Hieronimus Kupfdrubus



You enter a helplessly overheated hut, where the only inhabitant is feverishly feeding his oven with, well, you're not sure what exactly... Everything inside the hut smells pretty weird, and - as you take a closer look - if you're not mistaken, the guy right now puts a whole boot into the fire.

As he recognizes you, the hermit turns around, the half-burned boot still in hand. "Hehe", he utters. "What a nice surprise... - Do you have the socks with you I ordered last month?"

Artimidor "Well, I had some, I think, but I seem to have them forgotten somewhere..."

Funny old man "You... you had them already and then you have forgotten about the socks? How could you!! Hieronimus is very angry with you! - Oh my dear socks!!!"

The old man jumps up and down, furious, so that the burning boot he has just started to shove into the oven nearly drops to the floor. Hieronimus catches the boot just before it hits the ground and shoves it into the oven again, shaking his head. "By the Gods, how could you FORGET the socks! You MUST bring the socks next time... - Do you promise me to bring them next time? You know, this is all very important!"

Artimidor "Ok, I'll see what I can do about it."

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus "Grmpf!" The hermit still doesn't want to calm down then mumbles something to himself, while being busy with the oven. Seems as if you can overhear the words "stupid strangers", "absolutly no idea" and, oh yes, this word you hear more often than anything else: "socks"...

Speaking about socks: As Hieronimus curses he stomps with his foot on the ground in order to demonstrate his point. As he does so, you realize that Hieronimus only wears one single shoe, and... a sock with an exorbitant hole in it.

Artimidor "I'd like to introduce myself: My name is Artimidor!"

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus "That's good for you, Artimidor, but it doesn't bring me any socks." He snorts. "I've named one of my rats Artimidor once I guess, if that's what you wanted to know."

Artimidor "I didn't really want to know how you named your rats, but... - really? You've named a rat 'Artimidor'?"

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus "Sure. I've also named one after king Thar and one after his spouse, the dear Curogana! Probably the one who stole my last pair of socks!" he adds angrily. "My LAST pair! Stolen by the royal couple! Who'd ever thought of that!"

Artimidor "You have rats in your house? As pets or something?"

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus "Hoho, true, true, I have rats in my cellar!" Hieronimus kneels down, knocks on the loose boards on the floor, though as far as you've seen there is no cellar at all at this small hut.

Hieronimus isn't convinced abou that as it seems: "Thaaaaar-ta-ta-ta, rat-king! And Artimidor! You're there, you lousy mouseling! Are you sleeping?" Hieronimus presses his ear against the boards, but there seems to be no sign of any rat. Well, anyway, not that you'd be fond of making the acquaintance of a filthy rat from a non-existing cellar...

Artimidor "There's really a cellar down there? I thought it's just a small hut?"

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus "How can you doubt that? - Ask king Thar where he's hiding my socks, and I bet it's not the White Knights Temple!"

Artimidor "Who's king Thar?"

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus "The one was the country's king back then. The other is my rat. Like the rat better, though."

Artimidor "Stupid question maybe, but: Why exactly are you burning your boot?"

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus "Stupid question indeed, stranger! To keep it warm in here, having best conditions for socks and rats."

Artimidor "Can you tell me perhaps what is so important about the socks you're seeking?"

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus "I need the socks for investigation, to confirm my theories I've made up during the past years. You know, there's a secret in everything, and a secret why socks exist and why they are as they are."

Artimidor "What secret can socks have?"

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus Hieronimus comes closer, dragging the foot with his large hole in the sock behind.

"Tell you what...", he says mysteriously. "People don't know that,"   he whispers in a voice you can barely understand, "but socks are weird little things! They come in pairs, you know, and although the one seems to look exactly like the other, they aren't really the same. Ever noticed? - And if you ask me why this is so, I could give you hints, yes, but knowledge comes only to those who experience it all by themselves... And there's a REALLY big secret buried in the resemblence of the socks. Oh, and this is only the start of it all!"

Artimidor "So, what hints do you have concerning the resemblance of a pair of socks?"

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus "Weeeeeell..." Hieronimus contemplates a bit, it looks as if in preparation of a long speech.

Then he just says triumphantly: "Well, they fit on two feet. The left one and the right one!" And he then adds, "The feet are different, know what I mean? So socks are different as well! Same design, different result..."

Artimidor "Oh sure, I can follow you here, but to be honest, I can't see the big secret in this perception..."

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus "Aha! Hehe..." Hieronimus grins at you. "See? See why the thing is a secret? 'Cause you don't recognize it as a secret! But if you'd recognize it, as it truly is, would it be a secret then? And can a secret be recognized and still be a secret? Especially such a socks secret? The big sock thing behind the things?"

Artimidor "What in the Gods names are we talking about here!?"

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus "Socks of course! Haven't I given you enough hints already?"

Artimidor "Never mind."

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus "I've given you a first hint already, which should lead the way to wisdom. You know, the one who points in a direction, doesn't walk the path. But it is good that you see the necessity of asking about the sock finally... I fear you've taken socks for granted for much too long!"

Artimidor "Did you know that you have a big hole in your sock?"

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus Hieronimus shakes his head. "A hole in a sock is just a smaller sock, but still a sock, you know? It may be too large for you, but it's just fine for me, so don't worry. My toes need some fresh air every now and then anyway."

Artimidor "Bye!"

Hieronimus Kupfdrubus "Sockety, sockety, sock sock...", the old man only mumbles as he turns away from you.

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