Goblin Brothers Part 19

“Why you set traps?” Nyx asked the brothers’ new friend Kevnos.

“I needs to eat,” the trapper plainly explained.

“Why you trap us?” Nyx demanded.

“I set trap, what I trap not up to me.”

“But you trap us,” Nyx pointed the spear at their new friend.

“But now you out, so no trapped now,” Kevnos reasoned.

“Ok fine,” Nyx lowered his spear and tossed Kevnos his weapons. “Why you here? Where is here?”

Kevnos hopped about for a moment then gathered his gear and beamed as he said, “This my kingdom, I is king here. No other Sharpspears here. I only one left.”

Zyx perked up. “What is Sharpspears?”

“That my clan. They all gone now.”

“Gone? Gone where?”

“Come! I show you!” Kevnos skipped down the cavern away from the trap and deeper into the mountain. The looked to each other then followed trying to keep up with the swift goblin.

Kevnos lead the boys towards his clan’s home. As they neared the center of the goblin village it began to resemble their own lost home, the Trickyfoot clan. The walls morphed from raw rock cut only by water or creatures long gone, to ones cut and hewn from to form more intentional paths and dens. The boys even noticed that several dens looked similar to the one they were birthed in; the same one that they escaped from after several violent encounters. For a fleeting moment they missed the home from which they fled. But the memory of the den they were birthed in only conjured feelings of pain and regret, so they let the memory pass by with no more consideration. Still, they resemblance was uncanny.

The tunnels led to more formal dwellings including those of the higher classes. The warrior’s dwellings, the temple, the slave pits all were similar to the town of the Trickyfoot Clan, but all empty. The biggest difference between Trickyfoot’s town and Sharpspear’s was the condition. It was clear that a significant battle had taken place. There were many broken or damaged pillars, destroyed bridges, ladders doorways and ravaged rooms and halls. Broken weapons, furnishings, and all manner of other common items were strewn about the town. The boys would have asked Kevnos about these things but he was scurrying along too fast to keep up with. Eventually Kevnos entered into what was clearly the king’s court. There was a table smashed to bits and rubble everywhere. Even the throne itself was smashed at one end and resembled more of a pile of stone than a seat suitable for a king.

Kevnos hopped atop the former throne, raised his arms wide with spear in one hand and sword in another and declared, “Welcome clan Sharpspear! I am King!” He chuckled as he declared himself king. The boys looked to each other searching for answers but didn’t find any.

“Where your clan?” Nyx asked. Zyx began to search around the room a bit. He studied the room and the damage that was all around him.

Kevnos sat down on the heap of a thrown. He searched his memory. With his voice, shaky he began to explain, “Orcs raided clan. They kill many. Enslave some. Destroy everything. Take everything. I think only I left. I only goblin lived.” It wasn’t typical for a goblin to show sadness but as Kevnos recalled his clan a lump rose in his throat and a tear formed in his eyes.

“Why orcs attack?” Nyx asked with no real understanding of what an orc was except that he was taught that they were violent and strong creatures and they typically attacked, killed and stole from the goblin clans. They were despised by goblins even more than the traditionally civilized races of the world.

Kevnos considered the question, “I no know. I know they stole our loot. Sharpspears had many raids. Took many things from towns near mountains. Our king had much wealth. Had jewels, coins, weapons and trinkets from humans and some elves and dwarves. We doing good. Strong clan. Orcs heard. They jealous. They want our treasure. Weeks we fought. Many goblins battled. Our king killed. Orcs murder him. Many give up then. Others keep fighting. Orcs too strong. Most Sharpspears killed. Many taken. I not see other Sharpspear for long time.”

“Some who live try to build tribe back. Kevnos one. Orcs came back. Kill all who still live. Unleash many wolves. They hunt and kill rest of Sharpspears. Now only me.”

“How you not die?” Nyx wondered.

“I ranger. Out scouting. Try to find Sharpspears new home. One orcs won’t find. I not here when they attack. I came back find rest of clan dead. I bury ones I could. Rats and others eat rest. Now I king,” Kevnos smiled when he once again declared himself king and added a subtle chuckle. Even so, it was clear that he was sad about the demise of his clan.

Nyx didn’t know what to say to their new friend. Goblin society does not practice empathy and so it isn’t something that they are capable of. The goblin whelps could tell that Kevnos was sad but even that was somewhat of a foreign concept. Sadness wasn’t a common emotion. Suffering, fear, jealousy, despair and regret yes, but sadness was something that came from missing something or someone and goblins didn’t typically miss things. The lone Sharpspear did however and the boys noticed but weren’t equipped to respond to his sadness.

Not knowing what to say to their new friend, Nyx decided to ask about Kevnos’ occupation, “What means ranger?”

With the question, it allowed Kevnos the chance to shake the foreign feelings of longing and sadness from his heart and so he smiled wide and adjusted the spear across his lap to prepare like a father about to tell a story to his pups. “Ranger a goblin who good trapping, hunting, tracking and those things. I good those things. That why I gone when orcs attack to kill last of Sharpspears. I leave caves to find place for clan make new home. I no get lost outside caves. I no get lost here. I good reading tracks and I good at not being ate. Many spiders, rats, trolls, orcs dwarves in mountain will eat or kill goblin. I not be eaten. What you do?”

“Do?” What mean?”

“You have job?”

Nyx looked over to his brother but Zyx had his eyes closed and was busy trying to tune in to the spirits of the fallen clan who lingered in their home, so he turned back to Kevnos.

“We no have job. We only young.”

“Why you leave clan?”

“We had fight. They try to take us. We ran.”

Kevnos chuckled, “Well, welcome Sharpspears! Can be my clan!” Nyx smiled also and the two cackled together.

Zyx did not hear any of the conversation. The air in the clan hall felt heavy to him and seems difficult to breathe. He closed his eyes as he learned to do when he wanted to sense his surroundings beyond what his physical senses were able. He slowed his breathing and his heart ad as he drifted from the physical world and into the spiritual the air became a thick fog around him and weighed him down. The novice shaman found it difficult to make sense of anything as he woke spiritually. The fog became a wind that swirled around him and howled like wolves in the night and made the hair on Zyx’s neck stand and his skin crawl. The wind intensified and even caused a physical pain that confused the young goblin. He forced his spirit through the wind and the howls and the pain to see what the commotion was all about and the moment he did he saw the spirits of hundreds of murdered goblins swirling about in panic and terror screaming with so much fear and pain that Zyx jumped back and fell to the ground holding his ears eyes wide sweat forming on his brow.

Kevnos and Nyx looked to him eyes wide and mouths open. Zyx looked at them at cried, “There many spirits suffering here.”

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Goblin Brothers Part 18

Zyx’s heart raced. His brow and palms sweated. He tried to close his eyes and focus his spirit but his heart was pounding too hard and he could not slow his body. He gripped the rope and tried to climb it once more and this time he got a bit higher before his muscles gave and he crumbled to the ground bruising himself further. Again, he tried and again he fell. Once more he attempted to climb the rope but he could not pull himself even half way up the pit. He sank to the floor as his heart sank in his chest and then tears flowed from his eyes making a puddle of mud under him.

Zyx sobbed until he was drained and breathed slowly once more. He sat against the wall of the pit and focused his spirit. Through his spirit he floated from the pit and to the top of the trap and looked around. He saw no one there but noticed his brother’s foot prints heading away from the trap. He followed them as long as he could before he felt himself losing his grip on his spirit and his head spun and his knees grew weak. He returned to the pit before it got worse and his spirit was lost. He collapsed to the ground and drifted off to sleep in just the last moment.

Above the pit a creature made his rounds, checking his traps for tasty morsels. He typically could hope for little more than a rat but he didn’t mind much. In fact, he was plenty satisfied scrounging in the caverns and caves for rats and mushrooms and whatever else he could find. It was a simple life, but he was the king of his own clan and he was happy.

This day we was lucky, as his trap captured another meal, or at least he thought he was lucky. He noticed that his trap was tripped before he got there so he hopped with glee and clapped his hands before creeping up to his pit trap. He listened for a moment at the edge trying to determine what his catch was this day. He had to be careful, he knew, because some quit dangerous creatures could fall into his pit and he could end up being the meal after all. There was no sound from the pit. He gripped his spear tightly and laid his sword down besides him. He looked closer and noticed the spear with a rope tied to it still dangling into the trap. The trapper snorted in disgust figuring that his prey escaped unharmed and ran off. He got up and picked up the spear. He identified it immediately as a goblin spear. With that he jumped back a step and looked around both spears tightly gripped in his hands. He saw no immediate threat but that did not ease his mind.

After a few minutes of staring down one side of the cave then the other the trapper settled. He decided to study his trap closer and try to determine where his victim went. He crept up to the pit and studied the foot prints. The trapper immediately identified them as coming from a goblin. A single goblin and followed them for a few yards into the cavern. He returned to the pit and was surprised to see a goblin at the bottom. The trapper hopped back, spears readied, then looked closer. The goblin at the bottom of the pit wasn’t moving and the trapper wondered if it was dead.

“You there! You live?” the trapper called. There was no answer. “You live there?” he called again. Still nothing. So, like he had done a hundred times before. He went to his pack and got a rope ladder, shoddily made but effective enough, and prepared to lower it. There was a rock nearby that he used to attach the ladder to and he did so. Just as he prepared to lower himself in, someone shoved him from behind and he tumbled down squealing all the way and hit the ground hard enough to knock him out next to his victim. Both now, caught in the pit trap.

Zyx opened his eyes slowly and immediately noted the pounding in his head and the aching in his body, but the first sight he saw was his brother and he smiled at first then squeaked with joy.

“Brother! You come back! Thank you! Thank you!” he squealed. Nyx didn’t say anything but did smile in response then looked over to his brother’s left. Zyx looked too and there, tied up in the rope was another goblin they had never seen before. Zyx hopped up and scampered to the far side of the pit, behind his stronger brother.

“Who that? Where he come from? He from Trickyfoot to kill us?” the questions poured out.

“Don’t know,” Nyx answered,” He set trap though. I watch him check pit.”

“What we do?” Zyx worried?

“We ask him question. Find out what he want.” Zyx settled a little when he heard this and sat back. He looked around the pit and noticed the rope ladder. “Oh!” he exclaimed, “I can climb that!”

“I know,” Nyx agreed, though with much less enthusiasm. Zyx ignored his brother and gave climbing the ladder a couple tries and although he was still very clumsy at it, he could indeed make his way up.

“Stay here,” Nyx ordered. “Need you help ask questions.” Zyx climbed down and sat back again slumping down against the edge of the pit and folding his arms in front of his chest. Not long after the captured goblin groaned and wriggled against the ropes So Zyx sat up in curiosity safely behind his brother who held a spear close to their captive.

The captive tensed against the ropes and kicked his legs with eyes wide but discovered he was indeed bound tightly. “Who you? Why you tie me?”

“We ask question. Not you,” Nyx explained holding the spear closer to the goblin trapper. “What you name?”

The goblin looked at Nyz, then studied Zyx for a moment then Nyx again. He could tell they were young, only whelps, and that they were not armed especially well and therefor were probably outcasts or lost, but either way, were not a significant threat.

The trapper took a deep breath to settle his natural fear and answered, “I Kevnos.”

“Where you from?” Nyx asked.

Kevnos scrunched his brow and considered the question a moment. “I from here.”

“Where here?”

“Here is here.”

“What you mean?”

“I mean, I here. You here. We here. And here is here.”

“Never mind. Why you hurt us?” Nyx asked changing the direction of the questions after they hit a goblin dead end of reasoning.

“I just set trap. Why you fall in trap?” Kevnos questioned.

“We no see trap.”

“Then your fault you got hurt. No mine.”

Nyx stepped back and scratched his head a moment then unable to counter the goblin’s logic threatened with the spear once more. “You going to hurt us?”

“I no hurt you. I trap rats for food. You fall in trap. You rats?”

“What? No! We goblins!”

“Then I no trap you then.”

“What? But we fall in trap.”

“Then you rats?”

“No!” Nyx shouted and held the spear to their captive’s neck. Zyx intervened.

“It mistake we fall in trap,” Zyx explained. “We just want out. I no strong enough to climb out.”

“Oh good mistake!” Kevnos answered. “You want out?”

“Yes!” Zyx exclaimed. “We want out.”

“Yes, yes, untie me and we climb out. Use ladder I made,” Kevnos offered.

The brothers looked at each other for answers but neither had one. So they shrugged, untied Kevnos, even while Nyx kept a spear on him, then they climbed out, Nyx first, then Zyx then Kevnos, their new companion. Such luck they made a new friend. Such is goblin life. One moment they can be about to kill one another, the next they can be friends. All it takes sometimes is for them to forget why they were fighting.

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Goblin Brothers Part 17

Zyx and Nyx fell some twenty feet too surprised to scream and then hit the bottom so hard the wind was knocked from their lungs and they lost consciousness from the concussion of slamming against the hard stone. Sometime later Nyx groaned and opened his eyes. Staring up, he tried to imagine where he was and when he tried to figure out who set the trap he shuddered and looked for his brother who was still unawake next to him. Their gear looked intact however and even the stolen totem survived the fall. Still, the smooth walls looked difficult to climb and Nyx knew he wouldn’t be able to do it alone.

Nyx shook his brother to wake him and with only a couple shakes Zyx stirred and began to rise. He sat up and held his head which ached terribly.

“What happen?” Zyx asked eyes closed tightly through his teeth.

“We fall in trap, brother,” Nyx explained.

“Why trap here?” Zyx asked but his brother didn’t respond and instead was trying to imagine how to climb out. The walls slanted inward making gripping and climbing near impossible even with tools. It also appeared they were carved and smoothed making it even more of a challenge.

Nyx pulled out one of his daggers and tried to chip it into the stone but it failed to grip and after only a few tries he gave up on that strategy. He got his spear and measured how much closer he could get to the top of the trap with it by holding it up above him but the spear was only another three feet and together he was still far from half way from escaping. The leather hide that was used to cover the trap was with them also and Nyx picked it up and turned it over a few times but didn’t figure out any way that it could assist them in escaping.

Zy stood and surveyed his surroundings through squinted eyes. There was dried blood and hair from what seemed to be large cave rats. He didn’t see anything around on the floor of the trap that could be helpful; just some rocks and evidence of former victims.

Nyx picked up a rock and threw it up and out of the trap. It did absolutely no good at all so he did it again just to be sure. Still nothing. Zyx sat back down and watched his brother who next picked up one of the bows and fired and arrow directly up. It struck the ceiling then fell back towards them but tumbled harmlessly down; broken.

Zyx tried to save him from further futile acts of desperation, “Brother, no help. We stuck here.”

Nyx snorted then sat against the opposite wall. After all they struggled through in their short lives, they still ended up trapped. They sat in silence as a dark cloud settled over them and gripped their hearts. To pass the time as he tried to imagine a way out, Nyx pulled out a dagger and began scratching the floor with it in no discernable pattern.

Zyx closed his eyes and cleared his mind. He settled into a trance without trying and began to imagine his surroundings. Like before, he was able to navigate and see the trap they were in. It took a moment to realize that he was moving in spirit rather than body and when he did he moved up the walls and to the top of the trap. At the top, he saw where they fell directly into the hole. He inspected further and could see where someone could walk to avoid the trap. There were some clear footprints around the trap as well. They weren’t large but because Zyx had no experience in identifying such things he could not decide if he should be more afraid or less. It was clear though that someone or something had set and was likely checking the trap. There didn’t seem to be anything useful at the top of the trap either. Zyx was able to travel a short way past the trap before he again felt like he was losing the connection with his body. He wanted to travel further but was afraid what would happen if he went too far away so he returned to the trap, down the full twenty feet, saw his brother scratching the ground mindlessly and his own small form against the wall. In the next moment he opened his eyes, back in his body.

“I not see far past trap,” Zyx explained.

Nyx didn’t even look up but kept playing with his dagger. “We stuck.”

“Someone will come. Saw feet around trap.”

“They big or small?”

“Small.”

“Maybe they no kill us.”

“Who you think trap us?” Zyx wondered.

“No idea. Better to get out first,” Nyx answered, “Not know how. Need rope, ladder, something.”

Zyx sighed, “only have weapons and leather from trap.”

Nyx’s eyes widened and he stared at the leather then he leaped up and began cutting strips of the leather with his dagger. Zyx watched intently, leaning forward and cheering his brother on. Nyx worked quickly eyes focused and muscles tense but completely in control, sweat forming on his brow. After a while his fingers cramped and he ached but at last he created a leather rope from the trap’s cover.

Next Nyx tied his rope to one of the spears. He threw the spear up, trying to hook it somehow at the top of the trap. A dozen times he tried before the spear landed across the opening of the trap leaving the leather rope dangling. It was just long enough to reach but the task of climbing was left to master before they could be free.

Nyx gathered his gear and secured it to his tunic and then gripped the rope. It took a moment for him to get a grip on the rope and sort out his legs to steady him then slowly but surely climbed the rope. At the top, he grabbed the ledge and pulled himself over then, out of breath, rested on his back a moment. His arms swelled from the work and chest heaved from his effort.

Below, Zyx secured his spear and the totem and tried to grab the rope and climb but was struggling to get more than a couple feet from the ground. After a couple of tries he could get a decent grip on the rope and learned to use his legs but there was a significant difference in strength between his brother and himself. Zyx’s arms shook before long during each attempt and he released the rope and fell back to the floor of the trap.

Nyx heard he brother struggling and leaned over to look at how he was doing. “What wrong?” he asked.

“Can’t climb. Too hard,” Zyx answered breathing deeply.

“Have to. Get out of trap,” Nyx encouraged. “Can’t stay for trapper find us.”

Zyx again gripped the rope and climbed for a few feet before his lean arms gave out and he thudded back to the ground.

“Hurry brother,” Nyx called with a little more urgency in his voice.

“I trying. Can’t do it.”

“You hold it, I try to pull you,” Nyx suggested. Zyx grabbed the rope and wrapped his arm around it, holding tightly. Nyx sucked in air deeply then began to pull his brother. It was slow work but he was making some progress before he flew backwards. He scrambled back to the edge and looked down to his brother who was laying on his back on the ground.

“What happen?” Nyx called out.

“Can’t hold it. Too hard,” his brother sobbed.

“Can’t hold on? I pull, you hold on. It easy,” Nyx scolded. “Try again!”

Zyx gripped the rope again and tried to wrap it around his arm to ease his task. Nyx pulled and again slowly lifted his brother from the trap floor and towards the top. He stepped, all his strength lifting his brother away from the trap and then again, he flung towards the ground. The hard stone bruised his arms as he crashed against it and he squinted his eyes and tensed his back as he rushed to the edge.

“What happen?” Nyx shouted to his brother who was rolling around on the floor, himself bruised and sore. “Don’t let go! Hold the rope! I lift you out!”

“I can’t! I can’t!” Zyx cried. “I not strong like you.”

Nyx saw his brother, writhing on the floor and crying. He saw his weakness and tinge of resentment rose in him like water slowly boiling. He cinched his fists as he watched the small whelp on the floor of the trap and knew it was better for him if he left his brother who couldn’t even hold on to the rope long enough to be pulled to safety.

Nyx ground his teeth eyes fixed on the sad and pathetic sight of Zyx on the trap floor, then he turned away from the trap and walked away, leaving his brother at the bottom of the trap.

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Goblin Brothers Part 16

The goblin brothers’ short memories served them well in forgiving and not long after Nyx shot his brother in the leg, they were back to playing together. Zyx soon gave up the bow and gave it to his brother along with the arrows. Nyx practiced a few more times, firing arrows at imagined targets rather than his brother and found he liked it quite a bit. He quickly became proficient enough to fire the weapon and slung it behind his back. Next, they played with the daggers and spears. Nyx had some experience with daggers already in his quest to survive childhood in the goblin clan. In fact, he had already killed with a dagger. He gripped the dagger he found on the body of the mummified goblin in his hand and swung it left and right as if slicing an imagined foe. So swift and deadly with the weapon he was, that his brother Zyx backed away from him not interested in being his brother’s victim again. For his part, Zyx didn’t like the feel of the blade in his hand and neither did he swing it with much strength or quickness. He gave up before long and ultimately gave the blade to his brother who gladly took it and practiced attacking with the pair of daggers. With two blades, Nyx was even more dangerous swinging one then another in arcs that would prevent any from drawing too close to the lithe goblin. He spun and twisted and twirled with the deadly weapons in his hands as if he had used them for years. He was very happy with himself and his new weapons.

Lastly, the brothers tried out the spears. This was simple enough to Zyx and though he did little but poke forward with the basic weapon, he felt better with it in his hands. None of the weapons they found however, made him feel more powerful than the totem they stole from Nakbor. That already proved more valuable to the spiritual goblin than any of the blades his brother was fond of. Still, while they perhaps had different skills, they complimented each other in a way that was useful. Nyx was swift, strong, ferocious and deadly. Zyx was able to sense things beyond the physical and draw on spirits he had only begun to understand. He could heal wounds and draw poison from the body. These were impressive feats, especially for a goblin. Not to mention his ability to cast a frost spell from the shaman’s totem. Though still very young, they were already an effective pair.

After some time playing with and practicing with their weapons, their stomachs reminded them that they had not eaten for many hours. Rather than head back towards the more familiar caves and caverns of their clan, they explored further from their home.

The cavern lead upwards slightly and wound around somewhat. It forked at one point and the boys paused to decide which way to go. Nyx, not with any experience in tracking or navigating studied the ground for clues as to which way to go, but though he noticed that one path seemed to be more worn than the other. One lead upwards and the other, the one which was more worn, headed slightly downward. It seemed to him that the one that went downward made more sense to follow though he couldn’t articulate why.

Zyx on the other hand, tried to clear his mind and project his spirit. He sat and focused his thoughts but he could not sense anything at all. After nothing spiritual happened in the first few moments he grew frustrated. He could not understand how he was able to float around spiritually before and yet when he wanted to do so to explore the two paths, he was unable. He shook his head and said “I no know. Go way you go.”

Nyx pointed toward the path that lead downward. Neither was perceptive enough to notice that there was scent of freshness, ever so slight, coming from the path that lead upward. The other had a sour scent, a scent of decay and death.

As the boys traveled further down the path it altered from a clearly rough and mostly unworked, natural cavern to one that was smoother and worked by creatures at some point. It widened and rose as they skipped ever downward towards what they hoped would be something to eat.

The boys’ skipping turned to trudging. Their trudging turned to dragging. They began to complain.

Zyx whined, “Where we go?”

“We find food,” Nyx snorted.

“What food? I hungry,” Zyx complained.

“Any food. You hungry, you find food.”

“You leading. Not Zyx.”

“You want lead? Do it!”

“I want to eat!”

The boys were virtually snarling at each other and Nyx had not done it consciously but he gripped one of the daggers on the belt around his tunic. Zyx too was gripping the totem tightly and without thinking about it was waving it in front of him.

In each boy blood boiled, driven by hunger pains in their bellies which had surprisingly grown accustomed to food already. It was then that Zyx remembered the moment they first connected. With Nyx about to feast on the stolen food from the dwarf they pilfered, Zyx reached out to him spiritually for the first time. Lost in the deep caverns of the mountain it seemed like ages earlier but in reality, it was mere days. The memory cooled Zyx’s blood and he relaxed his grip, closed his eyes and focused on the memory of their shared meal. The memory helped him focus his spirit and remember the feeling of his brother’s spirit. He was able to project the feeling and Nyx felt it also. It cooled his head as well and they each sat back and rested.

Resting against opposite cave walls they thought about what they were going to do.

“We lost brother,” Zyx admitted.

“Yes brother. We cannot go back. We lost now.”

“We live though. Together we live.”

“How you know?”

“I know.”
“Your powers tell you?”

“Not sure. I know.”

“Ok brother. We live. We find food now,” Nyx said confidently.

“Where?” Zyx asked.

“Keep follow path. Food somewhere.”

“Ok brother, I follow.”

The brothers stood up and clasped hands in a pseudo hand shake. Each standing tall, shoulders back. Zyx slumped a little though. “Armor too heavy. I leave it.”

Nyx pleaded, “No, it protect.”

Zyx squirmed from the tunic and dropped it to the ground. He held up the totem, “This protect.”

“Good,” Nyx accepted and they continued on their way, Zyx a bit lighter, wearing nothing but his loin cloth again, the totem in one hand and a spear in the other. Nyx carried much more equipment including two bows and quivers, two iron daggers and the bone dagger he brought from their home clan. He also had the protective tunic on, feeling very much like a royal goblin though they were only kings of lost caverns.

They were once again brimming with confidence even though their bellies were empty and grumbling. They had endured much in the few days since they were grown enough to wander from their birth den. Each obstacle they encountered they had overcome. But life in the deep caves of the mountain was difficult and while their spirits were high, their eyes missed the hole in front of them covered with leather and disguised with dirt and dust. The brothers stepped on the trap and immediately fell together directly into the pit.

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Goblin Brothers Part 15

The boys rested for several long minutes, neither talking, each replaying the encounter with the spider. Each was impressed with the other. Zyx was again impressed with his brother’s strength and quickness. Nyx proved more than once that when he was angry and focused there wasn’t anything that could stop him, so far. He already killed other goblins, helped defeat and actual goblin shaman and now killed a cave spider. While most of these were with his brother’s aid, they were still impressive feats for a whelp. He had a bravery and fury that was beyond his age.Nyx continued to be shocked by the abilities of his brother. He didn’t understand how his brother could manipulate energy, project his thoughts and spirit and even cast spells through the totem. He was too young to understand the ways of shamans and spirits so the whelp was beyond impressed with the things his brother was capable of. They had no idea what they could do when they had fully developed their abilities. All they knew at that moment was that they couldn’t go back. They fled their home out of necessity and now were lost in the caves and caverns of a mountain they couldn’t name in a world they knew nothing about. Surprisingly, none of this worried them. They were goblins after all and they only worried about what was right in front of them.

Eventually Zyx remembered the corpses in the crevice behind the spider’s trap. Together the brothers clawed and cut their way through the webs and found two corpses. They dragged them out and cut away their webbed cocoon. Inside they found two dehydrated corpses mummified after the cave spider drained them of all blood and fluids. Their faces were drawn and distorted in an eternal cry of agony. The brothers would have been the next pair of mummies stashed forever in a crevice of a cave had they not known existed. These two perished long ago yet provided the brothers with a gift they never expected.

Inside the cocoons, each goblin was equipped like soldiers but neither with equipment they recognized. These two had hide tunics with thin plates of iron woven through on the chest and back. They also had goblin sized bows made from a wood they had never seen before and quivers with bone arrows tipped with stone heads. The dead goblins also had daggers made with obsidian and wood spears. This was equipment far superior to any they came across in their short lives. In truth, the more elite goblins of Trickyfoot were equipped as well if not better, but the whelps had no opportunity to wield such equipment.

Each brother donned a tunic and took a bow, dagger and spear. They laughed and cheered as they admired their equipment. Needing more room for practice, they traveled down a widening corridor, but not before Zyx grabbed the powerful totem. The cave changed from rough natural walls to carved and sculpted walls heading slightly up. After several minutes they came to a larger opening with a tall ceiling and wide walls. They were too excited to notice that the area looked like it had recently been occupied with a burnt area with some ashes in one corner.

The first thing Nyx wanted to try out was his new bow. He notched an arrow after some thought and then loosed it directly as his brother. Fortunately he did not draw it back much and the arrow fell harmlessly at Zyx’s feet. Zyx squealed and drew his bow in an effort to retaliate. He struggled and fumbled with the string and the arrow and at last had in lined up well enough. When he released the string however his finger slipped from the bow and his arrow dropped causing it to fire directly downward and shattered against the stone floor. Nyx had another prepared and fired it with accuracy and more strength at his brother. Zyx fortunately ducked in time to avoid being struck in the head. The arrow sailed high and smashed against the wall. For the next few minutes the boys attempted to shoot each other with arrows. Nyx was fairly skilled with the bow but Zyx struggled with it finding it cumbersome to aim and draw at the same time.

It was all fun and games until Nyx fired an arrow and Zyx could not dive out of the way fast enough. It struck the smaller brother in the shin. Zyx screamed in pain as he dropped the bow and fell to the ground holding his leg as blood rushed from the wound, arrow protruding from the hole. Nyx dropped his bow as well and rushed to his brother.

“It hurt! It Hurt!” Zyx screamed.

Nyx examined the wound briefly then gripped the arrow and yanked it out in one swift movement. Zyx rolled around howling “It hurt! It hurt! Why you do that?” Nyx dropped his head. Uncharacteristically for goblins, he felt bad about hurting his brother. He looked around for some way to help. He grabbed Zyx’s leg and tried to hold the wound. It only made it hurt more and the small goblin wiggled free of his brother’s grip and continued to wail around. Nyx didn’t know what to do.

Suddenly an idea came to him. He grabbed the totem up off the ground and thrust it into Zyx’s chest. Zyx was still screaming in agony as blood splashed all over the stone around the room. The young goblin gripped the totem as he continued to flop about like a fish out of water.

“Heal!” Nyx encouraged, “Use this heal.” He smiled and nodded his head vigorously hoping his brother could fix what he did.

Zyx still cried but paused to consider what his brother suggested. The wound in his leg throbbed and blood continued to pour from the hole. Neither whelp had any idea how to stop the bleeding with traditional healing. Zyx wondered if he could heal himself. So far he only healed his brother.

He tried to calm his mind and ceased crying. The wound beat like a drum through his body but Zyx was able to focus on the pain. In his mind he pictured dark blood and torn flesh. He saw the bone in his leg and the damage that was caused by the arrow. His hands tingled around the totem and a warmth flowed through the mystical totem into his body and towards his leg.

The pounding of the wound began to subside. Though neither could see it, the flesh was repairing. Nyx noticed the flow of blood stopping and the wound closing. Zyx felt the warm healing magic surround the hole in his leg and fill it. Warm turned to hot and his cells repaired and duplicated to reach one another and rebuild his leg. He focused his mind and could almost see his body putting itself back together. Finally it felt as though everything was repaired.

Zyx opened his eyes and looked at his leg. The blood no longer flowed and the pain had passed. He flexed his toes and nothing hurt. He sat up then stood without pain. He smiled and looked up at his brother. Nyx smiled even wider than his brother. 

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Goblin Brothers Part 14

Deep in the depths of the mountain, Nyx convulsed with spider venom coursing through his veins. Zyx scrambled and shook his brother to no avail. As Zyx screeched and screamed, holding his brother, he could feel the venom. It turned Zyx’s stomach and caused his muscles to ache. Nyx’s eyes closed and his mouth foamed when he coughed, a putrid stench spewing from his belly. Zyx began to sob, “No! Brother! Brother! Brother! No die!” He drew his brother into his lap and wrapped his arms around him as he rocked back and forth. Tears fell from his face and with his arms clasped across his brother’s chest he felt his heart slowing. Zyx closed his own eyes in absolute despair.

Zyx could feel the venom moving deeper into his brother’s body. He knew it would not be much longer before it had over taken his small form. He focused on the venom and felt as if he could differentiate it from the blood in his brother’s body. Zyx imagined it leaving Nyx’s blood. In his mind, he pictured the venom flowing against the blood stream towards its origin, the puncture holes in his brother’s chest. The mystical whelp felt the poison moving away from Nyx’s organs and out of his tissues, but it turned his stomach and his head began to heat.

The venom was sucked from Nyx’s body and spiritually into his brother’s causing Zyx to flush and feel hot as his vision blurred and he struggled to maintain his focus. Zyx continued to rock back and forth with his brother in his arms but his head was foggy and eyes could not focus. The physical effects only strengthen his spiritual resolve however and he clung tighter with his mind to his brother’s spirit ever willing the poison from him.

Nyx’s color improved from a very pale green to his darker normal shade and his heart rate improved from nearly nothing to its normal rate. Soon his limbs too no longer shook and instead his hands clinched as if ready for a fight. At last he coughed and his eyes flung open. He struggled free from his brother and flailed about wildly for a moment fending off imagined attackers. Nyx soon realized none were there and he looked first to the cave spider, frozen in layers of frost, then to his brother who lay on his back, shaking.

Nyx dashed to him and shook him, not unlike Zyx did to him minutes earlier. He too shouted to his brother and Zyx heard his call and it settled his spirit though he could not respond. Nyx searched the room for anything useful and could not find anything to help the situation except the totem Zyx used to subdue their attacker. He grabbed it and placed it in his brother’s hands. Zyx gripped it and clung to it as though he were clinging to life. It helped Zyx to focus his spirit and a clarity of thought emerged from the fog of venom.

In reality, Zyx was merely in a trance though his body seemed in dire condition. This state was still very unfamiliar to him however and continued to perplex the young whelp. Zyx saw his body and his brothers from outside himself. He watched as his brother tried to lay his body in a more comfortable position and sat over him looking for signs of worsening or improving condition. Zyx saw the concern on his brother’s face and wanted to soothe him.

“I ok brother,” Zyx whispered in his mind. Nyx looked about and then back to his brother, sensing that he heard something but could not make it out. Nor did he see his brother’s mouth move.

“I ok. No worry,” Zyx whispered again. This time Nyx was sure he heard something and equally sure his brother had not spoken. He had enough experience with his brother’s ability to trust that it was real though, so he exhaled and say back.

Zyx, still very unsure about what he could do and how, spent a moment to consider what happened. Already he learned that he could heal others, though he wasn’t sure if it was the founder of the Trickyfoots, Rozukg, who gave him the power or himself. He was casting a frost spell with the help of Nakbor’s totem. Now, he drew poison from his brother. When he performed these things with his spirit it did seem to drain him spiritually and physically, however. He even felt the effects of the poison as he drew it from his brother’s veins. Zyx understood then, that the spiritual connection he could make, also connected them in a deeper way. He could share in the effects of their pain or fear, but he felt it. He wondered what else he could do.

Zyx understood too, for the first time, the nature of his trance. In such a state, he could move around as though he were in physical form, but without physical limitations. He could fly, in a sense, in him mind. He moved from over his own body and that of his brother to the spider he froze with the totem. He felt the creature’s life force still strong beneath the ice and knew it was still alive. He wanted to delve deeper into the spirit of the spider but he could not figure out how. Part of his suspected that he could speak to the beast, but he didn’t know the language. He called to the spider, “Spider! Hear me!” There was no reply. “Spider! I speak you!” Nothing. Zyx gave up and looked about the room further. There was little of interested except that the spider had the remains of former prey in the deep crevice from which he attacked. Goblin corpses. Three of them.

Zyx projected his spirit further and explored the paths around them. He did not get far however before he felt a tug on his spirit as though he were tied to his own body and could not venture further. Besides, he suddenly felt very sleepy. His spiritual walk drained him of his energy and he thought that he would surely fall into a deep sleep if he did not wake promptly. He crawled back to his body and then opened his eyes.

Nyx was still seated next to his brother and squeaked, “Zyx! You live!”

“Yes brother, you too,” Zyx whispered. “Spider live too,” he added. Nyx turned eyes squinted at the spider encased in frost. He looked very closely, not sure whether to believe his brother. Mere inches from the face and fangs of the spider, its eyes blinked. Nyx squawked and then, drawing his dagger high, began to thrust down onto the creature’s head, breaking first through the ice, then the beast’s face. In a moment, Nyx had plunged his dagger through the spider’s brain and slain it. Hardly stopping, Nyx continued in a fury and flurry of blows until covered in goop from the beast. Nyx at last sat back, plopping next to Zyx, breathing deeply and heavily. Each smiled. They were a dangerous team.

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Goblin Brothers Part 13

In the boys’ birth home a huge stirring had settled across the village. Whispers passed from one goblin to the next and before long the boys had become legend. Their acts had been exaggerated to the point where they were said to have slaughtered a dozen soldiers with spells and great feats of physical strength. This all sounds preposterous and glorious to any who doesn’t comprehend the goblin ways but to those who do, they understand that rumor is fact amongst goblins and facts are fleeting. The whole affair had already begun to fade shortly after the party put together to find and destroy them had departed.

The rumors reached the court or the Trickyfoot king, Gnobum. Some of his servant goblins were whispering to each other and it annoyed the king.

“What you whisper about?” The king shouted, pointing his twisted obsidian mace at the pair of gossipers.

“Nothing, my king, forgive stupid goblin, no hurt me,” one stammered in response cowering low and even covering his head as though the mace were already crashing down on him though the king was many feet away atop his throne constructed of bone.

“Tell me!” the king demanded, “Or I crush you skull!”

“Just whelps, king. Some Trickyfoot whelps.”

“What about whelps? What interesting about whelps? Tell me!” The king screeched.

The servant goblin took a few steps backward as if the king’s voice blew him back and continued to cower with the other gossiper hiding behind him trying best not to be seen. “They killed goblins, many goblins, and beat shaman of Sagobr. I hear they strong, one powers has, other mighty, deadly. They run away. Shaman to hunt them now. Call for soldiers.”

“Shaman called for king’s soldiers and no tell king?” Gnobum rose to his feet, much larger and many goblins and an actual imposing figure. The servants cowered and backed away until they thudded against the stone wall behind them. “That make me angry!” The king raised his mace high and swung it around his head as though he battled a group of enemies before leaping from his throne and smashing the mace to the floor in one mighty motion creating a massive blast of stone flying in all directions. All servants in the room ducked to the ground and covered their heads.

He shouted, “Bring me Thux! I need my chief slaver!” Servants scattered in all directions some to try to fulfill the king’s wishes, others to hide but word did reach the Chief Trickyfoot slaver that his king demanded his consol.

Thux was also a larger goblin and strong. He carried a wicked barbed whip, with three separate lashes, that was feared by all in the clan except the mightiest among them and well known to the Trickyfoot slaves. It was a weapon that brought even the strongest and proudest creatures low and forced them to submit. None wished to feel its lashes especially in the hands of its cruel wielder. With confidence, Thux entered the court of his king and upon reaching the throne, he bowed, “You call my king?” he began.

By this time Gnobum had time to calm somewhat and was once again seated on his throne contemplating what to do next. In his meditation, he got the sense that somehow he knew these whelps. He could not understand how but he imagined them reaching out to him for help. More than that though, he sensed their ability and therefor their value to the tribe and as king of the Trickyfoots, he was always looking for ways to strengthen and expand his tribe. Goblins typically dwelled in the dark cold crevices of mountains, but the most successful kings and tribes managed to live and thrive in the open hills or sometimes valleys of the world. A goblin king could dream of such things at least and two powerful whelps could be useful in achieving it.

“Thux! You hear of whelps attacking shaman?” The king asked.

“Yes king. I hear of them.”

“I want them. They seem strong. Trickyfoot need strong goblins. I want raid soon. Orcs threaten us. Strong goblins we need.”

“Where they now?” the slaver asked.

“Not sure. I hear shaman want to find them. This shaman not respect king. I king, not he. He not command my goblins.”

“Of course king.”

“But!” the goblin king paused and twisted his mace in his hands. “Shaman speak to Sagobr Dreaddeath. We not make Dreaddeath angry. Bring shaman too. I judge who live and who die.”

“Yes king. I capture them.”

“Good! No fail me Thux!” the king smiled pleased with his decision and perceived cunning. “Go! Send slavers! Bring them here.”

With a wave of the king’s hand, Thux bowed once again then trotted off to organize a party of slavers.

Thux returned to the slave dungeon where they held their unfortunate prey captive. It was the worst place imaginable. Constant pain, torture, screams and agony were the hallmarks of the goblin dungeons. Most prefer death but goblins were talented at inflicting pain and preventing death. Once there, Thux organized some of his slavers. Five in all. He ordered them to get wolf mounts from their pens, nets bolas whips and barbed ropes to capture their targets. And instructed them on the specifics of the mission. Capture the boys. Do not kill them. Do not let the shaman kill them. Capture the shaman. It was a complicated mission for goblin slavers who were used to raiding and capturing anything they did not kill and there was a significant chance that they would not complete the mission as designed but such was life in the goblin world. With equipment, supplies and weapons prepared, they set off to find the shaman who ordered this mission in the first place and could track the boys.

Before they could set off they had to find the shaman who so strongly desired holding them accountable for their rebellion and violence against him. Nakbor grew angrier and more focused in waiting for an escort and in the meantime, had begun construction on a makeshift totem specific to the mission at hand, capturing and torturing the boys. In typical goblin fashion, it was a macabre collection of body parts, blood and bone mostly from the mother of the boys. Her ears, her tongue, her teeth and her hair were used to decorate her thigh bone all covered in her blood. Already it reeked of death and hate and would not even have appeared as a totem to any but those familiar with the shaman arts. Nakbor even had enough time to enchant the totem quickly with one enchantment.

Once the totem was constructed, the goblin shaman held it in his hands and focused his thoughts on the boys. He pictured them in his mind and chanted hateful words of curse. Specifically, he chanted goblin for “flesh to dust” over and over. The image of the whelps turned blood red then black in his mind as they shrank and wilted away like flowers in bitter sun until they were nothing but dust. The process took more than an hour but once finished Nakbor smiled, anticipating the pain he would inflict with the spell. It was a spell that, as an experienced shaman, he could inflict, but it was easier and faster to cast the spell using the prepared totem.

At last the slaver party reached the shaman. Nakbor didn’t hesitate with more words than he needed and didn’t bother explaining anything to the simple slavers. He merely uttered, “follow me,” and turned to head off after the boys, their spirits still very strong in his mind.

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