There is a small tale, a tale of someone small and something big. The small one was weak and the big was strong, but true strength rests in the heart and spirit. So this is a tale of a small person with a lot of spirit, and a lot of heart. This tale takes place in the cold, cold land of Elcon, where there is always snow on the ground and a great many strange and wondrous things exist. But all the magics in Elcon, all the monsters and blades, none can stand before a true spirit and a pure heart.
The name of this small one was Lofan, and Lofan was a coneperson.
Conepeople are the smallest race in Elcon, being no larger than a clenched fist. As their name implies they are a cone. A small cone with round feet and beady black eyes. You can’t even see their mouth unless they open it. Conepeople don’t even have any hands, or tentacles or arms to put the hands on.
Instead, conepeople can lift things with their minds, though often a coneperson will have trouble with even a little toothpick. When many conepeople join together in thought if there is enough of them, they can shift mountains. The magicians of the conepeople have this power in greater amounts. There is a flaw however.
A coneperson can’t use this power if they give into fear or despair. Being the smallest race in Elcon, conepeople have plenty to fear. So before they can use their power together to defend themselves, they scatter in fear.
Lofan however was a bit different. He would face his fears. When others would cower in fear of a dark spirit, he would laugh and point out that it was simply their own shadows. Lofan was just a simple oinkherd. Though, when “simple” is said, bear in mind that most conepeople are scared of anything that moves and is larger than them, or even just anything larger than them.
Oinks, being the one legged, one-eyed, pig like creature that they are, are larger than a coneperson, not much larger, but large enough that a coneperson would panic when surrounded by large snuffing squealing snouts.
So, Lofan was a brave and good humoured coneperson, he never jumped at shadows or get scared by Oinks. It wasn’t that he didn’t get scared, it was more that he faced his fears.
So, the small one of this tale is Lofan, of wild spirit and stout heart. What was the big of this tale?
The large threat barren in spirit and heart?, the roaring monster that dared anyone to challenge it?
It was a particularly large and nasty furmine, an unholy combination of cockroach and rat. This one was thrice the size of a regular coneperson. It even had a name and could speak.
It was Atticus, Despoiler of Victuals. Most were mere mindless pests, but not Atticus.
It was a wild terror, not just the conepeople feared this beast, most of the small races living inside and beneath the Giant Snowman(where a lot of Elconites lived, it was far larger than giant) were hounded by this being. Atticus wasn’t even a dog, and yet he hounded. Ravaged crops, ruined gardens, broken homes and raided taverns.
Many had challenged Atticus, but they could not stand before the giant furmine, for you see, the source of his power and size was a magic crystal, embedded in his back. It was this that gave him his cunning mind, but it also was the source of his foul nature. As would be expected, having a big crystal stuck in your back hurts like, well having a big crystal in your back.
Atticus’s crystal also apart from granting chronic back pain, allowed him to shoot beams of power from the crystal.
Now Atticus had a fondness for porcine foods, anything that tasted like some kind of pig he adored, for this was the one fatty food that eased his constant pain, he especially liked to have oink with a side of fried jagged crow eggs.
So Atticus was one day slinking around in the caves and passages, groaning in pain and wishing for some succulent sausages or something of that nature, when what should he see but the herd of Oinks that Lofan tended.
“I should very much like the taste of those porkers” he thought with glee, rubbing his antenna together and cackling “And only one small coneman stands between me and my prey, I think I shall torment him before eating the herd”
Atticus sneaked about on his six legs, clinging to the ceiling, then with a terrible hiss he dropped down behind Lofan! Poor Lofan nearly jumped right out of his oinkskin boots. Atticus clicked his mandibles together, laughing.
“Miserable little Cone, serve these oinks to me as my food.”
Atticus didn’t for a moment think Lofan would do anything other than fleeing in terror, after which, he’d chase him around for a bit. He was slightly surprised when Lofan turned around to Atticus and spoke back to him.
“Fine, but I’ll need roots for a fire if I am to cook them” Lofan said, for he had a plan.
Atticus fell to gluttony, he knew that cooked meat tasted far better than raw meat, so though he suspected that this odd cone was planning something, his mouth watered at the idea of cooked pig.
“Very well, but if you flee, I’ll find you and swallow you and your village whole”
With that threat, Atticus scuttled off to rip out some roots for a fire. Lofan began herding the Oinks away, sending them back to the village. When Atticus returned, only Lofan was to be seen, not an Oink in sight. Atticus roared in anger, threw down the roots he had collected and charged over to Lofan.
“Do you take me for a fool, little cone. All the oinks are gone, so I’ll just eat you, then your village too!”
“Hold your gnashing teeth Atticus” Lofan protested “I merely sent the Oinks to be prepared”
Indeed, to be prepared for his plan. For a plan Lofan did have.
Again, Atticus gave to greed and relented. “Well, I have brought your roots”
“Well, pile it up” Lofan responded.
Atticus piled it up and set it alight with his crystal, but Lofan tut-tuted.
“This isn’t nearly enough for a hot enough fire, we need some candle plants, their oils will make the fire stronger” he said, for he had a plan.
Atticus hissed, but all the same he scuttled off and pulled up some candle plants, getting his paws brunt by the hot wax, but the thought of proper cooked oink urged him on. Shortly he returned to Lofan.
“There, I’ve brought you your candleplants, though my back aches and my paws are brunt.”
“Then pound them up and add them to the fire”
So he did and the fire crackled merrily.
“Is it hot enough now?” Atticus asked
“Not yet, almost, gather some coal, and we shall see then” Lofan said, for he had a plan.
Atticus dug through the earth, sniffing out coal, and even fighting a few errant creatures that got in his way. Battered, bruised, feeling very tired and his back paining him mightily made his way back to Lofan with a small hoard of coal.
“So… what more do I need to bring?” Atticus moaned, guessing a pattern here.
“Just one thing, a fuel gem, bring a fuel gem and we’ll have a strong enough fire to roast a whole herd of Oinks” Lofan said, for his plan was almost finished.
“I should eat you now and be done with this” Atticus said.
“Then who would cook the Oinks?” Lofan replied.
Atticus sighed and dragging his tail, went to find a fuel gem. fuel gems are rare things, that can lend strength to a fire for many days. A Fuel gem is warm to the touch, and can only be found in rock that has had seventy fires lit on it for seventy nights, not only that, but seventy salamanders need to have rested there, an then apart from all that, seventy red gems need to be in the rock, to become the fuel gems. So, fuel gems are a rare and difficult thing to cultivate, let alone find.
But Atticus had a fuel gem in his stash, for he had found many valuable things in raiding people’s homes for food. Atticus’ stash was a goodly way off though, so it took him some time to reach it and to come back with the gem.
“I have your gem, now what?”
“Toss it into the flames” Lofan said.
So Atticus did so, and the flames went higher and turned a bright crimson.
“Now, roast me some Oinks, or it’ll be you on the spit little cone” Atticus threatened.
But Lofan wasn’t scared, his plan had only two steps left.
“There is one last thing you must do” Lofan began “Strike the fire with your crystal beam”
Atticus grumbled, but waddled over to the fire, which at this point was very, very hot. Lofan crept up behind him, and just as Atticus was to fire a beam, he pushed with all his mind, and tossed Atticus into the Flames!
Atticus howled in pain as his fur was burnt off, but most surprising was how his crystal reacted to the flames, it melted right off off his back! He tumbled out of the fire, and rolled about in the dust, quenching the flames on his body. He slowly got up, slamming his mandibles in fury, he stomped over to Lofan, who was greatly afeared that his plan hadn’t worked.
Then, Atticus stopped. Slobbering maw mere inches from Lofan.
“My Back. It doesn’t hurt any longer.”
“My back isn’t so sore” Atticus repeated.
“MY BACK DOESN’T HURT!” Atticus declared with glee, hopping about manically.
“Whatever can I do to thank you?” Atticus asked of Lofan.
“Why, give up your wicked ways, and serve my village as a guardian”
Atticus seemed uncertain, but then Lofan said;
“You’ll get paid in food, we wouldn’t make work for nothing”
So Atticus agreed immediately after that. So the villain was reformed and Lofan saved the Oink herd.
Though, it took a while for him to get the other conepeople used to Atticus.