Gascard is just over 3 feet in height, and have a rough skinned weather-beaten face. Gascard is not a pretty man. He is well into his 40. He has beady eyes that for the most part is hidden behind antic googles. The googles are traditional gnomish attire, and is a product of gnomes obsession with strange headgear. They also serves as protection for his eyes during hazardous magic. On his protruding massive chin, he has big but well-groomed black beard. His hair is the same dark color as his beard, and combed neatly. His really small eyes and massive chin is a testament to his gnome physiology, and humans would consider those traits highly disproportionate in a human face. Gascard mimicry is twitchy, and he can give the preoccupied impression of someone who has intrusive unpleasant thoughts, which he struggling with. He wears a crimson long coat with golden embroidery at the fringes (imitated, not real gold). The coat has inlaid shoulder pats, to add to Gascards size, but also makes room for armor underneath. You can tell that the coat used to be high quality, but is slightly worn down by a long time on the read. Beneath the long coat Gascard wears his protective light armor. He wields big sturdy boots fit for a wayfarer. His crossbow is swung upon his back, and he conceals his small knife in one of the longcoats many pockets.
An endless flickering sea of torches, threw a nervous light on the cave system, were the dwarves were digging forever deeper. The excavation site itself were not dwarven, but something much older. An unknown cataclysm had seemingly stopped an ancient civilization in its tracks, covering everything in an mix of magic material and good old fashioned burning magma. Whenever hard steel in the form of an pick axe or an hammer, chipped away a piece, it sizzled away in steamy clouds. The site were gargantuan, and the dwarves had been at it for what would be almost half of a human lifespan. Even though the site were filled with entire buildings, containing all kinds of left behind goods, weapons and the occasionally jewly, there were never uncovered a single corpse. There it was never discovered what the previous inhabitants looked like, or what happened to them.
Gascards father, Molière Dupuis, was like most Gnomes always on the move and obsessed with perfecting his craft. Thirsty for knowledge he and his apprentice and on/off romantic partner Aliénor, joined the dwarven excavation site. Their hope was to uncover artifacts, that were either magic, or at least contained some historical knowledge of magic. Except of the before mentioned work, there wasn’t much to do around the settlement, so a lot of their spare time were spend in sleeping bags around the campfire drinking Dwarven ale. Before long Gascard was born, and his life long companion in the form of a disturbing white monkey familia materialized with him. Gascards parents were concerned of the ominous appearance of Gascards familia. “Did we do something wrong to bring this on him?” were thoughts that they struggled with. Gascard grew up around the excavation site. Aliénor and Molière Dupuis were not a harsh parents, but rather indifferent ones, since most of their time was devoted to searching the ruins and tunnels. Molière did however give Gascard some invulnerable advice:
“Remember Gascard: The dwarves, and most other creatures you will meet in this life, can beat you to death, if they so wish. Never relie on brute strength, use your melon. If someone wishes to fight you, be diplomatic, and be the better man. When they go to sleep, that’s when you get them!”
Remembering his father’s words, Gascard learned to navigate his way around dwarven workers that for the most part were temperamental, and felt honor bound to meet differences with violence. Flatter, logic, diplomacy and lies were his tools. He got really good at it. Snowballs contribution to the delivery of these tales, were mostly maintaining intense eye contact during the entire length of the tale. It’s hard to say if it helped. One fateful day (or night, its hard to tell in a cave complex) Aliénor disappeared in the tunnels. For a long time its wasn’t quite clear what had happened to her, but one day a worker found a small pair of torn leather boots, hanging in a spider web.
Much can be said about Molière but he lived for his craft. As with many gnomes, his obsessiveness for his craft, has primacy before any feeling of obligation toward kin or maintaining family structure. Therefore, when Gascards father heard about sightings of some old elven ruins, he packed his things and left Gascard without much further ado. He did however take time, to give Gascard a short introduction to the dwarven lady, that were to take care of him.
Gascard got beaten a lot. In the following years his dwarven stepmother with her surprisingly big fists, the other children in her care, and the growns-ups all stepped in to deliver the beatings. Gascard stayed his entire childhood at the cave complex, because even though it was rough, it was the only home he had ever known. When he got older he got by doing odd jobs, that required small nimble hands and brains, rather than brute force. For instance interpreting old glyphs, that indicated which road lead to an armory, and which let to an bottomless sinkhole. Whoever the previous inhabitants had been, they apparently used sinkholes as a public way of disposing of dead domestic animals. Many of the dwarven workers had met bitter ends on that account, so having a translator around was essential. Gascard learned a lot about old magic items that way. Being the lone gnome in the settlement, and having an ominous white monkey as an familia, made Gascard the natural scapegoat, for any of the workers with superstitious tendency’s. When-ever some workers got crushed from falling rocks, or a child was kidnapped by a man-eating molluscoid, or another of the cave complex dangers, it created distress among the workforce. The distress needed an outlet, so a lot of suspicion and ill-will against Gascard. If some of the workers came for Gascard during sleeping time (no one new exactly when it was day or night in the caves) with hammers and picaxes, Snowball would sound the agreed upon alarm, by biting one of the workers in the face. Gascard would then use his growing magic abilities to instill terror in their hearts. That would usually scare the transgressors away, without Gascard getting too hurt. Gascard learned to survive like that for a long time. Practicing his magic, and silver tongue as his means of survival. They were the only things between him and a rusty mallet in his forehead. One day they weren’t enough.
On an expedition Gascard was being tasked with trying to decipher the glyphs outside an entrance partly concealed by rubble. Gascard translated it as “salvation”. “Well we all could need some of that”, The leader of the group laughed, “but it wont pay for food in or bellies or yours!”. Now lets go find another room, were we can hope to haul some treasure”. Gascard translated the next room as “temple”. When they entered, a sickening air met the 4 dwarves that went in first. They silently rolled around the floor, with their faces contracted into terrible masks of agony, and lay still. The gas spilling out from the cracks in the underground had worked fast. The headmaster yelled: “This! This is your doing Gnome! Their lives are one you!”. Gascard saw this as his que to run. He grabbed his small knife, jammed it into the knee of the dwarf behind him, and started to run, like it was all he had ever done. When he passed the door labeled “salvation, he wedged in between the holes, were only he and Snowball could fit. He ran into the darkness, and hid behind what appeared to be a tipped-over altar. Alas, his team members were in hot pursuit and saw him enter the room.
After the dwaves had cleared away the rubble, they entered the dark room. The entire rooms floor was covered in rune like scribings, so tiny that it looked like a spider web made from words. Whenever the workers steeped on a rune, it glowed, and kept on glowing. Soon the amount of glowing was so bright that thy didn’t need their torches any more. Suddenly a flashing tear ripped through the air, and from his hiding place Gascard stared into a hole. He could see that appeared to be another world. But were the world Gascard new were solid and massive, the world at the other side of the hole, seemed mostly to be void and gas, distorted in brown and grey colors. There were pieces of rock, floating around, with cities and castles on them. There was a high pitched noise, and it seemed to make Gascard and the workers more or less immobile. Out of the portal came skeletal insectlike men, wielding strange and exotic clothing and curved bladed weapons. The dwarves could do nothing but stare in immobile in horror as the insect men seized them, and in a matter of minutes, tied them up threads from their bodies, and carried them trough the portal. It was all over in minutes. As the last “man” were about to walk into the portal, he noticed Snowball, that hadn’t been able to hide himself as completely as Gascard. They locked eyes. Because of Gascard and Snowballs mental link, Gascard was able to experience the sensation of staring into those clusters of ancient dark eyes. The bugman made some clicking sound, and stepped into the portal. The hole collapsed into itself and disappeared.
From his hiding place, Gascard though, “Now I know, why there are no traces left of the previous inhabitants of this place”. After collecting himself, he decided that it was a good time to leave. Returning for the settlement camp only swiftly to get water and rations, he then began the day long journey out of the cave system. When he saw the sun it blinded him. Gascard maybe wouldn’t have survived long, alien to the surface world, if it had not been for his chance encounter with a band of mercenaries. Gascards hard upbringing, and his arguably harder adolescence, had left him a hard and sly person, with some minor social and emotional problems. He did not have a hard time fitting in among the mercenaries, and their at times moral ambiguous work. He roamed around with the band for years. One night, the mercenaries had made camp out in the open, in what appeared to be very old, almost not notable ruins of a temple. Had Gascard removed some of the dirt, he might have recognized the stunning similarities between these ruins and the ruins from the “salvation room”. That night Gascard had a very lucid dread, about floating around in a bottomless void, while being webbed into a cocoon, by spiderlike legs, moving impossible fast, while eye clusters were watching him from everywhere. Gascard did not find the situation comfortable. He heard a voice the sound of rustling of leaves, and clicking sounds:
“So you transgress on over domain once more? Fear not little one. You brought the flock to us. That buys you your life and some advice. I know you for what you are. You are not driven by the the whish to be good or bad. You want power, power to mold your own destiny. Your actions can shape the world around you like a maelstrom. Find your brothers and sisters on this journey, and in the end you will have the potential, to be a force of history”.
Gascard awakened, bathed in cold sweat. The voice had told him what he knew all along, but had never put into words. He wanted to have control, instead of needing to defend himself against others all the time. He knew, that in order to get anywhere, he would need training. And lots of it. From that day onward, improving his skills were paramount to Gascard. How else were he going to get to tell people what to do? His upbringing told him that he wasn’t going to get there by using strength. One morning a young man with a thin mustache that had recently joined the mercenary band, tapped Gascard on the shoulder. “I´ve seen how you fight. It’s not the graceful moves. The beauty lies in, how you always manage to take down much bigger foes than yourself. If you and your creepy monkey will follow me, at the next city we embark upon, I can introduce you to some interesting people, that can help you get far. You just have to pass some test of skill….”. That was Gascard entrance to the Silver order, and Gascard knew he had found a home.