Shamil of Clan Turen was born to Caramip of Clan Beren and Boddyknock.
Her childhood was similar to that of the other youngsters of the village
of Dimble, named for its founder, Dimble the Great. Shamil and her
brothers, Zook and Seebo, along with Lewocket and Chirvlim, went to primary
school where they learned what all children learn: reading, writing, arithmetic,
and the proper use of humor.
As children, they were over-indulged by every adult in the village—if they wanted to go dog-riding, Milo and Cade Goodbarrel, the only two non-gnomes in the village, allowed them free access to the stable; if they wanted to sew or weave, the master tailor would show them how and give them the supplies to do so; if they wanted to cook, they were given the food and instruction to prepare a meal—and so it went for every adult in town.
As the children grew into adolescents, they entered secondary school, where they learned basic fighting maneuvers used in self-defense, when needed, against kobolds and goblinoids. They also learned the basics for inter-species relations, as pertaining to dwarves and elves. They also began to take an interest in a possible profession, and one by one, they were taken as apprentices by one of the many masters of the village.
Lewocket studied under the Goodbarrel brothers, learning the ins and outs of animal husbandry. Chirvlim, fascinated by the prospect of tilling the rich earth and growing food, she went into farming. Seebo studied under Dimble the Great, learning the finer points of inter-species relations. Zook wanted nothing more than to find glory by becoming a famous Giant-Slayer, and the first step in becoming so was to study advanced fighting procedures under the weapons master, Leirim. Unfortunately, Boddyknock greeted his eldest son’s request with a loud and resounding, “NO.” Rather than be discouraged by his father’s refusal, Zook was all the more determined to become a Giant-Slayer.
Shamil, on the other hand, found nothing more enjoyable than joking—practical joking to be precise. Oh, yes, and embroidery.
When not planning jokes, pranks, and the like; Shamil could be found outdoors, her embroidery hoop in hand, putting into stitches the simple beauty she found around her. She spent the better part of a year embroidering into a tapestry the vines covering one of the sides of Dimble the Great’s home burrow, thus earning her the nickname of “Vinestitcher.”
One of her other nicknames—one of the more common at any rate—was given her by Zook in the summer following their final year at secondary school. Shamil and her brothers found themselves out and about one night, enjoying the moonlight and nature’s night-song. Near midnight, they found themselves out by a road, not a common sight to the threesome, as Dimble Village was somewhat cut off from the rest of the Dalelands. They had reached the road just as a small group of humans passed by.
“They look rather dull-witted, don’t they?” Seebo mused aloud, though his voice was hardly a whisper. Inspiration struck Shamil a half-second later.
“They do, don’t they? I’ve me an idea. Let’s get off this trail, though, if one group is out this late, then there is sure to be others.” She stepped back into the woods. Curiosity getting the better of them, as it often does with gnomes; they followed Shamil into the underbrush. She led them to a brightly lit, rocky patch of ground, relatively clear of brush. They took seats on small boulders and Zook looked at his baby sister, “So Shamie, what’s on your mind? The last time I saw you this worked up, was the time when you were planning to prank Mom.”
“Yeah,” Seebo chimed in, “I remember that one. I’ve never seen Mom that mad before or since!”
Shamil jumped up, unable to hold still much longer. She paced back and forth, gesticulating wildly as she explained her sudden brainstorm to her brothers. When she finished, she stood looking from brother to brother, her eyes sparkling and out-of-breath. After a short period of silence, she asked, “Well?”
Seebo, wearing a look of mild constipation, snapped, “Well what?”
“What do you think? You think it’ll work? I can count on you both, right?”
Zook had to consciously wipe off the look of out-and-out awe he wore. “I think it sounds like a grand way to pass the time until I can get Dad to let me study under Leirim. It’s a wonderful plan. Quite frankly, I’m impressed.”
“Well I don’t like it!” Seebo couldn’t hold his tongue any longer. “You take pranking too far! It’s one thing to remind a fellow that he’s only a gnome, but to use it to dupe the lesser into giving you their money! I refuse to have anything to do with it!”
“Oh come off your tall dog, Seebo! We wouldn’t be doing anything really wrong! It’s only one stupid coin we’d be asking for! It’s not like they couldn’t afford it! By Garl! The saddle that one guy had must’ve cost 1,000 gold easily!” Shamil could hardly hide the tone of outrage in her voice. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. Gnomes, especially family, never fought with one another. Shamil felt, for lack of a better term, betrayed.
“Sister, dear, you come off it! It’s wrong! It’s untruthful! It’s—”
“Not your idea,” Zook interrupted. “Admit it. You’ve been jealous of Shamie’s ideas ever since you could walk! Well, as far as I’m concerned, you can take your jealousies and go home because we don’t need you!”
Seebo glared at his siblings for a moment. Why wasn’t I an only child? He wondered in passing. His quick, shrewd mind swiftly came up with a political solution to the problem at hand. His face cracked into a sly grin. “Tell you what I’ll do, my darling siblings, I’ll go home, if that’s what you want…I won’t even mention that I know what you two are up to—”
“By the Watchful Protector! He’s coming to his senses!” Zook exclaimed.
“Let me finish. I won’t tell a soul that I know what you’re doing… in exchange for ten percent of your take.”
Alarm bells rang loudly in Shamil’s mind. “Since when did you become such a…a…a politician?” She managed to make the last word sound like something one would find dribbling from a goblin’s gaping maw. She felt tugging on her arm and turned to see Zook pulling her aside. Seebo sat on the boulder and waited quietly, thoroughly pleased with himself, while his siblings discussed his proposition.
Shamil and Zook walked back to the road to discuss their options. “I don’t see how we have any choice, Slice.”
“I don’t either, Shamie.”
“Should we agree?” Zook ran a hand through his hair.
“We shouldn’t have to. He’s our—”
“Brother. I know. He’s turning into such a human. Pretty soon we’ll be seeing lifts on his shoes!”
“Hey, now, nobody deserves that kind of a put-down. I wouldn’t say he’s going for human, exactly, at least not a full-grown one.”
“No matter what he’s trying for, it’ evil. You’d have to be evil to blackmail kin.”
Shamil glanced in Seebo’s direction. “What can we do about it now?”
“I think we’d better go along. At least until we think of something he deserves for this…this…treachery.”
“Sounds good. Well not good, but you know what I mean. Let’s think of something quick, though.”
They walked back to Seebo. “We’ve decided to accept your proposal.” Zook’s voice was painfully controlled. Then without looking back, Zook and Shamil walked away. Seebo grinned at their retreating forms, and turned back to the village.
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