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The Legend of Zigny the Bolt

Zigny and the Hobgoblin Invaders; Here Comes the Smell...

   Svirfguard Zigny Rubynkle, a small but feisty deep gnome, lived among the clans of the Southern Reach. He often took the warmwatch at the Doorway, the rear entrance to a cave complex often used by the few traveling gypsy, known as the Vaaga or "People of the Mists" and merchant gnomes who traded at the city market. The caves were also used by orcish and goblin raiders who sought the gems and treasures of the gnomes. The most northern Houses of N'Tel, the dark elf nation, had in times past attempted to wrest control of this warren from the svirfneblin, but the last try had been ages ago when N'Tel had been quite a bit more powerful. Since then the svirfneblin had flourished, while the drow had suffered a military overthrow and rebellion, then the Succession Wars between the Houses had begun winnowing out the weak drow families.
   Now the two dozen deep gnomes that made up the warmwatch lounged in the guardhouse while only Zignabioltinus Rubynkle Third Sergeant of the Seventh Pick of Gargin stood watching from the hidden vantage, and a handful watched from other posts. He had hated the standing law that all young men of adult age must enlist in the Svirfguard for at least four years, especially when he had seen the attitude of his peers. He was determined to do his job honorably and earn his new status as full member of the clan and his share to all earnings of the family mines. His fellows wanted their shares, but wanted the waiting over for they saw their four year enlistment as nothing more. By the end of his first year he had distinguished himself to his superiors and gained the rank of Fourth Sergeant, second to the Warmwatch C'Mander and tenth highest ranking officer in the garrison.

   C'Mander Derviskopal was a lifer, he had seen three goblin wars and fought the dark elves and deep dwarves hundreds of times, he had thousands of stories to tell and scared the new recruits with tales of sneak attacks, drow ambushes and Vaaga kidnappings every night in the Hall of FireStones by the hearth. He rarely left the Hold. Though he would stomp every inch of the grounds popping in on every guard at random intervals, he almost never travelled to the borderwatch posts beyond the main gates. Warmwatch C'Mander Frijolipur Derviskopal was Second Sergeant of the Seventh Pick of Gargin, third in command of Southreach Hold and took his position very seriously, as he had for nearly a century and a half.
   Only three border outposts were manned by the garrison. The Doorway rarely saw visitors, especially during daylight hours, making it the most boring of the three outposts, even during the busier coldwatch. Second was the Caverns, which were often invaded by drakes, purple worms, or umberhulk, making it easily the most dangerous of the outposts, but it also had the most elaborate defenses. The Cavern Wall was designed to keep any invader from attacking while allowing the svirfneblin to attack from the defended position behind the wall. The third outpost, called the Passage, saw the underground travellers. The Daaga (deep dwelling relatives of the Vaaga), gnomes, svirfs, dwarves and other underground races who desired peaceful trade, all used the tunnels as subterranean roads. The Passage connected Zigny's town, Sparkside, to the underground road.

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