Fennrin Sprysprocket


  • Race: Gnome
  • Age: 34
  • Profession: Engineer
  • Physical: Just under four feet, tall for a gnome.  Darker colored skin than normal gnomes.  Stubbly, scraggly beard around chin, big bushy eyebrows. 



The spring went flying from the mechanism. Fennrin threw down the wrench in frustration and spent the next couple of minutes pacing back and forth, accentuated with a huff.


Fennrin, or Sprocket as everyone else called him, continued his pacing, back and forth, back and forth, huffing.


He received a good thwap on his cap and promptly turned around.  One of his fellow gnomes faced him, fists on hips, grit washing down his pale face from sweat.

“Eh, what’s gotten in teh ye, Brizzle! Just be minding me own-”

“We’ve a visitor.”

Brizzle’s tone was enough to send ice lancing through his veins. Finally pulled away from his project, Sprocket noticed there was no sound coming from the main project atrium. He nodded curtly and motioned for Brizzle to lead the way.  Sprocket had some suspicions on who their visitor was.

As the duo came around the spiraling staircase leading down into the atrium, Sprocket’s suspicions were confirmed.  Magistrate Tekah stood tall, red-brown hued skin brighter than usually against the dazzling bulbs of the gnome workshop, making his handsome features stand out more.  His eyes were mostly black minus a very small, dim ring of fire surrounding his pupils.  The one thing Sprocket hated above all else, though, was that offhanded, charming smile, so very different from his unnerving eyes.

Brizzle shifted uncomfortably but quickly to the side.  Sprocket strode up between the space of his gnomes and the Magistrate’s Hesspa guard.  Barely coming up to the Magistrate’s waist, the grizzly gnome engineer was hardly daunted.

“What brings ye here, Magistrate?”

His tall frame shifted slightly as he gazed at the haphazard display of gnome machinery, his stiff long coat crinkling.  Then, he turned back with that winning smile.

“Why, my good Fennrin Sprysprocket, you have all of Pythis wrapped around your finger,” his voice disarmingly smooth, “Word has it, you are the best engineer in all of Pandoram.”

Normally the gnomes would have hooted and hollered hearing such a compliment of their chief engineer.  Instead, they remained tensely quiet, all eyes fixed on the Magistrate and his guard.

“Hmph, just do me job and that happens to be me passion.  No one could ask for more.”

“Good, humble Sprocket. May I call you Sprocket?” the Magistrate didn’t wait for an answer, “That is why I have come to you. To see the magnificence of your work for myself, though one can surely spot it all over the city. I have a rather…delicate project that requires a master of his art. Perhaps we can speak more comfortably?”

The Magistrate gently motioned toward the many side passages from the atrium that housed private offices and rooms.  Sprocket was in a tight place with no leverage.  To deny Magistrate Tekah would surely mean he would be seeing the last of his days; but to agree to the project…

Sprocket nodded and motioned for the Magistrate to follow him to his personal office back up the stairs.  Sprocket bristled at the notion of even giving him an audience, but what choice did he have?  Pythis was going down a dark road.  He had thought, as the city’s most famous and respected engineer, he might avoid any trouble.  Sprocket quickly scolded himself for having harbored those thoughts, though, how long would he have expected for GOUS to stay out of his affairs? They were rooted into the government after all and wouldn’t the government find some use for an engineer? Particularly one that was city acclaimed? No, Sprocket thought to himself, he was not happy with the way things were going.  He wanted to be left alone to his own projects, that was all. The door closed ominously behind the pair.


The bolt spun around, around and around. Then, thump. A couple of callus fingers picked it up and spun it around, and around and around again. Thump. Thud!

The fingers paused.  Thud, thud. Under his bushy brows Sprocket looked up at his door. Thud, thud, thud.

He sighed.

“Come in.”

Before him stood a beautiful elf, her skin the slightest hue of green, as if a gentle green light was constantly dousing her skin.  Her eyes were a vibrant emerald, sparkling and shining.  Her hair was dark brown with occasional streaks of a deep red. She was clothed in an elongate, light brown fitted skirt, diagonally opened to the knee, with boots and a flowing cream tunic tied at the waist. She curtseyed.

“Fennrin Sprysprocket? A pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

Sprocket was rather breathless. He sprang up more quickly from his chair than intended and awkwardly cleared his throat.

“M-may I ask your name, mi’lady?”

“Magistra Uraserah Vyne, at your service,” she smiled sweetly.

Sprocket bowed, “The pleasure is all mine, to be sure.”

He motioned to a chair for her to sit, then, seeing the dirt, went to grab a cloth.

“Nonsense, the dirt will not harm me for sure,” she laughed gayly and sat, her ankles tucked behind her. Her expressionquickly turned serious however.

“I fear you have had a meeting with Magistrate Tekah.”

Sprocket simply shrugged. He wasn’t in the mood for recalling the unsettling meeting.

“I have a proposition for you and hope you will not decline it,” Magistra Vyne offered when the gnome stayed silent, “I will not hide that it would be dangerous. But it is for a good cause, the best of causes.”

Sprocket looked into her eyes, wary but intrigued.

“I have been gathering close acquaintances and friends who are…dissatisfied with the way the city is being handled.”

“Hmph, dissatisfied is hardly the word meself would put to it.”

Magistra Vyne gave a lighthearted chuckle, “Indeed, good gnome, I feel it. And I fear that we have only scrapped the surface of the looming issues facing Pythis. My organization, Rebirth, has been monitoring GOUS’s actions, undercover and from the shadows for the last five years. We have seen little, but now they become more bold.  As they do, we must follow.  We must be bold and that is why I come to you, now, Sprocket.  I fear their reach will extend beyond Pythis and we will need all the allies we can muster. And all the clever engineering you have showed yourself capable of.”

The gnome soaked it in.  He had been given a job by the Magistrate, one who held the counsel at his every beckon. He was disturbed by Magistra Vyne’s tone, however, and knew that something was amiss, had been amiss, for quite some time. Sprocket shifted uncomfortably under Magistra Vyne’s gaze, though her eyes showed sympathy.  She knew what she was asking of him, knew that if he agreed, he would be in a dangerous position.  For if Magistrate Tekah ever found out he was double crossed…Sprocket gulped. Sprocket hadn’t much cared for the affair of governments and politics, he only wanted to keep to his projects.  But, had the time come when he could no longer avoid it? Was it better to hide and watch his friends suffer at the hands of an increasingly militant and greedy government? As he figured it, he was a rusted socket if he did and rusted socket if he didn’t.

His grimy face beamed up at Uraserah Vyne, his eyebrows finally coming untangled, “Magistra, you have yourself a deal!”


Knight in Shining Armor: A Case for Eroding the “Masculine”

Feminism. The word strikes terror in the heart of some. In others, it ignites a fiery passion. If you’re terrified of women having equal rights, you have some serious issues to work through. I could spout off on a long, arduous lecture of exactly what I think of those people who are so terrified and unnerved by the word feminism, however; there is just as great a peril facing our young men, one I didn’t really look into until I met a gentleman who had similar struggles that paralleled that of my feminism.  So I will do my best to call attention to the extreme portrayal of the ever elusive six pack, the macho square jaw, reverberating voice and all around heroic depiction that our men must face up to everyday in the stories of science fiction and fantasy, whether in book, movie or game. I struggled a long time writing this post-there’s simply not enough studies done regarding unfair representation of men in media (especially in literature).  It is, nonetheless, as important of an issue as feminism.

The concept of masculinity is short-sighted and ill-defined. A man, like a woman, is of his own individuality.  He is defined not by a six pack but by those skills, interests and values he can call his own, those that he has cultivated through relationships, hardships and joy. Instead, the masculinity we witness and experience is a cold stone bent upon expressing with his fists, rather than the heart, and constantly dwelling on the next fling.  Why then has this become our report card for a hero? Why are our heroes continuously depicted as the knight in shining armor?

Science fiction and fantasy are often guilty of the above depictions of the masculine, but on a different scale than the rest of media.  In such genre related stories, we expect a male character to be measured in one aspect: his prowess in battle.  It is rather rare (from my experience) to read a story of those genres not focused on battles.  Such a focus sets the male characters up for being, wanting to, or being forced to be a warrior, a valiant hero. We lose our measure of that individual, then. The “hero” becomes nothing more than the next six-pack to potentially be run through (but can’t die because he’s the hero).  Instead of allowing that male character to reflect on feelings, growth and companionship, he is forced to only reflect on the next tactical move, a shell for military jargon and courageous gibberish. He is a hero only by title and cowers from personal growth.

However, not all prowess at violence in these genres necessarily leads to the stereotypical “masculine.” The character, Drizzt Do’urden comes to mind.  Through this character, the author depicts an inner journey often reflective of the other characters within the story.  Here is a character that recognizes battle for what it is, that recognizes later the woman he loves does not need protecting, that recognizes and does not shy away from personal growth. Within this context, we move gradually away from the “masculine”, we erode its stereotypes by having the character recognize a female character’s worth and humanity, but, more importantly, his own.  As the Hunter, he sees himself as an instrument of death, not necessarily a hero.  He sees violence for what it is. When he is Drizzt, this is even more apparent. Drizzt does not see his skills as more excellent than any other, he does not dwell on love interests, he does not dismiss emotions and feelings as unnecessary.  Indeed, the entire story is his personal journey, his story.  He could not have much of a story if he were to think emotions folly and of no use. He is, essentially, guided by his heart and not his fists, as is too often the case with masculinity.

There are, of course, exceptions to the above rule. I have only listed one with which I am most familiar, but I would be happy to hear of others.  If we are to combat violence and maltreatment towards women, we must also face the expectations that society places on men. Therein, I believe we will find the ugly monster that cringes at the word “feminism”.

For, what is the hope when we’re waiting, always waiting for the knight in shining armor?