The Saga of Pun Pun, the Kobold Part 6

We all were excited.  After the last adventure, most of the tribe had the money, and were able to finish our training to become better at our skills.  For some reason, the Order of the Crown is requiring us to become tougher, then at some arbitrary point, they allow us to begin our training.  You would think that we could be trained as we got tougher, but that isn’t the way.

I wonder if this job is so dangerous that they don’t want to invest the time in us until after we have proven ourselves by surviving for some amount of time.

It doesn’t matter.  I have been spending my time training, learning the fine arts of disengaging, hiding and dashing.  These are very useful skills for me.  They probably would help the Liealot and maybe Dre.  Liealot seems to be content on running straight up on his foe, and asking to be hit as hard as the foe can do.  He is interested in only the frontal assault.

I have tried, and continue to try to convince Liealot that he should be more interested in saving himself for the big bad guy, not the minions.  I can shoot the minions with my shortbow.  I have also tried to convince Liealot that his self destructive nature of running at people who have arrows is not going to end up well.  After all, he did die, and have to be brought back from the dead because of this unique fighting style.

Liealot did spend his downtime working with other fighters, learning more martial arts with his sword and shield.  That should help.

Dre seems to be more content.  He is becoming more confident in his usual ways.  I still can’t figure that halfling out.  I guess that some beings are just not meant to be understood.

The druwitch was busy learning how to transform into other creatures.  So far, in practice, the druwitch has body shaped into weasels, birds, and other critters.  I am not terribly impressed, since she is a witch, and a gnome, whose fey ancestry is simply coming out.

The wizard seems to be more distant and unapproachable.  Kobolds have wizards and sorcerers.  This high and mighty personal view is not unusual for the magic users that I have seen in the underdark.  Even the Drow have a hierarchy, and once the female clerics move out of the room, the Drow males that cast magic are the highest in the room, certainly over the regular fighters, slave drivers and other Drow.  What is interesting is that all of the different types of Drow magic casters all feel as though they are the most important types of magic casters, except for those whose magic is illusion based.  Everyone looks down on the lowly illusionist.

Dreamboat is back.  He keeps trying to avoid me, but that isn’t going to do him any good.  He has not shown the Order of the Crown that he has enough experience for them to invest time in training him to get better yet.  It does not make sense.  He is amazing.  The Order of the Crown should be elevating him to the highest level, and making me his first in his concubine.  That would be the appropriate thing for the Order of the Crown to do.  Unfortunately, Commander Knowles doesn’t seem to understand the godlike beauty of this dragonborne male.  When he walks into the room, the room changes the tone, lighting and even the food tastes better.

No matter, the Order of the Crown will eventually understand the elevated status of the dragonborne.

So we are paid, and continue to train.  I now have a princely sum of 102 silver pieces.  All of it is in the bank.  I don’t know what to do with all of this coin.  I also don’t understand why the Order of the Crown feels the need to pay us for service back to the Tribe.  The Order takes care of all of our needs.  They give us food, lodging, missions to accomplish.  We have a tribe to be a part of. If I don’t want to eat the food that they provide us, which is far better than anything that my Kobold tribe ever fed us, then I can go out and partake of the offerings to the gods.

This idyllic life has the benefit of belonging to a tribe, where the tribe values us, and the tribe also feels the necessity to pay us.  I am not sure what to do with all of my coin.  I am saving it in case Commander Knowles ever needs it back.

I am confused by the other members of the tribe.  They spend the coin that the Order of the Crown pays them on things like food.  There is ample food already provided in the barracks, and if you need a snack, then there is the offering to the gods.

Dre told me about something he called ale.  It sound intriguing.  Water is boiled, the cooked grain is put into the boiled water, and then Dre says that the water sits for a long time and foments in barrels and kasks.  Then after some amount of time, it is drunk.

Dre says that there are hundreds of different types of ale, each with its own recipe.  I asked a wise man what it meant to foment, and he told me that it meant to stir up a violent course of action.  Why you would want grain water to have a violent course of action is beyond me.

Dre also told me that there is something called whine, which evidently involves something similar to ale, but you take juice from fruit, and foment it in small bottles.  I am wary of any drink which is called by the same name as a sound that a dog makes.  Why it is called “whine” as opposed to “fart” is beyond me.  The first people who made this probably realized that they couldn’t sell farts, but they might be able to sell whines.

This seems like alchemy.  Alchemy seems too outside the normal for me to be involved with.  Alchemists always are trying to turn lead into gold, rather than spending their time like dwarves, and just digging the gold up out of the ground.  Everything that alchemists have created is essentially experiments for turning lead into gold that have failed.  This has created explosives, acids, poison clouds, and so forth. In my experience, you should stay away from anything that an alchemist provides you, since it is probably unstable and will likely hurt you very much.

Anyhow, we got paid, and then were told to be ready for a mission in a few days.

We finish up our training, then report for payday, and get our mission.  We are joined by a ranger named Scout.  I have heard about people who are rangers.  They tend to work on their own, living in their element.  I decide to see what this human is about, and walk over, sit next to him and give him my best toothy grin.  He seems to be OK, his arrow quiver is half full of the fire arrows that I have been producing for the armory.  He is friendly enough, and doesn’t seem to be offended by my presence.

Commander Knowles tells us that we are going with Scout to look for a chest that is in a crypt, that is in a fort that was overrun by Orcs.  The Orcs and other evil beings have crossed the mountains and attacked into part of the land. There are armies that are in place that are warring with the Orc tribes.  The Order of the Crown is used as a small strike force to accomplish specific tactical goals that a large standing army could not do.

This is a good example of the type of specific tactical goal that a small group could accomplish.  A siege of the fort may be very costly, and could damage the fort beyond further usefulness, possibly destroying the chest that is so important.  Sending in a small specialized strike force into the fort may have a better chance of capturing the goal.

This chest is so important that the wizard is not participating in the mission.  Instead, the wizard’s familiar, a flying cat is accompanying us, and the other wizards back at the Order of the Crown will be teleporting the cat with the chest back when we find it.  We are expendable.  Now this seems to bother several members of the tribe.  I am confused by this concern.  As a Kobold, we are always expendable.  We do not have a death wish, we don’t want to die, but knowing our place, and understanding that we might need to die to protect something else is an important part of being in a tribe.  For example, if a Kobold den is in threat of being overrun, we would send out a delaying force, to give time for the rest of the tribe to move further away.  If you were selected to be a part of the delaying force, the tribe is honoring your sacrifice so that the rest of the tribe can live.  The delaying force doesn’t have to die, but they need to do everything they can to give the tribe as much time as possible to move out, and get to a safe location.

This mission, while maybe not desirable is really no different.  Someone has determined that there is a chest with something needed in it, that is beyond the lines controlled by our armies.  Our lot is to go and do everything we can to retrieve the item needed.

Scout tells us that the fort is about three miles east of Brackley.  I don’t know where this is, but Scout knows, and says that there are multiple ways to get there.  Some are faster, and have a higher risk, others are slower and still have some amount of risk.

The tribe has the first of several discussions about whether we take the safer route, but be in a lower level of danger for longer, or should we take the more dangerous route and be in danger for less time.  Eventually, we decide to take the more dangerous route, through the forest.

Dre seems to think that he should be given a horse, or maybe be carried on a litter, like a prince.  Scout is OK with this idea, as long as Dre pays for his own way.  Dre is not happy with multiple days of walking.

We are also lent special cloaks which help us hide.  The material is very fine, and sees to blur the light around us, making us hard to see.  Commander Knowles says that they are Elven cloaks, and are designed to help us blend into our surroundings, making it easier to pass unnoticed.  They appear to be magical.  I hope that this helps me hide from enemies.  I will need to keep the cloak in fine repair, to make sure that when I give this useful tool back to the Order of the Crown, it is still fully functional and clean.

We start out the next morning, and have several days of uneventful travel.  After several days, we enter the forest.  The second night in the forest, we rest in some enormous oak trees.  I like oak trees.  They are easy to sleep in, and they provide enough cover that you an shoot bad buys from them, then hide again.  These are the most enormous oak trees that I have ever seen.  The trunk is over twenty feet across at the base.

We divvy up watches, and I take first watch.  Nothing happens.  The next morning, I see the druwitch and Scout talking to two of the trees.  Dre is stuck in the tree.  He claims that the tree branch has wrapped over him, pinning him into the tree.

Dreamboat is not happy about falling out of the tree in the middle of the night.  He says that the tree branch simply folded over, causing him to fall onto the soft ground below.  I look at the tree branch he says dropped him, and it looks normal.  I am not sure what he is talking about, the tree branch looks fine.

Scout and the druwitch are muttering in the foul language of the fey at the trees.  I am not sure what they are doing, but it makes me nervous.  Nothing good ever comes from speaking one of the uncouth fey languages.

We start out again and have a pretty uneventful day.  Around dusk, we come across a small clearing, about 50-ft across, which has a hillock.  The party goes to the hillock and I climb up a tree at the edge of the forest.  I don’t like being in the clear.  Since I have been on the surface, I have found that being high up, shooting arrows from my shortbow is the most useful thing I can do.

We divvy up watches, and Liealot and I have first watch.  The rest of the tribe goes to sleep.  I keep watch from the tree.  Liealot seems to think that keeping watch involves sitting next to the fire, staring at it, while poking sticks into it.

Not long after the watch starts, I hear the horrible curses of goblins underneath me.  I don’t understand goblin, but I know it when I hear it.  Not 30 feet below me are four goblins, each with crossbows.  They appear to be pointing and gesturing at the tribe sleeping on the hillock.  Liealot doesn’t see the goblins.

As the goblins creep forward, I shoot one after another from above.  All four drop with four arrows.

I hate goblins.  They are foul, evil, nasty creatures.  They were responsible for destroying my tribe.  I killed all four of them before thinking about warning anyone.  I hope that there are not more coming.  In hindsight, it probably would have been a good idea to have alerted the rest of the tribe, because there may have been more.  I simply left them dead, on the ground as a warning to any other beasts that might want to approach the tribe’s camp.

The druwitch had the next guard shift.  As it happened, she came across a giant snake that was eating the goblin corpses.  It eat three of the four and then started following the druwitch over to the encampment, because her goat was standing next to her.  This caused Dre to wake up, and Dre screamed in a high pitch, and we all learned that Dre sleeps with no clothes on.

Things went quickly.  The snake was killed.  The poor thing was trying to eat a meal, and be a carrion reducer, and it died because the druwitch essentially baited it to come by the party.

Scout butchers the snake, and finds three fresh goblin corpses inside the snake.

The druwitch is really angry.  She is able to control her glamour, and keeps her demonic presence hidden.  But she is really angry.  She blames me, for killing the goblins and keeping them where they fell, instead of dragging the corpses away from the camp.

I know that the druwitch is only putting on a big show, trying to deflect the fact that she is the one who baited the giant snake to come to the encampment.  It is ok,  Everyone got to see what the druwitch really was.  She screwed up, and instead of taking the lumps for it, she tried to shift the blame to the one who actually took care of the problem for the tribe.  This is true fey thinking at work.  I fear that we will only see more of this as we continue on.

In the middle of the encounter with the snake, the druwitch did shapeshift to a bear.  Aterwards she was happily explaining that she had found a baby owlbear in the middle of the night on one of her shifts several days ago, that she would also be able to shapeshift into an owlbear.  I worry about the druwitch.  Why anyone would want to shapeshift into an owlbear is beyond me.  Now, being able to shapeshift into an adult dragon, now that would be worthwhile.  Owlbears?  Really?

The next morning, as we are thinking about breaking camp, five more goblins enter the clearing and are clearly confused.  They see one goblin corpse in front of them, three goblin corpses further away, covered in some form of slime, a butchered giant snake with large hunks of meat carved out of the body, and the tribe organizing themselves for a day of travel.

I shoot one of the goblins from above, then hide again in the tree.  The goblins look confused.  Then Dreamboat lets loose with an arcane bolt, and fries one of the goblins.  Things go badly for the goblins pretty quickly.  The druwitch shapeshifts into a dire wolf, and charges, resulting in the goblin she charged is cut in two.  In the end, there is one goblin who cuts and runs.  He gets about 50 feet into the forest before the druwitch passes him, turns around and stops in front of the goblin.  The goblin stops, drops his crossbow and raises his hands, apparently trying to surrender.  Dreamboat hits the goblin with an other arcane bolt, and the goblin is dead.

After some more time going through the forest, we come across a very wide, deep and fast moving river.  There is no way to cross without a boat.  The tribe talks for a long time, and determined that we need to cross at another location.  Scout knows where to go, so we follow him.

So we continue on through the forest, and find a small pond in a clearing.  This is a much larger clearing.  Dre, the druwitch and Liealot all strip off their clothing and go for a swim.  It seems that they are infested with some sort of small bugs that hide in their hairy parts, and they are wanting to get rid of these bugs.  This is where being a lizard is very helpful.  I have no hairy parts for bugs to hide in.

Dre, the druwitch and Liealot all go into the water, without checking for any monsters  They don’t take any weapons, and they are butt naked.  I hope that there are no leaches in the water, or giant octopus.  I haven’t seen a giant octopus, but I have heard that they can be both very nasty and delicious.

I am standing by the edge of the forest, trying to blend in, and two very large ogres come up and stand next to Scout.  Scout, being a ranger and all, and having the name “Scout” is oblivious.  I think that he is entranced by the three tribe members swimming in the pond.

I run up to the orgres and scream out “Do not attack, we are cleaning up these sacrifices for the Master!”  Unfortunately, the words don’t come out of my mouth well in common, and the ogres are not very good at common.

They ignore me and club Scout.  Things go badly pretty quickly.  Dre, the Druwitch and Liealot all try to get out of the pond.  While this is going on, the ogres split up, and one goes after Dreamboat, and the other hits Scout again, causing him to drop to the ground.

I shoot a couple of arrows at one of the ogres, Liealot grabs her sword and shield, and nothing else, and charges.  Watching a naked half elf fighter attack an ogre is very…. er… inspiring?  I really don’t know the right word to use, either Kobold or common.

Drey just charges.  The druwitch also charges.

The ogre that isn’t in combat with dreamboat moves up to the druwitch and Liealot and swings, but misses badly, knocking down the tree that I was hiding next to.

We end up killing of the first ogre by working together.

The second ogre runs away.  Dreamboat runs after, and keeps pooping off spells to slow the ogre down.  The druwitch revives Scout, and scout and I each plant an arrow into the orgre, then Dreamboat finishes off the ogre with another spell.

Things seem odd.


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