Fall of Gnomer 4 By the time the survivors made it to the cafeteria, green smog had already filled the Hall of Gears. Dalnig rounded everyone up, keeping them as far from the room's entrance as possible. They had to keep ahead of the clouds, away from the weapon's effects. The two remaining technicians were selected to rework environment sterilizers originally used to keep food fresh underground. Some argued it would slow or halt the spread of the smog, at the very least diverting it from the cafeteria. Gelbin insisted on going. Others tried to stop him, Dalnig included, but he wouldn't hear it. If so many were to die, he had to do what he could to save the handful left. "You'll be exposed to the radiation," one of the technicians pointed out. "You could die." Gelbin's goggles lit the gnome's face, "I'm well aware of the dangers. Two
Fall of Gnomer 3 Grunts of victory echoed in the small tunnel, guttural and falsetto at once. Dozens of Trogg bumped forcibly against once another, challenging friends as well as celebrating with them. At the end of the newly dug cavern, a humanoid larger than any of the others raised his massive head and roared above the din. The Trogg quieted, their beady black eyes drinking in the praises of their leader. They'd killed many small things, even captured a few. They would eat well tonight. Grubbis let his roar fade into the cavern, spittle sliding down his fat bottom lip. His teeth ground together as his people answered with their own war cries, pride and the red haze filling his swollen body. He couldn't wait for tomorrow, when the small things would fall beneath him again. He would use their corpses for bedding and throw their metal things topside. Let tha
The Fall of Gnomer 2 The door gave Gelbin the creeps. Boards were haphazardly nailed across the front as if given sloppy repairs. Corrosion and rust crept along the edges with a strange green tinge the High Tinker had never seen before. Worse yet, symbols faintly glowed along the wood, the green light shifting as if it were a living thing. He glared at the writings, his goggles working frantically to translate them. Nothing. He glanced at Sicco, unsure whether or not he should knock. Sicco smirked, reached past his friend and banged on the metal. "SOMEBODYATZORAM'SHOME!" a screeching voice pierced Gelbin's eardrum even through the thick door. "SOMEBODYIDENTIFYSELF!" "Gelbin Mekkatorque, King of Gnomes, High Tinker of Gnomeregan!" "LIESSILLYLIES! TINKERNOCOMEHERE! MISTRESSSAYSDOORSTAYSHUT!"
The Fall of Gnomer 1 Another failure. Gelbin held his head in his tired hands, the visual display on his goggles switching off. He didn't want to see the video feed from last night. He didn't need to watch as Trogg swarmed Gnomeregan's dormitories and annihilated his people. He'd seen enough of that in the past four months. He leaned back in his elaborate chair, staring at the ceiling of Tinker's Court. He'd lost track of how many strategies the council had come up with. Not because he'd forgotten. Gelbin never forgot anything. Instead, he'd purposefully forced the climbing number from his mind and focused on the few victories. Three. Three times the gnomes had forced the Trogg back up their run, gaining ground instead of losing it. Three times in four months. That number needed to grow, and quickly.
The Beetle and the Satyr There was something about a dense wood in fall that made Patrick nervous. The familiar, comforting green was gone and replaced with dying trees and leaf corpses. Burning colors that hurt the eye and cluttered the ground. It was hard to hide, harder to move around quietly. Every step burst with a horrible crunch like he'd stumbled on an exposed corpse. His head shook abruptly. Silly thoughts, early stages of paranoia. Imagine someone like him comparing climate change to something as morbid as an unearthed body. He shook again, dismissing the images, and refocused on the young woman ahead of him. He'd been following her for half an hour, according to his Rolex. She was behaving just as her file warned, chasing things unseen and giggling to herself. Once, she used both thin arms to grab a pile of leaves and throw them overhead. She stood there with childish joy on her upturned face as they fluttered around her like li