|Favorite Wonder:||Crown of Akharien|
He fiddled with the pieces of clockwork mechanism, shuffling them around the tabletop, lifting a cogwheel and mounting it on a pin, then giving it a little tip to make it spin. Technology was fascinating stuff, although Dain had never really had the time to learn anything beyond the basic tricks of how it functioned.
Although he was greatly impressed by the men who could use mechanics to do such amazing things, he did not see the point. Why build these elaborate things to work your way around the the laws of nature when it was so much easier to simply manipulate the laws themselves?
He did realise, however, that magic and its practitioners were something of a rare commodity, making these toys and parlour tricks necessary. Magic could solve everything, but it was often easier to do without. Just press a button, or pull a lever, and it happened. No need for great feats of concentration, time-consuming runes or incantations. Dain remembered the time he had spent as a siege-mage - as human artillery, he corrected himself - in the wars. It had been sheer misery. He remembered the smell of blood, and sweat, of soiled garments and fear. The wails of the wounded, the clamour of battle all too close, and the cold, squalid, wet camps where the Amurite mages, weak as they were in hand-to-hand combat, huddled, waiting to be made use of where no device man's ingenuity would suffice. Above all, Dain remembered the unease, the overhanging feeling that they would never get out of the whole mess alive. Still, Dain would not have things differently. Advanced war magic with extremely well-trained mages wielding it meant the Amurites had the luxury of foregoing cumbersome and time-consuming heavy siege engines. It provided the their edge in wars and allowed them to survive and prevail in fights with much more powerful foes. Sometimes, their magic was all that was keeping them alive.
You couldn't expect to go anywhere in the Amurite magical hierarchy if you did not have the courage to spend time in the wars. It was a form of... job requirement. And so, Dain had fought, killed, suffered and survived, survived the wars, and survived his colleagues. He had labouriously struggled to the top, and now, at the end of it all, he sat playing with the bits of a clockwork astronomical device. The dwarves were exceptionally good at making these knick-knacks, Dain knew. The Khazad powered their mines with them, the Luichurp combined them with magic, to give them life, of a sort.
Could this mesmerising object, this soul-less, functional bit of cunningly-fashioned metal, bound by laws stricter than any of man's imagining, constitute a threat to him and his people? Even the most lowly Amurite was, to some extent, above the law!
He shook his head. He was becoming distracted and distant. He had become so used to losing his concentration like this that he was no longer sure it whether it had started as an affectation to lull his opponents or a handy personality trait that he had deftly exploited. Looking around the scantly-furnished room, he realised that the sun was a lot lower than it should have been.
Feeling a pang of regret at dismantling the time-piece, he swept from his chamber. That, at least, was one thing at which cogs and gears would always best him. Keeping time.