The witch was cast into darkness.
The greatest warrior was cast into blindness.
The curse of Old Sharptooth was upon the big folk but they did not know. They could not fathom the power of the First Kobold, his insatiable thirst for blood, his terrible vengeance.
But Mikmek knew. Mikmek, son of Mushrak, Auspicious General of Chief Sootscale’s Eighth Best Kobolds, knew. That night he crept into the wise woman’s pack. He took up the cursed idol. He could feel his claws yellow as he wrapped them around the ivory neck of Old Sharptooth. He could feel the blight upon him.
Great White Ape King Ban’Ohn, Chief of Oleg’s Trading Fortress had promised to see Mikmek’s quest through to the end. Mikmek had at first thought Chief Ban’Ohn weak and beady-eyed, even for a big folk. But Chief Ban’Ohn wore the metal dress for good reason. The tribe would bleed without Chief Ban’Ohn and his god of shiny-perfect-shiny-things. When Chief Ban’Ohn raced off to champion his tribe against the Yelling Monster In the Rain, Mikmek had no choice. Mikmek broke the fellowship.
Ash-Ram the Mightiest Ram thundered across the plain. Mikmek was alone. Mikmek had been alone since the bottom of Old Sycamore. There, tortured among the bodies of his Eighth Best Legion, Mikmek learned the meaning of loneliness, of failure. Mikmek refused to fail again.
Days passed. The cold seized Mikmek’s very core. Ash-Ram wheezed and stumbled. Death would soon close its doors. Mikmek knew this was his curse: to never again see the Silver Halls of his ancestors, to never be redeemed for his failure, to never again drink in the eyes of his beloved desert flower Half-Pint. The wind broke back across his face and brave Mikmek wept, content that his last memory should be his Half-Pint’s face. As Mikmek boldly plodded what were certain to be his final steps the third-best warrior appeared, as if from a dream.
The third best warrior and the wise woman asked Mikmek to reunite with the tribe. They feared no curse. They called Tartuk deceiver. They called Old Sharptooth false. Chief Ban’Ohn said Mikmek must unite the tribes to deliver the Sootscales from fear and doom. Kelak offered an exchange of wives that the tribes might be of one blood. Mikmek’s great heart, once weighed by fear, swelled with a Dragon’s Strength.
Mikmek knew he must be strong and wise like the Monitor Lizard. He must free his people, and by freeing them free all people from the false terror and fear of the Old Gods. Mikmek now knew that in the hearts of Heroes there was no room for fear. Mikmek now knew that not even the gods themselves could curse the spirit of The Great United Tribe.
Mikmek rode for the Glittering Hills high atop Ash-Ram the Mightiest Ram. The sun glinted in his eyes. The totem of Monitor Lizard sparkled around his neck. Mikmek, son of Mushrak, Auspicious General of Chief Sootscale’s Eighth Best Kobolds, friend to the Big Folk of the North, Uniter of the Tribes of Ape and Dragon had returned. He would not depart until he was triumphant: his honor and his tribes—both tribes—restored to glory.