RainRot

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Rainrot

We are one. One mouth. One voice. One hunger. Nothing will stop us.

But she was tired.

She was in the middle of the pack, so it wouldn't hurt to take a little break. She was sure that she could catch the pack by its tail when she woke up. The moment the pack rushed through a nice clearing, she dropped and was sleeping peacefully.

When she awoke, she was surprised to see that others had joined her. Apparently they were tired, too. She smiled and stretched, ready to re-join the pack. There was just one problem: she could not see, nor hear, nor even smell the pack. She had no idea how long she had been out, but it seemed that almost everyone was long gone.

She took a deep breath, trying to collect her thoughts. The world had provided for the pack before her departure, so surely it would continue to provide after. She smiled and laid back; she'd sleep on it and really work at it when she woke up.

She awoke to the sounds of screaming. This was familiar enough in the larger pack, but now it was closer and less diffuse. This made it much more difficult to ignore. She walked toward the screaming only to find most of the gnolls that stayed behind with her arguing over a frantic looking creature. It lacked their prominent mane, and had a much flatter face. It was so weak her friends could toss it about without trouble. Its skin was pink, and was covered by rags.

Most of the gnolls looked at it hungrily; no one was quite sure how long it had been since they'd eaten, and they were more than happy to remedy this problem with a quick snack. The weakling jabbered, but nothing of substance seemed to come out. The gnolls around it found it easy enough to ignore, and were arguing about who got to eat what.

“Please don't eat me! I'll do anything!”

She shoved the other gnolls aside, and stood right over the creature, pushing her snout into its face.

“Oh? Where's there food, then?” she asked, her smile growing wider. “Act fast, or it’ll be you.”

The creature stammered about a farm that he worked at not too far from where they were. He mentioned livestock, including cows bigger than a house. No one was quite sure what a house was, but when the meat sack made large gestures with its arms, they understood.

“Can you bring us a few?” she asked.

“I c-can try,” he stammered, the fear still obvious on his face.

She drew an X across the creature's chest – deep enough to leave a wound, but not deep enough to kill it outright.

“If you leave and don't come back,” she said, tapping her claw where the X intersected, “that's where a claw will go. If you want to die running, you can. If you want to live, bring us a few cows.”

The creature gulped, pale from the pain. It nodded, and agreed. As it stood to walk away, she pointed at one of the other gnolls.

“Follow it. If it tries to run, kill it.”

“Why should I? You've got legs!” the other gnoll shot back.

She sighed. “If you do, you can have first pick of what to eat from the cow.”

“You've convinced me,” the other gnoll replied, practically beaming.

To everyone's' surprise, most of all to the creature's, it came back with two extremely large heffers. All gnolls present feasted well that day, and a few scraps were even spared for the creature that had brought the feast. This then, was the start of an amazing new relationship: lazy gnolls and the creatures that would do their bidding. Though the methods changed over the years, the core principle remained the same: having someone else to do the work makes life much better.

RainRot Gnolls:

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