Posted: June 11th, 2009 under the writing life.
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Gnomes, you may recall, are very strict interpreters of their Law and neither give nor accept “gifts”–they’re tit-for-tat and return very precisely good for good and evil for evil according to either their own valuation or (if you negotiate) their own valuation you’ve accepted contractually.

So if you give the gnome prince something of value, the gnome prince must give you something of equal value.  And you had best accept it or you are in breach of the Law.   The prince is the interpreter of the Law for his people (and anyone who happens to be standing before his throne.)

Our travelers have both intentionally and unwittingly (young officers do sometimes reveal things) given the gnome prince what he considers great value…but they’re also a great nuisance.  So as a great-value return, tit for tat, he sends them away…in a very special way.   What I think he’s failed to consider (being a gnome and not a human) is the effect of having about 80 humans who know a gnome secret let loose in the world and the near-impossibility of confusing/fooling a seasoned NCO.

Nobody intends to cause more trouble…

I didn’t know about the gnomes’ secret either until I was writing this morning’s chunk, just over 1100 words.

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