“I could swear it has to be here, somewhere..” Kobold Joe thought to himself, getting a little worried.
“Are you coming back with us or not?” A nearby shout.
“Jeeze, just a minute, if I don’t find it now, I’m never gonna!” But after a few minutes of searching, it was becoming readily apparent that his wallet was not just lost recently. “Oh sweet chromatic god no, I did not leave it at the fishing spot…” the thought came, and as it formed in his head, he felt more assured of it’s accuracy.
The whole day, spent fishing and swimming, getting some catch for the tribe. For his kids. There was even a new girl, Kobold Irene, and he really seemed to be hitting it off with her. Ever since their mother passed away, the little ones have been so down. Hiding their sadness, trying to be happy for daddy. He didn’t know how they’d feel, if they’d be happy to have someone new or mad that their mother was being “replaced,” by some new woman, but… He was a bit anxious to find out. But, he want to. He wanted to, and he hoped that they would approve. Even if they didn’t, he rationalized, they would. Because she was just… just awesome. The giant bee’s giant knees, really.
The silence suddenly caught up with him. Kobold Joe looked around, confused. Things were never this silent, not in this forest. When had everyone gone quiet? Sometime between starting his inner monologue and now, something must have happened.
“Koboold Irene. Kobold Irene!” His voice was hoarse with sudden piercing fear. He ran in their direction. He ran for less than a minute, but it felt like hours. Days. Eternity. His mad sprint, however, came to a sudden end.
He tried to pick himself up from the ground, but fell to a knee when splitting pain registered in his slightly discombobulated brain. He fell, tripped on something, he slowly realized. But what did he…
“KOBOLD IRENE NO! NO!” He clung to the earth vehemently, dragging himself to the prone female body. Her head was twisted unnaturally, her neck apparently being what snagged his foot. Her hand was clenched, with a finger out, as though it was still holding it’s trusty crossbow. Her other hand was about a foot away, the arm it was attached to having been hewn from her gentle, light, two hit pointed frame. There was blood, so much blood. Blood everywhere. Too much blood. There shouldn’t be this much blood, there’s just blood everywhere, so much…
His eyes finally glanced up from there, and he saw the carnage. Most of the bodies were together, in a group, three of them. A couple were spaced out, Kobold Irene among them. They had been slaughtered, destroyed.
“Why? Why would someone do this? What good was it? What could they even have gained from such a thing? What, three hundred experience points, at best? My friend’s lives, their families, just for a measly three hundred… unless…” It suddenly occurred to him: The coins.
He fervently dug through Kobold Irene’s few garments. He remembered following the curves of her figure through them, how they clung wetly to her… nothing. No coin. He dismissed his thoughts, focused on finding his old friend, Kobold Bill. He was always a bit of a trouble maker, a rabble rouser, a rough and tumbler. He was flashing that thing around everywhere since he got it, he must… No. Digging through his vest rendered nothing. No coin. No pride. No sweetly earned toke of our draconic lord’s esteem. Nothing.
They weren’t just murdered, they were robbed. It suddenly dawned on him, looking back at Kobold Irene. Her skirt was hitched up a bit. Too much. Too much to be coincidence. They didn’t.. Oh no, they couldn’t have…
Crying, he pulled out his heavy crossbow. This was all too much. Way too much. He thought of his family, his children. His wife, Kobold Mildred, and the days they had together. Before she left, left him alone in the world. It was heavy, awkward… He had half the weight of the thing against his temple, while his right hand feebly held up the grip, his finger fidgeting with the trigger. This was harder than he’d anticipated, but nowhere near as hard as it would be not to.
“Goodbye cruel —,” thunk. The thought was interrupted, never to be completed. He fell to the ground, next to the corpse of Kobold Irene. She had thought he was kind of a dork, but figured she’d never see him again anyway. But, he’ll never know that. He’ll never know anything, anymore.
The forest’s silence framed the macabre scene, drawing to a close the last chapter of a life. The life of Kobold Joe.
A couple miles away, rooting through brush, a party of adventurers obtains 50 experience points, split evenly among them. Passing it off as some lucky occurrence, perhaps an unnoticed trap coincidentally evaded, they continue on, none the wiser.