Upon returning the copper to the treasury, Lord Fent was overcome by joy. He had not expected any of his treasure to be returned, and admitted that his ploy with Godrick was a last ditch effort to secure anything -anything- that could be recovered. A new hope kindled in Fent, and now, with energy, thanked Godrick.
“Thank you, thank you! The copper is enough to hold the city longer past than I dared hope before. Tell me, have you any leads on the gold and silver?” Fent asked, hungry for more good news.
Godrick shook his head, but reconsidering, he pulled out his was tablet and scribbled, “Not yet, but are there any dwarves that live around here?”
“Well, there’s a human/dwarfish pub that lies a brief walk outside the forest. Filthy place, really.”
Godrick nodded his thanks, and trudged out the oak and through the gates once more. He headed south, the closest exit the forest he knew. He had come through that way.
He was sure a dwarf would have managed to take hold of the gold and silver. Other creatures saw no value in it; elves preferred gems, gnomes preferred copper, and trolls preferred large rocks you could throw at other people.
Although, humans had started to take a liking to it. Apparently it was shiny, and therefore worth something to them. Godrick thought the concept was silly. If the shininess of an object made it worth more, than why was brass not the most sought after material?
Godrick had come across a human once that told him it was the rarity of the gold that made it valuable. But if that was the case, kindness should be worth more than gold.
Putting thoughts aside, Godrick followed the path out of the forest and almost immediately came across a beggar. At least, he assumed it was a beggar. The man in front of him was a human male, middle-aged, with dirty clothes and dirtier hands. He could have painted a house with all the dust and grim on him. He sported a hat, round and grooved three times on the top. His boots were black, and he carried…
Oh. He carried a pickaxe. It was a miner.
The human was walking in the same direction Godrick was, but took no notice as the gnome began to scale his trouser leg. He realized something was wrong when a small hand smacked him on the cheek. He turned, and with a start, saw a gnome riding his shoulder like he did a horse.
Now, many people might think that the man would try to swat off Godrick at this point, as finding a little man on your shoulder is not the most subtle of happenings to humans. However, these humans were used to it. Exposure to magic makes the world a whole lot simpler, and unexplainable events become rudimentary.
The man looked at Godrick, and raising an eyebrow, said “Can I help you, little man?” while continuing to walk.
Godrick recounted his English and wrote on the tablet, “Yes take me town please.”
The miner laughed and kept walking. It was known that kindness to gnomes would bring good luck, but really the gnomes just repaid their favors. Humans often expect nothing in return, but gnomes find freeloading a horrible thing to do.
So the two accompanied each other to the human settlement, where Godrick thanked him and asked for his name. The miner complied, and then Godrick split off to the bar of the town, marked by the large “Bar” sign above the door. Humans are very subtle.
Upon entering the bar, he danced among the legs of chairs and constantly stomping feet till he was near a corner table occupied by three dwarves drinking their hearts away. One of them sported a club on his belt, but the others seemed unarmed. All had beards of various sorts, the most remarkable being an intricate orange braid with nary a flaw.
They sat playing cards, adopted from a human came called “Poke her.” It involved gambling, so naturally Godrick speculated that these were the dwarfs he speculated about having gambled away the metals. It was a jump, but not one that Godrick was unprepared to make.
Speaking of jumps, he leapt onto the table and made his way to the center, abruptly stopping the game.
The dwarf with the orange beard raised his eyebrow. “Can we help you, little pixie?”
The one with the club shook his head and said, “It hasn’t got wings. It’s a gnome.”
“Gnomes haven’t got pointed ears,” the third said, pointing at Godrick’s head.
“So it’s a half-breed,” they concluded.
Rolling his eyes, Godrick thought how wonderful it was to have a working example of observation and conclusion. While they were rabbling on about tales they’ve heard about half pixies, Godrick asked on his tablet if they had come across a bag of gnomish gold and silver. The dwarfs had to hold it up in front on one eye to read, for the tablet was a little smaller than the size of their playing cards.
“Ah, THAT gold. Yeah, we’ve seen it. More than that. Have it here,” orange-beard said while pulling out a bag the size of Godrick from his pouch. Godrick then asked whether he could have it back, and the dwarf politely dismissed the idea as silliness.
“I earned this, Gnome-Pixie. You can earn it back, but I’m not going to gamble for it. The gremlin that did so was a fool.”
The other dwarfs nodded their consent, and got back to playing cards around Godrick who still stood at the center of the table. Godrick asked what he could do to earn it back, and the dwarf smiled. “Nothing a wee-little gnome could do, bud. Last I checked, you’re too honorable to steal from people.”
Godrick agreed, but then questioned whether the goods he was after had been stolen from him. The dwarf nodded.
“Long ago, from the house of my father’s father, a deck of cards was stolen,” the dwarf continues, warding off Godrick’s immediate complaint that a deck of cards wasn’t worth anything, “and these particular cards had been manufactured by my ancestors by hand. They were made of the thinnest gold, the whole lot of ’em, and each card had the symbol of mine clan upon it. If you get those cards back, you can have your gold.”
Godrick asked who took the cards, and the dwarf smiled viciously.
“The creature that stole the cards was a troll, blood and bone.”