The Knockers

The Knockers as men know them:

The Knocker or Knacker, ( also known as the Bwca or Bucca in parts of Albion* and Cornumbria*) are fey creatures which stand about four to five feet tall and are generally grizzled in appearance, they live beneath the ground and generally only come into contact with those humans who brave the depths of old mines or whose new tunnels breach ancient mine-works.

Their common name comes from the knocking on the mine walls that sounds out just before cave-ins. To some of the miners, the knockers are evil spirits and the knocking is the foul beings hammering at walls and supports to cause the cave-in. To others, who see them as essentially well-meaning, the knocking is a warning that a life-threatening collapse was imminent.

Knockers are also commonly blamed for the theft of food and drink within the mines, and it is known that those miners who leave particularly flavoursome food or strong drink for the Knockers tend to be lucky in what they chance upon.

According to Darbish^ folklore the Knockers take into their keeping the souls of any miners whose bodies are left below, and many a tale is told of a tearful family pleading into the depths for a lost son or father to be returned so that their soul may go to its final rest and not be abandoned in the dark. To give thanks for the warnings, and to avoid future peril the Darbish^ miners always leave a parcel of their pasties behind after each workday. in the mines for the Knockers.

Those who have seen these fae personally are few, but their descriptions of them tally; of dour, wiry limbed barrel chested creatures no higher than an upturned ale-barrel , with large hooked noses, wide thin-lipped mouths, dark heavy beards and an apparent great liking for making dreadful faces.

They, for instance, cross their eyes, stick out their toungues and thumb their noses when they meet mortal men, or bend over to grimace at them between their legs. The reasons for these strange actions are unknown but it was not wise to copy them as this seemsto cause great offence and leaves a man languishing in the darkness as the knockers douse the lamps or knock his lantern from his hand in apparent anger.

Knockers as they know themselves:

Knockers are the fae beings known in other climes by the name Dwarves* or Dvergr*; the earth fae of the lowlands are a simpler, less grasping folk than the ancient mountain-kings of other regions and they feel a certain distant kinship with those humans who brave the depths in search of the earths riches.

Consumate miners and truly at home beneath the earth, this race of fae are of a naturally mystical and somewhat suspicious nature, which is enhanced by their constant works in the dark environment of the narrow, rock-hewn depths.

In these eerie surroundings, with the pitchy silence broken only by the dripping of water and the faint tappings of others both men and dwerrow working in distant levels elsewhere in the depths, the Knocker goes about his business in the ancient ways of his kind.

At times they come into contact with human miners either when the world of men breaks through into one of their ancient delvings or when they themselves explore the newer diggings of man. At other times they will rap out a warning to the human miners of a possible collapse as the humans, unattuned to the earth as they are, seem almost deaf to the signs of disaster. At others they will cause collapses themselves if the humans seem to be drawing too close to areas best left undisturbed, if the humans have been diligent in their dealings with the knockers they will receive the warning knocks. If not, perhaps the next generation of men will be more respectful.

Early on in their dealings with man Knockers established that they were to be treated with respect, for although of a friendly, or at least neutral, disposition on the whole, their nature demands that any wrong be revisited upon the wrong-doer three fold. They can therefore be malicious towards any miner who fails to leave a portion of food or drink in the customary place at the agreed time or otherwise fails to abide by 'agreed' customs.

Similarly, they are not to be sworn or shouted at and, indeed, the miner who does so is a fool, for the knockers know the secrets of hidden seams and streams of silver within the stones, and will only reveal such things to those whom they favour.

Those they favour benefit from the same fae nature that dooms those who earn their wrath, a simple gift of ale and sausage may lead to a new silver lode. A respectful greeting over the years may lead to a finely worked hammer which never needs reforging turning up in ones workbag. A miner who shows great honour or exceptional bravery may find himself accompanied everywhere beneath the earth by shadowy figures who do his work for him, unearthing vast wealth in a single days labour.

The face pulling and such performed by the knockers started out thousands of years ago when the mortal men of Ellesland* first discovered the delvers beneath them; unable to communicate, a clan chieftain challenged them by making a series of terrifying war faces and revealing his buttocks in a show of distain for their battle skills. The ancient folk were impressed by his bravery and although they easily dispatched the foolish man they affected his challenges as a greeting ritual; any miner who attempts to ‘challenge’ them in turn is abandoned in the dark as a lesson to respect his elders.

Within Cornumbrias* "knackt bals", or abandoned mines, groups of Knockers go through their ancient patterns and continue their work for though the eyes of humans can no longer locate the earths treasures there are still many more riches to be discovered.

Knocker/ Dwerrow Miner.

ATT= 11. Pick ( d8, 4) or Hammer ( d6, 5).
DEF= 5. AF= 0. ( Often only dressed in cloth, unless on a war footing).
MD= 3. Movement 10m (15m)
EVA= 3.
Health= 1d6 + 3.
Stealth= 12 Perception= 9.
( Knockers/ Dwarves* add +3 to Stealth+ Perception when below ground.)

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