Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mibbifoodle of the Elric clan

I hate telling people my given name. Seriously, what were my parents thinking? Mibbifoodle?!? I mean, I get it. I’m a Gnome. We’re supposed to have strange funny names because we’re a strange funny people. But at some point, shouldn’t someone stop and ask what the cobbbiddle we’re doing? But that’s Gnomes for you; full of the most ludicrous traditions and customs anyone’s ever thought up. Take my best friend growing up, Nacklepen, for example. His parents were absolutely obsessed with worshiping Garl Glittergold. Chief gnome god and Watchful Protector my woody-brown @&#! I think he must have got the name Glittergold from all the tithing done by Nacklepen and his family. It’s funny, I never got the impression that Nacklepen was all that into worshiping his supposed Protector, but his parents leaned on him a bit and now he is off somewhere serving as a cleric for the Glittermonger and I am stuck without a best friend. I tried to keep him from throwing his life away (and from giving away essentially everything he owned) but he kept saying that his parents expected it of him and that it was a privilege to embrace Lady Poverty along with the rest of the clerics. Unbelievable.

Still, not everything is terrible in the land of Gnomes. Despite my parent’s lack of originality (and apparent insobriety) at the time of my birth and my subsequent naming, I am not stuck with such an unfortunate (i.e. dumb) sounding name for the rest of my life. You see, Gnomes get many names and I picked up quite a few during my formative years and during my formal training in wizardry. Today, I am most often called either Brightwick or Moonglum though I am sometimes referred to as Ninefingers (for obvious reasons) and those who have known me for a very long time occasionally still call me Nobwinkle because of a particularly nasty joke I played on a classmate in my youth.

My clan name is Elric which wouldn’t be particularly notable if there weren’t a long line of Elric males who had all gone on to become “rangers.” I say “rangers” with “quotes” because I’m not sure that you can really be considered a true, adventuring ranger when you’ve never gone more than 10 miles away from home. You can then imagine my parent’s concern when, in my youth, I expressed an interest in adventuring abroad while simultaneously displaying both disinterest and ineptitude in outdoor activities. I’ll never forget my first lesson with a shortbow with my father. I was literally quaking in an effort just to draw the arrow while he barked “No struggle! No progress!!” at me like a drill sergeant over and over again. Eventually I couldn’t stand the strain of the bowstring any longer and just let the arrow fly. No one was hurt or anything but I think my father saw that my eyes were closed when I actually shot the arrow because he never offered to give me lessons again.

Fortunately, what I lacked in brawn I more than made up for with brains. Now, maybe I’m being a bit arrogant here but seriously, I was smart. My parents may not have known what to do with an unathletic nerd but Gnome society came through for me at last when my instructors at school recommended that my parents put me in wizarding school as soon as I was of age. They were resistant at first (of course) but I hounded them relentlessly until they allowed me to go. I suppose I should have felt guilty for wanting to leave home so badly and it probably would have pleased my mother if I had cried at least a little bit when I left. Yet, I feel like I had known my whole life that I did not belong in Gnome society with all its traditions, customs and oddities. I needed freedom and wizarding school was where I hoped to find it.

Oddly, it never occurred to me before I left home that a school of magic might have more restrictions and far more traditions than what I was leaving behind. My first difficulties regarding my professors expectations came when they assumed that I would take a spell focus in Illusion like every other promising young Gnome mage. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think illusion magic is pretty cool. It is great for practical jokes and I love the idea of being able turn invisible whenever I want. But as a spell focus? Please. Have you seen those evocation spells?? Thunder and lighting and hell raining down. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Illusions are great in a tight spot or for those Gnomes with no adventuring aspirations but I wanted to go out and see the world, be the master of my domain, you know?

School went by at a normal pace and I had many of the same experiences others did while going to wizarding school. In order to focus my studies in Evocation I chose to ignore Necromancy (which I detest) and Enchantment (which always seemed useless to me). I also became good friends with a young illusionist named Bimpnock who brewed his own ale. In retrospect, it’s odd that we should have become such good friends as his life’s ambition was to establish a tavern that would become famous for its many different types of ale. Such a normal and rooted down lifestyle was exactly what I was trying to dodge. When I left him, he was still brewing out of his home but he promised that when next we met, wherever that might be, we would sit down in an establishment he owned and have a pint.

No story of my schooling would be complete without some mention of Ranzmalkin. An absolute horror of a Gnome, he embodies all the worst traits of both Gnomes and wizards. Not only did this chucklehead take his spell focus in necromancy (totally cliché, right?), but I know for a fact that evocation was one of his prohibited schools (it’s almost like we were ordained to be enemies!). His sinister demeanor falls right in line with what we at school have all heard about his father. Though not technically a politician, Ranzmalkin’s father is apparently well placed in society, with enough cunning and ruthlessness to match his great wealth. Furthermore, after a fight was broken up between me and Ranzmalkin on the day of our graduation, Ranzmalkin started bragging that I’d better watch my back or I would witness firsthand the effects of his father’s newfound alliance with a foreign barbarian tribe. If I never see that guy again, it will be too soon.

At last, that brings me to where I am today, which is right here. All my life, I have wanted the freedom and the ability to do whatever I want without regard for tradition or expectation. I plan to guard that freedom carefully and see where my feet take me.

1 comment:

Taran said...

Interesting story, gnome. You talk big about handling business out in the real world, but can you really cut it? My guess is that you'll hide behind a rock at the first sign of a braindead kobold with a twig in his hand.

You know the old phrase? With a name like Mibbifoodle, it's got to be strange.