Chapter 2 : Gramstaf-EGL
Scene 3 : By the Seashore
The smell of fish and seawater…then coughing and gagging…as the seawater spewed up from her guts onto the beach beneath her face. Hindral stirred groggily as she levered herself up onto her hands and knees. She wiped the seaweed and sand from her face, blinking furiously as she realized she could not see out of her left eye. Hindral raised her hand to her eye with dread, and realized her waxed leather hat covered her eye and would not move. With a chuckle she spoke a single word, “Lardnih”, and the hat slipped easily from her face. She then placed it back on her head properly and finally scanned the surrounding terrain. She knelt upon a rocky beach backed by dunes and tall grass, off in the distance she could see the treeline of a birch and oak forest.
“Well Miss Smik, this seems to be even more happy crappy you find yourself in. Where in Hel am I?” She stood up with her hands on her hips and an expression on her face consisting of a mixture of disgust and weary resignation. She gently rubbed her long proboscis as she contemplated her next move. Before she had a chance to really consider, her large sensitive ears picked up the sound of approaching hoofbeats. She frantically looked around for some place to hide on this wide open flatness and then did something most people would have considered eccentric at best or insane at worst, she placed her fingertips over her eyes and whispered,” Kims”. If anyone else had been there to witness what happened next, they would have sworn that she had been wiped out of existence as if with a large invisible paintbrush.
Hindral Smik heard the hoofbeats approach within mere feet of her, the horse sounded large as it breathed deeply, it must have been run hard by it’s rider. She could sense the rider looking around, then he spoke to thin air.
“Gnome, you can take your hands from your eyes. I can see you and if I wanted to hurt you I would have run you down with my horse.”
She heard the authority and age in his voice and a soft chuckle at the end of his words. She resisted the urge to pull her hands away…even though it felt like the right thing to do.
“You are indeed strong-willed gnome but trust Me when I say Aegir chose you for a reason…”, another wizened chuckle followed amd this time she did pull her hands away, in anger.
“I am more than a mere gnome! I am a Svirf-”
Then she looked up into his face. The aged and wrinkled face was unremarkable for a human man, but his eyes glowed a lustrous sapphire blue.
In a small voice she spoke once more,”Wh- what are you?”
“I am EGL-Gramstaf, hrrm, I mean to say I am Gramstaf-EGL, hrrm. I am, I mean I was, the Prelate of Canterbury. And you must be Hindral Smik of the Svirfneblin.”
Hindral arched an eyebrow at the uncertainty that now crept into the old man’s voice.
“There is a fascinating story in that which you just said but I would prefer to be left alone, Man.”
“I would respect that desire gnome, sorry I mean Svirfneblin. But sadly we do not have much time. There appears to be a contingent of the King’s Men in hot pursuit of Myself currently and I know you cannot simply disappear again without proper rest. So I would suggest that you accompany Me and I may be able to explain why you were swallowed by a kraken and spat up on a beach in England.”
“ENGLAND?! I was off the coast of Norway!” Hindral looked around frantically as she realized that it was far more clement here than on her carrack.
The holy man reached a hand down to her and smiled kindly,”Come Hindral, let Me help you get back to your clan and in return you may be able to help Me.”
She could hear a battle horn off in the distance at that moment and realized that she had no choice but to take the Man’s offer. She reached up with her tiny hand and he easily lifted her in front of him in the saddle.
“I have been told much about you Hindral. Trust Me when I say you will enjoy our time together …mostly.”
And with that ominous last word he shook the reins and the horse took off at a full gallop for the trees…