The Troubles with Baubles

‘To the man with a grimace at Table #4’

The sealed letter falls lightly onto the table with a puff of air. Shyly, and with haste, a Moogle floats overhead and away from Table 4, leaving its delivery and the short warbling sound of its pom behind. No one else takes notice, except for the man with the grimace to whom it is addressed.

As the envelope settles onto the table, the short and stout Lalafell reads it aloud to himself once more.

“To the man with a grimace at Table #4.” He recites. “What madness misplaced! Whoever is this for?”

Propping himself on the palms of his tiny hands, he looks about the room searching for the creature this missive must belong to. He sees strangers all about, drinking their drinks and chewing the fat, but not one raises their eyes or tilts their hat.

He thrusts his hands into his pockets and plops onto his seat. He fidgets, as he is wont to do, seldom able to sit still. His small feet dangle in the air, and miniature fingers flutter in the purse of his petticoat.

Soon he becomes suddenly aware of the loudness of Buscaron’s Druthers and surrenders himself to the curiosity placed in his care. He hastily breaks the sea-blue ribbon seal of the envelope and unfolds its contents. His tea grows cold as he rushes through the words.

“Pah! Poppycock and a pound of rubbish.” He exclaims. “What a mockery ground with grub and fish.”

Minutes go by. Outwardly he plays with the contents of his pockets again. Inwardly his curiosity is played with until it gets the better of him. Snatching the paper from the table he rereads it in fevered panic, taking care to commit each line to memory.

It reads:

‘I will be short, mayhap brief,
for this report be wrought with grief.
Throughout I bespeak your language,
for doubt and fear I’m wont to manage.

Hark!
Your date upon whom you dote,
Is stolen herein as sawbills would a locket.
Her fate remains bespoke
to your whim, as I, that bauble in your pocket

Hark!
Verily malign your missteps in the morrow.
Sincerely undersigned,

M. R. Rhotano”

Without conscious thought, the tiny fingers of this creature migrate from the letter to the precious item in his petticoat pocket as he reads.

Thousands of times he’s done this out of habit, but as he concludes the letter for a second time, he realizes the neuroticism with which he’s begun finagling the bauble.

“No” he whispers “this man is whom makes me wholly neurotic.” The beats of his heart flutter by as clocks do tick. “Low, he brings me; nearly to truly psychotic!”

He tosses the letter back onto the table with disgust. It’s quickly stained with the stew that’s been sitting. He scans the room again with a steady eye. In spite of his critical study, his panicked mind wanders.

Miss Fonupa Onofupa, his lover and ward; has this ‘Mister Rhotano’ truly kidnapped her? What perverse pleasure must he get with such a condescending letter written, and in such a threatening tone! And what of the treasure the Lalalfell always keeps in his pocket? The bauble? How ever could this thing be worth the life of a living being?

These are the thoughts his mind drifts to as he concludes scanning the room. Confident that his aggressor is, in fact, not here, he hops down from his perch at the table. He takes but a moment to pat his pocket and feel the weight of the glistening treasure concealed within. Wherein that moment, a breath later, he scurries off into the night in search of the most stalwart and the most stern adventurer he can find to help save his most precious Onofupa.