I write this account in one of my less and less frequent moments of lucidity. Although the publication of my story will serve only to damn me in the sight of mortals as I am damned already in the sight of the divine, I feel compelled to pen this narrative today. My life, if one could stretch the definition of the term “life” to encompass my profane existence, is soon to come to an end. Which Providence has granted me this, my final moment of clarity, I cannot say, for I know of none that would take such pity on as horrific a soul as mine. The only assumption I can make is that there was some Purpose to these last moments of freedom from my own madness. This, I suppose, was to commit my tale to paper, perhaps to warn others against following in my footsteps, or to serve as a final confession of all my sins to the free peoples of this world. I know I must face judgment in the next one.
—Sorry for interrupting. This takes place in the Meier setting I detailed in my previous posts. I am going for a Lovecraftian style with this one. Any similarity to actual persons, living or undead, is probably coincidental and you shouldn’t worry about it.—
The name by which I call myself is Bartemius Alexei Tollbert Sea-Bastion Benjamin Cumulonimbus Loki Moor. I am called by many other names, as well, but once upon a time I was known by a much simpler one: Barty. Barty Moor was my name, and I was rather proud of it. Fifteen years old is still early childhood for a gnome. I was still setting out on the voyage which is life, and had so much time to make names for myself.
My parents, good, brave gnomes both, had decided to move our family to the New World, for little reason other than the challenge of pioneering. I remember the voice of my father, Mr. Dilbert Istlewaith Silton Moor, more than I recall his face. In my memory, it was always angry, for it usually fell to him to correct my youthful misbehavior. “Stop not fidgeting!” “Don’t eat strange wild plants until you’ve washed them!” “Don’t go into the haunted house past your bedtime!” By contrast, I remember my mother, Neth, had a gentle face, but I have no memory of her voice. I do recall that she spoke little of Gardish, being from the dark, secretive land of Urst. My parents, therefore, conversed largely in the racial tongue of the gnomes; I learned Gardish from my fellow youngsters, growing up.
I was very popular with my young friends, as I recall. Such a troublemaker I was, even at that young age, always searching out the forbidden and the secret. I would encourage my friends to join me on excursions of a varied and devious, if ultimately harmless, sort. It seemed to my young mind that the world hid many secrets, which waking, everyday life existed for the sole purpose of concealing. I would tell my playmates that such secrets could not exist anywhere where the twin subterfuges of light and permission encouraged us to look; therefore we must look for the hidden things in the dark and the forbidden places. At that age, this meant the wilderness outside town, or the basements of more reputable folk who did not appreciate young gnomish rascals running amok. But I admit that I always dreamt of excursions of an altogether more ambitious nature; to lost graveyards, deep jungles, or perhaps ruins of some ancient and forgotten race. You may gather from this that, even before my world was destroyed and remade by tragedy and change, my disposition was already bent towards those dark and evil places that reminded me, perhaps, of my maternal homeland of Urst. The village’s parents, perhaps sensing this very disposition in me, eventually took the unseemly sensible step of forbidding their children from associating with me.
Thus isolated from my peers, I must say I rejoiced when the spirit of wanderlust took my parents. Hearing of a community of gnomes on the island called Hell’s Bell, my parents decided to leave the Old World and become pioneers. We packed and sold our home in less than a week. I was only 15 years old at the time, and completely insensible to the dangers of a three month sea crossing to the Bocan Isles. My chief concern was only the inevitable, oppressing boredom I would find of a ship of humans and half-breeds such as half-elves and half-orcs, such as the vessel we boarded proved to be.
One month into our journey, and my parents and I were already harboring feelings of regret for our decision to imprison ourselves in the confines of a wooden vessel. We all still felt the lure of the New World, with its promise of riches and freedom. This hope kept me going, although my doldrums were not quite so heavy as my parents’, as I amused myself largely by making a nuisance of myself to the other children on the ship. The vessel had no other gnomish children, but as a simple passenger ship, there were children of other races for me to interact with, and I resolved to remain friends with this crew of children when I made my way into the new world. We imagined ourselves as masters of the ship, with the adults our prisoners. Rather lightly though we took the subject of piracy, the truth is that my mind was not as dark here as it had been when I had such delights as forbidden places to tempt me. Indeed, I might truly say that I was never so healthy again as I was there, confined on a worthless hulk of a ship, drifting towards an unknown future on the open ocean. Perhaps that is why the ocean has always called to me… though madness is rarely self-aware, even in my darkest hours I do believe that my instinct is to recall and long for the safer, saner days of my youth. In fact, I suppose that’s why I’ve spent so long dwelling on them now, considering that my life, so soon to be at an end, was gruesomely and unrecognizably transformed soon after.
Tragedy, as it does when it’s feeling under-appreciated on the job, struck. The details of that horrible day are not ones I much care to dwell on, and in fact, they now seem mundane in comparison to the horrors that awaited me after. In summary, a dragon turtle, an enormous beast of the sea, deliberately capsized our defenseless ship and began to feast on the passengers. Not more than 20 yard from where I was instinctively treading water, the dragon turtle devoured my parents and my friends, then made a conflagration of our vessel by exhaling fiery steam at its exposed, wooden belly.
At this point, you are probably thinking that this sight is what drove me to my present condition of utter insensibility. Or perhaps not; I know many who would say that the violent loss of one’s parents, friends, and entire connection to the world of the living would be a trifle, a mere flesh wound to a properly fortified psyche. To these people, I could make any one of a number of arguments in my defense. But I will not bother, because I was not looking at my parents, but at the slimy, sickly green tentacle wrapping itself around my submerged ankle.
TO BE CONTINUED (seriously)