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The Adventures of Doctor Thomas Paine, part One.


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“Malifaux is a scary place, even to the best of us. There’s a lot of things that like to eat you, a lot of people who want what you have, and death comes in every color of the rainbow (which is thirty-seven here. I’ve counted.) It’s not easy being green.”

Doctor Thomas “The Bad Doctor” Paine

Gremlins never frown. More accurately they have two expressions, maddened glee and boredom. Both are equally dangerous. However Doctor Thomas Paine was the exception to this rule. He frowned for most of his waking hours, and when he was asleep he grimaced like someone in great discomfort. Paine was born with a trait unheard of in Gremlins, something which he dubbed Common Sense. It was this odd and frightening ability he was currently employing with his long time friend, Jones.

“I’m telling you Jones, now isn’t the time to do anything serious. The Guild and the Union are having a cold war right now, but pretty soon it’ll turn hot. When it does, we can strike without fear of serious repercussions.”

Jones, known to most of Malifaux as “Somer Teeth”, started at Paine for several minutes silently chewing on a long swamp reed. Jones was intelligent for a Gremlin, but sometimes the Doctor spoke in words he couldn’t understand or pronounce.

“Co’ War?” He said the phrase with uncertainty.

Paine thought for a moment, translating the concept into terms his friend could understand.

“They fight like sissies. Shoot at each others backs. Call names. But when one goes to far…Boom.” He ended his statement with a hand gesture mimicking an explosion.

Jones understood immediately, and nodded. He spat the reed, chewed to a green paste, into a nearby bucket and stood up.

“Show ya somethin’. C’mon.” He walked out of the crude hut and gestured for Paine to follow him, which he did.

Outside of Jones’ hut, the Gremlin base was a maze of crude architecture and uneven fences. Paine himself engineered the most elaborate of them, a tall metal fence electrified by means of a crude soulstone generator. It kept some of the largest hogs from rampaging around the camp…as long as they were fed regularly.

They stopped in front of the largest building, the Doctor’s own hospital/workshop. And Jones turned to his friend and advisor.

“Present. For when Co’ War gets hot. ” Saying this, Jones heaved open the heavy double doors of the building.

Inside, separated into three piles on the open floor of the workshop were the remains of three peacekeepers. The Doctor’s frown quickly turned into a deep smile, and he slapped Jones heartily on the back.

“We’re gonna have some fun with these babies.” He said, grabbing the nearest wrench.


I noticed a shocking deficiency of stories about Gremlins, so I wrote one about a Gremlin who has more brains than normal. I hope this is as much fun to read as it was to write, and I apologize that it's a little rough, I have a tendency to not post things if I don't do it quick.

As the title implies, I'm planning to write at least one more of these. It's just too good an idea to let go to waste.

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Doctor Paine emerged from his workshop in high spirits. After several days he had made significant progress with his project, and lost only three test pilots out of the twelve volunteers. However, his attitude changed instantly when he saw a murder of crows perched on the roof of Jones’s hut. Zoraida was coming to visit.

For longer than Paine had been alive, the Gremlins had a fearful respect for the ancient witch. She had magical powers over the swamp and most of the creatures in it, and Paine distrusted her intensely for it. He made his was as fast as he could towards Jones, who he knew to be tending to his personal still. He found him there tasting the latest batch, which had been made from swamp rhubarb.

“The witch is coming.” Paine said, as soon as he was near enough to be heard.

Jones took a long swig from the jug he’d just filled, and nodded.

“She want somethin’. Best givin’ it to her.” Jones eyed the Ravens suspiciously, but began walked to the west gate alongside Paine.

When they arrived at the gate the sun was beginning to dip below the sagging willow trees. As dusk fell, all the frogs in the swamp seemed to croak out in unison, announcing the coming of their master. She gradually appeared from the darkness, escorted on either side by a pair of massive toads. She stopped just short of the gate and called to Jones.

“I have come. I wish to speak with you Jones.”

Jones called an invitation in a tongue long forgotten by mankind, and Zoraida hobbled into the camp, her escort vanishing into the swamp. They walked together to Jones’s hut, and Paine noted with dissatisfaction that the ravens were still perched on the roof. Inside, Jones had three makeshift seats ready. Zoraida took a seat eagerly, and pulled out a pipe of gnarled black wood. She began to speak as she packed what looked like crushed bones into the bowl.

“The fools at the guild have set up a camp in my swamp.”

“Our swamp.” Paine interjected.

“That too.” She responded, lighting the pipe. A disgusting smell began to fill the room, along with a thick cloud of smoke that seemed to spill onto the floor rather than float out the open door. She continued, glaring at Paine.

“This camp, they’ve been clearing out some of the trees. The waldgeists don’t like that. They’ve been killing off my Slurids. I don’t like that. And my children tell me they’ve been going after your pigs for food.”

“You want us kill Guild.” This was the first time Jones had spoken, and the fact that he had followed the conversation surprised Zoraida. She threw a frigidly cold look at Paine.

“Bu’ we kill Guild, Guild come back. Bring more Guild.” Jones shrugged and took another swig of his newest brew, placing the jug on the table.

“Well, I wasn’t asking you to do it for free.” Zoraida responded, fishing through her pockets for a small bag which she placed next to Jones’s jug.

“There’s four soulstones in there. Count them if you like.”

Paine emptied the contents of the bag onto the table. As the witch had promised, four soulstones tumbled onto the table. Paine picked one out at random and peered at it. They were poor quality, but soulstones were hard to come by for Gremlins. He nodded at Jones, and put the stones back into the bag.

“My children tell me there are four guild agents there. They’ll have an Aethervox, so if you kill them quick no one will be the wiser.” Zoraida puffed at her pipe, smiling.

“Do we have a bargain?” She asked, looking at Jones.

“Yep.” Jones replied. “Dead by dawn.”

“Good.” Zoraida said, standing up.

“I’ll be there to check at sunset.” Without further discussion, she changed into a raven and flew out the open door.


Some miles away, two members of a coven wait for the third.

One picks at the remnants of a meal on a porcelain plate, raw pink and oozing blood. The other stares at a closed box, as if listening to voices drifting out from under its tight lid. A raven lands between them, and suddenly in its place is a gnarled old witch. She looked to her sisters, and said, “Lilith. Pandora.”

“Zoraida.” Lilith answered, letting her plate fall to the floor where it was attacked by several small demonic children.

“How went the negotiations?”

“Poorly.” Answered Pandora, her gaze fixed on her box.

Zoraida slumped into a chair, frowning.

“Pessimistic as you are dear you’re not far off. The freakish one is suspicious.”

“They’re all a bit freakish,” countered Lilith.

“Which one do you mean?”

“The smart one.” Zoraida answered testily.

“Why’s he’s suspicious?” Asked Lilith, her tone suggesting that it was clearly Zoraida’s fault.

“I would guess,” Pandora said,

“It’s because he’s not an idiot.”

“It doesn’t matter.” Zoraida interrupted.

“They’ve agreed, and they keep their word.”

“Then we wait.” Lilith said, watching two of the small creatures kill each other over a choice piece of meat.

[sorry about the wait, it took longer than expected. This one was kind of awkward to write, and I think it shows through. Expect a battle for the next piece.]

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I think one of my favorite bits of style in this is the particular accent you've graced Som'r Teeth with. I must admit, I'd also never paid attention to the fact that all three Neverborn leaders are witches. o.O And moreover, could symbolize the Maiden, Mother, and Crone. It does seem, oddly enough, like they would be able to work together from time to time. X) Y'know... iffin' Som'r Teeth Jones is considered on the bright side, Gremlin-wise, Mr. Paine must right well be a ge-ni-us. ;P I'm just worried to find out what a dumn gremmy would be like. ^_^'

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  • 2 weeks later...

Through intense training several hand picked Gremlins were shaped into scouts. They learned camouflage, tracking, stealth, and most importantly to suppress the urge to run screaming at or from whatever they saw. Four of these fine Gremlins stood in front of Paine and Jones. The most eloquent of the four was giving a detailed report of the reconnaissance mission.

“Witch Hunners.” He said in guttural tones.

“Are you certain?” Paine asked.

“You sure?” Jones translated.

“Yessiree bob.” The gremlin replied, saluting with such vigor his straw hat tumbled to the ground. Paine picked it up, examining the way the Gremlin had interwoven various swamp vegetation into it.

“You’re a good scout.” Paine said it as a fact. “What’s your name?”

“Frankee.” The Gremlin replied, his face adopting the shade of moss in pride.

“Frankee.” Paine said the name and nodded. “I’ll remember you.”

Jones dismissed the scouts, who headed immediately to the slop-hall.

“Whatcher think?” Jones asked Paine.

“I think…” Jones said “That one of the Piecemakers is working, and we’ve got six kegs of lamp oil from out last raid,” He gave a meaningful smile to Jones.

“An’ Witch Hunners love fire.” Jones said. “They’s some whelps in the last farrow. I’ll fetch ‘em.”

“Send them to my workshop. And send that Frankee, tell him I’ve got a new toy with his name on it.”

A short hour later, the Gremlins were assembled on the edge of the Guild camp. A bonfire crept high into the black sky, and several cages held weeping prisoners. Paine and Jones sat beside one another, conversing in low tones.

“Whelps ‘re ready.” Jones said, “How’s the Piecemaker?”

“Fine. Do we really have to call it that?”

“Makes pieces don’ it?” Jones answered with a smile.

Paine sighed, but waved to Frankee, who sat in the makeshift cockpit of the machine.

The Piecemaker tore into the clearing like five tons of spinning blades and black smoke, and as the Guild members sat gazing at it in horror and disbelief, it raised a massive cannon and fired a squealing piglet into the roaring bonfire which promptly exploded, sending the better half of the burning logs scattering into the tents.

“TIME TO PARTY BOYS!” Jones screamed, leaping from his hiding place and discharging his massive blunderbuss more in the direction of the Guild than at any of them in particular. A tide of green, brown, and pink swept into the encampment from every direction.

The Guild responded in a hurried dash for their weapons, and the greater part of them were shot down before they reached them. The ones who found weapons made little attempt to push back the horde, if anything they fled at the very sight of the mechanical horror that was thrashing around and firing live ammunition in every direction.

“I SAID THE LEFT LEVER FRANKEE!” Paine bellowed, holding onto the massive machine with one hand, and motioning desperately to the pilot with his other. A saw blade shot off of the machine and spun into the largest of the tents in the clearing.


The large tent, or more accurately the half that was left suddenly burst into flame, and from the burning canvas stepped a tall red haired woman with half applied cosmetics and a fistful of bright blue flame. Whatever hell she’d planned for her incompetent subordinates was postponed when she saw the green wave of chaos and the massive mechanical monstrosity. She hurled the flame at the machine, sending a jet rolling across its pilot and boiling the paint off the metal chassis. The machine slowed, tumbled into the embers of the bonfire and exploded, showering the half-clad woman with broken gears and bits of charred pigflesh. She spun on her four inch heels and ran to rally her troops, most of whom had disappeared into the swamp with Gremlins hard on their heels.

Jones sat on a stump, looking with great sadness at the charred skeleton of the Piecemaker. The charred flesh was, he knew, as much Gremlin as it was pig. But then he felt a mud caked hand on his shoulder, and spinning around he saw a familiar figure, though more brown that he was used to.

“It’s alright,” Paine said, wiping some of the mud off his face. “I’ve got two more.”

Jones laughed, and Paine joined in, and they sat there laughing; just two Gremlins in their natural environment


And that's the end! For now anyway. I've had heaps of homework lately, and I really should concentrate on that. Criticisms and advice are always welcome.

I hope you enjoyed the read!

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