Paths, pt 3

Saturday, May 24, 2008 - 8:59 PM

Three of the golem-men marched past Kivv. They did not see him, squeezed in an old ore fissure, and when they were ten paces away, he slipped down the passage in the opposite direction.

Something serious had happened. Kivv and the others had heard the conflict echo through the old mine tunnels, but it had stopped abruptly. Now, the golem-men were all on alert, patrolling with scimitars drawn, and the strange humans with the arrogant eyes and vicious features also moved in groups. Before, many of them seemed idle.

Kivv had been sent to discover more, and he'd seen the bodies being carried back through the tunnels. Someone else had come against the Dollmaker, and they were accounting well for themselves.

Confusion to my enemies, Kivv thought, and again regretted Tinka's order forbidding him to kill on his outing. Kivv hated wasted opportunities, but an order was an order.

He froze, stone-still except for one long ear which cocked itself to track approaching footsteps. His wrapped feet merely whispered as he moved to crouch behind a support beam, and shortly two of the strange humans strode by. To the kobold view, they were sword-faced, with long features and narrow, wicked eyes. Their heads were wrapped in long silk scarves and they wore long draping coats, but Kivv knew they'd both have light armor underneath. Like some of the other servants of the Dollmaker, these seemed to be very pleased at the idea of combat.
Decadents, Kivv thought, watching them go. But no less dangerous for that... just more worthy of contempt.

Like most kobolds, Kivv's personal philosophy revolved around the linchpin of Advantage. But as a slanik, he lived a fairly ascetic lifestyle, and had a vague disdain for those who loved comforts. He felt that indulgence was a trap, something that softened you against hardship.

Gliding through the tunnels, he clambered quietly into an air shaft, wormed his way upward with typical kobold rapidity, and then rolled into the old crevice he'd found earlier. Some movement of the earth years ago had split the stone between the air shaft and an upper mining tunnel, and from there, he quickly made his way to the hidden camp where his compatriots were resting.
Enek the shaman was keeping watch. Kivv took a moment to spot Enek's soot-covered form, inwardly grinning at the shaman's aptitude, and then moved past him into the grotto where Tinka and her son Tanaruk were.

Tinka turned her shrewd and regal eyes to him. “What did you discover?”

“It is true. Someone else is attacking the Dollmaker, and has destroyed many of the guardians in the lower passageways. They're all on alert now, and are searching for the enemy. They think what we've done is the other group's work. There are still many of the chanters and monastics left, and I cannot get further in to the Observatory without being noticed.”

He recited the locations and numbers of the guard stations he'd seen, and Tinka questioned him briefly. She then turned to Tanaruk, who had been sitting somberly with hands folded.

“My son?”

“...The advantage is ours. Have Enek prepare a distraction below-tunnels. They will be on alert for this. But their resources are tightening. The Dollmaker will not directly intervene, she is too dedicated to her work. Divine when the others may assault again, and trigger the distraction about the same time. When this occurs, we stab for the Observatory.”

Tinka sampled this plan, narrowing her eyes in thought, and then slowly nodded. “That is what we will do. Kivv, bring Enek here and stand guard for him.”


Kivv slipped back down the passageway, grinning, for he knew their time had come at last.

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