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Balamor and Awkid were both caught off guard by the small man’s appearance. He did not make a noise yet he managed to get so close to them. His presence was strangely non-threatening, and his character was whimsical in both voice and gesture.

“How do you know who we are?” Balamor asked.

“I know all who trespass my forest. Trust me the list is rather long, showing it’s entirety would revolve the hands of time." The small man replied.

Awkid balled his hands into fists and stepped toward the small man,

“It was you! You’re the one driving us mad! Damned gnome!”

“Madness, madness, madness… Well there’s a thing about madness that we all seem to forget. It starts with a simple pick — pluck — strum of each individual fiber of our very own emotions. If you play the right notes it can make a show that sends the audience into madness! We Mr. Anvorbeard drive ourselves mad, I am here merely to add to the variety of it.”

“Don’t test me with your words!” Awkid shouted as he quickly stamped his cursed hand on the soil.

The gnome didn’t budge, he stared into the emerald eyes of Awkid Anvorbeard intensely.

“Don't forget that cursed limb feeds on anger. Would a dwarf’s wisdom allow such idiotic acts? No-it-would not. Now, let’s not be unwise Mr. Anvorbeard.”

Awkid replied with a drawn growl while he removed his earthen hand from the ground. He turned to Balamor who was staring at the gnome with a deep look in his eyes. Suddenly he flipped through his journal and stopped at his notes from Dansil Murko.

"You’re the gnome i’ve read about... What's your name?"

The old gnome nodded and winked,

"That is the question, is it not? For I am a gnome, but I am simply not — any gnome — am I? I will tell you where my name is. But it is you — who will tell me what my name is."

"Damn riddles...I am in no mood for riddles." Awkid responded as he pierced mushrooms and greens with a sharp stick.

"I'll answer your riddles." Balamor said as he removed a charcoal pencil from his bag.

The End

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