The Saga of Pun Pun, the Kobold Part 2

Journal Entry – Translated on February 9, 2018

Things just keep getting better and better.

I spent many days and nights feasting on the amazing banquet that is offered to the Gods out of the back doors of the homes and businesses in town.  It is amazing, every day, the people who live here provide offerings of food to metal containers behind the buildings, and once every few days, the acolytes of the gods collect all of the food and move it off to a large hole.

In the meantime, anyone who wants can feast upon the offerings.  No one seems to care, as long as you close up the container with the offerings.  Their god is amazingly benevolent in making sure that all beings can survive off the offerings.  Rats, bats, dogs all benefit from the magnificence of the great god that rules over this city.

After several weeks, a strange tall human started trying to catch me.  I successfully hid from him for a week or so, but I was not canny enough to keep away from his constant hunting.  He caught me in a net, and before I could get out of the net, he wrapped up the net and took away my weapons.  I was terrified.  I had survived so long, and wasn’t being a problem.  I made sure that I always left it clean after I feasted on the offerings to the gods.  No one seemed to mind the rats or dogs, but for some reason, the big human took a special interest in me.

I was taken to a cell and placed overnight.  It was confusing, as the cell was locked, and the bars were small enough that I couldn’t get through it.  Also, the lock was extremely good, and even though I tried very hard to pick it with my fish bone lockpick, it wouldn’t open for me.  I suspect that some magic was used to keep the lock closed.  Looking back on it, it was a good thing that I didn’t try to escape.  Things worked out beyond my wildest expectations.

The man let me stay overnight, and he fed me good quality rations.  They even provided a bucket for me to relieve myself in.  This was an upstanding place.  The next morning, the man started trying to communicate with me.  He knew a little draconic, and started teaching me common.  He limped when he walked.  He moved with a grace of a fighter, even with the limp.  He was patient, and let me try to figure out how to correctly say things in this new “common” language which was not meant for my lizard like jaws.  His name was Knowles.  He had a word used in front that lots of people here have as a first name, Commander.

Kobolds generally have unique names, at least within any specific generation.  Kobolds have a long roster of names, and as one Kobold dies, that name becomes available again.  Usually, a tribe waits a few egg cycles before using the name again, to hopefully reduce any confusion, after all if a Kobold cleric is named Vruprol, and Vruprol dies, the if another Kobald is hatched and given the name Vruprol and that Kobold is a fighter, there may be some confusion.  Confusion is bad in a tribe.  Tribes need cohesion.

The big beings had funny sounds that I could not make with my lack of lips.  Things like “water”, which I could only pronounce as “ater”  “Meat”, “meet”, “Pete” and “Eat” were also confusing.  I understood pretty much what the human was saying but I couldn’t say it properly according to him.

Things went well enough, as he decided to keep me around instead of sacrificing me to some god, or doing what Kobolds do with useless creatures, kill them and then use their bodies to grow new fungus.  Now, as a Kobold, I really understand that I am just a cog in the wheel, and there are tens of thousands of Kobalds which are more useful as a group, compared to any individual Kobald.

This does not mean that I welcome a useless death.  I want to be useful, and belong to a tribe, doing things as a group. A Kobald needs a tribe.  Commander Knowles said I would be a member of his tribe, the Order of the Crown.  He told me to show up tomorrow at 9 AM to become part of a new tribe.  Time doesn’t mean a lot to Kobalds.  We live in the dark, and the concept of 24 hours as the amount of time that occurs between when the hateful burning orb rises above the horizon, until it comes back and rises above the horizon again might make sense, but the people on the surface do something really odd, where they decided that for some reason, the “day” starts while it is still dark out, and then some number of hours later, the hateful burning orb rises, and they call the time when the pain is at its highest point in the sky “noon”, or maybe even “12 occult”  This is all very confusing, after all if you want to reference some known point, why not start counting when the burning orb first rises above the horizon?  Why are there only 24 hoors in a day, and why is it a day, when it includes the hateful orb being above the horizon and below the horizon, but they call the painful horrors from the orb “daylight”.

The people who live on the surface of the earth have become immune to the pain and suffering from the hateful orb, burning in the sky.  Some people even act as though they look forward to it.  I have heard that there is something called “summer” where the hateful orb is in the sky longer than during the winter when I arrived here.

We must take the good with the bad, after all, we have no control over the bad.  I have heard about a magical creature called a vampyre, who lives only at night, shunning the hateful burning orb in the sky.  These vampyres must be very wise and good, to know better than stay out in the light.

But that isn’t important,  I was going to be a member of a tribe.  I was told to arrive at 9 AM, and when it became obvious to Commander Knowles that I didn’t understand, he said “three bells”.  Now that made sense.  After the hateful orb rises, the watchmen strike a bell once, then later, twice, later three times and so on.  I knew that I needed to be at the tribe’s gathering point, Commander Knowle’s office at three bells.  I didn’t want to be late, so I showed up on the stoop right after two bells, and sat outside in the shade, waiting to be invited into Commander Knowle’s office.

I was minding my own business, sitting in the shade, and all of a sudden, the shade got even darker.  I looked up, and saw a very large fighter in chainmail armor, with a shield and very large sword.  The shield had the emblem of the horrible burning orb on it, and I knew that this fighter was a bad person.  Anyone who worships the burning orb that pains the eyes and skin must be bad.  There is no other excuse.

The fighter started talking. Or at least I think he was talking.  He might be a she.  I am not good with understanding the sex of these surface creatures.  No one has let me do the finger test to see for sure if they are boys or girls.  For some reason, the surface dwellers all wear cloth or armor, and don’t let you touch the parts that allow you to know what sex they are.

This big fighter in armor started demanding to know what I was doing there, and generally was extremely rude, implying that I was not an intelligent creature, much less here to be a member of the tribe.

The big fighter had some really odd personal qualities.  Her main fighting style became obvious later.  Her style was to step forward into the reach of the monster, then allow the monster to hit her, while she collapsed to the ground unconscious.  I am not a student of war, but I don’t believe that it is an effective way to fight by attempting to subdue your foe by having them wound themselves after they hit you and knock you out.  Maybe I am missing something, but this happened to a bunch of the surface dwellers that I was going to become a tribe with.  This may be a fighting style of the large surface dwelling creatures.  Enough of these tribe members seemed to do this over and over again.

Maybe this type of beat me up and knock me out fighting style is important to build up the toughness that is required to be a surface dweller.  As I said, things are really strange.

After a while of listening to this fighter generally be rude and obnoxious, I learned her name.  She said she is a girl, but I was not allowed to insert my finger into her anus to tell for sure if she was a girl.  Like I said, odd things with these surface dwellers.

Her name was Layalot the Vigilante.  It might be Liealot the Vigilante.  I am not sure.  I can tell you that her name Layalot or Liealot seemed to fit her, since her primary method of fighting was to collapse under the attack of her enemy.

After Layalot and I went into Commander Knowles office, we were joined by a very short surface dweller.  He kept pounding on things and making obscene sounds with his mouth.  He was brash, and interrupted everyone a lot.  He said that his name was Snuggie “dre” Brownbottle.  Dre was interesting.  He also had the collapse before your enemies fighting style down.

I am beginning to wonder if experience fighters are the type that you want to avoid.  After all, they can definitely take a beating.  After a while, they are ready to take another beating, and another beating, and another beating.

Like I said, Dre was very rude to Commander Knowles, and generally to everyone in the room. He talked a lot, made rude noises from his mouth, and kept slapping everything in the room.  After watching him for a while, I deduced that his hitting things all the time must be a way to constantly work on toughening up his hands, so he can take a longer beating before being dropped to the ground unconscious.

Soon thereafter, I was introduced to another tribe member.  He had the longest name of all, Soren Percival Montiller the Third.  Evidently some surface dwellers have lots of names that take a long time to say, to help show how important they are.  I am not sure what he does, other than hide behind rocks that he conjures out of thin air, and then suffers burns on his arms.  Third seems to be very quiet about what he does.  I really don’t know what he does, other than hide behind rocks and get burned arms.

The last tribe member was a small witch.  She kept telling me that she wasn’t a witch, but I knew that she wasn’t a sorcerer or a cleric.  She had a furry mount, and a weasel familiar.  She was a gnome.  I know what gnomes are.  They are untrustworthy horrible creatures who will slit your throat at the drop of a hat.  Kobolds have a long history with gnomes.  They are not to be trusted.  Her familiar, the weasel, is able to go and do errands for her.  She kept trying to correct me when I called her a witch, and called herself a “druid”, which obviously is a surface dweller’s word for a witch.

So the new tribe met with Commander Knowles, and are each given a copper badge, as a symbol of our association and rank within the Order of the Crown.  We are told that we are the lowest level of associate in the Order.  That is OK.  Eventually, if we live, we can move up and gain more usefulness to the tribe.

Being a member of the Tribe of the Order of the Crown has advantages.  First of all, we can have free food and lodging in any guardhouse in the nation.  Also, we get paid three silver every day.  I don’t know when we will be paid, but it is good to know that we are members of the tribe.

The Order of the Crown is an independent arm that provides special help outside of the normal things a standing army would do.  It seems that the standing army is able to go toe to toe with invading orcs, goblins and such, but they are not good at taking care of special missions.  The Order of the Crown exists to fill the gaps that a large standing army can not do.

That sounds really like it is in line with my skills, and I will be able to help the tribe do what it must do.  I just hope that I can live up to what Commander Knowles expects of us.  I would hate to be kicked out of a second tribe.  Of course, if I weren’t kicked out of the first tribe, I would be dead now, killed by the goblin horde that wiped out my first tribe.

We are given our first mission.  We are to go and see why a remote stable of horses is being attacked by giant wasps.  We ask some questions, like how big is a giant wasp?  We are told that they are the same size as me.  That seems pretty bad.  But we must follow the orders of Commander Knowles and do the work of the tribe.

I have never seen a giant wasp.  I have seen other bugs.  Insects, spiders, bees, and even normal sized wasps.  Bugs that sting are not to be messed with.  They hurt.  When they bite you or sting you, you feel immediate pain, and the area puffs up for a long time.  Wasps are delicious, if you cook them in a fire and then eat the legs.  The bodies are full of bitter gooey nastiness. I don’t suggest eating the bodies.  Now bees and spiders taste good.  Not as good as grubs and other larvae. But it is all good food.  Especially if you are hungry.

So we are sent on a two day march away from the town, to where the stables are.  We spent an entire day walking under the scorching painful orb.  We spend the night in a farmers’s barn.  Dre tries to impress the farmer with his badge.  The farmer seems to want to make sure that we don’t disturb the animals. The seems to think that I want to fertilize the horses eggs.  I try to explain to her that I lay the eggs, not fertilize them.  She seems to know all about standing on top of things to fertilize horse eggs.

Once again, this surface world is very confusing.  I don’t understand why someone would think I would fertilize horse eggs.  We did run into a creature that was half horse, half human.  Temujin was the boss of Commander Knowles.  Temujin was part horse, part human, or maybe he was some other thing like part goat, part human, maybe part cow, part elf.  All of these mammals of a type look the same to me. I am not trying to be rude, but in my view, there is far less diversity in the surface dwellers than they would want to let you think.

They seem to take great pleasure in defining themselves as unique beings, like “I am a dwarf battle brawler of the honeybadger clan”, or “I am a half elf half human, my elf side comes from the Sea Elf race…”  They all revel in their uniqueness.  Two half elves can sit there and bicker with each other based on what specific group of subelf group they can draw their heritage to.  They also have strong delineations in their occupations.  It isn’t enough to be a fighter, you can be a ranger, paladin, barbarian, Swashbuckler, Gladiator, Noble Warrior, Great Weapon Fighter, Guardian fighter, Knight, Slayer, Champion, Battle Master, Eldritch Knight, Banneret, and on, and on and on and on.

There is something important to these surface dwellers to uniquely define your self as though there is no one else who is like you.  It isn’t enough to be a member of the tribe who contributes to the overall good and needs of the tribe.  These special surface dwellers need to define themselves as something unique, special and important.  I am not sure that this is a bad thing, but they spend a lot of time focusing on this, instead of focusing on the good of the tribe.

So we rested in the barn.  No animals were violated. We left in the morning.  The druwitch decided that we should go cross country.  The fighter agreed.  We went across the land instead of staying on the roads.  We arrived at about 6 bells at the stable.

Several of the tribe tried to talk with the stable keeper.  The stable keeper confirmed that this was a location where the giant wasps were attacking the horses.  The stable hand said that the wasps come from the forest, nearby.  We went over to the nearby forest, and started thinking about what to do.

The druwitch knew a lot about the animals, and she told us that wasps are most active during the daytime when it was warm.  The druwitch spoke to her familiar, the weasel, and sent it into the forest, looking for where wasps live.  The rest of the tribe stood around in the field, near the forest.  I figured that was folly, and found a good bush to hide under just inside the forest.

After a while, the weasel familiar came bolting back out of the forest and jumped on the druwitch’s shoulder.  Then three giant wasps flew out of the forest attacked the party in the field.

It was kind of sad.  I think it must take a huge amount of training to learn how to fight by being knocked out by your opponent, hoping that when they hit you, they hit you so hard that they kill themselves in the attack.  This seems to be a very ineffective way of attacking, but the fighter and Dre both were amazingly successful at it.

The Druwitch used a spell that created a painful sound that really hurt two of the giant wasps.  Third created a rock that hid him from everyone else.  The fighter first tried to impress the wasp by shaking her sword and shield at it menacingly, then the wasp stung her.  I popped out and killed the wasp that was attacking the fighter, with a flaming arrow.  The fighter then fell down and was knocked out by absorbing the attack by one of the wasps, I popped out and shot another wasp.  The Third grabbed Dre’s body and drug him under the rock he had conjured.

This chaotic fight was very confusing.  Kobolds are known for fighting a lot.  But we try very hard to kill the opponent, not succeed by absorbing their attacks, or conjuring a rock and hiding in it.  I have a lot of things to learn about the surface.  Things are very different here.

So all three giant wasps are killed, and the druwitch heals the fighter, who in turn heals Dre.  There is some sort of magic going on here, where the tribe members touch each other, and utter foul oaths and then magically the other tribe member gets better.

Things are becoming challenging.  The fighting method of the tribe means that we need to rest, so we decide to sleep until around midnight and then pursue the wasp nest by following the druwitch’s weasel into the forest.

The tribe starts coming up with ideas as to how to deal with the inability of two of the tribe members to see at night.  I make several suggestions, that are not well received.  My first suggestion is that we should have the two night blind party members act as bait, and walk with torches 50-ft to the right of us while we sneak up on the nest.  This seems like a good idea to me, but the druwitch and Dre think that this is not a good idea.  The fighter and the one who hides under rocks also think that they don’t want to be bait.

It is decided that we should all walk in line, where the druwitch is going to follow her familliar, and then we will have one of the nightblind members, then me, then another nightblind member, then Dre.

We follow the weasel familiar for a short period of time, and all of a sudden, the weasel stops and climbs up on the druwitch’s shoulder.  I look up, and see a huge ball in the tree.  Everyone eventually sees it.  I suggest to the druwitch that I take some oil up and douse the ball, and light it on fire.

The druwitch gets all agro and tells me that if I start a fire, she will slit my throat.  She is adamant that the forest is important, and must not be destroyed.  We have an existential conversation about whether we can kill grass (ok), bushes (ok), trees (not ok).

As the party is discussing how to deal with this, I climb the tree, and start investigating the ball.  It is buzzing slightly, and quite warm.

At this point, the druwitch does something completely unexpected.  I was not allowed to start a fire, but the druwitch creates a fireball, then torches the ball.

This is where things got a little weird.  The ball lights up, and the entire 15-ft wide ball drops on the party, crushing them, and doing some awful things.

It was very impressive watching the party destroy the nest structure by allowing it to fall on them, knocking all of them into the ground, and hurting them in the process.

The Third runs away.  I don’t think he liked having a giant wasp nest dropped on him.

Layalot is encased in a wasp egg.  It is pretty gooey and slippery.  She roars in defiance, rips the egg apart, and then is stung and knocked out by the queen wasp.  It is amazingly impressive watching her take so much damage.  I don’t know how any being could take so much damage and not at least impress her foe into thinking that attacking was a bad idea.  But that may be an issue with fighting beasts as opposed to intelligent beings.  I know that if I hit a foe, and they took the entire damage and dropped unconscious, I would be very impressed with their dedication to their cause.

I pop out from the tree branch, and hit the queen wasp with an amazing arrow show, and kill her.  The Third comes back and hits the other wasp.  Dre hits with some form of magical attack, and it goes down.

Now the issue is to deal with the fighter.  Her body is lashed to the druwitch’s goat, and is dragged back to the forest edge.  The trip back to Commander Knowles office takes two entire days.

I am looking forward to hearing from Commander Knowles if we solved his mission the right way or not.

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