Not much of a set up here. This is the introduction for Hyde who is a crafting gremlin that helps Kira Grasdon out. Enjoy!
“Sit on the stool, Little Rayne, and I’ll be right with you,” a sharp voice shouts from the back of the shop. Loud crashes can be heard as stacks of boxes shift, the source of the disturbance remaining out of sight. “Last I heard, you were the attendant for the woman who defeated Aganippe. I hope you didn’t make her mad and get yourself fired. That job seemed like it would be a lot easier than your usual tasks. Not sure I have much for you to do, but there’s some inventory that needs organizing. That should earn you a few coins. I better not find that ugly beast in my store. Not after it ate half of my wand supply.”
“I promise that he’s outside, Mr. Hyde!” Rayne shouts after shooing the Gooie Pig out the front door. Waving for Kira to find a seat, she stares in wonder at the tools hanging from the ceiling and unfinished projects scattered about the tiered tables. “Mr. Hyde is the greatest builder and enchanter in Lacarsis. I think it’s because he’s a gremlin, but not like the type you normally find around the city. He’s this rare kind that can talk with words, read, and use his magic to create relics. This is what you wanted, right?”
“Sounds like it,” Kira answers as she wanders the shop. She gets a sense that she should not touch anything, the atmosphere similar to that of a gnomish inventor’s workshop. “I don’t see anything that would work for me. Like I said before, I don’t carry a common weapon and all of the armor I see is too heavy. I’ve been thinking of wearing normal clothes anyway. I’d be able to move faster and if I die then I die.”
“The rumors are right that you’re a dour one,” Hyde says with a crackling laugh. A suit of leather armor is suddenly pushed out from behind a crate, the crafter still completely hidden from view. “You either fight to win or don’t fight at all. Now, I’m not offering this to you because it’s for another customer that has a tail. Just letting you know that it can be done. You use one of those chain, sickle, and club weapons of the desert, right? I traveled a lot in my youth and something like that tends to stay in your memory. Not that I know how to make one, but I might be able to help if you’re serious about the competition. Last thing I want is to put time and effort into someone who’s going to let herself get eaten. Don’t even want to show myself to someone like that.”
Worried that they are going to be turned away, Rayne hurries to the crate even though she knows the gremlin is not there. “Please help her, Mr. Hyde. It’s my job to take care of Lady Grasdon and that includes bringing her to places that can help her win. I promise that she isn’t going to get herself killed on purpose. She talks sad and acts broken, but I know she’s serious about the competition. After all, she killed Aganippe instead of dying. If you want, I can be your assistant on these projects. You can even take me as payment.”
Stepping out from between a pair of shelving units near the front door, Hyde wipes his hands on his apron. The gremlin is no bigger than a human toddler, an extra foot gained only because of a tall, black feather sprouting from his head. Magical sparks are on his fingers, which are longer than his entire body and have ten joints on each digit. Moss on the bottom of his wide feet allows him to walk without making a noise and he does not leave the slightest print in his wake. A cracked monocle is on his right eye, the chain connected to a small ring in his forked nose. Coming to a table, Hyde rapidly compresses his body until he can scuttle under the furniture and returns to his normal form once he is on the other side. As he walks by the women, they see that he only has the apron on and there is a large stump where a tail used to be. The scar tissue is still red with white around the edges, the ugly wound causing him to reach back and scratch every few minutes. Climbing onto a cluttered workbench, the gremlin opens a box that emits a green glow. He delicately pulls out two fuzzy caterpillars that he promptly slips into his mouth, his flat teeth grinding his lunch into a paste that sends a tickle down his throat.
“So, I’m interested enough to meet with you, but that can change at any moment,” Hyde explains, his silver and brown eyes shifting towards the Gooie Pig. Picking up a small gem, he throws it at the pet and freezes it before it can enter.