The last week has been a productive one. I have secured the terms you wished, though I fear it may not be entirely within the structure you desire. That is for you to decide and if further negotiations are necessary I will of course perform them.
I sent a dispatch to Chief Sootscale before departing, informing him of my visit and desire to discuss the future of your burgeoning kingdom. My emissary returned with a complete honor guard sent by Chief Sootscale of 20 Kobold warriors.
As I journeyed to the newly christened Kobold capitol, Firesoot, I was shocked to discover the land over the last year has become increasingly populated. It appears that Kobold tribes from throughout the Greenbelt have flocked to Horde Sootscale and its promise of security under the protection of Sootscale and his honor guard the Godslayers.
Those Kobold who have not yet earned the right to live within the underground halls of Firesoot have created a nomadic tribal society above ground; tending flocks of sturdy gnarlhorn goats and rugged moon radish gardens that they travel between to tend.
As we approached we were joined by a peculiar kobold shaman by the name of Ahghir. He was a surprisingly talkative fellow and spent much time telling me about the new livelihood of Horde Sootscale.
All Kobolds are sworn to Chief Sootscale, and they have formed a new cult around the chieftain and his prowess. Prominent among the cults tales are of the Godslayers who stood beside Sootscale and helped him smite the Demon God, Sharptooth, in a fearsome battle which lasted three days and three nights beneath a sky of blood.
Upon the fall of the Demon God Chief Sootscale granted the Godslayers the lands to the north rule as they see fit and to trade with the uncivilized human lands beyond, while Sootscale remained in Firesoot to rebuild his horde that was laid to waste at the hand of the Demon God.
Ahghir recounted this tale with a straight face and reverence that was punctuated by, what I can only assume, were calls of affirmation by the assembled warriors. Yet I could not shake the sense that the wizened kobold knew that the story was little more than a fanciful tale, though he would certainly never say as much.
Once we reached Firesoot I found its entrance marked by two stone towers that were remarkably sturdy and well built, seemingly of dwarven design. I can only assume the plans were liberated from some poor dwarf in a past time. The Kobolds had “modified” the towers, covering them in fetishes, gruesome tribal markings, and great black iron braziers, that swung from the four corners on black spiked chains. Each brazier burnt with deep red flames, and produced ash and soot in a thick layer that covered the towers and surrounding area.
Around the towers a small town of nomadic kobolds lived. I hesitate to call it a town for I saw no permanent structures, only a series of tents and pavilions made of gnarled lumber poles and crudely sewn goat hides.
My arrival created a great stir and some 40 Kobolds came to watch us enter the mouth of the cave which had been fortified with a black iron portcullis that was coated in a thick covering of sticky black pitch.
Within the caverns I was given almost no leeway to explore. Though they were always polite, in their way, I was often directed away from passages due to “cave-ins.” The halls were choked with smoke and smoldering fires. The walls decorated in a thick paste of soot and blood painted on the walls in intricate tribal patterns.
Falgrim managed to slip away and explore a greater area. He expressed to me that the hallways crawled in a seemingly disorganized maze through the rock, encompassing some couple miles of tunnel and larger caverns that he explored.
The populous within Firesoot were primarily kobolds and almost entirely of the warrior caste. Despite this he estimates their numbers at several hundred at least.
There was a small slave population of blue creatures I, nor Falgrim, recognized, but Ahghir informed me were mites, claimed in battle from the dead tree to the north. The sense I got was that the tunnels extended to this dead tree. I assume he meant the great sycamore which has long been a landmark in the Kamelands.
Falgrim also informed me that deep within one passage he discovered a ramshackle iron mine and foundry which blazed night and day.
Sootscale greeted me in a large chamber, and had obviously dressed for the occasion, as had his honor guard of Godslayers. Ahghir took a position at the right-hand of the chief, a spark of mischief in his eye.
It was here that I made the most disturbing finding of my trip when I was introduced to Moglun Grud. A troll from the Hargulka Tribe from the south.
The troll spoke no language I understood, but seemed uncannily sharp-witted for all of the tales I have heard of the dullness of the species. There was a cruel cunning and brightness in his eyes which I found unsettling.
Over the course of 4 days I was made welcome in Firesoot. Sootscale seemed more interested in showing me great displays of his warriors’ prowess and showed little enthusiasm for affairs of the state. I found these displays of strength to be more grandiose exhibitions of bragging as opposed to veiled attempts at displaying his leverage to negotiate.
In truth, I found him a surprisingly magnanimous host in the way that a spoiled child is very generous with his toys, even if only to show you how many of them he possesses.
In regards to the silver mine, he showed no desire to control the “soft” metal. Saying it was no good for the Horde’s weapons and made poor jewelry compared to bone, feather, or onyx.
His official proclamation was that Horde Antedom may mine the soft metal as it wishes, and he would see that none of his subjects disturbed any whom you sent to work it.
When I discussed terms to build a settlement within the Horde’s borders he was very excited by the prospect. Proclaiming that a city would surely show the greatness of the Horde and make all fear them. When I explained that the settlement would be controlled by Horde Antedom he did not seem to care. His only concern was that it existed, could shelter their goats during the cold times, and made him look strong.
In truth his only wishes seemed to be two-fold. One, he greatly enjoyed the idea of naming regions on Gravefoot’s maps, such as Antedom and Sanglier and wishes the Horde Lands region to be named Firesoot. I think he associated a sense of permanence and pride, gained from the writing of it upon a map. Two, he desires increasing the population of the Horde by any means necessary, regardless of the race or method which they are subsumed into it. Gross numbers of bodies sworn to a cause are a simple metric of power that he understands easily. He seems to care nothing for territory or borders, and the very concept of controlling land that isn’t exactly where he is at the moment was alien to him.
This is why I say that although I secured all terms you wished me to achieve, I fear that Chief Sootscale either does not understand or, perhaps, care about the requests in a manner in which we are accustomed.
The shaman Ahghir obviously carried great respect within the tribe, and I think of all of them it is he who understands our ways and the requests I made the best. However, if he ever provided Sootscale with advice in regards to our proposal it was never within my presence.
I did not see the troll again after the first day, but Falgrim reported that it left soon after our arrival with a small delegation of kobolds and two massive hound-like creatures.
Finally, Sootscale bid me to give you these gifts, one for each of you, which he says are yours by right of conquest. He insisted that I tell you that the string for each necklace is made from the braided gut of Tartuk, cured in the ash of his pyre, and that the rune-carved teeth are also Tartuk’s. The necklaces have been blessed with luck by Ahghir.
(Tartuk Charm: +1 Luck bonus to all saves)
I have sent Falgrim ahead with this dispatch, and the necklaces, so you might discuss your next move. I will return to Gravethorn for one week before departing to Levington to receive your next orders. Should you require my service sooner send word by raven.