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.


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