The warm desert air was thick with the smell of sun baked blood and the peculiar scent of the ‘line. The blood flies’ drone was a dull that filled the area. A few of Krick’s riders were dismounting behind him. He turned his massive head and looked. The lead gob, Verg, slapped his hands on his riding leathers, sending up a cloud of dust.

“Reports say that they made it out of the canyon. They’re probably almost to Mercy by now.”

The hulking figure turned away from the goblin. “Search for any survivors. Signs of wounded. Anything.”

Krick let out a high pitched whistle, and his riders fanned out. A few of the kobolds slithered out of the nooks and crannies of the rock. The lead one approached slowly. The others hung back, their draconic snouts turned downwards.

“Master, they was a great challenge…they fought off all of the others. Killed many of ’em. Many of them my kin…”

Towering over the frightened kobold, the figure moved forward, his shadow falling like death over the cowering kobold. “If they were such a great challenge, why do you stand before me? And where is Yezzik?”

The kobold raised a trembling arm, pointing into the shadow of the canyon.

The figure reached down and snatched the kobold up, iron grip locking the squirming creature into place. He started to walk towards the canyon. The kobold whimpered softly and slumped in his grasp, resigned to his fate. As he drew closer to the shadow line created by the canyon walls, he could see a large shadow lying in the dust. His hands balled into fists as he recognized Yezzik’s still form. His eyes fell upon the iron banded club lying before the broken body.

“How did this happen?” the deep voice rumbled dangerously.

“They issued a challenge. A one on one f-fight. It was..”

“Which one?”

“ The half orc. The…the blind one.” The kobold shrunk down as small as he could, hoping he would be released and could scamper away.

White hot anger filled him, and he roared towards the heavens. He pounded his fists mightily upon his chest at the sight of his dead brother, the broken face a mirror of his own. His ragged breathing started to slow, and he felt moisture running down his face. Confused, he looked to the sky, expecting rain. He looked at his chest and the mangled remains of the kobold spattering his armor and the ground around him. Krick and is riders stood, open mouthed. Whatever kobolds there were left had already fled.

“Get your riders up into the mountains. Vaden will want them stopped. The Bottle must be with them.”

“You got it, Kiz. Anything else?”

The half ogre narrowed his eyes. He turned back to the broken body. The amount of damage was extensive…and impressive. The half orc was strong and skilled. The blood and bit of hair that clung to the iron bands was black, almost bristly. He gingerly picked at it. Kiz grabbed his brother’s club and propped it on his shoulder.

“Call in your sharpshooters. Break out your irons. At this point, Vaden won’t care about maintaining the ruse. We’ve lost too many.”

The goblin nodded and whistled again. The other goblins moved back to the goats.

“We’ll see you and the boss at the hideout. My boys will find them before they get to Mercy.” An unspoken gesture, and the goats turned and galloped away.

Kizolg Stonetail was lost in his thoughts, his mind opened to the warm tickle in the back of his brain. The tingling sensation pulled him almost imperceptibly west.

Towards Mercy.


Spectrum mexichu