Walto Gryfuss was a very large (fat) man whose main claim to fame was that he had a very capable, adaptable and humble Goblin servant named Inwey. His other important qualities were that he had attained the ninth level as a magician, mostly doing spells using the Element of Air. I would imagine that he had some other good qualities but I associated with him as his faithful servant for twelve long years and I don't remember any. He often had good intentions, I will give him that, but laziness and greed and the desire to be in control were much too evident in his actions to call him a hero of any kind. Perhaps his habit of dressing in colorful fabrics would make him seem more interesting to some but I thought it made him look like a different festive tent every day.

Yes, I am Inwey, although Walto Gryfuss had the deplorable habit of calling me Pickering which is not my name and is also the name of a fish. He also expected far too much in the way of personal service while I understood that I had been employed as a bodyguard/sidekick. I wouldn't have minded doing my share of the camp chores but doing his share as well and fussing with his huge assortment of stuff was more than my duty. However, my other career choice had been food critter #25 in the Southern Skumbaggi horde's living larder and I would long ago have been promoted to #1, killed and eaten, so I persevered.

We had been living for a handful of years in the great city of Old Meyoss and Walto Gryfuss had established himself as a magician worth consulting by a combination of bluster, obfuscation and some useful spell-casting and I was his right arm. A small group of local ner-do-wells had asked Walto Gryfuss to aid them in researching a tunnel system that they had discovered. Of course, as a mage of the Air, he was reluctant to go into such an environment, where his main spells would be less powerful and more difficult. In addition, they were talking about dividing any spoils equally, which Walto Gryfuss felt sincerely would be unfair to a powerful mage.

Finally they admitted that they had already explored the tunnel itself and simply wanted a powerful mage to accompany them to where it ended. They said that it came out far to the south, in the Great South Sea. It ended, they added, on an Island in the Permanent Fog Bank. He poo-poohed the idea that it would be useful to explore an island that could only be reached by a tunnel. They told him that they suspected that this island was the place where the Silkies came ashore. However, they wanted a powerful magician with them before they braved the dangers of the surface.

Intrigued by the idea that the elusive and immensely valuable fur-bearing Silkie could be taken in quantity, Walto Gryfuss only needed to be reassured of getting his fair share of any spoils. The leader, one William Quick, a Dwarf, agreed that the powerful magician should receive a double share. Always eager to promote my interests, Walto Gryfuss pointed out that I would be worthy of a share of my own. The fact that a Goblin Servant's property belonged 3/4 to his master under Old Meyoss law was not lost on anyone but my master got his way by being stubborn and annoying.

After an extremely perilous week-long trek through a tunnel, we arrived at the exit. I never minded underground life, understand, I am a Goblin, but fire-lizards are dangerous and someone was careless in his burial ritual and we had to re-kill the result. Otherwise, it was damp, dark, musty. Quite lovely, in other words.

Walto Gryfuss was in a very bad mood. He had miscalculated the number of eclairs he should bring, he claimed I had packed the wrong tea, and he said that his digestion suffered as a result. He did not like the tunnel system and the Shai woman, Akasha, who was one of our scouts, did not find him or his wealth compelling. So he picked on me constantly and we were quarelling about his name for me when our scouts found the exit onto the island.

Our hillside cave-mouth was in bright sunlight but we could see the fog in every direction, surrounding the island completely. This made me uneasy and I asked Walto Gryfuss if there were any explanation but magic. He replied:

"This isn't natural. I wouldn't worry if I were you. If worse comes to worse, I can summon a ride out of here. Straight up and over the fog should be easy enough. So, Pickering, let us find out what is to be found out."

Raising his voice so that the others could hear, he added "Let us go forward, brave companions, knowledge and wealth await." 'yeah, right' I thought. Forward we went, until we rested on a rocky ledge above the fog-shrouded beaches. There we paused while Walto Gryfuss summoned an Elemental of the Air. As usual, they fell to arguing and Walto had to impose his will on the critter several times. Finally, they quieted down and we continued down to the beach.

As we approached the beach we could hear a babbling sound, apparently coming from hundreds of voices all along the beach. As we walked into the fog we began to see the sources of the babbling, figures all along the beach. They weren't closely packed but there were more than a few of them. At first all we could make out was that they were bulky and were lying in a seal-like posture but soon we realized that they were watching us more intently than any seals. Then we saw the vast bulk of something moving in from the surf.

It was clear that the next words came from the huge creature in the surf:


Attend me men of the land. You have violated the sanctity of this refuge and I must find a way not to slay you. Edit


The language was pure Mothi, the official language of the City, and the speaker had no foreign accent but the voice was lower than the lowest bass in the City opera. It washed around our feet.

Everyone began walking toward the Sea Drake, for that is all this could have been, but Walto grabbed my collar and I found myself flying with him in the whirlwind created by his elemental. "We are out of breath range before he could possibly react" Gryfuss exulted. "We can bring back enough force to defeat the Drake and the Silkie will be mine."

It is odd that a magician could forget that a Sea Drake could be a powerful mage and stranger still that he could ignore the range of a Lightning Bolt spell. As the Elemental discorporated around us and we began the long fall to our deaths, I had to say "This is another fine mess you've gotten us into."