The following tales were written by the Children of Stories and were told in the Hunros Mine. They are not touched up for spelling or grammar in any way, though copyrighted song paradies were removed, and words not spoken aloud are mostly reduced to single sentences.
Tepic Harlequin – Welcome to the Union!
Welcome ter the Union of Miners, the best Union in the whole world!
Now, i’s not from here originally, i’s from the Forrest of Dean back in the far off England, though not far from Wales. The forest is a bit of a law unter it’self, and we’s the only place there’s Free Miners. That means we’s not owned by no big boss, we works as independent families, each with their own small mine. It’s hard work, and we don’t make a fortune, but neither does we starve. Course, the magic we mines there is a bit different, lot less of it fer a start, an it comes in swirls of red an white, cus of the two dragons fightin underground, you knows, the Red Dragon of Wales an the White Dragon of England.
Anyhows, yer not here to learn what yer probably already knows, like any well brought up person, yer wants ter know why an how i’s here!
Yer see, the Independent Miners only stayed independent cus we knew how to organise an work together, facin up ter outsiders bent on takin over an turnin us inter slaves. I grew up on stories bout the old fights and how they was won, but life in the Forest has got a bit boring, even the Welsh has settled down an don’t raid no more… least not often.
I did a bit of organisin at me school, but fer some reason the Pupils Union of Schools didn’t really get goin, an i was sent back ter me Da. Was weird that, all we did was scrawl the initials over the front of the school an Miss Winters, the Headmistress, went bananas.
So i were stuck at home, with me Da teachin me stuff, but it wern’t long after he sort of ran out of ideas, an when i went on strike fer afternoon milk as well as mornin milk he taught me some new words an told me he were fixin ter teach me a real leason!
Well, that sounded great, an i were lookin forward to it, an he tells me there’s this really old Union of Miners, called the Union of Sniffers. The whole Union is just youngsters, as we’s the best at smellin out magic, an it would be a good place fer me ter learn from them as had been workin at Unioning and mining fer such a long time.
He told me they’s been havin trouble with the Bosses, an needed enthusiastic young fellas like me ter help organise an fight fer our rights!
That were amazin! So it wern’t long before i were packed up…. it were a bit odd, Miss Winter came over ter help Da pack for me, an they was awful quick.
So here i is, a member of this wonderful Union, prepared ter do me bit in keepin the Union goin, the Bosses in their place, an the magic flowin! An it’s fantastic, the kit we uses, an the HUGE amount of magic we mines! The older fellas say it ain’t a patch on the amount they used ter dig out, but compared ter the mines back home, well…
There’s rumour the Bosses is gonna bring in machines, an replace us Sniffers, well, we ain’t havin that! We may be a bit shorter than some, but we’s can stand firm long as we sticks together!
So there it is, i’s here an lookin forward ter what comes!
Star Porter – Treasure Rats
I’m nine years old, almost ten. My parents died five years ago in a mining accident. Since then, all the town members have been taking turns taking care of me, and I hop from house to house.
Sometimes I get into trouble and I get kicked out. I’m too curious and it gets me in trouble. I guess I am kind of snoopy but I don’t mean any harm. I didn’t mean any harm when playing with matches and gas either. Well, at least nobody got hurt, no damage, but boy did people get mad at me.
I just haven’t found a place I can really call home, except the mine shafts. I just love the mines and my mole. Mining is all I really do, besides studies, but I really love digging. You could say I’m passionate about it. And I’m pretty good at it too, been studying the matrix my whole life.
And now I’m getting old enough that I can stay at the mine all by myself, sometimes for a few nights in a row. It’s pretty nice because my mole keeps me warm at night. Plus it’s quiet down there and I can start digging the moment I wake up and fall asleep right where I am when I get too tired.
What gets me about the magic, and why I like it so much, is that every stone is different. Each one so unique in how it encapsulates the magic, you never know what you’ll find next. There’s nothing like seeing something so bright come right out of the dirt. Makes you have good, colorful dreams.
I love treasure. There’s an old story I heard, and from what I know, it’s true: People thought there was a thief in town because they started noticing colorful gems go missing from their shops. Because there was no crime in the town people didn’t even keep records. But the events lead people to document their inventories, and sure enough, gems, jewelry, and precious metal nuggets were going missing.
Determined to catch the thief, one of the shop owners hid himself in the shadows of his store one night. He was facing the doorway but then he heard rustling and clinking from behind him. He slowly turned around and what did he see?
It was a big rat, with a fury tail, and it had a big ruby in its mouth. He lunged towards the critter but he was no match for its speed. It hopped through the narrow opening in the window. The shop owner flew out the door, just in time to see the rat scurrying up the road which led to the miner’s camp.
The shop owner ran up, getting quieter and lower the nearer he approached the camp. But the rat saw him and ducked into a hole beneath the platforms, facets flashing in the magic-light.
With what was estimated to be in the millions of $L of loot, the town’s people decided to dig up the Miner’s camp, tearing up the platforms, and going down, tried to follow the hole. They dug and they dug, but they never did find the hoard of treasure below.
That’s all. I love rats
Niki Frak – A tale of a Weasel
Im sure you’ve noticed the Guardians of the Elemental Stones, Strifeclaw of Earth, Lynx of Water, Avariel of Air, and maybe soon Cale of Fire. You’ll also notice a few of us Rickety Weasels around, Lilith, Tay and me. I know you’ve all heard the stories, welp, they’re true!
Us Rickety Weasels are a feral group of kids who live on the Isle of Wiggenstead Mooring. We protect the Guardians and the Fairelands from the Unweaver and his Shadows wherever their influence threatens. It’s a curious thing though, but ask any Weasel, and most won’t be able to tell you how they got to Wiggenstead Mooring. When I first woke up there, I scribbled a note to help me remember what I could…
Niki shared the note which was written in a young child’s handwriting of strange and impossible events that took place in the Rift and other realms.
The Guardians have sensed trouble here in the Hunros Mine, and us Weasels came to protect them while they try to help you Sniffer Moles find out what’s going on here. Together, we’ll make it right!
Thats who we are, n why we’re here!
Not everyone in the crowd seemed convinced.
Taylor Muggins – Rickety Weasel
I’m glad to be her but I wonder if I’m dreaming. I was a student sent to some archaeology dig. I hated it! Everything seemed so stupid! Nothing was worth doing and my grades were lousy.
Then at the site it was like something around me soaked into me. Things quit being dull and started being fun. I remember all sorts of adventures then took a nap to rest. I remember dreaming about home and some island and fairies.
When I woke up, I wasn’t there, I was here and I heard voices saying “help the guardians recover the magic.” That’s all I know.
Faint voices, heard by some, expanded the story of a boy whose soul fought off darkness in a realm far away. The boys soul was reborn into frogs, owls, bears, and more until it was placed into the sullen lad with failing grades.
Loochie – Disbelief and Miner Pride
Loochie got up and looked at the strangers, the Niki kid, and the Guardians… Then turns back to his fellow Sniffers.
I thought we was eatin’ sausages tonight, … not a buncha baloney!
Now I dunno anything about some Weaver or whatever or some kids who did what.
But what I do know is that We’re SNIFFERS! My Great Grand-Pappy was a Sniffer, and Me Daddy was a Sniffer!
And before that… Eh.. Some unmetionable relative of ours was some kinda archeologist, Explorer or somethin’… Was with some weird group of Exceptionlist Expeditionist …. “S.P..E.E.D.” or “S.E.E.D.” or somethin’… way off in “The Rift”…
So okay, maybe ONE of yer stories connects but…
Ah, fergit all that noise…
My point is, I don’t know anything about some hokey story about whatever these drippy hippies are goin’ on about. All I know is we’re Sniffers! Always have been and always will be… And here’s my proof!
He brandished his pickax with pride. It had a glow to it.
See this? This was my Great Great Great Grand-Pappy’s. Been swingin’ this thing in the mines for generations. Even got a bit of Magic soaked into the handle.
THIS is what’s real! THIS is what matters! No bosses! No Weavers! No Weasels! No Rats!
The ONLY magic is in that mountain and we MINE IT!
Just Us and the Mountain!
And so long as this pickaxe will glow…. THE MAGIC MUST FLOW! Now! Who’s up for some DIGGIN’!!!!
Freya – The Elfkin Discovery of the Bell
Now this story starts long before the Elfkin or the Mine. In the start of another legend altogether
A long time ago, when the world was still new, there was a mountain range filled with peaceful tribes. Foxes, wolves, bears, bunnies and more lived in relative peace until a great evil came. This great evil hunted the warrior tribes down and forced them to flee.
The tribes were scattered and lost far away. For centuries few dared return to those mountains for the fear of the Unweavers servant. A massive panther like creature made of water.
And so it had been for centuries until only scholars could say which mountain range held this terrible omen. But one day two elven brothers were wandering near the Hunros mountains. They knew the mountains were forbidden, but this just made them more curious. Was this the mountain others dreaded? What secret did it behold? Was it true there were rodents of unusual size?
The older brother challenged the younger to climb the peaks and see what made them forbidden. Perhaps it was the dreaded valley, or perhaps there was treasure to be found. They would split up and keep what they found as their personal discoveries.
Challenge accepted, the brothers split up.
This was a mistake.
The younger brother found hand holds to scale the mountain, but his delicate hands were not used to such rough terrain. They scrapped and split as he cut himself on loose slate. The boy grit his teeth and endured his knees scrapping against the jagged stone. He was only a few feet up and saw a dangling vine that he reached for to steady himself. That’s when the hornets came out.
His brother on the other hand had found a nice trail up into the mountain right by a nearby river. He was amazed by the brilliant view it allowed.
Meanwhile, back with the younger brother grumbling to himself as he tried again. It was a good thing he wasn’t allergic to hornets. The elfkin considered that he had brought some rope but there was nothing to catch onto and he was halfway up already.
Next time he made a bet with his brother like this he would remember pants instead of shorts. And gloves. Better yet, he just wouldn’t make a bet against his idiot brother. Let him risk his neck instead, he thought.
He forced his way to the top exhausted, bleeding, and regretting his decisions. He crawled away from the edge and breathed the frigid air as he laid on a blanket of snow.
And that was when his elven senses heard a nearby creature breath deeply. He was not alone. His eyes shot open as he saw a massive creature emerging from a turn in the Mountain. The elfkin stared at the creature as he panicked.
It was the panther of legend! It was going to kill him! He was going to die as it raked him with claws as it grinned with…. an adorably ugly face for a panther? Wait that nose! Surely it must be one of the oversized rats! But then why were its eyes shut? Were they sealed shut from hornet stings? Was it supposed to be that small and fat?
He laughed as he realized this wasn’t a creature of legend nor a carniverous monster. It was a Mountain Mole. A big one, but still just a mole. He got up to throw a rock at it for scaring him.
He would soon learn that this particular Mountain Mole had an infected tooth for the past few weeks and no sense of humor left whatsoever.
The younger brother screamed as he fled the now rampaging Mole. He ran without caution and barely came to a stop as he reached a chasm into darkness below. He was then tackled by the mole who had forgotten in its fury where they were. They plummeted together into the darkness as the Elf kin screamed.
The older brother couldn’t hear him from that distance. He was too busy admirimg a family of eagles nearby. Birds lived here at least which suggested life still flourished here. Looking ahead he was grateful he wouldn’t have to climb except a few short feet up ahead.
Meanwhile, the younger brother groaned as he sat up in the darkness. It had been a drop into darkness. The Mole had broken his fall. Things were night in here. Or was that the concussion. It was probably the concussion. Everything was colors. Including himself. He grabbed a this head and looked at the light. It was so beautiful. He could feel the magic here. What was this place? And was he trapped here…forever?
The Mountain mole nearby grumbled as it recovered. Its mouth was bleeding but despite this it felt some relief. The infected tooth had gotten knocked out. Along with another tooth but it knew relief was going to come instinctually seeing the rotten one gone. It was going to go nurse its wound as it ran off and started to dig itself a way out.
The youth turned back towards this wonderful place was the light real? If so he claimed it as his according to the bet he discovered it. He’d nearly died for it. Or at least close enough. His. He just hoped he stopped seeing three sources of light soon…
For the older brothers part, he didn’t find anything interesting. A totem in a corner, and some birds nests. Pretty, but rather unintersting in comparison
The younger brother emerged from the caves behind the mole. He sat down and waited to recover enough to walk straight now he couldn’t lean on the wall. The stings from earlier didn’t help. He wasn’t cut out to be an explorer it seemed. He had better study and learn business…and if he was going to do that maybe there was a way to make money off his discovery.
Eventually, the younger brother learned the importance of his discovery. How it appeared to produce magic he could scent but his older brother could not. His brother, somewhat jealously, claimed he found it by ringing his bell good when he struck his head. The younger brother owned the name and declared the Bell would be used to enrich the Fairelands and help mages fight the Unweaver and magical academies to teach their students. And that is the legend behind the discovery of the Hunros Mine!
According to the Older Brother. -Fin-
Winter – The Origin and Unification of the Sniffer Moles
The Elfkin once mined the rocks for the magic by themselves. But the Mayor, who had discovered the Bell in an accident during his youth, had lost the ability to ‘scent’ the magic himself. He deduced that us kids could scent the magic better than adults. But in those days few elven children would have volunteered for such work. However, in a distant Faireland he heard that the Fae had recruited a group of children to watch over their frog realm.
So the Mayor traveled to the Fae realms and requested the same assistance.
He had no idea that the Unseelie tended to borrow people they wanted without asking. Soon enough the Mine was filled with working children who weren’t quite sure how they got there, but liked the job well enough. The Mayor affectionately called the Sniffer Moles, as they worked happily alongside the Mountain Moles.
Unfortunately, the Mayor had it in his mind that children were like the Moles and just needed a steady supply of worms to make them happy.
The Mayor was convinced that they could be happy with a small gesture or two till they grew out of this rebellious phase. But when the Sniffers discovered they weren’t supposed to leave the Mine, that was when they realized the Elfkin had trapped them here. The Sniffers demanded their freedom, and better working conditions. The worm meat was fine if cooked into a sausage, but they needed fruits and breads too.
Despairing of ever seeing the sun again, a young girl ran off and tried to escape the mines without the Elfkin’s help.
Most say she escaped the mountains with her friend and this caused the Elfkin to realize they would lose all their workers. Others claim she got lost in the mine tunnels and starved and this shamed the Elfkin into their reforms. Some of those claim she haunted the Fairelands to this day her spirit seeking a lost companion. But the truth I like to believe is that she found a treasure and rushed off to become a pirate. Whatever her fate, the children brought the worst possiblities before the mayor.
Realizing that he had pushed her to this, he promised to give in to their reforms, as it was clear the Unseelie system was not what was needed in this realm.
And so it was that the first reforms began and the Union of Sniffers was formed. We still get a daily helping of ice cream and a percentage of what we unearth. Also, we can commute if possible from the local towns. And we get to ride the moles!
Except we can’t ride them right now. They get spooked by so many strangers. So you won’t see us riding them right now…
In any case that’s the story of the Unification of the Sniffers!
Lilith Binda – The Hunros Clock and the Gremlin’s Curse
Now say what you will about your Mayor, but he does love innovation. Long before the Sniffer Moles got here the Mayor, who was a surface dweller at the time, wanted to know what time it was deep down in a sunless cave. So he ordered a massive clock to be built high above the city so anyone could see it. A massive clock that needed giant gears and expert craftsman.
The construction was going well. The Mayor was pleased with the progress and they were ahead of schedule. That was until the Gremlin Lord, Chitnae the Cursed, heard about the new machine. He cackles with glee as he traveled to the mines.
The machine never got close to finishing before the Gremlin Lord launched his assault. He disappeared into the massive apparatus armed with a spanner and an insatiable need to destroy.
Soon cogs were falling from the sky as the apparatus went haywire! People ducked into their homes that were crushed while others fled for the safety of the caves. The Gremlins Lord cackled as the Elfkin cornered him as he released his final play. The tower suddenly shook and began to fall.
The Mayors house was crushed. The Elfkin barely escaped with their lives but Chitnae the Cursed leg got caught in the floor boards. He was never found in the wreckage. All that was left were his tools.
After that the Mayor never commissioned another massive clock. Ever since that incident the Mayor is always on the look out for sabotage. It is said that the dark spirit of the Gremlin Lord is said to possess inventors from time to time and make them destroy rather than construct everything they touch.
This is why the Sniffer Moles never knew the time of day. Which is why they were five minutes late to the Mayors speech.
The Mayors Announcement:
MY FELLOW TOWNSFOLK, I WELCOME YOU TO THIS IMPORTANT MEETING.
AM I TO LOUD? There were several cries to the affirmative. WHAT? OK, LISTEN!
SINCE THE VERY BEGINNING I HAVE ALWAYS DONE WHAT I THINK IS BEST FOR THIS TOWN
AS YOU KNOW, IN RECENT MONTHS THE PRODUCTION OF MAGIC HAS SHARPLY DROPPED, THE FLOW HAS REDUCED AND MINING IT FROM THE ROCK HAS PROVEN MORE AND MORE DIFFICULT.
AND WITH THE RECENT TOMFOOLERY OF MISPLACED TOOLS FURTHER COMPOUNDING THE ISSUES, IT HAS LEAD ME TO SEARCH FOR A WAY FORWARD
HUNROS IS KNOWN FOR ITS FORWARD THINKING AND PROGRESSIVE IDEAS – He didn’t hear muttering of the Unseelie kidnapping or the worm sausages at this time
SO I HAVE DECIDED IT IS TIME TO MOVE ON FROM THE ANCIENT WAYS OF MINING USING SNIFFERS AND BRING IN NEW MODERN MACHINARY TO EXTRACT MAGIC DIRECTLY FROM THE SOURCE… THE BELL
WE HAVE ALREADY STARTED CONSTRUCTING THE SCAFFOLD TO COMMENCE BUILDING THE MACHINE WHICH WILL BE OVERSEEN BY CONSULTANTS FROM ONE OF OUR LARGEST COLLABERATORS
NOW NOW, I HAVE NOT FORGOTTON THE SNIFFERS, AND THEIR LONG STANDING CONTRIBUTION TO THE MINE
WE THE ELFKINS OWE AL OT TO ALL THE SNIFFERS AND THE GENERATIONS THAT CAME AND MINED HUNROS BEFORE THEM
SO WITH THAT IN MIND I HAVE SET UP A PLAN TO RE-EDUCATE THE SNIFFERS SO THEY CAN OPERATE THE MACHINE ONCE IT IS BUILT
I HAVE REQUESTED THE HELP OF THREE CONSULTANTS WHO WILL HELP THE SNIFFERS TRANSITION FROM WORKING THE MINES TO THE PROSPEROUS NEW FUTURE OF WORKING THE MACHINE
SORRY WAS I LOUD ENOUGH?
THE SNIFFERS FIRST REASSIGNMENT CLASS WILL COMMENCE TOMORROW AT 1PM SLT.
BY MINING MAGIC DIRECTLY FROM THE BELL WITH MODERN EFFICIENT MACHINARY WE CAN BOOST PRODUCTIVITY 200%!
I THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT, LETS MAKE HUNROS……. CONTINUE TO BE PROFITABLE!
At this point the Sniffers and Fairelanders were outraged. Calls to strike began and anger bubbled to the surface. Strifeclaw was not certain but suspected the Unweavers hand in these events. She felt it was time to share a final tale of hope to and light in the face of darkness and uncertainty.
Strifeclaw, Guardian of the Earth Stone – The Lord of Shadows
The Shadows of the Unweaver are corrupted Fairelanders that have been made to serve the Lord of Tragedy and Sorrow. Twisted versions of themselves that destroy that which they should love most. They excel at sabotage and subterfuge when they have a clear goal and the motivation.
And to illustrate this, allow me to tell you the story of Lord Shadow.
A powerful sorcerer with the power to manipulate greed. He had learned about the Guardians and the elemental stones from ancient texts. Before nine years ago, I doubt the Queen herself knew we existed beyond a few legends for the most part.
The heralds of the Queen certainly didn’t recognize us. We were hiding in the most unassuming of Fairelands for the last few centuries. We lived in the brush below while visitors traversed the floating islands above. Few knew we continued to exist. The Heralds announced that our land would be brought across the Veil when the Faire came. The representatives learned of our most sacred ritual and asked if other Fairelanders could attend the event.
Myrtle, the leader of the Weasels, agreed to this to my annoyance. I was prepared to live in my cave alone and unbothered for the rest of my life. At the time, I was happy to be feared and left to my own devices.
We performed the Beltane ritual and I departed the moment my piece was done. I was not there when Lord Shadow attacked. I had no idea he had corrupted one of the Weasels and learned our vulnerabilities.
The Fire and Water guardian were kidnapped. The Air guardian was also captured a few days later. They tried to tempt me to rejoin the Shadows and return to the Unweaver.
As…tempting as the offer seemed, I had turned my back on that path long ago. Myrtle and the Weasels prepared to fight to get the other Guardians back. I was told to stay back and not risk the final stone. As its Guardian, I had to sit back as children fought for me instead of taking part.
That is the difference between a Hero and a Guardian. A hero takes risks. A Guardian does what it takes to protect their charge even if it means cowardice in the face of the enemy.
The Shadows won that war and captured more of the Weasels. Victory was in Lord Shadow’s grasp, but he got overconfident and the Shadows learned he never meant to reward them.
We were able to use the greed he had infected them with to turn them against Lord Shadow. The Shadows defeated themselves. We had to pay them a ransom, but I have it on good authority the Weasels got it back and delivered it to the Watch at a later date.
That would not be our last encounter with the Shadows. We met a spider woman a number of years ago the Unweaver had deceived. She too was a Fairelander like the others, I believe. However, Last year she was his fully corrupted servant. The same was true for a youthful fox who had lost his memories. He tried to steal the water stone, and Lynx treated him roughly over the incident. Now the youth has been turned from a scared youth into a terrible villain. He even beat up another fox and robbed them.
But again, when we tried to fight we have failed. But when we used words we were able to influence them back to the path of light, or at least confuse them. In fact, we were able to restore Lord Shadow and several other Shadows back to the Light of the Fairelands.
And so Lord Shadow wasn’t defeated in battle, there was no last minute warrior who came through. Charity, kindness and hope broke through.
I hope that after the dark times of today, you’ll know that I still see in all of you the chance to bring hope even to this mine. Even if he fires you all.
That was the end of their story. The Miners then decided to mine for the rest of the evening and prove they didn’t need the machine.