For the Greater Good

By Nearo a - Posted Jul 11, 18
((preceding parts available here ))

a month later...

The gnome hunched over the wide drawing table shoved in the corner of the workshop. This particular part of the workshop was remarkably clean and far from errant gushes of oil and glowing hot sparks that may soil or otherwise damage the intricate schematics arrayed on the low walls separating it from the work area. Hundreds of rolled prints were neatly organized and color-coded in the dozens of small square storage compartments under the table, each one labeled in a sequence of numbers and Gnomish for accuracy's sake. Gnomes pride themselves on detailed, quality and disciplined engineering practices. It's one of the things that separate them from Goblins who just cobble together failure and explosion-prone contraptions with no documentation to improve on the designs over time.
The door was closed - as it usually is when he was developing his schematics... when he heard a knock on the door.
He ignored the knock, hoping they'd go away. He was busy, damn it!
It knocked again... and again... and again.
"Who is it?! Don't you see the door is in the closed position?!?" barked the gnome in his squeaky voice with the ferocity of a worgen - clenching his fist as he bellowed, surprising and also impressing himself as he heard the pencil in his hand snap in two as he clenched his fist in anger.
"It's us, sir." spoke two soft female voices in unison.
The gnome's anger turned to excited anticipation as he tossed the broken pencil into a trash bin in the corner, the wood pieces bouncing off balls of crumpled drawing paper that almost reached the top of the bin. He rushed to unlock the door before bouncing back over the table back onto his stool.
"Well why didn't you say so?! Come in! Come in!" implored the gnome, now a broad smile on his face as the two tall, slim figures passed through the door and into the tiny office. "Take a seat, please!" he finished, pointing at the two chairs next to the door.
"It is same to presume you have valuable data to share, correct?"
"Yes, sir." responded the two hooded figures, but only the one on the right continued. "We have identified an apothecary that resides somewhere in Silverpine Forest, outside of the protection of the Undercity."
The gnome's eyes lit up.
"Intriguing! And you believe we may be able to extract data from this individual?" inquired the gnome with a combination of anticipation and skepticism.
"We believe so, sir." replied the hooded figure on the left. "The contacts you provided have proved to be less disciplined than we had anticipated, which is working to our advantage. They are tracking down the exact location in Silverpine as clumsily and noisily as expected, so it should draw attention away from our own agents in the area and hopefully draw out this apothecary". She pulled out an old picture from her cloak and placed it on the table. The gnome promptly picked it up and began to examine the picture with a magnifying lens, looking for any signs of forgery.
"And this apothecary's name, agents?"
"Our sources have identified him as Mortignis, Sir. Based on the information we have, it is wise to assume him to be quite dangerous."
"That adds an additional complex variable to the equation... we require him still be "alive" if we are to retrieve any valuable data!." responded the gnome.
"Yes, Sir." nodded the two figures in agreement.
"Continue tracking those savages you hired, but do so from an adequate distance to retain stealth and avoid detection, agents. We may need to sacrifice future use of their services in order to capture this Mortignis. I will inform the Captain and begin making preparations."
The gnome stood back up, the two hooded figures standing up in unison immediately after.
"Rendezvous with our people in Andorhal and make your way into Silverpine. No loose ends, agents. Dismissed!"
The two hooded figures walked out the door, closing it behind them as the gnome opened the drawer under his drawing pencil, pulling out a new pencil to continue his work.