Kalimnell: The Life, Times and Death of Jeffrey Orton
Kretchic the Fleet Footed
Kretchic the Fleet Footed is the oldest living Kobold in Kalimnell. He has lived to the ripe old age of 1037 due to his quick wit and quicker feet. He is widely regarded among other kobold bands for his profound use of heart-stopping tactics in the midst of many pitched battles. The strategies he implements always play to his groups strengths. That is, fleeing the site of the battle, and using his kobolds as a meat shield for his escape.
Lore of Kretchic the Fleet-Footed
(Greatest Kobold Ever)
In Kalimnell there is an old saying passed along adventures that asks “If a kobold dies in the woods and no one is there to see it, does it really happen?” In Kalimnell magick runs through the veins of kobolds as sure as life blood runs through our own, although thankfully few are able to actually utilize this. It is a long held belief that a kobold can only truly die at the sharp end of a sword or under a torrent of destructive spells. If it were not for their love of war (or loot at the very least) some believe we would have been swallowed under an ocean of the little reptiles long ago. However, due to their nature few kobolds make it past a mere 50 seasons worth of battle before falling under the arrows or spears of their foes, their intended victims, or some random passer-by that feels like venting a little frustration. Some adventurers tell tales of kobolds who are hardy, lucky, or cunning enough to survive past 250 years, and these elders often become great warlords among the tribes. Thankfully for us, kobolds are not well known for their cooperation even amongst themselves, so these war bands rarely number beyond 150 poorly organized and untrained “soldiers.” As such, even the mightiest of kobold armies is easily defended against by local militias backed with strong walls.
However, stories do tell the tale of one kobold so ancient, so wise, and so charismatic (for a kobold) that he was able to raise and lead an army of no less than 1000 kobolds, and subsequently march them on surrounding farmlands. This army – no, perhaps that is the wrong word. This gaggle of kobolds swarmed over the land like a pestilential torrent of loud, smelly locusts. They looted, ate, or overturned everything that wasn’t nailed down and smashed everything that was as they charged rather disorderly out of the mountains. And commanding them from the back lines with the air of a grizzled veteran was the oldest and ugliest kobold anyone had experienced the displeasure of laying eyes on.
Their leader was taller than the average kobold by at least two heads, and his eyes were the same putrid yellow of the pus and offal that ran down his knobbly, pimpled skin. He carried a spear of medium length that bore his battle standard and actually seemed quite large in the hands of such a gangly and unimposing creature. This sickly specimen was dressed plainly in an oversized gray tunic, and the claws on his hands were painted black. The only color he bore were the bright red of his massive hobnail boots. Even though they were far too big for him he seemed to move with the grace of an elven blade dancer, and had the swiftness of a buttered streak-bat. This odd contrast in appearance and ability brings to mind the possibility of magickal tinkering, but such concepts are nothing more than conjecture and rumor at this point. Proudly wearing his bizarre ensemble he marched behind his army, holding a presence over them that kept them in remarkable order for kobolds; which is to say, they somewhat kept moving in the same general direction. For the most part. Down they came into the grasslands rolling over smaller farmsteads and settlements as one great wave, marching haphazardly toward the town of Primoke.
Primoke was little more than a small logging community consisting of some 100 people, most of whom were lumberjacks or hunters and trappers. The wood cut in the area was of fine quality and was sent all throughout Kalimnell for use in all walks of life. Though the people of Primoke were peaceful and slow to rouse they began preparations for battle as soon as they knew of the great kobold host stumbling over to knock on their doors. Fortunately for them, one-thousand kobolds sweeping through the country side are quite easy to spot and even easier to hear. The town had a full three weeks warning and prepared accordingly.
Runners were sent to all the surrounding towns and cities requesting their aid in the matter. Although many were skeptical of the very concept of a kobold army, soon Primoke was garrisoned with enough soldiers and able-bodied men to make even the duke’s own army proud. Palisades were strengthened, bows whittled, and arrows fletched. Swords were sharpened, spears crafted and armor was fitted. The Primoke home guard took up their halberds, the huntsmen grabbed their bows, and the lumberjacks took up their axes. By the time the kobold swarm was a mere four days away the defenses were set and battle plans laid, and the nerves of those guarding Primoke were shaking at the thought of what might have caused the kobolds to stray so far from their normal behavior. Although they weren’t terribly shaken, since they were still just kobolds.
On the final day of waiting the kobold horde approached the sturdy palisades of Primoke as the sun set in for it’s nightly rest. On the appropriate signal the archers fired, and the twanging of the bowstrings sounded out a death knell for hundreds of the attackers. When the arrows were expended the militia charged through the gates to finish the weakened enemy forces. The battle lasted no more than an hour and a half and was henceforth referred to as the Primokian Koboldocalypse. Even before all the light was gone from the evening sky the great kobold general was cornered by twenty of the town’s defenders, chief amongst them was the town’s deputy. As the deputy charged in on the surrounded reptile to strike the killing blow there was a blinding flash of red light and the great kobold had disappeared. However, when they turned toward the mountains they saw him fleeing at speeds unheard of over the fields and back towards whatever mountainside rock he crawled out from under.
That night there was a great celebration in Primoke as the people lauded their victory over the largest amount of kobolds anyone had ever seen in one place at one time. When morning came the citizenry of the town went to clear the battle site of the repulsive little creature’s corpses; much to their chagrin, they realized that well near half of the kobold bodies were missing! After searching through the town it was discovered that great stores of food, drink, and other such goods had gone missing all over town, and kobold tracks were everywhere.
You see, the kobolds had not been after human lives. They merely wanted food, drink, wood and steel for their own stores, and being lazy creatures by nature they couldn’t be bothered to gather it themselves. During the battle many in the force had fallen to the ground and played possum knowing full well that it was the only way to get what they came for. The people of Primoke were dumbfounded at this maneuver, and naturally could not believe that they had been hoodwinked by a rabble of kobolds. Despite what you may say of the average kobold intelligence, their odd leader had displayed the wisdom and intellect to turn what appeared on the surface to be a total defeat into a great success.
Of course, when the people of Primoke got over their surprise they quickly rallied to track down these thieving vermin. But rather than the clear and easily followed tracks that kobolds normally lay, they found the way confused with the feet of so many kobolds going so many directions that even their best trackers couldn’t handle the task. For you see the tracks went in all different directions, occasionally doubled back, and sometimes even went in circles. There were so many false trails and so many trails period that the people of Primoke soon gave up. And so this story is told and retold in taverns and other places where adventurers frequent, due to the important lesson it teaches us. The next time you are walking in the woods and come across a kobold’s body, make sure he’s actually dead. If you don’t, once you turn your back back you may find your purse stolen, your pants gone, and your dignity lost.
Domains: Chaos, Glory, Luck, Madness, Trickery