Xarathes surveyed his laboratory with a certain grim satisfaction. It had taken the Spriggan almost a century of studies to reach this point but the work and time were certainly paying off. His goal of greater gnomish power and world domination seemed far more achievable now than it used to be. His constant studies on how to increase the powers and survivability of gnomes (or greater gnomes as he called the Spriggans) had many setbacks and prices that needed to be paid. It was when he decided to study others work and steal their ideas that his research had really taken off. He had developed a crystal ball that not only allowed you to observe others from a long distance but also, since most of those he observed were powerful magic users themselves, had a built in power that prevented those who were observed from noticing the scrying. It had been very expensive and time consuming to make but the secrets that it had helped him unearth had been more than worth it. Xarathes studied his dark spiky hair in the reflection of the crystal ball for a brief instant; barely noting the scars and pox marks on his face that had been one of many of the “prices” paid for his research. He then waved his hand over the crystal ball and chanted in low but firm voice, it was time to check up on one of his favourite researchers, Lucinda the fair. While not the most advanced researcher she was definitely the prettiest and she had surprised him with some of her insights in the past. The crystal ball swirled and showed the cute gnome holding a tea cup up and talking with another handsome male gnome dressed up in a top hat!
“I do hope you like this tea Beppo” Lucinda purred as she handed it to him.
Beppo gulped slightly and said “I am sure I will my love”.
Xarathes immediately loathed Beppo and everything about him, and then out of the corner of his eye he caught something moving that made him frown then grin. With a wave of his hand he cleared the crystal ball and gathered it up into a brown burlap bag that made it disappear. He then travelled down to the lower part of his tower where one of several teleport circles awaited him. On the way down he unlocked a cage that contained 3 shivering young gnomes that he had been saving for such an occasion. He chanted 3 times and the young gnomes started walking as if on wooden legs and entered into the teleport circle ahead of Xarathes. Xarathes intoned a command word and the world warped and then he and the 3 gnomes had been teleported into an immense cavern. The heat is intense as Xarathes calls out in a loud voice announcing his presence. Even the kinder metallic dragons do not like outsiders to survey their horde and Aurelax is by no stretch of the imagination a kind dragon. An ancient and enormous draconic head pops out of the cavern and surveys Xarathes.
“I see you have brought some snacks” the dragon booms and slithers forward. Two of the 3 gnomes stand motionless as the dragon swallows them whole but the 3rd manages to break the enchantment and starts to flee. The dragon grins and slides after the gnome, catches it in its claw and dangles the screaming gnome over its mouth for a few seconds before snapping its mouth shut.
“Hmmm delicious, I especially enjoy the squirming of the live ones” the dragon says to Xarathes, who gulps ever so slightly and steps back.
bg. “Yes your magnificence, I have something to show you that you might find interesting.”
“It better be or I might decide to have a 4th snack”.
Xarathes whips out the crystal ball and places it on a nearby pile of sand. He intones and the scene once again springs into place. Aurelax is midly interested until he notices Benny in the picture. His eyes become enormous like saucer plates and he hissssesss at Xarathes “My lost Phylactery! So, what would you have me do……?"