We set out from the camp in the morning with a bounce in our step. Things seemed to be going well. Our group had gained some confidence from its journey thus far. I spent the morning studying my spells while the others packed their stuff up. So that I wouldn’t delay the group from starting I cast a spell of Unseen Servant so that it might pack up my items and take down my tent while I finished studying. I also took the time to refill my flasks and waterskin at a stream flowing nearby. On my way back to make sure everything was packed in its proper place I noticed Elf admiring some of the skulls that he had been collecting along the way. It was very strange and somewhat eerie. What is with his fascination with skulls? And the daggers?
As we traveled, the path grew easier for the horses to traverse. There seemed to be a good deal of traffic following this route. No doubt many little kobold feet made it. As the sun began to set beyond the treeline, we arrived at the entrance to the caves. We let the kobolds down from where they had been sitting upon our horses and the began to excitedly screech in draconic. We quickly dismounted leaving Hammer to tether the horses while we ran in following the growing group of kobolds.
We followed the group in as it moved further into the caves. The caves were rather large and expansive. Everywhere we looked we could see little kobolds scurrying about as they saw us entering, with Aiden in front holding the statue. The group of kobolds in front of us were growing even larger. They stopped suddenly though and an older, gruff looking kobold stepped out in front of them. This must be Chief Sootscales.
I introduced the group and then asked, “Are we speaking to Chief Sootscale?” The kobold was larger than all the others surrounding him and his garb was covered in bright trinkets, mostly junk. He swelled up, to a surprising height I should say, with pride and replied, “I am Chief Sootscale. Thank you brave warriors for bringing back what belongs to Sootscales. Give it to me that I may take care of it.” I relayed the message to Aiden who up till now had been holding on to the statue. At my gesturing, he walked up to the Chief and handed over the Ivory Statue.
The Chief hoisted the statue up in the air for all the kobolds to see. “Here is the statue!” The kobolds now numbered in well over a hundred and began chattering excitedly in draconic. I was confused because they seemed to be waiting for something. Would the statue do something? It wasn’t magical; how could it? Suddenly, the chieftain threw the upraised statue down. As the beautiful statue struck the hard ground it shattered into hundreds of fragmented shards. The kobolds roared as the chieftain shouted, “No more curse! Let us now go and kill the shaman!” Having thus spoken, scores of kobolds followed their Chief down the winding caves.
Elf and I exchanged surprised glances as we explained to the group what was going on. Hammer merely grunted, while Aiden suggested following them and Milo began hoping for some loot. With the exception of Hammer, who stayed with our horses, moved through the caves which were of a surprisingly good size. The bluish-tinged rocks above our heads had patches of dark moss growing about them. The huge caves had to have been made by nature for the smooth surfaces could not have been made by a creature, or so I hope. The holes all about us, however, had definitely been burrowed by kobold claws. We followed the sound of the band of kobolds, winding through the system of caves till we reached the lair of the shaman.
By the time we entered the expansive room, the fighting was over. The strange kobold was already dead. I say strange because the creature was like no other kobold I had ever seen. In size he was normal and in looks just an ordinary kobold except for the fact that he had purple skin. Luckily, the kobolds wanted nothing to do with the shaman’s items, referring to the loot as “cursed junk”. This was fine for us and we began rummaging through the strewn items lying about the room.
Fortunately for myself he was something of a wizardly fellow. I took the initiative of investigating what was actually on the dead kobolds person. I found a spellbook, which with some investigation and help from Milo, did not seem to be warded. He also had a scroll of Fly, which I was delighted about. Such marvelous items. He had a coin purse which I deposited with the other loot but I was not nearly so concerned with the coin.
Though useful, and certainly nice, it is not my goal to become wealthy. Power is much more important. I don’t particularly care for power-mongering. I seek power for a goal. I have a mission and one day, I will see it accomplished. In fact, I have two and through the power I attain, they will be done.
The little kobold had also gathered various other things, some odds-and-ends, baubles, and deposited in various places, he had thousands of coins lying about. At one point Milo and Elf were practically swimming in the coins. On the shaman I had also found a journal which seemed to tell the creature’s story. As the others began to celebrate I took some time and off in a more secluded area, or at least as secluded as one could get in a cave full of hundreds of kobolds, I read the kobold’s tale.
Essentially, he was not a kobold. He was a particularly nasty gnome who had died but was regretfully reincarnated by some fellow gnomes who in fact did not know how cruel the wretched creature was. This explains why he was purple, for in his previous life he had purple hair as a gnome. After being reincarnated as a kobold, the miserable wretch began moving from tribe to tribe offering his services and basically instigating wars that could not be won, which after a time resulted in the destruction of the tribe. At such a point, he would simply move to another tribe and restart the madness. He was somewhat mad and depressed and should he ever reach a really low point he decided to himself that he would use the scroll of fly to go as high as he could and then simply end it. How pathetic a creature.
The kobolds threw a large celebration due to the tribe no longer being cursed. They were quite kind to us, and offered us plenty to eat. Their idea of good food, however, was not quite the same as our own idea. They did have a wealth of Moon Radishes, though, and I did eat more than a few of them. Milo even managed to scrounge up some more thoroughly cooked meat. I never did find out what that meat was. Milo said something about being better off not knowing. That is slightly disgusting. All in all the kobolds were very hospitable and the surprising change of pace was welcomed.
With the new day came renewed responsibility and our business pressed us to continue on. We spoke with Chief Sootscale and he told us the area in which the “thingy” fell from the sky. “If you want the thingy though you must fight with the big bandit men. They took it to their fort. If you want to go there, we have two brave kobold warriors that will lead you there. They good. They fight.” The chief motioned to his left and a pair of similar-looking kobolds stepped out. They puffed out their little chests in a not-so-intimidating stance. But they did look quick and agile, as the last fight alongside some kobolds had proved. “I ”/campaigns/eberron-incursion/characters/click" class=“wiki-content-link”>Click. This is Clack. We show you were you want to go." We thanked the chief and after gathering all of our gear, as well as a few more of those Moon Radishes for the trail, we headed out.
The two kobolds led us in the direction we were told. As we approached the river, we were reminded of the fey creatures’ warning about the wyrms. Aiden took point upon his horse followed by Hammer. Milo meandered a bit to the side so that should danger arise he might could flank the opposition. Elf and I simply followed behind Hammer. It is strange that in an area so quaint that such danger could lurk. The tall trees, which otherwise would have been lush and beautiful, seemed looming and suffocating. The lulling sounds of nature around us seemed to mock us. Even Silmemor seemed jittery. But nothing happened as we approached the river. It seemed we had simply gotten nervous for nothing.
We prepared to cross the shallow river. Aiden began to urge his mount to cross the water as I leaned over and patted Silmemor on the neck reassuring him that all was well when out of absolutely nowhere a pair of wyrms appeared. One lunged at Aiden, swatting and striking him across his shield. The other moved on Elf, but the quick elf managed to evade the wyrm. Milo slid behind the wyrm and attempted to stab at a vulnerable spot on the creature’s weak underbelly. But he missed and his stab struck only air. The kobolds attacked the second wyrm as well, both of them stabbing at it and causing the wyrm to back up a bit. Elf cast about and struck the creature with a psionic blast, but the creature slowed only momentarily. I let fly the bolts from my crossbows at the creature attacking Aiden. The first struck the creature in the chest and the second hit lower in its abdomen. It let out a vicious roar and looked in my direction but made no move. Hammer took his hammer in hand and rushed to join Aiden, who had drawn the creatures attention back to him, due to the gash his sword had drawn across the wyrm.
As Hammer closed on the monster, it tried to bite him but it could not manage to find a hold on the warforged. The other creature tried clawing at Elf who got a slight gash from its glancing blow. Milo tried once more to strike the wyrm from behind and this time his efforts proved successful. His sword plunged deeply into the wyrm’s soft underbelly and the creature gave one last roar of defiance before succumbing to the deadly wound.
I holstered my crossbows and then drawing Ky’ceen, I cast Magic Missile at the second wyrm. The magical forces left my hand and arced towards the monster, striking the beast in its side bursting into a bright display of color. Aiden followed up with a solid slash across the wyrms chest. The best stumbled back before collapsing in a heap. Milo searched around the area the wyrms descended from, at which point he found their nest. Nearby we found a a skeleton wearing a Scale-mail suit of armor. Surprisingly, Aiden piped up excitedly. This was particularly strange as he almost never spoke out to try and acquire treasure. Because of this I was certainly fine with letting him have it. And since none of the others really were trained to wear it, they were fine with it too.
We moved on, coaxing the kobolds to lead us to the fort. It was a few hours farther beyond the river.
…….. To be Continued
- from the journal of Galadriel Ly’istrel