Baulk's Betrayal

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In the final days before the Betrayal and the beginning of the War, Old Neb placed his tribe closest to the tribe of Baulk, so that he could keep watch on their cannibal brother.

Because of this suspicion, Old Neb was closest when it happened. For days he had felt gathering strength from the valley where Baulk had laired. Gods, in those days when they walked the earth, could not easily disguise their presence. They could be felt, heard, and smelled in ways that were difficult to describe, but unmistakable for those who had been around them before. Neb had been around many gods in his time, but never had he felt so many. Curious to know their purpose he slipped into Baulk's valley with the whispering stealth that only one of the Great Goblyns could match. He had crept within earshot of god's gathering-place when it began.

There was chanting. Words of power thundered through the air. There was a scream. Long and agonizing. Neb recognized the voice of his wretched brother, but filled with unspeakable pain. With a flash of light, the scream was gone. A quiet settled in the blackness of the night. A thrill of dread ran through Neb. It passed up his spine, perhaps, but in truth . . . Neb feared that this chill had not in fact passed through his body at all, but through something else.

The gods vanished, and Neb ran from that cursed place. He gathered his tribe and rushed east both day and night. Goblyns from Baulk's tribe fled with them, scattering and fleeing a terror they could not put to words. On noon of the second day the skies blackened and streaks of fire appeared among the unnatural stars. Great stones plummeted to earth. One struck the center of the deep forests. Another struck the mountains. Another the plains. The desert. The deep ocean. The meteors shook the earth and killed thousands of goblyns in raging fires that swept all before them and filled the sky with grey ash. Rumors began to spread, faster than the fires themselves, that goblyn litters were being born . . . strange. Smaller. Some shriveled and lifeless the moment they came into the world. Soon the other races appeared from where the stones had struck. Pale, knife-eared creatures from the forests. Short, powerful creatures with deep voices from the mountains. Huge, broad shouldered monsters from the deserts with glowing arms.

The Betrayal was done, the War had begun. Neb kept his tribe moving. To the east, to where Reth and Sifu and Skribbit had their kingdoms.

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