As Ghrizig, the king of the Fernlash tribe of kobolds, made the climb down the cliff side to a small hidden crevice that led to his sanctuary. It was a tiny cave, barely big enough for just him and a few coveted items. He was early, so he took the time to document the experience with the newcomers. When the time was right, the setting sun’s glow would reflect off the ocean in just the right spot to fill the cave with a dull nimbus of light. He completed his thoughts, sighed and placed the notebook in it’s hidden hole. As the king sat down in the center of the room and began to go into a rhythmic chant. The chant echoed in the chamber, but did not extend out of the opening, King Ghrizig liked his privacy after all.
On the other side of the island, King Vreggaas of the Fernspine tribe and Ghrizig’s brother, heard the chanting in his mind. The two brothers seemed to share a magical connection that allowed them to communicate in this way. Perhaps it was due to some greater being or perhaps due to being twins, the reason why has been unknown their entire lives. However, the pair have utilized this ability since they first discovered it. With a sigh, he left his chair overlooking the gladiator match and proceeded to his personal chambers. Unlike his brother’s cramped and humble sanctuary, Vreggaas enjoyed the lushness and extravagance that came with being king. His tribe was much larger and controlled more of the island, so he naturally considered himself worthy. Vreggaas lit some incense and sat on the rune-carved, wooden floor to answer his brother’s call.
The two kobold kings appeared opposite each other in an empty black space. There were no features, no ground, no sky and no walls in this place. Just an inky black empty space.
“Brother, it is I … Ghrizig” the king said in his most commanding voice.
Vreggaas’s eyes visibly rolled at this.
“uh, yeah, I guess thats pretty obvious. How have you been brother?”
Again his eyes rolled. “Lets skip the petty niceties, what do you want Ghrizig?” Vreggaas retorted.
Ghrizig let out a visible and audible sigh. “Yes, yes. You have always been one to get to the point. Trog’than’s overlord has been slain.” He raised an eyebrow and gauged his brother’s reaction to the news. Just as he thought, his brother’s normally haughty disposition slumped as a wave of dread washed over him.
Vreggaas stumbled over his words at the thought. The overlord was put in place by the dragon, Trog’than, to watch over the two tribes with complete authority. Although rumor had it that there were some stipulations that the dragon placed on him, however, the creature was easily angered and his punishments were harsh. Those that angered the Overlord were scattered about the island, either crucified or piked, to exude fear and obedience on the tribes. Revolution was never thought of, let alone discussed aloud, for fear of the wrath of Trog’than. With the Overlord dead, then the dragon’s wrath is all but certain … and soon.
“Which of your idiot subjects decided to do something stupid like that?” he asked.
“It wasn’t any of either tribe. It was the newcomers of the island that slew him. From the accounts of the fight, they were quite capable.” Ghrizig simply stated.
“And do these newcomers know of Trog’than or what will happen now that he is dead?” His brother asked.
Ghrizig shook his head. “No, they did not at the time. They do know now and intend to free us of his terror. The four of them are currently planning on slaying the dragon,” he said in hushed tones. Even though the brothers know that they are alone in this place, the fear of Trog’than had them wary about the dragon’s abilities.
“Do you think that they can?” he asked questionably.
Ghrizig shook his head and paused. “I honestly don’t know. They seemed to take the knowledge of the dragon as common knowledge, like it was a regularity for them.”
The two stood there silently for a moment or two. Suddenly, Vreggaas perked up. “Well brother, I will inform Trog’than of what had happened and that the Fernspine were not responsible and that we had no knowledge of you and your tribe’s actions. May he have mercy on yo …”
“Wait!” Ghrizig interrupted. “What if they can free us all from the dragon’s tyranny?”
“They CANT you damned old fool. Gods CANNOT be slain and we can only prepare for his wrath.” Vreggaas shouted. He turned to leave when his brother’s next words stopped him in his tracks.
“Evok Raash-Uunuh” he said with an almost sorrowful tone.
Vrreggaas spun on his heels to confront his brother. “HOW DARE YOU!” he screamed and moments later an evil grin appears. Evok Raash-Uunuh is an ancient rite among the tribes of the islands. It is not something that is spoken in vain and only in whispers. For invoking this rite is to challenge the authority of the tribes. It has only been spoken a handful of times in known history, its effects have drastically changed the island’s kobold tribes. Kobolds had once lived on all on the islands, including the main one, but over time, they have had their numbers reduced and their lands taken until all they had was this small island. This had been the result of Evok Raash-Uunuh being used. It involved two individuals of power that were on opposite ends of an argument. Once invoked, it cannot be retracted. When the terms were set, the two would fight to the death with no outside interference. The victor’s terms would be then satisfied. “Alright brother, state your terms.”
Ghrizig’s posture changed as the other kobold turned to face him. He stood tall … he stood strong … he stood like a king. “Give the newcomers three suns of free passage through the territories and the opportunity to kill Trog’than. Regardless of success or failure, we will unite both the tribes under one king.”
Vreggaas met his brother’s posture and took some time to think on the terms presented to him. “Your newcomers shall have three suns and the Fernspine will not kill them for trespassing, nor will we immediately answer any summons to the defense of the dragon … we’ll say it was a delay in the message. On the fifth sun, we will unite the tribes on the Wall of Plymiktall.”
The two brothers silently in agreement, knowing the implications of what they have agreed to. One brother will kill the other and the winner will unite the tribes. They dropped out of the black empty space and back into their respective chambers. Vrreggaas let out a hearty laugh before standing and exiting his ornate chambers. He shouted out orders to his leaders to spread the word that the newcomers were not to be attacked. This was the agreement, but a show of force would not be breaking it. After barking out the orders, he returned to the gladiatorial match. He was gone for only moments and was able to watch the final strokes of the match. The pair of kobold gladiators had been facing off against numerous dinosaurs as they portrayed the story of a historic battle in the tribe’s past. Unfortunately, the story being portrayed did not end the same way as history. One of the large dinosaurs bit one of the gladiators in half when it was distracted by a smaller one. The other gladiator was distracted now by the brutal death of his partner. The kobold froze in place as they faced the same fate as his partner. Although not historically accurate, it was still most entertaining.
Ghrizig opened his eyes to see the cramped quarters of the cavern, the faint smell of his brother’s incense still hung in the air. He sat there in a meditative state for some time longer. The thoughts of what he had just agreed to flowed through his mind. He was placing the fate of his people in the hands of these newcomers. On one hand, if the newcomers manage to kill Trog’than and end his reign of terror and captivity, then his people could push to live in peace. On the other hand, if they fail to kill the dragon, his wrath will be immediate and cataclysmic. His wrath will not only be against his tribe, but his brothers as well. Thousands of kobolds will be killed and their way of life could be forfeited. His thoughts drifted to the fifth sun. He had never been able to best his younger brother in competition for anything. His magic was stronger, his martial prowess and skill with weapons is far higher than his own. However, his brother was rash, vain and prone to mistakes and vulnerabilities. He was sorrowful of what was to come, but was also hopeful that these newcomers were going to be their saviors. There was one thing he could help with. Legend has it that in a nearby ruin is an amulet that could greatly increase their chances of success. He recalled the legend and brought forth the tome from inside the wall of the cavern. As he read through the legend, his thoughts could not escape the endgame that will happen. He will have to kill his own brother or be killed by him. A tear ran down his cheek as he prepared for the night.