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A Kobold's Fortune: Prologue

A Kobold's Fortune - Chapter 1
pockprologuefinal.doc
Keywords human 44249, sfw 6490, kobold 1692
A Kobold's Fortune

Prologue

Excerpt from “Tobias Dockland: An Autobiography  –  Chapter 6”

Published 2357, Age of Mourning

I have been asked on numerous occasions where I got my inspiration from. I usually skirted the question, but I suppose it's about time I told the true story.

It was Early Vharius in the year 2347 (*1). I was badly injured when raptors attacked my cart. I still remember watching as the raptors tore into my pack lizards, still strapped to the cart before I passed out. When I awoke, things got interesting.

I woke to a pain in my stomach that I cannot describe to this day. The smell of mildew stung in my nose. I could hear commotion outside. Pain shot through my system as I sat up, forcing me to lay back down. Whoever brought me there must have heard my cries of pain for a moment later, the door to the cave chamber opened. I couldn't see who came through at first.

“You're lucky our hunters found you when they did,” a cheery, but gravely sounding voice said. “They said the raptors had finished off your lizards and were approaching you.”

“Where am I?” I asked.

The voice chuckled. “You won't believe me. But you are among the Run Tree Tribe. A tribe of kobolds. Clan works as well I suppose, either is appropriate.”

“I'm where?!” I sat up again, the pain sending bolts of lightning through my vision. I looked over to see a short, lizard-like creature in white robes standing next to me. The dark blue scales on his head flickered in the torchlight, and I scrambled to get away. The kobold barely had to push to get me to lie back down.

“Calm yourself,” he said soft, but firm, as he placed his hand on my shoulder. “You are safe here.” When I stopped fighting to get away, he turned around. “You've been wounded, as I'm sure you guessed. The raptors had already torn open your abdomen before our hunters were able to drive them off.”

He told me to stay still as he changed my bandages. I couldn't argue with him. I was already sweating from the pain in my stomach. “So why help me?” I asked. “I'm human. You're...well, kobold. Are you planning to eat me?”

The kobold laughed. “Humans don't have enough meat on them. Too much fat.” I swallowed, but at the same time I couldn't help but laugh. This kobold spoke perfect Common (*2). There was no stuttering, no accent. It was as though he had spoken it all his life. “We are not like what most races expect from kobolds,” he explained as he continued to work. “Rather than stealing from towns, or robbing caravans, we choose to follow The Example (*3). This includes helping those in need, regardless of race.” His hands were skilled, efficient. He used a single claw to cut the bandage where he needed to, and kept that same claw lifted as he applied the dressing, avoiding touching me with it.

As he worked, I couldn't help but remain skeptical. He said himself kobolds often attack caravans. I have been victim to such attacks on several occasions. My other dealings with them were just as pleasant. They were always skittish, scheming, and unpredictable. In almost all cases, encounters turned violent.

The healer finally introduced himself as Hixel. And as kobolds of varying shades of blue and purple went in and out of the room, taking something or leaving something each time, and I could hear  activity outside the door. “Are kobolds always this active?”

“When it's hot out, yes. We have more energy during the warmer months.” He finished the bandage and turned around. He looked at his workbench, and then gave a huff. “And they took the sewing kit again,” he grumbled. “I'll fix your shirt later.” He shrugged and helped me put on what remained of my shirt. It had been washed seemingly, it had faint remnants of blood that I assumed was my own. “Even though we are not cold blooded like most of our feral reptilian cousins, we still benefit from the sun's heat,” he explained as he dipped his hands into a wash basin. “I suppose you could call us Monotremes, but we're not mammals. But at least it means we can survive in cold weather without shutting down completely.”

The more he talked, the more relaxed I became. He answered all of my questions without hesitation or reservation, even as other kobolds from the clan would wander in and out of the room taking or leaving various supplies or tools.

But there was one in particular that caught my eye. He came in, his rusty brown scales a stark contrast to the rest of the clan. I had seen several others by this time, and even the shape of his head was different than the rest. He made eye contact with me, grabbed hold of the single leather spaulder he wore. He wore nothing else but a loin cloth. He had frills just behind his cheek bones, something I noticed none of the other kobolds had, and they fanned out as they flushed red. He was blushing. He said hello in an almost squeaking voice and then ran out of the room before I could reply, leaving behind whatever it was he came in to get.

When Hixel noticed me watching the rust colored kobold leave, he smiled. “That is Pock. Believe it or not, he was born among us.” Hixel tended to some minor scrapes of a small group who had wandered in. “You'll be seeing more of Pock soon. He has been assigned as your runner.”

“My what?”

“Your runner.” Hixel said. “He will be tending to your needs: food, water, cleanliness, body waste...”

“I hope you don't mean I can't get up to use the water closet.”

Hixel again laughed. “If we had one, you could use it. As it is, we just have a...chamber. I think you'll be more comfortable with that.” He motioned toward the corner. Sitting there alone with a towel hanging nearby was a bucket. “I understand the nose of humans doesn't handle the smell very well, so I thought it best to bring you a different option.”

“I'll take your word for it.”

My few dealings with other members of the tribe proved interesting. Most of them, Pock more-so than the rest, only spoke enough Common to get by. But it was broken, and they had thick, almost hissing accents. And whenever they got excited they yipped like so many Anthro pups I had met in my travels.

As Hixel said, I saw Pock on a regular basis over the next several days. The other kobolds had a strong sense of pride about their work, like a parent providing for their family. But few of them seemed interested in their tasks. Pock however, was nothing less than enthusiastic. He was genuinely excited do whatever task was needed of him during my stay. He was always eager, and proud that he was needed.

Pock was more than generous with me as well. He always made sure I had enough to eat, he would find Hixel whenever he thought my bandages needed changing, much to the annoyance of Hixel who, more often than not, would tell Pock that the bandages were fine. Whenever he though I was getting bored, he would offer to entertain me with a joke. With the help of my lute, we would often exchange stories.

In time, I helped him learn to speak Common more clearly, and he helped me to both learn to speak Draconic, and understand how kobold society functioned (*4). He explained that the Run Tree Tribe were essentially traveling merchants. They would relocate every two to six months, and in each location find new materials they could use for trade. Their largest struggle was trying to find a buyer. Too many cultures were simply unwilling to strike deals with kobolds. Most of the Run Tree Tribe's dealings were made with Anthros, or with other “uncivilized” races.

There was no single entity in charge of the tribe. Everything, including making decisions, was shared by the tribe. Everything from food and tools, to beds and clothing were shared by all among the tribe. Even mates were available to all. With all of this taking and leaving of various things going on, I never once heard a scuffle or argument among them. The only exception to the taking and sharing was anything that had belonged to me when I was brought in. And eventually, I started to share my own things with them as well.

Two months went by, and with the help of a cane. Pock stayed by my side whenever I went anywhere within the warren, and he helped me during the first move I experienced with them. They had found a location rich in mineral deposits, and the tribe decided to go mine them. The move itself was surprisingly efficient. It took only a week for them to pack everything up, move, get rid of the evidence of their previous home, and get settled into the new one. My offer to help was declined, and they went so far as to place me on one of the carts to transport me to the new location so I didn't have to walk with my injury.

Pock was called away throughout the move to assist with one task or another. Each time he would bound away happily to complete his errand. I was instructed to wait for him each time, and I did so without resistance.

When we settled into the new warren, I was given my own room with my own door, complete with a lock. It was Pock's idea to get me my own space since kobolds had no real sense of personal privacy with anything, and while he struggled with the concept at first, he seemed apologetic about being unable to give it to me. I was amazed at his compassion for others, and accepted the room happily.

It was then that Pock truly started growing on me. With that act of kindness, it showed me just how special, and how different he was from the other kobolds. Then one day I noticed he seemed more distracted than usual.

“Pock has a secret,” he said when I asked what was wrong.

“A secret? But you said kobolds share everything, right?”

The frills on his cheeks tightened against his neck as they always did when he was nervous. “Y-yes, but Pock has secret anyway.”

“So why are you telling me if it's a secret?”

Pock came up to me and whispered in my ear. “Humans knows how to keeps secrets, yes?” I nodded, and he pulled out a small box from behind the desk that was provided for me. “Pock hides it here when we moves.” He handed me the box. At first I wasn't sure what I was looking at when I opened it. When I asked about it, Pock was all too excited to tell me. “Is toy for hatchlings! Watch!” He turned the key on back of the crudely carved, wooden kobold and set it down on the table. It made an odd whirring sound as it walked across the table with its oversized feet, waving a spear from side to side with each step.

“You made this?” I asked, and he was barely able to contain his excitement as he bounced up and down. “What for?”

He ran his fingers along the rows of spikes on the top of his head, avoiding eye contact with me. “Pock wants make people happy,” he said. “Makes things to make life fun, and makes easy.” He went silent as another tribe member walked by the open door, and my eyes immediately went to the large horns on its head before they disappeared. Another difference between Pock and the others was the spike pattern on the their heads. Pocks were all small, but rough, more like extra large scales rather than actual spikes. To some degree, he could spread them further apart or pull them closer together based on his emotions. The other kobolds all had what looked more like horns. They were all streamlined and never shifted position in relation to each other as Pock's did.

“Why haven't you shared this with the tribe?” I asked, giving the toy back to him after I examined it closer.

Pock's expression turned from cheerful to fearful in an instant. He looked over his shoulder at the door and ran his hands over each other repeatedly. It took him some time to find the right words. “Pock is runner. Pock is cook. Tribe needs runner and cook. Not needs Pock to make toys or tools.”

“Do the hatchlings have toys to play with?”

Pock hesitated again, and his head tilted to the side. “N-no,” he said at last, whimpering. “They has old bones and each others to plays with.” He stuffed the toy into the box and latched it.

I knelt down beside him. “You shouldn't be ashamed of it, Pock. That toy is brilliant. I've not seen anything like it.” I motioned toward the box again. “I saw other things in there, what are they?”

“Some is toys, some is tools.”

“For what?”

“Make things more easy.” He paused a moment, then slowly opened the box. Taking several pieces out of it, he put them all together. When he was finished he had a pole with a small rake-like hook at the end of it and a string attached to a cup. “Is for get berries and apples from up high.” He seemed happy, but still nervous about demonstrating it for me.

I fell onto my backside in sheer awe. Similar tools I had seen were simply designed to knock the fruit loose rather than contain it. This kobold was far more crafty than I had imagined. “Pock, that's genius!”

The frill of the kobold's cheeks fanned out and flushed red. “Is really?”

“Really!”

His eyes sparkled with tears as a wide smile formed across his lips.

“I bet if you attach a sock to it, you could guide the berries down the pole and into a bucket at your feet, rather than having to lower the cup each time.”

“Yes, yes!!” He set to work immediately, even ripping his own loincloth apart to make it, and rigged the new “sock” to the bottom of the cup. “Is not long enough, but gives ideas.”

We both laughed. “Pock, maybe you should show that to the gatherers. It would save them a lot of time if they didn't have to climb up a tree to collect .”

He put his hand to his cheek as though I had just slapped him across the face. He quickly packed up his berry picker and left without another word. My heart sank into my stomach. I was sure that our friendship was over. I had just tried to convince him to defy his way of life. Kobolds are assigned a lifelong task, and that is what they do. Pock was assigned as a runner and a cook. To suggest he step out of his given role must have felt as though I thought of his position as worthless.

Several days went by before I saw Pock again. I awoke one morning to a loud commotion outside my door. Hixel met me at my door and he led me to the main chamber in the warren. Torches lit up walls made of hardened and polished mud that sparkled like a pond reflecting a starlit sky at dusk. The entire tribe was gathered, and they went completely silent as a loud whistle echoed in the room. The sound came from a makeshift stage at the opposite end of the room where a pair of the tribe elders stood with Pock between them.

Pock explained his tool briefly. He turned around to face a structure meant to represent a tree. Each of its branches had small apples hanging from them, and he reached up with his berry picker. He first took the very top apple, ten feet in the air. He squeezed the handle, it tightened the string, the cup closed around the apple with the stem between the rake's tongs, and with a firm tug, the apple popped loose. It rolled down sock attached to the cup and out the bottom where it was connected to a bucket. He had the tree completely picked in less than a minute. At first there was murmuring from the tribe. To judge from the look on his face, Pock was certain he was going to be shunned for his demonstration. The entire room suddenly exploded into what sounded to me be a herd of screeching pack lizards being led by a pack of canid anthros, all of them barking and yipping at once.

I had never seen anyone of any race look more proud than Pock did in that moment. He then dropped to his knees and cried out of sheer joy. With Hixel's help, I made my way through the crowd and went to Pock's side.  When I knelt down beside him, he reached up and held me.

“Thank you, Toby-us,” he said between sobs. He never could say my name right. “You gives Pock courage to show clan. Pock can do what Pock wants now.” He buried his head in my chest and continued to cry as we were surrounded by cheering kobolds. “Pock is so happy!” No longer was Pock a tribe runner. From that day forward, his job was to build more inventions to make their lives easier.

I barely saw Pock over the next month. He was busy making new contraptions: better traps for the hunters, berry pickers for the gatherers, stronger tools for mining, the list went on. Within days the tribe almost seemed reborn. Despite what other races maybe think, including my own, I found these kobolds to be extremely resourceful. It took them no time at all to learn how to use the new tools Pock provided for them, and even less time to put the tools to use.

I passed the time playing my lute for those who would listen. Some even started asking to play. I did what I could, but with only my one lute, trying to teach them was difficult. Eventually Pock was able to construct more lutes so they could learn. By the end of the month, several of the kobolds had grasped the basics of how to play. Practice was put on hold though as the tribe was ready to move again. My time with Pock was still limited, but this time Hixel said I was well enough to help with the move. I was to help load the carts. With the aide of Pock's inventions, a week long move became a mere three days.

Once settled into their new home, life went back to normal for the kobolds. Pock was able to teach others how to build the tools he was crafting, and freed up more time for him to spend with me.

The next two months were easy going. I had fully recuperated from my wounds, and had developed a lasting relationship with the Run Tree kobolds. It was late Tuurdemer when Hixel said I was healthy enough to travel on my own (*5). I agreed that it was time for me to leave. I was unable to finish my sentence to Pock before he went running out of the room, and I didn't see him the rest of the day.

When morning came and I had everything packed, Hixel met me at my door in silence. He had the same warm smile on his lips as the first time I met him in the medicine cave that smelled of mildew. He was the first to say goodbye, and he he escorted me to the main entrance. I was astounded to find that the entire tribe was waiting for me at the exit.

“You are a part of the Run Tree Tribe now,” Hixel explained. “You came here wounded, and afraid. You taught us, and we taught you. You befriended us against your instincts, and even helped us during the move. Your role within the tribe was to entertain, and you did so beautifully with your music. For that, we all thank you.” He bowed in front of me and backed away. It was only then, when I looked out among the clan and saw them all looking at me, that everything came together in my mind.

They didn't look on me as a stranger visiting their home. All the times they came to me and left an item for me to use, or took something of mine and disappeared with it, or listened to my stories, or eagerly practiced the lute as I was teaching them, they weren't doing it out of habit. They were doing it because I was one of them. I was family.

As soon Hixel was clear of me, I was swarmed by all shades of blue and purple scales, and each member of the tribe came to personally say their goodbyes. It was well into midday before I was able to make my way to the exit.

Pock stood in opening as I approached. He was the last to say goodbye. He was smiling, and his eyes were filled with tears. Sitting next to him on the ground was travel bag. He leaped into my arms before I could ask. He wrapped his hands around my neck and I held him tightly as we both cried.

“Thank you,” he said to me in a whisper. “Pock leaves tribe cause of you. Pock goes to be big inventor and makes lots of monies to buy tribe good home. Then we not haves to move all the times. And maybe helps make others likes kobolds too.”

The emotion behind his words are what struck me strongest. He knew his purpose in life, and it was I that helped him find it. It occurred to me then that if a little kobold can aspire to do great things for his people, and for the world, then why can't I? Why can't the rest of us? I thanked them all again, picked up my belongings, and Pock and I left together to the sound of screeching, yapping cheers behind us.

We walked side-by-side until we reached the road to town. With a final tear filled hug, we then parted ways. There was a spring in his step that seemed all too familiar to me as he loped down the road. It was the same as when I first set out on my journey to become a bard. The last thing I saw was him turning to wave at me before disappearing over the ridge.

As the years went by, I occasionally heard stories from travelers about a strange kobold having tried to sell some contraption to them, or how they were helped in some way by it. He said his dream was to make enough money for him to buy a stable home for he and his tribe, his family. It is my sincerest hope the stories I heard of him are evidence that he is well on his path making his dream a reality.

His heartfelt thanks on the day I said goodbye, and that of the rest of the Run Tree Kobold Tribe are what still inspire me today, Pock most of all. It is their memory that influences my songs and my stories. It has long been my hope that my stories have helped to bring people of all races, including that of kobolds, closer together. And, fate willing, perhaps our travels will bring us together again.




Footnotes:

*1)  Krygothia's calendar consists of 12 months, each consisting of three 10-day weeks, totaling 360 days in a year. Vharius is the fourth month in the year, and signals early spring. It is named after the now extinct Hummingbird which represents happiness.

*2) Common is as the name states: the most commonly spoken language in Krygothia.

*3) Founded by the kobold known as Gibnak Sparkbender around 200 years ago, it is a code of ethics followed by a growing number of the so-called “monstrous races”, such as kobolds, Gnolls, Goblins, Orcs, and the like. Gibnak named it The Example because of the way Anthros, who in many ways are similar to his reptilian kin, are accepted as a normal part of society. He hoped to use their example to change the way the “civilized” races see kobolds and other similarly disliked species.

*4) One of many languages on Krygothia, Draconic is spoken primarily by reptilians, such as kobolds and lizardmen, and by dragons.

*5) The end of summer and the 9th month of the year, Tuurdemer is named for the Blackbird, representing awareness of change and of oneself.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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A Kobold's Fortune - Chapter 1
Last in pool
I've been struggling to find one of my kobold character's who's story I was comfortable posting online, and I finally found it.

The way this prologue was written was intentionally dry. Tobius Dockland is a bard of some renown in Krygothia, and as the beginning said, is a part of his published autobiography. The story will not be told in this format starting at Chapter 1, so fear not. :P

This is an original story created solely by myself, with all original characters. It has elements pulled from the Dungeons and Dragons, but it is otherwise a world entirely of my own creation. Please do not use any elements of this world or its characters without permission.

Aside from that, enjoy!

Comments and constructive criticism are always welcome! ^_^

"A Kobold's Fortune" and its characters and setting belong to myself.

Keywords
human 44,249, sfw 6,490, kobold 1,692
Details
Type: Writing - Document
Published: 2 years, 8 months ago
Rating: General

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