October 27 2016

The Story of Kobold Skrek’Kex – chapter 3 – by Kobold Skrek’kex – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with the next exciting instalment in
The story of Kobold Skrek’Kex
Written by Kobold Skrek’Kex
Background music by Smartsound

Chapter 3
Skrek’Kex nervously paced the living room in his dwelling. Heading out to search for a dragon! And all because he had wanted to eat a tiiiny slice of pumpkin pie – it was really unfair. His stomach rumbled in agreement. Well, a kobold must do what a kobold must do. And although kobold expeditions had the tendency to end deadly and in general were rather uncomfortable affairs, there were positive aspects about them, too. First and foremost, redeeming himself in the eyes of the fearless leader. It also held a certain allure to the cunning kobold, to go where not many kobolds had ventured before. There were so many secrets to learn, tricks to be played, things to be borrowed… If he played this just right, he’d be greatly rewarded and forever held in veneration. Skrek’Kex vivid imagination showed him himself, riding on a huge spider-beast, followed by a trail of obedient human slaves carrying chests of loot, back into the Caverns of Skrekk. He saw himself riding along the narrow cavern corridors, lined with kobolds all aah-ing and ooh-ing in deep respect for the dauntless explorer. He held a huge iridescent dragon scale, craftily made into a kobold-sized shield for the Grakkhaz, which had been gifted to him by the dragon as a sign of their alliance. The dragon he had been able to persuade into alliance with the kobolds in exchange for the incessant devotions of his worshippers, the dragon whose voice he would operate from now on.

A loud knock startled Skrek’Kex from his day dreams. “Yeeesssh?” he asked. Without further ado Zap’Hex entered. Skrek’Kex bowed deeply before the old magician, partly out of reverence for the wise kobold and partly ingrained after years of attending his teachings – and beatings. And promptly the older kobold hit Skrek’Kex on his head with his pine staff. Stunned Skrek’Kex fell onto his bottom “Yoouch…” rubbing his head with one hand and holding the other up protectively he cautiously looked up at the elderly kobold. Zap’Hex narrowed his eyes and hissed “You fool! What in Kurtulmak’s name possesses you to these follies? I know you are not stupid, but sometimes..!” Shaking his head and sighing the elderly kobold sat down onto a kobold bench. “I was of a mind to just let the Grakkhaz know what it was *really* you brought him there.” The old mage harrumphed and hmphed some more, shaking his head. “Kex… I hope one day you will learn the wisdom of looking ahead before acting.” Skrek’Kex, silently, thought to himself that this was an unfair assessment. He had looked ahead – there had been pie to be had. In his opinion Zap’Hex truly and foolishly undervalued a good meal.

“Anyways” Zap’Hex continued after the silence had lasted for a while “I have not come to lecture you again on this, but I have come to make sure you leave prepared. Do not underestimate the task ahead of you. Even though the Grakkhaz is going to send a sizable exploration party, dragons are moody and erratic even at their best. And there will be more than just dragons. Here in Norgard we know the neighboring hooman tribes, we know their follies and their weaknesses, we know where they camp and where they hunt. But the mainland hooman tribes are different and mostly unknown to us. It has been in my grandfathers-grandfathers days we last sent an exploration party this far. To be honest, it might be too ambitious a task to survive, but the esteem our tribe could garner if we only had a dragon to worship… With the hoomans hunting them the dragons have become careful and most Elder Dragons have removed themselves to more remote places neither us nor the hoomans can easily reach. The foolish younger ones which still hunt close to the hooman lands mostly don’t grow old and are not worth worshipping. This Elder Dragon, if the tales are true, is of exceptional wisdom and might. If we can ally us to him…”

Tapping the end of his wand to the floor the elder kobold again shook his head. “Well, it is no use to talk of things that could be. As I said, unknown perils and dangers wait where you are going, and even though you will not go alone, I advise you to enlist more help. Do you remember the summoning lessons?” Skrek’Kex nodded eagerly. He had often summoned a lesser imp to employ as a distraction for the cook at school. Useful little devils, but also quite a bit unreliable and gluttonous, which had lastly lead to some painful quarrels over the spoils of their deeds and to Skrek’Kex deciding it wasn’t worth it.

“I have brought you a book.” Carefully the old mage unwrapped a large, worn volume from the shielding envelope he had carried it in. ‘Liber Magni de Incantationibus’ was written in large, dark red letters onto the cover. The binding felt smooth and cold to Skrek’Kex touch as he gingerly took the volume. Carefully he used his index claw to turn the pages, filled with mythical incantations and diagrams. The book had to be very old judging from the brittle state of the paper, it was also missing some parts here and there, some pages were singed or unreadable because some liquids had been spilled and left dark red stains onto them.

“I trust you to choose a companion for the travel that will be of use to you. Unfortunately, the book is enchanted in a way that makes it impossible to copy. Many pages are too damaged to safely summon from them, I know. Most of the lesser demons though can still safely be summoned and will be a valuable aid in your travels as they will be able to hold watch over you even when you get tired or spy on the hoomans for you, even when you would be easily spotted. Keep in mind though, that every deal has it’s price.”, the old mage spoke. “You can have Eeza’bel return the book to me when you are finished”. Without further ado the old mage turned and left Skrek’Kex, who had been all too fascinated to listen, alone. Here was a page about Belgior, a demon prince, and how to prepare the needed sacrifice to ensure his indulgence, here a page on a species of flying demons, used in earlier wars as spies and to drop cursed fire on the enemy. He’d show the Grakkhaz and Zap’Hex that he was worthy, he would honor them and then impress the dragon, too, with his powerful demon minion!

Swiftly he turned to prepare everything. He had chosen a fearful eight legged demon beast with the head of a hawk and the body of a snake. He’d be able to ride it and scout for the explorers, with it’s eight clawed legs it should also be a great asset in battle! Even the name – Baal’Awk the Abominable – would make his foes cower in fear! Carefully, sticking his tongue out of the side of his draconian snout, Skrek’Kex set a circle of salt to bind and protect himself from the demon so he could make a pact with him. Looking through his vials he found one with a fire elementals ‘blood’, dried to a powdery substance with which he drew a pentagram and a circle inside the circle of salt. As seen on the instructional diagram he placed 5 candles at the points of the star that had been cast during a new moon. Whetting his claw and turning the page he continued the instructions. Curious, the page felt thicker than the last one underneath his scaly hands… but he disregarded that and continued. Finally he was ready to speak the ritualistic words that would summon the demon and bind it to obedience. Beginning with “Te accerso magnum daemonem. Adiuro vos nomine Hastur et Belial… Per robur aquae et ignis, tenentur. Audite!” he continued on with the lengthy incantation, calling on old bonds and times forgotten. Soon, the room grew darker and a sulfurous smell manifested. Excitedly the small kobold continued his endeavors, his incantations continuing louder, his voice urgent. He hesitated for a moment at a passage about harvest and crops, but then decided that it was probably all right and continued. And suddenly, with a wailing sounds, and in a dark grey-purplish cloud a red eyed, black feathered turkey manifested. “AWWWWK!” it crowed. And again “AWWWK!!” picking at the herbs thrown into the pentagram for the incantation.

Skrek’Kex was baffled. What had gone wrong..? He was about to step through the salt-barrier when suddenly he remembered a lesson about a demon who had tricked his summoner to just do so and then had devoured the careless fool. Ah, surely it must be a mighty demon, to think of such a plot, to disguise himself as a harmless turkey, genius! “Youse bound by me now, no eating Skrek’Kex!” he ascertained and spoke the ritualistic words to bind the demon to him. The demon/turkey again just awwwk’ed, maybe a bit more content because of the twig with thyme he had found. Skrek’Kex spoke the correct words to banish all unbound demons before destroying the barrier and nodded, pleased with himself, when the turkey/demon did not vanish. He had successfully bound a mighty demon! Tapping his foot impatiently he waited for the demon to reveal his true form. But he did not change. Instead the turkey/demon kept pecking at some left over scraps of food he had found close to the table, eyeing Skrek’Kex with a certain intelligence from his red, wary, beady eyes. Certainly, very convincing turkey behavior. “Well, we’se will speak some other time.” the kobold finally conceded “Have your way, maybe it is even clever to not let the others know…” he mused. “We will leave for the mainland in the morning.”

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