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Saga of Divesia: The Wing of Compassion by Shadewrecker

The countryside of Omh is desolate, with nothing but dead grass and fallen trees to be seen for miles. All that can be heard in these lonely wastes are the stomping of the caravan’s beastly oxen and the bumping of the wheels on the rough dirt road. These are all the sights and sounds available to the heron cleric Pelleas as he awaits for his arrival in Felgrim, the besieged territory of Felbas, the Fragment of Misfortune. “What do you think could have caused all this destruction?” asked a blue jay in the same cart as him. “It must have been Wrakseth. I don’t know anything else that can lay waste to the land like he can…” he responded. The blue jay shook his head and looked to the dawn sky above. “All we can do now is to pray for safe passage and for those who are in need to be alright when we get there,” he said. Pelleas tried to speak up, but was interrupted by the cart’s wheel hitting a rock in the bumpy, unpaved road. “I-I hope so too… I’m just worried about what will happen in Felgrim. They don’t call Felbas the Fragment of Misfortune for nothing, you know!” he added. Hearing the worry in his voice, the blue jay placed a wing around his fellow cleric’s back. “I trust Lady Leila’s judgement. I’m just as worried as you, but my faith in her gives me enough confidence to keep moving forward,” he told Pelleas, who nodded. The two avian clerics then returned to their prior silence and prayed that their journey would continue to go smoothly, but unfortunately for them, their prayers were not to be answered.

Without warning, the caravan stopped in its tracks, startling both Pelleas and his blue jay acquaintance. “Wonder what’s happening up there?” he asked the heron. Pelleas wasn't quite sure, but when he heard a loud crashing sound from up ahead, he knew it couldn't be good. “I-I’m gonna go check it out. If anyone’s hurt, someone needs to be able to heal them. Blessings of Leila,” the blue jay told him before hopping out of the cart. “B-blessings of Leila…” he responded, beginning to lose confidence in his prayers.. When Pelleas heard screams coming from the front of the caravan, his suspicion was confirmed. Thinking quickly, Pelleas jumped from the cart he was in and ran to help whoever it was that screamed.

What Pelleas found did not ease his nerves. Among the chaos in front of him were fleeing people, guards combating whoever it was that was attacking the caravan, and several overturned carts, one on fire. “Hahaha, with pathetic defenses like these, we’ll be eating and partying like Orya herself tonight!” yelled a lizard as he pushed over a guard and dug a sword into his chest. Pelleas did his best to stay out of sight, until he spotted the blue jay he was travelling with trapped under the wreckage of one of the caravan’s carts. “D-don’t worry, I’ll get you out of here!” he exclaimed, struggling to lift the wreckage with his wings. “There’s no time! These Omhan raiders are relentless! You have to run!” responded the blue jay through choked breaths. Pelleas wasn’t having it. His wings weren’t exactly made for heavy lifting, but he could use a bit of levitation magic. Drawing a spell circle with his left wing and directing it with his right, the crushing beam of the cart was slowly lifted up, allowing him to help his colleague out of the compromising position. “T-thank you!” he cried, quickly running away as fast as he could with his injuries. Darting around to see if the raiders were still prowling the site, Pelleas planned his own escape, but was thwarted when he noticed an oversight in his plan: the wreckage he had previously levitated was now pinning down his robes. “Hnngh! Come on, this isn’t the time!” he cried, struggling to pull himself free from the ruined cart. His last ditch effort was to use his wings and try to fly out, but this came back to bite him when the force of his robes tearing sent him flying into the canopy frame of the cart behind him, conking the heron on the head and rendering him unconscious.

Luckily for Pelleas, the raiders must have assumed him dead and never bothered to actually check. When he came to, however, he wasn’t where he expected to be. Directly in front of him was a blue reptilian creature of around three feet in height dragging a large sack behind it that must have been at least twice its size. In fact, on a closer inspection, Pelleas realized that he was IN said sack! “W-what the!?” he exclaimed, startling the little creature in front of him. “Hey, stop making so much noise, ingredient!” it said, before turning back around and continuing to drag him across the wastes of Omh. Pelleas didn’t notice what the creature had called him amongst the panic of coming to terms with his surroundings. “W-what’s in this thing?” he asked, feeling all sorts of fruits, herbs, and fungi with his feet. The heron quickly tried to wriggle himself out of the sack, only to find himself bitten in the thigh. “OW! Is there something still alive in here?” he yelped, finally escaping from the sack and plopping onto the grass. Before he could get away, however, the little reptile had something to say. “Hey! I thought I told ya to be quiet back there… Wait a sec, you’re escaping! Bad ingredient!” it exclaimed, only to rush poor Pelleas with a wooden spoon and start smacking him. “H-hey, cut it out, that hurts!” cried the cleric, to no avail. “Bad ingredient! Get back in the bag! I’ve gotta get back home soon or Mistress Orya will be mad at me!” it exclaimed, continuing to attack Pelleas with the spoon. Hearing what he had just heard, Pelleas began to panic. “M-Mistress Orya? The Fragment?” he yelped.

“Yes, Mistress Orya! I’m one of her prized kobold servants. Now please, get back in the sack so I can get going! You’ve been one rude ingredient, keeping me for so long! If I’m too late, Mistress Orya will never consider me for her next meal!” exclaimed the creature, trying in vain to push Pelleas over so he could get the heron back in the bag. “I’m not an ingredient, I’m a cleric of Leila! A-and did you say next meal?” cried the heron, growing frustrating at the kobold’s attempts to have him hauled away. He knew he had to get back to the caravan, especially given that night would be falling in just a few hours, but something the little kobold said gave him cause for worry. “Of course! Mistress Orya considers us kobolds a delicacy!” he told Pelleas, seemingly growing happier just at the mention of it. The cleric, on the other hand, was in awe. “Y-you mean she eats you?” he asked, just to make sure he wasn’t going crazy. “Yup! It’s every kobold’s purpose in life to make their masters as happy and comfortable as possible, so letting her eat us is only natural! My friends Kelly and Gebweb got eaten just last week!” explained the kobold, elated to relay the information to Pelleas. The little lizard had all but forgotten his ingredient sack in his zeal for his master, shaking the heron cleric to his core. He couldn’t let this kobold go back to Orya, could he? How could he call himself a disciple of Leila if he let the little guy leave and get eaten? It was then and there that Pelleas gave himself a new mission. His convoy might be gone, but he could still save this little kobold. “W-what’s your name, little guy?” he asked. “Naknak! Why do you ask?” responded the kobold. Pelleas smiled. “T-that’s a cute name. I’m glad I learned it, I, uh, wanted to get to know you better. My name is Pelleas, it's nice to meet you,” he said, placing a wing around his new friend. Naknak seemed to grow calmer in the presence of the cleric, but swiftly snapped out of his daze when he realized what was going on. "Y-you're trying to seduce me! I-I won't fall for it! I'm going back to my mistress before you trick me into turning on her!" he exclaimed, growing defensive and running back to his ingredient sack. "W-wait, don't go!" cried Pelleas, chasing after the kobold and grabbing him by the collar of his raggedy chef uniform. "Waaah! Lemme go, lemme go!" he squealed, flailing around as the cleric lifted him off his feet. Pelleas certainly felt bad for taking the kobold against his will, but he knew that if he didn't, something terrible would befall the adorable little lizard. "I'm sorry, Naknak… I can't let you go back to get eaten! You're so cute and innocent! You deserve to live a happy and fulfilling life!" he told the kobold. "But I am happy! I love serving my master, I'd do anything for her!" he cried. Naknak continued to squirm in the grasp of Pelleas' wings, but there was nothing the little guy could do to stop the heron from carrying him away.

“W-where are you taking me?” cried Naknak, who wasn’t giving up on his chances of escape. “Well, I want to find out what happened to my caravan, but after that, I’m not exactly sure… It’s a long way back to Lastia, and I don’t even know if I’d feel right taking you there…” explained Pelleas. Following the tracks the little kobold and his bag had left in the dirt, Pelleas made his way back to the ruins of his caravan. Naknak flailed and squirmed as much as he could, but the cleric just wasn’t letting go, and he eventually gave up as the two arrived at the toppled train of carts. Looking down, Pelleas had found that the kobold had fallen asleep in his wings. “What a sweet little thing… He must work so hard to have fallen asleep at this time of day…” he muttered, before looking up to scan the wreckage. He wasn’t expecting to see a whole gang of kobolds just like the one he was carrying surrounding it. “W-whoa!” he whisper-shouted. “What are all these guys doing here?” Luckily, his startled exclamation didn’t alert the scavenging kobolds, but it did manage to wake Naknak. “Huh? Where am I?” he asked. Before Pelleas could answer, however, the kobolds searching the caravan’s wreckage noticed the strange duo. “Help! I’m being stolen!” cried Naknak, with Pelleas trying in vain to silence him. Instead of helping him like he had hoped, the little kobolds meeped cutely and scampered off, ignoring Naknak’s cries to take him with them. Defeated, Naknak sighed and accepted his fate.

“Why do you like me so much? I’m just a lowly kobold servant, I’m not valuable or important or anything...” muttered the blue-scaled kobold, spirit broken after his chance of escape had left him. Pelleas carried Naknak with him as he inspected the ruins of his caravan and searched for any signs of survivors, but he was happy to answer the little guy’s question. “I’m not exactly sure. Ever since I met you, I’ve felt like we have some sort of connection. Perhaps it’s the love of Lady Leila working through me,” he responded, combing through the picked through carts. Several guards lay dead where the raiders struck them down, but it seemed as if many of the others had managed to escape. “Is… Is Lady Leila your master?” asked Naknak, starting to grow curious at the notion. Pelleas chuckled. “I suppose, haha. She is our leader, and she inspires us clerics to do good for others,” explained the heron. Naknak was astonished. “D-does she eat her servants like Orya eats us kobolds?” he asked, causing Pelleas to give him a frustrated stare. “O-of course not! She’d never do such a thing!” he exclaimed, putting down a piece of fallen cart to express his disdain at the notion. “Your master sounds nice… I wish I had a nice master like that… Us kobolds love Orya, but she doesn’t really love us back…” muttered Naknak, saddened at his predicament. Pelleas was confused. “Why do you serve her then? Couldn’t you all just go somewhere else?” he asked. The heron had finished his business at the caravan site, but he still had to figure out what to do with Naknak. “Serving is what us kobolds do! We love our masters, even if they don’t love us in return… I never even thought of having a new master until today,” the kobold explained. Pelleas smiled. He couldn’t help but have his heart warmed by the innocence of his new friend. “You know… I’m sure Lady Leila would love to have a new cleric,” he told him. Naknak’s eyes lit up. “Even a little kobold like me?” he asked, wagging his tail with excitement. “Even a little kobold like you,” responded the heron. The blue kobold cook leaped out of Pelleas’ arms, ecstatic at the proposal. “I’m so happy! I gotta go tell Mistress Orya I’m leaving, I’ll be right back!” he exclaimed, much to the cleric’s surprise. “W-wait, I don’t think that’s a good-” he tried to say, but Naknak was already running off. Pelleas had no choice but to pull up his robe and pursue.

Pelleas thought he would be able to catch up quickly, but the little kobold’s excitement made him faster than the cleric could ever hope to compete with. By the time he had reunited with his new friend, the two had arrived at a rather innocuous looking cave deep in the wilds of Ohm. “Here we are! Home sweet home! Or, at least it was,” exclaimed the kobold. Pelleas was confused. “Isn’t Orya the Fragment of Opulence? This place doesn’t seem very opulent,” he asked. Naknak said nothing, merely signalling the heron to follow him. Pelleas was reluctant to enter the lair of a literal goddess, but he didn’t have much of a choice at this point, so he entered the cave alongside his new friend. After traveling through a few tunnels, they arrived at an enormous cavern housing the true home of Orya: a majestic five story pagoda, gilded with every type of precious stone and metal you could think of. “Whoa. This is… incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much wealth in my entire life…” muttered Pelleas, astonished to be in the presence of such an opulent structure. “Just wait until you see inside!” said Naknak, rushing ahead to get to the doors. “W-wait!” responded the heron. He had come this far, mostly due to his curiosity, but he knew he couldn’t let Naknak tell Orya he was leaving. The blue-scaled kobold grabbed the knocker with both hands and prepared to knock, but was swiftly grabbed by Pelleas to prevent him from alerting anyone to their presence. Unfortunately, the massive golden knocker merely fell back into place, creating enough of a knock to alert the door greeters that they were there. “You can’t let Orya know you’re leaving! What if she decides to eat you?” whisper-shouted Pelleas. Before Naknak could answer, the enormous doors creaked open, revealing two small kobolds just like Naknak, one pink and one green.

“Oh, Naknak, you’re back! And you’ve brought a visitor! Hello there, visitor!” exclaimed the green kobold. The smiling little lizard completely ignored the fact that Pelleas was doing his best to silence the kobold he was carrying, but was interrupted by his pink partner. “Flipip! Mistress Orya said we’re not supposed to let visitors in unless they’ve been invited!” she exclaimed, much to her friend’s disappointment. “Aww, come on, Lemmy, he seems trustworthy enough! And besides, he’s brought Naknak home!” responded the green kobold, getting behind a very nervous Pelleas and pushing the two inside. Reluctantly, Pelleas let the blue kobold out of his wings as the others closed the doors behind him. “Hey, Naknak, where are all your ingredients? I never see you without your big bag!” asked Flipip, welcoming his friend back home. “Oh, I left it. I’m gonna go with Pelleas here to a new master!” he responded, getting oohs and ahhs from just the idea. “Really? What are they like? Are they nice?” asked Lemmy, dropping her serious personality and getting just as curious as her green partner. Pelleas wanted to stop him from telling and just get the heck out of this terrible place, but his anxiety got the better of him. “Oh, yes, she’s super nice, and she even loves little kobolds just like us!” explained Naknak. As the small chef relayed the kindness of Leila, more and more kobolds showed up to listen. Pelleas watched in amazement as little lizards of every color he could imagine filled the grand entrance hall and tuned in to Naknak’s speech. Red, pink, blue, green, yellow, and purple, all wearing crude loincloths, wrappings, or even tattered uniforms that fit their occupation. Here he was, far from his home, inside a giant, gilded pagoda with rich mahogany walls and columns and hanging golden lamps, listening to his new friend give a speech about Leila to what must have been at least twenty kobolds. It was truly a strange sight, but it was all about to come crashing down when he saw an enormous shadow loom over the entrance hall. “Um… hey, everyone…” he mumbled, as Orya herself appeared amongst the crowd.

The large, well endowed dragon towered over both Pellas and her kobold servants, her orange scales sparkling under the light of the hall’s golden lamps. Her body was covered in a flowing red kimono, while her face was fit with a scowling expression. “What is going on here?” she demanded to know, filling the room with her booming voice before taking a puff from her fancy cigarette holder. A few of the kobolds in the crowd decide to speak up, telling their mistress that they’ve decided to serve a new master, surprising both Orya and Pelleas alike. “What? How dare you! You foolish kobolds serve me and me alone!” she yelled, losing her temper and stomping her foot. Amongst the crowd she spots Pelleas and grows even more furious. “Is this intruder the one who has brought this poison to your minds?” she exclaimed, pointing towards the heron with a painted claw. The kobolds all meep yes, much to his fright. Pelleas knew he had to escape before it was too late, so he grabbed Naknak and pushed his way out of the entrance hall. “Graaah! You will feel the wrath of Opulence, vile insect! Nobody gets the better of a Fragment!” screeched the dragon, as the kobolds cried out for Pelleas and Naknak to wait for them.

As Pelleas and Naknak rushed through the narrow cave corridors, the cleric turned to the twenty-something kobolds behind them and began to panic. “Can’t you all do something?” he exclaimed, only for Naknak to ask him what scared little kobolds could do against a big, scary goddess. The heron sighed and kept up the pace, but Orya was hot on their trail. Out of the corner of his eye, Pelleas noticed a kobold carrying an egg trip and fall to the ground. His instincts told him to keep sprinting, but his heart knew better. “Keep running, Naknak,” he told his friend, plopping him down on the stony cave floor and dashing to help the fallen kobold mother. “Don't worry, you and your egg are going to be okay,” he said, helping the little lizard up and handing her the egg, which fortunately was unscathed. “Thank you, mister!” she exclaimed, and they all continued their escape. When Pelleas and the kobolds arrived at the cave exit, he had a trick up his sleeve to hopefully slow the dragon down. “O Goddess Leila, spirit of Compassion, please deliver us from this calamity and protect us from our pursuer! Form a barrier!” he chanted, surrounding himself in a brilliant magical aura and creating a crystalline shield inside the door behind him and the kobolds. The heron and former servants of Orya watched in anticipation as the Fragment of Opulence arrived at the blockade, but unfortunately for them, her painted claws effortlessly pierce the crystal, shattering it and leaving them with nowhere left to run.
“Loathsome intruders! I was just about to have dinner, and now you’ve spoiled it all!” yelled Orya, as she took flight with her large, orange wings. Huddling together, the twenty or so kobolds cried out cutely. “Mistress Orya is angry!” they exclaimed, fearful of what she would do next. Pelleas was out of tricks, having nothing left to do but pray. “My magic is the most beautiful in all the world! You cretins should be thankful that your deaths will be as glorious as I am!” screeched Orya. Pelleas and the kobolds scattered as the dragon began her attack, furiously casting razor-sharp orange ribbons and explosive purple roses across the wastes of Ohm. “What do you usually do when your mistress gets angry?” the cleric asked Naknak. “W-we hide! Mistress Orya is so scary when she’s angry! No kobold has ever survived her rage!” he cried, getting close to his heron friend and starting to tear up. “Naknak…” muttered Pelleas, saddened to see his friend so fearful. Truth be told, he was scared out of his mind too, even more so when he glanced back and saw golden ribbons slicing through the very ground itself and purple flames burning their way the dead grass of the plains. Behind him, the kobold mother tripped again, and while Pelleas dived to catch her egg, he was too late and it broke on the ground below. His heart sank at the tragic sight, but miraculously, a tiny little kobold emerged from the shattered shell and scampered over to its mother, who continued to run from the rampaging fragment. “If I were some great warrior… perhaps I could save all of these kobolds. But… I am but a mere cleric. I fear that this is the end for us…” muttered the heron, beginning to lose hope. “If you will not serve me, you shall face oblivion!” screamed Orya, continuing her magical assault. “Please, Fragment of Compassion, grant me your power! Help me save my friends!” chanted Pelleas. All around him, glowing magical circles form, circling the cleric and shining with a glorious white light.

“Foolish mortal! Your petty magic cannot contain a Fragment! My beauty and elegance is supreme!” shouted Orya, undeterred by the enormous magical shield in front of her. The kobolds had been granted time to escape, but not for long, as Orya slashed at the shield with her ribbons, crumpling and slicing it open like paper. Finally, she prepared a spiraling magical drill, formed from the same wispy golden ribbons as before, and easily pierced the fractured shield. When all hope seemed lost and Pelleas prepared to meet his end, a volley of arrows soared into Orya from behind him. “Gah! How dare you! My dress is ruined!” screeched the dragon, furious at the holes in her kimono. Behind Pelleas and in front of the scared and huddling kobolds were numerous goats, rams, and bulls with shieldbows: warriors of Arban, the Fragment of Defense. “You’re lucky we found you, cleric of Leila. We were just on our way back from Felgrim, but when we saw that you were in trouble, we came to help. Not sure what all these dirty little kobolds are doing here, but our shieldbows are yours,” explained the captain. Pelleas couldn’t be happier to see such strong warriors, so he thanked them and regrouped with the kobolds as they prepared to defend them from Orya.

“Hold the line! Don’t let her take another step!” shouted one of the warriors, as they put up their shields and fired upon the red-clothed goddess. “You lowly creatures are nothing compared to me! Get out of my sight!” she yelled, brushing off the mere nuisances that were the arrows. When Pelleas and the kobolds tried to back away, she retaliated with a flurry of golden blades, slicing through the earth and leaving a trail of purple flame to prevent their escape. Slowly, the warriors of Arban were displaced from their formation, forced to dive out of the way of Orya’s powerful magic. “She’s too powerful! We can’t possibly defeat a Fragment, can we?” asked another of the warriors as Orya continued her mystical assault. All around him, Pelleas saw the goddess’ rage manifest in vicious golden slashes and enormous pillars of purple flame. The efforts of the warriors were noble, but seemingly in vain against such a powerful opponent. As he watched them fruitlessly nock and fire their arrows, Pelleas had one final gambit that could save them from the fury of Orya. “Can you make a shot for me?” he asked the closest shieldbearer. “I don’t see why not, but I don’t know what good it’s going to do us…” he responded, having all but accepted defeat. “Good, now hand me an arrow, quick!” exclaimed Pelleas, hurrying the already on edge warrior. After being handed the arrow, the cleric focused himself and all of his magical energy. “O Fragment Leila, goddess of kindness and compassion… Grant us one last mercy and deliver us from this tragedy! Please… Imbue this arrow with your power so that these innocent kobolds and noble warriors may live to see another day!” he chanted, sending everything he had into the arrow he was presented with. The energies of compassion flowed into the arrow like streams of water, glowing with a majestic ivory light as they embraced the pointed instrument. All of the cleric of Leila’s hopes and dreams rested on this final blessing. When the ritual was complete, he returned the arrow to the archer who had given it to him, bracing himself for whatever came next. All he had left to do now was pray. As methodically as all the rest, the warrior nocked and fired the magical arrow, and as if by fate, it struck true.

At first, it seemed to do nothing, and Orya continued to fire off magical attacks in hopes of achieving the blind vengeance she so desired. The terrified kobolds and exhausted warriors prepared to give up hope, but slowly the dragon’s assault dwindled. Orya’s eyes drooped, her wingbeats slowed, and soon enough, she fell to the ground with a thunk, completely pacified by the blessed arrow. The wastes of Ohm had been completely obliterated, its sunken gray grass alight with violet flames and drained topsoil entirely uprooted by shining, slicing blades, but it seemed that the Fragment of Opulence had at last been defeated. “I don’t believe it! She’s fallen asleep!” exclaimed one of Arban’s warriors. The collection of bulls, rams, and goats cheered at the realization, celebrating their victory over the Fragment and defense of the now less wary kobolds. As he wiped the sweat from his brow, Pelleas noticed an ecstatic Naknak running up to him with glee. “You did it! You saved us!” he exclaimed, tugging on his friend’s robe and hugging him with his tiny blue arms. Following right behind him were the rest of the kobolds, who were just as eager as Naknak to show Pelleas their affection. “H-hey, w-what’s going on?” mumbled the cleric, embarrassed by all the kobolds piling onto him and Naknak for a group hug. When the servants had finished showing their new friend their appreciation for him, Pelleas and Naknak turned to the noble warriors who had come to their rescue. “I can’t thank you all enough for your help. If not for you, all of us would have perished. We are truly in your debt,” explained Pelleas, kneeling and putting his head down in respect. “All in a day’s work. Give Leila our regards when you return,” responded the knight-captain. The remaining warriors gave him their salute and headed off to return to Andor, while Pelleas and the kobolds prepared to leave as well.

“You’re leading us to our new master right? You said she’s super nice, right?” nagged a turquoise colored kobold. “ What does she need us to do? Wash clothes? Sort pots and pans? Sweep the floors? I’m real good at sweeping floors,” exclaimed a yellow one. “How long ‘til we get there? I miss having a master to serve…” mumbled a purple kobold. Pelleas wasn’t entirely pleased with the incessant bugging from the twenty-something kobolds he was stewarding, but his training as a cleric had taught him a great deal of patience. Besides, he couldn’t ever be mad at the adorable group of multi-colored lizards. “Where are we going, anyway?” asked Naknak, who had been following Pelleas under the assumption that he knew where he was going. “Well, I figure the best thing to do is to return to Lastia. Lady Leila will know what to do with all of your little friends,” explained the heron. He and his new friends trudged along the lonely dirt paths of Ohm, eager to finally escape the dreadful scenery of Orya’s territory. After many hours of walking and impatient quips from the horde of kobolds, Pelleas decided to set up camp before nightfall. “We’re almost to Lastia, but we’ll have to stay here for the night. I don’t suppose you all have anything to eat, do you? I’m getting kind of hungry, and I assume you are too…” he said, rubbing a wing over his grumbling stomach. “Oh! We don’t right now, but we’re real good at making food! Just you wait, we’ll have something whipped up real soon!” exclaimed Naknak, who turned to his friends and rallied their attention.

Before he knew it, the gang of kobolds had scampered away in every direction, each performing a different task. Two or three gathered firewood from some nearby dead trees, another few grabbed flint and other rocks, yet more chased around small beasts and skewered them with sticks they had found, and still more gathered mushrooms and tubers. Pelleas watched in all as the kobolds worked as a unit, and in no time flat had all gathered at the makeshift camp with a fire, pots and pans he had no idea where they had managed to procure, and a vast array of ingredients to cook with. “They’re such resourceful creatures… I weep at how little respect they receive from the other cliques…” he muttered. Despite everything he had learned about the kobolds, he was still astonished with their amazing skill and resourcefulness. Naknak led a group of 5 or so other kobolds in cooking, using cookware they must have brought with them from Orya’s kitchens to stew, grill, braise, and roast the various ingredients they had procured. In no time at all they had made a variety of home cooked dishes and passed them around the camp, leaving Naknak to present Pelleas with a bowl of hearty stew. “Mistress Orya usually has us prepare nicer dishes, but us kobolds aren’t too picky so we make this when we’re cooking for ourselves. I hope you’re okay with kobold food!” he exclaimed. Pelleas smiled through his beak and accepted the bowl, enjoying every bit of the kobold-made stew.

Another day had passed and Pelleas and his party had finally reached Lem, the capital of Lastia. Its shining white buildings were a beacon to its avian citizens, a sign of their progress and their passion. As they entered the city, the squad of kobolds was in awe at the sight of the beautiful alabaster structures, the fountains and waterways, and the acceptance they were receiving from the citizens of Lem. While one might expect a society of clerics and philosophers to be snooty and judging of the comparably dirty and out of place kobolds, they instead found themselves receiving smiles and waves from the variety of birds that passed the group by. Eventually, Pelleas and the kobolds reached Leila’s temple, where all were welcome. They passed through the towering ivory pillars into the great hall and into the graces of Leila, the Fragment of Compassion. Taking the appearance of a swan in a flowing white and gold dress, she was quite tall, yet had no aura of intimidation. As he entered her presence, Pelleas kneeled before the goddess, sorrowful for his failure to offer aid to the citizens of Felgrim. “You have returned, Pelleas. What brings you such sadness?” she asked him. “I am sorry, Lady Leila. I was not able to fulfill the duty you gave to me, and I fear that many of those I traveled with have perished,” he explained. Leila stepped closer and placed a wing under his beak. “I am aware of the tragedy that befell your caravan. Many of those who traveled with it have returned, either wounded or unharmed. In fact, there is a cleric by the name of Beryl who has relayed how grateful he is to have returned unscathed,” she told him. Pelleas gasped, realizing Beryl must be the blue jay he had spoken with. “You return without your companions, yet you aren’t alone. What are these creatures you have brought with you?” asked the fragment. Blushing and rubbing his head in embarrassment, Pelleas reluctantly explained what had happened.

“I see. It must have taken a great deal of courage and fortitude to rescue and defend all of these kobolds from the Fragment of Opulence. Truly, I am honored to have you as my follower,” responded Leila, upon hearing the cleric’s story. “W-when do we get to start working?” asked an overly eager red kobold, whom Pelleas had to nudge back into the crowd. “But Lady Leila, I failed to complete my task! There are still many people suffering from Wrakseth’s rampage through Felgrim!” he exclaimed, twinging with thoughts of failure. “That may be so, but misfortune befell you, as well. And yet, you took up the call of the innocent, and returned with so many little lives saved because of your work. It is unfortunate that Felbas’ people continue to suffer under siege from the Fragment of Destruction, but that is a problem we shall address another day. For now, we must decide how best to help these kobolds you have brought here to Lem,” responded Leila, continuing to console her humble servant. Pelleas’ mind was still rife with confliction, but when he turned back to look at the crowd of eager kobolds, waiting in anticipation for their chance to serve, he felt a sense of relief. “Thank you, Lady Leila. But… surely we don’t have room for another twenty clerics in your order, do we? Even if they are rather small…” he responded, rubbing his arm nervously. Leila chuckled. “Perhaps we could use a few more clerics, but I think I have something better in mind for them. An old acquaintance of mine has been in need of some… friends, should we say. Would you be so kind as to escort them to her?” she asked. “I would be honored, Lady Leila,” responded the heron, kneeling once more in respect for his goddess.

The map given to Pelleas led him and his kobold companions once more out of Lastia and into the forest of Peld. Not much was known about Peld, as it was often considered uninhabited and left out of the war between the Fragments. Although the heron wasn’t sure just who was living out here in this lonely forest, he trusted that Lady Leila knew what she was talking about. “C’mon, I thought you were bringing us to our new master! Why are we going into the forest?” asked a particularly impatient green kobold. “He is bringing us! didn’t you hear the swan lady say she knew someone who needed friends?” responded Naknak, covering for his cleric friend as they delved deeper into the forest. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening! I just wanna be given orders…” whined the green kobold. Pelleas continued to lead the lizards down the dirt path through the thick-canopied forest until they reached a strange rock formation. “The map says it’s here, and Lady Leila said to place my wing on the rock with a flowery rune etched into it…” he mumbled to himself, before performing the action he said he would. When his wing touched the odd looking rock, the rune began to glow a faint blue color and a stone doorway opened up, revealing stairs that led underground. The kobolds oohed and ahed at the magical door, figuring that they’d be right at home in another cave. The cleric wasn’t too keen on entering the lair of another crazed dragon, but after a little nudge from the kobolds, he and they made their way down.

At the bottom of the stairway wasn’t a majestic, towering pagoda like Orya’s home, but instead a humble abode, filled with pillows, blankets, and bookshelves. Giving the place a look around, Pelleas found who they belonged to: a large, fluffy, white and blue dragon sitting in a pile of pillows with a book in her paws. When she was made aware of the presence of the heron and kobolds, she sunk into the pillowy pile, clearly not too keen on having visitors. “W-who are you?” she asked, a clear quivering in her voice. “Um… My name is Pelleas. I’m a cleric from Lastia. I came here because Lady Leila said you were in need of friends,” explained the heron. Hearing the news, the dragon popped her head out from her pillows, but remained hesitant. “Leila…? She was a friend of mine a long time ago… What kind of friends has she sent me?” she asked, still not wanting to leave the safety of her pile. Blushing, Pelleas revealed the answer. “Well, quite a few. They’re very eager to meet you,” he responded, signaling for the kobolds to go meet their new master. As the dragon finally summoned the courage to leave her pillow pile, she was greeted by the twenty or so kobolds who at last had found their new mistress to serve. “New master, new master!” they chanted, rushing up to the large, fluffy girl and surrounding her with hugs. “Eeek!” she cried, scared of the kobolds at first, but after realizing they meant her no harm, she came to appreciate their company. “There’s so many of them! Do you really all want to be my friends?” she exclaimed, scared and confused, yet excited at the circumstance. “Of course we do!” shouted many of the kobolds. “You’re our new mistress, we’d do anything for you!” responded the rest. The dragon was clearly in shock from the sudden appearance of so many little kobolds, but at the same time, she felt a sense of happiness and gratitude from their presence.

After a while to get used to them, the white and blue dragon took the time to explain who she was. “M-my name is Phia. I’m the Fragment of Contentment. I-I know it’s not a very impressive title, but it’s mine and I’ve come to appreciate it… Orya is my big sister, actually, but we aren’t on very good terms...” she explained. The large, fluffy dragon grew more and more confident as she spent more time with the kobolds, and by the time she had fully embraced her new friends, they were up and about, tidying up her humble home and starting work on dinner. “Y-you don’t have to do all this for me, really! It’s okay, I like my home a little messy…” mumbled Phia, embarrassed at the concept of having servants. Despite the Fragment’s protests, it seemed that the kobolds had finally found themselves a real home. All of them except Naknak. As he sat alone in a corner of the cave, he found himself approached by Pelleas. “Oh, there you are! I was waiting for you!” exclaimed the blue kobold. Pelleas was confused. “What for? I was just getting ready to leave,” he explained. Naknak nodded. “I know!” he said, wagging his little tail in excitement. “How come you aren’t over with Phia and the rest of your friends? I thought you’d be happy to have a new master,” asked the heron. “Phia seems nice and all, but ever since I met you… well, I found a new calling! I don’t wanna serve one master, I wanna serve everyone equally, just like you!” exclaimed Naknak. Pelleas was astonished. “R-really? Won’t you be sad about leaving all your friends behind?” he asked. The cleric had promised that Naknak could be a cleric, but he figured that the chef would rather serve Phia, given the zeal he had shown for Orya when they had first met. Yet it seemed that his assumptions had been misplaced. “I’ll miss them a lot… But, I’ll be okay, because I have you! You’re my friend too, you know!” exclaimed the kobold, getting close enough to the heron to hug him. Any doubts Pelleas might have had about the significance of his deeds in Ohm faded away after this moment. The warmth that Naknak had brought to his heart had made sure of it. “T-thank you, Naknak. Now c’mon, let’s get back to Lastia. We’re going to have to get you some robes tailored if you’re going to be a cleric,” he told his friend. "I even get my own robes? Wow!" exclaimed Naknak, ecstatic at the news. The two turned to Phia and her new friends and waved goodbye as they prepared to leave. Pelleas noticed the mother kobold and her child waving back particularly passionately, but he had already been more than convinced of his worthiness. It didn’t hurt to see a few more happy faces, though. After their final goodbyes, Pelleas and Naknak began their climb up the stairway, each eternally grateful for the wing of compassion one had lent the other in their time of need.

Saga of Divesia: The Wing of Compassion

Shadewrecker

20 August 2021 at 00:11:36 MDT

The first story in the Saga of Divesia, The Wing of Compassion

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