger), which are wound up using a gigantic key,
constantly chained to the belt of their Tin master. They are
lubricated using True Mercurial Oil, which reduces friction to almost
nothing. A Golden Gyroscope set with diamond counterweigts keeps them
balanced not only with respect to the embrace of Gata, but also
towards their own motions.

Some known Clockwork Automatons are:

The Whirling Sparring Partner of Nigg, which was made in a limited
run of nine separate copies, of which four are destroyed, one was
booby-trapped and then sold to a human Duke and one was stolen and
believed to be eaten by trollkin. It had five arms holding various
arms and dangerous blades of war, and held three programs for each
arm's movement. Before activating the Sparring Partner, one spun a
complex wheel which randomly set each of the five arms to one of its
three programs. No Iron Dwarf was promoted to Third Alfa rank before
being able to correctly predict all the possible sequences of attacks
from the Sparring Partner. It had a clock for a 'face', to show the
training Iron how much time he had left, and could be deactivated by
striking from the right angle at one of four cunningly hidden

The Doomsayer of Slon had a brass trumpet for a mouth and propelled
itself through the air by means of flapping insectoid wings. It was
no larger than a football, but made the noise of various kinds of
dinosaurs in mating heat. There were probably at least a doxen of
them. It gains it name from the fact that one of them was possessed
by a strange gremlinic spirit which correctly predicted the sinking
of the concrete ship Perniculor 6. They have not been used widely

The Vat-o-maton Chopper-mixer was made in several sets of six each
and employed in the feeding units of the Nidan Army. It
produced substitute dwarven food from available resources. They
finally stopped making them when too many were sabotaged by their own
soldiers, whorather starved than ate their strange concoctions. At
least two turned up among humans.

Finally, there is the Panultimatic Pancreatic Handyman, created by
the Whirler himself and thus an artifact, unable to be copied by
normal dwarves. Unlike all other known automatons, it has the
capability to perform almost any task, if its eight limbs are just
guided to the correct motions first. Unfortuneately, its key was lost
during the Second Age. Now it sits dusty in the halls of Nida, right
beside the Decamonal Council Table, to constantly remind them of
their duty to return the key. At some time, a cleaning nilmerg threw
a sheet over it, just before a passing sedain jolanti stomped on it.
The sheet was never removed, and it is believed that the Council has
forgotten all about it. A small millenial sect of secret (even to
themselves, ie they do not know they are heretics) Individualist
Coppers plan to somehow interest the Council in it again.

These homunculic critters are produced using processes similar to
that of a nilmerg. They look like various kinds of maggots, and hold
a tiny bladder filled with a strange fluid, which greatly aids in
healing, and reproduces regularily from the creatures bodily
processes. They are able to repeat a simple phrase with a tiny shrill

Openhandists give these worms to human tools, hidden in food -
usually 'human food' which the Openhandists cunningly produces to
show their 'understanding of human custom'. While it is being
swallowed, the worm is Stabilized by a Tin (usually disguised as the
waiter) and commanded to creep up through the nose and enter the
passages there, ending up near the ear. Thereafter, it is put to

The human tool is told (as a part of their 'business agreement') to
regularily appear at the a meeting place. As long as the human does
so, he is perfectly safe, since everytime he will be given a strong
drink for a 'human-style toast' which contains a substance which
renders the worm docile. As soon as he stops turning up, the worm
will awaken, and instincively do two things: slowly munch its way
through the victim's skull, while extruding the healing fluid, and
gratingly whisper: 'Returrn to the dwarrrves or I'll borre yourr
brrrain.' 'Returrn to the dwarrrves...' until either the victim does
so, or a certain period has passed, when the worm has grown very
large and acquires a taste for brain substance. Then it bores through
the brain. This kills the host, which in turn kills the worm, which
slowly petrifies. Thus the saying: 'He who deals with the Dwarves,
his brain will turn to stone'.

Of course, the process isn't used with all human tools, only in
special cases. The worms can be produced only by a few skilled Tin
homunculist crafters.

"The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea, in a beautiful pea-green boat..."
>From "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear

Erik Sieurin
Bodagatan 39, 2 tr
50742 Bor=E5s


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