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3 yrs ago
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Vaal's Turn | Init 17

Vaal heard the signs of panic, as he crept ever so closer towards the main street. He shifted towards the wall first, and then moved forward behind a barrel. He hunkered down. Then leaned to peer out with one amber eye. He carefully ran over his options. And... honestly did not like any of them. He began to contemplate if there was perhaps a better way into the damned keep. But most likely, if there was that would probably be in a similar circumstance. His eyes flitted over the wall, and felt elated. He spied a window. He was quite pleased. Hlal rarely ever smiled for him like so. But a quick peak immediately simmered a long burried bitterness over life. He was not certain if it was locked... but he was certain that he had nothing to pry the heavy frame open.

Hlal was laughing at him. 'Rrrrngh, Hlal shit in my eyes...' the little kobold mentally growled to himself. He could wait. He could simply do nothing and watch how everything carries out for other's with better options to work with. But, and against all sensible reason in the methodical kobold, he decided to try and make lemonaid.

The kobold took a quick moment to undo his Tabbard and flip it inside out to show the plain interior, and tie it off at his hips like a skirt. While dying a little inside, he went a bit further to dirty it with what he dared not to think of that he could find near him. Finally he peared out once more. He pointed to the kobold, muttering the syllabic rhyme of the spell. Then made a quick gesture that looked as if he was sweeping something along his hand. The effect was a quick and heavy dart of wind that whistled near the opposing kobold's head and down the alleyway. He hunkered back down and waited.

Vaal stood straight and watched the kobold flee when the battle was overwith. He took the time to take in his features, then allowed his gaze to dip down to the fallen humans. His eyes flicked overthem, searching for details. And then finally he moved on without much of a thought. There was too little time to search them properly. But he did try to remember their dress. Every little detail comes in handy. Know your enemy after all.

He did see Caw in what appeared to be a moral dilema. Thinking on it, the kobold found it increasingly odd that something so young could kill in one moment, and then care in the next. Even more so about how a creature... without lips, and or a tail could display easily read emotions. Vaal decided it might be best to repay one favor with another later. The little ebony bird creature had tried to console him, he shall do the same when there is time.

And speaking of time. He made note of the group ahead. And the most clear plan. To try and sneak around everything. This... was going to be a rough one. But his eyes flickered about for a much safer passage. He was a kobold himself, and knew the extents of their own vision. And figured it'd be best to sneak around the edge or far outside.

"Stay low... stay out of the light... follow me..." The kobold drawled in his quietest of whispers. With that, he krept through giving the kobolds a wide birdth and keeping to the shadows.
Captain General Vaalteralde - Gu-Wei Capital City Gates

The mid-day sun had crested high into the air, and only just began to slowly give way into the evening and casting a warm orange hued light onto the world. Birds fluttered energetically from tree to tree in search of food, or crossed large distances in the blue sky in search of a mate. Their songs creating a peaceful din that could ease a man’s spirit. A cool breeze brought the grass to rustle a soft whooshing chorus. The very air alight with the aromas and splendors of spring. The subtle scents of oak and ash. The fertile aroma of the soil. Subtle hints of pine. And the perfume of wild flowers and pollen. To many, this would be a truly serene landscape, and worthy for elves.

To a Kobold known as Captain-General Vaalteralde, this was his own personal hell. It was as if the very gods of creation had decided to create something that was so loaded with pure irony, that it managed to form a paradoxical juxtaposition between what one perceived, and what one felt. If there was supposed to be any hint of peace about this, some beauty of tranquility, something that was good for the ‘spirit’ as he had often heard… he could not find it.

Being so far away from his closest friend, and second in command lulled the Captain-General into a foul humor for the duration of the journey. It was a bond so rare, that lightning could strike the same person twice in a single night… and again the next week before a Kobold could hold a relationship of any sort for longer than a second. An event that causes a complete change in the Kobold’s typical psyque. But the end result is separation could have an equally detrimental effect. In Vaal’s case, it made him into a creature more irate than a sea sick crocodile. His entourage knew well to step lightly around him after the first day. But that did not help.

For the past week and a half, the Kobold captain had led a procession of thirty draconians soldiers, and twelve kobold skirmishers through the wetlands of Gu-Wei to ascertain an audience with the imperial family of the Empire. Many of the soldiers he had with him were veterans, and at least half of them had earned the right of their midnight blue tabards. The markers of soldiers hand picked for their show of experience, valor, and deadly skill.The Claws of Tiamat, they were called and for good reason.

And yet… this entire journey had proven that no title, no acts of valor, no amount of honor, no years of service and experience could take the fundamental behavior of being a soldier out of a Draconian. And consequently, toss the commanding officer into a pit of rusty slag. The bitching, and moaning. Every, breath, every step, every second, every hour, on the hour, every day, by the day. The insistent bitching and moaning soldiers make, knowing full well it would not actually do any good… but to vent. Only like smoking in a tavern, those vented fumes were likely to bite at someone.

Despite being no strangers to other lands, they still complained. They complained about the chill air, saying that it was an affront to all that is right in the world. Compared to the warm, dry breeze of the desert landscape, the air of Gu-Wei seemed to be perfectly saturated to constantly soak your clothing so thoroughly that you would always be soaked without ever touching a body of water. During breaks between marching, they threw tantrums when they talked about the grass stuck in the claws of their feet. Hissing and fussing over how itchy and scratchy it was while they picked it out. And the accursed plant was everywhere, so there was no end to that one.

But what was the most infuriating element of the wetlands? What was the element that could turn a band of the most seasoned and battle hardened sons of bitches Vaalteralde has ever seen into hysterical hatchlings? The muck. The god forsaken mud. It did not help that the group chosen to move through the back roads and country to avoid causing a panic with the Citizens whom had never seen anything else than human and elves in their lives. Thus there was no end to the substance, and no end to the howling complaints of the band.

And Vaal could sympathize. The diminutive kobold stood no more than two feet, and six inches in height. The depths that would send the draconians down to their knees, would have them dig their unfortunate commander out of the muck. And each time, the captain would rattle out a cantankerous flurry of curses.

But long last… they came to the end of their hellish journey. They had parked at source of fresh water not more than an hour’s walk away from the Capital City. The band had used this time to clean themselves up. They had broken out the detergents they had brought along for the journey and set to work at cleaning themselves, their gear and their uniform. The elated murmurings was enough to skim the foam off the simmering cauldron that represented his irritation.

Once finished, the traveled worn and unwashed muddied bodies of Draconians and Kobolds had been restored back to the awe inspiring soldiers that they were. Scales of sky blue, Vermarilian Red, Emerald Green, and so forth all reached a luster to glint like the stars in the sky. Sapphire and Midnight Blue tabbards clean, pressed, and proudly on display. Banners out and flowing with the wind. They were ready to seek their audience to announce the mobilization of their army.

To which, they politely informed a city guard to request an audience with the Imperial family.
Vaal was unsure of what had actually lead him to stay with the group. He certainly felt very little for human children. But perhaps he sympathized with the idea that these two would soon lose it all if nothing happened? Well... it wouldn't matter anyways, a band of ruffians would do little against a much larger band of ruffians. Still... he found his own feelings mixed. The kobold's vision is not impared at night, and in fact it's at the greatest. However, the random pools of light played hell with his eyes and he'd occasionally stumble over the random bit of rubble and uneven paving stone.

Eventually, they came to a group of foes. The Kobold held little insight on how to get by, and he had little care if they snuck away or attacked. And it seemed that decision was made for him. He began the preparations for a spell of frost. His target had began the process of evasive action after taking the arrow. But the wound seemed to slow him down, and allowed the Kobold to easily compensate and land his attack true. The ray of frost streaked through the air, and sent the foe toppling into an endless slumber of death.

After witnessing the effect of his own attack. The kobold retreated back a few paces to find cover.

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I'll be posting tomorrow.
A current work in progress.

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