The mildew has overflowed the creases between the damp cobblestones and has begun to dominate the very surface of the wall. It seems to make a little more leeway everytime you step into this dark and drippy room. It smells; giving off an almost edible aroma. Which consequently makes you sick to your stomach. The smell exacerbates the small size of the room, almost cell like, suffocating in so many ways.
It is summertime, and the sun is shining boundlessly upon innocent children playing in the fields somewhere, elsewhere. Anywhere but in this dank basement. The only thing boundless in this room is ennui. A crotchety old gnome is perched upon a very tall stool with wheels on the bottom across from you, shuffling through a seemingly endless stack of papers. He wears impossibly thick spectacles that seems to offset the weight of his entire diminuitive body; using his nose as a fulcrum. He leans forward enthusiastically mulling over the documents before him. He continually murmurs something, almost musical, possibly only to himself, that you can’t quite make out. You find it infinitely annoying.
The gnome’s name is Lebohang Gildersbaffle, he is your dispatcher at the Gemini Detective Agency. Perpetually absentminded, everytime he has an assignment for you he takes a good eternity and a half to find it within the paper anarchy that is his desk.
Finally he seems to have it, Eureka! The old gnome cries out, though Lebohang’s grating southern accent makes it sound more like Youricka! The stubby little fingers finally find their grasp around a single piece of parchment just like any other in the pile. He looks up at you; a broad grin on his face, his beady little eyes are magnified tenfold behind his thick spectacles, making him look like some sort of comical frog monster, they dart back and forth between you and the paper in front of him, this goes on for about a minute.
Then a confused furrow crosses his brow, the grin disappears from his face. Oh… I’m sorry, you aren’t Smee the Petulant… my pardon, I beg of you. Lebohang reshuffles the document in his hands back into the pile again and restarts his search. The moss is still there.
After about another fifteen minutes Lebohang gives up. He throws his short arms up into the air, 2 stacks of about 20 papers each cascade onto the floor below.Dagny? Dagny?
A bubbly redhead pokes her head through the door from the anteroom outside, she has the perpetual look of surprise upon her face… Yes, Mr. Gildersbaffle?
Lebohang: Uh… Dagny, have you uh…
Dagny spots you and smiles and her eyes grow bigger, she shrugs slightly and gives you one of her trademark shimmy finger waves.
Lebohang: Uh… have you seen this employee’s profile form? I seem to have misplaced it.
Dagny: Oh… I dunno Mr. Gildersbaffle, have you checked your desk?
Lebohang looks down reflectively and frowns, nodding. Thank you, Dagny.
Sure thing boss. Her head dissappears.
Well, we’ll just have to fill out one of these… wuup… The old gnome gives his desk a swift kick, the force carries his stool over to the back of the room, where a tall bookshelf filled with even more loose pieces of paper is leaning against the wall. He grabs a stack of papers of these and kicks himself back to his desk.
Alright then… State your name, please. What? That’s it? Well… that’s hardly impressive at all… Lebohang marks it down on the paper.
Race? Uh… I’m requried to tell you that that question is optional…
Gender? What? With fashions now a days it’s sometimes very hard to tell!
Describe your occupation in 8 words please… what? No! I said eight, dammit!
List the 5 skills you possess that you value the most…
How many pounds can you lift over your head?
He turns the page.
What do you think your greatest weakness is?
What are your three favorite animals?
He smiles after the first, he raises a bushy left eyebrow after you say the second, and after the third… he mutters: Well… that’s just… wrong.
What do you think is the most impressive thing you’ve ever done in your career?
What is the most embarassing?
He turns to another page.
If you could make love to the most beautiful man or woman… what? Yes, men or women, look… we don’t judge here, in the world, would you perfer it in a gigantic 4 poster bed, in the back of a rickety wagon, or beside a muddy stream?
What type of creature do you enjoy fighting the most?
Okay now for the last question… Lebohang rummages about in a drawer he pulls out a piece of parchment with a crude drawing upon it:
It is the last days of the Goridian war, you and your 3 comrades have been captured by a Cyruffian Mercenary Company, they send you to De Kuip, the most infamous prison camp in the history of Maribor, run by the sadistic Colonel Hermann Hogenkamp, he decides to give you one chance to escape certain death. He lines you and your comrades up, with a gigantic stone wall inbetween you. He tells you that he will give you each a hat to wear, he tells you there are 2 black hats and 2 white hats. None of you can see the color of the hat that you wear, he lines you up thus: #1 faces to his right, he can only see the wall, everyone else on the right side of the wall, is facing left. Hence #4 can see the color of #2 and #3’s hats, #3 can see #2’s, and #2 cannot see anyone’s. He tells you if you can guess the color hat that you are wearing he set you all free, but if you guess incorrectly, he will kill you all… and possibly your families as well. Which of the your comrades is able to know what color hat he is wearing, and why? There is no trick regarding the wall, please disregard the fact that it is wavy curvey or what have you, you can’t look over it through it or under it. What? What’s that? No! NO QUESTIONS, YOU THINK THE CRYUFFIANS ANSWERED OUR QUESTIONS? TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!
And that concludes this portion of the interview, thank you very much… He turns to the first page of the papers, he looks at the top of it intensly for a few seconds… he looks back up at you. Uh… Thank you very much. He gives you a dismissive wave. Please retire to the mess hall, we shall call upon you when we need you again.
You exit back out into the anteroom, which is about twice as large as Lebohang’s office and probably half as pungent.
Dagny sits at a small desk her head leaning forward resting on a fist, twirling her hair, So how’d it go?The mess hall is about a 75 yard journey through a series of winding tunnels. The Guild Headquarters is situated within an abandoned ancient temple dedicated to some evil and hateful god, eons banished from this realm. The ruins had been cleared out decades ago, Lebohang sometimes regales you… rather subjects, with tales of how he and 7 stout “peasants” managed to clear the tunnels of an entire horde of umber hulks in a mere 3 hours. While you have never found any signs of umber hulks, there are indications that a great battle of some sort was fought here, arrow shafts protrude from between the softer parts of the wall, broken weapons can be found in the dark corners and if one dared to pass into the lesser ventured portions even entire skeletons, armored in rust. The entire complex is underground a large wooded hill, the tunnels are arranged in a seemingly random manner, many a time can you hear the panicked echoes of new comers calling out for directions or water. A sparse system of torches lights most of the more traveled tunnels. Though darkness is not the only treachery in these subterreanan halls, the denizens must also brave a vast array of deactivated traps; large walls of spears sometimes block off half of the already cramped corridors, skinny planks provide passage over pits that lead to god knows where, probably death. You reach the mess hall. The boisterous yells of a dwarf and a quickly strummed lute can be heard from afar…
The mess hall is the largest room. The floor is smooth, and decorated with semi precious stones in a mosiac like manner. The four entrances all look in upon the giant onyx idol of some sort of rat god with 2 rows of mammooth teats that run down its belly, the statue is standing upright with one arm held upward almost brushing the very high ceilings of the room, the eyes had been embedded with gemstones of some sort, but they had long been removed, the various scraps around the eyes show that it was probably done hastily. The mess hall is also the only room with an atrium, and when the room is empty, which is very seldom, the soothing noises of the forest above echoes its way into the room. The atrium also provides for a direct beam of sunlight to shine somewhere onto the floor below. Someone, probably Eidur or Darnielle, has marked certain parts of the floor so that they can denote what time of day it is by the positioning of that beam of light. This seems likely because the two never seem to leave this room, it also seems unlikely because the two also have nowhere to go, and hence would not need to know what time it is. There are grooves that run diagonally across the room, that serve to channel the rainwater into 4 perfectly square holes that are located at the corners of the room. The holes are a bit of a quandry, that Eidur and Darnielle try to solve, usually while drunk. They seem to be of limitless depth, as the members of the guild have been throwing garbage down the holes for as long as one can remember, yet even now, when anything is tossed into the corner holes, there is no sound. The holes are too small to fit even a halfling through, though Eidur one time managed to squeeze his head down one of them for a look see; he stayed upside down for almost 30 hours.
The company dog, ironically named Maimer, lies down in the large spot of sun provided by the atrium. It is ridiculously old, and has inhabited that space for as long as anyone can remember, refusing to die.
There are 4 large wooden rectangular tables situated in each quadrant of the room. The northeastern one is the home to the two friends Eidur and Darnielle, they have marked their territory with a massive pile of discarded bottles. They are looking to add two more to the pile as you enter. The two seem to have lured Madeline Klein the red-headed druid to their table. She sits on the bench facing outward, with a very straight posture and her hands folded neatly on her lap, she has an unassuming smile on her lips but an knowing twinkle in her eye. Eidur sits to her left on the bench, at what you would consider an uncomfortably close distance.
Aw just a wee bit ta drink, Maddie, it’ll do ye wonders fer ye counten’ce… Eidur says in a husky whisker, he waves a bottle of ale drunkely at the druid, spilling some on her.
I’m quite alright, Eidur, really… The druid briskly brushes off the stain on her shoulder.
Aw lass, ye arnae ‘llright til ye had a swig o’ this, General Ironbeard’s Private Reserve. Private, lass! Private! Eidur’s voice becomes unbearably loud, emphasizing the last word with a spray of spit. It’ll leave a ‘ole this big in yer liver! Eidur makes a circle with his thumb and index finger.
Madeline furrows her brow and bites her lip, thinking over what Eidur has claimed his elixir can do, then nods slightly.
Um… I don’t drink, Eidur. She finally says politely.
Ye dun wha? But, lass, ye so… interested in all that nature bollocks, dun ya know that ale’s natural? ‘S nothin’ but liquid bread! Ye eat bread dunnae?
A perplexed look crosses the druid’s face again. Umm… Her eyes scan the room nervously, desperatly seraching for help.
Darnielle flanks the right side of Madeline sitting ontop the table itself, he has his lute in his hands, strumming out a single chord with drunken ferocity. He sings. His voice is nasal and unashamed.
The morning glories climb the walls
And you speak in a slow drawl
I’m trying to piece together what you’re saying
But the birds are screeching and the hounds are baying
I don’t remember there being any hounds around here!
We lean back and we clink our glasses…
Raise the drinks to our thirsty mouths; thick as molasses…
Ice cold vodka eases in,
As the low pressure system brings the breezes in…
And they sashey and pirouette above you…
He stops. Mid chord. And looks slowly around the room for the words. He doesn’t find them. He starts another song, his singing style does not change…
Yea… you smile at me… in total defiance of all decency,
You got it down to a science!
Niklas Bendnter stands at one end of the room, struggling with the steam powered beverage automaton: a large orange box, taller than a man and maybe twice as wide, with a series of buttons on the left side and a small alcove, where the selected beverage is dispensed, a small table is beside it with an assortment of vials with what you persume to be containing confections of some sort. Bendnter stands before the large machine with a large glazed mug with the crest of Heironous on it, he looks very angry. He presses a button and waits for the beverage to dispense, the machine churns mightly, chokes and sputters some steam, finally filling his cup. He raises the mug to his lips. Grrrr! His large frame shakes with rage. I said Camameal, damnit! He shakes the machine with both fists. Then tosses the liquid contents of his mug over his shoulder, the boiling tea spills onto the floor, some of it draining away into the grooves. The small river of tea flowing towards the mystery hole suggests that he’s been doing this for quite some time..
Rebecca and Vadania sit idly at the northwestern table watching the epic battle take place. They aren’t very talkative, each sipping their tea with a bored expression on their face.
Vandnia holds her mug with both hands for warmth, turning her head sideways slightly: I don’t care, he’s still handsome…
Rebecca shrugs and breaks a half grin. I guess, so…
They both shrug.
At the southeastern table sits a gargantuan man, wearing simple clothes, his hair is unkempt and very long. Sitting alone, he still takes up a good half of the table. He is dining on some bird of some sort off a very small circular plate, laid out perfectly in front of him, holding a tiny set of knife and fork in his colosal hands. Taking his time to cut off miniscule pieces of his meal and thoughtfully putting it into his mouth, then chewing for what seems like minutes at a time. A frilly handkerchief is tucked into the neck of his shirt, resting there almost like a necktie, after every few bites or so he will raise the dainty cloth and dab his lips.
The southwestern table is empty.