Character Sketch


The truth is I quite simply got sick of gadgets! Devices for coring apples. Clever doohickeys for disposing of nail parings. Widgets for determining the exact moment when the sun will rise or set over the horizon on a given day. Whatchamacallits for stirring soup alternately in a clockwise and counterclockwise direction. Thingamabobs for seeing in two directions at once or around multiple corners simultaneously or under doors or down your throat! Flapdoodles for making your zinger longer, harder and more satisfying for a demanding mate. All that buzzing and clicking and whirring and squeaking and the hiss of steam escaping every time you turn around or open a door is enough to set your teeth permanently on edge. At least it was for me.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I like a good labor saving device as much as the next gnome. Water wheels for irrigating and grinding and operating the intruder snares, not to mention the automatic pixie repellant system I designed for my apprenticeship project. These are useful and desirable aids to a civilized existence, but this obsession, this blind devotion, this mad, consuming attachment to the construction of GADGETS is intolerable. My entire race has become unbalanced, and when I could bear it no longer, I left.

This, of course, was unheard of—inconceivable even. No gnome had left the Great Hill and its underworkings for over twenty three hundred years, the last being Frozdimmelgatchabbentrobbitz, well known for having been hired by the dwarves of the Gloomrim to design and oversee construction of their beloved Fire Chariots. (Oh, I know what you are thinking, but forget it. It was a gnomish genius who was responsible for that particular bit of dwarven high workmanship. Oh, true enough, our dwarven cousins are great hands at devising stone mechanisms for opening and closing great wonking doors and traps and even rising and falling platforms. And they have a knack for working metal. And if they had the same knack for making metal work, they might have pulled it off by themselves. But when Frozdimmelgatchabentrobbitz arrived at the Monarch of the Mines he found them puttering over a great useless heap of beautifully fashioned iron bits and pieces sitting next to a gigantic, functioning, granite prototype which moved at the astounding speed of 18 paces an hour. The rest is gnomish history which we customarily keep to ourselves because dwarves, despite their blustery exteriors, are remarkably sensitive creatures who are easily wounded by the truth.)

In any event, I made the extraordinary decision to leave the Great Hill and seek out a way of living which has less to do with gears and levers and more to do with the stirrings of my primordial essence, a facet of my being which I began to discover one day when I was elbows deep in the slimy innards of a freshly slain mountain troll we had recently caught in a perimeter scythe snare. Poor bastard was cut almost completely in half, and seeing him lying there in segments which I knew would presently begin to reassemble themselves through a power which no gnome had ever investigated, I found myself drawn to this visceral force of nature. I plunged my hands in the malodorous halves of him (or her, one is never quite sure with a mountain troll) and filled my grasping fingers with the slippery, gushing stuff of the creature. Within moments I began to feel the generating effluvium of the unseen universe flowing over and around and through the severed conduits and ruptured hinges and levers of this once and soon to be again living creature. That moment, my friend, those sacred seconds of insight in which not only my hands and arms but my yearning spirit was inundated with the hot, fluid essence of being, that glorious baptism in the very oil and liquid fire, if you will, of LIFE sent me headlong into a world which no gnome before me had ever penetrated.

As the wretched being began to knit and join, a process which was accompanied by a pitiful moaning and whimpering which would never pass a gnomes lips under any duress, I pulled my arms and hands from the stinking, seething vortex of his rapidly regenerating guts and found that they had been restored to a pristine and flawless condition, unmarked by the scars and minor cuts and abrasions which only minutes before had born painful witness to a recent encounter with a malfunctioning grooming mechanism. Wasting never a moment, I quickly consigned the half knit creature to a nearby bonfire and repaired to my well appointed workshop in a state of ecstatic fervor. There I spent a sleepless night contemplating the world through a new set of spectacles, as it were.

The next morning I announced my intention to leave the Great Hill and seek true enlightenment in the wider world and perhaps beyond. There burned within me a newly acquired thirst for an understanding of the corporeal and spiritual fluids of being, a matter of which I knew so little that it was impossible even to articulate to my fellows the true nature of my quest. Nonetheless, I could bear no delay and within hours I was on my way, searching for understanding and a source of power next to which the wonders of steam and hot air and flowing water would shrink into insignificance. Of how I found the beginnings of the true knowledge of that power, the details of my subsequent initiation into the authentic nature of reality, I can say but little. This knowledge is not given to everyone nor is it given in its entirely to anyone lest the lake of true life and essence be polluted or put to perverse use. My own journey continues, I know not where but always toward deeper understanding and ultimate glory.

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