It was unique among the dwarf cities, his window. None of the nether people could understand why he had insisted upon its installation when he inherited the throne of Dor. It had cost him more deepsilver than the coffers could well support, and if Olor ever let leak his methods of obtaining the required amount he would be deposed by a unanimous council vote.

He didn’t regret it. If there was no other benefit, the advantage of throwing every dwarf ambassador off guard the moment they entered the throne room would have been worth it. Dwarves hated the open spaces of Above without the comfort of stone protecting their heads. Even the illusion of exposure made them nervous, and they could barely present their petitions and platitudes between glances at the moon rising behind them in the great glass arch.

He had come to Dor as an orphan and fought his way from nameless tunneler to respected aristocrat with his wits and ore fragments hidden in his beard during his shifts in the mines. He’d always been good at secrets, even bigger ones than the black market, and no one had ever caught him sneaking up the airshafts for a glimpse of the sky. And although many commented on his unusual height, no one ever guessed his deepest secret.

Born on the surface to a human mother, he had lived a strange life halfway Nether and Above. Torn between the comfort of the caves and the glory of the sky, he had never truly belonged with human children who swiftly outstripped him in height but remained children long after he gained full strength. When his mother died, he embraced his dwarf heritage and joined his father’s people. Only then did he realize that he would never belong. Power alone would allow him excuse to be different, and so power he took.

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