Rookie Mistake

Rookie Mistake

After months of hard work and training, the fanatic had finally worked his way up from the lowest rung on the ladder to the top of the pyramid. Starting with menial tasks like clearing the sewers of sludge, he was eventually assigned to guarding the labyrinth which was so confusing that some of his fellow broodlings had starved to death inside, after inadvertently taking a wrong turn and getting lost.  It was in this labyrinth where he proved his worth by chasing down intruders with such tenacity, that his superiors began to wonder if he was rabid or diseased. The High Priest Roror of the Allize Taeew lizardmen tribe not only cleared him for duty after inspection, but also ordered him to join the new batch of recruits headed for the Pyramid.

All lizard acolytes begin by cleaning the sewers underneath the Temple of Cazic-Thule.
The maze could be just as dangerous to the lizards that lost their way, as it was to intruders.

Only the most disciplined of the Allize Taeew lizardmen tribe would earn the honor of guarding the holiest of relics perched high in the Pyramid, towering over the rest of the Temple of Cazic-Thule. Those that were deemed worthy received special training from the Temple Archon himself, in physical endurance, advanced strategy and tactics, and language arts. The physical training was grueling - the fanatic was required to stand for hours at the same spot, staying focused and alert to await the Archon's call to come up. Upon being summoned, he would have to quickly climb wall after wall up the pyramid, and make it to the top before the Archon called the next recruit.  If you were caught falling asleep, or if you couldn't scale the walls in time, you'd be on duty to clean up the decaying corpses of soft skins to feed the alligators for a week. Should you fail again, the Archon would have you fed to the alligators.

The lizard recruits train tirelessly, scaling these walls in record time - or they face a far worse fate.

Strategy and tactics was by far the most enjoyable class, and the Archon was clearly proud of showing off the defensive system he had devised.  The entrance to the temple was flanked by hidden gorillas and guards on each side of the entrance - an unsuspecting adventurer would quickly have their arms pulled off on each side, should they rush in unprepared.  In addition to the gorillas, they had patrolling sentries and death squads on either side of the entrance, trained to see through any attempts at camoflauge or invisibility. Intruders that tried to hide their tracks were quickly exposed, and their punishment was even more painful than having your arms pulled off at the entrance.  Those that managed to make it past the entrance would still need to meander their way up the maze leading up to the top of pyramid, where they would be forced to fight lizard crusaders with their fearsome harm touches, and judicators that would back them up with heals. The new recruits gathered excitedly at the top of the pyramid, anxiously awaiting a dumb soft skin adventurer to helplessly step foot into the Archon's death trap. They took bets to see how far their victims would get, before panicking and running straight into more of their minions, resulting in a gruesome yet comical death as the recruits hissed and clicked gleefully.

The point of return, for many adventurers hoping to get to the Pyramid.

However, language arts was the fanatic's weakest subject, and he was almost booted from training by the Archon for his lack of progress.  He simply did not understand why they had to learn so many words in Common Tongue, repeating them endlessly and monotonously. The language of Lizardmen was concise and to the point - all that really needed to be said could be explained in a series of clicks and hisses. However, the Archon took him aside and pointed out that it was imperative that they learn the language and customs of the soft skins, if they were to truly instill fear. The soft skins tended to see Lizardmen as an heathen, ignorant bunch, which was not at all accurate - so by addressing them in their own tongue, the Allize Taeew Lizardmen showed that they were in fact smarter than their enemies, who neither understand the Lizardmen tongue nor their culture. Once the fanatic realized this, he started to hide near the druid rings in the Feerrott in his spare time, quietly observing and eavesdropping on a halfling druid in particular that ferried in soft skins regularly from the mystical portal. From what he could gather, the disgusting pies the halfling handed out were of great value to these travelers - perhaps some type of special blessing from the gods, granting powers or protection.

On top of the pyramid. Photo credit to Menlo on Reddit P1999

Recently the Archon had become wary of strange discoveries on top of the pyramid.  At first, it seemed innocuous -  discarded trash such as fishing grubs, copper coins and empty pie tins - but yesterday somebody had dragged a pile of fresh soft skin corpses stacked right in the center of the pyramid. Was this some type of juvenile prank by disgruntled Lizardmen recruits, or was it intended as an unholy sacrifice to desecrate the Temple? The Archon was on high alert, as a sentry reported in - a party of levitating soft skins had made it to the base of the pyramid, and were beginning to scale the walls to bypass the defenses.  As the clamor of the fighting few stronger, now directly overhead, the Archon knew he would have to send in the new recruits itching to prove themselves. This was no longer a drill.

Who was responsible for dragging all these corpses to the top of the Pyramid?

Finally, the moment the fanatic had been waiting for arrived, a chance to use all the skills he had acquired. Always the strongest and fastest, he was the first to climb to the top of the pyramid, where he saw a band of soft skins preparing for battle. From tactical training class, he recalled that if you picked off the strongest among of your enemy, the rest would simply whimper away.  Bravely he ran straight up to challenge the fiercest looking soft skin, an ogre warrior of monstrous size, and proceeded to use his tail to whack the revolting pie she was about to eat out of her hands, before it could grant her additional powers. In perfect Common Tongue, the fanatic exclaimed eloquently, without any hint of an accent:

"Err.. Die without pie, soft skin. It is Ogres like you that have ruined your own land, you'll not ruin mine."

A fatal rookie mistake - do not come between Dogz and her pie.

The other soft skin intruders paused for a moment, shocked and impressed with how well the lizard fanatic could speak, with such elocution - thus giving a chance for the other recruits to arrive and surround them. The fanatic did not realize he just sealed his own fate along with those of his comrades, until he saw the ogre's eyes gleam with pure hatred, a scowl forming on her face that could stop an arrow, as her muscles filled with berserker rage.  The Archon had forgotten to teach them all an important lesson - never separate an Ogre from her pie.