The black cold of the night rudely awakened the hengeokai. His entire body shivered, vibrating in a desperate attempt to generate body heat. He uttered an expletive under his breath, and chided himself silently for making such a foolish blunder as not utilising the newly found wood. Quickly yet cautiously, he lay the kobold on the carpet of sand, and set to work hacking the wood with his dulled longspear, into kindling for a fire. The sudden absence of a furry body holding him along with the sounds of iron bashing wood woke the kobold from it's slumber. Feeling the cold seeping into his body, the kobold pulled his knees and tail toward his chest, and watched this odd looking saviour of his.
This kobold was young, but he and all other kobolds his age were already fully cognizant. Relative to the hengeyokai, they were around the same point of development, for the reason that although kobolds live to age 125 and older, all of his scaled race were capable adults by year 8. Of course, the furry wanderer had no knowledge of this, as he had only heard about these miniature lizardfolk through tales told at the taverns his father had habitually taken him to when he was not much more than a kitten.
The work was difficult, but finally, there were enough shards of wood to build a small fire. Rummaging in a small pouch tied around his shoulder that his aunt had made him after his mastering of beast ceremony, he grabbed a well worn stone, and commenced striking it agains the flat side of his longspear's blade over the pile of kindling. After several failed attempts, whispered pleas and hissed curses, a spark fell onto the bone dry wood, and slowly spread, producing a welcome if meager flame. Excitedly, the boy-cat danced around the flames, bathing in the light and warmth.
For the first time, the kobold got full view of this strange creature he now owed his existance to. Before, he had been to dazed from hunger and thirst to clearly make out who saved him, but now in the light, his form was completley clarified. The skin of the boy-cat was covered in fur as white as the purest quartz, except for one area of ebony black on his face, which thickly circled his right eye. The fur on his body was 1 inch long at most, except for the fur on the top of his head, which was pulled into a short ponytail that hung low, right at the point where the back of the skull meets the neck. It looked like a dull, almost blunt, blade had been used to crop it when it grew too long. A long tail, that looked like it would reach a full 2 feet beyond his feet were it to strech straight down, came out just above the furry stanger's buttocks. His clothing was ragged, faded and dirtied. A sorry looking pair of pantaloons covered his legs, a long sleeved and roomy looking shirt, now torn in several spots, was tied around his waist. Some sort of butchered animal skin adorned his upper back, and in his hand, he held a spear with a large haft. If the kobold were to guess, it was easily 7 or 8 feet long. He had no knowledge of his saviours race or culture, for even though he and his family had traversed the entire wastes, they had never encountered such an odd creature.
By now the fire was weakening, and the hengeyokai set to work prying planks from the wagon to feed the flames. As he worked, he looked over at the living treasure he had discovered the previous day. He smiled, thinking it funny how intently the lizardlike child watched him. After the fire had been strenghtened, he sat himself approximately a yard away from the the kobold, who was several feet farther from the fire than he was. He once again examined the scaled animal, and for the first time since their meeting, spoke to him.
"Don't you want to get closer to the fire? It's nice and warm." He reached out his arm, beckoning him.
The kobold did not understand the creatures tongue. It had spoken kindly, but he only knew what his kobold brethren spoke, which was Draconic. As a rule, kobolds disliked all other races, thinking themselves inferior only to dragons. This was because his people steadfastly beleived that at the beginning of creation, the first creatures were dragons, and the second, the kobolds, sprang from the first dragon blood spilt. He understood this, but he also knew that this boy-cat, if lowly, had deemed it acceptable to save his life. Unsure of what to do, his only reply was a look of confusion.
The hengeyokai was a sensitive creature, and gathered from the other's expression that his tongue was unheard of to those outside his own kind. He wracked his mind, trying to remember all the languages his father had compelled him to study. He could converse in Goblin and Giant fluently, but he doubted his companion spoke either of those. The only other language he knew was Draconic, although he could remember only a smattering. Unlike the others, he had studied that tongue purely for enjoyment, as he loved hearing his grandfather's longwinded tales of dragon-riding. The stories had mystified him as a child, which had always endlessly pleased his grandfather, who was lovingly called "Yakzo" by the entire village.
In broken and clumsly Draconic, the boy-cat said, "Fire. . .nice, closer. . .uh, come!"
The kobold eyes widened in surprise. This was amazing, a non-scale that spoke his tongue. He was so shocked, his usual reserve fell away, and he decided to try and converse with this new creature. "You speak the tongue of dragons?" he asked.
The hengeyokai was surprised that what he had thought was an infant was actually quite skilled at linguistics. His pronounciation was impeccable, not unlike that of his grandfather when he tried with mixed success to teach him the exacting syllabary of Draconic.
"Some. . .good, not," the hengeyokai replied.
"Not 'good, not', it's 'not good,'" he corrected with a smile.
"Ah! Sorry." He laughed, embarresed yet amused that one that looked so young was correcting him. "How named are you?"
"They call me Grithkrocksjach. Can you say it?"
He tried. "Grithkrrroghghggttttthhhhh. . .uh. . .no." The kobold sighed in disappointment. Consternation set into the hengeyokai's mind, then an idea came to him. "May I name you another one?"
Normally, the kobold would have denied this request, however, once again, this creature had saved his life, and according to the traditions of his people, he was forever indebted to him. It seemed logical that he be renamed something the furback could pronounce. "If you wish."
"Yanzo. . .same mine grandfather. Accepeted?"
The name was odd, but somewhat pleasant. It had a esotoric ring to it, while also being familiar. It was perfect for a name between friends.
"I like that. Yanzo it is. Would you like to tell me yours?"
"Well . . . Ghosba . . . It is my pleasure to formally make your acquaintance." Yanzo crouched into a bow.