Latest Project – Ethical Issues

I’ve a plan in mind. Something I’ve been working on in secret for quite sometime. I’ve discussed it all with Kaballoi and she supports my ideas.

Though bringing my plan into fruition is proving troublesome – Namely the locating of ethically sourced specimens for my display. I can’t even think of who’s expertise to call upon in order to complete this task.

I shall contemplate upon it further.

I’ve seen Aunty Bibi twice and we’ve set off fireworks. The first time, we went to the Hollow Tree – I wanted the Gremlins to see. Bibi took off her old garnet bracelet and gave it to the chaps. I thought that was very nice of her. I know how much she likes her trinkets.

The second time we set off fireworks on the pier. There’s fish down in the water now. But rods and tackle boxes are too expensive for an apprentice Enchanter like me to afford. I was supposed to learn how to fish. It was on my list.

I’ve seen Hyacinthe too – my pupil. He still calls me prof, but I’m no such thing anymore. Though he assures me that it is not my fault; he is a lost cause. Or so he says.

For now I’m thinking mostly about geology and Gnomes. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Caer library, rereading tomes and pouring over my Fieldguide. I need to get back to training again, but… Well, you know.

Necromancer

I haven’t felt right all morning. Sort of grey and drawn, like. But then, I did have my soul ripped from my body yesterturn, so I suppose it is to be expected. The sensation was awful. Hellish. Like being plunged into freezing water, dragged through thorns, and then jabbed with a thousand needles. It was violating and shocking and terrifying. When I came to, lying by the monument on Kilican, I felt as though my whole body had been raked through.

He didn’t even know me – the man who tampered with my very essence. Yet when I returned to Dundee he had reanimated a zombie in my image. A zombie that struck out with teeth and fingernails at those around him; struck out a my friends.

After he was slain, I found all I could do was weep. It reminded me of how I was when Drakon attacked – cowed and crying. I think maybe I am not cut out to be a hero. I think that I am not brave.

I am still afraid this morning. I am afraid to deliver breakfast to the Gremlins, like I normally do. What if the necromancer is watching me? What if he knows now that he has tasted my soul? Would he follow me and hurt them?

I wonder if the Gremlins will notice if I do not come. Are they hungry? What if they run out of food and start raiding the markets again…

I think I’d better have a cup of tea and try and feel better.

Home

I’ve been back for a few turns now – but I still haven’t been home, not really. I went to the guildhall once. I had intended to do some reading in Jam’s Ana. But a ghoul is still in residence (presumably left over from Fall Fest) and I found all of the wailing highly distracting. I dipped for a moment into the Observatory, but Draekyn wasn’t there. I’ve not seen him since my return.

Still, my training beneath the Wall has kept me busy. I advanced for the first time in seasons just this morning.

Good news – this means I can begin my study into Field Gnomes.

Bad news – it would appear that no literature on Gnomes exists.

Unfinished Business

Fall Fest ended. I found my black orchid, but I didn’t see the Crone. For the best, really. I still have much to think on when it comes to the subject of wishes.

Draekyn has been absent, so I’ve had no one to discuss the matter with. Though, I can easily imagine what he would say. It is as though my conscience has adopted his voice.

***

I realised a little while ago that it has been a whole year (thereabouts) since we met. We walked back to the tree house where he found me. I had been staying there with Chuck. I had a blackened eye. I remember him cupping my chin to look it over. Asking how I had obtained it…

The tree house hadn’t changed at all. Maybe it was even a little worse than it was back then – more cobwebs, more weather-beaten. Draekyn suggested that we restore it a little, but I thought it best if we leave it be. Did it really look so bad when I was sleeping there? I couldn’t imagine sleeping in such a place now. Now that I am cared for, and spoilt.

I remember, that first meeting, he gave  me food and money. He said that the money was to pay for me to do a project: I was supposed to visit all of the towns and cities and write a guide of them. I never did complete it.

Thinking back on it, the amount of unfinished projects I have is really quite outstanding. From memory, and looking back on my notes, they’re as follows:

Bif’s unfinished projects

* Complete a guide to all of the towns.

* Complete my geology collection.

* Learn to fish.

* Project Gremlin Ground Force.

* The Junk Golem repaired.

* Find a translator of Sea Dweller writing.

* Make a gift for the South Beach Sea Dwellers.

* Experiment with cannibalistic tendencies and Gremlins.

* Self awareness in Trolls.

* Attempt to contact the Gremlin Cleb.

* Locate and explore the Gnomeish workshop.

* Sponsor Hyacinthe into Enchanterdom.

* Compete a Fieldguide page: Mire Hags.

And then ontop of that I must find my spells and complete my training. In the meantime, I mustn’t take on any new projects.

Hyacinthe I seem to have misplaced. I’d best write to him promptly.

Fall Fest Wishes and Ri the Gremlin

I advanced the other turn. This turn, I learned two new spells. Productive. Though, I did not find a token for a costume or one of those black orchids that I covet so badly.

I have a list of wishes:

* Be a Gremlin for a turn.

* Have Cordelia or Hojo be a Gremlin for a turn.

* Be forwarded to my 37th advancement.

* Be told the secrets of the Mire Hags.

* Be a fluent speaker/reader of the Sea Dwellers tongue.

* Learn the location of a Centaur settlement.

Raffe says wishes wished on behalf of another have the least chance of backfiring. So I shall likely have more success if I wish on behalf of Hojo and Queenie. I think the wishes may indeed backfire; it is Fall Fest, after all. And aside from that, I am not at all sure if I trust the Crone. But still, backfiring or nay – what an adventure it might be!

I went to the Hollowed Tree to see if any of the Gremlins there had picked up a black orchid on their travels. No such luck. The tree was quite sparce, actually. What with the majority of the local Gremlins having taken up residence back at the Guildhall for the festival. They’re such scamps.

I met another Gremlin this Fall Fest by the name of Ri. He is an unusually sweet-natured little chap. He perches upon my shoulder and I feed him candy. As always, I am eager to hear the Gremlin perspective on matters, so I quizzed Ri on my current subject of study: Mire Hags.

Ri informed me that he had never seen a Mire Hag, though he had heard one: He had heard the distinctive sound of their laughter around the Hollowed Tree. Apparently, Mire Hags commonly leave gems as bait for unsuspecting Gremlins, tempting them toward the swamp. For what purpose the Hags do this is unknown, as is the fate of the Gremlins that fall victim to their bait.

I thought the tale rather Spooky, and warned Ri to fight against his base nature and leave such gems alone. Still, the tale is quite telling of the nature of the Hags. Clearly, they posses intelligence enough to use the very nature of Gremlins (curiosity and greed) as a means to their end.

Mon Professeur

Proffesseur Bifrost. That’s me. Hyacinthe had me flip a coin. It landed on tails so he is to be an Enchanter, and I will be his teacher.

Scary.

He said I could always change my mind and decline him. But who am I to go against the hands of fate? I never expected to have a student. Ever. I never expected that any would-be Enchanter would find me tolerable enough to ask it of me. And, of course, I would reject any candidate that slaughters humanoids. So, those with those issues combined I thought I’d be left safely alone in such matters.

But Hyacinthe said that he would not slaughtered humanoids even before we spoke of my being his proffesseur. He said that he cared about my feelings.

I haven’t the faintest idea of where to begin with it all. I think back to my own lessons with Draekyn and draw blank – Hyacinthe and I will not have the same sort of relationship that Draekyn and I share. And besides, I’m not anywhere near as bossy as he is. The dynamic will be altogether different.

Draekyn has offered to help me with the monetary side of things should I need it. Though, I would prefer to do it myself. Even if all of the coin that I currently possess was given by Valya before her departure… Was any coin I ever had truly ever earned by me anyway?

I decided to begin with a book. I gave Hyacinthe a copy of Azure’s Fieldguide. It is my favourite.

***

I received word from Althea this turn. She believes that she has stumbled across a Gnomeish workshop of sorts, in a cave in the mountains. Another location that I itch to explore but cannot. I need to train. I have known this for a long time but still I put it off…

Literature is disappointing sparse on the subject of Gnomes. Surely I’ll be able to thoroughly inspect the overrun Hops Farm soon.

Dirty Dishes

My next project seems a lifetime away. I still train at the abandoned Poultry Farm. The crows peck and claw me until a bleed. When I reach my next advancement, I’ll likely need to take time out to hunt for crystals. After that, I’ll need to go beneath The Wall.

Taking time out to learn my spells is a bother that almost makes me wish that I had just remained forever an initiate. That was my original plan.

Another breed of Zombie lives down in those wall tunnels. I have been reading about zombies and other Undead lately. Wondering what differentiates them from humanoids. Azure’s Fieldguide categorises Corpse Grazers as humanoid. I wonder why that is…

A warped subspecies of humans.  

*****

I seen Hyacinthe yesterturn. It had been rather a long while since I had seen him last. He is one of those boys. Dazzling. Resplendent. Glittering.

A stag.

A real life unicorn.

I feel lucky to see him up close. To have him smile at me. To listen to the sound of his laughter.

Hyacinthe is same as Krythix. Though, I do not think that Krythix realises what he is. He still thinks he’s a fawn. He hasn’t any mirrors in his cabin and it is likely that no one has ever told him that he is otherwise. Krythix is still flighty and shy.

Zev might have been one too, had life been kinder to him. I was also lucky that he allowed me so near. I can imagine him now, with a woman and children. Working long marcs doing something honest and backbreaking. Life keeping him too busy and contentedly tired to ever worry, wallow and self-loath. I remember how angry he was when I thanked him for spending the winter with me.

Then there is Jobe that lives in the highest tower of the Guildhall like a queen. Older, but still sparkling. He only leaves at night, clothed in finery and slinking like a sultry cat. He never speaks to me but sometimes he looks, cold, green eyes flashing.

He is promised to be bonded to another man. Lathai. Another young, beautiful, terrifying creature. I want them to do it just so I can see. I’ve never heard of two men getting bonded. Can it really happen? That we could have that same comfortable stability? That we can have a home just like everybody else? Be in love forever… Or are our hearts just naturally more fickle.

****

I wonder if Draekyn was the same as Hyacinthe and Krythix when he was younger. Beautiful and rare. What was he like when he was my age? Did he smile just as easily as they do, and strut in his capable, strong body. Untouchable. I would’ve been afraid of him just as I am of them.

Inferior.

… Or did the weight of the world and other people’s worries still drag at him just as greatly then as they do now, squashing his young man’s smile. Responsibility. A serious-faced child. His father and his wife. These turns it is me and a handful of others. Perhaps more than a handful – many women love Draekyn, I know.

So I cannot blame him when he vanishes for a week or two. Away from our selfish, needy chatter and pawing fingers. He is likely in some dusty, quiet library somewhere, brooding at a desk…

In my brattier moments I’ve contemplated tearing up his tomes and making a terrible mess of the observatory to display my displeasure. I’d even have the audacity to tell him that it was all his fault when he did return, for leaving me like an unattended pup.

But I think that the very least I can do is wash the dishes and change the bedding while he is gone. Try not to get myself eaten by Trolls again. Keep up with my studies and reading. He’ll be back soon.

Cleb

A Gremlin spoke to me. He didn’t say much, but he spoke.

I had run out of potions so abandoned my training to head back into town and restock. I had some farmer’s smocks in my pack and thought I’d drop them in to the Gremlins – they use excess fabrics for nesting.

A greeted them as I always do, and one snickered. They usually do no engage me at all. So I thought I’d best seize the opportunity and ask; I asked about cannons. After our meeting the turn previous, Synvasti had asked of the rumour that Gremlins had been great mechanics during the Golden Age.

The Gremlin did indeed know what cannons were. He threw up his little arms and proclaimed ‘BOOOM!’

But how did he know? I asked and he shrugged. I asked if they had the schematics and he shrugged. I fed him an apple. Which he devoured, core and all. I wish that I’d brought more food. I usually carry more food, but not this turn. I asked if Gremlins ate other humanoids, like how Trolls and Ogres do. His brown eyes glimmered at the mention of ‘eating’. He shown me his sharp teeth and stuck out his fuzzy tongue. I think it is safe to assume that in the Gremlin’s current, dismal state, they will eat just about anything to survive.

When I asked his name, he pointed to the centre of his forehead and announced ‘Cleb!’ I introduced myself in the same fashion, pointing a finger to my own forehead and introducing myself as ‘Bif’.

Bifrost may have been overly complex for his tongue. He had trouble in the enunciation of Bernard. ‘Ber-nard!’ He had said, separating out the word sounds. I had asked after Bernard the Feisty Gremlin (the Gremlin author of the note in the Hollowed Tree Workshop and who I assume to be the maker of the Junk Golem). Cleb informed me that Bernard was dead. He told me via mime.

It troubles me to hear of Bernard’s death. With the only known sample of Gremlin writing coming from him I can only hope that he was not the last living intelligent Gremlin. I can only hope that he passed on his learning to others before his death. Just how old is Bernard’s note in the workshop? Have Gremlin’s organisational skills gone so entirely that it has been left there for many years? The workshop is still under use by Gremlin engineers, so surely it is not so very old… And Cleb remembered him. Does this mean that Bernard existed within living memory of Cleb?

The differing of their names even could possibly not bode well. It cannot be denied that Cleb is a far more primitive sounding name in comparison to Bernard. Or perhaps the differing in their names only marks Gremlin’s separation from human culture becoming more prominent. Cleb’s language skills seemed lacking, but he mimicked. He copied the saying of my name, gestures and expressions. Maybe this is some proof that Gremlins did indeed learn the common tongue from living closely with humans.

I hope to be able to speak with Cleb again. Next time, I hope visit with Brielle.

I hope that the schematics for a cannon do lie somewhere in the tree. I told Cleb that the humans would trade with him for them. I said that the Gremlins could name their price – for I am sure that the humans would give most anything to have the cannons back.

Heck, I would give anything to have those schematics. They would be a piece of solid proof of Gremlin intelligence. If I had them… I perhaps stand a better chance of saving them. I just hope that Cleb understands just how important it is… If the Gremlins have such knowledge at all.

Summerfaire, Troll’s Tea Parties and Other Madness

It has been too long since I wrote last. I went away for abit to sulk and rethink. I still don’t know what to do with the Gremlins. Plans seem to be on hold for the time being.

I held a Tea Party for Trolls for Summerfaire. Kaballoi even let me hold it at our hall – something I did not expect after I was barred from bringing Gremlins home. The Tea Party was a success, and provided great insight into troll behaviour. They wrestled with one another. They enjoyed cakes and other human food stuffs. They appear to be non-verbal. They did not communicate with us, nor did they with one another. It makes me wonder if they’re self aware. Would they recognise their own reflection in a mirror? I wonder how they’re born. What their family units are like. How courtship works…

Another turn ended with so many new questions to list away at the back of my head.

Trolls also seem to feed upon human flesh, if given the chance. The tomes were indeed correct on the matter, making Ogre and Trolls cannibalistic of other humanoids. I wonder if Centaur are the same? I’ve never heard of a Gremlin behaving as such. Perhaps simply because they’re too small. I wonder if they’d consume another humanoid if they were already dead. What with them being scavengers and all.

What of the Sea Dwellers?

I think I need to visit Caer library.