A banging at his door made Krett spring up from his work
and knock his head against something thick and heavy. A low-toned,
gong-like sound rang throughout his small cottage. Holding
his hands tightly against the back of his head, he looked
up with one cocked eye to see a golem head, swinging on its
neck support. He backed away from the body of the machine,
wincing at the small throb in his skull, and wiped his hands
on an oily rag. He tossed it down as the banging continued
on the door. “I’m coming!” he half mumbled.
He worked his away across the floor around piles of his projects.
Bits of golem lay in semi-completed forms in a pattern than
could have passed for an obstacle course with random papers
lying everywhere as if they had fallen from the canopy of
a giant tree above. Clocks lined the walls, although half
had been covered by hastily sketched plans that had been pinned
up. As he made his way through the maze, piles of documents
spilled behind him and small tools tinkled to the floor. The
banging on the door resumed just as he came near and pulled
“Krett! You are home!” said a man in leather armor with a
bow on his back.
“Shamino? Ah… you’re early! Come in, ah… come in!”
Krett stood aside to allow the famous ranger to enter the
cottage, although the room was limited. Shamino looked around
at the piles of half-formed mechanical beings and found the
image a little disturbing.
“Am I early? I should be right on time.” The ranger curiously
prodded a strange assembly of gears on the floor with his
Krett maneuvered his way back towards the nearly finished
golem on the other side of the room. “I must, ah… have lost
track of time working on this fellow over here. What time
His voice was cut off by the sound of dozens of clocks ringing
all at once. After squinting for a few moments at the shrill
sound of the tinker’s time pieces, Shamino looked at his friend
with a smirk.
“Oh, six o’ clock, you are right on time,” Krett said, moving
the head of a golem up onto a table.
“Krett, I sent you word of my coming because I would like
your help. I think your expertise could come in most useful.”
Shamino sat casually on an upturned golem leg.
“Me?” Krett asked. “What, ah… what exactly is it you need
“Your knowledge of these mechanical men.”
“Golems,” Krett said absentmindedly.
“Pardon?” Shamino asked.
“They’re called golems, Shamino, or ‘Por-Xel-Agra-Lem’. Can’t
really compare them to men. They, ah… they may look like a
man, but they have no free will. No more than your bow or
“Por-Xel… what?” Shamino looked puzzled. “What exactly did
you just say?”
“Ah… as far as I can tell, it means ‘golem’ in the language
of the gargoyles. I’ve had a chance to study a lot of their
language from, ah… bits and pieces that explorers have returned
with. Very fascinating.”
“Well…” Shamino looked around the small workshop, “I suspect
no one has more knowledge of their work than you, friend.
You are currently Britannia’s golem expert and because of
that, I’d like you to come with me. Your knowledge could come
in handy. You may even help us learn something about these
Gargoyles.” He stood up and walked over to Krett to watch
as the man deftly used his tools on the large golem sitting
on the floor in front of him. “Nystul sent a party into Ilshenar
to find out more about where these are coming from. They haven’t
returned yet, and he’s asked me to go in and look for them.”
“Why do you need me to come along? I, uh… I can surely examine
anything you, um… bring back to me here.”
“Yes, but out there you may see something the rest of us would
miss. I have two guards with me from Britain, you’ll be safe,”
Krett looked up from his work briefly, as if focusing on the
conversation for the first time. “I’m… not much of an adventurer,
Shamino. I’m much more comfortable here with my work. I am
a tinker. I… well uh, I tinker.”
Shamino walked slowly around the man and his project. “You
know… from what I’ve heard, the golems have been changing
slightly since they first appeared.”
“That is true!” Krett’s voice echoed from inside the chest
cavity of the golem he was working on. “Whoever makes them
has changed the design more than once. The internal parts
look different in the, ah… newer ones. It wouldn’t surprise
me if they changed it again.”
“And do you want someone else to be the first person to see
the new ones? Come now, Krett, this is a chance to see one
of your metal men actually working. Maybe even get a chance
to see the Gargoyle city itself.” He leaned in closer with
a smirk. “Think of all there is to learn.”
Krett sighed and pulled his head out from his work, being
careful to push the golem’s head aside this time. He stared
at the floor in deep thought for a long moment.
“I’ll, ah… I’ll get my pack.”
* * *
Krett dismounted his horse, glad that he did not often have
to ride one of the beasts. He felt as if one of his golems
had come to life and shaken him for about an hour. He looked
through his pack to make sure all of his tools and books were
in order. Shamino and the two imposing guards also dismounted
and began searching the area.
“Welcome to Ilshenar. Are you well, Krett?” Shamino asked,
a slight expression of amusement on his face.
Krett looked up at his friend as he stood. “I just spent an
hour, ah… having my brain bounced around the inside of my
skull. If you wanted me to, uh… learn anything I think the
hopes of that are over.”
Shamino grinned at his friend. “You’ll be fine; you’re just
not used to horse…” He paused and looked around as if focusing
deeply. “There’s a golem nearby… that way.” He looked to the
guards who nodded and started running in the direction the
ranger had pointed.
Krett looked puzzled. “You… you heard a golem?”
“You didn’t?” Shamino winked.
The two started in the direction the guards had run. After
a few minutes of walking, they finally found the two guards
lounging over the remains of a golem as if it was nothing
but a stump in the wilderness. They hadn’t even broken a sweat
destroying the creature. The mouth of a cave stood behind
them. Shamino smirked as he watched Krett approach the golem
excitedly and pull his tinker tools from his pack, along with
a thick book he had been making notes in.
“Thomas, stay here with Krett while he investigates his new
toy.” Krett grinned up at Shamino as he lifted a metal plate
off of the chest of the golem. “William, come with me. We’ll
scout ahead in the cave a bit. According to my map, this leads
to the Gargoyle lands.”
Shamino and the guard walked into the opening of the cave
until darkness enveloped them. Krett continued to remove parts
from the inside of the golem as Thomas stood by and watched
curiously. Occasionally, the steely guard would prod at a
piece of the golem with his halberd.
“What is this!” Krett exclaimed as he pulled a component out
of the cavity of the mechanical being. “This component is,
ah… yes, ah, different than it was in older golems! Fewer
parts…” He could see a slight glow coming from inside the
metal box. He continued to work furiously with his tool kit.
“I think we have something… here.”
“We do?” inquired Thomas in a deep voice Krett never wanted
to hear in a dark alley at night.
“Er, um… yes. You see, in the older golems that I’ve, uh…
had a chance to tinker with, they had an extra component in
this bit. As far as I could tell, it was some sort of switch
that went off when the golem shut down. It always had, uh…
small pieces of some sort of crystal inside. This one, however…”
he opened another panel, “That’s it. The crystal in this one
is still intact! The older golems had a device that would
destroy the crystal when they stopped moving!”
The guard wrinkled his brow.
“Do you know what I can do with this crystal?!” Krett was
practically hopping up and down with excitement.
“KRETT!” Shamino’s voice echoed from the mouth of the cave.
“Come here quickly!”
Krett looked to the guard and the two of them ran into the
cave. As he lit a torch, Krett could already see blood and
bodies around the newly carved cavern. He did his best not
to become ill. He was no warrior and had never seen a dead
“I’m sorry, friend. I know this is not a pleasant sight, but
there may be clues.” Shamino led Krett deeper into the cave.
“This is what is left of the party Nystul sent a few days
ago. I’m not sure what killed them, but whatever it was did
a thorough job.” Krett tried to focus on the walls of the
cave and not on the corpses. “I know this doesn’t sit well
with you, Krett, but the guards will protect you. We need
Krett walked around slowly with his torch. He jumped slightly
at the feeling of a human hand underneath his boot and swallowed,
trying to contain his nervousness. He held his torch lower
to reveal the rest of a corpse. The man had died here, but
not before writing on the cave wall with his own blood. “Shamino,
ah… uh… I think I may have found something! One of them tried…
he, uh… tried to leave us a… um… a message. It’s only one
word, but um… I… I don’t know what it says.”
“Something in the Gargoyle tongue?” the ranger’s voice echoed
“I’m checking, um… I’m checking that now.” Krett paged through
the thick stack of notes he had made of the Gargoyle language.
He knew his knowledge of the language was limited, but he
was still disappointed that he could not find out what the
word on the wall meant. He wasn’t even sure that the word
was in fact Gargish.
“I’m sorry, Shamino. I, um… can’t tell what this word, ah…
what this word means. It could be a name, a place, a city…
I’m not sure. It’s not, ah… in my texts, but I think we should
learn what it means. This man died trying to give you this
“What is the word, Krett?” Shamino asked, walking closer in
Krett looked at his friend and then back at the wall. “It
From the Britannia News Network - The Journal of Ultima
Online, October 25th, 2001.