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Short Story: The Aureate Artisan

Tim White

Writer, Designer
Apr 26, 2016
72
46
200
#1

The gold dust swirled in front of him. He wobbled, his eyes watering in the heat, and squinted through the blinding orange glow. Steadying himself, he focused hard and watched the golden dust whoosh away down the tunnel and out of sight.

Gidro put one foot gingerly in front of the other, and tried not to look over the edge of the road ... at the bottomless pit of lava-coloured doom. Dwarves were never meant to scale such heights. How could anyone live in this godforsaken land? No wonder he’d never heard of Phaestus - it was nothing but a volcanic ruin!

What was he doing here? Any sane dwarf who’d seen his friends maimed by a headless, hollow, golden suit of armour would surely have run back to Kairos with their axe between their legs. He must be the most gullible runt ever to crawl from Belmorne’s Pass! There were no golden statues here, no guild of artisans to welcome him with arms open and chisels in hand. All there was were taunting wisps of gold dust, drawing him deeper and deeper into fire and brimstone. Loa, the supposed “Lord” of this land, had well and truly done a number on him.

Gidro turned to head back, and found something behind him that wasn’t there before: a golden monolith, as tall as he was. It was adorned with gems and ... skulls ... A wisp of dust whooshed around his ankles, swirled into the air, and flew into the monolith through its open top.

His eyes glistened, and he was quite sure he’d never seen anything quite so pure or radiant. He swallowed hard, his throat dry after two days without mead. Stepping up to the monolith, Gidro stood on tiptoe and peered inside.

At first he didn’t realise what had happened, as his eyes tried to pierce the darkness. Then he felt a twinge in his side. He looked down and saw a gouge in his leather armour, and liquid gold pouring out and down his leg. He staggered around and saw the snot-green Gnarling smiling at him, gold dripping from the tip of its rusty blade.

“Another trophy for Mistress Kasita,” gurked the Gnarling.

Trophy? ... Gidro’s side felt cold like metal. He looked down and saw his body turning to gold. He tried to scream, but the metallic numbness strangled him.

“Heigh-ho, here I go!” A dwarf ... He vaulted around Gidro, rolled, drew his axe, and in one fell swoop - a miner’s effortless swoop - hewed the Gnarling in two.

The dwarf turned around, the Gnarling bubbling away in a pool of blood and green goo. Lord Loa?

Loa grabbed Gidro and yanked him away down the tunnel, Gidro’s golden feet unable to move, scraping along the paved floor. As they ran further from the monolith, Gidro felt warmth return to his limbs. He moved his legs, and they responded. Loa released him, and Gidro galloped along under his own steam.

*

“You lied to me,” said Gidro, as Loa finished dressing the wound. Loa stood, and stroked his long, red beard.

“That will never heal proper, you know. A fine golden scar!” Loa nodded approvingly. “Seems you’re made of stronger stuff than I thought. Gold, in fact!” He erupted with a hearty laugh.

“You lied to me. There aren’t no master crafters round here, no exquisite statues - except me if I’d stayed back there!”

“I told you the truth, laddie. And you know something else? The master crafter of all Phaestus is my own nephew, Saffire!” He leaned closer and whispered behind the back of his hand. “He’s not from these parts, mind you.” Loa winked, and pulled back. Gidro studied his face.

“Look, laddie. I won’t lie. Right now you’re standing in the dungeon of an avaricious fiend that makes us dwarves look like Kairos’ greatest philanthropists!”

Gidro examined the gilded walls all around. Loa went on. “Look, you’re a good soldier. Not many could infiltrate a demon’s dungeon in the middle of a godforsaken land like Phaestus. And you done it single-handedly to boot!”

Loa turned away and stepped down the hall. “See, if we don’t stop this ‘Kasita’, then any chance the Empire has to rebuild will die, bleeding out gold in the rubble, right beside us.” He turned back to Gidro and offered his hand. “What you say, pal?

“I’ll personally introduce you to that nephew of mine, and every one of his sumptuous statues!”

Gidro huffed out a laugh. He really had lost the last ounce of his sanity. He gestured forth with his hand. “After you, My Lord.”


Read the next instalment, “The Gilded Heart”.
 
Last edited:

Amon

Ember Demon
Apr 14, 2012
2,267
812
540
25
Somewhere
subterraneangames.com
#2
First off, welcome to the SubT Forum, Tim, and congratulations on joining the team :). It's always good to see more Loremasters...

Second, great ShSt. Enough said on that point, I think.

Third, much as I love seeing this, it [and your title] raises a little question / concern for me - what happened to Bruce Willis / James Heinichen? Are you working with him to develop HoG and the lore for the future expansions / titles, are you working on different projects under the Subterranean Banner... or has something happened to him?

Anyway, welcome [again] and hope you enjoy your stay here in the dungeon... THEY WILL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE...
 

Nutter

Frost Weaver
WFTO Founder
Jan 19, 2013
2,453
1,094
610
30
Huddersfield, UK
nutter666.tumblr.com
#3
First off, welcome to the SubT Forum, Tim, and congratulations on joining the team :). It's always good to see more Loremasters...

Second, great ShSt. Enough said on that point, I think.

Third, much as I love seeing this, it [and your title] raises a little question / concern for me - what happened to Bruce Willis / James Heinichen? Are you working with him to develop HoG and the lore for the future expansions / titles, are you working on different projects under the Subterranean Banner... or has something happened to him?

Anyway, welcome [again] and hope you enjoy your stay here in the dungeon... THEY WILL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE...
James has left the company to pursue other opportunities as far as I know, last I heard he was working as a Writer/QA Lead for a studio working on a VR Project for Sony.
 
Likes: Amon

Noontide

Designer / Community Manager
Brightrock Games
Dec 8, 2012
2,182
1,789
665
Brighton, UK
#4
Nutter is correct, James no longer works with us. His last work will be part of the upcoming Dungeoneer's Guide to the Underworld, Heart of Gold and future content and titles will be handled by Tim :)
 
Likes: Amon

Tim White

Writer, Designer
Apr 26, 2016
72
46
200
#5
First off, welcome to the SubT Forum, Tim, and congratulations on joining the team :). It's always good to see more Loremasters...

Second, great ShSt. Enough said on that point, I think.

Third, much as I love seeing this, it [and your title] raises a little question / concern for me - what happened to Bruce Willis / James Heinichen? Are you working with him to develop HoG and the lore for the future expansions / titles, are you working on different projects under the Subterranean Banner... or has something happened to him?

Anyway, welcome [again] and hope you enjoy your stay here in the dungeon... THEY WILL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE...
Thanks for the warm welcome :) I'm honoured to be here working on this awesome game :)
 

Amon

Ember Demon
Apr 14, 2012
2,267
812
540
25
Somewhere
subterraneangames.com
#6
James has left the company to pursue other opportunities as far as I know, last I heard he was working as a Writer/QA Lead for a studio working on a VR Project for Sony.
Nutter is correct, James no longer works with us. His last work will be part of the upcoming Dungeoneer's Guide to the Underworld, Heart of Gold and future content and titles will be handled by Tim :)
This makes me both happy and sad. Sad because one of the team members that I got to know well [relatively speaking] has left, but happy that he left on good terms with the rest of the team... I hope. It sounds like it was a better split than that first time...

Thanks for the warm welcome :) I'm honoured to be here working on this awesome game :)
Sa'right. Again, welcome, and good luck. I officially apologize now for my eventual de-evolution into a Lore Hound...
 

Electrolight

Firebreather
WFTO Backer
Jan 6, 2013
216
47
265
#7
Subterranean Games had/has writers???

Anyone who has actually played WFTO wouldn't expect that. Does this mean that there will actually be an actual story in future content and games?

Don't answer, I am joking with you guys in case you can't tell.
 

Amon

Ember Demon
Apr 14, 2012
2,267
812
540
25
Somewhere
subterraneangames.com
#8
Subterranean Games had/has writers???

Anyone who has actually played WFTO wouldn't expect that. Does this mean that there will actually be an actual story in future content and games?
:(:mad:
It isn't just the story of the actual campaign, it's the story behind every Construct, every Minion, every Hero, every Underlord...

And up until now, James either crafted them all, or at least had a significant input into their creation.
 

Noontide

Designer / Community Manager
Brightrock Games
Dec 8, 2012
2,182
1,789
665
Brighton, UK
#9
Subterranean Games had/has writers???

Anyone who has actually played WFTO wouldn't expect that. Does this mean that there will actually be an actual story in future content and games?

Don't answer, I am joking with you guys in case you can't tell.
Nah of course we didn't, we just handed Richard and other voice talent a ripped page from a notebook saying "Here's some money, go ham on it!". That's how we ended up with nearly 5000 lines of the spoken word, never mind over 7000 lines of unspoken text; and that's just in-game let's not forget news posts, videos etc. ;)

Joking aside we have always had writers on the WFTO Team, previously James defined the world, backstory and was a key player in writing the majority of text you encounter. Tim will be taking over this role in Heart of Gold and you've already seen his work on videos and updates as well as in this short story which I'm sure you can already tell is helping to expand the lore of WFTO.

I do think that in the past we've had some delivery issues with story in WFTO and this is something we hope to rectify in Heart of Gold but it's rather unfair to say that a story does not exist, you just have to be prepared to listen carefully, follow the plotlines and read into the implications of what characters say.

You can find a detailed analysis on the story, that Nutter and I wrote on reddit, there's much more going on than people realise and Heart of Gold will certainly push the story forward, but probably in some unexpected ways. But I certainly agree we can do much better on story and that's something Tim has really been drilling down on in his months on the team :)
 
Likes: Amon
#10
Just wanted to pop in and say that Tim has picked up the (absolute) mess that I left with an incredibly admirable tale and other fantastic work.

I had a blast during my time at Subterranean Games and I hope that the stories, messages and lore left in the base game continue to grow and exceed what my (extremely) limited mind was able to bring to life during my time here/there.

I love and appreciate each and everyone one of you and hope you continue to enjoy the (seriously) fantastic content that this team produces. With (absolutely) zero outside influence I can easily say that they are some of the most talented, hard working and creative folks I've ever (luckily) found myself in company of.

Hope you're all doing well. If you have any personal/existential/rage-filled feedback on the initial story feel free to give me a shout via PM :)

@Tim -- sorry for the mess I left you with. You're crushing it. I've sent you one eCross-Atlantic hug and hope you forgive me for the aforementioned mess. <3

This entire message is incredibly late to the party, but I wanted to chime in and reaffirm that Tim is clearly incredible able, capable, and willing to take up the mantle of writing for WFTO. :)
 
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