G.G.S.1: Open for Business (Part 2)

Looking around the empty room, there wasn’t much to rest your eyes on save for Godrick sitting in a simple wooden chair, in front of a simple wooden desk, waiting for a simple (hopefully not wooden) customer.  It had been a day, and Godrick was growing restless with the lack of work he was doing.  Members of the Progil clan didn’t like to sit still, as the blood of adventurers ran through his veins.

Well, mostly adventurers.  Except for his mother.

His mother had abandoned the clan after the Progil’s had started to die out.  She was pregnant at the time and didn’t see a dying, crazy, suicidal clan as the best way to raise a newborn.  When she confided this with the elder, he said that she had to leave or stay.  There was no middle option.

She had very little time to think it over before a new job cost the lives of many a neighbor.  Her decision was made then and there; she could not stay.

Why she disappeared after his birth, Godrick never knew.  He frankly didn’t care.  After all his years alone, he didn’t place much value in family, although he knew and respected that others did.

Before he came to Glumpty LogHaven, Godrick had done odd jobs for people, although was extremely limited in the trust he received because he was half pixie (for those of you who are wondering why Godrick is still a “half-breed” when he is technically 3/4ths gnome and 1/4th elf, people really didn’t care).

Half-pixies were devious in legend, although there were rarely ever sightings outside of myth and tale.  They are supposed to have extraordinary bewitching powers, abilities physically beyond that of an average gnome, and to smell of rosemary and garlic.

Godrick knew the latter was complete nonsense.  He smelled nothing like garlic.  Maybe onions, but assuredly not garlic.

But the day before, when the crowd scatted like gravel in a sandstorm, Godrick knew that it would be a rough day.  Months, maybe.  It could be that no one would trust him for a couple of years.

But he had to earn their trust, otherwise he would be forced out of yet another city because of his race.   He knew that traditionally, the best way to get their trust would be to complete a job, and the best way to get a job would be to gain their trust.

It was going to be a long day.

At quarter till noon, Godrick trudged down the main street, dodging looks from passersby and heading for the food stall he passed on his first trip to his shop.  He stopped to grab a cup of mushroom stew, avoiding eye contact with the server, and then proceeded to take a longer route back to his stall.

Glumpty LogHaven wasn’t a particularly beautiful gnomish city, but it had its touches.  Seemingly massive logs formed a perimeter about a closely condensed group of oak trees. Time had taken it’s toll on the logs, and they were now virtually inseparable and indistinguishable from the surrounding environment.  Such defenses proved effective, for if your enemy could not find you, they cannot hope to win.

Of all the cities Godrick had traversed, this was one of the few that seemed like it held something valuable to bestow upon him.  Of course, with all of his luck, he really did not expect much more to come out of it than that of an occupational order.

Godrick rounded the last bend and returned to the mainstreet at the opposite end from where he exited.  There wasn’t much in between the two, he discovered, and was heading back to his stall when he noticed a note pinned to the door.

Excitedly, Godrick rushed to accept this first job request.  Unfortunately, it happened to be less of a request and more of an order.  The local gnomish lord, Fent, had sent for him to join the lord for dinner this very night.

Godrick spent the next few hours preparing and pondering just what it was that he was to do about this situation.  If the Lord issued a summons, it was bound to be a large quest, one that Godrick would have hoped to work up towards, not be thrown into.  However, this audience would possibly grant him the trust he desperately needed.

He rummaged through his now unpacked bag, sorting various gadgets from essentials, and finally managed to find his professional outfit beneath a pile of highly-flammable strips of cloth.

Godrick dressed in what was his only set on non-work clothes: a formal jacket complete with a light blue shirt, the only pair of washed trousers he had, and of course his top hat.

On the way out the door, inspiration struck him to take two of highly flammable strips of cloth with him, along with his trick-cane.  His trick-cane was deemed as such because of a party trick he had installed in it; when he pushed the top of the cane to the left, it made a loud popping sound.  To the right, the top burst into a suspended green flame, no bigger than a candle.  Forward, the cane would break apart and fold down into size enough to tuck into a large pocket, of which Godrick had many.  And if he turned the top piece backwards, a short blade popped out the bottom in place of flame.  He could use many of these tricks simultaneously, making him a great gnome to have around in a tavern when the night grows old.

Godrick made his way up the cobblestone path, past the food stall and towards a hole in the log-wall.  He figured the guards there would know where the Lord’s castle was.

“Ho there, youngling.  Off somewhere?” asked the guard in front, bearing his buckle (of the Byrne clan) on his acorn helm.

Godrick held out his summons and performed an exaggerated shrug.  The other guard stepped forward, also bearing the Byrne’s crest.

“The Lord’s castle for dinner, eh?  We’re in the presence of high society, Cea.”

The two shared a laugh before the acorn-helm seemed to realize that could be bad news for loafing guards.  He snapped a salute and pointed to a large oak tree that stood about forty gnomish feet from where they were standing, with a large oaken door shaped into it’s trunk.

“There’s the “castle,” although it’s more of a large house.  Fent isn’t having the best of financial times,” the acorn-helm told him.

Godrick nodded a thanks and set off to the doors.  He was still early, but it is best to make sure you’re on time lest be late in a Lord’s presence.  Which would be bad.

After rapping on the door for a minute, an annoyed looking servant opened the door.

“Yes, yes.  Quit your banging.  Lord Fent will see you now,” the servant said with disdain.

After walking through the corridors and starting to ascend the stairs to what Godrick assumed was to be the dining room, he took the guard’s words to heart; Fent was clearly not in the most stable of states.

The servant opened a door before him, and shooed him in to shut it moments later.  Sitting at a coffee table facing the door was an elderly gnome, if hair was anything to tell by.  His beard withering away, the Lord’s eyes were a sunken black, as though the fierceness had been drained away.  His hand rested on a goblet full of what Godrick presumed to be wine, probably that of elfish make.  His hands were thin as were his lips, and his clothes clung to him in desperation, with folds of cloth unable to find a suitable place to grip.

He was upon hard times, severely hard times.

Lord Fent motioned for Godrick sit down.  Hesitantly, he did so, all the while eyeing the room around him.  A large window shaped like an oval covered much of one wall, while cabinets and drawers formed a cubicle area in a corner, where the Lord probably did his paper work.

Fent let out a long sigh, drawing Godrick’s attention to him.

“You’ll see no dinner before you,” Fent started.  Godrick restrained himself from rolling his eyes.

“You’ll see no dinner because I have no food.  For food is a symbol of status, and statues is attainted by wealth.  Such wealth can be provided by a multitude of things, all more difficult to acquire than the last.  But in LogHaven, it was formed by money.  Gold.  Silver.  Copper.  And alas, I have none of these left.  Do you know why, jobrunner?” the Lord asked.

Godrick shook his head obediently.  This was all well and good, but Fent needed to get to the point.

“I have no money left because my son,” he waved at a painting of a smiling gnome on the wall,” gambled with the creatures of the forest and threw it all away.  Fortunes that were never his.  I want you,” he pointed a gnarled finger at Godrick’s chest,” to find them and get them back.  It shouldn’t be difficult for a Progil.”

Godrick considered for a moment, and was about to reply when Fent spoke up once more, mistaking silence for unwillingness.

“You will of course get paid for this adventure, jobrunner,” said the Lord.  “My son gambled off gold, silver, copper, but also priceless artifacts.  I will allow you to take one, save for my own crown.  Do we have a deal?”

Godrick lit up at the thought of new toys to play with.  He was forever wanting new gadgets to explore and use.  He nodded his affirmation, and was then dismissed to leave by the relieved Lord.

When he was halfway through the door, Fent cried out, “Wait!  One more thing, jobrunner.”

Godrick turned and looked Fent in the hollow eyes provided.

“Word of this does not leave this oak tree.  Do we understand?”

Godrick nodded briefly, and exited the room with a resounding “Thoom” as the door swept shut.

G.G.S.1: Open for Business (Part 1)

As the street bustled by, the gnomes traversing the cobblestone gave an onlooker a feel that it was in a liquefied state, seeming that when a flow abruptly ended by one gnome leaving the premises, another soon took his place.

Some wore hats, others masks, but most every gnome sported a beard of some astounding display, as intricacy is a mark of status.  The length was also different from gnome to gnome, and can be used by others to  judge age at a glance.  Of course, this method was no more accurate that guessing the age of a human by graying hair, but it was a common method and no one took offense to it.

Apart from the beards, every gnome dressed in similar garb, save for the opposite sexes.  Men sported trousers with a suitable shirt tucked in, and some had jackets around their shoulders or slung over them. Every gnome has a belt buckle on their person, even if they are not wearing a belt.  This exists to mark the distinguished families from one another.  Much like the dwarves, gnomes are proud of their clans, and proud enough that there have been word of full scale battles erupting from a feud between members.

Women were more fickle about their attire.  The local Gnomish Lord’s wife had been expressing interest in full-length dresses, so many of the women in lower classes dressed similarly.  Though you do get the odd gnome out who is wearing what the men usually wear,  often because their social status or occupation calls for a more rough and tumble outfit.

Lining the street where stalls of various shapes and sizes, colors and smell.  Each marked a merchant of some sort, a man or woman who sold acquired goods.  There were stalls for baked goods, where you could find fried frog fillets, to stalls where a man in an apiarist’s outfit sold amulets that warded off giant bees.  Angel, a renowned herbalist, set his shop near the hospital at the far end of the street so he could treat specials cases with his mushrooms.

At the opposite end, closest to the living quarters of many citizens in Glumpty LogHaven (a giant log, surprise!) there was a shop which sold furniture carved by the clan who was renowned for their unique carpentry, known at it’s best to rival pieces of Elvish make.

The talk of the gnomes was not any of these shops, however strange they might be.  Gnomish women are prone to gossip, and the hottest subject was the new shop.  Dead center on the eastern side of the street, it was a desirable plot of land, and many a merchant bid on it to extend their own business.  But a gnome by the name of Godrick Gnomish outbid all participants in the auction and announced that he would move in as of the next week.

Well, ever since that day every gnomish man, woman, and child tried to divine what occupation this gnome would fill, as all thinkable and logical jobs were already stolen away and monopolized on by clans.

Clans tend to take an occupation to it’s limits, and most every member of the clan fulfills their duty in this cycle.  If your dad was a baker, then you had better learn how to make bread, and if your dad was a prophet, you had better learn how to break it.

But no gnome at the auction even recognized this youngling’s belt buckle; and many elders pondered on it.  Now that the day was to finally come for Godrick to reveal the nature of his shop, a small crowd of interested people forced themselves into every nook, crack, and crevice around the shop.

They waited there for what could have been minutes, but felt like hours.  A small child then came scrambling towards them, brimming with sweat and excitement.

“I’ve seen him!  He’s just past the Bee shop, and he’s got a ginormous backpack with him!” the gnome exclaimed, jittering all the while.

“A backpack of those proportions?  Maybe the man is an archaeologist,” said a gnome with an excessively blue beard.

A gnomish woman returned that it would be stupid of him to try, as the occupation was already within her clan.

“No gnome would ever try to usurp the practice of the Marrow clan,” she stated, proudly brandishing her belt buckle.

A woman in the back muttered something along the lines of that this new character would probably do a better job at it.  Then the two promptly started bickering until their noisy rabble was ceased by an exclamation:  “He’s here!  And with the backpack, to boot.”

The crowd turned and saw a young gnome parting the people with his pack of excessive volume.  Shovels hung off of it, along with clips and ropes tying other chunky objects to the leather straps.

Godrick himself was scarcely a giant; he stood about a gnomish foot over the women of the street, which was normal for a man.  But surprisingly, he had no beard, nor visible fat on him.

Gnomes pride themselves in their facial hair, but more than that their round bellies.  When gnomes become a respectable age to marry, the men choose a woman who they think could fulfill a home and occupational life, and a large stomach hints that she can keep herself well fed.  The same goes for men, as both their bellies and beards are marks of experience, wisdom, and ability to keep food on the table.

The fact that this gnome had neither was more than a little shocking to the gnomes, as none had gotten a good look at him when the auction had ended.  He was dressed in traditional gnomish garb, with a few exceptions.  His trousers had many more pockets than was the norm, and his shirt was not tucked in, but rather hung loosely about his person.  His belt buckle, still un-identified, he wore on his top hat, balancing on the brim.  But the hat brought a respectably sized shadow over the young gnome’s face, so it was little wonder to the crowd how the gnomes present at the auction saw the buckle and not his face.  As Godrick drew closer, he tilted his head back and nodded a hello to the people standing before him as they drew away from the shop in order to let him in.  People then saw his face for the first time, but it was rather unremarkable compared to the oddness of the rest of his appearance.  A short, pointed nose coupled with a normal sized head, finished off by…  pointed ears?  The men and women closest to him drew back, as if struck by an unseen hand.  This was not a gnome, but rather, a half gnome.  And there is a substantial difference.

Half gnomes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  Gnome/Dwarves, or Munchkins, often resemble a rugged dwarf with an eating problem.  Gnome/Elves, or Pixies, flit around the forest with an elf’s charm and a gnome’s wit.  Their magically enhanced bodies grant them ability to fly, along with other unique magical properties.  Gnome/Goblins, or RedCaps, look identical to gnomes except they have a goblin’s pointed teeth.  They’re known for their viciousness during wartime, and one would not do well to get on their bad side.

His ears pointed towards being a Pixie, the breed between elves and gnomes, but Godrick clearly had no wings.

He noticed their confusion, and with some pause, realized they all were staring at his head.  Self-consciously, he pulled his top hat over his ears, accidently giving them a glimpse of his mottled silver hair.

A gnomish woman spoke up, voicing what every other gnome was thinking.

“What are you, one they call Godrick?  Be you elf, fairy, goblin, or another breed?  Speak or be spoken about.”

The phrase she ended with was common amongst gnomish people, as a bid for information.  If you did not concede what information they wished, they would spread rumors.  Normally, this threat was not carried out, but no gnome wanted to take that chance.  Reputation was everything.

Godrick sighed and opened the door to his shop, briefly disappeared inside, and emerged without his backpack.  He carried a sign with him, and hammered it into the top of the doorframe with materials he probably got from his pack.  In blue print, and unmistakable letters, the shop was hence branded with “Job-Runner” above the frame.

The crowd was confused, for most had never heard of a job-runner before.  Some thought it was a type of personal trainer, which would most assuredly go out of business with the gnome’s life styles.  Amidst the confusion, and elder rose from the toadstool bench on the other side of the street, and mosied across using his cane to bat aside youngsters that almost ran into him.

Reaching the end of the cobblestone path, he said in a cracked voice, “You’re one of the Progils, then.”

Godrick looked up and nodded, glad to see someone knew his legacy.  The Progils were a clan dedicated to the idea of a professionalized Jack-of-all-Trades.  In other words, they would do most anything for money.  When the clan flourished, it was an immensely popular idea, but it was dragged down by the exceedingly difficult and dangerous tasks.  Most Progils either gave up and were thrown out of the clan in disgrace, or disappeared and died doing their jobs.  But every Progil member was a half-breed, half gnome and half-

“So that means you’re part pixie, then,” ended the old gnome.

Godrick nodded, this time more hesitantly than the last, and the crowd jumped to life scrambling and running away from his shop, shrieking and shouting all the while.  Godrick sighed, and walked back into his stall, sitting behind the only table in the barren room, waiting for a task.

The First Step

First post:  Greetings, people of the interwebs (and extra-terrestrials that happen to be spying on earth).  This blog was created as a gateway to get Godrick Gnomish’s life shown to the world, through short stories (and possibly other devices) that I happen to write.

There might be an odd piece out that has little to nothing to do with Godrick Gnomish, and those will be marked “This post has little to nothing to do with Godrick Gnomish.”

Posts that do revolve around Godrick will be marked “G.G.S.-number-,” for “Godrick Gnomish Story -blahblahblah-.”

Pretty simple, eh?

In any case, if you enjoy any of these stories, or if you despise them to the point of foaming at your mouth every time you see a garden gnome, be sure to leave a comment so I know how to improve my works in the future.

Also, if you happen to like my stories, share ’em with a friend.  It’s one of the most helpful things you could do, and I’d bake you a cookie for it (virtually, of course).

You can expect a new story at least three times a week, but I hope once every few days will be my starter.

So sit back, grab a snack, and read on, people of the blogworld.  You might not understand what you will read, but I hope to Gontrix that you enjoy it.