Today’s prompt being “Queens and Orphans,” so here’s the Gnomish queen-to-be of “Tock the Gnome,” Princess Bartelbia, encountering someone of a much lower and needier class than her usual company!
Bartelbia is a very sheltered character – she’s lived most of her life in the palace, her movements very, very controlled – and I’m not sure if we’ll get to see her in the comic proper. But I feel like there’s a story here, at very least. There aren’t many orphans in Gnomish culture, currently, but those that exist are taken in by temples of Shipley (the god of animals and families) and cared for as well as possible. In order for this encounter to happen, the Princess would have had to sneak out of the palace, out the noble and wealthy class areas and into the lower and poor sections of the city, maybe finally curious to see what life is really like for her people!
So maybe this is happening right now – while Tock is away, perhaps one day Queen Adamine is busy with her work, leaving an opening for Bartelbia to choose how she spends her time, for once. Perhaps something she’s read recently, or something she overheard the councilors saying when they thought she wasn’t listening, inspires her to be curious and bold. Perhaps she commandeers a carriage and a driver, using her status to swear them to secrecy, and she sneaks away and out the dividing sections of the castle grounds – into the wealthy sections, past the public gardens and into the working class areas. Perhaps she steps out of the carriage, not minding that she’s still in full finery, not disguised at all. Perhaps she wanders past the shops and the airship docks and finds herself at a nearby temple, drawn there for comfort since her late father was a priest before he married her mother. And perhaps, finally, she really sees.
And though this young Gnome is close to destitute, especially by comparison, there is a fair amount of worship of the royal family in Gnomish culture, so to suddenly see the Princess – even more, to be able to reach out and touch her! – would be a wonder for them indeed. And that simple fact would, of course, have an impact on the Princess all on its own.