The Meklar Lizardfolk of the Longshadow Swamps have always been about survival. If the wind shifted, they shifted with it. They never much cared for the reasons why something happened or what power or wealth was to be gained by it. They cared about contentment, food in their bellies and comfort at night.
It made them practical. It made them remorseless instruments of someone else’s agenda. It made them great soldiers in the armies of the Ka’Wren Gnolls of the The Great Woodlands. They fought, some died. Life went on.
Kel, first lieutenant of the Scalefire Battalion, was content with his life as a soldier, if any Lizardfolk can really be called content. They just … exist, for the most part. Battles came and went, acquaintances died or were transferred in and out of the unit.
It wasn’t until The Battle of Emerald Valley, the audacious attempt at a full on frontal assault on the Seat of the Adron Alliance, the Emerald Keep, that Kel’s life would change forever.
Fighting was fierce. Siege weapons attempted to break the walls of The Emerald Keep, its walls comprised of the living roots of The Great Old Ones continuously reweaving themselves to defend against the assault. He saw his compatriots fall on each side of him, coldly calculating that the odds of his own survival as very slim.
A root ball from a catapult behind the walls of The Emerald Keep came hurling at him, Impacting a siege tower to his right, shooting timbers from it at Kel, knocking him unconscious.
He woke up to find himself tied to a chair, an ancient human with a long, well manicured grey beard draping down his chest. He said, “Don’t you want more? More than to be an instrument, drifting through life, at the mercy of your blood and your own dispassion?” With that he started uttering words, weaving his hands in the air, calling forth the magics of the wood. It triggered something in the deep recesses of Kel’s soul - empathy.
The wave of emotion, of regret, guilt, opportunities missed, the deaths and pain he had inflicted, friends - yes, he realized he had friends - that had died next to him in battle. Kel collapsed under the weight of the new found emotions.
The next year, under Elder Greybeards counsel, where the most difficult and rewarding of his life. He came away from the Elder’s teachings with a newfound respect for life, a love of what existence brings and knowledge of the magics inherent in the wood.