Sunday, August 21, 2016

Skitl's pitch

"Please wait Foulbreath, hear me out!"

Skitl pleaded, scurrying to keep up with the warboss. He hated having to scurry, but he had little choice in the matter. As the shortest Grot in the clan he was forced to scurry to match pace with anyone else, and Foulbreath was immensely tall, standing a mere inch short of a full four feet.

"Forget it Skitl, the clan is not here to fetch and carry for you. I'm not getting the lads killed just to get you some Aelven flowers."

Foulbreath hadn't been impressed when Skitl, breathless with excitement had come out of a 'shroom trance with the knowledge of the location of four lifebloom in the forests below their mountainous lair. Skitl blamed himself, it was a bit much to expect a Grot renowned for his lethal halitosis to have much truck with the mystical flora of an ancient Goddess from beyond time. He needed to get him on board though, as he was buggered if he was going down there himself. He decided to try psychology.

"What's this, the great Foulbreath, scared of a few trees?"

It did not have the desired effect.

"Yes Skitl, I'm scared of a few trees, and so are you or else you wouldn't be here"

That was true at any rate.

"I don't know much about these flowers but I know the forest folk don't take kindly to our lot just going down and picking what we like. Now I'm not prepared to get introduced to the business end of a dryad no matter how good a trip you're gonna get from this weed."

The taller Grot turned to the diminutive shaman, causing Skitl to trip over the ludicrously tall staff he carried to compensate for his lack of height. Foulbreath reached down and hauled the little fellow up by the scruff.

"Look Skitl, you know me. I've no problem putting Grot lives on the line, as many as you like, but I'm not seeing whats in it for me."

Of course...he'd been coming at this the wrong way. Skitl blamed the mushrooms. The visions they offered him where often useful, and of course the power they granted him was the only reason Grots like Foulbreath bothered to listen to him in the first place, but there was no question that they dulled his wits when it came to negotiating. So what would it take to get a powerful Grot interested?

"Power, Foulbreath."

"I got power, shaman."

"You've got maybe fifty Grots, boss, and a dozen squigs."

The big Grot narrowed his eyes. He leaned menacingly into Skitl's face.

"Fifty more'n you, who'd be happy to stick yer if I asked 'em."

Skitl raised his hand placatingly.

"Course you do boss, course you do! But if I gets me 'ands on these blooms, I can brew us up a potion that'll help you control...the big guy."

Foulbreath raised his eyebrows, stepped away from Skitl, to the little Grots relief.

"The big guy? You mean big Red?"

"Who else? You know he'll drink whatever you give him if it's got alcohol in it, you get me those blooms an I can fix him right up."

Foulblades eyes lit up with greed, and Skitl knew he was on board. If Foulblade could control the recalcitrant Gargant, he could become a real contender in the region. His rivals would flock to his side, and his fifty Grots would soon become several hundred or even more. Of course he neglected to tell Foulblade that dryads would probably be the least of his worries; the vision had shown him that the lifeblooms where in the garden of a powerful Treelord ancient. Very likely Foulblade and most of the clan would be killed, but that was of little concern to Skitl...once he got his hands on the blooms he could get the Gargant under his control, then he'd be the one calling the shots, and the other clans would soon come under his heel. Then there'd be no more scurrying, and no more wheedling with Grots who had more muscles than brains. And I'll get myself a new staff, he thought.

A really big one.

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