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Old 02-19-2011, 01:19 AM   #56

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Young Man Eaten by Gnolls … Almost by Vellum The'ReporterAssociated Norrathian Press

While passing through the great gate from Antonica into the Thundering Steppes this Reporter happened upon a mussed-up little female gnome crying piteously and pleading for help. She was sitting on the path, ringing her hands and fretting. Of course, I ran right up to her just as a rather rowdy crowd of roving adventurers surrounded her.

Fitting my Tinkertronic Ink Creator and Shaper over a sheet of parchment, I was about to ask the girl, whose name turned out to be Elzabet if something awful… eh… I mean if something had happened, when she burst out "Nosfeg! Where are you? Are you all right? Someone? Anyone? Please help me!" Followed by "My poor Nosfeg! I hope he's okay!"

While I was wondering what kind of person would be named Nose-feg, several of the crowd rudely pushed me aside to get closer to Elzabet as she begin telling her story. Apparently this Nosfeg, described as handsome and promising a picnic had taken her to a beach, with who knows what real intentions. Before anything happened however, they were set upon by gnolls! The girl looked faint when one of the crowd suggested that the gnolls might have eaten him already. In an excess of newsy enthusiasm, this Reporter burst out "Did they? Did they eat him? What a great headline!" Unfortunately this earned me a menacing glance from the young girl who vehemently denied this possibility, without any evidence that I could discern. Although she said Nosfeg had told her to do it, it was apparent she'd just run away to save herself, with little apparent thought for her lover's safety. She was now hoping this unruly crowd would save him for her.

Urging them on she said, "Our picnic was going to be on the western beach - it's so pretty and romantic! So he's probably still near there." Though she lacked this Reporter's ability to tell a well crafted tale, the crowd still agreed to help her. Most of them refused to be interviewed about their motivations for joining the search, even implying that this Reporter was just being nosey. Imagine! With reporterly persistence, I was able to find out that at least one of them was a professional necromancer! Not really a professional I would want hunting for my beloved. And in fact I did hear the girl mumble under her breath that she hoped these adventurers weren't going to kill her love when they found him. Not a very auspicious way to start this search!

But start it finally did. I'd hoped to find out some more information as we proceeded along. But Elzabet, who somewhat suspiciously refused to answer any questions, kept getting lost and talking incessantly about how wonderful this Nosfeg was. She was completely oblivious to the fact that all around her the band of "rescuers" was slaughtering everything that moved! Many completely harmless animals, and sentient creatures as well were casually, wantonly killed! Though sickened by the slaughter, with the public's right to know uppermost in my mind, I pressed on with the group.

Just as even these ruffians began to lose patience, we stumbled, quite by accident I am sure, upon the "wonderful and handsome" Nosfeg. Imagine this Reporter's surprise when he turned out to be a stumpy little gnome, quite dirty, a bit smelly and barely covered by his clothing!

Though it defies reason, it has to be admitted that Elzabet and Nosfeg seemed genuinely happy to find each other safe and well. He almost immediately dropped to his knees, pulled out a ring (worth an amount he refused to disclose) and asked Elzabet to marry him. Unsurprisingly she said yes. They were getting quite affectionate when they remembered that they were surrounded by a large crowd of their rescuers - some of whom seemed to be eyeing the engagement ring with a great deal of interest. Suddenly realizing the ruffians might not have been helping them out of the goodness of their hearts, the two young lovers offered what they had - the leftovers from their picnic. As you can imagine most of the adventurers left soon after this. This Reporter heard some things she dare not repeat in a family newspaper about the "rewards" they'd received. I must admit the slice of cake I was somewhat grudgingly given was quite good, if a little squashed from its sojourn in Nosfeg's backpack.

As I was trying to interview Nosfeg about his experiences with the gnolls, one of the rescuers who had, up to this point pretended to concern and happiness at the engagement suddenly turned on us - all of us! He assumed his true form, a huge golden dragon, and emitted a low rumble and then a roar at Nosfeg!

Reacting, as she no doubt had with the gnolls, Elzabet took a few steps back and began shrieking - likely the reason Nosfeg told her to run when they were attacked by the gnolls - anything to get her to be quiet! My own reaction, though verbally no more than a quiet "My goodness," also involved taking a few steps back.

The enormous dragon turned it piercing eyes on us and said, "Now that everyone is gone, it's time to eat you three!"

"Dear, I believe we should get while the getting is good. Don't you?" Nosfeg whispered. Elzabet agreed, from her hiding spot behind him, "It does seem very dangerous here all of a sudden."

For once this Reporter agreed with her. Nosfeg took his love by the hand and scooted. No consideration for me, of course, nevertheless I was close behind.

The last thing we heard as we ran into the safety of Thundermist Village was the dragon's frustrated shout, "You can't run!"

The dragon was wrong! We could, we did. And this Reporter survived the incredible dangers to write this story for you, the readers of our journal.

Oh, and the two little gnomes did get married, and they will, I suspect, live happily ever after.

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