Category Archives: Gnome

The Precious Fairy Book

Everyone is familiar with fairies, perhaps from childhood tales. This book will provide readers with a greater insight into the Norrathian version of these winged creatures.
“The Precious Fairy Book,” copied from the Everling Laboratory collection — Being a compendium of the uses for fairies and instructions for gathering them at the peak of potency.

The main body, so to speak, of work at the Everling Laboratory is the animation of certain golems. Learning how to put something together, whether by magic or by manual labor, requires knowing how to disassemble said item. In this way, our research is able to pinpoint the highest concentrations of mana that can be derived from a variety of sources.

The best sources of mana are concentrated in fey beings, such as fairies. Unless one is able to build one’s laboratory directly atop a natural wellspring of mana, the next best method of obtaining it is through direct extraction. As with morning dew, the best time of day to obtain fairies for mana is at dawn.

Fairies can be found readily throughout most of modern Norrath. A large number of them reside in the Enchanted Lands. There are two main types of fairy body-style, although many subtle variations can be detected through close examination. One type is the so-called “dragonfly fairy” and the other is the typical fairy.

Dragonfly fairies are distinguished by an elongated lower body from which no legs are visible. The typical fairy looks like a shining, miniature gnome. Unless one has the need for a specific type of fairy, the dragonfly and typical fairies are interchangeable, as they both have most of the same body parts.

Consider one’s purpose in obtaining concentrations of mana. If the end result is an offensive purpose, one would likely wish to use dragonfly fairies, which seem to have an essence that boosts the offensive spells. Typical fairies, on the other hand, have a faint infusion of something better for defensive spells. More research will be needed to determine what manufactures these essential traces, but it is important to keep in mind.

If you remove the fairy’s wings and hold them up to the light, you can see the network of veins within them. Without their wings, fairies cannot fly. Flying springs from magic. Magic springs from mana. Therefore, the wings are concentrated mana. This is true of either dragonfly or typical fairies.

There is also the matter of fairy dust, which can be obtained again from either type of fairy. To make the most of the gathering process, it is useful to hold the fairy over a clean cloth and scrape it with the dull edge of a knife. The dust collects in the cloth, which can then be used to transfer it to a storage container.

Some who search for concentrations of mana will make a reduction from the broth made by boiling fairy bones. The sheer number of fairies it will take to make this decoction can be overwhelming. It is practical to store left-over fairy bones from previous extraction methods and prepare the reduction at one time.

Whenever there is an inbalance in the world’s forces, there is an upswing in negative energy fairies. This does not mean fairies who have no energy, but rather fairies that tend toward malicious or mischevious behaviors. If it is not possible to convert these fairies to one’s own purposes, they may be used in the same way as any other fairy.

Fairies are very useful in terms of distilling mana for a variety of purposes. They may have other uses as well, some of those will need to be chronicled elsewhere. If you are considering the study of fairies, you may well be the one to prepare such a volume.

The Desert Beasts

by Richton Straight
A hunter’s story about his first trip to the new lands.

As I stood upon the prow, straining my eyes to spot our eventual destination, I got the same warm, sated feeling in my stomach that I always got before a hunt. This one would be different, though. This was not one of the planned hunts of my past. I had no documents on the hunting or feeding patterns of my prey. I did not have the knowledge from past hunters on scents or colors to avoid. IN fact, I did not even know what I would be hunting. And that, I believe, was the most exciting aspect of it all.

We were to drop ourselves in an unknown land — unknown to ourselves, leastaways — and, for a period of three weeks, track and slay the biggest prey we could fin. The thrill of big game hunting compounded with the fear of unknown prey. We all felt it, the air of the ship spoke volumes. The crew, of course, didn’t match our sentiment, but Tocks, Ardal and myself all shared that unspoken feeling that none, save the greatest poets, can ever describe.

The sea itself seemed to hold its breath as our ship approached, exhaling in a long, slow sea breeze once we finally reached shore. Tocks and Ardal had been with me for nearly seven years. Ardal’s sharp sight and acute hearing were unmatched. Tocks, by some stroke of fate, was the luckiest gnome I had ever laid my eyes on, often blundering his way to fortune. Me? Well, someone had to do the easy part and actually slay the beast.

On the advice of the locals we purchased a few camels and a large supple of water, then set off into the desert. As soon as we left the friendly, salt-scented air nearer the ocean, Ardal spoke in that elven dialect of his.

“Hmm?” I asked.

“I said,” he repeated in a tongue I could understand,”that this is not a friendly land.”

“Nonsense,” Tocks threw in, “your perspective is just all skewed. The ground is soft…that’s friendly!” I chuckled at Tocks’ outlook as I often do. My laughter trailed off and nothing took its place; it was clear that we all felt uneasy about this land.

Days passed and we came across many beasts. None, however, had the “feel” of true game. We were anxious and did not want to commit to anything in a land so foreign. We discussed many beasts as prey and passed over dozens without coming to any conclusions. By luck, our future prey happened to find us. One morning Ardal found tracks around our camp. We were being followed, hunted perhaps.

The tracks Ardal found were of a shape similar to the lizardmen in Feerrott. They were deep and even from heel to toe, suggesting a slow, crouched walk. However, they lacked the distinctive tail marks that a lizardman from the Feerrott would leave if walking in such a position. Tocks laughed. “Ghosts of lizardmen we’ve killed in the past! Want their missing tails we stole, no doubt!”

Neither Ardal not myself shared Tocks’ jest. We glanced at each other, concerned. These tracks were deliberate. Tracks this deep from a beast could be accepted. But we knew the lizardmen of Feerrott were no mere beasts, and it stood to reason — enough to worry us, that is — that neither were what we now thought to be their desert cousins.

“So…” Ardal said, glancing at me and awaiting our next move.

“We follow them!” said Tocks, not oblivious to the conclusion Ardal and I had made. I nodded, agreeing with Tocks.

“As I thought,” said Ardal.

“What better prey than a hunter?” I questioned under my breath.

Tocks began packing his things immediately. Ardal took me aside and said, “They know we are hunters, this is their bait for us.”

“Right.” I answered. “They will have a trap set.”

“Who will?”

“The lizardmen.”

“But which lizardmen?” Ardal paused at me words.

“The big-game lizardmen…” he sighed. I gave him a large smile.

“All right, then,” said Tocks, “from now on we can assume we’re being watched. I think it’s important that we don’t let them know what to expect from us. We need to keep them on their toes, or tails…or not tails, as it were.” With that, Tocks picked up one of our water skins and poured it into the sand. Both Ardal and I started to speak, but stopped. We were familiar with Tocks and knew the water was already gone. Tocks exclaimed, “Now they’ll think we’re absolutely insane.”

We set off. Ardal and I scanned our surroundings for possible ambush. Tocks sand a song about a meatball. Our hunters, I wagered, watched us the entire time. Though it was unlikely our hunters spoke common, we conversed in Antonican for an extra measure of comfort.

“They will set a trap for us, quite possibly two traps. One obvious, one less obvious, but both will be traps.”

“Five or six traps.” Tocks added.

“And when we are snared?” asked Ardal.

“Then we spring our traps.” I said, referring to our skills as fighters and hunters. “Tocks,” I continued, “You follow at a distance of one half hour. Ardal, move parallel to the west. They already know our numbers, but if we spread out we may foil their plans.”

I communicated with Ardal in hand signals. With Tocks I left messages in my tracks. At the end o day, I saw the first trap. On the horizon were a couple of lizardmen, tailless as the tracks suggested. I glanced at Ardal. Wordlessly he glances at their second trap, dust upon the hill above us suggesting recent movement. They would flank from the west. I left a message for Tocks. We rested for fifteen minutes, then moved toward their first trap.

As Ardal and I moved closer to each other and our target, I sensed a disturbance to the east. The desert dropped off and a short cliff gave way to an oasis. A soft breeze passed my nostrils, and I caught a scent. It was tough to pick out from the air of the oasis, but something was there. Perhaps in reaction to our march’s halt, the lizardmen felt now was the time to strike. At the edge of the cliff a scaled claw appeared, pulling its owner up and over the edge.

I spun quickly to Ardal, an arrow — his — flew past my head. I heard the unsatisfying sound of the arrow striking sand. Ardal turned to the west and — as expected — two lizardmen now approached from the hill. Ardal dropped his bow and produced his twin blades. From the south a few arrows sailed through the air, too far to act as anything but a distraction, though the lizardmen advanced and fired simultaneously.

I turned to face the lizardmen who had crawled up the side of the cliff, though now there were two. They dashed toward me with amazing speed. I drew my blade and let a small, poisoned dart fly. The dart hit its mark, and the poison worked quickly. Though not dead, the lizardman fell to his knees before collapsing totally. I had watched too long, however, and my attacker was upon me.

My attacker’s sword was far longer than mine, and it was all I could do to keep from being gutted. Our combat gave me no opening to strike. He advanced, and I danced about him; we spun, and I was able to position our dance so that I faced toward Ardal. He had dispatched his two attackers, but had caught an arrow in his leg.

Despite that, Ardal drew back his bow, facing my direction. I stopped shifting and allowed the beast a straight attack at me. Drawing his blade to my side, I let his body collide with mine. For an instant he wrestled with me, then he fell with an arrow protruding from the base of his neck. I looked for the two attackers from the south.

I saw instead two dead lizardmen. “You never told me you were such a good shot!” I yelled to Ardal.

“I never needed to be,” was his response. To the north we heard a high pitched laughing. Tocks came running up, something dangled from his hand. I called out to him, “Three traps, Tocks…Three!”

“Four!” he called back, holding up the object in his hand, a necklace from one he apparently felled.

We pulled the bodies together. Tocks kicked one and it rolled over, facing him with a sinister grin. “Ugh,” he jumped back, “these aren’t game, Rich.”

“It was a fight, wasn’t it?” I countered. Ardal nursed his wounds, and I, my scratches. Tocks, as always, was unharmed.

“Yes, it was a fight, not a hunt,” came Ardal’s response. “This is not a friendly land.”

The night was slow. We feared retaliation, but none came. Tocks passed his necklace from hand to hand, eyeing it with suspicion. Eventually he threw it to the oasis. “It was creepy,” was all he could say.

“We’ll find better game, lads.” I tried to comfort them. It had been an awkward and surprisingly violent day. I dropped my hat over my eyes and drifted off to sleep. We’d find better game.

Termble Clankerbang Findings Vol. 98

This book is titled “Termble Clankerbang Findings Vol. 98.” It is the journal of a gnome and how he came across an odd tower made from black stone.
Entry One: This log will chronicle the recorded findings of an interesting structure I have found today. Having spent much time analyzing the rocks of this dark forest, I came across a construction that I am pretty sure wasn’t there yesterday. I must admit I was engrossed with a marvelous formation of limestone in the surrounding area, so I must write it off to being preoccupied.

Entry Two: I have brought all of my equipment to the surrounding area so that I can run experiments in a far more efficient manner. From my visual inspection of this obelisk-like structure, I’d say I’ll need to start with a strata-bifurcating dowel to acquire a sample. Yes, yes… a strata-bifurcating dowel indeed.

Entry Three: I have found that the stone that was used to create this building is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before in my years of geology. Having resisted all attempts at the strata-bifurcating dowel, I have been unable to acquire even the most meager of samples from the facade. I will now tinker up a means to add some type of added force to the dowel. I am certain this will do the job.

Entry Four: Having devised a small corkscrew to add an automated means of hammering at the obelisk, I was certain I would chip away a piece of rock in no time. Unfortunately, I still haven’t even scratched this blackened stone. I now must resort to increasing the power on this pump to a drastic level. I will continue my log of recorded events when I have tinkered a new way of increasing the force of my dowel.

Entry Five: After much tinkering, including adding hastily devised gyroscopes, cylindrical valves, and an external power source comprised of a wheel being turned by the surrounding falls, I have done it! This rock sample is far heavier than it would initially appear. Being no bigger than a large pebble, it weighs about as much as a small elephant. I fear that I will now have to devise a cart to bring this back to my camp.

Entry Six: By boiling the water from the mouth of the waterfall and forcing it through several pipes, I have been able to make a cart that will both move on its own and also support the weight of this odd rock. Fortunately I only have to move the rock two-hundred cogs back to my camp. Any farther and I fear my contraption might not be able to hold out.

Entry Seven: Blast it! I was so close, too! My automatical-cart-traveler was unable to make it the full way. I have spent the better part of today moving my makeshift laboratory to where the cart broke down, five cogs away. I am nearly done, so I should be able to analyze this curious rock. I believe I shall see what levels of conductivity this rock is capable of.

Entry Eight: Important note – do not artificially supply forms of electricity to this rock, which I am now calling obeliscore. Using a jury-rigged Akanon’s Ladder, I introduced some portable lightning to the rock. At first I believed it had suffused the lightning. I was shocked to see that it not only absorbed it, but apparently could not contain it for long. A moment later it released the charge in the direction of my valuable equipment. I must now see what can be salvaged.

Entry Nine: I was unable to recover much of my equipment. Fortunately, I was able to get my portable Keg-er-ator back online, but to my misfortune, one of the hoses burst. I was unaware that it was blowing heat-absent air directly on the stone for quite a while. When I stopped it from doing so, the cold discharged in such an intensity that it froze everything within a hundred cogs. I write this with great difficulty, now missing several fingers, a few toes, and the tip of my nose due to that horrible release of arctic air.

Entry Ten: Though I have already lost several digits, and even more importantly, my equipment to this pebble, I cannot leave it behind without recording the full effects of the stone’s properties. Chopping down a number of trees, I am about to light a very large bonfire on top of the stone. I am quite curious to see how much heat will be discharged after it has had time to absorb several hours worth of fire. I’m looking forward to recording my findings in this journal once I have returned from the bonfire.

Notes on the Survival Accord, by Mug

Notes on the Survival Accord
by Mug

Darkday, Deadening 1
I have arrived to take up my new post. One of my duties is to learn about this settlement and look for information on their background and potential needs, which could provide clues as to what trade openings there may be. This notebook will help record the details if needed for a formal report.

Burnday, Deadening 2
Firmroot Moot is one of three outposts staffed by the organization that calls themselves the Survival Accord. My colleagues in the other two, the Overlook and the Shadowed Cleft, will also send me their notes for comparison. All we initially know is that this alliance represents members from both Grobb and Tupta who believe it’s more important to ally together and fight against the Brokenskull, the Ykeshans, and the Thullosians than it is to maintain historical enmities.

Windday, Deadening 4
Captain Lip Marrsquire works closely with Shaman Skullcleave to lead the organization in their task. Not long ago they were unceremoniously joined by a third party, the crew of the Skystrider, which crashed into the side of Firmroot Moot, to the great embarrassment of Captain Cogglespot and the expedition leader, who they only refer to as “the Great Morsley”. Nobody has yet been willing to tell me what is great about him.

Mirthday, Deadening 9
I spoke with Vegupa Marrsheart, an enthusiastic froglok who says she is a member of the Crusaders of Guk. This is apparently a small faction dedicated to clearing out and possibly reclaiming Guk. I enquired where the other members of her faction were stationed, but she only tried to recruit me to her cause, so I retreated. I am not mercenary for hire, despite my large build. I was always considered rather a scholar, back home.

Soulday, Deadening 13
Some of the gnomish tinkers have constructed an innovative contraption to transport people around the Moors. They are testing one now which so far can fly a single passenger from the Firmroot Moot up to the overhanging cliff above, where there is a save of boarfiends they’ve been investigating. Sissili and her ratonga assistant Pirdy pressed me to try it, but while it seems to carry the weight of a gnome safely, I am not sure about an ogre’s bulk. I prefer to use more traditional methods of transport.

Moorday, Deadening 17
A note from my colleague Quinn at the Shadowed Cleft outpost reports the fighting with the Brokenskull clans is fierce at times. She recently imported some basic furniture, but it is difficult for any supplies to reach them and there are likely good trade opportunities to be had, if a safe shipping route can be established. Klip Marrsquire, relative to Glip, leads the battles at that outpost. I am still awaiting word from Liasion Alden at the Overlook on the situation there.

Brewday, Deadening 20
So far I would guess there may be trade opportunities for gnomish tools and tinker supplies, weapons for the defense against the Brokenskull, Ykeshans, and the Thullosians, and building materials to fortify the outposts. They seem to manufacture a local armor which is quite strong, I plan to investigate the details of the manufacturing process next. It might sell well on other shores, if we can obtain some.

Necessary Elements

The Orb of Mastery must be mine. I came across the knowledge of this artifact when I met the gnome known as Rykas while traveling through Lake Rathetear. His words led me the story of Trilith Mag’kot, and ultimately, to the Orb itself. Evidently, there is fear that this knowledge will bring about the end of the magician order, but I admittedly cannot resist the idea of wielding the raw power of the elements as my own. I will collect the necessary elements, and the Orb will be mine.Element of Earth:

Dirt of the Underfoot – Found. I was able to “convince” Klex to hand over his sample of the dirt.

Staff of Elemental Mastery: Earth – Found. I was able to travel to the Plane of Hate itself, and after defeating some of the vile creatures found therein, I came across this mystical staff.

Broom of Trilon, and the Shovel of Ponz Found. After speaking with Vira in the Temple, I collected the necessary items to obtain the Broom and the Shovel.

Element of Fire:

Blazing Wand – Found. This was not easy. I had to enter the sunken Kedge Keep to find this mythical wand.

Torch of the Elements – Found. I had to travel to Kunark and the City of Mist, but I was able to acquire the torch there.

Burning Embers – Found. Having already made my way to Kunark, it was little trouble to travel to Burning Woods, and locate these embers.Element of Wind:

Elemental Binding – Found. The irony of crawling through the depths of the Hole to find a piece necessary for the element of Air was not lost on me.

Crown of Elemental Mastery – Found. I managed to make it to the Plane of Sky, and found the Crown in the possession of one of the unlucky denizens of that plane.

Pegasus Feather Cloak -.Not Found. I have heard the legend of a creature known as Qullmane, but I haven’t managed to find it. I’ll search for this later.

Element of Water:
Rain of Karana – Found. Once possessed by a giant, these glistening droplets are now mine.
Staff of Elemental Mastery: Water – Found, but not yet acquire. It appears to be in the possession of a creature known as Phinigal Autropus in Kedge Keep. We were not able to defeat this creature, so we will gather our strength and return.

Tears of Erollisi – Found. This was not easy to gather. The warriors in the Overthere have earned their fearsome reputation.Update on Quillmane:

After several weeks of looking for the elusive pegasus, I still have been unable to locate it I’ve taken to hiring a tracker, and in spite of the ridiculous amount of gold I have given her, she insists that there is no guarantee that she will be able to find it since it can fly. I think this is an excuse for her own incompetence, but we will see.

Quillmane continued:
That ranger was useless. I had no better luck with her than I did wandering around these plains on my own. I’ve wandered the length of the grasslands, and I can see no evidence of this mystical beast. I’m beginning to think that the information I received was erroneous or fabricate. I think I will return to have a discussion with Kihun Solstin.Quillmane continued:
THIS IS MADDENING. I am certain that the creature known as Quillmane is a myth, and that all reports of sightings of it are just the ravings of the insane, or an attempt at getting attention. I even tried making my own cloak of feathers, and using that in the place of the Pegasus Cloak. This did not work either. I am going to get the Orb of Mastery, if it is the last thing I ever accomplish!

Quillmane continued:
After months of searching, and no results. I concede. I cannot find Quillmane, and I am certain that Kihun Solstin simply wanted me to die out on these plains. Well, no more. You win, Quillmane. May you live a thousand more lifetimes.

My Time with the Harpies

By Frego Bintwhizz
A gnome tells a tale of the time he was abducted by harpies.

I suppose I was asking for it, poking around like I always do. This is, usually I’m careful. When I salvage items, I always keep myself alter. I don’t – or, at least, I am usually very careful not to – become engrossed in whatever interesting things I come across. As tough as that is, I’ve always managed to keep at least one eye on my surroundings, on the lookout for other scavengers or possible threats.

I guess my pas had just never trained me to look to the sky for such threats. And so, when I heard the screech, I looked ’round myself in all horizontal directions, failing to look up. In my confusion at seeing nothing, I was an easy target to grasp and up we went.

I dropped the strange trinket I had found (that’s a shame, too; whatever it was, it sure was intricate) and managed to put away my Socket-3 Springwrench. I tried to twist my neck around to see what was carrying me, but everything above me was a mess of wind and feathers in my face. And so I hung there from my breeches and suspender straps. Not willing to let a brilliant opportunity like this go to waste, I took in the beautiful view below.

We dashed around pillars and swooped over dunes. I concentrated hard to keep my bearings. At our speed and with the constant alterations in course, my wrist compass was very little help. I was fairly confident our trip took us northwest for the most part. And when we landed high atop a rocky pillar the salty smell told me we were close to the ocean, which meant my guess at our direction had been at least partially correct.

“Thank you!” I quickly managed, “I’m quite sure I would not have been able to get up here on my own.” I turned and took a bow. “Frego,” I exclaimed, “pleased to meet you.” When the intentions of another party are unknown it’s best to act friendly and thankful; this has gotten me out of numerous scrapes. My abductor hissed and fully faced me. I tried not to cringe but I may have anyway, an ugly beast of a harpy she was. I don’t mean to say that all harpies are ugly, but this one was quite trollish in the face.

“Thank you!” she squawked, perhaps mocking me. “Monies, treasure!” she said loudly with an aggressive flap of her wings.

“Oh, of course!” I said, “I didn’t figure this was a free ride.” I dug in my pockets and produced a couple of silver pieces. I extended them to her.

“Monies, treasure!” she screeched again, knocking the coins from my hand and dusting them into a corer of the shallow nest we were in. The coins landed in a pile of other trinkets.

Immediately following the jangling of the coins that had been tossed aside, there came a loud screech from above. Another harpy – this one coincidentally also ugly – landed near us, eyeing the pile of trinkets just as I had been. Her eyes shined at the fresh coins and then turned to face me. “Monies, treasure!” she, too, squawked.

The first harpy crowded in toward me as well. “Monies, treasure!” she chimed in – though I must correct myself, ‘chime’ is not the proper word. This was more the sound a gear might make when it’s been stripped of its teeth: ‘she strip-geared in,’ perhaps. I kept my wits, despite the distance between myself and them at a constant wane. I dug into my pocket again and found a few more silver pieces. Never be stingy when your life is in danger, I say.

I held those coins out again. Just as before they were immediately knocked to the ground. The second of the two harpies managed to scoop one up before the first could fling them all into her corner. When the second harpy flew away, another stepped up to take her place. I was then that I noticed I had attracted a lot of attention. It was almost flattering.

This process continued. I would produce coin, they would knock it from my hands, screech “Monies, treasure!” and fly off. Then the remaining harpies would wait for my to come up with more coin. Quickly enough I ran out of coin and had to start giving them other things I had on me: random pieces of metal, a few of my tools, basically anything I had on me that looked valuable. Pretty soon, I was empty. I had nothing to offer the.

I could have never predicted what came next. The harpies gathered in around me, closer and closer, all the while screeching for monies and treasure. Pretty soon I was backed into a corner with nothing more to give them! Realizing I had little left to offer them, they began going through all they had stripped me of. I have no doubt I was red from head to toe.

As my abductor tucked all of my ‘treasure’ into her corner, the other harpies did their best to steal it away. Finally, my abductor had apparently had too much. She picked up one of her own eggs and tossed it right at another harpy’s face. In all my days I have never seen anything so unintentionally comical. The whiff of the egg preceded a screech and an explosion of feathers, after which only I and my abductor remained. She calmly slid the rest of my treasure into her corner.

Over the next few days I had the fortunate luck of being left alone in my abductor’s roost as she flew off, collecting more treasure. Though things most certainly were interesting, my stomach made it all too clear to me that if I did not escape soon I would eventually die of hunger. I put my brain to work. I had three distinct advantages: one, lots of feathers; two, assorted ‘treasure’ brought home by my lovely house-mate; and three, an absolutely colossal amount of feathers.

I managed to keep my work secret by hiding my tools within the rocky cracks of the nest. Luckily I built my creation with the Telescoping-Inward Fold method of construction. This meant, simply, that until fully complete, I was able to fold and deconstruct my creation and easily hide it away. And the feathers. The feathers came from all around, sticking to my skin and getting stuck in my hair. I would cough them up at times – much to the entertainment of my abductor.

Finally, one day as my abductor was out finding more trinkets, I unfurled my creation in all its glory. The belt and shoulder harness were made from strips of leather, padded with my house-mate’s down. From bits of piping, wire and springs, I constructed wings. Can’t forget the feathers. For as long as I live I will never forget the feathers. I perched on the edge of the nest and gave a few test flaps. The wind nearly lifted me away. I nodded, happy with my work.

As happy as I was, the screech clued me in to the distaste the harpies had for this. There in the sky was my abductor, rapidly approaching. Though I never got to test this device in a safe environment, and though I care very deeply for my life (it is one of the most precious things I own), and though I knew my abductor had far more practice in the skies then I, I figured it was now or never. I fully extended my wings and dove from the edge.

My inexperience in such manner of travel quickly sent me down the pillar’s edge. The sun reflecting off the water told me that in my haste to escape, I had jumped from the west side – the exact side I hadn’t wished to jump from. Not letting little things like that get in my way, I stretched the wings out. My head snapped downward fast, dazing me for a bit. I was, however, sailing un-smoothly, out towards the ocean.

I gave myself a mental par on the back, trying to recall what I knew of ocean currents to get me safely away (and, by safely, I meant not neat the harpies). In all that excitement I had forgotten what I was running from; thus, it was the perfect time for a reminder. With a swipe of her talon, my abductor tore at my wings. “Holding steady” had previously been a monumental task; now became an impossible one. Another swipe left me at the whim of the winds.

Perhaps she got what she wanted, I fell – wings and all – into a haphazard spiral. This was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire life. Before long the wind resistance ripped the wings from my back and I spun in all directions. Sky tumbled over ocean in a rapidly shifting blue sphere about me. I giggled uncontrollably this entire time. When I finally took a breath, it was just in time. Moments later, I hit the ocean.

I’m not sure when I blacked out – whether it was before the impact or after – but fate was kind to me that day. I awoke upon the shores of the Pillars of Flame, salt in my eyes and sand in my breeches. I had but one useful item with me: my wrist compass. And somehow, with only a compass, I needed to figure out where I was, get some food, and get to safety. But that is a tale best told later.

Motor Commotion all for Emotion

There once was a man. An old tinkering gnome who had no child, nor wife of his own.
Mathematics and functions they did fill his mind. Experiments and gizmos took all of his time.

Lonely he was, so he thought to himself, “I will make me a man, a gnome or an elf! He will be out of metal, sprockets and gears. He will be my companion and helper for years.”

He did as he said, and made the dear lad. A round little figure that jostled a tad.

He was good to his creator, and did all he asked. “Grease this; Carry that,” the clockwork was tasked.

No grudge did he carry, for he had no emotions. This was a man of springs, cogs, and some potions.

But one day he spotted with his little receptor, a mad little gnome make the rudest of gesture.

“What drives such a man to shout and to flail?” he asked his master upon recounting the tale.

“Anger is a feeling, like joy, sorrow or passion. They are good in degrees, but bad in substation. They can make a sane man crazy with time, but make life worth living with every clock chime.”

“I lack these emotions. I am not complete,” the metal lad thought, as if on repeat.

To the merchant he went rather lickety-split. “I’m to purchase emotions, Mister Crandle Z. Flint.”

The merchant just laughed, and set the boy right. “You can’t buy emotions. Now have a good night.”

“But what could I do if I wanted a set?” “You could pray to the gods, and see what you get.”

He did as directed. He asked all he could for the full set of feelings – the bad and the good.

He prayed upon Brell. He prayed upon ‘Bane. Tunare, even Marr, they answered the same.

Metal he stayed. All wheel and spindle. A bucket of bolts. No emotion to kindle.

“Gods of the men made of flesh and the bone, cannot comprehend needs of metal and chrome,” the clockwork decided while deep in his thought. “There must be another. Another not taught.”

Men may have called it a crisis of faith, had he a sould to be sucked by a wraith.

He was just looking for parts that he lacked. He wanted to be full, complete and exact.

This would go on as he did all his work. There was not a time that a chore he did shirk.

Then came the dark day coming back from a trek, his master’s nice house was aflame and a wreck.

Around the debris stood gnomes stricken with fears. Some moaning, some shrieking, all covered in tears.

He gave it no thought. He gave it no pause. He ran in determined. He ran in with cause!

There was his dear maker slumped under a chair. With a lift and a hoist, he took every care to deliver his master away from the flame while men of emotion felt sorry and shame.

They had been too afraid to act as he had, to run into danger that was sure to be bad.

That’s when it struck him, a bolt to the head. Maybe these feelings aren’t as good as all said.

“Listen inside you,” goes an old gnomish saying, “When questions and figures are heavy and weighing, with cosigns and fractions your head it does spin. You’ll find that the answers, they come from within.”

“I need no emotion. My mind I can settle. I am, what I am. A man out of metal. Within me are gears. They roll and they turn. They drive me they do, as they twist and they churn. Feelings for men, and metal for me. I am then complete, and as whole as can be!”

He finally felt peace with this grand little notion, perhaps even happy, if he had such emotion!

Maj’Dul Inhabitants Catalog

By Jergo Wheybringer
The city of Maj’Dul brings frontier justice to the impressionable “barrashar” arriving from beyond its walls.

Barrashar means outsider and the term is applied to anyone who is not a native Dervin of the surrounding region, no matter how long that individual has claimed Maj’Dul as home.

Though a dangerous city, Maj’Dul has intrinsic beauty that cannot be denied.

High above the desert floor, Maj’Dul rises from atop a high plateau in a series of terraces. The lower terraces are mainly inhabited by the less fortunate of the city’s residents.

The highest point of the city is the Sultan’s Palace, an imposing structure that houses the city’s arena. The arena is an unusual feature that Maj’Dulians use to regulate changes in their laws.

Most of Maj’Dul’s residents are Dervins, descended from the Dervish Empire which once terrorized the deserts of Ro and environs.

City life has not reduced these citizens’ desire for mayhem and bloodshed. Using the arena allows the residents (and barrashar) to blow off some steam without attracting attention from the Sha’ir.

The Sha’ir use flying carpets to keep a watchful eye o the streets below.

The streets of Maj’Dul could do with quite a bit of watching. Roving thugs and street rats scurry through the many passages and narrow stairs that link the various terraces.

Additionally, one may find that some of the city’s three main Courts has taken offense to one’s actions, meaning that guards of various factions will attempt to even the score.

Banners hanging from the towers around the city announce which Court has the upper hand, but power fluctuates rapidly between them.

The climate of Maj’Dul is dry and hot with variable winds especially on the higher terraces.

The evenings are slightly cooler, though the heat of the day is retained by its many whitewashed buildings and cobbled streets.

Patches of greenery exist near a few structures, watered through a variety of cisterns and pipes that would do a gnome proud. In these areas, one may also find camels, elephants and the ubiquitous monkeys.

Leatherfoot Tales: The Last of the Teir’Dal, Part Two

The Houndslayer and his comrades make their way through Nektulos Forest, encountering something unexpected.
The Kithicor rangers, the Leatherfoot elite and Gumpy Nattoo paused on the edge of Nekutolos Forest. They had all heard the fireside tales of ash-filled trees dropping clouds of life-choking pumice on unsuspecting travellers. After conferring about their route, the ranger who had befriended Gumpy nodded toward him: “I say let the Houndslayer lead the way, for he is crafty and shall surely lead us unscathed through these perilous woods.”

Everyone was quick to agree with the ranger, and they pushed Gumpy to the fore of the group. Gumpy had given up trying to explain himself to the admiring rangers, ever since that incident with the dread wolf. After being considered a bumpkin for most of his days, the adulation was rather pleasant. In fact, maybe the rangers were the only folk who saw his true worth! Gumpy’s heart swelled with pride as he led the way.

Three days later, Gumpy heard one of the gnomes (they were being carried in rucksacks on the Kithicor rangers’ backs) say, “I had no idea Nektulos Forest was this huge! I always thought it pretty small.” Another gnome in another rucksack further away agreed. Gumpy heartily wished an ash-laden branch would break over the little chatterboxes’ heads. They came to the edge of a clearing and stumbled into another group of Leatherfoot halflings.

The Sarge took over all the talking, never explaining why they were in Nektulos Forest, but apparently asking the way to Neriak. The Kithicor rangers frowned at the Sarge and one of them whispered to Gumpy, “Has he no shame, to stop and ask for directions thusly? Your way is much better, for it confounds those who would follow us. I name you ‘Pathfinder,’ friend.”

It seemed rather odd to Gumpy that the Kithicor rangers kept “naming” him, yet none of them ever gave out their own names. He’d asked a couple of them, but they merely laughed and said that the Kithicor rangers left their names behind with their families. An odd group, but Gumpy was getting used to their peculiar ways. Whatever strange habits they had, there was one thing for certain: they were generous in sharing their rations.

One of the Leatherfoot scouts they’d found camping in Nektulos Forest accompanied them the rest of the way through. “There’s that river again,” Gumpy heard one of the gnomes comment from the protective covering of its rucksack. At that moment, in accordance with Gumpy’s earlier wishes, the branches of the tree above it cracked and poured thick ash and pumice on its head. Unfortunately, the ranger carrying the gnome did not survive either.

“We’re down to three gnomes,” the Sarge grumbled. His rucksack bulged with the array of sprockets, gears and flizgigs taken from the deceased gnomes along the way. “One of these little fellows has got to make it to the First Gate or we won’t know how to put their mechanamagical thing to work.” The Kithicor rangers concurred and decided to gag the gnomes to keep them silent for the remainder of the journey. Gumpy was not alone in his glee.

Dawn the next day found the Leatherfoot elite and the Kithicor rangers within spitting distance of the Foreign Quarter. They could see (and smell) the trolls that inhabited the sector. A dark elf patrol wandered close by and Gumpy was very glad he had the ivy-covered gladius given to him by the rangers at hand. These dark elves looked particularly fierce.

A rustling from the nearby brush caught the attention of both dark elves who turned quickly on their heels in one coordinated, fluid motion. Gumpy could swear he saw their pointed ears prick up like a cat stalking a mouse. One of the gnomes, inexplicably out of its rucksack, stumbled out of the woods pulling the gag from its mouth. Barely had it said, “Whew!” when the dark elves surrounded it and sliced it to ribbons.

Now they were down to two gnomes. No one else among them knew how to put together the mechanamagical device meant to ensure no dark elves reinforced the forces attacking Felwithe. Things were looking mighty grim. At that unfortunate moment, Gumpy’s stomach gave a loud and irritated grumble. The dark elves stopped stabbing the fallen gnome and pricked up their ears again. Gumpy pushed on his gut with his free hand and thought, “Whoops.”

Leatherfoot Tales: The Last of the Teir’Dal, Part Three

The Houndslayer, also called the Pathfinder, and his comrades take the First Gate and bring this tale to its conclusion.
The Teir’Dal guards peered this way and that into the wooded area in which Gumpy Nattoo, the Kithicor rangers and the Leatherfoot elite were hiding. Gumpy’s tummy rumbling had excited their cat-like curiosity and left Gumpy cursing himself for not eating more at dinner the night before. When the dark elf guards came closer to the treeline, two of the rangers nipped out and grabbed them, bringing that danger to its close.

The units were gathered together and waited only for the Sarge’s signal before swarming the First Gate. They had measured the defense of the area, located breaches in the security and planned accordingly. Gumpy dug in his pockets for some venison jerky, a hunk of bread or cheese to keep his stomach from growling again but found himself without a single snack. “Curses!” he muttered. At that moment, the Sarge gave the signal.

Pausing only to rifle the dead gnome’s coat for any of the mechanamagical thing’s parts, Gumpy found himself at the rear of the formation. He brandished his ivy-etched gladius menacingly and joined the fray. While their force was not particularly large, they had surprise on their side (thanks to the gagging of the remaining two gnomes) and were making mincemeat of the scant forces guarding the First Gate.

Gumpy located the Sarge and gave him the gizmo he’d found on the fallen gnome. “Thanks, Gumpy,” the Sarge said, adding, “I haven’t said nothing to you before now, but you’re a good trooper. Glad the rangers took to you so well; we couldn’t have done this without ’em.” Gumpy blushed. His tummy rumbled.

The Kithicor rangers and Leatherfoot elite troops pushed further into the Foreign Quarter, easily overcoming the resistance. “Tis like slicing butter with a warm knife!” cried one of the rangers. “Why’d he have to say butter?” thought Gumpy miserably, wishing he could find something to eat. His stomach continued its dull roar and it was getting louder with every passing moment.

He fought alongside the Sarge, who was trying to make his way forward to the remaining gnomes. The mechanamagical thing had to be put together and only they knew how. Sniffing the air, the Sarge growled, “Gumpy! I told you to get rid of that nasty wolf tail; it’s really starting to reek!” Gumpy glanced at his belt where the rangers had hung the dread wolf’s tail as a trophy piece. It was gone.

“Sarge, I…” but Gumpy got no further as a louder rumbling shook the ground beneath their feet. The Sarge tottered for a moment then regained his balance. “Oh, for Bristlebane’s sake,” the Sarge grumbled, digging into his pocket and handing Gumpy a chunk of cheese. “Eat something; your stomach’s gonna shake the world down around our heads.” And then the Sarge spotted one of the gnomes and darted off, leaving Gumpy behind.

Gumpy knew that it wasn’t his stomach making the ground shake. It wasn’t the wolf’s tail making the air stink, either. Whatever was going on, it was something else, something bad. Grasping his gladius, Gumpy headed after the Sarge. “Sarge! Sarge!” Gumpy called, but because his mouth was full of cheese it sounded more like, “Garg! Garg!” The Sarge did not turn around.

A tide of Kithicor rangers swarmed between Gumpy and the Sarge. Gumpy, peering through legs and around bellies, could see the Sarge had one of the gnomes by its ears and they were busily putting together the mechanamagical thing. The ground trembled, then roared. The rangers turned toward the Foreign Quarter’s exit and Gumpy was swept along. “Sarge!” he hollered again, but knew that no one could hear him over the sound of the earth breaking.

Dust settled and Gumpy and the rangers looked toward what had been their battlefield. The mechanamagical thing had done its work and the exit from Neriak’s Foreign Quarter was sealed, together with the soldiers that had been unable to make their escape. “That’s the last of the Teir’Dal,” said one of the rangers. Gumpy said solemnly, “Not the last of the Sarge, though. He’s a tough one.”