A Gremlin spoke to me. He didn’t say much, but he spoke.
I had run out of potions so abandoned my training to head back into town and restock. I had some farmer’s smocks in my pack and thought I’d drop them in to the Gremlins – they use excess fabrics for nesting.
A greeted them as I always do, and one snickered. They usually do no engage me at all. So I thought I’d best seize the opportunity and ask; I asked about cannons. After our meeting the turn previous, Synvasti had asked of the rumour that Gremlins had been great mechanics during the Golden Age.
The Gremlin did indeed know what cannons were. He threw up his little arms and proclaimed ‘BOOOM!’
But how did he know? I asked and he shrugged. I asked if they had the schematics and he shrugged. I fed him an apple. Which he devoured, core and all. I wish that I’d brought more food. I usually carry more food, but not this turn. I asked if Gremlins ate other humanoids, like how Trolls and Ogres do. His brown eyes glimmered at the mention of ‘eating’. He shown me his sharp teeth and stuck out his fuzzy tongue. I think it is safe to assume that in the Gremlin’s current, dismal state, they will eat just about anything to survive.
When I asked his name, he pointed to the centre of his forehead and announced ‘Cleb!’ I introduced myself in the same fashion, pointing a finger to my own forehead and introducing myself as ‘Bif’.
Bifrost may have been overly complex for his tongue. He had trouble in the enunciation of Bernard. ‘Ber-nard!’ He had said, separating out the word sounds. I had asked after Bernard the Feisty Gremlin (the Gremlin author of the note in the Hollowed Tree Workshop and who I assume to be the maker of the Junk Golem). Cleb informed me that Bernard was dead. He told me via mime.
It troubles me to hear of Bernard’s death. With the only known sample of Gremlin writing coming from him I can only hope that he was not the last living intelligent Gremlin. I can only hope that he passed on his learning to others before his death. Just how old is Bernard’s note in the workshop? Have Gremlin’s organisational skills gone so entirely that it has been left there for many years? The workshop is still under use by Gremlin engineers, so surely it is not so very old… And Cleb remembered him. Does this mean that Bernard existed within living memory of Cleb?
The differing of their names even could possibly not bode well. It cannot be denied that Cleb is a far more primitive sounding name in comparison to Bernard. Or perhaps the differing in their names only marks Gremlin’s separation from human culture becoming more prominent. Cleb’s language skills seemed lacking, but he mimicked. He copied the saying of my name, gestures and expressions. Maybe this is some proof that Gremlins did indeed learn the common tongue from living closely with humans.
I hope to be able to speak with Cleb again. Next time, I hope visit with Brielle.
I hope that the schematics for a cannon do lie somewhere in the tree. I told Cleb that the humans would trade with him for them. I said that the Gremlins could name their price – for I am sure that the humans would give most anything to have the cannons back.
Heck, I would give anything to have those schematics. They would be a piece of solid proof of Gremlin intelligence. If I had them… I perhaps stand a better chance of saving them. I just hope that Cleb understands just how important it is… If the Gremlins have such knowledge at all.