The Undiscovered Country

Bless This Gnome!

Hamish swung himself into a sitting position on the edge of his bed and stretched. It looked like it was going to be a clear day. That was always a good way to start a mission. Standing, he made his way over to the window and looked out at the Citadel. He had to admit, the view from the palace was impressive. He’d originally balked at the idea of moving out of the barracks, but with his promotion, Wullie’s status as consort and the Cult of the Undying….well it had made sense.

It was odd really. When they’d first returned from the temple mission things had seemed to be much the same. A new squad was formed, since there was only Hamish and Wullie left of the ‘13th Company of Undying’. It was a rag tag mix formed from the survivors of other citadel squads and renamed the ‘42nd Citadel Company’. They bonded on their first mission, despite the difference in their backgrounds. On their return Hamish was surprised to find that there were rumours about the invincibility of the ‘Her Majesty’s Undying Force’. A few nights leave around the city and Hamish was even more puzzled at the apparent ‘cult’ that was emerging.

A few missions later and their return was now heralded with cheering, banners and celebrations. ‘Her Majesty’s Undying Force’ were being talked about everywhere, their feats becoming legendary. A little investigation and Hamish discovered that the success of the squad was being attributed to himself and Wullie…..the last of the 13th, the last of the Citadel’s Gnomes. Gnomes were de rigueur!

When he was promoted the celebrations weren’t just within the barracks. People he barely knew congratulated him and toasted his name. He wasn’t comfortable with this new fame – he couldn’t understand it, but it did mean he barely ever had to buy a drink anymore. It also explained, in his mind, why when Wullie’s relationship with the Queen became known, no-one questioned it. Why wouldn’t the Queen be interested in one of the ‘Undying’. They were heroes.

Hamish wrapped a strong hand round the Tuakiin pendant he always wore and sighed. It was most disconcerting being famous, but who was he to fight it. Morale in the city was better than it had been for a while, despite the ever present dangers. With the Queen’s permission he’d had the squad renamed to ‘Her Majesty’s Undying Force’ – why not since that’s how they were known anyway. They didn’t actively encourage the ‘cult’, but they didn’t try to stop it either. He just wished the rest of the 13th were here to enjoy it. Mortimer might have been unimpressed, or not noticed, but Hamish reckoned Dipsy and Mags would’ve loved it.

It was strange how things had turned out. It was almost like someone was watching out for them. Perhaps his friend Tuakiin had brought them good luck. There’d been little else positive about that temple mission. But this was not the time for pondering these things. He needed to get prepared for today’s mission and it wouldn’t do to be late for the Queen. Tucking his pendant back under his shirt, he turned from the window and set his mind on military matters.

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