Taylar entered the Deepinghome with a sense of reverie and awe. Given what he had been told, this was the land of his forefathers. The presence of this many gnomes was a definite shock to his understanding of self. He was even more confused when he realized that he was quite tall for a gnome.
Taylar had chosen to alter the illusion that he wore so close that it had become his second skin. He used his own clean face, but concealed the tattoos and scars. He had, with Varden’s help, washed and cleaned his gear and equipment and he was feeling quite dapper.
The wonders of the Deepinghome surrounded him. The markets and the people were like something out of his dreams. On every other market stall things which did not live moved. Taylar was fascinated by the trinkets which span and whirred. He was as fascinated by these trinkets as he had been when he had watched Kiana make a rock live. What were even stranger, were the contraptions that the gnomes had invented to make their lives easier. He was fascinated with a whistle that fitted over a kettle on an open fire that would sound when the water was boiling, he was already reaching for his coins to buy the item when he remembered that he didn’t have a kettle.
Taylar’s first task was to wander the market. He wanted to work out what the price differences were here. He wanted to find somewhere where he could sell some of his wares and where he could start working out what he wanted to buy here. Taylar made the rounds hawking the few animals he had selected to make this trip with him. The oddly coloured animals seemed to appeal to the gnomes and more than one gnome selected an animal just because it matched their own wild hair colour. He had quickly sold the few animals he brought partially because they were interesting and partially because he was giving fresh fruit away with the animals he sold.
Taylar was fascinated with the guns and fireworks, although he didn’t quite understand how they worked. Oddly, one of the firearms merchants was similarly fascinated with Taylar. While Taylar fiddled with the pistol mechanisms and cleaning rods and asked question after question about the nature of the fine explosive powder and it’s different forms, the merchant just watched Taylar. The merchant and his assistant answered Taylar’s questions, but were always economical with the information that they provided. Taylar offered the merchant fruit and worked out how much of each item to buy, all the time being aware of the security on the stall, most of the expensive pistols were kept in locked cases while only the basic pistols were on display.
After a while the merchant started asking Taylar questions, questions which Taylar answered in his normal honest way.
Merchant: “So where do you come from friend.”
Taylar: “I live in Skyhold; I own property. And how come we are friends?" Taylar looked at the merchant with suspicion.
Merchant: “Skyhold? And friend is a term of greeting for equals.”
Taylar: “How come we are equals?” The delusional gnome was confused, not that that was an uncommon state of being for him. For most of his life the merchants would have forced him to move along if he had paid this much attention to their stock.
Merchant: “You are a merchant as well? You bring interesting animals to sell, and the detailed questions you ask about our blasting powders shows you practice the alchemist’s art.”
Merchant: “You look like someone I used to know. In fact, at first I thought you must be him.”
Taylar: “Who was he?”
Merchant: “A merchant friend of mine. My brother by marriage actually.”
Taylar: “I can look like someone else if it bothers you.”
Merchant: “No-no. And what, how do you do that? It was just that he and my sister were killed many years ago. They were traveling in the human lands looking for some new suppliers when they got mugged.”
Taylar: “I am sorry to hear that. How do you make black-powder?”
Merchant: “Some humans apparently wanted the money they were carrying enough to kill them. There was a witness or two, apparently my sister was with child so she couldn’t run away.” The merchant ignored Taylar’s direct question.
Taylar: “Sounds harsh. It is such a pity that humans think they can take what the want.” The contrast of saying such things while working out the best way to sneak a pistol into his bag was utterly lost on Taylar.
Merchant: “What about you friend. What happened to your folks.” A strange thought was beginning to run around the merchant’s head.
Taylar: My folks were killed as well. Apparently my father was being screwed over by another merchant who wanted his suppliers and he was stubborn so he got cut. A few years ago, that merchant’s house burned down. It was a huge tragedy.” Taylar couldn’t help but smile at the memory of the merchant’s house burning while the merchant lay upstairs, his throat cut by one of the crossbow bolts that Hetty had gathered from near the corpses of Taylar’s parents.
Merchant: “That story sounds all too familiar. How old are you?”
Taylar: “I dunno. Why does it matter.”
Merchant: The merchant seemed confused by Taylar’s astuteness on some topics and his apparent stupidity on others. “How can you not know how old you are?”
Taylar: “I grew up on the streets, it doesn’t matter as much there. There are no birthdays on the streets. I would say, more than fifteen and less than thirty.”
Merchant: The merchant looked at Taylar extremely strangely. “If you were a normal gnome, and you were only thirty you would still be considered a child.” The merchant’s mind was running laps, of all the gnomes only glimmer gnomes matured so fast. His brother in law had been a glimmer gnome, extremely rare and deadly. The general gnomish community was split when it came to the subject of glimmer gnomes, some thought that they were a positive evolution to defend gnomish interests while others saw them as psychotic murderers.
Taylar: “But I am not a normal gnome.”
Merchant: “What do you mean.” Joy and alarm flooded the merchant. “Do you have different magical abilities to normal gnomes.”
Taylar: “Yes. But I know why.”
Merchant: “Why is that.”
Taylar: “Because I a demon.”
Merchant: The merchant automatically reached for a loaded pistol at his belt and slowly eased the hammer back. “What do you mean you are a demon.”
Taylar: “I am a demon summoned to protect gnomes. Apparently all gnomes came from another world long long ago.”
Merchant: “Who told you that you were a demon? Can you touch cold iron?”
Taylar: “Sure I can touch cold iron. I have a cold iron sword.” Taylar beamed proudly. “Some gnomes I met in a far away place told me that demons came from other planes and that gnomes came from other planes as well.”
Merchant: “I am sorry to tell you this, but you are probably not a demon. The gnomes of old came from a Fey world not from a demon world.”
Taylar: “You mean I am a fairy?”
Merchant: “No, I mean you are a gnome. But that gnomes have some fairy blood in them, if we go back centuries.”
Taylar: “How do you know that? I haven’t eaten any fairies.”
Merchant: “It is in all the history books.”
To Be Continued…
Taylar: “Books lie. How do you know that all gnomes don’t have some demon blood in them?”
Merchant: “Look at gnomish hair and gnomish features. They tend to be brightly coloured and pretty.”
Taylar: “But demons are just as varied as fairies are.”
Merchant: “Tell me about your gnomish abilities.”
Taylar: “I can make lights and sounds. I can perform little tricks. Oh and I can disappear.”
Merchant: The merchant’s face rose immediately when Taylar said this, there could be no other explanation for the similarity of features. “You told me you lived in Skyhold, where was it that your parents died.”
Taylar: “Landsbreak. I lived there for a time.”
Merchant: “Okay. And do you know either of your parent’s names.”
Taylar: “My fathers name was Roberto, but I don’t know what my mother’s name was.”
Merchant: “Are you going to be in town long?”
Taylar: “Just a couple of days.”
Merchant: “I need to check a few things. Can you come back and see me before you leave.”
Taylar: “I suppose. Do you ask all your customers this many strange questions? Hold me a barrel of smoke-powder?”
Merchant: “Sure, I will see you soon.”