For centuries, the warlords raided from their fortresses hidden deep in the mountains, striking into the lands of the softer races that surrounded them. For centuries, slaves dug deep under the mountains, creating stony crypts for our noble warriors, and were left to serve our heroes in the afterlife.
When the rauður uppskera came - what you call the Red Harvest - the dead rose, heroes and slaves alike. The fortresses became death traps, and in a matter of days, the race you call hobgoblins was all but eradicated. Yes, yes, I know, it's cause for celebration. Your children will no longer whimper in fear of being taken by our warriors. They have a new nightmare now, one that we share.
How did I survive? The same as you, I was smarter, faster, stronger than those around me. Seven of us barricaded ourselves in a tower on the edge of a cliff, two hundred feet above the river you call Kazaron. We knew the doors would only hold for so long, so we waited for dark and climbed down. Two of my kin fell to their deaths, and when we reached the bottom, we found more of the undead. Another of our number was wounded as we fought our way through to the boats. We thought that on the water, we would be safe. When our wounded sister turned, she took another of us with her to the bottom. We were three, then.
Stulka was a strong woman, but Gyoza was afraid. We went to the other warlords' castles, looking for help, but they were gone. When we were camped one night, a group of the dauður came. Gyoza was keeping watch, and she panicked. Her death bought Stulka and I time to escape, but then were only two. That was when we heard a rumor of a warlord in the south, gathering the survivors in a new stronghold. It was a glorious dream, and we went in search of this new warlord.
Stulka was the one who kept us alive. I was a simple warrior, but it was she who taught me to track, to hunt, to survive without the clan around me. She was the one who thought to sling hammocks in the trees, out of reach of the dead. She was the one who fed us in those first weeks, as we crossed the cinderlands. It was almost half a year before we found the new warlord, if he deserves such a name. By then, Stulka's belly was round with my children, and it was I who was keeping her alive.
Svikari was nothing compared to the warlords of the past, just a dozen of the people and another dozen or so of the soft races. They were not slaves, but armed warriors, standing beside hobgoblins. It was sickening to see, but the necessity of it was clear. They had a good fort, well hidden in the mountains you call Fogscar, but too big for a dozen to hold secure with slaves. They foraged and survived. I should have seen it immediately, but I was so relieved to think we were done wandering that I let myself become a fool.
There was not a single hobgoblin woman there to give them true sons and daughters. When Stulka and I came, they welcomed us and feasted us, and gave us some wretched liquor they brewed. It had been months since we had felt safe and secure, so we let our guard down. We became drunk. I woke naked, hanging from a tree over a pit, bait for the dauður. I escaped the trap, but there was nothing further I could do. One warrior against a dozen was simply not a realistic hope. Also, I knew that my children would have a better chance to survive in Svikari's fortress than wandering the wilderness with Stulka and I. I was near the coast then, and I followed the shore, scavenging from the ruined settlements of the soft races, hunting, surviving, until I reached this Sandpoint.