Kingmaker

Fortuna
Session 18

The zombie rises from the water as reality takes leave. Dread fills the vacuum piercing the hearts of the Chartered as surely as the death cries of a child covered in boiling pitch. Without pause the signpost smashes into the face of the abomination. Wiktor has seen the result of his work before and closes his eyes for the gore that follows. Force causes pressure. Skull explodes outward as it caves at the point of impact. Bone and brain blind killer. Killer is killed.

There is no wet sensation of pulp splattering upon live skin. Wiktor opens his eyes.

The upper half of the post still flies into the river as the lower half falls from his hands. The long dead face in front of him is ruined the jaw hanging by tendons. Black water seeps over his face into his eyes down his jaw despoiling the soil it is soaked into. When it passes the face is reformed in some grim visage. A grin.

The bloodrage fills him and everything grows cold. His hands now claws rip and reave through the beast. Water pours forth and reconstitutes flesh but it is too slow to stop the damage too slow to stop the inevitable conclusion of Wiktors fury.

A ranseur dripping filth slices upward. It was always there and yet never. The river reverses course and flows upstream as the krakenskin breastplate is sliced through like sackcloth and still it continues on through skin and fat and muscle. The end of the slash casts blood upon Jac who now stands at his side. He has been there for some time and yet time has no meaning now.

The creature forces eye contact with Wiktor and the fallen bridge is ablaze. The past and present move simultaneously before his eyes as two sheets held before a flame but what is on the other side is no flame. Only cold featureless impersonal white light. To see it so close frightens him more than the risen monstrosity. But he was not always a monstrosity.

This was his bridge. Bandits. He is fighting on the bridge. His dogs lay dead or dying. More arrows are embedded in him than most training dummies. Still he fights. Still he wins. Bandit after bandit fall beneath his spear. The roof of his house explodes in flame. Two more points of fire. Eyes beneath a stag helm.

A mighty bow is drawn back. Many men could not pull this string even an inch let alone the full span the Stag Lord draws. The arrow screams toward its target and runs clean through a bandit before burrowing into the bridgekeepers neck. The force lifts him off the ground and carries him several feet before he collapses in a broken heap. A doll discarded in some forgotten corner.

The white begins to burn through the paper and and Wiktor runs. Without form or substance he flees the omnipresent whiteness that looks upon him from all directions.

The past snaps and he is fighting in the present again. Reiner is on horse beside him shouting words that are muddled. He turns and gallops off. The creature in front of him does not break eye contact.

BRING HIM. BRING THE STAG LORD’S HEAD TO ME. I WISH TO FEAST UPON HIS FACE.

Words. Wiktor tries to form words but he is slipping away again. The river now runs in both directions and the water crashes away from the shore. The past is seen over the present once more. The cold white begins to burn away at the film of vision between he and it.

The corpse is heaved into the water as bandits loot and celebrate. The dogs are killed with a hate and cruelty only vengeance can summon forth. The Stag Lord motions to a lieutenant before riding off. It is morning and the bandits begin to replace the destroyed bridge. The fallen bridgekeeper pulls himself from the water. One by one the bandits are tortured before all find death under the churning river waters.

The light burns through and is upon him. The terrible absence of heat chills Wiktor even from afar as it closes in on all directions. He flees but there is no escape. It engulfs him and his body is ripped apart until there is nothing left. His mind and soul are feasted upon with the alacrity of a man starved. There is no sight no sounds no feeling but pain without equal. Without time it lasts a second and an eternity.

It is the present and the light is gone. The halfman stands over him his wand in hand. The Chartered have agreed to bring the head to the bridgekeeper who is no longer visible.

Those final moments play again and again in his nightmares that night. Others saw the visions but none saw the white light. This is how Wiktor knows. The evil no longer slumbers dreaming within him. It wakes.

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A Letter to his Lordship, the Mayor
Session 17

Mayor1

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New Members
Session 16

Of course I met the two new members a few days before the survivors of the original group. After delaying the acquisition process for the Greenbelt Charter for over three weeks, I was finally summoned to the Mayor’s Palace where I was introduced to Reiner Schreibock and Wiktor Bergstrom. Despite all my travels, these two humans made the strangest pair I had ever seen. One came adorned in trappings of wealth and strength, a model of human power. The other came dressed in simple garments that served only to highlight the heavy chains and manacles binding his hands and arms. It seemed obvious that the second, more heavily muscled man was a slave of the wealthier human. Though this grated on my sensibility I knew that, surrounded as I was by the Mayor’s guards, there was little I could do about the situation. Yet when the Mayor announced that these two were to be my new traveling partners I had to object.

“I’m sorry Lord Mayor, but I will not travel with a slave or a slaver in my party!”

To my great surprise it was not the Mayor or even the wealthy man that responded to my outburst. Instead the chained man turned his head slowly to meet my eyes and said very clearly, “I am not a slave.”

For a time no one in the room moved. I stared up at the muscled man’s and held his gaze. I searched his face, hidden behind the mass of stringy black hair, for some sign of the game being played here. Shockingly, I saw only sincerity and determination in his eyes. This proved too intriguing to pass up.

“My apologies My Lord, I will happily accompany these two into the Stolen Lands.”

If any of the people in the room were put off my sudden change of heart they did not show it and early the next morning we were packed and ready to begin the journey south. If I thought the previous day’s meeting strange I was in for another shock when my traveling companions arrived at the city gates with not only themselves and their mounts but a wagon loaded with a curious set of metal cages. When I asked the wealthy man, who had identified himself as Reiner, what the cages were for he said simply that they were for ‘holding his finds.’ I decided not to press the issue.
Wiktor, the name I had since learned for the muscled man, was still in chains.

The journey itself was easy enough. While the two humans at first seemed put off by having a Halfling in the party slowing them down, by the end of the first day my infectious smile won them over. The first night we made camp in a small clearing just off the road. After an all too light evening meal I sat down and tried to get to know my new companions.

“So Reiner,” I asked, “have you and Wiktor been traveling together for a long time?"

“More or less.”

“Oh, I see. Well Wiktor are you really ok with wearing thoes chains?”

“Yes.”

“So what made you two decide to come out here?”

“Orders, you?”

“Same. I suppose.”

It was one of my better conversations.

~Travels in the Greenbelt
Vedal Scryer

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Troll Ahead
Session 15

I tracked the troll from the ruined caravan. The carnage there was horrific. Half eaten men and beasts. A wagon thrown across the field. Another wagon burning. And a stench over it all, enough to make me prefer suffocation to breathing it in.

We managed to sneak wide around the monster and still reach Oleg’s first. Thing was bee-lining for the fort. Must have learned about it from the caravan. Or else it’s sense of smell was good enough to detect all the people from so far away.

Lilu sent that bird of hers, hook, ahead of us with a note, warning the Irregulars. They were already prepared by the time we got there. Fires lit, buckets of pitch, guards spread along the south walls. Tony even managed to fix up the catapults on the towers. I started to feel better about our chances in this thing.

Then the troll came into view. Thing was as tall as the walls and budding. That’s what Lilu called it, anyway. Seems to be how the things reproduce, growing another troll out of their bodies the same way the regrow lost limbs. Whole thing strikes me as unnatural.

Couldn’t let the thing survive, of course. It seemed to pause when it saw all the fire. Smarter than I would have thought, then. So I started insulting it. Well, it’s mother. Not sure if it even has what could be called a mother, but if we’re going to start building something in these Stolen Lands we can’t have something that dangerous roaming around. Anyway, it worked. Thing got pissed and charged.

I’ll be honest, I’m glad we had the Irregulars. Don’t know how much account Lilu and I could have made of ourselves without them. Crossbows seemed useless. Even shot a few magic bolts at the thing, but they all just bounced off it’s damned hide.

What worked, though, were those catapults. Well, catapult. Tony was the only one who knew how to work one. Hit the troll a couple times with flaming boulders. I threw pitch on the thing and Lilu threw fire. Girl gets more magic every day, but still acts like she doesn’t know what’s happening. Can’t tell if she’s trying to play me for a fool or really just doesn’t get it.

The giant thing managed to smash through the wall, skewer that dwarf (Larrick I think his name is), and throw Sasha half-way across the fort. Jhod broke ranks, but did his job. Man seems to be a bit reckless when he sets his sights on something. Still, he kept everyone alive, which is what we needed.

Managed to bring the troll down in the end. Smashed up the store room, but there wasn’t anything there, anyway. It got stuck doing that for a while, so we kept hitting the thing until it dropped. Then I threw more pitch on the flames, just to be sure.

Had a nice little celebration afterward, I think. I don’t remember too much about it. Something about Tony and paperwork. I think its about making an alliance with the kobolds.

Speaking of which, we’re back at the mine. Took the route Bannon said he’d take to the fort and didn’t find anything. Now, though, there’s something that worries me worse than the troll did.

Bannon and Kelak are missing.

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DM's Diary
Session 14 - Supplemental

Three adventurers are dead. The Sycamore claimed Delrus. The wilderness claimed Bannon and Kelak. One month has passed in game, and less than half of the original party remains alive.

This supplement is a salute to the fallen and a sign-post for those following the story (or reliving it) through these logs.

Take this time to re-read the stories of the dead. Though their tales have ended, their impact on the story of KINGMAKER may yet prove lasting.

And don’t fret! New heroes will soon join the fight to tame the Stolen Lands.

May Pharast prove a less cruel month!

-Coolwhip

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The Final Days of Calistril
Session 14

The rain had ceased a day ago but stone-grey clouds still hung heavy in the sky. Jac sat outside the entrance to the kobolds’ silver mine and slowly lit a cigarette. Every movement still burned, even though the smuggler had cleaned off the acid.

That’s what I get for attempting heroics, Jac thought, knowing even as he did that he would still continue to foolishly help these people who had become his friends. He glanced at the white stag standing beside him. It carried everything Jac had taken from the defeated shaman, but he was looking to make sure Liluye hadn’t left. He was sure if she did the animal would follow her. His gaze slipped to the point she had disappeared into the hills.

Lilu had her bow drawn, trying to lose herself in the hunt. Trying to avoid the anger she felt welling inside her. This was a contest, a pitting of predator against prey and a means of feeding herself and those with her. This was not a way of venting frustration or taking her anger out on innocent animals. It was a distraction from her rage at the wild child, Kelak, who had foolishly thrown himself into a pool of acid to retrieve a simple axe. Her shot went wide as the impulse to anger caused her to miss for the first time today.

As the bird that was Lilu’s prey took to the air, Kelak lay unconscious in the silver mines, recovering from his burns. A part of him knew, even in his slumbering state, that he should have died in that pool. Another part of him, metallic and cold, worked to keep the body alive. It had replaced his eyes, it would repair the rest of him. Except the hair, that served no function.

Over the bald boy with his new-pink flesh, Ser Bannon White prayed, pausing only to meticulously document everything the Navaske blood was doing to Kelak. Bannon had learned much of these mechanical monsters from the north and west, enough to be rightly afraid. Wisdom told him he, and the world at large, would need to be prepared should these constructs ever emerge from Numeria. In the meantime, though, Kelak was in the knight’s care and Bannon could only hope that it was the will of Abadar that the child continue.

Time passed. Lilu returned and exchanged words with Jac. She needed to return to the trading post. She needed time to grieve for the brother she had lost nearly a week before. He agreed and offered to come with her. The wilderness could be dangerous.

The two of them went to Bannon, interrupting his reverie. The knight wanted to return with the smuggler and the elf. He had letters waiting. Letters pertaining to the danger he was studying. Kelak could not be abandoned, however, both because of his condition and the threat within him. In the end Bannon stayed with the boy, but he would not remain here until the others returned. He would meet them at the trading post when Kelak recovered, taking the most direct route possible to get there swiftly. Outside, the clouds threatened to rain again.

Smuggler and elf, both experienced in the wilderness, set out. Their journey would not be swift, but it would be safe. Knight and child, one a herald of civilization and the other a stranger to these lands, remained. It took a day for Kelak to awaken, even with the power of a god and the power of machines working to heal him. Then the two prepared to leave. The new Dragon King Mikmek of the Monitor Lizard clan sent his second and third best warriors to accompany them through the wilds. Bannon, burgeoning priest of Abadar, thought to build a compass to guide them. He set a course north, to mad Bokken’s hut.

Jac urged Lilu to haste, wanting her to have her chance to mourn, but the two of them were cautious, giving wide berth and leaving warning to the perils they encountered. Lilu, though, slowed, and confessed to Jac that she no longer felt the need for sorrow. Her brother had hurt her before he died, and she carried that pain far deeper than she did any sadness at his loss. He was like a stranger to her. Instead, she wished to use the time, waiting for Bannon, to explore more of the surrounding lands. The knight had told them to expect him in a week and a half, so Jac acquiesced. The two spent the next few days camping, almost leisurably, and mapping the area around the Old Sycamore, resting place of Liluye’s brother.

Bannon led his group north. Even armored, he and Kelak were nearly as swift as Chastity, the barbarian’s horse. The two kobolds rode as Bannon, Kelak, and the dog, Bismark, ran alongside. They made excellent time, given Kelak’s blindness and Bannon’s inexperience, but as night fell and Bannon’s sight, too, diminished, they were forced to make camp. Bannon forbade Kelak his usual fire because it might draw predators or bandits. Instead, he set Bismark to guard while the men, exhausted from running slept. The wilderness could be dangerous.

Bannon was awoken just after midnight by the barking of his dog. Something had approached their camp. Thankful he’d slept in his armor, Bannon took up his sword and began scouting, blindly through the dark. The night was moonless and the clouds were heavy. Behind him, Kelak slept in a small hole he had dug himself with his axe, worn out past even his limits by the ordeals he had endured.

Bannon crept forward, parting the brush with his sword. Something stirred in front of him and a heavy impact collided with his breastplate, knocking him back. Unable to see, he stepped back a pace, making no threatening moves, unable to see and unwilling to aggravate a potential threat. Bismark was still barking in Bannon’s tent. The thing slammed into Bannon’s chest again, harder this time, and a deep lowing came from the darkness. Bannon swung, but felt his sword bite only air. He shouted for Kelak.

The boy awoke. The Navaske inside him were untroubled by the night, but their range was limited. Sure that nothing was attacking him directly, Kelak rose from his pit and ran into the darkness. Before him a creature loomed. His eyes which were not eyes showed him a beast like that the wise-woman, Lilu, rode. Bannon’s cry rang out of the black beyond Kelak’s sight. The boy hefted his axe and gave a primal cry as he swung at the horse-with-horns.

Battle erupted around the campsite. Bannon tried to flee the stag that was assailing him, only to encounter another. Kobolds were shouting in tongue of dragons, futilely attacking the animals. A dog’s barking was cut suddenly short as a Bannon’s tent was trampled. Kelak’s horse was screaming, kicking wildly and being mauled for it’s efforts. Bannon was blind in the dark, swinging wildly. Kelak was roaring, taking blow after blow from the beasts he battled.

Miles to the east, Jac slept peacefully while Lilu sat, staring at the fire and lost in thought. Wander, her mount, woke with a start and looked at Lilu. The beast was about to voice the doom it felt, but saw something in Lilu that made it go quiet. She would learn of the tragedy later and could mourn it then.

Miles to the west, Kelak’s cries shifted. An antler had pierced his gut. The navaske blood was already tasked to it’s limit, working to keep the young warrior standing, despite the wounds he had suffered. He was lifted into the air and tossed from the stag’s head. Blood and metal poured from the wound. Nothing could save him now. The darkness, kept at bay by what his body held, closed in. He was blind again. And cold. So cold and so dark. He ended.

Bannon’s armor was battered and he himself was bruised. He fell back step by step, sword always ready to parry blows he could not see. Though he couldn’t be sure, he seemed to now be facing three of the animals. He could hear them in their frenzy, lowing and lashing out wildly. A kobold was behind him, shouting warnings and guiding the warrior. Bannon called for a fire and then screamed as something hard, probably a hoof, came down on his lower jaw, shattering it and tearing it loose.

The kobold could not get the fire started. Kelak had fallen. The beasts had even murdered Kelak’s horse. Bannon could not flee. He knew what fate would befall him. In a last, desperate act, he swung out with his sword, past caring if it even hit. His mind raced. His body was knocked to the ground. A swift prayer to Abadar raced through his head just as he felt the hooves fall.

Something moved outside Lilu and Jac’s camp. The elf was on her feet before she could think, reaching for her bow. A fox ran from behind a tree and disappeared into the brush. She sighed, and resumed her watch.

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SESSION 13
A Good Chief

The boy lay on the cold stone floor of the cavern, his right arm clamped in an iron grip around the inert form of the Kobold Witch-Priest Tartuk. Steam rose from the Numerian’s body with an audible chemical hiss, his breath coming in heavy gasps and he dragged his way from the still-frothing pool of acid with his free arm.

Kelak!

Banon’s arm reached out towards the boy, grasping it high on his bicep. As it did so, the skin sloughed away with a sickening wet noise, leaving clean, healthy-looking pink flesh beneath. As the knight turned to attend to other matters, the boy let himself fall to his chest, a heavy sigh escaping him.

The Wise Woman came – she scolded the boy, but smiled all the while. He wanted to listen – why did she look happy with him when she spoke with anger? He could not focus on the words so well. His skin felt like he had held it in a flame.

She pointed at the Witch Tartuk. She wanted him to release it.

I… I do not know. It is a witch, and may not be dead.

She laughed at this. Not cruel. A happy laugh. A kind laugh.

I think he is dead, Kelak. Maybe you can let go?

The boy had heard of a witch having its head removed and still taking a man’s heart, but it was a wise woman and koalakeesi ’s job to know about these things. He tentatively released the body.

It did not stir. The Wise Woman looked pleased.

As she tended to the disposal of the witch’s earthly form, the boy gradually stood, testing his body, and looking around.

He seemed more-or-less fine. The pain in his skin had faded to a dull ache, and had almost disappeared completely near where Banon had pulled away the injured skin. Perhaps that had done some good. Hunter-Jak was at the side of the battlefield, most likely cleaning a kill, or taking his share of his slain’s possessions, as was his right as warrior.

Mikmek, however, caught the Numerian’s attention. He beat his chest his fellow kobold, the one who was his chief, and they cried out at each other in their rasping language, swords drawn. Banon stood by, brow furrowed in concern. Limping over, Banon explained that Mikmek had challenged his chief to leadership of the tribe. It was as the young wastelander suspected – with their numbers depleted, the Old Chief had less backing, and had also shown great weakness in falling in battle. It was right of Mikmek to challenge him, if he wished to lead. He would be a strong chief.

As the kobolds fought, Banon ignorantly tried to defend Mikmek when the Old Chief struck a sneaky blow against the young warrior – perhaps he thought it violated the Honor Duel? regardless, the knight lay where he fell, no longer interfering. Then the duel turned poorly for Mikmek, and there was a bright flash of light, and the Numerian saw no more.

Gasps. An animal roar and hiss. The round of flesh ripping. Heavy breathing. Voices raised in the Kobold tongue – Mikmek and others, not the Old Chief. The boy’s eyes hurt terribly, making it difficult to concentrate. His tribemates talking to each other. The soft, but distinctly dancing footsteps of the Wise Woman receding into the distance, until he could no longer hear them. Banon speaking the kobold tongue to Mikmek, and then the young kobold warrior saying his name, pressing his tiny clawed hands into the boy’s, and saying his name.

Mikmek led the Numerian’s hands to another form, not unlike his own, but more animal. A lizard, like in the ash-wastes of his home, only larger. It stood to reason that the kobolds would keep such beasts as steeds, as men rode horses. Mikmek motioned and told the boy to hold on to the lizard, riding it as one does a very slippery, writhing horse.

After some time, they halted in another place, still in the cavers, the boy’s eyes still burning and blind from the bright flash. There was much shouting in the kobold tongue from few voices. Banon told the boy to kneel – that Mikmek was now chief of his tribe. The boy, unsure of where he was, and what dangers were about, but meaning no disrespect, sat on the cavern floor.

Slowly, sight returned. Mikmek stood on a stone table. He wore a great headdress of office, and had seemingly claimed a wife-kobold. The boy was right. He would make a good chief.

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2: Exodus
Session 12 - Side Story
VISION 2: EXODUS

It was four in the morning and black as pitch.

The air was frosty and bitter cold. Lilu‘s breath turned to fog. She and Jac had ridden ahead to find Mikmek. The warrior had stolen the ivory idol of Old Sharptooth and ridden ahead on his kobold-sized mount (a sheep they’d ordered in special for him from Restov). Bannon and Kelak, burdened by armor and poor vision, were left long behind. So far, there was no sign of Mikmek. The cold was so bitter that Liluye had wrapped her old shaggy bear pelt around herself to keep warm. In the darkness, Serenity’s warpaint made her look like a mobile skeleton-horse.

Wander’s enormous antlers crested out like the prongs of slingshot before Liluye’s eyes. Gradually, the space between the megaloceros’s antlers turned blue like watery mist:

Liluye was slippery and sleek. She could move faster than she ever knew was possible. Her body was strong, one single giant muscle. There were four other fish in the water with her. Four silver trout and a black minnow. One of the trout floated upside-down, dead, buffeted about by the current.

The current is a bit strong but
nothing I can’t
manage


Liluye flared out her fins and caught a strong undertow, gliding like a hot knife through butter. The other fish followed her effortlessly in a tiny chartered school. They swam together. But quickly the water started to taste bad in her gasping open fish mouth.

The water is poisonous here
the current is too strong
turn
back
now


Liluye banked sharply and began to swim upstream. The school followed in a motion so immediate it was hard to tell which fish initiated the movement. The water turned sickly warm. The current became much more powerful, actively hurling against her as she tried to swim back. A terrible heat rose behind her, but she couldn’t look back to see what it was.


just keep swimming
just keep swimming


Liluye could see in her peripheral vision that the other trout were no longer keeping pace with her. The noise of water flushing was deafening. The water had begun to boil and turn a faded pink color. The druid could feel her scales peeling off as she cooked alive.

H U R R Y U P O R Y O U D I E T O N I G H T


Liluye pushed her fishy body to the max. Her gills flared desperately, sucking in more of the sour, boiling water. She could see cool, clean blue water in the distance, but safety shrunk into the beyond. The current flipped her around. The druid was forced her to see what it was she fled. It was a giant lamprey’s maw; a circular disc lined with a million fangs. Chunks of trout flesh were impaled on its teeth. The current sucked her into the predator’s mouth and she was consumed.

Liluye flinched back to reality with a gasp, startling Wander.

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Mikmek: The Champion's Return
Session 12

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.

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1: Genesis
Session 11 - Side Story
VISION 1: GENESIS

Liluye was peacefully meditating, as usual, when she had a vision:

She was smaller, fluffy, and walked on four legs. She was alone in colorless woods; tree trunks were gray and their leaves parchment. There were two deep chasms set into an old tree stump in front of her, each only as big around as a sword’s hilt. The druid could tell that these holes were deeper than the ocean.

Once soft lids melted like candle wax
tiny electrical flames inside hollow sockets
the jack-o’-lantern’s wicked gaze.


Something sparkled inside the sockets, tin bits in a ‘coon trap. Liluye wanted to know what it was.

Don’t touch it.


Why not? She was curious. Shrewdly she examined the stump for signs of danger; nothing. It was just a plain old dead stump. In a bizarrely human gesture, the blonde raccoon shrugged flippantly.

She reached her little paws down into each hole there to grab the sparkling lights inside.

BLACK VEINS
PULSING LIKE DEAD RIVERS ON THE
OUTSIDE OF A FAT MAGGOT
MAGMA
SO HOT ITS PIGMENT HAS BEEN LOST
TO A SICK WHITENESS POURS OUT OF THE
RIP IN THE UNDERBELLY
OF A STAG


The searing hot bits of metal that her tiny fists clasped burned her. Liluye tried to jerk her paws out of the holes. But she was stuck! There was no escape. Her hands were melting.

Liluye blinked awake from her trance, silent and breathing heavily.

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