A Candle in the Dark
Grindahk is the elder of two cousins running a small brewing business near Swift Water. He is a gentle man, preferring to use diplomacy when making agreements, rather than violence and he certainly has a way with words (with his not-so-high-pitched-for-a-gnome voice), especially when they are accompanied by a cup of ale or wine. Of course, the presence of Gribbohm, his cousin and associate, always helps a bit. Together, they provide home-brewed ale in the Sturdy Raft Tavern Ghost Town. But, brewing is, one might say, a hobby of theirs. Most of their income comes from small smuggling operations along the Eren River with their small raft. They have assisted in the transfer of various weapons (and one time an elf) to help the Rebellion, more than a few times, but their main motive was profit.
He is of average height, around 4 ft tall, with long hair tied tight in a ponytail on the back of his head. Unlike other gnomes, and despite his rather largish ego, he does not continuously recount old stories whenever he sees fit. Rather, he indulges in sensible pace conversation (which is still a little high-paced, since he IS a gnome) with others, trying to understand them and use this knowledge to his advantage in a future deal.
His relationship with his cousin is a very close one and complementary. He rarely goes somewhere without him and between them a strong bond can be observed.
The drunken cousins
In the gnome village of Swift Water, the folk at the “Sturdy Raft” tavern are not eager to finish off their tankard when it contains the house special brew ale. They love to savour its bitter aftertaste. At least, it is a bitterness they choose to taste and they buy it whenever it is available. It is not that much better than “One-leg Gruntle’s Mead” or “Golden Raft” (in fact, it is not better at all!). What makes it so special is the mystery with which it is tied.
If you would ask the tavern-keeper where he purchases “Drunken Cousin Ale” from, you would only get an indifferent shrug and little information. Indeed, nobody knows who is behind that mysterious spirit. The orcs are baffled, but don’t give it much thought, because they love to quaff it greedily in front of the other, sad patrons. The kegs arrive only in the last moments of night, before even the fishermen awake and it is certain that the lame gnome who brings them on his cart is not the one brewing the ale. As for payment, the shopkeepers keep their mouth shut, pleading professional secrets.
“So please, sit, old man and try not to drink it too fast, lest they confuse you with an orc”
The elder gnome smiled and sipped, his hand trembling slightly as it held the cup. He had the signs of a seasoned sailor, face hardened from the salt, simple rings on his ears and a twisty tattoo on the right hand. But, even if you didn’t believe those signs, his gaze supported the impression. Beside him, on the all to crowded table a bulkier one was seated, his grandson and last son of his own only son. The only one who hasn’t fled to “safety” if such a thing can be found. He drank steadily from his tankard and scanned the room for any sign of threat. Not that any non-orc would try to harm his grandfather; gnomes respect those who have survived for so long.
After some light chat the cup was emptied, at approximately the same time as the tankard. “I think I must use the privy. Gribbohm, be so kind as to watch the door” said the old sailor and walked unsteadily towards a side door in the Main Room. His bladder must have been more than full as he seemed to take his time in there. Five minutes passed, with Gribbohm outside the small wooden door. Then, it creaked open and the old gnome emerged, a small smile on his rough face, but his feet still wobbling.
Getting a grip on his grandson’s hand, he waved goodbye to his drink-buddies that afternoon and walked out of the tavern.
After some slow progress, he turned his head around and, seeing nobody interested in them, whispered to his cousin “Next time we’ll charge him higher. And if he continues to water the ale after that, perhaps we should pay him a visit. And I will not hide behind an old gnome’s body then”.
Gribbohm nodded at first and then let out a small laugh. Business was sure going well.