File GSB-061: Inspiration


Lenna pushed a mug of hot chocolate over to Trixie. A few biscuits were on a saucer next to it. Trixie put her hands round the mug, said nothing.

“Come on, sweetheart. I can see something’s bothering you. Maternal instincts. That, and your face looks like you’ve eaten nothing but lemons for a week. What’s up?”


“Yeah right. Think I was born yesterday?”

“Don’t wanna talk about it.”



“That boy I’ve seen you around with? Boyfriend trouble?”

Trixie looked up from under her pink hair. Black was starting to show up at the roots. She’d have to get it dyed again soon.

“He is not my boyfriend.”

“Is that the ‘Nothing’ that’s up?”

“Gods, no.”

Lenna looked at Trixie as she hunched over her mug, avoiding her eyes. She put her hand on Trixie’s arm. Her muscles felt hard underneath her skin, like cables, from all her sword practice. Lenna’s young daughter was being forged, moulded into something altogether more scary than just a cute pink-haired Gnome girl.

“What’d he do to you?”


“Look at me, Trixie.”

Trixie’s eyes looked up at her mother, gleaming more than usual. For all her strength, Trixie could still be hurt. Quite easily.

“Whatever you’ve got up to, girl, believe me, I’ve done it, too.” Lenna smiled. “And if I haven’t, congratulations on being more original than me. That’s not easy.”

A small glimmer of a laugh passed over Trixie’s face, and then faded away. Lenna took Trixie’s hand between hers, gently stroking it.

“First time?”

Trixie closed her eyes, and Lenna could feel Trixie’s hand tighten on hers. She nodded, looking down, not daring to meet Lenna’s eyes.

“Was it good?”

Pause. Shake of the head. Lenna swallowed.

“I need to ask you, sweetheart. It’s an important question. Jail time important.”

Trixie looked up.

“He didn’t make me,” she said.

Lenna let go a breath she hadn’t realised she was holding. Thank goodness.

“Sweetheart, the first time is never the best, you know? It takes practice, just like anything else.”

“I am not going to practice with Barry sodding Blackknife.”

“Good,” said Lenna. “Why not?”

“The bastard has been telling tales all over the school. About how easy I am. How I’m begging for it. How crap I am in bed. Yeah, Two-and-two? Just get her drunk and she’ll roll over just like that.”

“Oh, that’s not true.”

“Still makes me feel like shit. Maybe I am just shit.”

Lenna didn’t often get angry, and unless you knew her very well, you might never notice. Usually, she could see the funny side of any situation and joke her way through it. Easier for all concerned.

Her eyes burnt with fire at her daughter.

Trixie looked down. “Language. Sorry, Mum. Now I’ve made you angry too.”

“Yes, you have pissed me off,” said Lenna. “But not because you said shit, but because you’re talking shit.”

Trixie looked up aghast. She hadn’t heard her mother swear like that since…

“You, young lady, are a smart, beautiful, promising young Gnome girl. You are kind to your fellow Gnomes, strong, and I don’t know anyone with more courage than you have. Whenever I see you walk by, I marvel that your father and I could have put such a Gnome into this world, and I want to point you out to anyone who’ll listen and say, do you see her? That’s my daughter! Don’t you dare sell yourself short like that.”


“Yes, you get on my nerves something rotten sometimes. But you are my daughter, and I’m proud that I am your mother.”

Trixie stared, biting her lip.

“Now this boy, Is he bothering you?”

Trixie nodded.

“Can you beat the stuffing out of him till he stops?”

Trixie shook her head. Stupid rules.

“Then get your sorry butt out of that class, and into the next where the losers can’t follow you.”

“So how did it go, son?”

“Flunked,” said Nix.

“What? That is unexpected. Did someone spot you?”

“No, Dad.”

“Then what? Did your target escape?”

“Not exactly,” said Nix.

Griggin put an arm round Nix’ shoulders as they walked up the path to Ironforge. The sun turned the rolling, snow-covered hills into a field of sparkling diamonds, untouched since the making of the World. Their breath blew ahead of them in small clouds of steam.

“Come on, tell me. What happened?”

Griggin looked at Nix, waiting patiently for him to compose his thoughts. Nix looked up.

“Dad, he’s got a son. Chok’sul. He’s got a son.” Nix looked up at Griggin, an unhappy expression on his face that rarely showed itself. “I just couldn’t do it.”

They walked on, boots crunching in the freshly fallen snow.

“He’s probably dead now, anyway. There was another one for the exam after me. So what bloody difference does it make? Just cost me my paper. I should have just got on with it. I’m supposed to be a bloody assassin, aren’t I? They point me at someone, I kill him. None of this sentimental crap.”

“It doesn’t make much of a difference to Chok’sul,” said Griggin. “But it makes quite a significant difference to you.”

“Maybe I’m not cut out to be a Rogue after all,” said Nix, “But I love doing it. Passing unseen, picking up things. Nobody knowing I’ve been there. And I thought that taking out enemies would be just as much fun. But they’re not supposed to be people.”

“You’ve fought with me back in Gnomeregan, in Marvin’s shop, remember?”

“Yeah, but that was different. He was trying to nick our plans, and anyway, I only knocked him out.”

“That may be so, but I have no doubt that if your, my or Marvin’s life would have been at risk, you would have used deadly force.”

“Maybe,” said Nix. “But you sent Big Blue in, and they just screamed and bolted.”

Griggin sighed. “True. I was the only one with blood on his hands on that occasion. I do regret it, but if they had found you, then I would have attacked without compunction. You simply did not see sufficient need to kill a fellow being. I conclude that you are not a cold-blooded killer. That is not inherently a bad result.”

“It is if I want the certificate that says I am, Dad.”

“Well, do you want the certificate?”

Nix said nothing for a dozen or so footsteps.

“I won’t get to do the advanced assassination classes without it.”

“How much of a loss is that? There’s combat and subtlety, isn’t there?”

“I suppose.”

Neither of the Gnomes spoke till they walked into the gates of Ironforge. Nix was about to turn right, to their home, but Griggin pulled him to the left, and the Stonefire Tavern.

“You’re still alive, son. That calls for a celebration.”

“Acolyte Bezoar, I welcome you to the Circle, and may your mind be steadfast. You will belong to the Circle for all of your days, and the Circle will belong to you.”

Griggin looked at the new acolyte, kneeled before Acting Chief Warlock Briarthorn. He looked small, thin, and even from behind Griggin could see he was shaking. Bezoar. An interesting name. Doubtlessly, his parents had given the boy that name hoping he would become a healer. What a pity. Warlocks did have the ability to create stones with healing capabilities, but they were not true healing powers. They tricked the body into believing it was healed, more than anything else. Warlocks were limited to destruction of life, and the best they could hope to achieve was to refrain from doing so as long as they could. An important skill to achieve this was to shut out the voices of Daemons. They had all witnessed Briarthorn’s infusion of the essential knowledge into the poor boy, then the expression of relief on his face as the whispers abated, for the moment. Griggin hadn’t the heart to tell young Bezoar that they would start again soon, and have to be stilled, by him, all over again. Warlocks never rest easy. Still, Griggin was satisfied. They’d got to the boy in time. Only just in time, but the difference between life and death is refreshingly clear. The boy would live. Still, Bezoar’s mind was far from tranquil, which automatically made him a Hard Case, which automatically meant…

“Warlock Griggin?”

“Yes, Chief Warlock?” Here it comes, thought Griggin.

“I believe that Warlock Bezoar would benefit most from your vast experience in the control of inner Daemons. Will you take on the task of guiding his hands and mind?”

It wasn’t really a question. Griggin bowed his head, and raised his hand, palm upward.

“I will, Chief Warlock Briarthorn.”

“Then so mote it be. I appoint Warlock Griggin the mentor and guide of Warlock Bezoar, and may he find tranquility.”

“Command me, Master.”

Griggin looked at the lad. As Warlocks went, he looked the part. Thin, dark hair running down to his shoulders. Wrinkles that a thirty-year-old lad should not have on his face, and a permanent look of anguish.

“Let’s have a little less of that, Warlock Bezoar. When was the last time you ate?”

“This morning, Master.”

“Well, there’s your problem,” said Griggin. “Can’t control Daemons on an empty stomach. Follow me. I know a place that does an excellent roast boar.”

“I… I don’t have much money, Master. I cannot afford…”

“I can. My treat. Follow me.”

Bezoar followed Griggin into one of the places some way away from where he usually had lunch. Griggin didn’t like to mix his normal, more cheerful business with his Circle business. He’d found this place after he’d installed a new water boiler in some Dwarf’s home. The food was good, and it was busy. They entered the dining room. Bezoar instinctively headed for a dark corner, but Griggin grabbed his shoulder and led him to a table by the window instead. Bezoar looked like he was afraid he would catch fire from the light, and hunched over his plate.

“Eat, my lad,” said Griggin. “It’s a shame to let it go cold.”

“Yes, Master.”

Griggin started on his own meal. After the first time he had his lunch here, he’d never had anything but the Roast Boar with Token Vegetables. Never change a winning combination. Bezoar seemed reluctant to start, toyed with his food, took a small bite. Griggin paused, put his elbows on the table and looked at Bezoar.

“Look around you. What do you see?”

Bezoar looked up at Griggin. “I don’t understand, Master. What do you mean?”

“Would you stop calling me ‘Master’ at every opportunity? It gives me the drempels. Now look. What do you see?”

Bezoar looked round him, nervously, as if he were afraid people might notice him, and be offended at his impertinence in sullying their persons with his gaze.

“I… I see people, Ma–” Bezoar’s gaze flitted up to Griggin, then down again. “Sir. People. I must not harm them.”

“Then don’t. Why do you think you might?”

“They are telling me, Sir. They are telling me to kill them, cleanse Azeroth of their presence. They tell me they are parasites. But they aren’t, Sir?”

Griggin sighed and shook his head. “It’s the sort of thing Daemons say, Bezoar. I know how persuasive they can be, truly I do. But they are wrong. We belong here. They don’t.”

“I know that, Sir,” said Bezoar. “But I don’t know it. When they speak, it sounds like Truth. I cannot resist. I cannot disbelieve them.”

“Yes you can, Bezoar. You are not a defenceless victim anymore. You are a Warlock, of the Circle. And putting Daemons in the place where they belong is precisely what we do. I will show you how to. This morning, you told the Daemons to be quiet, and they were, were they not? With time, you will be able to summon them, and bind them to do your bidding. You will learn to use their dark powers for your own purposes, and put those powers in the service of the very people they wish to wipe off the face of Azeroth.”

Bezoar closed his eyes.

“What if I can’t?”

Griggin bent forward, looking into Bezoar’s eyes.

“Warlock Bezoar, there is good food on your plate and you have not done it proper justice. It was prepared for you by the Innkeeper’s daughter, and she doesn’t appreciate her arts being wasted. Now eat. We are not leaving while there is still food on your plate.”

Griggin started to dissect his boar ribs, putting the meat in a neat little pile on his plate. Bezoar started on his food.

“But to answer your question,” said Griggin, “No Warlock of the Circle will be allowed to harm innocents. That is the purpose of the Circle’s existence, the core of our function. All other things are secondary, including our own lives. Do you understand?”

Bezoar looked up at Griggin.

“Yes, Master.” He was silent for a few moments.

“Thank you,” he said.

“So where by the Titans have you been? I was expecting you home for dinner.”

“I’m sorry, my love. I’ve had a new Acolyte assigned to me. It would have been unwise to leave him alone without checking whether he could silence the voices by himself.”

“Hmph. I saved you some. It’s in the oven.”

Griggin grinned, snuck up behind Lenna and wrapped his arms round her.

“I love you. You give me food.”

Lenna looked over her shoulder at her husband.

“Men. Really, you’re so easy to please.”

“Lots of food, and lots of…”

“Ah,” said Lenna. “Speaking of which. Trixie.”

Griggin frowned, and stepped over to the oven. A blast of warm air and a divine smell welcomed him as he opened the door.

“What’s up with Trixie?”

Lenna smiled wryly. “She’s not a virgin anymore.”

Griggin touched the handle of the pot, gave a small yelp, then stuck his fingers in his mouth and blew on them.

“She’s… not? Who…”

“Some boy in her class,” said Lenna. “He treated her with less than the desirable amount of respect afterwards.”

Griggin stared at Lenna, dinner almost forgotten.

“Is she alright?”

“Coping. Took a bit of a knock to her pride. She’ll be fine, or I hope she will be.” Lenna shook her head. “Her current class seems to be a complete bunch of losers, though. No company for a Gnomish Warrior Princess.”

Griggin picked up a cloth, and took the pot out of the oven. He ladled stew onto his plate, and reached into a cupboard for the hot sauce. Lenna handed him a spoon.

“The number of children in this house is rapidly decreasing,” said Griggin.

“Surely, you are not suggesting that we increase it again?”

“No. Nono,” said Griggin, then opened his eyes wide. “Trixie! She’s not… is she?”

Lenna shrugged. “She didn’t say. Too early to tell anyway. I believe precautions were taken.”

“Gods be thanked for that, at least. I’m taking her to the doctor as soon as possible.”

“No, you won’t. I’ll take her. Anyway, what about Nix? He failed his exam. He never fails exams. What gives?”

“It’s a failed exam, but he failed because his compassion got in the way. He may have to drop his Assassination classes if he doesn’t find a way of putting aside his feelings.”

Lenna put her arm on the table, rested her chin on her hand. She said nothing for a while, then looked up at Griggin.

“I can live with my baby boy not becoming an assassin.”

“They say the combat classes are tougher,” said Griggin. “The Subterfuge and Deception classes, he breezes through as if he already knows most of what they’re teaching.”

Lenna grinned. “No wonder. He’s been practicing on me. Mr. Nix Steambender will have to get up a lot earlier than he manages now, to get one over on me.”

Griggin spooned up the last of his stew, and helped himself to more.

“No fair using the Maternal Tracking Spell.”

“All’s fair in love and war,” said Lenna. “And this is war.”

Trixie stood in the middle of the small arena, next to the melon on a pole that was to be her arch-enemy this afternoon. Her two-hander was on her back, and she was holding her helm under her arm. A call went up for volunteers among the spectators, and several hands went up. Bilban Tosslespanner, Warrior trainer extraordinaire, rubbed his chin, then pointed at one of the Gnomes.

“Mr. Sparkbolt? Front and center if you please.”

Trixie couldn’t help noticing that a great cloud of amusement descended on the crowd. This was going to be tough. Trixie set her jaw. So it would be tough. She didn’t care. That melon was fruit salad. She’d had enough of her class, filled to the brim with the offensively stupid. The next class might be just as stupid, of course, but that was a chance worth taking. She sized up her adversary as he came down the stairs. Gnome. Wielding a mace and a shield. Confident look in his eyes, but didn’t they all have that?

They took up positions, and Trixie put on her helm. She took a few experimental swings with her sword, loosening up her muscles. Then, she fixed Mr. Sparkbolt with a stare.

“Good luck,” he said. “You’ll need it.”

At Tosslespanner’s signal, Trixie lunged forward with a thrust straight to her opponent’s helm. He dodged, knocked her sword out of the way with his shield and counter-attacked with his mace. Trixie still hadn’t taken to using shields, preferring not to be where the blows fell instead. She dodged his attack easily, and sliced low. He jumped back, gave up a few feet of space, then charged forward into Trixie, shield up, swinging his mace. Trixie leapt to one side, changed the grip on her sword and tried to mow his legs from under him. He ducked, and planted his shield in the sand. Trixie’s big sword connected with a clang that jarred her arms. His mace was coming straight for her head, and she dropped to the floor, rolling out of the way. She could hear it whistle as it passed by.

They got to their feet, and separated.

“Ready to give up yet?”

Trixie scowled. “In your dreams.”

She squared off against him, sword raised, weight balanced between her feet. Quick as water, she leapt to one side, swung her sword round. He turned, moving forward to deflect her blow with his shield, but Trixie had already leapt to her other foot and sliced her sword low at his legs. As he lowered his shield to deflect the blow, Trixie leapt back, flicked her sword around, took it by blade and handle and lunged at him. She caught him across the shoulders and pushed. Mr. Sparkbolt performed a most undignified two-buttock landing and Trixie’s sword came round in a faint circle of steel. The top half of the melon slid down slowly, fell down, and landed in the sand. Sticky side down, of course.

Trixie stood still for a moment, catching her breath, then grinned at her opponent behind the visor of her helm. She held a hand out. He took it, and she pulled him to his feet. He pulled off his helm, and nodded at Trixie, grinning back at her.

“That was a dirty trick,” he said. “Well done. Don’t try that next time.”

Trixie pulled out her oily rag, and cleaned the vegetable blood off her sword. Then, she sheathed it without looking. She took off her helm and shook out her hair.

“I got plenty of other tricks,” she said. “No worries there.”

“Good. Welcome to our class.”

They were sitting at one of the heavy wooden tables in the Stone Table. Including Trixie, there were five of them. Trixie’s opponent of that afternoon introduced her.

“This here is Jonno Fireweaver. His dad’s a fire mage, just like mine. The big girl here is Miss Gemma Ironhand, the small girl here is Dora Rainfist. Don’t let her innocent looks deceive you, she comes from a long line of Warriors. And I am Richard Sparkbolt, at your service.”

Trixie’s hand disappeared in Gemma’s large five-fingered fist.

“I’m pleased to meet ye,” she said. “It’s about time we got some fresh blood in our wee group.”

Jonno nodded. “Yeah. We’re getting too used to each other, and we’re usually on to each other’s tricks before we try them.”

Trixie raised her eyebrows.

“You guys only practice amongst yourselves? What about the rest of the class?”

“They haven’t a moth’s chance in a candleflame of getting near us,” said Richard. “It’s embarrassing for them, and doesn’t teach us anything. I’m almost tempted to go a bit easy on some of them for a while.”

Trixie’s eyes fixed on Richard’s face, with a look that spelt trouble.

“Are you saying you let me win? Just say the word, and I’ll ask for a re-trial.”

Richard laughed. “Almost tempting. You’re not getting me with those feints again. But no, it was a fair win for you. And I learnt.”

Dora Rainfist, who had been quiet up to now, suddenly leant forward. She looked at Trixie with piercing light blue eyes from under her dark, short hair.

“Aren’t you going to say goodbye to your last class?”

Trixie sneered. “Already did. Should have done months ago.”

“Ah,” said Jonno. “The fearless Trogg-hunters, eh?”

“Oh that was yer class?” Gemma rumbled. “That bunch of wee jobbies couldnae fight their way out of a paper bag. Well done fer gettin’ shot of ’em.”

“So,” said Trixie. “What’s class like here?”

“Get a shield,” said Richard. “You’re not going to pass without one.”

“Hmm. Don’t like shields.”

“Heh. I wuv my shield,” said Jonno. “People think it’s just a plank to hide behind, but actually, it’s another thing to hit people with.”

“I’d rather go for two swords, then.”

Richard looked at Trixie, a big grin on his face.

“Go spar with Gemma a few times. She’ll change your mind. Anyway, you’re prot. You have to know how to use a shield, or what’s the point?”

Trixie sniffed. “I wanted to go fury, but Dad won’t let me.”

“Bunch of over-excited puppies,” said Jonno. “It takes skill to get everybody in the room to look at you, and not at the hackers and the sparkies, let alone the healers.”

“Gods, yes, said Richard. Light forbid that anything might happen to the healers. Whenever one of them breaks a fingernail or stubs a toe, they always blame us.”

“Everybody blames us when they get hit, even if they paint a big target on their chest, and stand in a fire holding a sign saying ‘I bonked yer mammie’ in Orcish. Oh the joy of being in the protection racket.”

“Och well. It ain’t all bad.” Gemma grinned. “Boys drool over womenfolk in plate armour.”

“I had my uncle make me a plate armoured bra and undies,” said Dora, with a vague smile on her lips. “I managed to drop a few jaws and turn some heads wearing them.”

“I’ve never seen those,” said Jonno.

Dora put her arms on the table and leaned forward a bit, for the best effect.

“They don’t fit me anymore.”

Trixie started to laugh, then noticed someone standing behind Gemma and Dora, looking at her with that mocking grin on his face that she’d come to expect from her friends in class.

“Well, if it isn’t old Two-and-two. Think you’re too good for us now? Do your new friends know the sort of thing you get up to?”

Before Trixie could even open her mouth to say something, Gemma calmly raised her hand, took hold of Trixie’s former classmate, spun him round and slammed the back of his head onto the table. She easily held him down with one massively muscled arm.

“I’m thinkin ye want to be tellin’ Miss Trixie how sorry ye are for saying that,” she said. “If ye need a wee bit of inspiration, I can make ye feel sorry. Easy as pie.”

Trixie’s former classmate looked into Gemma’s soft brown eyes, then looked at Trixie.

“We’re waiting,” said Gemma. “In yer own time. Bones heal. Chicks like scars. Think they’re really manly, ‘less they’re on yer family jewels.”

“Sorry,” said the lad, in a hurry.

“There. Now isn’t that nice?”

Gemma let go of the Gnome, and he jumped to his feet, hesitating, not sure what to do.

“Piss off,” suggested Richard. The boy thought this was a splendid idea and made himself scarce.

Jonno gave Trixie a strange look. “Why are they calling you Two-and-two? If you don’t mind me asking?”

“They’re morons,” said Trixie.

“That would explain it,” said Jonno.

“Look, Mr. Steambender, Orcs don’t come with crosses painted on their backs where their kidneys are. You’re three inches low. Walk round, re-stealth and try again.”

Nix gave a short nod, and did as he was told. He quickly looked round him. The skeletons of the various creatures round him gave him the creeps. Especially the big dragon skull at the end of the hallway. It looked like in better days, it could have eaten a whole family of Gnomes, and considered that a light snack. Once more, Nix wrapped himself in shadow, and crept up on his pretend victim, blades out. Pretend victims were easier than live Ogres, and not just because they didn’t fight back. Nix stabbed at the big straw Orc, and Fenthwick nodded.

“Better. Again. This time put some more force into it. Remember you’re trying to keep your target off-balance till he’s dead. If you don’t, you may end up dead. So follow up with a few extra attacks after that. You decide which ones to use.”

“Yessir,” said Nix.

“And keep your voice down. We’re supposed to be stealthy, for the Titan’s sake.”

Nix and his classmates spent a very instructive hour or so stabbing and slashing first the practice dummies, then each other. With wooden knives, because Unseen-or-heard-of Academy didn’t get paid for dead students. Nix was sitting on a bench next to a Human woman, who was pulling up her trouser leg and admiring a few impressive bruises on her long, thin legs.

“Bloody Gnomes,” she muttered.

Nix looked ahead of him. This specimen of womanhood had been looking down on him from a height rather greater than her five-foot-six-inches.

“Does that mean you don’t think I’m cute anymore?”

“We weren’t allowed to fight back, and you know it. I can’t believe I went easy on you.”

“You did? Could have fooled me.”

Fenthwick glared at them. “Is that discussion of interest to the general public, Miss? Sir? No? Then let’s have a little less of that. Right. Next round. This time, you will resist.”

The woman slowly looked down on Nix, with a large, evil grin on her face. She flipped her practice dagger into the air and caught it.

“Finally,” she said. “On your feet, shrimp.”

Nix looked up at her, eyes large.

“Oh please don’t hurt me!”

“Won’t hurt you a bit.”

“When you get home, put a raw steak on it,” said Nix. “Keeps the swelling down. Don’t touch it, you’ll only make it worse.”

“I’ll get you for this.”

“Get me for what? I didn’t decide to kick wide and face-plant on the floor.”

The woman gave him a nasty look, found this hurt, and winced.

“Don’t touch it,” said Nix.

“Sod you.”

“Thanks for the offer, but that’s not my thing.”

Trainer Fenthwick walked up to them, and tapped his foot. “Let me explain this again. Stealth. It means doing your thing without people being able to see or hear you. Opening your mouth in order to make noise is deleterious to that endeavour. Is that clear?”

“Yes Sir,” said the woman.

Nix nodded enthusiastically.

“Good. I suppose that’s as good a point to end the lesson as any. Please disperse in an orderly manner, and don’t let anyone see you on the way out.”

The woman gave Nix a final filthy look and disappeared. Students left and right disappeared into the murk, a few of them taking the dummy with them. Nix dawdled a bit.

“Anything the matter, Mr. Steambender?”

Nix sighed. “Why do they do that? Humans, I mean.”

Fenthwick laughed quietly. “They’re a young race. Not used to seeing anything but other Humans. Miss Raven is not the worst of them.”

“She tried to kick me in the butt. Bugger that for a game of soldiers.”

“And you educated her on the foolishness of trying the game of Gnome-punting on you. Well done.”

“I just don’t understand it. I get on fine with Dwarves. Why do they have to make it so difficult?”

“Oh, don’t worry too much. I’m sure that if she saw you fight something big and nasty on your own, she’d help you.”

“Huh. I’m not so sure.”

“Oh come on. When all’s said and done, she’s Alliance. We’re Alliance. You would help her wouldn’t you?”

“Yeah, sure. But she sure makes it hard to like her. At least the Dwarves are nice enough to let us use the Hall of Explorers to practice in.”

Fenthwick gave Nix a somewhat puzzled look.

“Are they? I didn’t know that.”

Nix looked at Trainer Fenthwick.

“Do you mean they don’t know we’re here?”

“I hope not. They don’t like it when people visit here after closing hours.”

“But…” Nix took a breath. “What happens if they find us here?”

Fenthwick shrugged. “Don’t know. Never happened. Now do you see why we want you to be quiet?”

“Yes Sir,” whispered Nix. Fenthwick grinned.

“Get out of here.”

Bezoar sat alone, in a space hidden from the Gnomes, the Dwarves, Humans and what have you. A little smile was on his face. The voices were quiet, so wonderfully quiet. He drew a breath, filling his lungs with the air round him, the smells. His gaze slid over the people walking round in the Commons, going about their business, To the bank, to the auction house, on errands that seemed so important to them. What did they know? But the voices were still. The whispers had stopped. Not even the vague feeling of disquiet, the feeling he had first felt when They found him, remained.

“I knew that would shut you up,” he said.
Copyright: © 2008,2009,2010 Menno Willemse. All rights reserved.

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