While the little fire and the conegirl Petil tried to make their way to Ob, a truly wicked denizen of Elcon had become aware of the little fire. Yes, none other than the Firelord, who would brook no flame other than his own.
Far to the west of the Giant Snowman, in the temple he had forced denizens to build to himself, he glowered and raged at the knowledge of a new firefolk in Elcon. Crackling in fury, he called some of his Cinders to him. These dark servants of his were once normal gnargs.
A gnarg, is a kind of crab-like denizen, having a hard blue shell and exoskeleton. They have four segmented arms, two with little pincers and the others with four claws in a cross at their hand. They have no feet, instead having two legs that end in a sharp point. They also sport a tail with a stinger. The tail is far too short to be of much use. They are in size, around three times the size of a coneperson.
Gnargs it could be said to suffer from two great afflictions. The first is bad eyesight. The second is that they tend toward minionism. Gnargs will in general with follow the baddest guy they find. Many an adventurer has been surprised to find themselves with an army of gnargs after defeating the evil overlord they served. Also, many Evil Overlords have been surpised when their formerly servile minions abandon them after deciding that after all, the evil overlord wasn’t that bad of a dude.
Now, understand, this is the gnargish concept of ‘badness’ Rather than being evilness, for gnargs being the baddest means being the loudest, flashiest, most dramatic and strongest person around. It just so happens that both tyrants and adventurers happen to often being loud, flashy, dramatic and strong. Unsurprisingly most denizens don’t understand gnargs. Every know and then one denizen does and for their troubles get the service off all the gnargs they come across.
The Firelord most certainly did not understand the gnargs. As much as the gnargs didn’t like having their shells blackened by his flames, they did admit it was dramatic. Of course, being a huge firefolk who had consumed many flames and fuels, he was most definitely strong and flashy. Finally. He was definitely loud.
He was certainly an intimidating figure. A suit of armour filled with blinding fire. He didn’t consider anyone other than himself worthy to see all of his flame. Such was his fire that it was slowly consuming the grim armour.
His helmet had a hideous face upon it and the feet and gauntlets were wickedly clawed. It was whispered among his servants that he had a smith he kept captive in secret and each day he would force this smith to make a suit of armour using his own flames for the forge.
His voice was a roar of flames as he commanded the gnargs before him.
He announced that he had felt the presence of one of his kin come into being, his was to be the only flame, so he commanded the gnargs to snuff the little fire out.
He then with a massive gauntleted hand, handed them a burning stick.
A stick? they questioned.
A magic stick the Firelord roared back at them, calling them fools for failing to see that this was clearly a magical stick with a magical flame.
The blackened shelled gnargs looked doubtfully at the stick.
The Firelord raged at having such dull-witted servants, he directed the gnargs to look at the flame on the tip of the stick.
They looked at the flame. It didn’t really look particularly strange or different to them.
There was a clanging sound as the Firelord’s gauntlet came against his helmet. He considered taking it off and reducing his Cinders to ashes.
He pointed at the ember on the stick, his on flames barely staying inside his armour such was his anger.
He explained that the flame was pointing in a direction, and if they followed it, they would find the new firefolk. He also mentioned that if the stick burned up before they found the firefolk, the ember would explode and burn them all to ashes.
The Firelord laughed as his minions scrabbled away, stick held high.
It was a hard wicked laugh, full of cruelty and without mirth.