Wants to start his own circus someday, enjoys being annoying more than being deadly.
Growing up in the small enclave of Deglos, a young gnome named Igor always dreamed big. Most afternoons he could be seen playing on the intricately carved gargoyles outside the village library with his birth pet….
“And then I can stop risking my tail leaping from gargoyle to gargoyle for spare change from passing strangers?” his furry friend asked hopefully.“Oh, look at that!” Igor ran across the alleyway to poke at a beetle.
Grumbling to itself, the rodent muttered, “Convenient time to become distracted by a bug. But on the bright side, he does feed me the best tidbits.” Clambering back down the gargoyle to the steps below, the pet darted over to aid its master in finding the hapless beetle.
Later in life Igor learned a difficult lesson, when his clan was touched by the reality of the long standing feud between his race and kobolds. Having just finished a long winter, Igor was anxious to join the village caravan leaving to trade with the nearby human city.
Having convinced his friend Jubei into joining him on his adventure to the big city, Igor was sure they were both in for the time of their lives. The first two days of travel were fun, but uneventful. By the third day the two lads were becoming terribly bored, so they wandered off the main trail to chase pigeons and ground squirrels in the adjacent woods…..
Igor ran and leapt, trying to catch the squirrell as it headed towards a hulking nearby tree. “Go around the tree and grab him on the other side,” he yelled to his friend Jubei.
“Squibbly ding!” Jubei replied as he circled around, crashing through the undergrowth. Jubei didnt always get his words right when he was exicited.
But having been friends for years, Igor knew exactly what he was saying. “Don’t worry about that Jubei, thats what we have that healing salve for!”
The loud crashing noises ended abruptly.
Igor stopped in his tracks, an awful lurching feeling rising up from his hackles. “Jubei?” he called quietly.
The only reply was a wet burbling noise, followed by the thud of his friends body hitting the ground. Standing over Jubei’s corpse was a scaley, doglike humanoid gripping a dagger. It stared at Igor, then tilted its head back and barked into the air three times.
Answering barks echoed from all across the forest. Igor realized with horror just what was happening— if he did not get back to warn the caravan— but he had no time to complete the thought. He took off as fast as his tiny legs could carry him, dashing from tree bole to rock, to mossy log. When a kobold appeared out of the undergrowth in front of him, Igor grabbed a nearby vine and swung right at the armed warrior.
With a mighty roar (for a gnome) and a tight squeezing of the eyes closed, Igor crashed feet first into the veteran raider, knocking him head first into a tree trunk. Using the momentum of the collision, Igor tumbled to his feet at a dead run, not even bothering to look back. As he neared the caravan, Igor shouted out to the sentries, “Kobolds! Kobolds!”
The nearest sentry blasted his signal horn, causing the entire caravan to quickly form a defensive barricade across the road. Igor found himself in the center of the formation, shaking and bloodied, finally understanding that his friend was dead, gone… no more games of dragon poker, no more late nights spent sneaking in to the girls reformatory school back in the home village, no more chasing squirrels… He began to feel himself becoming filled with rage.
The details vary, depending on whose account of the battle you believe. Needless to say, from that day forward no one in the village considered Igor a foolish dreamer any longer. He began to study and learn about herbalism and alchemy, how to make draughts that might hinder or heal.
Many months went by before Igor found that he had a knack for brewing up toxins. For some reason every time he thought he succeeded in making a healing draught, he was wrong. But that didnt stop him from trying….
Speaking to a nearby rodent, Igor swirled his latest creation around in its vial, “Today, wriggles… today is the day I finally cracked the secret of the healing potion!” With a small twirl and a flourish, Igor addressed an imaginary gallery of onlookers, saying, “Ladies and gents, girls and boys, you are lucky enough to witness the worlds greatest healing elixir!”
Igor smiled and nodded, waiting for the imaginary applause to die down. Raising the vial he recited, “A one, a two, a three— whose a genius? Me!” And with that, he chugged down the entire vial in two gulps.
Swaying a bit, Igor remarked, “hmm. note to self, decrease the amount of…” before he blacked out, slamming face first onto the stone floor in a deep coma.
Not too long after the coma incident, Igor’s family and friends gathered to celebrate his birthday. The entire Nappovich clan was in attendance, including the patriarch and oldest surviving Nappovich, Maximillian….
“Enjoying your party, young Igor?” asked Maximillian, slowly walking towards the guest of honor.
Smiling from ear to ear, Igor replied, “Very much so sir, and I am honored that you travelled all this way to attend.” Igor left unspoken the question he was dying to ask—what kind of present had he brought with him?!
“Lad, come with me so we can talk privately.”
Nodding, Igor followed Maximillian into the courtyard. “What is it great grandpuffer Max?” he asked.
The grizzled patriarch stared at Igor intently, rising up to his full 3 foot 6 inch height, looming over his younger relative. “Boy, you have the ability to do our people a great service. I heard of your exploits during the caravan raid last year.”
“But that was—-”
Maximillian raised one hand, cutting Igor off, “No, let me finish what I came here to say. I know you are your own man now, and I hear you want to own your own circus and travel the world bringing smiles to people’s faces. I have no intention of stopping your dream. All I ask is that you consider— for the sake of your people, that you consider— learning the ancient arts of our deadliest warriors.”
Igor’s eyes widened, and for once he remained silent.
Maximillian continued in a quiet voice, “Some call them assasins, some call them executioners… I call them racial warriors keeping us safe from the eternal threat of the kobold clans. You probably never heard of such a thing, have you Igor?” he asked with a slight smile.
Dumbfounded, Igor shook his head no.
“That is part of why they are so successful! And trust me, if you engage in their training, you will only increase your skills as an acrobat and circus performer. So you see, I spoke the truth when I said I did not want to steer you away from your dream. Think of it Igor, you can live your dream while you help all of us live our dreams of a world free of the scourge of the kobolds!” Seeing the confused look on Igors face, max turned back towards the main party, saying, “I will leave you to your thoughts. If you change your mind you know how to reach me.”
Igor stayed out in the courtyard for a very long time, thinking to himself. He was only dragged away when one of the refrom school lasses, free on a day pass, asked him to rustle them up a bottle of wine and a cozy bench. That snapped him right out of his daze, and he managed to enjoy himself for the rest of his party.
With a pack strapped to his back, and his new friend Diggles scurrying at his side, Igor set off once and for all to make his way in the world. Reaching down, he scooped up Diggles and stuck him on top of his hat. The rodent hunkered down and kept his sesnses alert for trouble, just like they had been practicing….
Turning back one final time to peer at his home village receding in the distance, Igor patted the top of his head, to the mild annoyance of the pet being lightly squished several times. “Here we go Diggles. One day, we will come back here leading the most famous circus in the world.” Stretching his hands as if smoothing out a giant imaginary banner, Igor read aloud in a carnival barkers voice,“Igor Nappoviches Fantastical Flying Gnome and Animal Emporium! Admission 2 bits.”
Diggles sighed and waited patiently while Igor spent a few minutes collecting imaginary coins from the imaginary circus goers. “You might want to think about working on the name,” Diggles squeaked suggestively.
With a dismissive wave of his hand, Igor replied, “Shhh not in front of the customers, Diggles!”
“Riiiiigggghttt…. the customers. Ok, wake me when you need me then.”
And so begins the tale of Igor Nappovich, of the Deglos clan Nappoviches. Time will tell whether he fulfills his dreams, or falls prey to his nightmares.