My kind does not wander. Our numbers are too small, birthrates too low. We are not like the humans or halflings in the world, who breed like rats and fill their homes quickly, forcing them to expand, encroach on other’s lands. Deciding they need our territories for themselves, forcing war and destruction on each other. And they wonder why everyone else wants them dead. Perhaps keeping their grubby hands off each other for five minutes would help. Pawing at each other with those weak hands in a communal bed every chance someone would look twice at them in an interesting fashion.
But I digress. Perhaps my disgust of humans and their breeding habits shows too much. It certainly hasn’t helped my relations with the other, warm blooded inhabitants of the waters. My story doesn’t start with disgust of humans. It starts with disgust of tribal leadership.
I was hatched, 36 years ago almost to the day, to a small tribe of lizardfolk known as the Jesunsa in the southeastern reaches of the Sodden Lands. The same day I was hatched, our Tribal chief, Kurka Mjen, died. It’s said to be a prophecy of a new, great leader to rise up. On that, we’ll see.
I grew quickly. You have to in our lives, the world will swallow you up too quickly if you don’t. For the next twenty years, I hunted. I fished, guided the skimmers we used to quickly move around the swamps. And yes, ran into humans who wanted our lands. Most left quickly, though some had to be persuaded a bit more harshly. For that I was well suited. Though many of our tribe preferred the saber and teeth, I found my balled fist worked better for me.
Things change slowly for us, though when they do, it all seems to change so quickly. At the age of 22, four major events happened within six months of each other. First, our neighbouring tribe the Kaza and ours decided to join their tribes together. Second, we moved 28 miles to the east, towards better, unmolested hunting grounds. Third, I met my wife. And fourth, a group of serpentfolk led by Nagas, unbeknownst to us, moved within a day’s travel to our northeast.
And so we moved. And things were good. And then they weren’t.
My wife, Josa Mjusi, had laid four eggs, when I was 28 and she was 20. It was to be both of our firsts. Our tribe, renamed the Kajesu, had grown in the years, supported by fertile lands. Indeed, we could even farm a litttle. Mostly spices to trade with roaming Elven tradesmen. I had no love for it, but apparently our cumin was the rave of some towns within the Shackles, unimaginably far north for a tribe that rarely moved more then five miles from their homes. And then things changed again. And again, it was all at once.
My hunting party was out, approximately two miles away from the village, when we heard the horns. The entire story is not known to me, as I was not there and had no time to ask when I returned. Though from what I can surmise, the Serpentfolk decided they wanted our lands. They attacked in force, destroying what they could and killing those who got near. It was violent, bloody. A massacre.
We arrived as soon as we could, though perhaps two minutes too late. The Serpentfolk had fled for the most part, though those who were still around do not breathe anymore. The damage had been done.
Again, three things happened immediately. First, the eggs in the hatchery had been shattered, almost to a number. Second, Our chieftain, Yohance Yondra, had been killed in the battle, surrounded by around a dozen dead Serpentfolk and four terrified, living children. Third, our tribe fell apart.
The death of Yohance was particularly troubling as he had no children of his own eligible for chief-hood. And so the line was broken. For weeks, this caused no small amount of strife. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I’m the one of the prophecy. The one to band the tribe and neighbouring tribes together in a great offensive against the Serpentfolk and lead them to victory. If that were true, a singer looking for a fascinating story to get paid with would be telling you this story and not me.
No, we fought. Bitter. Violent. To no end. Eventually, we divided into two camps about the leader. I backed one, others backed another. I chose poorly.
I realized my mistake when Yakenza, the current tribal leader I think, was standing over Juza’s dead body in an unmistakable declaration of his leadership. Now, you’re probably thinking, this shouldn’t be too much an issue. If Lizardfolk don’t have that many children in the first place, and I’m an decent fighter, surely they’d want me there. And they might have. If I hadn’t threatened to kill him over my brother’s death. Oh, right. Juza was my brother.
And so I ran. Along with five others, Jonsa, Yohance, Terrag, Indira and Liza. We fled to the unimaginable north that was the Shackles. Turns out the unimaginable is only a three day boat ride. We stayed together as long as we could, though work on ships and violence against others slowly separated us. I think Terrag is dead, a corpse on the bottom of the ocean somewhere. Liza runs some tavern Called the Lizard’s Egg on some small port to the west of here. Indira went north to fight the Demon infestations. Her body filled the last little hole that the demon horde could’ve come through into one of Iomodae’s fortresses after filling the rest of the broken wall with demonic corpses. She always was terrifying. Jonsa and Yohance went north, probably still on whatever ship picked them up five years ago. For me? I was working on ships as I was needed. Until three things happened and changed everything immediately.
First, I got back from my last job, richer for it. Second, I went to the Formidable Maid for a drink and to see if the cumin was around. It’s not by the way, it seems the tribe stopped farming. And third, I must’ve made someone mad because I was beat to a pulp outside the tavern on the beach. Then I woke up here. Something out there doesn’t like us much, doesn’t it seem?