Godrick left the oak tree with a sigh. He knew how to approach this new job, but the time and materials it would take made it more of a hassle than he would like on the first day. He made his way back to the log wall, and then made a right back onto mainstreet to head for his stall.
Lost in thought, it took a minute for him to realize he was being hailed by a gnome in an apiarist’s suit; a yellow, full-length gown with mesh at the face to provide eyesight while protection from stingers.
“Hey, jobrunner! Have a minute?” the apiarist asked, shouting from across the street.
Godrick passed over to this gnome’s side of the street and nodded, gesturing for the gnome to continue.
“I know you’re half-pixie, so that means you’re less valuable than the rest of us and suited to do dangerous tasks, right?” the man said with a stony face.
Godrick turned around and was about to leave when a smile cracked in the apiarist’s expression.
“I’m joking, youngling. One of my friend’s neighbor’s roommate’s cousin’s dad had supposedly met a half-pixie, and assured his son that they were good gnomes. Err, Pixies. Anyhow, I got a quickie job that’ll take about an hour at most for a cunning man, and I unfortunately do not fit those ranks. I can reward you how you see fit. Do you accept?”
Thinking that an easier task might clear his mind, Godrick accepted and followed the apiarist into his shop.
Waving him into a seat, the apiarist explained his dilemma. Bardinals, also known as Mirror-birds, had adapted to gain a power unique to them; they could mimic the appearance and cry of a living creature.
The apiarist had seen such birds living around where he kept his bees, but thought nothing of it as Mimic-Birds inhabited the entire forest. They were as common as ants, although twice as annoying.
“And the worst part is, I can’t find a way to separate the bloody things from the rest of the bees. It wouldn’t be a problem if they weren’t eating all of the supplements I’m supplying to the bees, but they are! Every last bite!” exclaimed the agitated gnome, slapping his hand against his table.
Godrick had never heard of bees being supplied any external nourishment, but he supposed Gnomish bee-keeping was different than that of other races.
“So,” the beekeeper said. “I keep my bees outside LogHaven. In a place that they like; the warmth attracts them, see? They’re all set up in pretty rows near the hot springs, a short walk from town. It’s well lit; you’ll run into no trouble at all.”
Wishing to save as much time as possible, Godrick nodded a good-bye to the apiarist and walked with considerable haste back towards his shop. Thinking better of it halfway down the cobbled block, he turned and sprinted for the gate nearest the hot-springs.
He must get the jobs done before nightfall, and musn’t wait till morning; night was not kind to Pixie-children, and if he delayed Fent’s job any further the Lord might not stand for it.
Rapping his cane against the door thrice (good word, isn’t it?), Godrick was too impatient to wait for the lackadaisical guards.
With a leap, he jumped from the ground four human feet vertically (one inch is a gnomish foot) and landed off balance on top of the log, steadying himself with his cane.
His top hat had fallen during the jump and landed not four gnomish feet away from where Godrick previously stood. When he looked up and saw the sun descending yet further, he decided to pick it up on the way back. Time was of the essence, although of fire, water, air, or earth, he knew not which.
Godrick bounded from the log wall to a fallen branch, then on to a sapling and finally forest round before setting off for the hot springs. When he came within visual sight of them, he veered off to a side road marked with a modest “B” in black ink on a sign.
The apiarist wasn’t a gnome of artistic ability, it seemed.
Godrick started walking when he saw the contained hives, as the speed with which he traveled didn’t agree with the contents of his stomach, and considering Fent’s hospitality, it was painfully low.
Working quickly, Godrick opened the containers of bees, a large amount unable to fit in their hives due to the birds taking their places. He then lit one of the flammable strips of cloth with his cane, and waved it around all the hives, continuing afterwards to walk away slowly, still facing the containers.
Some bees exited their combs, and a large amount who were displaced began to follow him, while the other “bees” sat still, disinterested in the whole scene.
Godrick had figured that since the gnomish-bees were attracted to heat, it might help to separate them from the Bardinals. And so it did.
Standing there, in a darkening forest herding bees, Godrick then realized that he had nowhere to put them. It might have been a brighter idea to lead the birds out, he thought bitterly.
Leading them towards the hot-springs building, a shed provided for the purpose of changing, Godrick forced open the door with a kick and swatted the bees inside, earning more than one annoyed look from the black and yellow bugs. Godrick tossed the lit cloth in after them, along with a pile of sticks to keep the fire going (the hut was made of stone, mind you), and opened the vents before closing the door.
Godrick then walked back to the hives, and by turning the top of his cane to the left, a loud Pop echoed, causing the birds to evacuate the hives in panic. As Godrick saw them go, they turned into bluish green birds before entering the forest. Off to bother some other poor gnome, he thought.
He the proceeded to replace the bees in their combs by acting as the Pied Piper, and was off to LogHaven even before the lamps lining the log wall were lit.
In the apiarist’s shop, the beekeeper thanked him for his work and asked what he wanted in return. Godrick pointed to a box of wax slabs behind the merchandise the gnome actually sold.
“Wax?” the gnome laughed, “You don’t want that. I couldn’t even give the stuff away, much less sell it.”
A moment later the beekeeper had a light bulb go off somewhere in his thick skull, and he quickly added “Well, if you want it, it’s all yours!”
Godrick nodded his thanks, and took the box. Before he exited the stall (and hopefully for good this time), the apiarist asked, “What’ll you do with a bunch of worthless wax? You can’t hope to sell it if you refuse to even speak.”
For the first time today, Godrick smiled a beaming smile. He took a tablet in his arm and held it over a lantern for a minute, and then used the top of his cane to etch into it: I do not wish to sell it, beekeeper
Godrick then cleared the message away by padding the wax back to it’s amorphous state, looked back at the confused beekeeper, and waved a cheerful goodbye.