The Edge Of The World

Cobblestone Street, aptly named due to its distinct lack of cobblestones. This was the place that the preachers, visionaries, and, well, madmen, would gather to proclaim their prophecies and insane theories. Often they would be met with crowds of people; followers, sceptics, and those just out for a laugh.

This day was no different. Lining the street, many standing on boxes or crates, wildly dressed and vocally intense people from all different races were shouting over one another, each trying to gain the attention of the crowds before them. Standing amongst the crowd, a single, wild haired man was the center of attention.

“The government will tell you that our lands are flat!” he proclaimed. “But I tell you they are wrong! Our world is not flat! It is not round, like some of my associates will tell you, nor is it a giant office building.” He peered down the line of crates and boxes at a single well-dressed woman who simply glared back at him.

“No, I stand here today to tell you that our world is an age old plate, left by the gods as an accident! Our very existence relies on the gods not doing their dishes!” The crowds started to murmur and groan as some parted off shaking their heads.

“I tell you, Squire, these people are getting stranger and stranger,” Commander Feeble said as he and his constable strolled past.

“Yes, but unfortunately there isn’t much that we can do about it,” Feeble replied. “We don’t want to cause a scene, they’ll outnumber us instantly.” Feeble smirked.

“We mustn’t anger the gods!” the madman continued. “Lest they scrape us into the trash like the many dishes before us!” Feeble sighed.

“On second thoughts,” he started. “Guards!” he called out and motioned to a pair of troll watch officers. It was customary to station at least a few guards along this stretch, as it had a habit of quickly getting out of hand. They lumbered over to him.

“Yessir?” one asked.

“Arrest that man,” Feeble said plainly. The trolls nodded and parted the crowds, slapping a pair of cuffs on his wrists despite his complaints. As they dragged him past, kicking and screaming, he looked Feeble in the eye.

“What is my crime?!” he wailed.

“Insanity, my good man. That and defaming the crown.” Feeble smiled at him as he was dragged away, then looked up at the crowd around.

“Was that such a wise idea?” Squire commented as he too looked at the countless faces around them. The crowds slowly started to disperse.

“Well, we are not being swamped, so it would appear the people would agree with us on this occasion.”

“Thank the gods for that.”

“Indeed.”

They continued their patrol for a short while, passing down the end of Cobblestone Street and into God’s Corner, the square where most of the temples had been constructed. The noise of the crowds behind them seemed to fade away, replaced by the solemn silence of the pious.

“Commander, I feel we should discuss what has been happening in the city lately. A lot of the men are concerned. They fear that there will be an uprising, and as we all know, we are unprepared for such an event.” Squire looked around to make sure that he wasn’t heard. They stopped to face each other.

“This isn’t exactly something I would like to discuss in such an open place,” he said softly. He peered around as well to ensure that no prying ears were too close. He spotted the temple of Sirus, the goddess of quiet place, and motioned towards it. Squire turned and nodded silently, then both headed over.

As they passed under the massive stone arch, the temple’s shrine stood out. It was made of marble, beautifully carved and polished. A gorgeous woman knelt in the center of a fountain, her eyes closed, her arms crossed over her chest, and a large helmet designed to cover the ears adorned her head.

They continued past, the fountain making almost no sound at all, and passed several monks wearing similarly designed headpieces. Their presence went practically unknown, excepting the one or two worshippers that ran into them, apologising profusely, however silently, then continuing quickly on their way.

Behind the fountain ran a long hallway, with doors leading off from both sides to prayer chambers. Feeble selected the first empty one they came across, both men slipped in, and they bolted the door shut behind them.

The room was void, no windows, cushions on the floor before a statue similar to the shrine. Along the walls were many candelabras, each holding a number of burning candles. They continued to the center of the room and knelt on the cushions, quickly showing their respect to the goddess and apologising for the noise they were about to make. Finally, Feeble spoke.

“Tell me, what have you heard?” He asked.

“Our own force has dwindled,” Squire started. “The men are refusing to come to work, they know that they are desperately outnumbered. The trolls have mostly abandoned the city, the two we saw earlier are the first that I have seen all day. Even the dwarfs are acting strangely. They are congregating outside their pubs and taverns, muttering to each other.”

“Well, that’s not all strange,” Feeble started. “It is often that out men realise that we are dangerously outnumbered, but a slight pay-cut, followed by a smaller pay-rise should fix that. They’re mostly too stupid to work it out.”

“Yes, but the dwarfs?”

“Hmmmm…” Feeble thought for a moment. “That is new, I’ll grant you that. I wouldn’t worry too much about it though, I’m sure they’ll get over it in no time.”

“What of the civil servants though?”

“Huh? What do you mean?”

“The pixies have abandoned their post,” Squire said. “Not only that, the imps are disappearing from the post offices, and I believe there has only been a single reported murder today.”

“Wait, just one?”

“Yes! An old man at that!”

“Well, this is strange…” Feeble pondered the news for a moment. “Surely that must be wrong, we should have had at least nine reports since this morning, it is a Monday, and the middle of Picklespring.”

“About that…”

“What now?” Squire hesitated.

“The crops are failing, I’m surprised you haven’t heard yet.”

“What do you mean the crops are failing?!” he raised his voice, but quickly apologised to the statue beside them. He continued, keeping his volume down. “Which crops?”

“All of them. We’re barely getting enough to store.”

Feeble sighed and shook his head. He had known that the crops were lighter than previous years, but to hear that they were practically failing entirely was news to him. He looked up at Squire and forced a smile.

“Well, we shall just have to deal with it,” he said weakly. “There’s not much that we can do to change it now, we’re too far into the season.”

“We have to do something, surely?”

“Well,” Feeble started. “I suppose I can speak with the Department of Mobile Vendors and the Traders, Merchants and Vendors Corporation, I may be able to convince them to at least lower their export and limit their sales.”

“At least it’s a start,” Squire said, trying to be as supportive as he could.

“Yes, but it may not be enough. We may have to make a stop at the Civil Union as well, they need to explain why their staff are off work.”

“What about the Warrior’s Union? We may be able to get a few extra hands to help with the watch?”

“No, I wouldn’t trust them with my own mother,” Feeble said. “And I would very much like her gone.” Squire chuckled and patted him on the shoulder.

“One day, sir. One day.”

“Yes, but that day shall not come soon enough!” They shared a laugh before getting back to business. “So we shall head to the City Relations Offices to meet up with the heads of the DMV and the TMVC, we’ll take things from there.”

Squire nodded and they both paid their respects to Sirus, apologising once again for making so much noise in her holiest of holy places. They silently unbolted the door and slipped out, moving as quietly as possible until the passed back out into God’s Corner.

They followed a road out of the square, a well kept path, and chatted as they went, discussing such mundane things as the weather and the latest invention, the ‘photograph’. As they approached the last turn towards the offices, they were accosted.

“Commander!” A man shouted as he ran towards them. He was dressed in the uniform of the city watch, a thick, black outfit with a shining silver badge on his breast and a short steel blade at his waist. He stopped before them, gasping for breath.

“Calm down man,” Feeble said and patted him on the back. “What’s wrong?”

“A fight,” the officer gasped. “Dwarfs at the post office.” He pointed weakly behind him, past the office building. Feeble smiled and beamed at Squire.

“Excellent!” he exclaimed. “It would seems our worries were for nothing!”

Squire beamed back at him and they left the officer in their wake. They ran past the offices without a backward glance and drew their blades as they rounded a corner, slamming straight into a troll running the opposite direction. He, or she, it’s a little hard to tell, was clutching a parcel tightly and seemed to be desperate to get away.

They picked themselves off the ground and gathered their swords before strolling forwards, eyeing the crowd that had assembled around the Central Post Office. There was a small number of dwarfs mixed in with the crowd, primarily human, all of them shouting and waving weapons, or occasionally envelopes, menacingly in the air.

Feeble pushed into the crowd, the people parting as they noticed who was coming, and slipped through the front door. He turned to find that, to his surprise, the dwarfs were abandoning their onslaught.
“What’s their problem?” he said to Squire and motioned outside.

“Perhaps they’ve finally come to terms with authority?” Squire suggested as he too watched them for a brief moment.

“We both know that will never happen,” Feeble replied as he continued into the building.

The interior of the building was surprisingly plain. A huge counter ran along the back wall, several clerks stationed behind it, with a few tables scattered about for the customers to prepare their packages. Several racks were laid around containing wrapping and the like for purchase. Above the counter in massive letters, the words ‘Derano Post Office’ were mounted.

The floor of the room was packed, almost primarily with dwarfs, and the furniture that normally occupied the space had been thrown around, mostly destroyed. Several of the dwarfs had struck the counter with their axes and were now struggling to retrieve them to show just how upset they were by doing it again.

“What’s all this?” Feeble shouted, brandishing his sword defensively. The dwarfs shouts faltered and one shouted out. It wasn’t long before the whole room was sent into a ruckus, dwarfs dashing every which way, clerks hiding beneath the counter, and axes being reluctantly abandoned in the counter.

During the din, Constable Squire managed to grapple one dwarf by the scruff of his neck. He was thankfully unarmed, as a dwarf with a weapon in such close range could be deadly. Feeble, on the other hand, sheathed his weapon and strolled over to the counter, happy to let the dwarfs run than try to fight such a large crowd of them.

He stopped at the counter and pulled an axe from it, tossing it to the ground as he leant over to try and find a clerk.

“Hello?” he asked. “Anyone alive in there?”

Something strange is happening in the city of Derano.

Commander Darunius Feeble, the head of the city guard, has noticed it too. Pixies not showing up for work and dwarfs acting strangely, inserting their axes into places that axes should never be inserted. When he and his right wing man, Constable Squire, stumble across a dwarfish package from the north and "over the edge", it forces him to take things to the next level.

Requesting the assistance of Ayerton Cortus, one of the greatest mystery solvers in the city, the trio set out on a journey to restore order to the city and discover what the package contains and how it will affect their great city. The question is: can they find out the truth before it is too late?

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