Afflicted Kender by Kipper Snifferdoo

After the Second Cataclysm, when the Gods made a pact with Chaos and the Great Dragon Overlords first appeared on Krynn, Malystryx arrived from the Misty Isles. The great red dragon claimed all the lands on the Bay of Bailfor. She took up residence and began to use her magic to terraform the surrounding lands into a habitat more suitable to her. Once lush forests withered and died. Forest fires broke out. The land became arid and dry, and animals were becoming sick from the blight that Malystryx had brought to the land.

Eventually every living thing on the Goodlund Peninsula was affected by that magic and the kender living there could feel it and it bothered them. It saddened them to see the lands that they called home dieing all around them and there was nothing they could to stop it. They were powerless to prevent this perversion from taking over.

Within a year of Malystryx’s arrival she had made her way to Kendermore. Once there she wiped out thousands of kender. The destruction was so horrible and on such a grand scale that any living kender that witnessed the horrors of the attack learned the one thing that kender had blissfully been immune to since their creation: fear. The survivors headed west toward Hylo, the only other major Kender civilization, each one bringing back some atrocious tale of death and destruction. Many of them bearing horrible burns and scars. Lead by Moonsong, daughter of Goldmoon and Riverwind, they traversed thousands of miles of hostile territory to get to Hylo. This was known as the “Kender Flight”.

Once there the refugees were welcomed with open arms by their kindly distant relatives. But it was clear that the kender from Goodlund had been changed by their experience. They were no longer the carefree kender they used to be. They retained that lust for life, but had lost the innocence the Hylo kender had. They started to form their own villages and communities and distanced themselves from their cousins. They became know as “Afflicted Kender”.

Physically there is no different between True Kender and Afflicted Kender. They look the same. But if one studies a kender long enough they can make out subtle differences in the mannerisms and attitude between the two. True Kender share of look of mischievous innocence. They have a twinkle in their eye that tells you they are looking forward to that next surprise just coming around the corner. Afflicted Kender always seem just a bit hesitant in a new situation. The common kender notion of “leap before you look” is lost on the kender that have experienced true fear.

Afflicted Kender are also more aggressive than true kender and are found to be either quick to anger or quick to have their feelings hurt. This is not to say they can’t be friendly. An Afflicted Kender can be just as open and friendly as a True Kender. But they take things more seriously than their light hearted cousins and remarks that true kender ignore or take in an off-handed manner can sometimes make an Afflicted Kender think twice about it. Body language is the biggest tell tale sign.

They also tend to favor darker clothing. Dark colors and earth tones that can easily camouflage the kender in a dangerous situation in particular. These kender are also more inclined to wear armor than True Kender. It gives them a sense of security. But they will rarely wear anything heavier than chain, and will prefer to leave their hands free by not employing a buckler or shield. Heaver weapons and swords that can inflict the most damage are often employed by Afflicted Kender, rather than the multi-functional kender weapons True kender carry.

Some Afflicted Kender almost seem to be just like True Kender. They are friendly, full of life, outgoing, and curious as ever, but when it comes down to a perilous circumstance, that’s when you’ll notice the difference. The most noticeable difference between the two races occurs in dangerous situations. Afflicted Kender have learned how to be cautious, a trait True Kender are usually very flippant about. Once a kender has tasted fear it is not an emotion they would like to repeat, so they become much more sober and serious in the face of a perceived threat.

There are also Afflicted Kender that have gone so far as to change their personality in a drastic way. These Afflicted Kender, that bear emotional scars from the Kender Flight, can be dangerous to themselves and others. These kender have an attitude that is unlike any kender before them. They are distrusting, overly cautious, brooding, quiet, and revengeful. They suffered the worst of the attack in Kendermore and often bare physical scars to show for it. These kender have been known to become thieves, bandits, and assassins, professions any “sane” kender would naturally steer clear from. The only possible good that may come out of this insanity is that these kender usually focus their anger against the Dragon Overlords and their minions.

Some kender that survived the attack on Kendermore did not leave in the Kender Flight. They remained, hiding out in burned out villages, making veiled enclosures in the cliffs surrounding Malystryx’s Lair, or dwelling in the forests that had not been destroyed by the Overlords magic just on the edge of her territory. These “barbarian” afflicted kender have banded together to attempt to make the Overlords life as miserable as possible. They make attacks on the red’s minions that are bringing offerings. They make sure that messengers traveling by land are intercepted and patrols are harried.

In yet another difference that can be drawn between the two races is that Afflicted Kender will always remember to have an “out” in any plan. Very rarely will they concoct a plan without determining what to do if the odds are against them. True Kender usually rely on luck in that situation.

One of the most notable Afflicted Kender would be Belladonna. Born Billie Juniper, Belladonna watched her entire family burn to death from Malystryx’s fiery breath when she was a child. She was the only member of her village left alive, but she did not escape unharmed. Her back and legs are covered in painful scars that continuously bother her. She was forced to grow up fast on the journey from Kendermore. The innocence and joy was ripped from her in her young childhood as it was from many kender children at that time.

Once Billie Juniper reached Hylo she, like many other afflicted kender, tried to get back into the daily routines and tried to start life again. But it was soon evident that the newly arrived kender were having problems integrating back into kender society. Many of the Afflicted Kender departed to begin villages of their own, because they were unable to handle living with the True Kender. These villages are always well protected and selected and built for the maximum amount of defense. They also have patrols that wander around the village all times of day so they are not caught unaware from any outsider.

The True Kender believed their attitude and separate villages were just a phase that would pass and that the Afflicted Kender just had to work through their grief. Over the next decade Billie Juniper grew up among the True Kender and witnessed the difficulties the two types of kender were having dealing with each other.

Upon hearing that there were more Dragon Overlords in Ergoth that may pose a threat to Hylo, the Afflicted kender wanted to raise a standing Kender Army. The True kender thought that would be a fun notion and decided to join them, although they rarely took the idea of an army very seriously. Billie Juniper changed her name to Belladonna and became one of the most ferocious fighters and intelligent strategist around. She quickly won the respect of her fellow kender. And when it looked as though Hylo might come under attack, Belladonna decided that in order to best protect her people from attack she needed absolute control. So she took it. She kicked out the Windseed family which had ruled longer than anyone cared to remember in Hylo. This of course annoyed the Windseed family to no end which had become used to being known as the royalty of Hylo.

Once in charge Belladonna was not content to sit back and wait for the slaughter. She started planning and using kender resources to lead other afflicted kender, (and those true kender that want some adventure) against the Dragon Overlords (Pyrothraxus and Gellidus). Her obsession will target Malystryx before too long and her single-minded mania against the Overlords may bring Hylo more trouble than it could get into itself.

To this day the effects that caused Afflicted Kender have not faded as the True Kender believed. In fact there are traces of Afflicted Kender in their children. And those kender raised in Afflicted Villages. So they may be around to stay.

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