Dr Gnome part 27

17

Alchemy’s head hurt. He lay there in the soft bed looking up at a too-white ceiling wondering when the pounding would stop. Slowly sitting up, he glanced around and saw Dolce sleeping next to him. The soft sheets slipped away as he slowly sat up. Somewhere in the distance, a door closed.

He recognized the bedroom of the suite the gnome woman escorted him and Dolce to. The elf tried to remember getting into bed, but the last thing he recalled was sipping tea on the couch. He didn’t remember any taste of herbs that would have caused him to sleep, but it was possible that with his scientific knowledge, Doctor Gnome could’ve come up with something undetectable even with the training he’d received from the Fragrance Guild.

On hooks near the door, two bundles of clothes hung. Alchemy assumed that they were the clothes he and Dolce were expected to wear for their dinner with Doctor Gnome tonight. One of Gnome’s people must’ve delivered them while the elves slept. He pondered what the point of drugging them had been.

Dolce stirred next to him. He reached down to the rumpled violet head and soothed her locks a bit.

“What happened?” she murmured, rubbing her eyes.

“I guess they used some kind of manufactured drug on us,” Alchemy replied. “It wasn’t any herb I’ve ever tasted.”

Dull purple eyes looked up in question. “But why?”

“I don’t know,” said Alchemy, continuing to stroke her hair. “But they also brought us some clothes to wear to dinner with the Doctor.”

“Oh Alchemy, how are we suppose to eat in the presence of gnomes? They are such hideous little creatures. And how are we to trust their food? They drugged us.” Dolce slid tight against the magician. Her closeness caused Alchemy’s body to stir. They had no idea how long they had until they were expected for dinner. Otherwise, he would’ve been tempted to have another course of Dolce.

“We’ll make it through,” he reassured her. “I’ll be right there with you the entire time.” He tried to sound brave, but wished he had his wand, but it lay outside on the hill somewhere, lost. He vowed to start carrying spares, two wands on one assignment was more than he was used to losing.

 

***

 

Alchemy finished adjusting the sleeves on his gray tunic when there was a knock on the door. Before he could respond, the door opened and the dark-haired gnome woman strolled in.

“Ah, Mister Pond,” she said without closing the door. “I see you have awoken from your little nap. I presume the female has too?”

“Dolce is nearly ready,” Alchemy replied looking down at the short woman. “She had a bit more to do to make herself presentable.”

“Really?” A dark eyebrow arched. “Well Doctor Gnome is ready for his dinner.”

“I’m ready,” said Dolce entering the room, draping her long purple hair over her right shoulder so it cascaded down the front of the shinny white dress.

Alchemy walked over to take her arm. “And looking very lovely, my dear.”

She giggled as she laid a shaking hand over his arm. “Thank you.”

“Very well,” the gnome woman huffed. “If you are both ready, the Doctor is waiting.”

The wizard gestured out the door. “Please, lead on.”

As they cleared the door, a pair of trolls fell into step behind them. Alchemy didn’t even glance at the two guards. The metal corridor was as bright as he remembered it. Their soft-soled shoes didn’t make any noise as they walked down the hall. Several goblins, trolls and even a brownie scurried up and down the hall, careful to keep their eyes on the shiny floor as they hurried past the party.

They stopped at a lace-metal doorway at the end of the hall. The gnome woman pushed a button set in the wall. A loud screeching, sounding almost like two swords sliding against each other, came from the far side of the door, as a pair of heavy metal cables moved something between them and the wall beyond. A platform slowly rose on the other side of the metal door before them. Dolce fingers dug into Alchemy’s arm. He patted her hand, hoping to alleviate some of her fears.

When the platform was level with hallway floor, it stopped moving. The gnome woman opened the lace-metal door and walked onto the platform. Dolce trembled as Alchemy led her forward. Only one troll followed them. The gnome woman pulled a cord at the back of the platform three times.

Dolce yelped as the platform began descending. Alchemy wrapped an arm around her shoulder and pulled her close in against his side. The platform moved down a small shaft, just large enough for the platform and the cables that moved alongside it. Walls of polished copper provided little light as the platform moved downward. Every so often, openings to new passageways appeared in the wall, they were about the height of a troll, the largest creatures Alchemy had seen in Doctor Gnome’s lair. They passed two of them before the platform came to a stop.

This time the door opened to the opposite side of the platform. Without a word, the gnome woman led them out and down another shiny metal corridor. No people moved in this hallway. Alchemy knew they were moving toward his quarry. His heart beat faster, as they approached the massive double doors at the far end of the hallway.

The dark-haired gnome took the door handle in her dainty fingers. She turned back and looked at the elves behind her.

“The Doctor is very anxious to meet you,” she smiled and pushed open the door.

 

***

Dr Gnome part 26

***

“So, my great wizard,” Dolce smiled at Alchemy as they toweled each other off, “how do you propose to get us out of here?”

Alchemy stopped rubbing the soft white towel over her long violet hair. “I’m working on that. It depends a lot on what Doctor Gnome does. I’m curious to meet the man. He appears to have a most ingenious mind.”

Dolce shivered under the wizard’s hands. “I’ve never liked gnomes. There’s something about them. All short, they always smell of grease and oil. They seem to have an aversion to the natural world.” She gestured to the cold metal tables and chairs in the room with them. “What’s wrong with real wood? They have to work so much harder to make the metal. And where are the plants? I know we’re deep inside Manticore Hill, but there should be some kind of plants, just to make the air better.”

“You sound like my boss,” Alchemy chuckled pulling the elf woman close to him. “She’s worried that the gnome’s are trying to force their mechanical ways on the world.” He gently kissed her forehead as he glanced around the room. “I think she may be right.”

A large carafe of tea sat steaming on a nearby table.

“I wonder when that arrived?” Alchemy asked as he released Dolce with a soft kiss and walked over to it. He sniffed the vapors rising from it. “Smells like a berry blend, possibly some dandelion in it.” He turned back to Dolce. “Would you like some? It might help us relax a bit.” She nodded, but her smile was tight.

Two porcelain tea cups sat by the container, on a small metal try with a bowl of sugar. He smiled at her, trying to ease some of her fears the way she’d helped ease some of the tensions in his body, back in the bathing chamber. She’d proved most skilled with her mouth and her body. The wizard wondered what it would take to have her in his bed for the rest of his stay in Buteamore.

“Would you like some sugar with your tea, my dear?” Alchemy asked as he filled the two cups with the steaming warm liquid.

She reached for her cup. “Let me sip it first.” She swallowed a bit of the brew, then nodded. “A little please.”

Alchemy took a long sip of his tea before reaching for the sugar. It was just the way he liked it. He spooned out a little sugar for her, then after a sip she nodded slightly. He took her elbow and led her over to the couch.

“Let’s relax a bit while we wait for dinner with the good Doctor,” he suggested.

 

***

 

The shattering of the second tea cup on the metal floor, alerted Blica Butuna that the sedative in the tea had done its job. The dark haired gnome motioned to the troll behind her to follow. The lumbering oath fell into step as she turned the corner in the hallway and headed toward the door to the elves’ room.

Shards of porcelain lay in front of the couch where the two elves slumped. The gnome “tisked” and motioned for the troll to stop. She should have thought of it before. She turned, walked out into the hall and called for a maid. Returning to the troll and elves, she frowned.

“Why did these things always cause a mess?” she thought to herself. Being a gnome she was used to a mess, but disliked cleaning up after other people.

“Do the woman first,” she instructed the troll. Not for the first time she wished that her stature wasn’t so diminutive, or that other creatures were smaller. Having the use the trolls as hired muscle irritated her, but the lesser races had to be good for something.

“Where?” the troll asked, a deep line furrowed his mottled brown brow.

“Carry her to the bedroom,” Blica commanded. “Put her in the bed. To one side so you can get the male in the other.” She shook her head, she hated having to spell things out so explicitly.

The elf woman nearly disappeared against the massive bulk of the troll. Blica followed and watched as he placed her on the far side of the bed. She stepped out of the troll’s way when he came back through the doorway.

“Now the man,” she ordered, not bothering to move back into the main room. She could see what the troll was doing just fine from where she was.

As the troll settled the elf into the bed, the outer door of the suite opened.

“It’s over there in front of the couch,” Blica ordered, expecting it to be the maid she’d called for. She had no idea what had kept the little goblin woman.

“I know where the cups crashed,” the high, distinguished voice of Doctor Gnome answered her. “Where is the wizard?”

Blica paled. “He’s in here, sir.” She pointed into the bedroom. “We were just getting them settled as you instructed.”

Doctor Gnome walked past the couch and the shattered tea cups on the hard floor. “So my potion worked on elves. They should be out for several hours.” His shiny metal ears swiveled just a bit as he strolled over to the bed. “It’s amazing that they still believe in magic, when the forces of science are obviously so much more powerful.”

Blica wanted to leave the room, the Doctor’s pale green skin made her shiver, and his metallic ears. She’d often wondered how, even with the wonders of gnome-made technology he could stand to have the cold things on the side of his head. He was one of the most brilliant minds in their world, but his mixed heritage gave her a shudder.

“So Blica,” the Doctor turned his attention from the bed to her. “Any problems?”

“No sir,” she replied, forcing herself not to avert her eyes from his dark-green gaze. “It was almost as if he wanted to be captured.”

Doctor Gnome chuckled, a strange noise not quite a deep gnome laugh, and just shy of a goblin snicker. “Of course he wanted to be captured. Mister Pond wanted to be inside the hill so he could figure out what I’m doing in here. He’s too intelligent to think he could sneak in. Even with his deplorable magic, he’d still stick out, like an elf at a gnome party.” The genius turned to leave the room. “Make sure that they have appropriate clothing when they wake. I wouldn’t want them showing up for dinner underdressed.”

“Of course sir,” Blica replied. “I’ll get the maids on it immediately.”

The strange metal ears caught the light as he shook his head. “Not the maids, Blica. You handle getting it done. You’ll do a better job of it.”

The gnome’s heart sank. “Yes sir.”

The door opened before Doctor Gnome could touch the handle. The little goblin maid was there with her bucket and towels. The Doctor didn’t appear to notice her as she had to stop suddenly to avoid rushing into him. The little woman’s green face paled, and her ears drooped in fear, but Gnome didn’t even pause in his exit.

“It’s over there in front of the couch,” Blica instructed the maid as she followed the mastermind out. She hoped they’d have something back in the storeroom in the right sizes for the elves. She wasn’t sure, even using the new sewing contraptions; she’d be able to get her women to crank out something to fit them in a couple of hours.

Imbolc

It February 2nd, so we’re going to depart from Alchemy and the gang for a bit and give a little info on the holiday Imbolc. Alchemy and Dolce` will be back in a few days.

Imbolc

Long before people looked to the groundhog to tell them if we were in for a longer winter, people asked the Celtic Goddess Cailleach, portrayed as the hag in Celtic tradition, what the weather would be. According to legend, if the weather was good on Imbolc, Cailleach would come out and gather firewood for the coming six weeks. If the weather was bad she would stay in and sleep, preparing for the coming spring. Here in the Colorado Mountains today, Cailleach sings a mixed song, the day started out pleasant enough but the snow is trying to start blowing. I always love it when the Gods and Goddesses send mixed messages.

On the Hunter’s path we acknowledge this time of the year as the time when prey is getting harder to find. During the autumn and the first part of winter, we still have the young and stupid prey, the ones trying to survive their first winter. They make mistakes and are easier to hunt. Now that the dark part of the year is past, most of the stupid ones have already been taken, leaving the wily prey to sustain us through the rest of the winter. It’s a good thing that the days are getting longer, we need the extra time to provide sustenance to those around us. We celebrate each successful hunt with more vigor, raising our voices to Herne.

This is also the time of year we start embracing the Satyr amongst us. Pan, Faunus and other lusty Gods wait in the wings. Their energies are building in preparation for spring. What better way to stay warm on the last cold winter nights than with a bit of lust in the arms of a loved one.

On Imbolc night, once your firewood is brought in. Light your fire, spend a little while meditating on what you would like to accomplish in the coming year. Tap into the quickening energies around you and use that energy to empower your goals. Toss a bit of coltsfoot onto the fire, this herb is sacred to Brighid and will help keep the energies that you stir up flowing. Now, look into the flames, just relax and gaze into the fire. What images do you see? These signs are the forces that will be working with you in the coming seasons.

Once you are finished gazing into the fire, go and light a white candle, feel the purity of the returning light. Leave the candle burning as long as it’s safe to do so. When you extinguish the flame say a little prayer to Brighid and to Pan, let them know that you welcome their energies to you hearth and home. Hold in your mind everything you want to accomplish in the coming year, embrace the energies of growth and passion. Know that the darkest part of the year is behind you, and the light grows with every day from this point on.