Both men sat and took documents almost at random, scanning vellum, parchment, and reed-paper scrolls in a whirl of curiosity and wonder.
“Master,” Otto inquired, after a few moments, “have you ever heard stories of the origin of the White Dwarf? I believed he was some king from ages past, who became an ancestral spirit and protected the Dwarf people… but these texts say he is an exiled king himself, a living Dwarf who wanders the world looking for adventure, and cheating at dice games.”
“The Dwarfish folk are very secretive, Otto. I think we may never know the truth of it, but it would not be impossible for any Dwarfish wanderer to claim a lost kingdom, there are enough of them.” Master Wilhelm thought for a few moments. “Perhaps ‘The White Dwarf’ is a title, borne by the heir of a royal house, whose sons travel the world, defending their people until their home is reclaimed?”
Otto nodded. “Here is more about the Dwarfs… have you ever heard of a king called Dumin Ironbeard? Is he related to king Kurgan Ironbeard, who befriended Holy Sigmar at the time of the Empire’s foundation?”
Master Wilhelm held Otto's gaze for a few moments. The younger man thought he looked troubled. "These are deep questions, Otto. I fear they will lead you along tangled paths. Have you found anything relating to Sigmar and the foundation of the Empire?" asked
Kleinhund paused. "Very little, Master. A note that the kingdoms of the north became united to resist the greenskins. Something about a hero who killed a dragon, and was honoured both by the tribes of the forests and the northern barbarians - I think he is called Sigurd. But that is even more reason to publish these documents! Their value to historical scholarship is incalculable!"
The old man did not sound so sure. "I think our friends in the Cult of Sigmar would not agree. What if we challenge the teachings of the Cult of Sigmar through our scholarship? Why should they want us to prove that orcs are intelligent? They teach that orcs are vicious beasts and should be destroyed. What would happen if we could demonstrate that no early records mention Sigmar at all? Would that not suggest that, far from being a God, he was not even a man?"
The younger scholar whistled through his teeth. "Master, we've talked about this as a possibility, but, really, are you seriously suggesting...?"
"Oh yes," replied the old man. "There are no known records more than 200 years old that mention the Empire, and nothing that can be said to form any proof that Sigmar lived. There are references, surely, to the belief that Sigmar existed; but nothing more. He appears as a legend, not a living man. I think, rationally as our Tilean cousins would say, that there is no evidence that Sigmar ever existed. He may have done; it is not improbable that there was once a war-leader of the Unberogens called Sigmar. But there is no evidence he founded the Empire. Indeed, the existence of our Empire itself is doubtful at any time before the reign of Magnus the Pious. He said he was re-uniting the Ancient Sigmarite Empire. Quite simply, he seems to have made it up."