Tension

Feedback on this one is appreciated!

~

I was born slowly,

the way modeling clay

hardens into a husk,

or how acrylic paint

begins to thin.

I was held by friends

who didn’t know

quite what to call me.

They took me and pulled

and pulled

and I tried to stretch,

to keep them together

but they drew me back

until I almost

snapped.

I lingered there

tightly bound in

thoughtful tautness-

perhaps I was the

sharp connection,

a spiteful bungee cord

that refused to let go.

The friends forgot

that I tied them so,

and I was again no more

than an undulating unknown.

Yet still, when they stop moving,

they can feel me, relentless

with my unwanted bond,

my untiring tug

which they wish would

disappear, but won’t.

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Socks

Socks

after Jim Simmerman’s Moon go away, I don’t love you no more

Hope struggles to get dressed in the morning.
Really, it’s just the socks it can’t handle.
I guess it wants to kick at the floor
and feel the bamboo tiling soak its feet
unadulterated.

In reality, everyone loathes clothes.
Kind of like how Sandy Clauson
hated to wear gloves when he crushed beetles
down by Rock Gardens,
across from the wishing well
that had run dry years before.

Perhaps that’s why Hope rarely leaves
the house- because of Sandy
Clauson, all the Sandy Clausons,
who pitch pinched mandibles
down an empty well,

while Hope just sits there
on the bed, its socks
lying next to it,
picking out all the splinters
from irritated feet.

Neighborly Witch

As her brews start to bubble
she toils and troubles you
for two white eggs and some flour,

She takes small girls in
to her fearsome kitchen and
helps them to bake for an hour,

Each night, eerie light shows
and judgemental wind blows seek
to gust her right out from her niche..

But her stockings stand steady,
Pan and broom at the ready, to
clean; she’s our neighborly witch.

G.G.S.3: The Gremlin’s Crime (Part 3)

After the tiresome journey, Godrick was rather annoyed about the whole ordeal.  It was not the re-theft that bothered him, for in his mind that was simple justice, but the characters of the troll and the dwarfs were reversed.

Trolls are not supposed to be honorable.  Dwarfs are supposed to act for good.  This was the way of the species, not just the way of the times.  And yet this troll had give up what he rightfully earned to settle conflict.  And the dwarf went out of his way to start the fight, and continue even when its participants had moved on.

Godrick shook his head to clear his thoughts as he jogged through the forest, spiriting the gold and silver past countless toadstools and overgrown oaks whose branches tickled the sky.  There should be no troll that enjoys such scenery he told himself.

But here one was.  A troll living outside a forest, and not even residing in a cave.  It was blasphemy.  It was abnormal.  It was..  strangely satisfying.  To see how a being could change.

But the dwarfs.  Godrick would have to be weary among them now.  He’d always thought they were honorable creatures..  But maybe not.  There were always odd ducks out who stepped outside their typing.  But beings who were different are dangerous.

Arriving at the gate, Godrick decided not to bother the guards and he leapt over the wall as per his newfound habit.  It was also a good stretch for the legs.  As he headed towards the oaken tree where Lord Fent resided, he smiled and thought it would be funny to scare his employer.  He hefted the bags of silver and gold, and started his ascent up the tree.

Scaling is as though it were a ladder, the curves in the bark provided more than enough of a handhold to lodge himself firmly between them.  He pulled himself past branches and rodent holes, until his hands clasped the rim of the window-wall that Fent had fitted to his room.

Hoisting his weight and that of the bags up, he glanced through the glass and saw Fent backed into a corner by a warted green gnome with a bad hair day and what looked to be an unfortunate accident with a lawn mower on his face.

Either that, or this was the gremlin Godrick had heard the munchkins talking about.  He peered in the glass once more and saw the gremlin take out a large band of metal with a jewel encrusted on one side.  A human ring, if experience panned out.

The ring was glowing, and in Godrick’s experience, glowing things were bad news.  Godrick swung the bag around and smacked the glass with it, shattering it all over the floor and causing the occupants of the room to drop and cover their heads, making the gremlin drop his piece of ill-attained jewelry.

Godrick climbed through the wreck of a window, ducking under and stepping around shattered glass while pulling the bags inside.  He plopped them down in a corner, and turned around to find the gremlin standing and dusting his knees.

“Well,” the disgusting creature said, “usually it’s more polite to just knock, young gnome.  Or pixie.  My eyesight isn’t as good as it used to be.”

Godrick looked to Fent for an explanation of the situation, and Fent scrambled away from the corner and stood behind a table, making very sure there was distance between him and the brute.

“Godrick, this..  wretch.. came to my office and starts trying to bribe me!  What is going on?” he said, trying to grasp the unexplained scenario.

Godrick, obviously knowing little more than Fent, scribbled down a message outlining that this creature is credited to be behind the thefts.

Desperation turned to outrage as Fent turned to the smirking creature and said, “You!  You upset  the order in my town, and by Gontrix you will pay for it.”

The gremlin laughed.  “What makes you think you have the upper hand here, Fent?  I see your errand boy has brought you back your metals, but what now?  I still am in control of your entire treasury of enchantments, along with your mystic item.”

Now it was Godrick’s turn to look confused.  Mystic item?  Fent had a mystic item in his treasury?  No wonder he was in such a fit over the whole experience.  Mystics were hard to come by in this day and age.

Fent’s face went scarlet with rage.  “Guards!” he shouted, “apprehend this menace!”

The door burst open, revealing two armored gnomes with short spears held ready to jab aimlessly in front of them.  The gremlin laughed once more and picked up his ring.  Now bursting with lime light, the brightness expanded and enveloped the guards in a sheen that clung to their skin.  The light faded, and the guards were left as stoic as a statue but not quite as shiny.

Astonished, Fent stepped back and tripped over his chair, much to the amusement of both the Gremlin and Godrick.  However, Godrick was also quite confused by the item’s power.  Was it temporary or permanent?  And would he meet the same fate if he tangoed with the green creature?

Dangerous or not, Godrick stepped forward holding his cane at an offensive stance and advanced towards the gremlin.  His target turned, and smiled at Godrick.  “Well, hello there, young gnome.  I was beginning to think you were too cowardly to act at all.  But I guess the author couldn’t stand for that, could he?”

The gremlin fitted the ring onto his head like a crown and was amused at Godrick’s apprehension with approaching him.

“Come now, I don’t bite!  It might sting a little, sure, but then again I’ve never been hit by this thing,” he said while motioning towards his makeshift hat.  “I’ll take my leave, young gnome.  This thing doesn’t recharge for another day anyway.”

Godrick promptly ran straight at the gremlin, brandishing the blade that extended from the end of his cane.  The gremlin smiled.

“Oh, wait!  I meant another few seconds.  Here we go..-”

BZZZZKTP!

The Honorable Troll

Before Godrick had left the pub, he had inquired where this troll lived.  He thought he knew where; the faraway mountains that housed many of the rugged creatures.  But surprisingly the dwarf answered that he lived in a nice house across town, marked by a mailbox that simply said “Troll” on it  (Very convenient for Godrick, eh?).  Godrick walked through town, noticing the various human selling goods that were unmatched by any of the other woodland creatures.  By unmatched, he meant that the goods from gnomes and elves were such better quality that the humans didn’t even come on the same level.  The gnomes had no cloth to match the humans poor quality, nor did the elves.

Although their houses were matters of pride for humans.  It was insisted that the nicer the dwelling the more fortunate the dweller, and that money was equal to character.

He came across the house marked as he was told, with a large mailbox out front marking a path that led up to the most wholesome house in all of town.  A large doorway was framed between two masterfully sculpted window-pieces, being not flat glass but a seemingly-flowing scale pattern that formed upon one another.

The house was small compared to the other structures in town, but it appeared much larger, even when you were close to it.  Godrick marveled at the shackled roof and pillars that supported it from the ground up.  Lining the roof was a series of glyphs, presumably in the Troll’s native tongue.  There were also scenes depicted in the base of the pillars, crafted with skill outmatching even the elfish work that had made its way to LogHaven.

Staring dumbly at the house, he failed to notice the large creature that had walked up behind him.

“It has that effect, doesn’t it?  It truly is a terrific house.  Wonderfully built.”

Godrick whipped around, and looked up to see a well-dressed troll, outfitting himself in a cape-like robe around a human’s suit.  His head was bare, as were his feet.  Spectacles sat on his wide nose, and the eyes were a beautiful emerald color.

The Troll squatted down and looked at Godrick while squinting behind his glasses.  “May I help you, young  Gnome?  Or do you go by ‘Pixie’?  It’s rare that we see your kind nowadays.”

Godrick scrambled with his tablet and wrote a quick response before handing it to the troll.  Only later did Godrick have the realization that their entire conversation was in Gnomish.

The Troll scanned the slate quickly.  “So.  You’re after those cards, hm.  I suppose the dwarfs told some tale about how I stole them?”

Godrick nodded, predicting what came next and preemptively heaving a sigh.

The Troll noted the exasperation and said, “Indeed.  I stole no such cards.  I won them in a duel.  The little twerps insulted my companion, and challenged me for his honor for he was too weak to fight.  He had lost an arm in the war.

Anyhow, I sent them running with their axes between their legs, and one dropped this deck of cards,” he pulled out a golden deck fitting the description by the orange-haired dwarf.   “I never thought to give the cards back, as I thought them spoils of war.  And I still do,” he finished, eyed Godrick as though he was a thief.

Which was, in some cases, true enough.

Godrick scribbled a response, and the Troll laughed.  “No, there’s nothing I want in exchange for the cards.  I’ll just give you them,” Godrick’s mood immediately brightened, and seeing the reaction the Troll laughed once more.  “Take the cards, and you’ll owe me a favor in the future.  Beware though.  It might not be as trivial as picking up a lost item.”

Godrick thanked the Troll, and made his way back to the pub while the dwarfs continued their game.  As he hopped up onto the table, the game stopped and the orange-haired dwarf gaped in astonishment.  He reached for the cards, but Godrick move them out of his grasp while kicking his wax tablet towards the dwarf.

Reading it, the dwarf complied and took out the silver and gold, plopping the bags next to Godrick.  “This settles our agreement, Gnome.  Now, give me the cards and scat.”

Godrick only executed one of these orders.  Grabbing the bags, Godrick launched himself off the table and, delving into his stored energy and superior strength, toted all three treasures out the door and dashed through town, losing the dwarves in the midst of the crowd.

Later on, when the dwarfs had returned to losing themselves in spirits, Godrick found a small shack on the opposite house.  Knocking, he dropped the deck of cards and left for LogHaven.

Moments after, the door swung inward revealing a dirty-faced miner who had rid himself of most evidence of his profession save for his sooty head.  He looked around, and then down.  Picking up the golden set of cards, he recalled his favor to the gnome earlier in the day.  Smiling, he shut the door and told his wife that they were moving to Port Alheim, a trading central port near two rivers and a lake.

He went on to become a widely known success story that farmers told their children to inspire them.  His shipping business usurped all others, and his slogan “The little things count” became common talk.

G.G.S.3: The Gremlin’s Crime (Part 2)

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.”

G.G.S.3: The Gremlin’s Crime (Part 1)

Many gnomes, and members of other species agree that a morning is a fresh, new start and is a good beginning for a day.  Godrick thought these people were loonies.

What creature on earth would wrench themselves willingly from a place as comfortable as their own bed, in their own home?

A gnome with a job to attend to, he reminded himself.

As Godrick got up, his metallic colored hair fell to his shoulders, and his slightly pointed ears jutted out, much like an elf’s.  Sighing, he rose to dress in his usual garb: pocketed trousers, a bluish undershirt, and reached for his hat.

Finding his extended hand reaching empty space, Godrick looked around for his top hat before remembering it had fallen the night before.  Chastising himself for not having picked it up on his way back to his stand, Godrick finished dressing and continued out the door and headed for the log wall, hoping to find it where he last remembered.

Naturally, it wasn’t there.  He didn’t expect it to be.

Sighing, Godrick proceeded to the doors he had knocked on with no reply the night before.  He waited awhile, and eventually acorn-helm showed up bearing signs of ill humor.

“Really?  You really want to leave the town at,” he glanced towards the sun,” near 6 in the morning?  And what’s wrong with your hair?” the guard added on a side note.

Godrick heaved a weary sigh, pulled out his new wax tablet, and communicated that he was a half-pixie, and yes, he wanted to exit the town.

Grudgingly, the guard allowed him to pass through the doors, and then grumbled an inaudible last word before shutting Godrick out into the forest.

Setting off, Godrick admired the beauty of the forest while he traversed over the countless rocks and logs, puddles and mounds.

Among all the forests he had been to, this was definitely one of the least magical- and he appreciated it for that fact.  Godrick had spent one too many nights unsure of where he’d wake up in the morning, but that’s a story for another day.

The forest was relatively young; the oldest trees dated maybe a hundred years, with quite a few saplings littering the forest floor.  Godrick was passing over a particularly large pond by floating across on bark, when he heard a voice carried over the water.

“Surely this ain’t all of it?  There’s hardly any copper left; is this all that pest of a gremlin thinks we’re worth?” the voice asked, seemingly to another.

Godrick heard no reply, but it was a remarkable coincidence.  He had been searching for a path to follow, as no gnome in the town either wanted to talk to him or knew where other races spent their time in the forest.

Lord Fent would have made sure his wealth wasn’t concealed in his own town, so Godrick figured asking other residents of the forest would be the best way to start.

And here one was.  Godrick assumed from the mention of copper that this was related to the missing treasure of Fent’s; copper was a rare sight indeed in a forest.

Godrick leapt to shore to confront the creatures, bound and determined to catch them red-handed.  He made his way through the tall grasses and plants, and found himself entering a small clearing that was already filled with rather large occupants.

Godrick could tell from the smell they were Halflings.  A dwarf/human breed who generally chose company with races besides humans, because they saw them as unseemly.

There were two there; the one he had heard talking and a friend, or perhaps colleague.  One of them turned and faced him, eyeing Godrick stonily before asking in the same voice he had heard over the water, “Well, lookie here.  A pixie, from the looks of it.”

“Looks a bit thick for a pixie.  No wings, either.  He’s probably half n half.”

The other smiled.  “Like us,” he said.

Godrick remained where we was, unsure of how to handle the situation.  He could *speak* to them, simply empowering them to give him the copper.  A pixie’s words were a vicious weapon, even if he was only half-pixie.  This was why Godrick did not speak to anyone; he would never get a real answer, just what he wanted to hear.

He also didn’t want to seem like more of a freak than he already was.

Another option would be to fight them.  Godrick steadied himself on his cane while he thought it through.  Halflings were good for heavy lifting, but in a fight with a smaller creature he would surely land more hits.  How he could make those hits count, Godrick was not sure.

The last option would be to solve the problem how it began; gambling for ownership of the copper.

Godrick stepped forward at last, stenciling a message on his wax plate.  He handed it over to the closest Halfling, and then began to prepare for if they disagreed.  He would have to attack if this was the case; he refused to use his voice.

The Halfling was no great shakes at English, and he read it aloud for his compatriot to hear:  “The copper you have is not rightfully yours, and if you would, I should like to have it back.  We could gamble-” his eyes glinted at the word, and the other Halfling smiled,” for its ownership in any way you’d like.”

Godrick knew the old Halfling stereotype, which was more often true than not.  Halflings loved to bet and gamble.  They’d bet on anything; races, physical feats, games of chance.

The two Halflings discussed, and after a minute or two they pointed at a large stone, about as big as Godrick’s torso.  “We’ll throw this rock, and if you get it farther than the clearing than me, you get the copper.”

Godrick nodded affirmation, unsure of how to continue.  He was sure they’d choose a physical test, sure.  But he wanted it to be a race or a swimming contest.  Gnomes were not renowned for body strength.

The Halfling closest to him picked up the rock, while the other gathered up the copper coins, (they had been splitting it between themselves), and sat on a rock to watch the contest.

As the Halfling wound up to throw, Godrick threw something in the water, a vain attempt to distract him.  It didn’t work whatsoever, as the beastly creature didn’t even notice.  The rock went flying, and he and Godrick went looking for it to measure distance.

They found it embedded in some soft soil near the trunk of a tree.

“So I got it to this tree,” the Halfling said while jamming a stick into its trunk to mark it, “now let’s go back and you can..”

Godrick had already picked up the stone, and with enormous effort, lopped it about three gnomish feet from where he had picked it up.  Confused, the Halfling looked at the rock with a furrowed brow until Godrick scribbled something on his tablet that read “I got it farther from the clearing than you did.  You got it to the tree, and mine is clearly past the tree”.

Confusion turned to anger as the Halfling realized that not only had he been tricked on wordplay, it was an incredibly bad trick at that (what was that stupid writer thinking!).

He made a swipe at Godrick, but the gnome was too quick.  He jumped over the Halfling and onto the stick the creature had embedded into the trunk of the tree.  Godrick then shot out as the Halfling made another grab and landed far along the trail that they both had made getting to the rock.  He sprinted to the clearing and told the other Halfling that he had won the contest, and that his friend needed medical assistance immediately having slipped and hurt his head against the rock.

Displaying all the intelligence of a monkey, the Halfling rushed down the path leaving the copper behind, which Godrick loaded onto the bark-boat that had drifted ashore.  The bark couldn’t hold the weight of both the copper and Godrick, so he went behind the raft and pushed it, stripping down to his undergarb to do so.  As he swam away from shore, having executed this entire maneuver in less than two minutes, he heard two voices cursing him from the shore he had left a moment before.

Godrick swam away, not entirely sure whether the creatures could swim or not.  He heard no splashes however, so he assumed that they both could not swim, and were too stupid to throw rocks.  Either way, Godrick was pleased.  He enjoyed fighting stupid people.

He made it to the opposite side, re-dressed, and carried the copper back to LogHaven.

G.G.S.2: The Birds and the Bees

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.

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.