Zeek the Brash
If there's a fight, he's sure to be right in the middle of it!
Zeek hatched amongst the Kawwat clan. The Kawwat, Draconic for brotherhood (so named because of the strong kinship between those of dragon blood), are one of the few tribes surrounding Halagard that is made up of both dragonborn and kobolds. Together the two dragon-kin races coexist because each recognizes the strengths and limitations of the other
Perhaps as a result of this coexistence, Zeek developed slightly different from his shell-mates. Though always aware of his small stature, he developed the strength and honor typical of the dragonborn, and showed no interest in the scavenging kobolds typically took to among the Kawwat. Instead, he joined his larger kin on their hunting parties—unbeknownst to them. He learned their hunting methods by watching, and soon was able to prove himself worthy of the title of hunter.
Within his first year, Zeek came to be a hunt leader, his honor and valor enough to gain the respect of most dragonborn. There were still a few who doubted one who was so small, and there were some kobolds who no longer saw him as one of their own. However, the threat of armored humans had already reached the other tribes and the Kawwat wanted no trouble. The elders sent a delegation to Halagard, representing the tribe and expressing their interest in peaceable trade. Zeek was one of the five hunters chosen for the honor of protecting the delegation.
The delegation entered Halagard through Eastport, and found a crowd blocking their way. They had encountered some derision and angry looks as they passed through the farms, but they had not expected to be blocked from achieving their goal. Honor would not let them leave without seeing their task through, and the crowd would not disperse until they left. Zeek knew this could not come to blows for the sake of the Kawwat, but he couldn’t help being on edge.
Then a tall, pale-faced woman with flowing brown hair stepped from the crowd. She singled out the ringleaders of the mob and spoke to them loud enough for all to hear. Her words flowed together with her melodic voice, fluttering like the faded green gown she wore as it was caught by the sea breeze. Whatever she said eventually caused the crowd to disperse, though some of the tension lingered. Zeek noticed some of the dockworkers eying them with malice and did his best to protect the honor of his tribe.
She turned to the children of the dragon, revealing almond-shaped eyes that were a silvery-green. “Welcome to Eastport,” she said in perfect Draconic, the clipped consonants and resonant hissing even more sonorous in the more familiar tongue. Zeek stared at her, speechless. “I am Rhyel, Walker of the Forgotten Way.” In Draconic, her title was missed to any passersby, but the Kawwat sensed that this was not one she would speak of to many. “You have drawn some unwanted attention. Come with me, perhaps I can help you with whatever has brought you to the city.”
Zeek was lost in the diplomacy that followed. They found themselves in the relative safety of a tavern where Rhyel spoke briefly with a teenage boy with pointed ears who could have been her son. His eyes, a deeper color than hers, took in the group and he nodded, slipping out the back door so quietly that Zeek wasn’t sure that he’d seen the brief conversation take place.
The woman, her elven ears more apparent now that she had tucked her flowing hair behind one of them, smiled warmly as she returned to them. “Rolan will keep watch for us and make sure if anyone comes looking for you that we will be prepared.” Zeek took up a position near the back door where the boy had gone, watchful and ready in case any trouble presented itself. He was curious about this woman and how she had learned his tongue so fluently, but that was a task for the diplomats. His duty was to protect them.
After some time, the younger elf appeared by his shoulder and spoke urgently to Rhyel. She stood abruptly from their discussion, explaining quickly: “The Mailed Fist is on their way. They will not be happy that you have come, but they are the ones to whom we must speak with on behalf of your Brotherhood.” She glanced over her shoulder at the boy, saying something quickly in their language before translating. “Send your small hunter with my son. Should anything happen to us someone should get word out of the city, and he will be most unnoticed.”
The elf and the kobold swiftly made their escape, and the boy led them to a rooftop down the street where they could see the front door of the tavern as the paladins in shining armor surrounded and entered. The boy said something, but Zeek wasn’t sure he understood because of how the elven tongue seemed to make words flow together. The boy tried again, speaking a little slower, his words more clear this time: “We should track them from the rooftops. The Mailed Fist never look up.” There was a mischievous twinkle in his hazel eyes.
“I am called Zeek,” the kobold said in stilted common. “We stay close to brothers.”
Rolan nodded. “Like a shadow.” he pointed to the north, up one of the cliff faces that divided the city. “They’ll be taking them there, and we’ll follow as close as we can.”
Zeek couldn’t see what the boy was pointing at, but his eyes narrowed in that direction, his thoughts embroiled with this large place where everything seemed to be against the Kawwat. The boy held his hand out to the kobold.
“My name is Rolan. If anyone can get your people out of the city safely, it’s Rhyel.” The confidence in his voice was genuine, but Zeek noticed his new partner was troubled. Rolan looked quickly away, gesturing as the paladins filed out of the tavern with the Kawwat and Rhyel surrounded. They were being escorted quickly through the streets, northward as Rolan had predicted.
The two followed with as much stealth and haste as was possible, though it seemed Rolan was correct about their lack of awareness above them. Perhaps their armor made it difficult to tilt their heads at that angle.
Eventually, the group disappeared inside the main temple, and Rolan settled down at a good vantage point to wait. Zeek began pacing. “You’ll be less noticeable if you relax,” Rolan said softly.
Zeek snorted. “The honor of the Brotherhood is threatened. There is no relax.”
Rolan just nodded, but Zeek did try to slow his pacing, focusing instead on remaining alert and watchful. Even with his eyes trained on the temple entrance, Rolan straightened and hissed, “Look,” before Zeek saw anything.
Sure enough, the main door of the temple where parishioners of all shapes and sizes where moving in and out suddenly had an abrupt change in traffic pattern. In the void, a group dragonborn emerged, escorted by a few paladins. At the edge of the district where the group would proceed down the cliff-face back to Eastport, some members of the City Watch were gathered to continue the escort.
Zeek was glad to see that all of his brethren were there, and he eagerly moved towards them to rejoin his tribesmen. Rolan put out a hand to stop him. “Wait.” He looked back towards the temple. Then his gaze returned to the dragonborn being escorted from the city. “It will be best if we rejoin them outside the city. If the Mailed Fist suspect others of the tribe were doing something wrong while those made peace…any agreement they reached would be forfeit.” He started leading Zeek back the way they had come.
There were a few tense moments when they had to get past the guards at the gates of Eastport, but eventually, they were able to catch up to the Kawwat — they had not wanted to go far with one of their own missing. Zeek approached quickly, demanding to know what passed. Speaking quickly in Draconic, the kobold came to understand that Rhyel had been able to reason with the Mailed Fist, though at some cost to herself. They were not able to follow all of the conversation that passed between the humans and their elven translator, but they knew that their tribe had been granted the right to trade with the city of Halagard, and would be treated peacefully as long as they followed the city’s rule of law. Before their departure, Rhyel had charged the delegation with taking Rolan with them, and gave them a message for him. The leader of the delegation approached Rolan, handing him the piece of parchment with flowing Elven script written upon it.
Rolan’s jaw tightened when he read the words, but he refolded the message and tucked it inside his leather tunic. “Are we going?” he asked impatiently. “We don’t want to be caught out here in the dark if we can help it.”
They returned to the Kawwat lands after a few days travel, and after working with the tribe to teach them the common dialect used in Halagard, Zeek and Rolan went to work guiding and protecting trade caravans to and from various tribes. Although Zeek was rarely perceptive or insightful, he did notice that even after many long days on the road, Rolan still carried the parchment from Rhyel. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, he would take it out and read it.
If they ever find Rhyel again, the Kawwat wish to thank her for her aid.
After traveling together for about a year-and-a-half, Zeek’s right hand (shield arm) was smashed in a wagon wheel. It probably would require amputation just above the wrist, but the shaman and/or priest of the Kawwat might have been able to do more to save it. Rolan left Zeek with the clan before returning to Halagard in search of work.