The past fortnight has gone very quickly.
We arrived back in town after our long journey back from the giant wasp escapade. The fighter made a lot of noise the entire trip back. I was not aware that a being could make so many groans, sighs and grunts per league. Maybe this is also part of his training. The fighter keeps telling me that he is a girl. However, he doesn’t want to partake in the traditional anal sweep to be sure. I am very confused, as he told me that if I try, I will pull back a nub. I am not sure what a “nub” is, but I think that must be his male genitalia, after all, if the fighter was a girl, there would be nothing to pull back. The ways and traditions of the surface dwellers are very confusing.
Dre is in high spirits. He continues to chatter, sing and bang on things. I am not sure what his specific role in the tribe is. I know that he is not the witch doctor, as the Druwitch is fulfilling that role. The Third is very quiet. I haven’t seen him at all for the last several weeks. He may be hiding under conjured rocks again, and I just don’t know where to look. I kind of like The Third. He is a very interesting surface dweller.
We arrived back in town late at night. We would have arrived earlier, but the fighter insisted on walking at a slow pace during the entire return march. I have heard of elite fighting forces that march at a very slow pace to show their prowess at synchronized movements. It is a martial skill, to be able to march at a maddeningly slow pace. The fighter may be practicing this. He kept wincing as though in pain, while making sounds like “ugh”, “ah” and “eee”, which I think may have been some sort of cadence to help the slow march return to town. I was very surprised though, as I thought that a marching cadence was something that was done rhythmically to help everyone keep in step. I tried to follow along with the fighter, but whatever he was doing did not transfer to the shorter step of a Kobold.
When we arrived back in town, late at night, we went to Commander Knowles office, and found that the door was locked. Dre knocked loudly on the door but it appeared that Commander Knowles went somewhere else for the evening. The fighter showed leadership by insisting that the party find a bunk at the nearby barracks and bedding down for the night. I volunteered to stand watch at the door, ready to report first thing when Commander Knowles came in the next morning. The rest of the tribe is getting better at being stealthy. I was looking at the door when I mentioned that I would stand guard, and by the time I turned around, the rest of the tribe was gone out of sight.
I spent the entire night waiting for Commander Knowles. At first bell, Commander Knowles came in, I reported to him about our successful mission. Commander Knowles seemed to be distracted, and only responded by saying something like “yeah, uh huh, ok, go get some sleep”.
I found the rest of the tribe, and napped until they were ready to get up and report to Commander Knowles. The fighter and Dre had an unusual ritual for waking up. They moved stiffly, and appeared to be in pain. Their faces winced in pain, as their bone joints popped and snapped and they kept mumbling something about “couvfee”. They were bleary eyed until they drank the hot smoky brown liquid. The couvfee seemed to have magical powers that made them feel much better. Shortly after drinking the hot smoky smelling brown liquid, they appeared to be much more awake, and their eyes no longer were bleary. The fighter was also really cranky until he had two cups of couvfee. Dre mixed lactated extract of a mammal’s breast into his couvfee.
The druwitch didn’t seem to need this type of ritual. She woke up, tended her weasel familiar, then made sure her goat mount was OK, then she started looking for food for herself. I was impressed that she would take care of her familiar and mount before taking care of herself. The druwitch may be an OK being, for a gnome at least. I am not sure that we can trust her, since she is a gnome, and they are all horrific creatures that spout demon spawn from their fingers. Cross a gnome, and you will see their pleasant faced aura drop, and the true horror of their being comes out, fiery eyes, smoke escaping from their nostrils, tentacles escaping from their armpits. Gnomes keep the glamour, or aura up making them seem like likable creatures until they are crossed, then they lose their glamour spell and true evil beings come out. It is best to keep the druwitch on my good side. I am still trying to figure out what this demon wants. Probably to steal the souls of unknowing creatures.
We reported to Commander Knowles and met a new member of our tribe, and he is *dreamy*. I would brood an egg for him any day of the week. His name is Zedar, and he is 100 percent Dragonborn. Tall, dark and handsome, He even is a spellcaster. Think of the possibilities of having a clutch of eggs with this amazing creature.
I am sure that he likes me, but he is playing shy and hard to get. I just can’t overplay my hand, and let him know too much that I want him.. Need him.. must have him as mine. Normally, we Kobolds are not latched to a specific mate. We share mates, and that helps make sure that the generations are well mixed. But in this case, Zedar is mine, all mine. If anyone tries to get between us, there will be consequences. Dire consequences.
But enough, for now, about Zedar. As truly beautifully amazing as he is.
We met with Commander Knowles and he told us what our schedule was going to be. As entry members into the Order of the Crown, we must prove our selves by performing normal patrolling, guarding and escorting as directed.
Commander Knowles wanted to have us designate a leader. I know that I am not a leader. I am a simple Kobold. The obvious leader was the fighter. He knows how to take a punch and not die, maybe be very injured, but not die. This is very important for a leader, as inevitably, some young turk will try to take your leadership away, and you need to be able to have the snot kicked out of you and still live. The fighter has demonstrated this skill several times already, so that made him my first choice as leader. The rest of the tribe agreed. The Third was hiding so well in the office that no one noticed who he voted for.
When I nominated the fighter, I told Commander Knowles that I nominated Layalot, the Vigilante to be the leader. The fighter looked confused, and he corrected me. I need to remember that is isn’t Layalot, it is Liealot.
Commander Knowles gave a small clear orb to the fighter, we are to come and report any time that the globe glows or pulses a glow. I am glad that the responsibility for this orb was given to Liealot, not me, as I don’t always wear clothes, and I might leave it in a pile of my robe, only to return and find it stolen. Liealot, the fighter always covers his body with multiple layers of clothing. I am unsure of what these surface dwellers are doing, hiding their bodies in shame. I wear a simple robe to keep the burning gaze of the hateful orb off my body.
The Order of the Crown appears to be testing our abilities. The missions so far appear to be pretty straightforward, without much intrigue. The first mission we went on was to patrol the market during the day. Our presence was intended to make the market goers feel safe, and hopefully keep the cutpurses away.
The tribe goes on the mission, and we wander through the market. To be honest, we really didn’t have any training, and we were simply trying to not look like fools. Shortly after we arrived at the market, we were assailed by a butcher who was trying to get us to purchase spiced meat. He wanted three silver pieces for a portion of spiced meat.
The fighter and I knew that the only reason you “spice” meat is to cover up the rot. This is a perfectly acceptable practice in Kobold tribes. Meat spoils, and sometimes lesser beings need to have some way to hide the smell and taste of meat that has turned. I have never had this problem. My stomach is cast iron, and I can eat anything. While the spiced meat sounded very appealing, spending an entire day’s wages on turned meat did not seem like a good way to spend money. Besides, I needed to save my salary for paying for training by the Order of the Crown.
We pushed on, and shortly after that, there was a loud cry, and a horse drawn carriage bolted towards us. The carriage careened through the crowd. We quickly noticed that there was no one guiding the carriage, the horse was running wild.
We all jumped into action. The druwitch and Dre started moving people out of the way, Zedar, the fighter and I ran towards the carriage, hoping to leap onto it and grab the reigns to halt its wild ride. As it got close, I leaped into the carriage and grabbed the reigns and pulled hard on them, trying to stop the horse. I may be small, but when I need to be, I can be very strong. The fighter lept into the carriage and also grabbed the reigns and pulled even harder. Zedar tried to leap up, and instead brushed by the side of the carriage. Thankfully, Dreamboat was not injured. Dre tried to leap onto the carriage as it passed, and missed, falling face first into a puddle. The druwitch kept people safe.
The fighter and I stopped the carriage, and I immediately melt into the crowd, looking for more danger. This was a good thing, and Liealot knew what to do, as the leader, he immediately took the credit for the tribe’s actions. Being the leader, he basked in the glory of the successful mission. As a Kobold, I understand that a simple tribe member exists only to make the leader look good. I have no aspirations to be a leader, as having praise heaped upon me makes me feel uncomfortable. It is good that one member of the tribe wants this praise, and is willing to take it from strangers who within a half a bell will likely not remember the name of their benefactor, and within two bells will forget the entire ordeal.
The shaman of my tribe told us several times that no one remembers the names of the heroes. Only the bad ones are remembered. If you want the glory, you should be a bad person who does despicable acts that will be remembered for generations. I am not bad, and have no desire to become bad. I worry that Liealot the Vigilante may be interested in being remembered.
The druwitch finds what likely spooked the horse. . The horse has a large bite in her leg, about the size of a giant rat. The druid patches up the horse, and I go for the high ground, looking for any other giant rats in the area. There are none to be seen, but there are several sewer holes and grates. It is likely that the culprit is in one of the sewers. No one wants to go into the sewers to look for rats. The druwitch and the fighter are adamant that the sewers are not in our patrol area.
We have some downtime after the market patrol, and Liealot convinces me that I should go with her to her church. As a Kobold, the concept of a church is very interesting. As near as I can tell, Liealot’s church takes money from the members and then sings, prays, and uses most of the money to build great monuments to their belief system, and gives a small pittance to the poor and needy.
I find this very odd. I keep hearing from the surface dwellers about how Kobolds are sub-beasts, and obviously not civilized. This is confusing to me. The surface dwellers allow some portion of their people to live in squalor, and make them beg for alms. Then some of the wealthier surface dwellers begrudgingly give small portions of their wealth to the church, presumably to cleanse their beings for a better afterlife, and the church then gives a very small portion to the beings living in squalor.
The surface dwellers also must pay more of their money to the nobles, so that the nobles can live a comfortable life, and apparently all the nobles do is breed, eat and occasionally ride their horses around the area, looking down upon all that they rule. Meanwhile, farmers, craftsmen and merchants work hard to make something that they can trade to get the medicine, food, and lodging they need. The nobles take their money that is taxed from everyone and pay a standing militia to keep the people under control.
This is civilized.
Kobolds work for the good of the tribe. We all have jobs, and work to get things done. There are no nobles. Kobolds do jobs that are in line with their abilities to keep the tribe alive. We have no possessions, so there is nothing to tax. When we are attacked, we all fight to protect the tribe. No Kobolds live in squalor. No single Kobold goes hungry. They all succeed or fail together.
This is not civilized.
The trip to the church was an eye opening experience. At one point, Liealot told me that he was going to fast. He wasn’t moving very quickly to start with, and ended up not moving very quickly while he was fasting. Liealot had a long explanation about how he wouldn’t eat or drink while fasting, except that he would eat or drink small amounts. I don’t see what not eating or drinking or only eating or drinking small amounts would help you go faster, but he seemed to think that this was a good thing to do. Something about cleansing his soul. I don’t know about this church thing. They did have magnificent buildings, and beautiful ornamentation. I decided not to ask Liealot about how may starving beings living in squalor could have been fed if they had a small wooden structure instead of an enormous cut and polished stone structure with massive gold arches. I also decided not to ask if the beings who were living in squalor were fasting to cleanse their soul, or if they were simply starving to death. These are questions for later.
Dre spent his downtime going from tavern to tavern, looking for work. He evidently makes money by performing in front of people, hoping that they will put coin in his hat while he performs. I don’t know how successful Dre is, as he appears to drink and eat his earnings instead of banking them. Dre has a curious performance style. He speaks rhythmically, while pounding on things. I observed him doing this on the street in the market one afternoon, and many people seemed to show their appreciation by hurrying by him and not making eye contact. Some people would throw coppers into Dre’s hat, but the vast majority of people hurried by. Some of the people who had hatchlings would place their hands on the hatchling’s heads and turn the gaze of the hatchlings away from Dre as they hurried by. Several of these people did not understand that Dre is not a street person, and actually has a good paying job. They would say things to their hatchlings like “if you don’t learn to read, you will end up doing this” and “People who can’t get into the infantry are left with jobs like this”. I am not sure if they were providing guidance that their hatchlings should, or should not busk for change in the market. I was kind of surprised that Dre was the only busker that I saw who didn’t have a sheaf of paper with an official seal from the city prominently displayed near his hat.
The Third successfully hid behind conjured rocks the entire fortnight.
The druwitch spent her time getting to know other druwitches, hoping to learn more. I can see that she is busy trying to develop her coven, so she can become stronger, and eventually do what covens of witches do. I figure that she is working to open a portal to bring Orcus and his minions into this plane of existence. That would be bad. I don’t understand why a seemingly rational being would want to bring Orcus into this plane. Orcus is a bad hombre. After some careful thought, I realized that the druwitch’s mount is a goat, which ties her to the cult of Orcus. Orcus is part goat, with goat head and legs, and is covered by goat hair. I will need to keep an eye on the druwitch. The church that Liealot attends may be a good thing to be close to, as they may be able to help destroy the coven of witches who are trying to bring Orcus here. I need to bide my time and gather information so that I can get help in destroying this coven before things get too out of hand.
After watching the goings on at the church, I decided that I could be more useful working for Temujin, the armorer. He is the cow/human halfbreed. I know how half elves are made, an elf and a human have marital relations, and you get a half elf halfbreed. The same thing applies to when a dwarf daddy mates with an elf mommy. Similar to half orcs. Now, given the comments that the farmer had on our trip to defeat the wasps, about us not bothering the animals in the stalls, I wonder who buggered who to be Temujin’s parents. It is probably best not to ask. There may have been some magic involved, or possibly too much ale.
Anyhow, for a cow/human haflbreed, Temujin seems ok enough. He lets me work in his armory making fire arrows all day long during the downtimes.
At one point, Dre came in wanting some better armor. Now Dre has an odd sense of humor that doesn’t seem to be understood by many other beings. Dre started asking about how to improve his armor, as he only has simple leather armor. There is not hing wrong with leather armor, as that is what I wear. Dre wanted to be tougher. Evidently, his training of being beat into the ground to toughen him up is not going as well as it is going for Liealot. Temujin shows him various armor types, and Dre is upset that he will have to pay for any improvements to the armor he has. Dre is enamored with the plate armor, and thinks that would be pretty sweet, but recoils at the exorbitant price that Temujin wants for the plate armor.
Dre starts asking about other forms of armor, and mentions that he would like to have Kobold armor. Temujin says that Kobold skin is no better than other leather, and Dre presses the point, joking (I think) by saying that my skin would make a good hat. Now by this time, I have been working in Temujin’s armory for several days, and have made a nice selection of fire arrows for him, and Temujin appears to value the weapons that I am making. Temujin impresses upon Dre that this is not something to make fun about. Dre tries to play it off as a big joke, but Temujin seems to take offense to the comments. The moral of the story is, it is OK to joke about those not in your tribe, but never joke about those in your tribe.
Our next job is to act as an escort to the tax collector. The tax collector’s name is Nemen, and he is a pretty serious person. He takes his job seriously. He has a book, a backpack and a short sword. We talk about his experiences, and ask if he has ever had brigands try to take the tax money from him. He tells us a couple of tales about being attacked where one of the escorts was killed, beheaded even. Nemen tells us not to worry, as we are going to be in the market area during the day, and that should be pretty quiet. Now if we were going to the docks, or outside the walls, there might be more problems.
We follow Nemen throughout his rounds, and things are pretty quiet. Nothing notable happens. It looks like the citizens aren’t happy about paying taxes, but they understand that someone has to provide the nobles with the lifestyle that the gods granted them.
Several more days of downtime happen. I make more fire arrows for Temujin. Liealot and Dre go to the church district and busk for money. There is much discussion between them about how much of the funds need to be donated to the church. Liealot wants half, Dre wants a small percentage. After a full day of singing and playing their instruments, they have gathered about 50 copper and a silver. Dre promises to give all of it to the poor. This seems to make Liealot happy.
We are sent on another patrol. This time, something exciting happens. Liealot and Dre see something suspicious. Dre goes over to talk to a person wearing brown pants and a green cloak, and has a bag. Zedar stands and looks menacingly at the guy. Liealot stands back and looks really agro. I climb up the side of the building and wait to see what happens. If this bad guy does anything to Dre, I will rain down fire arrows from above. Dre demands to know what is going on, and the bad guy stands there and argues with Dre. Lialot and the druwitch notice that people are walking towards the bad guy, and when they see the might of the Order of the Crown’s presence at this location the other people quickly turn around and go away. The druwitch decides to follow one bad guy who turned away, and chases him down. He claims that he has done nothing wrong, and when asked why he was running, he tells the druwitch that he was running because she was chasing him. Well, I would probably run if a demon filled gnome was following me also, but that’s not the point here. The druwitch brings the runner back and starts interrogating him.
Now I am not an expert in interrogation, but when the bad guys say “I have rights” and they don’t want to talk, that is obviously proof that they are doing something wrong. If you have nothing to hide, then there is nothing to be worried about from the Order of the Crown. The arguments proceeds, things get heated, and the druwitch tells her familiar to sniff the bad guy. The weasel sniffs the guy and his bag, and doesn’t react as though anything is bad.
Then another group of the Order of the Crown arrives. The leader of this group has a silver badge, and appears to have a different take on the situation than Liealot has. The silver badge leader informs Liealot, the druwitch and Dre that people have rights, and they can’t just wave swords at them and threaten them. Liealot seems to take this news better than the druwitch and Dre do. They think that the silver badge guard should back them up and force the bad guy to open up his bag.
I hear the fighter say in a loud voice that someone should keep an eye on the bad guy. That is my queue. As he leaves, I follow him. He wanders through the alleys and eventually ends up in a tavern. I follow him in, and for a guilty piece of work, he is one cool customer. He drinks a couple of flagons of ale, eats a meal, plays a dice game with some other patrons, and leaves the backpack that Liealot was convinced had contraband in it sitting on the bench near his cloak. He was so confident of his position in whatever criminal gang he was that he left the bag outside of his direct reach. This must be a very highly placed bad guy. He knew that no one would touch his bag.
After a while, he retired for the night, and I followed him out of the tavern. It was dark, and I lost him after he turned through several alleys. I went to the barracks and woke up Liealot and reported what had happened.
Liealot asked if I followed the correct bad guy. I think I did. He was a furry mammal that had brown pants, a green coat and a bag. How many of them could there be in a city of this size? Come to think of it, there were a lot of people milling around and they all looked pretty much the same to my eyes. But Liealot doesn’t need to know that.
Our next mission is night guard duty. We essentially stand around and wait for something to happen. This is not a very exciting job. Almost nothing happens. The biggest thing that happens is that a drunk adolescent comes up to us and hands Liealot a scroll. He says that he found it, and thought it looked important. Liealot and the druwitch thank the young mammal for the paper, and they look at it. It is full of all sorts of mumbo jumbo, and Dre thinks it is a land deed.
I find the whole thing confusing. The concept of a person owning something is still odd to me. After all, the tribe is all. The tribe occupies the area that we live in, work in, and hunt in. We only occupy it until we are forced to move somewhere else. The surface dwellers seem to be very focused on having tangible things that they can touch, and they go to great lengths to document their specific relation to the things that they own.
We have several days of downtime, then on another night, we are sent on late night patrol. This one seems to go quietly, until the druwitch sees something move in an alley. She approaches and says she sees a rat tail, a big rat tail. I scamper up the side of a building to get a better line of sight to shoot with my shortbow, and the tribe attacks the two giant rats. It doesn’t go well for the giant rats. The druwitch kills one, and the fighter finally scores a victory by smiting it in two. The way that the fighter carried on after that single stroke of his greatsword, you would think that he had vanquished an entire armored line of battle hardened orcs.
As we are looking at the corpses of the two giant rats, the druwitch spies more movement in the alley across the road. They run over and attack, and the druwitch uses a spell that sounds like a clap of thunder followed by a huge gust of air. Two of the giant rats are hurt. Then everyone but me gets into the fray. The problem is that in order to snipe successfully, I need an opening to shoot at the bad guys with. If the good guys stand between me and the bad guys, it is hard to shoot at the bad guys.
Zedar does some dreamy magic, and I lose all concentration of the encounter, since I am busy watching that amazing bundle of masculinity work his magic. I wish I could say that the rest of the party did something, but to be honest, Zedar was so amazing that all I could do was watch his masculine arms wave as he swayed rhythmically, pumping his hips in a wild gyration… ooooooooooohhhhhhh nelly, it was really something to behold. I could watch that man work all day long, and then on through the night. He could fertilize my eggs anytime. Wowzers. What a dragonborn male.
Whew. Is it hot in here, or is it just me?
Anyhow, after killing five giant rats, we need to keep moving. Things are going well, when all of a sudden, there is a series of sharp barks. And a pack of dogs is charging us. Dogs are bad news. They can bite you. Worse yet, they can body slam you, knock you down, and then bit you.
The druwitch pops off a spell, and one of the five dogs stops attacking, and starts wagging his tail. Dre tries to fairy fire the remaining dogs, but only is able to lite one of them up. Zedar steps in, and casts some form of arcane spell that infests a few of them with fleas and ticks. Interesting choice.
I scramble up the building wall. I figure that dogs can not climb buildings, so I can get up high, and shoot arrows down on the dogs, while keeping myself safe.
The dogs attack the druwitch, and she is really badly bitten, and looks really bad. She is up, but not by much. The fighter steps into the fray, and is mauled by the four unfriendly dogs. It doesn’t go well for the fighter. She does her patented “impress the enemy by allowing them to knock me out” thing, but oddly enough, the pack of dogs is not impressed. Zedar steps into the fray and kills a couple of dogs, but is taken down by the pack also. Zedar seems to have the same fighting style as Dre and the fighter have, where you want to impress your enemy by showing your dedication to absorbing their blows.
With the fighter and Zedar down, it is up to Dre, what is left of the druwitch and me to finish off the dog pack. We slowly whittle them down, and are able to stabilize Zedar and the fighter before they die.
We patch up Zedar and the fighter as best as possible, and they start to say that we should return to the guardhouse to report. I think that they, along with the druwitch want to quite for the night. This will not do. We still have two more bells to finish our shift. Just because they were mauled by dogs does not mean that we should quit. What would Commander Knowles think? Here we are, hired to do a job, and just because three of the tribe are just about to collapse under their own weight, we should quit? That seems like a really bad idea. That is not sharing the tribe’s burden properly. Because three of the tribe members are barely able to walk, some other tribe members will need to come and work extra hard.
In the end, the fighter, our leader, decides that we need to go back to the barracks. He is the leader, and he does have the orb of position, so we must follow what he says we need to do.
As we are proudly walking back to the barracks, the leader is once again chanting his cadence of “ooh”, “ugh” and “ahh erk” as we move slowly along. Dre is out of sorts, I would have expected him to be beating a tattoo on his drums to keep us in time. I think that Dre is also concerned about how we will be seen by Commander Knowles for cutting our patrol time short.
On the way back, we hear a commotion in one of the alleys. Looking down the alley, there are four thugs robbing a fifth person. The druwitch calls out in a loud voice “halt”, then casts a fireball onto one of the thugs. The thug takes the full force of the fireball, and still lives. The fighter gains momentary composure, stands fully erect, raises his greatsword in the air and says “Disperse or regret being born” or some such thing. It might have been a loud “ooh, ugh, erk”, I don’t remember for sure, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he said something mighty and impressive.
The thugs run away as I try to reinforce their retreat with a fire arrow. I missed, because the thugs were moving so fast.
As soon as the thugs turn and run, the fighter rotate his great sword and starts using it as a crutch, and assumes the posture of what I normally see with invalid humans, all crouched over, and continues the marching cadence of “ooh, ugh, erk” as he slowly moves along towards the barracks.
The druwitch undergoes the same amazing transformation, remarkably gaining 40 years in age as soon as the bad guys move away.
I didn’t see what Zedar did, but I am sure that he looked graceful, sleek and beautiful the entire time as he stood magnificently behind me, just out of my view.
Dre seemed to be pretty much unphased by the entire thing.