Friday, September 12, 2014

The Kobolds of Elthos

The Kobolds of the Red Hills are hardly known by the human world, and that's a problem.  It wouldn't be a problem, except that the Kobolds are annoyed, and so they're making it a problem.  The reason they're annoyed is because they prefer to be left alone.  But as it happens, the humans just keep expanding into new territories, and building new villages and towns out where the Kobolds have been wont to live for all these many eons.  Why it's just bound to rub them the wrong way, don't you know?

Kobolds come in two varieties.  They're either Woodland creatures that emerge from the hearts of old broken trees, or they're Earthland creatures that emerge from rifts in the ground.  In fact this is why Kobolds are known so well by miners.  The name Kobold, as you may have guessed, comes actually from the word Cobalt, the element, which in its pure form is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal.  You might think this therefore this sort of maybe makes Kobolds a kind of Elemental. And in a way you would kind of sort of maybe be right about that.  In the World of Elthos, they're even called parum elementarium by the Alchemists.  It is even said that Kobolds can transform themselves into Cobalt when they so choose.  Well, at least those that emanate from Earthland.  It is likewise said that Kobolds that emerge from the hearts of broken trees can turn into wood, and often do so during the day, looking for all the world like old mossy tree branches with funny faces.  At night both kinds of Kobolds transform into their 'little human' forms and, well, kind of run amok, really.  

Now among Kobolds there's not only two distinct branches of the family, but there's two distinct societies as well.  And the two do not get along at all.  One branch is called the Su'unkar, and the other branch is called the Shi'inkar.  The confusing part is that the two branches are not divided by whether or not they are Woodland or Earthland creatures, but rather instead by the philosophy of their Clan Elders.  And there's a whole lot of Clans among the Kobolds   

The Su'unkar are not really the big thinkers of the Kobold world.  They're more interested in the enjoyment of their meager material pleasures.  In fact, the Su'unkar call themselves "the soup eaters", on account of their love of soups.  Yes, they really do love soup, those guys.  And this reflects their disposition and inclinations about life.  They try to enjoy what they've got.  Now you might wonder where they got the idea of making soup from to begin with.  Yes, from the humans, of course.  In fact this is also reflective of their disposition and inclinations.  They like to imitate the humans, and in fact do try, more or less, to get along with them.  They call the humans "little brothers", and love to mimic human traits and society.  So these are the kinds of Kobolds that you'll find wearing vests and shoes and little hats with feathers and such.  They can usually speak a little bit of the human language, with a rather atrocious accent, but passably understandable to most people who have a little patience and time on their hands.  But even so, most humans won't really have much truck with Kobolds of any variety.  This is because they can be pretty damn annoying.  Kobolds love to play a little game they call "Tricks & Traps".  It's not an especially nice game, but they do think it's terribly funny.  Sometimes, even, people get killed.  But this just makes the Kobolds laugh all the more.  It's not very nice, actually.  But Kobolds view humans, really, as interesting little bugs that recently showed up in the world, and they kind of enjoy playing with them the same way human kids might enjoy playing with ants, or other harmless insects.   For them, it's really just a form of amusement.  A morose and dangerous form of amusement, but still... can we really blame them entirely?

On the other side of the divide we have the Shi'inkar.  Now these are the true thinkers, the wizards, the old ones and the formidable sorcerers of the Kobold world.  And they're frankly up to no good at all.  Running into them is most often a bad thing, and quite perilous.  Fortunately, there are actually very few of them, so the risk is small that anyone will actually see them.  However, that doesn't make them any less terrible.  They're kind of like the Su'unkar in that they like to play "Tricks & Traps", but in their case the tricks and traps are rather enormous, and slow moving, and sometimes take centuries to unfold... but when they do a whole lot of people wind up dying.  They're the source of all kinds of troubles for the human race over the centuries, though in most cases the humans never found out the true causes of their demise.  And oh my how those old and wicked Kobolds can laugh, and laugh, and laugh.  In fact it's said by some that the greater storms coming off the Oceans, the ones that are truly destructive, have in them howling winds that are the laughter of the Elder Kobolds.  So, yes, friend, you really wouldn't want to meet any of the Shi'inkar.   But if you do, just remember, whatever they're doing, you should try your absolute best to derail it.  Because whatever they're cooking up is meant to do you, your family, your friends, your town, your province, and your entire race as much harm as they can think up.  

Anyway, that's a little bit about Kobolds in Elthos. 
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