After Poxig crossed the Gorgola river, he went through a strange interlude. All of his food supplies extinguished, and he near extreme exhaustion, he wandered near the Gorgola forest. He took up the search for vittles, but found nothing but inedible roots. He began to be very hungry, and lonely.
Poxig wondered what would become of Lakfi, or whether or not he would starve out here in the wilderness. For now, it was clear that he would have to scrape by on his own. He was concerned about where he would sleep for that evening.
The sun began to set, and it was getting cold. Poxig began to gather kindling in order to build a fire. He could hear the jeweled scarabs in the trees. The fire soon blazed hot and there was a few nuts that Poxig had collected from the local flora that he munched on while watching the fire.
It became clear that he would have to return to the city of Marginalia, and look for a chance to use his newfound skills in Eyrrfish to help the diplomats who lived there. Perhaps he could get a sinecure and live comfortably the rest of his days. But this was beyond his imagination at this point. It was still likely that he would starve out here in the wilderness.
He nodded off to sleep under the beta tree, and began to dream of elven women. While he was asleep, he heard a small voice, as if it could have come from a mouse. It said, “Wake up, sir. You are sleeping on my house.” Poxig thought that it was a dream, but when he stirred to consciousness, he saw a small gnome-like person, standing right next to his head, which was resting on a pile of leaves.
“Wake up!” he heard again. Surely enough, the miniature person stood in front of his face, and Poxig could perceive that he was irate about something or other. He immediately stood up on the forest floor. “Who might you be little fellow?” Poxig asked.
“I am Meerschaum, the sprite. I don’t know who you are, but you had better move because the entrance to my abode is blocked. I have returned from hunting insects, and now I wish to see my wife and pet mouse!” said Meerschaum.
“I am sorry, sir. But I have never seen a sentient creature of your size,” Poxig continued. “How am I certain that I am not still dreaming?”
“Pick me up in your hand! Then, please put me down, for I am in a terrible hurry, ” said the sprite.
Poxig lowered his hand and the miniature man walked upon it. He raised him to his face. “You’re a cute little sprite. Can you possibly tell me where I can get some vittles? I’m terribly famished.”
“Here are some scarabs that I caught last night,” said Meerschaum. “Now please kindly put me down, and remove yourself from my front door.”
Poxig looked at the place that he was sitting, and carved into the side of the beta tree was a small almost imperceptible green door, which he surmised was the entrance to Meerschaum’s domicile.
“One more thing before you go!” said Poxig, placing the minute personage on the ground. “I’m lost in these woods, which you must be familiar with because you live hereabouts. Please inform me of the way to Marginalia. I , too, would like to return home.”
“I’ve never been out of these woods,” said Meerschaum. “But ask the sage of our village, and he should be able to tell you where to go. His name is Binural, and he lives just over the knob over yonder.”
“Thank you kind sir. I am quite sorry for blocking the entrance to your residence,” said Poxig.
“And I apologize for disturbing your slumber. But these are weird woods, and we sprites must be wary of wolves and falcons. I mustn’t be seen by these predatory beasts. And so, good day,” he uttered, and sped swiftly into the beta tree.
Poxig thought that he would try to find another miniature person here, as he assumed that this was a sort of gnome village. He had heard about gnomes, but didn’t think that they actually existed. Now, he would be sure to question even the most basic assumptions if experience dictated otherwise.