From the Journal of Gazl:
When I agreed to travel with these three adventurers I would have never guessed the first place I would find myself was in the lair of Mites, unsavory creatures which hate my kind above all others. They are among the few peoples I can find little to admire in. It seems they have been in conflict with the local Kobolds, as our new friend Mikmek has informed us. Though Mikmek speaks only the Draconic tongue Daeron was able to translate his words. He was most grateful for our timely rescue, and informed us that the strange but most interesting statuette of a winged and most insidious looking lizard is an idol of his people. He asked for us to help him return the object to his leader, Sootscale, and promised a reward of many “shinies”. I’m not certain how to spell the pluralization of that word. Fascinating.
The way out from the underground root system was nearby, and Mikmek’s people were not far. Sootscale emerged from a conspicuous crack in a rock face, which we identified as a long abandoned silver mine. At first I was excited by his many adornments, which indicated to me that he was a fellow lover of crafts. Specifically I admired his necklace of eyeballs. Later I would learn that I was mistaken, but he did indeed reward us handsomely as promised by Mikmek. Among the many treasures given to us was a journal written by a most unfortunate Gnome who found himself in a most strange situation. When his accidental death was interpreted as heroism he was resurrected by those whom he’d saved, only to find himself in the body of a Kobold. In his anger he took charge of this tribe of Kobolds and lead them to commit many acts of violence against Gnomes and others. Now his body hangs ominously over the very place we stood speaking to Sootscale. He says the smooth skin dragon, who my friends tell me is actually someone they know, somehow convinced them to turn on him and destroy this sharp toothed idol – which Sootscale then proceeded to do, casting it against the rocks and shattering it. The smooth skin dragon also instructed them to mine gold from a vein nearby, for some reason. Much of this part confused me, but Sir Thorne discussed with them the ins and outs of a basic mining operation and they agreed to give us fifty percent.
A brief discussion also ensued about whether or not the Kobolds should be allowed to pillage from passersby, and ultimately they agreed to try only to accost the bandits of the area, which they too revile. They agreed to accept a sort of ambassador, another one whom the others apparently know, and in trade we would keep Mikmek. The whole deal was sealed by Sir Thorne and Sootscale drinking a rather horrible looking red liquid bubbling over a cauldron nearby. I feared for Sir Thorne, but he handled the ordeal admirably, and was even able to feign enjoyment. The Kobolds were impressed. During the ensuing celebrations I played for them my kazoo and presented Sootscale with Gary, one of my recent creations, but it seems Kobolds have little appreciation for the arts. I believe they thought Gary was some sort of earthen monster. But then, perhaps he is.
Back at Oleg’s Trading Post we spoke with a former bandit about locating one of his old cohorts, whom my new allies had great interest in. With some carefully chosen words I was able to convince him to tell us where we might find this man, but we were dismayed to learn he was likely in the company of the terrible Stag Lord, a king among bandits. His fear of the Stag Lord was great, this was quite clear, and it seemed the Stag Lord had convinced his bandits throughout the region that he had the power to perceive treachery and kill from afar. A most fantastic boast, if you ask me, but bandits are not often a bright folk. We purchased rations and wine, a gift for some creature they had met before, and made our way south with Rufus leading the way.
The creature that the wine was meant for turned out to be the Fae Perlivash, and it was a most pleasant surprise for me. The Gnomes are descendants of Fae who, for reasons forgotten, fled to this plane long ago. I have met few of them, but my interest in them is great. He drank heartily of the gifted wine, and I played for him a most splendid tune on my kazoo, which he appeared to enjoy.
We also came upon a shrine of Erastil, which we paid our respects to, and rescued a rare thylacine from a carefully crafted trap (in part thanks to my ability to speak with beasts, a gift of my people). Our explorations have already exceeded my expectations! Though I believe my friends have become frustrated that we have not located the Stag Lord’s hideout. In due time, brothers! There is so much to see along the way!