Callia and the Library Gremlin
At the Island Library
Returning Contestant calliaphone staggers up to the library, covered in blood. some of its her own, but much more seems to belong to the typo-gremlin she's cradling in her arms. the gremlin whimpers, and calli shusshes it.
Returning Contestant calliaphone looks round for anyone who might be able to help. seeing no-one, she makes the injured gremlin as comfortable as she can. then she digs in her pocket for her fuschia-pink joker's chalk.
Returning Contestant calliaphone chalks on the floor, beside the suffering gremlin. "mayday, mayday, gremlin attacked by contestant, requires urgent medical attention. over"
Returning Contestant calliaphone has done all she can do. leaving the gremlin in . . . hopefully. . .friendly hands, she leaves the library, and goes in search of a hospital tent somewhere.
Returning Contestant calliaphone 's chalk for once behaves itself. go figure. . .
* * * Later* * *
Stanlygirl has stumbled upon the Super Secret Location of the Improbable Island Free Library. She wants to see if there are any volumes here that aren't in DICE library, or vice versa.
Stanlygirl is walking through the stacks reading titles and mumbling under her breath about the distinctive shelving system and how a card catalog would be a welcome addition when she comes upon a typo gremlin.
Stanlygirl notes that isn't unusual, it's the blood and bandages that make this one stand out. She stands there a moment, looking down at the semiconscious gremlin.
Stanlygirl is thinking of another gremlin of whom she's become fond when she hears a whimper. That decides her. She unpacks her field first-aid kit and kneels beside the sufferer.
Stanlygirl cleans the blood from the victim to assess the damage. The right ear's been partially torn from her head and her face on that side is bruised badly; both of those will heal with time and a bit of aid
Stanlygirl the major damage is the crushed right hand. It's swollen, the fingers all awry, and when she concentrates, Stan can feel the wrongness, of the shattered bones.
Stanlygirl has no idea of the dosages of pain medications for somebody that small. She is not so good at this that she can hold off the pain for the typo gremlin and concentrate enough to work on the damage.
Stanlygirl says "Be brave, little one," as the gremlin looks up at her in half-dazed terror and confusion. "I'm so sorry, but I have to cause you more pain to help you."
Stanlygirl braces the small body between her knees, pinning the left arm, then takes the right forearm in her hand. The little gremlin lets out a scream and faints. Stan was hoping that would happen.
Stanlygirl remembers her rage, her absolute outrage, of the wrongness of hand growing out of Eben's shoulder and pulls that feeling into herself as she feels the shattered hand and finger bones.
Stanlygirl refuses to allow the rage to take her over, but she uses it to pull the bone fragments back into place, to force-heal them, to make them knit just enough to stay in place.
Stanlygirl then allows the rage to dissipate. Enervated, she slumps for a moment. It took more of her energy to mend the shattered hand than to remove the extra bone from Eben's shoulder.
Stanlygirl takes a deep breath. That ear needs suturing, too, and the best time to do that is now, while the typo gremlin's not consciously aware of the pain. She cleans the area and stiches, then dresses it.
Stanlygirl hopes antibiotic cream made for contestants won't harm the typo gremlin. She checks the hand; the swelling is already abating a bit from her healing treatment.
Stanlygirl grabs one of her precious snowballs from her room in DICE hall and uses it as a cold pack for the hand. That will help with the swelling and the pain. She assesses the girl-gremlin.
Stanlygirl feels only minor bumps and bruises, apart from what she's already treated. Stan's tired, very tired. She doesn't even have the energy to translocate. It'll have to be a precious one-shot
Stanlygirl calls quietly to the working gremlins. "You lot, look after her. Tell Cadye or Skidge what happened. I've done as much I can for now.
Stanlygirl adds, "I'll be back to check on her if I don't hear from somebody better qualified to be her healer." With that, she hits the switch on her one-shot and is gone.
* * * Later Still* * *
Stanlygirl returns to check on the little gremlin girl. She is sleeping, someone removed the snowpack from her hand, it no doubt melted. But this lets Stan know that someone has been keeping an eye on her.
Stanlygirl sees the gremlin move restlessly in her sleep. She takes a blanket from her pack and lays the little one on it. She checks her bandaging, no blood has seeped through. She won't disturb it for now.
Stanlygirl covers the typo gremlin with the other half of the blanket. She wishes she knew the normal temperature for a typo gremlin, she thinks this one is feverish.
Stanlygirl note the swelling is almost gone from the half-healed hand, but the cheek is still swollen. She smooths some cream lightly over the cheek, it should help with the pain.
Stanlygirl removes a covered medical cold pack from her backpack and lays it against the cheek. "Thank you for looking out for her. Please keep a watch on her. If she seems worse, Distract me."
Stanlygirl says "I'll be back again later."
* * * Not Long Afterwards* * *
Indemnifying Skidge dashes in, a gremlin clinging to her hat. She heads straight to where the injured gremlin is and kneels carefully.
Indemnifying Skidge examines the gremlin, noting the medical attention that has been given her. She blinkblinkblinks she-is-not-tearing-up. The gremlin wakes, and jerks away instinctively.
Indemnifying Skidge coos, "Ah now, little one, that's not necessary, you're safe, you're home." Other gremlins crowd around, their chittering translating to much the same thing.
Indemnifying Skidge waits, hand outstretched, until the gremlin calms and drifts back to sleep, surrounded by her own kind. She turns her attention to Cracker. "Who."
Indemnifying Skidge cannot understand gremlin-chitter, but fish can. He provides translation as Cracker (and other gremlins) tell the story of an injured gremlin brought to santuary and helped.
Indemnifying Skidge: 's hand is covering her mouth by the end of it, and there is no denying that there are tears involved. The kindness of others continues to surprise her.
Indemnifying Skidge looks down to the gremlins, all of whom stare back solemnly. "Not what you were expecting either, was it." There is a susurrus of movement amongst them, nods and bows of agreement.
Indemnifying Skidge notes for the first time the hats. Different ones, one for each gremlin. Another random act of kindness for the Island's most looked-down-upon species. "This will go into your stories?"
Indemnifying Skidge waits until the Keeper of the tribe comes forth and nods. "I'll find a way to thank them as well. Find her tribe, let them know what's become of her." A gremlin dashes off.
Indemnifying Skidge yawns, then sits. A long day. "All right. Wake me if she gets worse." She drifts to sleep, surrounded by the gremlins of the Library. And a newcomer.
Daedalus rustles quietly anongst the shelves, careful to not disturb Skidge or the recuperating gremlin. He leafs through old copies of The Enquirer and pores over maps of the littoral regions of the Island.
Daedalus makes sketch maps of some specific locations from the maps, and notes from Enquirer articles. Still moving quietly he leaves the open air Library and heads back to The Academy.
Meanwhile, in the Backstreets of Kittania
A few hours after Calliaphone drops the gremlin off at the Library, she is walking through Kittania when she hears a rustle in a nearby bush.
She whirls, expecting something horrible, only to see. . .nothing at all. Hrm.
She begins to walk again, only to have the hairs on the back of her neck inform her that now, something is decidedly staring at her. She whirls and look again. Still noting.
A small noise, and Callia finally looks down. There is a gremlin standing there, holding her "h", which it apparently took in order to get her attention.
It gives the "h" back and Callia holds it for a moment, unsure what to do with it now that it's no longer in her sentence. Eventually, hhowever, the problem takes care of itself.
The gremlin is staring at Callia with wide eyes. They're not particularly good at emoting, are gremlins, but this one is doing rather a good job of communicating gratitude. Something about the tilt of the bowler hat on its head reminds Callia of Skidge, and she realizes that this must be Skidge's personal gremlin, Cracker.
It is a thing to be noted that gremlins are not used to kindness at the hands of contestants. They are the most reviled species on the Island, blamed for anything and everything that goes wrong at any given point. This was more than enough to establish them as creatures worthy of protection in the eyes of the Head Librarian.
They are not all in the Library; there are many tribes and factions amongst the gremlin hierarchy, and only some of them thought the chance of living in safety to be worth the risk of allying themselves with a much-hated Contestant.
They don't like people very much, you see. Or at least most of them don't.
Callia notices that the gremlin is shyly holding up a folded piece of paper and takes it, presuming (correctly) that she is supposed to.
She unfolds it and squints. Orange crayon is apparently the pen of choice today. Skidge is skilled at many things; penmanship is not one of them. Neither is composure, to judge by the amount of scribblings and cross-outs.
Neither is spelling, but one of the more interesting things about having typo gremlins sympathetic to your cause is they can mis-spell misspellings, making them. . .correct.
Fish says the proper thing to do in this kind of situation is to write a thank-you note and I don't know much about thank-you notes but Fish is usually right about these things so I am writing you a thank-you note to say thank-you.
Thanks having been delivered, the note goes on to say that the gremlin delivered to the Library has been seen to and is being cared for. . .Skidge is incapable of such things herself, being only very good at making bad things worse, but is blessed with multiple clanmates who can do remarkable things with healing.
The injured gremlin, as can be inferred from the rampant use of "she", is female. No name has of yet been given, due to the fact that she has not been conscious for more than a few minutes at any given point and is, even when awake, understandably wary of anything larger than she is.
Skidge is not particularly good at expressing herself, but the tone of gratitude is palpable, on behalf of both herself and the gremlins.
Taped to the bottom of the note is a cantab, with an arrow pointing to it and the words, "it's not much but please accept," crayoned next to it. A cantab and a pin, almost identical to the one on Beeker's bandolier. Callia peels off the tape, confused, and the cantab falls into her palm.
She pokes it suspiciously; it's from a Joker, after all. And something. . .happens. She closes her eyes dizzily, and a map of the Library snaps into view in her memory, almost as if it had always been there.
One of the reasons the Library needs gremlins is because it is constantly changing, the shelves themselves in constant movement, the categorization incomprehensible to all but a select few.
It would appear Callia is now a member of that particular collective. The gremlin is still eying her, almost as if it is waiting for instructions.
Because that's what they do, she realizes abruptly. When you're a deputy librarian, at least.
At the library
Calliaphone is back again. But this time, it's curiosity not desperation that brings her to the library. After all, a Deputy Librarian ought to try and get some idea of what library is for. Until now, Callia has tended to assume it is to keep books off the streets, so that they do not go about intimidating people willy-nilly. But it did not escape her notice, on her last visit, that the atmosphere at this library was decidedly Free Range.
Warily then, she approaches the perimeter of the libarary's lands, and made her way towards a group of quietly grazing shelves.
There is a rustle of subtle attentiveness in the ranks of the gremlins as Callia steps into the Library. A Deputy! The newest one. There has been talk amongst the three tribes that currently reside in the Library; they are a dreadfully gossipful bunch, gremlins, and there have been whisperings and mutterings of the newest Deputy and her trek with a wounded gremlin. The Keepers of the three tribes have added her name to their oral history, and she is only the fifth Contestant in the history of the Island to be referred to as a name other than the very rude Gremlin word for "contestant not-gremlin".
Roughly translated, the word means Bringer of Change.
Whether the other tribes will accept this version of history is a matter of some debate; the Library gremlins have long been excised from the tribal councils, their Keepers stripped of their titles, their songs considered beneath notice. A gremlin who associates with Contestants (even the Librarian, who has an odd connection even with the Jungle gremlins) on a friendly basis is considered not-gremlin, a thing that has been a source of considerable consternation amongst the Library tribes. To be not-gremlin, yet to be not-Contestant; what, then, are they?
But doubtless the effects are being felt, even by the gremlin tribes of the Jungle. And it is without a doubt a thing that came about because of the newest Deputy.
Calliaphone looks all around. Takes a deep breath and reaches out a tentative hand. And prods a book on its spine before turning to flee, headlong.
Interest perks as Callia touches a book, then flees. The Deputy shows a reverence towards the books that the gremlins themselves do not understand. They treat the books well because she has asked them to, and it is true that they have been reading them lately, but they still do not understand.
A small gremlin head watches Callia most attentively, although the gremlin it belongs to continually ducks back into the shelves. She still has scars, and her mind goes confused and screamish whenever she sees anything larger than she is that moves. But he says some can be trusted, and she said much the same thing, and this one is, the other gremlins say, the one who brought her to this quiet place-where-she-is-safe.
After Callia has fled, the small gremlin eases towards the book she touched, and gives it a prod remarkably similar to the one Callia had given it. Then she turns to watch her exit, and disappears back into the stacks.