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A Kobold's Fortune: Prologue
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taladrian
taladrian's Gallery (27)

A Kobold's Fortune - Chapter 1

Fuzzy Form
pockch1draft3.doc
Keywords human 45095, husky 21076, kobold 1772, elf 1668, great dane 499
A Kobold's Fortune


Chapter 1: Life in The City


The lantern's flame flickered brightly without warning, then died. Its owner sighed, only barely seeming to notice it had gone dark. A clawed hand covered in rusty-brown scales traced over the pages of the book and tapped on the last line.

“...fate willing...”

The scaled hands closed the book. On the front cover, a human of roughly forty years, with unkempt, light brown hair, sat on a stool in an outdoor theater. He was resting a lute on his knee, and one arm was draped across it while the other seemed frozen as though he were emphasizing a point in a story. Further up and off to one side was a close-up of his face looking toward the reader, showing his dark brown eyes. The man was smiling warmly. The title hung above everything else, adorned in gold and read, “Tobias Dockland: An Autobiography”.

With a gentle touch, the reptilian hands wrapped the book in small bolt of silk, then carefully placed the book inside a backpack.

It was dark out. The only sounds that could be heard were animals scurrying in the night. Poking his head out from beneath the porch, the kobold stared up at the starry sky. Like the man on the cover of the book, he smiled. “He remembers Pock...”

He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. It was 12 years since he'd first met Tobias. He had not seen the human who became a member of his tribe since the day the two of them parted ways on that lonely dirt road.

The first year on his own was difficult for Pock. His dealings with those he met on the trail were all but pleasant. On more than one occasion he was forced to flee for his life. But he was happy now.

He met someone on the road who brought him to Border City at the start of his eighth year away from his tribe. It sat on the boundary where the nations of Graavathiir, Kithinaar, and Delanderal came together. The city was populated by several races, most of whom were representative of their respective nations: anthros, elves, and humans.

His experience on the road had not prepared him for life in the city. While they tolerated his presence within the city limits, he was still met with distrust, and sometime outright violence at every turn. The simple task of purchasing food was more costly than others he had observed.

As the stars twinkled in the moonless sky, Pock continued to stare, barely seeing them. His thoughts were on his home. The traveling kobold clan was likely hundreds of miles from where he left them by now, but believing they were enjoying the same sky comforted him. After giving a short prayer to whichever deity would listen, he slipped back underneath the porch and laid out his bedroll.

It was cramped beneath the porch, tucked away in the north side of the city in one of the poorer districts, but it was home for now. He curled up on his bedroll, using his backpack for a pillow. The summer air lingered in the night well enough that Pock didn't need to crawl inside the bedroll to stay warm.

When morning came, Pock was greeted by the sun shining through the slats on the porch and the sound of footsteps overhead. He groaned and tried to cover his eyes. Whoever owned the home he slept under hadn't noticed him over the last three nights, but it would soon be time to move on. “One more nights maybes,” he says to the air.

With another large, jaw cracking yawn, he packed up his meager belongings, picked up the sack which contained the tools and devices he'd created, and crawled out. The sun beat down on him, and the frill of his cheeks fanned out in reply. He was full of energy, despite his grumbling stomach. He made sure his mining pick was properly cinched against his hip and, checking inside his belt pouch, found that he had a few copper coins left. Just enough to bargain for something to eat...he hoped.

“We don't sell to your kind!” a merchant snapped at him, a phrase Pock had grown accustomed to. “You probably stole that money anyway, didn't you?! Get out of here you damned lizard before I call the Watch!”

Pock stuck his tongue out at the man and moved on, and eventually found someone who would sell him some jerky. As expected, it cost him every last coin. “S'okay, Pock has foods now. Time for works.”

He wandered the marketplace and found a spot near the fountain to set up. A lucky break, he had never been able to set up near the fountain in all the four years he's lived in Border City. He's usually too late to claim the spot. He laid out a blanket and placed what few small tools he had left that he'd created up against the fountain's base. He caught the eye of some passersby and smiled at them, but they simply laughed and wandered off. Pock shrugged of the vulgar comments they muttered as they walked away. It was nothing new for him, he knew people didn't trust kobolds, Tobias told him so. His own later experience proved it. But he was going to change that, somehow.

Just as he pulled a set of juggling balls out of his backpack, he turned around and was met by two members of the city watch. “Hellos,” he said with a grin, starting to juggle three of the balls. “You comes to watch Pock?”

“We 'comes',” one of the watch sneered, a human, “to tell you to move on. You can't set up here.” He adjusted the silver shield pin on the lapel of his tunic.

“Why that? He sets up here yesterday?” Pock points off with his nose toward an Anthro, a fox of red-orange fur who was in the process of folding himself into a basket. “Why not Pock has today?”

The watchmen looked over and then whispered to each other. The human stepped toward him a moment later. “I won't warn you again. You have five minutes to pack up and leave.”

Pock nodded. “No one sets up here todays then?”

The lead watchman rolled his eyes. “No, no one sets up here 'todays'. Get out of here.”

“Okays. If Pock sees anyone sets up here will tell you so you can makes them moves too.” He caught all of his juggling balls and began packing.

Another of the watch, a young elf of possibly thirty, Pock could never tell the age of elves, stepped up to his superior and leaned in. “Would it not be easier to just  let him have the spot, Sergeant? You know he's here lega-”

“I will not have a kobold tarnishing our water fountain,” the Sergeant snapped, not taking his eyes off of Pock. “And if it means I have to prevent anyone else from setting up here as well so he doesn't cause more trouble, then so be it.”

Pock stopped packing. “Ummm...if legal, then why you makes Pock leave?” he asked as he turned around. “And you on blanket. Pock not able pack if you on it.”

The Sergeant grumbled again and stepped off. “Consider it a public service. Defy me again and I'll have you arrested for obstruction.”

“Sir, I don't think we could. He hasn't-”

“Be quiet!” the Sergeant snapped again.

A crowd had gathered around, murmuring as they observed Pock and the watchmen. Pock finished packing up his things, slung his pack over his back, and turned to face the Sergeant. “So where Pock goes now that okay since you makes leave fountain? Comes early to get good spot and you takes it away.”

The Sergeant drew his sword while the elf stepped back, making sure no one in the crowd would try to approach. “I won't say it again, move on!”



“Isn't you s'posed to help peoples who not breaks law? Elf says is okays.”

“Enough!! You're under arrest!” The human reached for Pock.

Pock stepped to the side and slipped behind him. The Sergeant spun, swinging his sword around with him. The kobold jumped over it. “You always attacks when other not have weapon?” he said, ducking beneath another swing.  The Sergeant again made to grab for him, but Pock was too quick. He jumped up, landed on the guard's shoulder, and leaped off his head onto the edge of the fountain. The crowd laughed as Pock tilted his head at him. “Pock not does anything wrong. Just wants sell things and puts on show.”

The Sergeant turned red in the face as he squared up with Pock. He was about to bring down sword down again when the elf watchman grabbed his shoulder. “Sergeant, you probably want to rethink this,” the elf said, motioning with his head toward the crowd.

Spinning around, the Sergeant faced his subordinate and the crowd went silent. The sudden lack of noise caught the Sergeant's attention. He froze. After a moment, the Sergeant drew in a deep breath, sheathed his sword, straightened out his leather armor, and turned to face Pock once more. “If you get so much as one scale in my fountain, kobold-”

“Then Pock goes to jail for litters, Tsek, Tsek. (*1)” Pock said while rolling his eyes. “Can Pock works now? Not wants to have to steals food again.”

“Again?!” The Sergeant reached for his sword, but was stopped by the elf. Pock grinned.



“He's egging you on, sir. He's harmless.”

“Harmless...right...” He slammed the sword back into its home and walked away. “Let's go, Corporal.” Before disappearing into the crowd, the elf mouthed an apology as Pock waved at them.

With the Sergeant and his subordinate gone, the kobold set up his wares once more. The crowd that had formed started to disperse, but some remained, waiting, watching the kobold set up. One of them, an elf woman with short blonde hair, began going through Pock's tools.

Pock smiled at her. “You wants to take bow off faster?” He picked up a strap from his display. Attached to it was a hook about midway along the strap's length, and small cup that hung from a separate piece connected at the end. When he had the elf's attention, he explained his contraption. “Instead of hanging bow by string over shoulder, you sets in cup at bottom, and has hooks to hold in. You just picks up and twist!” He used his finger to show how the bow would release from the hook.

The elf maiden watched with disinterest at first, until Pock showed how it worked. “That is quite unique. May I try it out?”

Pock squeaked with joy as he put it on for the elf, going so far as to hook it to her belt first, and then was forced to jump in order to get it up over her shoulder. Once it was adjusted the hook to the just behind the left shoulderblade, he connected the strap to the back side of her belt. Then once he had the bow in place, he explained it again. “Just has to pick up and bend. Pock promise it not come loose until you wants it.”

Doing as instructed, the elf maiden tried it several times slowly.

“Feels goods?”

The elf smiled at him. “It does.” She set it back into place, then drew it as quickly as she could. She had it out and drawn so quickly that Pock ducked when the elf pointed the bow at him. “This is quite brilliant indeed. How much?” the elf asked, as she examined the straps.

Pock scratched his head. “Umm....th-three...three silvers..?”

“Like your stature, you are selling yourself short my friend.” The elf gave him five silver coins, stamped with the Kithinaar nation's symbol. The elf maiden thanked him as she set her bow into its new home. Seeing a satisfied customer, others watching nearby began to browse through Pock's wares as well.

He was busy for over two hours until he finally sold out of everything. One of the devices was stolen, but the money he earned more than made up for it. By the end of it all he had pocketed over six gold pieces, which was more than he'd ever seen at once. He hadn't even started performing for the day. The coins jungled in his palm at he played with them until finally deciding that he was going to skip performing for today and go celebrate.

“Pock has to thanks Sergeant man some time,” Pock reminded himself. “Gives attention to Pock, and Pock makes lots of moneys.” He gathered up his blanket and pack, then left the marketplace.

He made his way deep into the anthro district in the east side of the city. It was midday, and the kobold noticed that the number of people wandering about had started to wane. “Fuzzy peoples not likes heat much, maybes,” Pock said to himself, looking around at the empty street. He continued onward until he reached his destination.

The sign hanging from the awning before him had a picture burned into the wood depicting the fluffy tail of an anthro curled upward and turned to one side, holding a mug with its tip. Beneath the design read “Flagging Tail Flagon.” Pock grinned and opened the door.

At first the tavern was bustling with activity. A pair of raccoons was playing music in the corner. In front of them a group danced to the drum and panpipes while the rest of the room was filled with laughter and drink. But one by one, they noticed the kobold standing in the doorway, and soon the room went silent. Pock brought his hands up in front of his chest, running them over each other. His head drooped. “Umm...he-hellos.”

Silence.

A few moments later, the anthro behind the bar grabbed a club from under the counter and set it on the bartop. Pock's eyes went from the husky to the club, then back again. He swallowed and fumbled to removed his belt pouch. “Pock has own money's this time. Promise.” He held up the pouch to show him.

All eyes turned to the bartender. The husky tilted his head slightly as he started wiping out a glass. “What'll it be..?”

Everyone shifted toward the kobold again. Pock swallowed. “Meads and stews? Err...pleases?”

Smirking, the husky nodded. “Comin' right up.” He put the club back under the counter. With the all clear from the bartender, everyone went back to their business, and the music started once more. Pock made his way to the counter and sat on one of the stools. The husky brought him a flagon of mead. “Haven't seen you since you nearly started a brawl back in Hallia.” (*2)

“Pock sorry. Was stay and gets beat up or leaves while he not watches. Pock choose leaves,” Pock said with a firm nod. “But Pock likes husky place, so comes back when haves moneys.”

The husky laughed. “And how did you get this money? Didn't steal it again, did you?”

Pock's lower jaw stuck out, his face scrunching. “Pock not steals first time,” he grumbled, folding his arms in front of him. “Dog drops and Pock just borrows. Pock sells tools and makes moneys this time. Now buys food, and things to makes more tools.”

“Well hopefully today's luck is a sign of things to come.”

Minutes later, Pock was greeted with a bowl larger than his head full of stew and a bread loaf of equal size. Pock sniffed at the bowl. The smell of salted meat and spiced broth filled his nostrils, and he couldn't contain the watering in his mouth. The last time he had eaten anything of real substance was the last time he had visited the Flagging Tail.

------



It was a cool night in late spring. Pock's pockets were empty and his stomach was screaming at him. He hadn't eaten in days. Standing in the doorway to the tavern, he pondered how he might be able to convince them to give him something to eat so he didn't have to steal it again. He was about to step inside when someone burst through the door and knocked him flat. Pock had to roll out of the way to avoid being stepped on as the man stormed passed him.

A feline woman stuck her head out of the building, waving her fist. “And don't come back until you've cooled your head!” Then she slammed the door shut. When Pock sat up, the was a coin purse sitting next to him. He assumed the person must have dropped it, but the only thing that remained of the man was a trail of cigar smoke.

“Some coppers be okays. Pock pays back nex-times,” he convinced himself, and went inside. He'd ordered his food, and finished half of it when the person returned.

“YOU!” The man pointed at him and stormed through the crowd.

Pock turned to face him. The great dane was one of the tallest and well built people he'd ever seen. “You wants Pock?”

The large dog stood before him, growling loud enough that the tavern went quiet. Pock could not take his gaze away from the patch covering the dog's left eye. “Give me back my PURSE you little thief!”

The feline waitress stepped between he and Pock, facing the dog. “And I told YOU not to come back tonight!” she hissed, her tail puffing out to three times its normal size.

Pushing the cat to the side, the dane grabbed Pock by the leather strap over his chest. Pock held up the coin purse. “You means this one? You drops it when you runs over Pock. Was going to gives back, but was hungry, so stopped to eats first.”

Dropping the kobold to the floor, the dane dug through the purse, rattling off numbers under his breath. “There's a full silver missing, you little... Where'd he go?!” He spun around just as the door to the tavern swung open.

“Thanks for foods!” the kobold called with a wave and disappeared into the streets before anyone could catch him.

------



But all that was in the past. Now Pock was in the Flagging Tail Flagon celebrating with his own hard earned money. He clinked his mug with an imaginary partner and drank.

He had no sooner set the mug down and begun to eat when the tavern door opened again. Once more, the patrons fell silent. Pock picked up his bowl in one hand and continued slurping at the broth as he turned around. The same dane from two months ago stood in the doorway.

The dog was dressed differently than Pock remembered. He wore a dark green vest over a long sleeved, pitch black shirt that formed tightly around the well toned muscle beneath it. His pants looked as though he had taken them straight from an oil painting of a forest. And like most anthros, he walked in his bare footpaws.

Pock continued eating as though he were watching some play unfolding before him as the great dane approached him. Adjusting the eye patch, the dog tightened the forest patterned bandana on his head and stopped in front of the kobold. If Pock were to stand on his toes, the top of his head would only barely reach the dog's waistline. It was only thanks to the stool he was sitting on that he didn't have to crane his neck to see the dog's face. It was mostly a dark grey, almost black, except for the dusty white of sides of his muzzle, jaw, and front half of his neck. The dog's eye patch covered all of the left eye socket, but it could not hide the scar which stretched from between his eyebrows down to his left cheek. Pock took a spoonful of stewed meat into his mouth and chewed, not looking down to see if his spoon made back into the bowl.

The dane looked down at him. “You're Pock? Pock Tinkerjunk?”

Pock slurped another spoonful of stew. “Maybes?”

The dane growled and bared his teeth. “Are you, or not?”

“Toby-us gives Pock second name Tinkerjunk, yes.”

“Here.” The great dane reached into his dark green tunic with his right hand. It was entirely the same gray-black as most of his head. The dane handed Pock a piece of paper.

Pock set his bowl down and unfolded the letter. “What it say..? Pock not able to reads.”

“Of course not,” the great dane grumbled. Taking the paper back, he sat down beside Pock, and wrote on it with a stick of graphite. “Better?” he grumbled, sliding it back over to him.

Picking up the paper with both hands, Pock turned it every which way. “Nope.”

“It's in Draconic, you idiot!” the dane snarled. “You're a kobold! How can you not read it!?”

Pock shrugs. “Pock never learns to reads.”

“Figures...” The dane reached into his tunic again and retrieved a silver case. He flipped it open, pulled out a cigar and a matchbook, lit the cigar with his left hand, mostly white except for a gray-black strand extending from his wrist to cover his middle finger and thumb, and then placed the case back into his tunic. He took a long pull from the cigar and took no care to direct the smoke away from anyone. “You all mind?” he said to the other patrons of the tavern.

The rest of the tavern's occupants went back to their own business as the dane faced Pock once more. “I was told to give you this letter, and that you would know what it meant. If you can't read it,” he took another pull from the cigar and blew the smoke out through his nose, “then I guess you're the wrong kobold.” He grabbed the paper, but Pock held it fast.

“This...” Pock pointed at the bottom of the letter. “This same symbol in Toby-us book. On page with picture of kobolds.”

“The hell are you talking about? What book?”

Pock dug into his pack and pulled out the autobiography. He turned to the chapter that spoke about him and pointed at the bottom corner of the last page.

Leaning in, the great dane huffed. “There's nothing there.” He snatched the letter off the counter and stood up.

Pock grabbed his arm and pointed at the book again. “Is same.”

The dane rolled his eyes and looked at the letter, then where the kobold pointed. “It's jusyt a blank...” He squinted his eye. “You gotta be kidd'n me...” Another plume of smoke billowed from his mouth, sending Pock into a fit of coughing. The dane picked up the book with one hand and pulled a knife from his belt with the other. He ripped out the page.

“HEY!” Pock yipped, but was silenced by the book being thrown into his lap.

Pressing the point of his dagger against the page, the dane made a thin cut. He then used the dagger to pull apart a second layer of paper and put his dagger away. Where Pock had pointed on the page was a gold stamp.

The stamp had a slight texture to it as the dane rubbed his finger over it. “How the hell did you see that?” Pock shrugged as the dane continued examining the symbol. The stamp represented that of a dragon's clawed hand pointing upward, a sword and dagger on either side of it pointing downward, and all of it placed inside an outline of a shield. The dane compared it to the letter. The two stamps were identical in every way.

“Looks like I got the right kobold after all.” Without warning, the great dane slapped a few coins onto the counter and grabbed Pock by the wrist. “Someone is looking for you. Let's go.”

Pock yanked his wrist free and remained in his seat. His eyes narrowed at the dane as he angle his head downward. “And why should I go with you?” he said in an unusually deep tone, the change in voice causing even the great dane to pause. “Last time we met you assumed I stole your purse and tried to attack me.”

“That doesn't matter,” the dane said at last. “I've been paid to get you out of here, and that's what I'm going to do. Now let's go.”

The dane reached for Pock's wrist, and Pock again pulled free. At that moment, the tavern door exploded, sending wooden shrapnel in all directions. The tavern erupted into panic.

“No time to argue, let's go!” The dane snatched up the kobold's backpack and ran out through the back.

Pock picked up his book, the torn page, and the letter and followed after his belongings. He paused briefly, looking toward the entrance, but was too short to see anything over the panicked crowd. He then left with a huff and was met by the large dog just outside in the back alley.

“Get moving!” The large dog threw the backpack at Pock and picked up what looked like a pair of miniature scythes from his belt, one in each hand. He shoved the kobold forward and they started to run. The screams coming from the tavern made Pock's stomach turn over itself. With the dane driving him forward, he was able to force the thought from his mind and keep moving.

They stuck to the alleyways. Pock struggled to stay ahead of the dane's much longer stride, and after several minutes Pock's lungs were burning too much for him to continue any farther. He came to a stop and bent over, coughing and panting.

The dane put away his weapons. “No time for that right now.” Before Pock could react, the dane scooped him up, flung him over his shoulder, and continued running. Pock squealed in protest, but the well muscled dane was too strong for him, and he was unable to break free.

Being familiar with the back alleys himself, Pock knew where they were headed: the elven district on the south side of the city. The sun had abandoned its position in the sky and was close to setting before the dane finally slowed down and let his package slide to the ground.

Pock landed on his feet and then dusted himself off. After straightening out his loin cloth that had slipped to the side, Pock finally looked up at his supposed rescuer. “So?”

The dane lit a cigar and puffed, sending small pillows of smoke into the air. “So what?”

Waving his arms about, Pock glared at the large canid. “What happen? Who you? Whati is paper? Why you want me? What other 'SO' could mean?”

“Just doing my job.” The dane took a long pull on his cigar. “Simply put,” he said, smoke flowing from his mouth and nose as he spoke, “I'm a merc that was paid to bring you to someone. Didn't give his name, just a place. You don't need my name, cause once I've delivered you, we're done.” He didn't answer about the letter.

“Where that?” Pock's voice returned to it's normal high pitched, scratchy tone.

“Temple of Lunaria. At midnight.”

“Temple of moon doggy? Why moon doggy?”

“First off, the moon goddess is a wolf, not a 'doggy'. And a feral one at that. Don't insult me by putting me in the same category. And second,” the dane leaned against the side of a building, playing with his cigar, “I don't know why and I don't care. Was paid enough for it, so that's what I'm doing.”

Pock sighed and shook his head. Setting the torn page back into his book, he then placed it into his backpack. “So who they? Peoples who blows up door?”

The dane shrugged. “Not sure. Didn't stick around long enough to find out. My guess would be that it's related to why whoever hired me wanted me to get you.”

Tightening the straps on the one thigh guard and shoulder pad he wore, Pock straightened up and slung his pack onto his shoulders.

“And where do you think you're going?” the dane asked, not looking at him.

“Pock goes to finds out what happened at tavern.”

The dane stepped in front of him. “Not a chance. It took me all week to find you. I'm not letting you go now.”

Pock nodded. “Then you comes with.” The canine grabbed hold of his shoulder. Pock froze, looking up at the dane with just his eyes, his nose giving a subtle curl. The dog's breath caught in his throat and he let go. Pock walked around the dane. “Come, doggy.”

He'd never been so shaken by anything in his life, especially by not a simple look. Something wasn't right, and the dane briefly considered abandoning the job. He hesitated, but he eventually ran up and fell into step behind the kobold.

*1) Draconic for “yes, yes.”

*2) Hallia – The fifth month in the year, named for the Bald Eagle to represent wisdom.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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First in pool
A Kobold's Fortune: Prologue
As I mentioned with the prologue, the style was going to change from that point, and here it is! :P I haven't written anything in past tense like this before, and I gotta say it was a challenge. I'm so used to writing in present tense from the Pokemon MD: Worlds story, plus doing online RP's, that making this switch wasn't easy. But it's great practice. :) Hopefully I caught all of the instances that were in the wrong format.

Anyway, enjoy! :)

As always, comments and constructive criticism are very much welcome!

Story, characters, and world belong to me.

Keywords
human 45,095, husky 21,076, kobold 1,772, elf 1,668, great dane 499
Details
Type: Writing - Document
Published: 2 years, 9 months ago
Rating: General

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