Mandilus 48d
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Introduction

A group of humans once left the confines of their home towards what they saw as a brighter future. One of opportunity and wealth. Places to set their flags and claim as theirs. Strange and alien places where they could lay the foundations of a new chapter of humanity. But the lands had already been claimed, and old habits die hard. The natives of the western lands of Old Terra are to most a minor, forgotten part of an ancient history. Casualties to disease, conquest, labor, all amounted to only about a hundred million lost. Nothing compared to the true wave of death to come. None more famous than the Dwelves of Mandilus 48d.

Aswan 48 and the Dwelves

It should be noted that "Dwelf" is a name coined by the first human visitors to Mandilus 48d. The name is a combination of the old words "Dwarf" and "Elf," due to their smaller size and stereotypical similarities to the mythical elves often seen in Old Terra culture. It is unknown what native name they referred to themselves as, though it is known that a diversity of languages were utilized by these creatures, and there were likely multiple names depending on the dialect.

Paleoarcheological records show that these creatures are native to Mandilus 48d, having evolved to their true form around eight-hundred to nine-hundred thousand years ago. It is known that they were a Level 3 civilization by the time of first human contact, but of course this scale does not take into account the increasing awareness of diverse civilization types, rather than a human-centric scale from stone tools to space travel. In fact, despite having only a few organized societies on the planet, most knew the process of ironworking.

Tree

An image from the Book of Akhom, depicting the Dwelf Taat, with some examples of a tribal dialect.

Human Arrival

Unlike the fate of countless other worlds, the Dwelves and Humans suffered little from pathogen exchange, and remarkably few of either were wiped out by the alien diseases the other brought. However, the already sparse and thin population of the Dwelves left them extremely vulnerable to the more advanced humans.

It was the Sunrise Island Company which built the first cities on Mandilus 48d. At first, the human colonists strictly traded with the native Dwelves for land and information regarding the planet. Though there were some instances of aggressive push-back against the Dwelves for expansion. The SIC had purposefully put their first cities in "tribal" areas, far from the few organized Kingdoms, though even they were not safe forever. The colonists themselves had left Old Terra at a time when the retro-millennium style was popular. As a result, cities and weapons were built to mimic the style of the late-twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries.

These early cities, mainly Isis 128, Philae 436, and Aswan 419 were later repurposed into Dwelf reservations, where most withered and died. Even today, remnants of this chapter in the history of Mandilus are still uncovered in the oldest sections of these cities, including its most famous remnant.

The Book of Akhom

Found under bricks in-situ during reconstruction work in the sewers underneath Philae 436, The Book of Akhom is widely regarded as one of the greatest insights into the destruction of Dwelvish history and culture. Having been written by a Dwelf named Akhom, belonging to a currently unknown cave-based tribe native to the area around Philae 436, the work became a best-seller when it was brought to the market decades later, and is the main source of public knowledge regarding the Dwelves.

The book covers two-hundred and twelve days inside the Philae 436 reserve, including the Philae Uprising of Dwelves against their human jailers, and the human-instigated Zone War, an indirect effort to quickly thin the remaining population of the reserve with supplied rockets. While most view this as a sympathetic tale about the plight of the Dwelves as they faced annihilation, some have disagreed. Stating that the behavior exhibited by Akhom throughout the accounts is one of selfishness and lack of empathy. Most are quick to point out that these attributes appear to be unique to Akhom himself, and that the efforts of other figures such as Taat and Elder Esmet are obvious signs of more sympathetic and normal emotions. The case of Akhom has been citied by many as a rare example of an extra-terrestrial equivalent of a mental disorder, possibly similar to autism, due to his apparent lack of social awareness coupled with his pristine technical thinking.

Given all this, the text itself is relatively short, and despite what the end would lead you to believe, it appears Akhom never returned for his document. As it was found within the pile of bricks where it is assumed he left it himself. The last line being the iconic "Hi Akhom."

Conclusion

With discoveries such as The Book of Akhom, many have come to view the destruction of the Dwelves as a careless act of greed. The Sunrise Island Company was dissolved as a result of the Ben 7112 famine (unrelated to the Dwelves), and its holdings incorporated into the New Terran Empire. The Dwelves being mostly forgotten until the Book of Akhom was discovered decades later. However this was not a unique story. It is known that many races of other worlds met their end or near-end at the hands of human colonists. Of course we have grown more civilized in the past centuries in dealing with extraterrestrial entities, and an incident of such scale is unlikely to happen again. We still honor those who suffered to build the foundations of what we have by unraveling their histories, culture, and perspectives.

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