The sarcastic remark and gesture enraged Rander as he regained his feet. Linvin, however, found entertainment in their new acquaintance. He held his open palm toward Rander in order to withhold his rage.
“Such sincerity in this day is rare, indeed,” Linvin said with tongue-in-cheek. “As long as we are exchanging pleasantries, I believe introductions are in order. My name is Linvin Grithinshield. These two over here are my cousins, Rander Greenlith and Bander Greenlith. The other fine gentlemen is our uncle, Anvar Greenlith.”
The gnome nodded as he followed Linvin’s references. “Rander and Bander, huh?” noted the gnome. “You must have a bunch of older siblings that used up all the good names for your ma to saddle you with those. Not to be mean, but you sound like carnival folk.”
Rander put his face directly across from the gnome and spoke in a loud but shaky tone. “You insult us for no good reason!”
“Now, that isn’t true,” the gnome quipped, as he gently created space between himself and Rander. “I insulted you with good reason. Your names are, for lack of a better word, stupid. Remember, I did say that I wasn’t trying to be mean.” The gnome cocked his head sideways to look around Rander and spy Linvin again. “Bit of a touchy one, this little guy here, aye, Elf-Man?”
Rander panted hard and gnashed his teeth as he stuck his face in front of the gnome once again. His eyes flashed with rage and his fists clenched. The gnome shook his head in disappointment and brushed him aside on his way over to Linvin.
“Please,” the gnome told Rander, “if you were going to make a move, you would have done it already. It’s not your fault, though. Probably nursed too long as a babe. Have cheer, young elf. I have not come near to pointing out your greatest shortcomings.”
Bander stepped between the gnome and Linvin. He, too, was seething, like his brother. The gnome looked at him from one angle and then another. The gnome gently placed his hand on Bander’s shoulder. The elf shrugged it away and brought his fists to bear. The gnome laughed at the overreaction and said, “You poor soul. You must be the best-intentioned elf in the world, but there isn’t a single thought in your sad mass of a head, is there? Well, take heart, big fellow. You are fortunate that your lack of aptitude does not prohibit you from action like your brother.” He proceeded past the bewildered elf.
Linvin stepped forward to meet him with his hand outstretched. “You have spoken many words, my good gnome, but none of them contained your name. Perhaps you would share it with us now?”
The gnome shook Linvin’s hand firmly. “Now that was impressive, Elf-Man. You have an uncanny way of detecting the obvious. My name is Newminor.”