Chapter 5:


How I (Accidently) Became a Demon Lord

Night was setting in, Rath using one of the Kobold clubs as a makeshift torch. Nekra had led him deep into the woods, moving with so much familiarity that he forgot he was guiding a larger person.

“Sorry I forgot about that branch.” Nekra said.

Rath was fine, but his shield took a minor hit. He sighed and continued on slowly.

“Are you the leader of your people?” Rath asked. Trying for any small talk for the trek.

“I am now.” Nekra said quietly. “I was training to take over for my tribe by the current leader, but he died giving us room to escape.”

“Did you leave any behind?” Rath asked.

“Yes.” Nekra said. “Many.”

“I'm sorry to hear.” Rath said sorrowly.

“You strange human.” Nekra said, giving him a weird look. “Not many humans feel pity for Kobolds.”

“Call me a weirdo then.” Rath said, pushing onwards.

“Okay weirdo.” Nekra stated.

Rath threw a glare at Nekra. “Okay, how about you tell me about this monster. What is it”

“A Wisder.” Nekra stated.

“I haven't heard of it before. What does it look like?” Rath asked, dodging a branch.

“Big spider, acid silk, lots of teeth.” Nekra said, continuing unstopped.

“Wait.” Rath stopped. “Spiders don't have teeth. They have.” He made a pincer motion with his fingers.

“Yes has that too, and teeth.” Nekra said, pointing to his snout. “Like this.”

“Great.” Rath sighed. “And what about your home, it's probably still there I'm guessing?”

“I assume.” Nekra said. “It's in caves.”

“You live in caves?” Rath asked.

“Yes, we dig out cave for home, it safer and easier to hide.” Nekra said.

Rath thought about it for a moment. “You all carried wooden clubs, don't you dig up ore? Why not make metal weapons?”

“We do, we caught off guard, not prepared for attack, got what we could.” Nekra said.

The pair reached the mouth of a large cave, Nekra shushing Rath before he spoke. “We need to get my people out, if they alive. Monster less important than my tribe mates.”

“Works for me.” Rath said as the two began into the cave.

The cave had well carved walls, the floor descending nicely into the depths. The roof was low in some places, but seemed big enough for someone taller than Rath. Rath looked over and noticed Nekra squinting his eyes.

“What's wrong?” Rath asked.

“Cant see clearly.” Nekra said.

Rath noticed the lack of nighting, the only source being his torch which immunated the tunnel. “I don't see any light fixtures or id light them.”

“We dont have.” Nekra said. “We dark seers.”

“So you're squinting because of my light?” Rath asked, suddenly aware of his torch even more.

“No, I am trying to adjust to dark, but light not making easy.” Nekra said.

“Sorry, but you can see with the light to some extent, and I cant see without it.” Rath said.

“I understand human.” Nekra said. “That why I no stop you.”

The two continued one, occasionally Nekra would stop them to look into a small room tucked off to the side, only to find it empty. As they went deeper they started to catch sight of webbing along the walls. The path wasn't straight, curving and forking randomly, leading to Rath getting disorientated fast.

Nekra and Rath stopped in their tracks as they heard a sound. It sounded like a rope being pulled quickly, with the sound of something swallowing mixed in. The two peered over a corner and Rath caught sight of the Wisder.

As Nekra had described, it was a giant spider, twice the size of Nekra. It had six large legs with hooks on the ends that dug into the ground. The entire body was covered in fur, with a bulbis backside. The head had a large set of eyes so pressed together they almost looked like one solid eye. The mouth was a snout, and it was currently open, a long green string stretching out towards a wrapped up target. The string was retracting into the creature's mouth, a set of incisors extending out from inside its mouth, snapping shut and opening as if waiting for its meal.

The target it had was cocooned in the green string, smoke rising from inside. Rath and Nekra realized that the cocoon was still moving, a muffled scream resonating from inside. Nekra stepped to rush in, but Rath held him back, pulling out his wand. He felt the power drawing from inside himself into the wand, the fire charging.

“Agnibolt!” Rath said, triggering the spell. The fire launched forward, but the Wisder heard the cast and made the attempt to move away from it. Luckily the target wasn't the spider, but the string linking the cocoon to the monster.

The Wisder took its hook-like feet and dug them into the walls of the cave, climbing up it swiftly. Rath shot off another Agnibolt, this time aiming at the monster. The Wisder shifted its movement to dodge the attack as it reached the ceiling, turning itself upside down. It was now just above Rath and shot down, its backside shooting out towards him, a stinger extending from inside.

Rath dodged by throwing himself forward, Nekra following closely. One of the Wisder’s hooks caught Rath’s wand, yanking it away from him. Rath spun around quickly, drawing his sword. The Wisder spun around, staring down the two, Nekra standing firm next to Rath. the creature scuttled backwards into the darkness.

“Shit it can see in the dark too!” Rath yelled out.

A string shot out from the darkness, Rath dodging it, not turning away. The Wisder used the string to propel itself forward towards the pair, its incisor out to chop down on the two. Rath could smell the string's acidic property, choosing to drop down, taking his sword up into the monster's stomach. Nekra pulled Rath down with all his might, as the stinger shot into the place where Rath was about to strike from. The Wisder returned to the dark again. The pair got to their feet again, inhaling deeply.

“Can I trust you?” Rath asked, looking out toward the darkness.

“What?” Nekra said.

“Can I trust you!” Rath yelled.

“Yes!” Nekra said, unsure of what he meant.

“Tell me when and where to attack!” Rath yelled, dropping the torch and extinguishing it with his foot.

Rath realized that the monster was attacking at the light source, so while he could see in the dark he was like Nekra who needed to adjust. Silence surrounded the pair, Rath holding his sword up to defend. It wasn't long before he felt the acidic string latch itself around his right wrist, his shield slowly decreasing. Rath could feel the heat of the acid as it tore away at the shield, choosing to release his right hand from his sword.

“Up in front of you now!” Nekra yelled from the darkness.

Rath stuck out violently, the sword sinking into something, ooze dripping onto his hand. Rath could feel the Wisder’s muscles move, it was trying to strike with its stinger. Before Rath could react in any way, fire lit the cave, the Wisder was ignited on Rath’s blade.

Rath turned to the source of the fire, Nekra was releasing the fire from his mouth in a constant stream. The creature twitched wildly, knocking itself off the blade and falling to the floor, trying to flee and put out the fire. Finally it rolled over, its legs straightening upward, and died.

Nekra lit Rath’s torch after a few moments of silence, watching the Wisder burn. Rath took the torch, using it to burn the acid string off his shield, which was almost depleted. He wiped off the ooze that had fallen onto his hand, and just stood.

“How did you do that?” Rath asked. “I didnt see or hear you cast anything.”

“It is a Kobold power.” Nekra said. The two moved forward with speed to free the victim, a Kobold who had died from the burns. “We are part dragon.”

“Dragon!” Rath yelled out, his voice echoing far. “No way.”

“According to our legends we are.” Nekra growled. “A few of us, known as Shamans, have the ability to channel the Dragon souls. Shamans are the ones who run our tribe because of it. Please let us continue on, I must find any survivors.”

The two continued on, Rath completely caught off guard by Nekra. He retrieved his wand and kept it out, feeling it a tad useless incompairison.

“Thanks for having my back.” Rath said.

“Thank you for trusting me.” Nekra said.

“I was nervous when the string wrapped around me.” Rath said, feeling his wrist.

“I couldn't warn you of that, plus it lured it in close for you.” Nekra said.

“That is fair.” Rath said with a little laugh. “How did you cast without a focus?”

“Not all magics need a focus.” Nekra explained. “Though my tribe does have one, it powers up out magic, though it was left with my mentor.”

It wasn't long before the two found the remaining members of Nekra’s tribe. They all looked at Rath with concern before Nekra told them how he helped them. The Wisder had kept a number of its victims in a large room that was once a kitchen. It was here that Nekra found the body of his mentor. Nekra stood over the body, Rath figured if he could cry he would be.

Nekra lifted up a large staff that was as tall as he was. The staff was made of a black wood with a skull of a Kobold looking creature atop it, a large red gem sitting in the skull's mouth. The staff made Nekra look sad, but all the survivors looked at him with hope in their eyes. When they all returned to the road where they had left Kider, he was standing atop the back of his cart, waving his sword at the Kobolds that were snatching at the food in his cart.

“Back you beasts!” Kider yelled. “No gold no grub!”

Rath laughed at the sight, it wasn't a real fight, just Kider protecting his wears. Kider turned to see Rath and the new group of Kobolds. Kider almost fell from his cart as Rath approached.

“Thank the Lords!” Kider said. “Please get these beasts away before they make me go broke!”
“Do not worry friend.” Nekra said, stomping the staff down in the dirt of the road. “We shall take our leave, we owe Sir Rath a great deal.”

“Sir?” Kider said curiously.

“Rath?” Rath said curiously.

“Thank you, if there is a way we can repay you, please tell us.” Nekra stated.

“You can start by not raiding merchants anymore.” Rath said.

“I'm sorry, but we have to in order to survive.” Nekra stated. “We have to get what we can before Adventurers come around.”

“You raid them for food mainly since you can't grow your own i'm guessing.” Rath guessed. “I noticed no farms of any kind, and with the village nearby they probably took most of the animals in the area.”

“You are correct.” Nekra said.

“So why live in caves?” Rath asked. “Why not go to a field and farm?”

“We would be hunted by Adventurers, the caves are safer for us to hide in.” Nekra stated.

“Then what if you didn't need to hide?” Rath asked. “You could focus on living if you didn't have to worry about Adventurers right?”

“You are correct.” Nekra nodded. “But there is no such possibility.”

“Wrong.” Rath stated. “I can see that you Kobolds are great miners, and I have this village south of here with a good amount of extra crops. We need miners to get us resources, and we are an Adventurer free town.”

“Wait Rath.” Kider began. “Are you trying to get them to come to your village?”

“Yes.” Rath said calmly. “If we can get a mine going, we wouldn't need to rely on outside trade for metals. We would be alot more self-sufficient. And it would free up this road of the Kobolds raiding people.”

“Sir Rath.” Nekra said, looking up at the man, touched. “Would you really take us?”

“Of course.” Rath said, getting to his level. “Though I would need your help fighting Adventurers, your magic is powerful, is that okay?”

“Of course!” Nekra said, wrapping his arms around Rath’s neck. “Thank you Sir Rath.”

“How are the villagers going to feel about this?” Kider asked.

Turns out that the villagers struggled getting used to the idea of Kobolds living with them. Nekra and his people gathered their gear and began the migration south, passing through Kiris, the people looking shocked beyond belief. Kobold customs were very different from Criss customs, as the lizards would often just take things and not realize they had done anything wrong. It wasnt long before they blended in with the rest of the village though, helping where they could.

The Kobolds had located a suitable mine location slightly south of the village. It was close enough to get to the village to flee there incase of attack. Nekra had started setting up a camp in that area where the Kobolds moved, Rath and Kivis began work on building them housing, Nekra telling them a community house is all they would need since they took up so little space. A large tent was erected for Nekra, it was made of animal hide and had stone walls inside it. A large bell was set up in their central area to warn of attackers from the south and the Kobold community.

“Obviously Nekra will represent the Kobolds.” Barder said. It was a month after Kider had left for Depths, and people were realizing they needed to split up the leadership of the town. “What about us humans?”

“Rath makes sense.” Peel said, stroking his bushy beard. “He's protecting the village, and is setting up our defenses.”

The rest of the village was in unison on the idea, but Rath was less into it.

“I think Turv should.” Rath said, shocking everyone in attendance. “He's wise, and has offered me good advice already. Not to mention, Kider mentioned something.” The villagers all looked on, even the Kobolds who still had not settled into these meetings. “I need to get stronger, eventually a powerful Adventurer will appear and I won't be able to stand up to him as I am. So once I feel like we're better off here, I'm going to Depths.”

The crowd gasped.

“What will we do without you?” Lyn asked.

“We have Talon and Urin. not to mention Nekra who is powerful on his own.” Rath explained. “Plus I don't plan to be gone for too long, just long enough to get strong enough to defend us from any threat that will come from Depths.”

“You can count on me!” Nekra called out. “This is our home now too!”

“Ill take the role.” Turv said, coming out to stand beside Rath. “Though only if you take it as well. You, me, and Nekra can all work together to run this place, when you go on this adventure, we can handle things till your back.”

With that it was set, the Council of Criss was formed and began work to fortify the town. The promise to Nekra was that once the east gate and first wall was finished they would begin fortifying the Kobold settlement. The Kobolds had agreed to mine, others moving to learn farming from Barder and the other farmers, and other tasks that needed to be done. The biggest help was construction, they were proficient in working with stone but could work with wood just as well, making the wall construction finish within two weeks.

Rath stood atop the wall looking out eastward, he was not yet ready to leave. He had planned to meet with Nekra, wanting to discuss his Dragon Soul ability, trying to understand how it works. Until he felt Nekra was ready, Rath would stay and help train him in any way he could. He also knew that Kider would be returning shortly, planning to ask him to take him to Depths. Things were changing in his little village, and Rath was happy for it. 

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