“Varghas you are a genius!” proclaims Barron as their mugs of ale clink in unison. “I don’t know how you convinced that little shit to leave… but I am forever in your debt!”
Julian tears down the last the paper signs littered around the shared labspace. The fire takes hold of the sign proclaiming, “Property of Zosimus” as he rejoins the other two men.
Leaning back in his chair, Varghas assume a visage of self-gratification. “All it took was a bit of ego stroking. Letting him think he was the only one who could help out that pathetic noble on his expedition into the forest.”
The three men continue to laugh and lift several ales throughout the night….
The slamming on the armored walls of the caravan abate. Outside the remaining hobgoblins continue to curse and holler as they circle the armored vardo. “Come out and we’ll kill ya quick like”
Inside the gnome sits in the lower portion of the two level structure. Crossbow bolts expended, useful elixirs consumed, he sits out of options. Nearby a cat weighs its odds as well as only cats can in such tight quarters and under such dire circumstances.
The gnome begins to write in the last page of his formulae book…
“To whom it may concern. If you are reading this then I am most likely dead, or worse. It also means you can through some means magical or mundane read Gnomish. Good on your for that!
This is the last written testimony of Zosimus, Magnum Opus. Outside the armored walls of my mobile lab my patron and his followers lie dead, ambushed by a roaving band of hobgoblins.
At this point my future looks bleak, as they continue to try to gain entry. I was able to fool one into consuming a toxin that I concealed in a healing potion that “accidentally” slipped out a window. Unfortunately it was too fast acting on their brutish metabolism so the rest avoid all bait I drop no matter how tempting I make it.
As I prepare to leave this world, I am thankful for many things.
First and foremost, I am thankful to Master Elias, the alchemist who set me on the path after giving me a chance to redeem myself for past transgressions. I remain forever in his debt and each day seek his forgiveness for blowing him to pieces in our lab.
I am thankful for Mercury, my ever loyal and faithful cat. If he makes it out of this I hope he finds a new owner with a warm hearth and a gentle handle.
I am thankful my patron did not trust my research to anything less than an armored caravan. His fear that one of my experiments would blow up in his face has preserved me longer than the rest.
I am thankful for that dreadful mercenary and his taunts about my size. If he would have made me feel welcome I might have been out drunk by the campfire with the rest of them when they were ambushed. Instead I was in my safe bunker with my smelly liquids and disgusting cat, as he so crudely say so many times.
Should you find this book and this last note, I would ask that you carry it far, far, away from this forest and the stupid men who brought me here. Bury it in a grave near an ocean or a sea, I hear they are lovely to listen to.
All other belongs, are yours free of guilt, if you do this for me.
Zosimus, Magnum Opus”
The gnome looks up at the door as he hear them working on it.
A hand slips the cat into a hidey hole. He speaks to it, “if they get in, the trapdoor will open, and you can flee. run to a new home.”
His hands clench the crossbow. “Okay…. here goes nothing…”