The Drylands (Pathfinder)
Warnings, Conspiracies, and Gnomes
It wasn’t hard for Tiggol to find the caravan. Gnomes were a rarity in the desert and often remarked on. Hard wasn’t the same as quick, though, and it took a few weeks of tracking city to city to catch up with them.
A quick conversation with the sentry on watch, and Tiggol made his way to the tent of Nym and Sheeria. Nym was out riding scout, but Sheeria was home, looking into a polished mirror.
“Hi Sheeria, how’s the kid?” said Tiggol from the tent entrance.
“I was just checking in on her,” said Sheeria. “Turns out she’s got a gleam for magic, like me. She took off a few months ago, but I check in on her once in a while.”
“Wouldn’ta figured it of her. But I guess you never know. Always nice to have your kid do well for herself though,” said Tiggol.
“I just hope she doesn’t draw too much attention to herself. She’s joined up with a whole bunch of others with the gleam. But small talk aside, what’s brought you back here?” asked Sheeria.
Tiggol made a gesture towards the inside of the tent, and Sheeria waved him inside. As he came in, she gave him a brief hug. Releasing him, she clamped her hands on his shoulders.
“I always love to see you, but it’s a nervous kind of love since you only tend to show up when there’s trouble about,” she said.
“Working for the cause, as are we all,” Tiggol said with a little bow, “and I am afraid this visit is no different. And it wasn’t really small talk we were doing, either.”
“Yes, as we’re finding out, the way the gleam works in this world is different from the way the flux works in the First World,” said Tiggol.
“We knew that,” said Sheeria, “If it worked the same, we wouldn’t have most of our race still stuck working on that accursed monster’s project.”
“But we keep finding out HOW it works differently. For instance, on the return, the gleaming concentrates. Each gleam usually finds its way into the company of gleams of a similar strength, regardless of where it was initially or previously,” said Tiggol.
“Interesting, and it would explain my daughter’s new friends. But why is that worth a return visit? The last time you showed up, we had to hide for three months until the hunters passed over. This doesn’t seem of the same significance,” said Sheeria.
“True, and I think I’ll stay a bit longer this time to mull it over with Nym and the others,” said Tiggol, as he settled into a beanbag and took a drink from his waterskin. “Still, once I figured that out, I was able to figure out a few more things.
“One,” he continued, “there are several groups of people with powerful gleams who have an interest in maintaining the status quo of this world.
“Two, these people know about the gleam’s concentration tendency and apply the knowledge to use groups of gleamers with greater or lesser subtlety to further their own ends.
“Three, a new player has entered the game. This player does not have the typical motives of propping up societal structures and maintaining balances of power. No one seems to know who they are or what they want. What the old powers do know is that the new player is redirecting their pawns and disrupting their plans.”
Sheeria waited until Tiggol wound down and was looking at her expectantly. “Ok. I’ll bite,” she said, “It’s interesting, but not obviously a clear and present danger to the Diaspora.”
Tiggol grinned, “Four and Five.
“Four. Two of the groups running things are the Oathbound Order and the Bonepickers of Urgathoa. There is at least one more, possibly two others, but I only have speculation about them.
“Five. The known powers are only aware of one group that came into world politics recently, that is not part of an established power structure, and that is regularly associated with forces strong enough to upset the status quo. Care to guess who they suspect their secret enemy is?”
Sheeria’s eyes widened, “Us.”