Chapter One: Chosen by Destiny
The day was coming to an end and far into the wood at the foot of a mountain, seven earnest workers were preparing to wrap up their work and head for home.
“Hurry it up, men! It’s getting dark,” Doc urged his fellow dwarfs on.
It had been years since he took on the task of gathering the remaining survivors from an attack that devastated the dwarf community that they were a part of. They lived in a bustling city on the far end of the ocean and had crossed it to arrive in this new land. The king had granted them amnesty in exchange for a monthly shipment of diamonds that they unearthed in their mine inside the mountain. Doc took leadership as a natural thing, which was not surprising since his spirit gem – a mysterious gemstone tuned into a dwarf’s individual strongest point – represented just that.
“Careful with that pickaxe, Grumpy. I’ve seen you swing it around dangerously a few times today!”
“Yes, mother!” the grouchy dwarf sneered at his leader.
Grumpy was the second-to-oldest dwarf of the group. While all his fellows were dwarfs with white beards, he was the only one who had a beard with streaks of black. Because black is the only color that does not fade with age, blackbeards are feared by superstitious dwarfs who believe that the blackness is a mark of a demon. It had made Grumpy’s childhood rather unstable and unhappy. It all came to an end when Doc took him in as part of his group. Despite now having a loving home, Grumpy never shook his bad temper and pessimistic demeanor.
Further down in the mine, four other dwarfs were busy loading up the last batch of diamonds into a mine cart.
“Just make sure you put it on a proper brake, Happy. We don’t want a repetition of what happened last time you forgot to do so,” Sleepy warned his friend.
“Oh, how long are you going to hold that against me?” Happy complained, albeit with a wide smile.
Happy and Sleepy were about the same age, just a little younger than Grumpy. Happy was the embodiment of positivity and was rarely seen without a smile. He had met tragedy in his past when the raid that destroyed the dwarf community took the lives of his siblings, including his own twin sister. But despite everything, Happy continued to live with the conviction that happiness is the best way to go.
Sleepy was considered to be the wisest dwarf of the group and possessed a vast knowledge on a myriad of subjects. His bouts of incurable insomnia pushed him to expand his wisdom by reading books and tinkering with tools. While he appeared slow and sluggish most of the time, he often acted up as a voice of reason to his friends and his words were almost always regarded as highly valuable.
“Here’s the last bag, Bash!” another dwarf said as he handed a large bag of diamonds.
“Thanks, Sneezy!” his friend smiled back.
Bashful and Sneezy were two of the youngest dwarfs in the group. Being born on almost the same day and growing up together gave these two a relationship...