The Heater


A commotion erupted near the warm camp fires in the cave leading to Halas as a pair of gnomes scurried out into the cold carrying odd looking equipment. Dagda Icefury, a barbarian woman strong and heavily armored, shouted out over the frozen tundra of Everfrost, “Come and see my brothers and sisters! My friends have made for us a device that will keep us warm on the frigid tundra! Follow me and see this wonderful invention! We shall never know cold again!”

A pair of gnomes stood near the Igloos. One wore robes and a grim face, riddled with lines indicative of one who thinks a bit too much. Another in light chain, grinned ear to ear. Tools and small bits of oddly shaped metal littered the ground and were slowly disappearing under the perpetual snowfall. The air smelled of volatile substances.

Dagda lead a group of curious onlookers to the igloos located some distance away from the small settlement that is Halas. The gnome, Ognit Eznertob, both a wizard as well as a tinker like most of his kind, waved them all forward impatiently. As they approached he said, “Oh good, you’re here, Dagda. And I’m happy to see that you’ve brought some friends along.”

The crowd began to gather and surround Ognit. The barbarians towered over the strange gnome, who turned and climbed atop the Igloo. Waving his arms, he called for quiet. “Quit your yammering already and listen!” He tapped his feet for a few moments as the crowd quieted.

Making himself as tall as he could, he puffed out his chest and said, “Thank you Dagda for gathering your kin to come and experience what will surely be a life changing revolution for all of you who dwell in these inhospitable lands.” He nodded toward Dagda as his face contorted into a failed attempt at a smile.

His face fell once again into a perpetual scowl as he continued in his scratchy voice with all the flare of a carnival huckster. “Never again shall the elements take the lives of those who dwell in this harsh terrain you call, most appropriately, Everfrost. We have heard in our conversations with the residents of Halas, that some of the young Wolves of the North have succumbed to the cold of this region.”

Gesturing broadly, he continued, “As a favor to our close friend Dagda and indeed as a favor to all of you and your kin who reside in these lands of persistent inclemency, I have developed the blueprints for a device that will make an end to the wretched misery you poor folks face.”

With excitement in his voice, he said, “But before we get to that, more about me! I have, as a master tinker, made it my goal to design and build life-enhancing tools to make Norrath a better place.”

“Some devices just treat the symptom and ignore the cause, such as my automatic, self-applicating, single use, disposable tissues for cold climates such as these.” Ognit sneezed and a thin cloth sprang out from somewhere beneath his robes and stuck to his face.

The gnome let loose a muffled cry of surprise. Removing the cloth from his face he said, “Pardon me,” and continued his pitch. “As I was saying this device does more than simply treat the symptom. This device eliminates the cause of the problem altogether! With no further ado, I would like to introduce my close friend and understudy in all things mechanical, Dabner Drednever,” he then gestured down to the gnome in light chain armor waiting below next to the igloo.

Dabner sat there, staring in fear at the crowd of giants all around him. Ognit bends down and whispers loudly, “Get up on this igloo and talk to these people, you cretin!”

“Though I designed the blueprints for this device, Dabner here is the one solely responsible for its assembly. This is his first work as a tinker and he’s very excited to tell you about what he did,” Ognit added, buying himself some more time.

Dabner climbed on top of the igloo, while Ognit slid down the other side. Being above all of these people didn’t make things any easier for Dabner. He suddenly realized how many there were. He cleared his throat uncomfortably.

Ognit pointed at Dabner and mouths the words, “Get on with it all ready!”

Seeing her little friend’s distress, Dagda said, “Tell them about what you made Dabner! You know I’m proud of you!”

Visibly blushing, Dabner spoke, his voice cracking nervously, “Yeah… So this is the first thing that I made With tinkering that is”

Dabner looked down and shuffled his feet nervously. “I think you’re all gonna like it. It’ll keep you all warm and it fits in a small backpack and stuff So that’s good…”

Ognit looked up at Dabner and then covering his eyes and shaking his head says, “You’re dying up there Dabner! Flare, think flare! Like you’re giving a sermon or some fool thing like that.”

At those harsh words, Dagda turned a dangerous glare upon Ognit. Ognit ignored the look.

Building some steam Dabner continued, “Ognit here designed it and stuff but I put it together myself! So now. Here it is, I guess!” He smiled nervously as he rifled through a backpack. Finding what he was searching for, he pulled out a small device. It was a cylindrical shape that appeared to be made out of interlaced metal wire. The top of the device had what looked to be a weather vein that seemed to spin on its own regardless of the wind’s direction. The center of the object seemed to glow a light orange color.

Sliding gleefully off the igloo, he placed the object on the ground. Dabner then reached into his pocket and pulled out another device, this one a small box- rectangular, thin and long. Taking several steps back, he pointed the device at the cylinder and clicked a small red button on the box.

Upon hitting the button, huge flames shot out in all directions from the cylinder. The shock wave from the mighty explosion rolled across the tundra. Animals stopped dead in their tracks in fear as the sound echoed throughout the hills. The crowd gasped and took several steps back. Some people began to draw weapons.

Smiling broadly at the shocked crowd, Dabner continued, “So Here I am standing down here and I’m all cold and what have you. But, I have this nice Portable Heater I set up over by this igloo here.”

“Now,” Dabner eyes gleamed with confidence. I want to get all nice and warm so I guess I’ll go over by my heater I got set up over here.” Dabner smiled once again at the crowd as he strode up to the portable heater and said, “Heh.” As he approached the heater, the spinning object atop the device stopped spinning and began to point directly toward him.

As Dabner stood next to the heater, a wave of flame shot forth from between the wires of the cylinder, and enveloped Dabner briefly before dying down. “Oh yeah. That’s nice and warm all right,” he said with confidence.

The spinner began to spin once again and once again it stopped, pointing at Dabner. Another burst of flame shot forth and enveloped the gnome. “Yup, that’s heating my armor up good now.”

Dabner looked apprehensively at the heater, which shot yet another wave of fire at the gnome. Finally he jumped back shouting, “Sweet Brell’s pajamas that’s hot!”

Ognit’s face was screwed into a scowl of rage; “You used the Size 6 Gizmo didn’t you? Please tell me you didn’t use Size 6 Gizmos in this contraption when I told you specifically to use the Size 4 Gizmos!” He poked Dabner several times with his bony finger.

Dabner looked down at the snow, “Well I thought that the Size 6 Gizmo would be better so I used those. You know. The Size 4 Gizmos are so small and hard to work with, after all.” Looking up sheepishly, he added, “It was like artistic license, you know?”

“Impetuous dolt! You didn’t make a heater! You’ve laid a land mine!” Ognit clenched his fist as his whole body shook, his face twisting with rage.

Dagda stepped forward, separating the two gnomes. Turning to Ognit she said, “Calm down, you old grump! And don’t yell at Dabner like that!” Walking toward the portable heater she looked behind to the gnomes and said smugly, “It can’t be all that bad! You are so small after all. It makes sense that it would be too hot for you. Let me try it out. It may still prove useful for us more hearty folk.” Several in the crowd nodded in agreement and looked on with continuing interest.

As Dagda approached the heater, the spinner once again stopped spinning and began to point toward Dagda. The heater once again erupted into a virtual inferno and Dagda’s upper body disappeared into the flames and smoke.

She remained in the flames for a few seconds but then backed away. The flames subsided and the spinner spun once again. “Wow,” she said, as she ducked to brush snow onto her armor. The snow hissed as steam rose into the air. “That’s really far too hot.”

Dagda looked sadly at Dabner and then with anger at Ognit. Shaking her head, she drew forth her bow, “That device is dangerous and must be destroyed.”

Ognit was indignant, “Dagda! What are you doing?”

“Not a word from you wizard. This thing must be destroyed. It is a danger to us all,” she said as she began to launch arrow after arrow into the device.

Others joined in and soon arrows, rocks, throwing stars and spells were flying through the air and striking the heater. Wringing his hands Dabner said, “I’m so sorry Ognit. I should have followed your blueprint,” as their invention was slowly reduced to a smoldering hunk of metal bits.

“Size 6!” Ognit yelled at the sky. “I tell him use Size 4. So what does he do? He uses Size 6.”

“I’m really sorry, Ognit,” Dabner was truly penitent.

The heater fully destroyed and rendered inactive, Dagda put her bow away and said, “I’m sorry I had to destroy your heater Dabner. Ognit should have been watching you more carefully.”

Shuffling his feet and smiling, Dabner said, “That’s ok, Dagda, it was my fault after all.”

Her face changed from sadness at having to disappoint Dabner to anger at the other gnome as she says, “What kind of rotten teacher are you to allow YOUR student to do such a thing, Ognit?”

Standing on his tiptoes, he pointed a wrinkled finger at himself and says, “Me? You’re blaming me for this monstrosity! My designs are rock-solid and based on extensive research!”

“Maybe you should stick to research then and leave instruction to those who know more about that kind of thing,” she said in a mocking tone, her head tilting back and forth with each syllable.

Stamping his feet Ognit bellowed, “I can train a common cur to follow basic instructions! Why can’t he follow them?”

“I can live with your failings Ognit. That is why I have vowed to protect you after all,” she said crossing her arms, a slight smile beginning to cross her face.

“Yeah! Well the last thing I need is protection from the likes of you,” Ognit growled, his fists forced down by his sides, shaking violently.

This time, Dabner stepped between the two of them, “C’mon guys! Stop fighting! You know I hate that! See now! No one got hurt” He paused for a second and then added, “Well, except for that guy lying on the ground over there. But we are all friends and stuff here, right? Relax already! I’m not mad or upset or anything. No reason for you guys to be!”

Ognit and Dagda muttered a few one-line insults to themselves but eventually ceased their arguing. It was then that Dagda’s keen and well-trained eyes caught a glimpse of several figures walking slowly across the snowy wastes. She turned and looked at the approaching figures, her eyes flashing in startled recognition. Curious she made her way toward the figures, the two gnomes flanking her on either side.

As her eyes meet those of the beautiful golden haired high elf before her, Dagda was sure she was seeing a friend but could not remember who she was or how she knew her. The high elf was accompanied by what must have been half elven bard, judging from the lute slung across her back. The bard also seemed eerily familiar to her. In fact, the erudite in robes, the human resplendent in shining armor, the young scruffy looking halfling and the scowling dwarf all seemed familiar to her for some reason. But the shy wood elf carrying the exquisitely crafted and ornately decorated bow, she did not recognize.

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