Sylas and the Dwarven Machine - lineart

This is a gift for Aldric Cheylan, inspired by her wonderful characters Sylas and Sayalin ^^

Much like there are villages known for their great fishers and for delivering fish to all nearby villages, the Oriental village has always been known for its dedication to the art of contortion. It's a unique tribe where this art prospered, great trainers passed this craft to their students who then became trainers themselves. If there's a single place in the world where nobody grimaces at contortionists and where extreme positions are not frowned upon but admired with much respect, it's the Oriental village.

There were also those who worked hard to spread the love for contortion through other tribes, in particular the brothers Sayalin and Sylas. Both were extremely good contortionists and loved to travel, sometimes leaving their home for a couple of months. But one day they decided to travel all the way to the very distant kingdom of dwarves to present their art to that people.

It took them two months and three teleportations to reach the dimension of the dwarven kingdom, but only to realize that they weren't welcome there. They didn't know that dwarves generally disliked elves because in the Oriental village only good tales were told about the mysterious and all-knowing dwarves. The brothers had a great urge to impress this nation and find out what they think about contortion. When the dwarven guards told them to go home, the elves almost cried, they turned their flexible backs to the guards and began to slowly leave.

While crossing some bridge, they stopped in the middle because Sayalin looked so disappointed that Sylas decided to do something to cheer him up. He did a handstand on the bridge's fence and bent his spine to sit on his own shoulders. The curve of his body was such a beautiful and graceful sight, his older brother applauded because he rarely got to see this position from aside. They usually performed figures together and couldn't really see each other's contortions well. Sylas did a handstand on a single hand and spread his legs apart in a split, Sayalin applauded again.

They spent almost an hour on the bridge, first just performing their favorite poses for each other's enjoyment, then helping each other to stretch to get their daily norm of exercises. They were just about to leave when suddenly a huge bird appeared in the sky. It seemed to be completely made of metal, its wings didn't move at all, but still it managed to fly somehow. It stopped right over their heads, the bird's top part opened, a dwarf popped out of it and waved at them:

"The dwarven king sends his apologies, boys! He wants to see you!" he roared.
"What?" Sayalin could only see the dwarf opening his mouth, but his words drowned in the low noise that surrounded the strange bird.
"I said the dwarven king sends his apologies!! And wants to see you!!" the dwarf repeated much louder.
"What??" the bird was making so much noise that Sayalin could not understand a single word.
"I said what's the point having such big ears if you can't hear a thing!?" he yelled and the bird began to land nearby.

The elves ran closer to the bird which became completely silent as it landed, and the dwarf finally explained to them that the dwarven king was looking at his lands through a telescope and he spotted a couple of elves on a bridge nearby, doing some very unusual things that captured his attention. He called for the guards, made them look into the telescope and then asked them to bring those boys to him. The guards replied that they only just asked those elves to go away minutes ago. That answer made the king angry, he stomped and ordered to send apologies to the elves and bring them back immediately.

The king personally apologized to Sayalin and Sylas, welcomed them very warmly and finally asked if they could do that thing they did on the bridge. Sayalin replied that it was their mission in the first place, to show the art of contortion to the dwarves and get their opinion on it. So the elven brothers gladly performed for the dwarven king and his many comrades. They asked if the dwarves could play some slow and mysterious music and the dwarven musicians began to play a melody that was dark but at the same time not evil, they used their voices, low pipes and some soft drumming. The elves loved this melody very much because it seemed like it was simply created for contortionists, this very melody was already making both of them feel more flexible, so they showed their best skills to this beautiful tune.

The dwarven king said that contortionism surely puzzled and intrigued him, it was very close to the mood that dwarves liked very much, and the music they liked to compose was rooted in a very similar mood. And so they talked about stretching and flexibility for more than an hour and all the dwarves were very interested in it.

Eventually the king made up his mind to give the elves a gift for sharing their knowledge which was new to dwarves and at the same time they felt it's always been there deep in their hearts. Thus, being also a good scientist, in one single evening the king designed a stretching machine specially for the elves. In a few days the machine was constructed, it consisted of four hand manipulators that could be used for training splits and oversplits, frontbends and backbends, and other twists.

"So you want to be the first one in this history to test this new machine?" the dwarven king asked Sayalin, who was so far more talkative than his younger brother.
"Um, I am not sure if..." Sayalin bit his lower lip, looking cautiously at the sophisticated device.
"Oh, can I be the first to try it then!?" Sylas raised his hand.
"Certainly! What would you like to do, my boy?" asked the king.
"Oh! How about an oversplit?" Sylas grinned.

The dwarven king had already learned the names of all contortion poses by heart, and he knew what they all looked like as the elves gladly demonstrated everything thew knew. The king pressed some button and the automaton laid its hands on the floor. He told Sylas to sit in the split right upon the hands. Once Sylas did, the automaton grasped his legs, lifted him in the air and stretched his legs in a tighter arch. The dwarven king turned some knob and the hands began to vibrate.

"Oh m- my, Say- ya- yalin! This sh- shaking r- really m- makes my legs feel s- so stretchy-y!" Sylas grinned at his older brother after a couple of minutes, while the automaton continued to push his oversplit to a greater amplitude, "Th- this is a- ahh aww aw aw- awesome!!"

Sayalin almost began to envy him, seeing how far his legs were stretched. Even his trainer Emaryl back at home couldn't support this stretch as perfectly as this mechanical device did! Sylas' skin was already covered in sweat because of the intense stretching but he was seemingly having too much fun with it to stop!

Characters belong to Aldric Cheylan ©

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