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Nimue's Grotto

Motar the Magnificent

by Christopher Cather

Motar the Magnificent's stubby fingers wrapped deftly around the tool and with calm precision the wheel was removed and then inspected. It was immediately cast aside, thrown roughly over his shoulder. He turned and looked down at it, saw something that only he in his wisdom knew, and then gently picked it back up and reinstalled it. Sitting back he looked approvingly at the cart. As the only Tinker Gnome in the Realm, he was of course the Master Mechanic everyone depended on to keep the Realm running. He was also the Chief Security Officer, shutting down and inspecting the main castle entrances, exits and interior pathways for any vulnerability every night before he retired to his chamber.

There was a Chief Man-At-Arms. A brute of a man, huge and somewhat foul tempered but worse, a know-it-all. Motar literally could not count the amount of times the man had tried showing off in front of the Queen, quoting random passages in some foreign tongue that he very likely had just recently made up, and then trying to quiz him on these those passages of fancy he had just fabricated. Motar didn't play along with the Brute's delusions. The Queen did, Motar saw, but he knew she was only humoring him.

His role in the Realm did not stop there. He was also the Chief Ambassador to foreign dignitaries and the Trade Negotiation Advisor to the Queen, escorting her on long trading voyages to distant lands. It was on these voyages that he would see other Tinker Gnomes, escorting their Kings or Queens as well, for all across the many kingdoms, empires and realms, the Tinker Gnomes were known for their wisdom and judgment.

A braying sound, fierce and angry interrupted his thoughts and he looked up from the cart and out the window of his cottage-like workshop. The Queen's herd of Unicorns had rallied around two males, both vying for dominance of the herd. Vagos, the largest and the eldest unicorn held his ground against Bartak a young challenger. Motar immediately went into action. Among his other roles, he was Chief Caretaker of the Herd. Any mortal would have heard a scream, high pitched and shrill, which emanated from Motar's lungs. But for those of magical intelligence like himself, or the Queen, or the Unicorns, there was a command that rode that sound like a witch riding a broomstick bound for hell. And that command was "Stop!".

Satisfied as to their reaction and feeling safe enough to leave them unattended he decided to leave his cottage and head for the main castle. He wanted to gain audience with the Queen to discuss this problem with the herd. It wasn't over between those two.

His short legs made their way down the cottage steps and he stumbled with his first step on the solid ground. Something had been going on with his legs lately and he didn't know what, but he paid it no attention. At the next set of steps up to the castle he jumped, taking them two at a time. He rushed through the giant main door and into the Court. He stopped and looked around. A shadow came from the Great Kitchen and he turned excitedly, was it his Queen?

The Brute stepped out of the Grand Hall leading to the Great Kitchen. Motar stared him down. Again the Brute started, speaking in a deep low voice, words of gibberish. He made hand signs that meant nothing and then stared expectantly at Motar. Motar gave him nothing. Calmly he pulled his Inspection Wheels from his pocket and made a quick check of the floor, ignoring the Brute in the process. The floor was level. He looked up, hoping the Brute had left but he hadn't. He was still there, looking expectantly for a response he knew he wouldn't get. Once more the Brute made his ignorant statement, casting out his words in a vernacular completely devoid of the correct enunciation, vowel usage or consonant arrangement any proper or real tongue would be architected from. Motar just blinked at him for a moment. The man was an idiot. With his magic voice he uttered a warning to the Brute. The Queen, his love and his heart, came immediately into the Court, hearing his words . The Brute just looked on, his dull mind only hearing the shrill scream.

Immediately Motar turned to the Queen and proceeded towards her on his short stout legs. He cast the Brute aside with the brush of his hand as he passed him and took his proper place before the Queen. Looking down at him in all her radiance, she spoke words to him in the new tongue. He confessed that he was still learning it, and he wasn't all convinced that it wasn't some ill-conceived notion by the Brute that she had been put up to, but he concentrated and listened to her voice. Looking up into her eyes he understood her words and he bent down to follow through with her command. The new uniform she had ordered him to wear was giving him problems though and he struggled to comply.

In a true show of his status in the Realm, the Queen herself bent down before him and with her own Royal fingers unlaced his footwear. He looked over at the Brute, to make sure he knew his place. Suddenly the Brute moved forward and seized Motar, lifting him up off the ground causing him to drop his Inspection Wheels. Motar shrieked a rage-full plea to his Queen as the tears formed.

The Queen picked up his Inspection Wheels and stared into his eyes, kissed his head, and spoke to him in the new tongue as she handed the wheels to the Brute. -Betrayed!

"You were playing with the goats again, so Daddy's going to wash your hands and give you back your car, I made you a sandwich and then we're going to the store, pre-school starts tomorrow!"

About the Author

Christopher Cather grew up in the Midwest and has spent the last 20+ years traveling the country, living and working in over 35 states. As an observer of people, places and things he is mostly interested in the underlying motivations of people, forgotten history of places, and the engineered functions of things. According to his mother he began the practice of putting himself to sleep at the age of three by telling her bedtime stories that he made up as he went along, never repeating the same story twice. According to his children, he’s still doing that today.