AR 1209-6 Quactimus arrives
You have traveled with your grandparents to Melinir. Sparky decided to stay behind this time. You can’t wait to see your friends, Rissa, Bran and Yari. You always stay with them when you come into town with your grandparents. You know that you four are going to be in the same flight at school soon. You hope that Sparky, you and those three will get to be in the same cave. You would have grand adventures together. You just wonder who will be the 6th one. Usually there are 6 in each cave in each flight.
You have just arrived with the Torka Caravan that runs back and forth between the keep and Melinir, and see the Haley Caravan had arrived just before your did. Both caravans camp outside the city.
Your grandparents go over to greet the owners of the Harley Caravan as they are good friends. You see a very thin Gnome boy with a pack on his shoulders and not only does he seem out of place with all the humans and many halflings about, but he looks scared. Your grandmother is listening to the guys talk and you tug on her hand. You point out the gnome.
She interrupts the conversation and asked about the gnome. They explain he is traveling with the halflings and they know nothing about him except he seems unhappy, but the halflings scare them so they have been keeping their distance.
Your grandparents head over to the halflings and ask around until they are talking to the head guard. He explains he was paid by the Gnomish king to get the boy to the Dwarven academy along with their ward (he jesters to a young Halfling boy who is riding on a pony and laughing with a guard).
Your grandparents explain who they are and where they come from and say they would be happy to see to the young gnomes getting to the academy. The guard dickers with them and finally accepts money from your grandparents to allow them to take the gnome child.
You all walk over to the gnome. The head Halfling guard says “Boy, you’re to go with these folks. They will make sure you get to the school.” The head guard walks away.
You see the Gnome kind of nod his head slightly as if hearing someone talk to him. Your grandmother bends over and says, “Quactimas, don’t be afraid, my name is Valdosta, this here is my husband Kalistar and this is our grandson, Krunch. He too is a new student at the school. Come with us, we are going into the city to buy some things before we travel back to the keep where the school is. We will head over to a good friend and get you something to eat.” She holds out her hand and the gnome child smiles and takes it.
You wonder if he might be the 6th in your cave.
[Added by NatheDM. Subject for review. Changes point-of-view from Krunch to Quactimas]
Kalistar and Valdosta’s van finds its way to the House of Svadilfarsven. It is called a house, but it is more a fortress than a house from the outside. They introduce you to the two patrons of the hold, Sven and Kara. Kara is a well-built human woman, who seems to exude motherly authority out of her every pore; Sven is an equally strong human man, large even by their standards, and while he walks with the dominance of a warrior, his face is calm and inviting.
“Quati-what?” Sven says, grasping your small hand in his, shaking it firmly, politely. He doesn’t seem to notice how your grip is nowhere near as strong as his. He smiles, and so does Kara – they are genuine smiles.
You gulp, but a nudge from behind by an unseen dwarf causes you to answer, “Quactimas.”
After a half-moment, you think to add, “… sir.”
The large, blonde-haired man keeps smiling at you. You get the impression he smiles a lot; his face is creased with lines associated with the motion. “Hah, I can’t say that!” he nearly bellows. You try to take a half-step back at his sudden, loud expulsion, and he releases your hand so you can. “Tell ya what: I’mna call you Quatty!”
With one last smile, Sven turns and lumbers away. Kara watches her husband go with an eyebrow raised and a tolerant smirk. She calls out, then, summoning two of her children, “Rissa! Yari! We have guests!”
In another half-moment, a girl and a boy come rushing from behind the grand structure of the House of Svadilfarsven. The girl appears older by about two years, but they are both obviously siblings. They share the same unruly brown hair, and even the same confident gait to their hurried steps. Theirs is not yet a warrior’s gait, like their father’s, but they are clearly getting there.
“Hey, Krunch!” the two say almost at once, when they get close enough to recognize the dwarven boy behind you. He waves back and calls out his own greeting.
Eventually, you and Krunch are left in the care of the masters of the house. As the day goes on, you are treated like a member of the family by everyone. It is unnerving at first, but with the passing of the hours, you find you like it and want to believe in it.
A sumptuous supper, held at a grand feasting table, and attended by almost 20 different individuals. A lovely, calming concert of flutes by Sven, Yari, and some others, around the great fire. A decision that you should spend nights in Yari’s room, with his brothers, until you all leave for the Academy.
“You awake?” Yari’s hushed voice comes from around the corner. He is speaking from his bed.
“Yes,” you say, after trying to figure out if he is talking to you.
“Has my father given you a nickname yet?”
The question likely takes you by surprise, but you recover quickly. “Yes. Quatty.”
“That’s stupid!” the human boy exclaims quietly. “He can give okay nicknames sometimes, but not always. That’s a dumb one.”
Yari is quiet for another moment, during which time you try to catch up.
“I’m all about nicknames,” he then said. “But, I mean… I think you should like your nickname. Quactimas is hard to say, but I can call you that if you want?”