Weary but undeterred, Codrus and his entourage gathered in the throne room of Saruun Khel to discuss a strategy for dealing with the encroaching Yuan-Ti threat. Shortly, Gorn arrived with word from Ogrefist Hold: the Cairngorms had fallen to the Yuan-Ti, and the invasion force swiftly marched east even as those gathered with the king devised their strategies. It took mere moments for the king and his allies to conclude it was time to muster the Ruul militia as a legion and march west to meet the invaders in the field of battle. Gorn and Chauntea both advised the king that in the meantime it might be wise to seek out allies among the other people’s of the Nentir Vale, for Ruul would need all the help it could get to dispel the Yuan-Ti menace from their lands.
It was at this time that Kazakorn spoke up for the Kobolds of Uth. Long had they been slaves to the kingdom, in their fields and mines, toiling without the same benefits enjoyed by their minotaur lords, or even afforded the same status as other species of Uth, such as the orcs and goblinkind, who could at least enter the militia’s service to earn a right to be something other than slaves. Despite the prejudices that Kobolds could not be able-bodied warriors, it was a fact that Kazakorn had proven otherwise by standing side-by-side with the king during the Battle of Saruun Khel, and certainly there were others like him. This fact, coupled with Codrus’ memory of the strength of the Kobolds at the Coppernight Mine rebellion as well as his own sense of honor, led the king to decree that all Kobolds of Uth would be afforded the same right as other non-minotaurs: to serve in the Ruul militia as a route to independence within the community and out of their lives of forced labor.
The decree would soon prove to be too little too late, as before he could announce his decision word came from the militia command. Rioting had broken out within the city, the mines, and the kingdom’s fields in the wake of the Yuan-Ti attack. It seemed the Kobolds were taking advantage of the chaos to rise up and cast off their shackles through violence. Hoping to end the bloodshed before it could get out of hand, the king made his way to the center of the city itself, the great Seven Pillared Hall, with rioting under way all around him. Flanked by his allies, he claimed the highest position he could, to be heard by the most people, and began to implore the kobolds to cease their violence because their dream of freedom had come to them with Ruul’s new king. With the assistance of Kazakorn’s passionate tongue, the king was able to get the truth of his intent to make its way from mouth to mouth among the rioting kobolds, and the city’s conflict slowly died down.
A kobold message runner made his way to the king and informed him that the united kobolds, under the moniker of the Kobold Workers Union, would send a representative to negotiate with him the terms under which the kobold “strike” could cease and harmony be restored to Ruul. That representative turned out to be none other than Sarna, survivor of the Coppernight Mine rebellion. Negotiations initially went well, as Codrus, Culgeka, and Buteo worked together, using a mixture of diplomacy and intimidating reminders of the threat encroaching on their doorstep. However, they were cut short when Lorzod grew impatient with the negotiations and struck out at Sarna with physical violence. The kobold emissary left the proceedings, postponing the negotiations for a full day. In the meantime, the Ruul militia remained occupied with the rebellion within the streets of Saruun Khel and were unable to begin mobilization against the Yuan-Ti forces, which slowly worked their way further eastward, toward the city.
The following day, negotiations resumed. The king and Sarna came to an agreement, which Sarna took to the Kobold Workers Union. All but one of the Union’s leaders agreed to the terms. That leader refused to give the kobold rebels under his command the order to cease action. In a secret meeting between Sarna, the king, and his allies, Sarna suggested it may be in the best interests of the city to expedite the situation by having the uncooperative rebel leader assassinated. The king readily agreed. Wanting to waste no more time, Codrus ordered Gorn to assemble a small force to infiltrate the rebel leader’s personal stronghold and end his life, while Codrus and his own entourage headed west to the fields surrounding the Moon Hills, where Gorn had reported refugees from orc tribes beyond the Vale, who had already fallen prey to the attacks of the Yuan-Ti, had fled and set up camp. There, Codrus hoped to rally the flood of orcs into Ruul’s cause against the invaders, to further bolster the militia’s ranks in the war to come. Rog would stay behind to assist Gorn in preparing the Ruul militia for war.
Meanwhile, Gorn gathered five members of the Ruul Militia. The gnoll warlock Hungrig, bugbear druid Loodra, gnoll rogue Graz, bugbear barbarian Melgar, and minotaur runepriest Kuono, accepted the charge to crush the kobold rebellion. They infiltrated the rebel leader’s stronghold, cutting down all opposition, and taking the leader’s life without mercy. With the one defiant corps of the Kobold Workers Union dealt with, the Union and Chauntea, ruler pro tem of Ruul in Codrus’ absence, brought swift resolution to the strike, and the Ruul militia finally began to mobilize, preparing to meet the greatest mortal threat the Nentir Vale had yet to face…