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Thread: Foxheart leaves home! (thank the gods!)

  1. #1
    Protomas Ludwig Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Foxheart leaves home! (thank the gods!)

    The rough looking dwarf sat in his favorite (only) chair in his small cabin, and gazed at the small figure of a well dress and very clean gnomish man. He puffed at his pipe as he thought.

    “I don't know what you expect me to do Mr. Daergal. Its not as if she listens better to me than you, and what would you have me tell her? That you want her to move out because she's driving you crazy?”

    “Oh you don't know how it is, Mr Hammerhand! Just last week, she 'accidentally' set off a stink bomb that totally ruined a ball her mother had worked on for WEEKS, can you picture, dozens of well-dressed gnomes streaming from my house, coughing and holding their noses? I tell you sir, we love our daughter, but we are at our wits end! I know shes still a child at 45, but we have to do SOMETHING, and she at least LIKES you.”

    Gravelgrit pondered for a bit, and after blowing a pair of perfect smoke rings, said “Well, I am fond of the little thing, have been since the day I pulled her out of the river with my own jaws, but I am no gnomish trades man, can't you find a place for her among your own kind?”

    “The girl has pranked every teacher we could find! Her Alchemy tutor just quit! We are absolutely at our wits end!”

    It was true that Gravelgrit had saved the girl nearly 20 years before, when Foxheart had been sent to pick berries near the river. She'd eaten more berries than she'd picked, and was trying to get a particularly juicy berry on a vine that had grown out over the water on a fallen tree. Just as she finally managed to pick the tempting berry, the old and rotten downed tree crumbled under even her slight weight, and she plunged into the cold swift waters. It was obvious immediately that the little gnome girl didn't know how to swim as she flayed and barely managed to keep her head above water. She was only feet from a whitewater cataract above a 50 foot waterfall, when a HUGE form appeared above her tiny, exhausted form.

    The bear seemed as huge as a mountain, and water dripped from it yellow fangs as it seemed to lunge at her. Foxheart had just enough energy to scream one last time in terror as the jaws closed...and gently plucked her from the raging waters.

    The bear carefully made its way to shore, with the small wet bundle hanging from its great jaws, more tenderly than a mother cat with her kitten. Even so, the girl had inhaled a lot of water, and was gray and apparently lifeless, when the bear transformed into a dwarven man in buckskins. The man pushed at the small form, making it spit up much of the water it had swallowed, and then he spoke in the growling syllables of the Sylvan tongue druids use to cast their spells. Suddenly the tiny girl coughed, and opened her eyes, and looked up at the wild looking dwarven man. She screamed, and instinctively punched him right in the nose!

    Gravelgrit chuckled as he remembered that punch. It had as much power behind it as a kitten, but had surprised him so much he fell over backwards on his rump, there to burst out laughing. Laughing was something he rarely did. In that moment he fell in love with the little imp.

    “I don't see what it is you think I can do” he repeated “I'm a druid, a hermit, and a trapper, hardly proper company for a refined gnomish lass, and what do you imagine I would do with her if she did come here.”

    “Well, mainly, she'd be out of OUR house” muttered Mr. Daergal under his breath.

    “What was that sir? I didn't quite hear that bit” inquired Gravelgrit

    “I said, maybe you could...I don't know...teach her to be a Druid!” Mr. Daergal brightened as he thought of that, powerful, respected, and living in the woods far away from home!

    Gravelgrit looked startled “Well now, Mr. Daergal, being a druid isn't so much a trade as a wouldn't be proper for me to try to force her into that mold if she didn't feel the call of the Wild. And I am a worshiper of Ehlonna, again, not exactly one of the gods a good gnomish family would worship.

    Mr. Daergal looked dejected at this refusal, polite as it had been. He thought for a minute, then said “It seems to me that you saved her life when she was little. And you are the representative of Ehlonna, so in a way, Foxheart owes Ehlonna a life! Yes yes...thats saved her, and now you must teach her so she can pay her debt to your goddess! We can't have a goddess being slighted, deuced bad luck that would be! Please Mr. Hammerhand, please help my daughter repay her debt! Its the only honorable course!”

    And so the great dwarven druid Gravelgrit Hammerhand became the mentor of Foxheart of clan Daergal.

    Mr Daergal felt so bad about pushing his daughter out of her home, that he went to the family vault and picked out an heirloom shield made from tortoise shell, it wasn't magical or anything but was very well built and would be good protection. But how to get Whimsywittle to like it? (this is Foxheart's true name given by her father, though she has many others, as is typical of the gnomes)

    He snapped his fingers and went off whistling, carrying the shield, to take it to an gnomish artisen he knew. It would be perfect!

    Foxheart stood beside the pile of random stuff her mother insisted on sending with her. Her mother stood beside her sniffling and whimpering. Her father stood nearby, a little teary-eyed himself. He held out his going away present to his daughter, it was a large (for a gnome) shield, but not just any shield, it was made from the upper shell of a tortoise and have a huge strawberry painted on it!

    Foxheart, looking a bit sorry for herself, saw the shield and perked up, “Why, Dad, thats GREAT! I love it! 'on a field of green, a strawberry rampant, with leaves of green and black seeds' ” This being the heraldic way of saying a shield with a strawberry on it.

    And she left, a trail of stevedores behind her carrying the gear that would never make it to the wild wood home of Gravelgrit the Druid, but carrying the shield that protected her from then on.

    Foxheart pulled on the hide, and used the obsidian knife in her other hand to nick the layer of fatty tissue that connected the hide to the body of the deer. She carefully and skillfully proceeded to skin the buck that her Master, Gravelgrit had killed that morning. She hated this part, hated gutting the carcass, hated salvaging the intestines for making strings, and then laboriously pulling off the skin before stretching it for drying.

    For the most part, Foxheart loved her new life in the woods with Master Gravelgrit, she loved the woods, she loved gathering berries and other foods that Ehlonna provided for her woodland dwellers. But she HATED butchery, and the SMELL!! Her gnomish nose, well suited to the subtle uses of an alchemist, or say, a cook, was mghtily offended by the smell of deer offal! Much as she loved working with leather once it was cured, she hated the process leading up to that task.

    Master Gravelgrit came around the hut carrying something hidden in his big hands “Leave off with that for a bit, little Fox, I have something for you”

    Curious as always, and as always willing to put off any labor that could be done later (or not at all) she replied “Yes, Master Gravelgrit” She smile, she loved that name was just fun to say...

    Gravelgrit sat near the stump he used for splitting logs for the winter firewood, and Foxheart sat near him, somewhat patiently, waiting for whatever lesson the Master had for her. The huge (to her gnomish eyes) old dwarf held is hands out to her, cradling a very small creature.

    “Oh! Its a puppy!” cried the young gnome lass, still young enough that any baby was captivating, she looked up at Gravelgrit, “Is it for me!?”

    “Aye, lass, this is to be your companion. No one lives without others,” said Gravelgrit, going into his Master mode, “not even a hermit like I. And to remind you that you exist in relationship to the forest around you, every druid must have a companion. He will serve you, and you will serve him, he will be your brawn, and you will be his brains”

    “Oh thank you Master! Does he have a name?” she gazed up her Master curiously

    “Well, as to that, I think you should ask him yourself!” said the smiling dwarf.

    And after a whispered conference, the little gnome said “He says his name is 'Snickersnack Wrinklesnout Farthington the Fourth' “

    “The Fourth is it, then?” said Gravelgrit, “hmmm...perhaps we can call him Snicker for shortseezes as it where”
    And the little gnomish lass just nodded, cuddling her tiny puppy, and grinning.

    “After all, it'll take him a couple of years to grow into that name!”

    And 431 pounds later, he did.

    Foxheart was lying on the ground literally rolling around laughing, when Gravelgrit found her. He frowned down at her, and then glanced at the 3 woodcutters fleeing back towards their village.

    “That were not well done lass, those men are good ones, they know not to clear cut the trees, they take enough to make a living, and I've shown them how to replant trees as well...and you just cost those men a day or more's work, it might be a week before they manage to get up nerve to come back, after yer little 'ghost trick' A prank is one thing, scaring them humans half to death is another thing entire, and not a good one.”

    By the time Gravelgrit finished his speech, Foxheart was kneeling at his feet, trying to look contrite while hiding the incipient grin that threatened to ruin the effect. “Yes Master, I'm sorry Master”

    Gravelgrit wasn't fooled, the girl was as sorry as a cat with feathers sticking out of its mouth. “Lass, this is important, it is not just because I think you shouldn't do such things, but that Ehlonna teaches that nature is a balance. If you don't learn this Ehlonna will turn her face away from you, and you will have a sorry end!

    Foxheart sulked, “I said I was sorry Master, what more can I do?”

    “Are yeh sassin yer Master now girl?” he said angrily?

    “no Master” she said, scared into a little bit more sincere sorrow.

    “Good, then get up, we have some traveling to do”

    And so after an hour or so, they arrived at the nameless village of the human woodcutters. Gravelgrit marched her up to the town square, his big hand firmy grasping the back of her leather tunic, past the gaping villagers and a few children, and stopped at the porch of the village elder.

    “Greetings to you, apprentice was some business with the three woodcutters that was scared back out of the woods just a bit ago.”

    The old man sized up the dwarf, he'd met the druid a time or two, but only on business, and he did not know him well, but he respected the dwarf. If he wanted to talk to someone, well, so he would. He turned to one of the stray children nearby. “You there, young Rufus, go and fetch yer da and his mates, Ralph and Darrell, tell em that I need a word with them”

    The child sped off on his errand, though a bit reluctant to leave the spectacle of a dwarf and a gnome talking to a village elder. But he knew better than to shirk his task, and he ran home as fast as his legs would carry him.

    A few minutes later, the three men approached, still gray skinned and shacken, and it was obvious that all three had been drinking, probably to calm their nerves.

    The oldest, a man named Remus said, “Here we are elder Joe, what was it ye wanted?”

    “This good dwarf here and his apprentice apparently need to speak to you.” and all turned to look at Gravelgrit.

    “Aye, I have a word or two for you. Seems a ghost appeared to ye men, and chased you away from for work. But it were no ghost, it were my apprentice, with no more sense than a pill bug, who, misusing her magic, made you think you saw a ghost!”

    Gravelgrit shook his young apprentice by the scruff of her neck, “I think you have something to say, do you not?”

    “I..I'm sorry I tricked you, it was wrong of me, and I promise not to do it again”

    “And...?” prompted Gravelgrit.

    And I will help you with your work for 3 days and also bring you a mid-day meal as well”

    The three men had gone from gray with fright to red with anger and on to grins at the idea of someone doing fetch and carry jobs for peasants, AND free food thrown in as well.

    Later, back at his cabin, with Foxheart hugging the dog who was already larger than she was, Gravelgrit told her “I now lay a charge on you, and this charge is as if Ehlonna herself was speaking to you. There is no helping the trickster in you, gnomes are naturally tricky folk and you more than most, but you MUST learn balance. You must balance your tricks with service to order, even nature has order, for pure chaos is lifeless. I charge you now, if any official, or person of the law, or leader of law abiding folk ask it of you, you are to help as best you can. The only limit being that you may not be required to do evil and you can demand reasonable payment if the task take more than one day. This is not a gease, no magic compels you. Rather it is a task from your Goddess, you must learn to temper chaos with order, and it must be by your own will...but if you do not, you risk the power the Lady grants you. Do you understand?”

    And a much subdued Foxheart said “Yes Master I shall do as the Lady commands”

    It was months later, and the dead of winter, Gravelgrit stood beside the fully grown riding dog, Snicker, with Foxheart in the saddle on his back. Their breaths fogged the air before them, the clouds overhead held a hint of a storm coming, which seemed only fitting.

    “This is your rite of passage, if you survive you will be a full-fledged druid. The only rules are that you must stay within the bounds of the wood lands and may not inter the dwellings of any race. You have 2 days worth of food, and the gear you need, nature does not demand that you face its trials without aid, but even with gear, the snow is on the ground, food will be hard to find, and there are other predators besides yourself. Use your wits, your magic, and the might of your arms, such as you have. Good luck, my little Foxheart, I will pray to Ehlonna that you will survive. Go now, with my blessings, and the blessings of the Lady.

    It was hard, it was cold, it was often disgusting, but Foxheart survived, and by surviving, proved that she was a worthy Druid.

    Foxheart walked slowly through the woods with her gigantic companion, the fully grown Riding Dog, Snicker. She poked along, her keen eye out for the herbs and other things needed to make perfume for Rodney Pennywhistle, her employer, more or less, in the human city about 4 days ride to the northwest she'd named “Smell-Stinkpot-with-stores-that-sell-candy” (that wasn't what they called it of course, they called it South Haven, but she didn't care).

    They'd brought down a wild pig two days ago, and so she had a skin drying on a rack near the hidden cottage she lived in, and the carcass was nearby for Snicker to snack on, though far enough from the cottage that other predators would wander into her home looking for food. Most of the local wildlife knew to leave her cottage alone, between a druid and a VERY big dog, it was just a bad idea.

    She noticed a bee on a nearby flower, and carefully followed it hither and yon until it finally returned to its hive in a hollow stump. She made note of its location for another day, when she had her bee gear on, today she just looked. She loved honey, but not getting stung, so it was best to come back later.

    Snicker ran off a ways, nose to the ground, snuffling happily on the trail of some rabbit or other small creature. He wasn't hungry so he just followed the trail for fun.

    Finally, she decided to head back to the cottage, her sack full of flowers and herbs, and other things that smelled good. She'd make reductions of them tomorrow, for her next trip to Smell-Stinkpot-with-stores-that-sell-candy.

    She climbed onto Snicker's back without the saddle on, just clinging with legs and hands, holding the bag between her body and dog's back. They romped back, not trying to hurry, but just to let Snicker run a bit, he so liked to run. They had just gotten to the edge of the small clearing near her hidden cottage when...

    To be continued.
    Last edited by Protomas Ludwig; 09-09-2011 at 03:59 AM.

  2. #2
    Protomas Ludwig Guest Spider. Just visiting.

    Default Herself and her contacts

    Full Name: Whimsywittle of Clan Daergal, Foxheart(nickname)
    Appearance Notes: light tan skin, unusually sharp features for a gnome and a bit on the skinny side. She has long blonde hair that tumbles down to her midback, and two braids framing her face with bird feathers and bits of quarts tied into the braids. She likes Strawberries and has pictures of them painted on several of her personal items

    Personality: Foxheart likes to drink and is a bit lazy, but is curious and playful, including the gnomish penchant for tricksterish actions. Because she often does random things, the druids require that she help any government official who asks. She can lie, but NOT if she is swearing by Ehlonna, and she is law abiding, though this gets bent a bit sometimes. She LOVES strawberries and other sweets and can often be bribed with gifts of favored foods. Its a good idea not to give her a pot or pan, unless you LIKE having her jump out a bush when you are headed for the jakes, and bang on it to try and scare you. She thinks this is hilarious!

    Gravelgrit Hammerhand is that most unusual of beings, a dwarven druid who worships Ehlonna, goddess of the woodlands. His shock of wild brown hair is often unkempt, but his long beard is well tended and braided into two thick stocks that he can tuck into his belt if need be. He dresses in well-cured buckskin dyed a dark brown. Ha often wears a raccoon cap (with the head still on of course). His boots are bear skin, very sturdy, and still have the fur.

    While he is not an outcast, he is a hermit, at least until he took Foxheart to apprentice. He prefers the wild, but cannot deny the occasional urge to go drinking. To drink, one must have Ale, and to have Ale, one must have money, so in addition to the animals he takes to support his own life, he also carefully culls the local wildlife for furs and leather to trade to the humans in the town 4 days hike to the north. While not a friendly dwarf, he has grown fond of Foxheart, her tricks and pranks and silliness bring ease to an otherwise grim nature. It was he that introduced Foxheart to drinking.
    Rodney Pennywhistle is a tall male human, foppishly dressed, and fond of broad sweeping gestures of his hands as he talks. He is a perfumer by trade, which is fortunate, considering his huge (for a human) nose. He is also somewhat nearsighted and wears a pair of prized gnomish spectacles. He has a small but prestigious shop South Haven.

    He met Foxheart at a leatherman's shop, he was there to get a thick leather apron for working with caustic ingredients, she was selling skins she had gathered to make some coin for sweets. Rodney noticed that the hides she brought in didn't have the slightly rancid smell of badly cured hides, instead they were not only beautifully cured, but smelled of mint and other sweet smelling herbs. He struck up a conversation, and soon agreed to teach her the secrets of the Perfumer's Profession, in return for which she would gather ingredients for his perfumes. He tolerrates, rather than enjoys, her pranks, counting it as the price he has to pay to get the rare herbs she brings him.
    Last edited by Protomas Ludwig; 09-09-2011 at 03:55 AM.

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