Early on in the game my previous character had died a horrible death and I had to find a way to introduce a new character. By this point Kuldahar is blocked off by snow so the old “wandering hero” didn’t work.
In the beginning
Mother Fiddlebender had been expecting twins. Gnomes just knew. They knew the number, they knew the sex.
It was customary for Gnomes to be named as they were born. That first light tap to make sure they were breathing and then they were given the name they would carry for life.
When the twins were born there was rejoicing as the first came out.
and then another
But something was wrong. Mother Fiddlebender was still in labour. With no time to spare they gathered another towel and Pop! Out flew the smallest Gnome baby anyone had ever seen.
Slap! “F*cks This?” said Father Fiddlebender.
Home on the Range
Life on the farm was fun for Foxhis. While the boys amused themselves playing with shiny stones that the miners brought up Foxhis was busy throwing stones at the farmed dogs. She was fond of her father and often rode out with him on the large wooly Dogsheep to round up the Filletdogs that brought them so much prosperity.
But she liked fire too. She liked fire a little too much and after a small accident with one of the old kennels she found herself hiding up the hills with two of her fathers favourite Dogsheep. That was when the Orcs came in numbers from their holes in the Mountains. Foxhis was merely seven years of age.
Trope Orphaned Hero
When Foxhis eventually found the courage to return to home the farm was destroyed. The wealth was gone. Her family all dead. She found her Mother and Father butchered. Literally.
Their meat stripped from the bones.
There was no sign of her brothers.
Without the ability to command the DogSheep to round up the Filletdogs the Orcs hadn’t captured many of them. Their little sausage shaped bodies, a flash of polka dotted white, had zipped hither and thither taunting the Orcs. They had scattered far and wide but with the Orcs gone Foxhis herded the ones she found to the hills. Living side by side with her trusty Ramses and Baarbaaraa Foxhis learned to live off the land ( and the tasty Filletdogs) even learned to communicate in a rudimentary manner with Ramses.
Four summers later, only eleven years of age, Foxhis collected her first ear. A lone Orc. Definitely alone. She hunted him and watched him for days. He was poor at hunting and had only a knife on his hip. Foxis knew she had her first chance at revenge.
Foxhis laid a careful trap. On a bluff close to the Orc she left out some scraps of a dog she had eaten the day before and waited. The Orc was careful but it paid little attention to one of the sheep it had seen from the distance over the last few days. It didn’t realise its error until it was sailing over the bluff, dogmeat in hand and knife still in its sheath. When Foxhis descended the bluff it was still moving but swiftly she grabbed its knife and with two hands chopped again and again into the Orc’s neck. On a whim she took one of its ears, strung it with some dog intestine and slung it around her neck. There would be more.
With no sign of the Orc war band for eight long summers and only the occasional sign of wagons on the far roads Foxhis braved moving back to the Farm.
She lived there for just over a year when one morning she was alerted to trouble by the yapping of Filletdogs.
Someone… No… a group of them were trying to steal her meat. They looked like Gnomes! Gnomes or not Foxhis mounted Ramses and with Baarbaaraa at their side they charged headlong into the group.
One gnome was sent flying after another until one of the gnomes started chanting and Foxhis was surrounded on all sides by a large cage that was slowly contracting. Then she felt very sleepy.
It took a lot of work to get Foxhis to understand that these were friends. She was underground…. In a cave system… a lot of the words sounded familiar but she wasn’t sure what they meant. Over time other gnomes were able to approach her using mind magic to help them communicate. Her sheep were safe. Older gnomes were looking after the farm. She herself needed looked after. It took a lot of persuading about the last statement.
Foxhis quickly relearned the language of the gnomes. She was allowed to visit the farm every few months for the Doggie Drive but her adopted family insist that she learn and play with the other children. All Gnomes can be fixated on things. Usually it would be gems, clockwork, or tricky magic. For Foxhis it was revenge. A dark part of her that worried her adopted family.
She made herself weapons and armour for killing Orcs. She adjusted it as she grew a little. Her most exciting discovery was gunpowder.
She studied as much as she could of the languages of the fell races and those Nons on the topside. She was a very strange gnome child because although the other gnome children would get utterly lost in tasks the joy that they showed while doing so was completely absent in her.
In her mid twenties Foxhis learned of the larger Dwarven settlements. Where armies were raised to fight off the Greenskins, the Dooks, and greedy Swerfkin. That was where she could get her revenge.
100 Orcs, Goblins, or Drow for every family member. It wouldn’t matter which. She would make herself a necklace as a fearsome tribute to her family.
At age thirty-nine and twenty-tendays Foxhis left her adopted family and headed for Underhome where she had arranged to serve as an Artificer for the Gold Dwarves of Clan Simmerforge.
The Alchemists Apprentice
4 long years as an Alchemist Artificer with the old gnomes of Underhome did nothing to dull her hatred for the Greenskins. She toiled day and night producing weapons of war but dearly wanted to be out there. Any downtime she had was poured into upgrading her old armour and working on a secret grand project. A gun that could fire all of her alchemical creations.
On discovering her in the process of finishing this her Mentor asked that she share her discovery and she agreed on one condition. That she could join the Gnome Guard. This heavily armoured musket-wielding defence force was to be her home for the next four years and having finished her tour of duty with few ears to show for it she joined Prince Rumpole’s Maroon Commandos to see some real action.
The Lone Musketeer
In eight years in the Maroon Commandos Foxhis spent only ten tendays in the City. She volunteered for double patrols. She volunteered for long range operations to seek out a safe passage to Slederrmorn. The Maroons all had a bounty on her their heads but she was a named bounty.
The all female Maroon Commandos were known as the Colonic Maroons because they were always in the shit. A patrol would be 2 clerics, 2 illusionists and an Alchemist. In face to face combat almost every creature in the underdark had an advantage over them but a Gnome can out think all but the cleverest of enemies.
Despite this at the end of her two tours Foxhis had the faces of 56 fellow Maroons tattooed on her arms to commemorate their lives.
She also had a fine necklace but with each new tattoo came a promise to add to it . At fifty odd ears she’d had to implement a decimal system so that a right ear meant ten kills and a left meant one but now it was getting too heavy again and even with it so full she still hadn’t even got to the four hundred ears for her family.
Finally she cracked. It was the Baron Do’Maer that caused it. As the sole survivor of fully one half of the Maroons she he had to get out. She longed for the open skies. She knew she would never escape the curse of the Maroons but she wanted to ride the range again.
With her green eyes stained around with purple from years of using slime mold she returned topside.
Under the Skies
The light still felt dark. Despite being back on the farm and working for the new owners she was not happy. Not even getting back to nature with the grand-kids of Baabaaraa could fill the emptiness. There was a darkness that she sought to chase away with herbs and alcohol.
She was failing spectacularly one autumn evening when, not sure if she had perhaps had a little too much, she saw an airship appear in the distance. When it touched down at the farm she was more than a little surprised to meet her brother Oswald. He was more than a little surprised by the alcoholic pyromaniac with the necklace of ears that was his sister. Foxhis was delighted to find a fully stocked Alchemy lab on the airship. Despite her brother’s lack of enthusiasm she added her equipment to it and set up pallets for two of the sheep. Brother Oswald was heading home to Kuldahar and she’d never been to the North.
As she herded a couple a fillet dogs onto the airship Foxhis looked back at her childhood home and was filled with a sense that this would be the last time she saw it.
Foxhis will be back in Foxhis Fiddlebender – The Baron and I.
This is a work of fan fiction using characters and place names from the Forgotten Realms setting , which is trademarked by Wizards of the Coast
Foxhis artwork by Chantelle Downie. You can find more of her art here.