Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain
The toy duck of a magical dwarvish toymaker
This duck is a two-wheeled pull-toy with an eyelet in its breast by which it could be drawn along with a string, its head wagging backwards and forwards with the movement.1
It has a collar on which are the runes: WHAT FLOATS ON WATER? (Clearly a reference to witches.)
But it is more notable for the self-winding2 dwarvish magic spring-work3 and spinning-weight4 that allow it to balance on its two wheels and propel itself forward for several seconds after a few minutes of being pulled along, held or carried (as opposed to e.g. being left on a shelf or in a toybox).
If left with its bill open, it periodically says a duck-like: “Quack” (in what is recognizably one of Framleiðandi’s funny voices). But if left with its bill shut it never does so.
Very infrequently, it spontaneously flaps its wings and spins around on its two wheels, quacking if its bill is open.
The duck detects active sorcery (concentration of morifairë) and identifies it by flapping its wings. If standing freely, an asymmetry in the flapping will cause it to turn to face the source of the magic, and the magnitude and speed of the flapping are proportional to its power and proximity, respectively.
This tends to be seen mostly in the hours of darkness. And not when far from habitation (where evil folk are about their dark business).
This may be boosted if given an infusion of ‘charges’.
The following power has also so far been ‘unlocked’ by giving the duck an infusion of ‘charges’:
It can speak to Tóki to answer questions to which Framleiðandi knew the answers when he made it. (But not, e.g. “Where is Framleiðandi now?”)
1 By means of a simple eccentric cam
2 Think of it like a kinetic self-winding watch
3 i.e. clockwork
4 i.e. gyroscope
Framleiðandi is the outer name of a dwarvish master toymaker of Dale.
One day when his journeyman assistant Tóki was away visiting family back in the Iron Hills, (with almost suspicious timing) Framleiðandi left his premises in the charge of his Daleman apprentice, Klerkur, saying that he had to go away upon business and he might be gone some time. He was very particular in telling the apprentice, Klerkur, that the contents of a small cask (which had previously held Shirefolk pipeweed) were for Tóki, and Tóki alone, and that Tóki must keep it in his possession at all times.
Toki was to discover, all packed in wood-shavings, a wooden toy duck that he had never seen before. The workmanship, and the convoluted springing mechanisms in its belly, were extremely intricate. The master toymaker must have been working on this piece in secret for many months before his departure.