Zyx slowly and cautiously moved to his brother lying in a heap on the floor; a whimpering, dying mass. The smaller brother stood over him and observed him throbbing in pain and writhing on the filthy floor of their dark den. He remembered his brother giving him some of the food they stole rather than keep it all for himself. He remembered the connection they felt mere hours earlier and how for some reason he could feel his brother’s essence. He wanted to feel his brother’s pain.
Zyx closed his eyes and held his scrawny long fingers over the bloodied body of his brother and focused. He conjured his brother’s image in his mind and remembered the way in which they shared food and the love he felt in that moment. Zyx noticed an ache in his side which began as a bit of an itch but grew stronger and more painful. He didn’t flinch however and instead focused on the pain letting it spread through his body; through his spirit.
Nix sensed his brother’s spirit as though he was reaching out and touching him. A warmth spread between the boys as Zyx intensified his concentration. They shared each other’s pain not unlike they shared in Zyx’s hunger earlier yet together the pain was much less as though the burden of it was much easier to carry together.
Zyx didn’t know what to do next. He could feel his brother’s pain but that was all and while it eased the anguish it did nothing to remove it and nothing to prevent the young goblin from bleeding out in the den of his birth.
Zyx tried to search for the answer in his mind, broadening his spiritual focus beyond his brother, beyond his pain. He felt himself floating, as if in a pool of water, but it was dark and he could not see anything. Slowly the boney little goblin began to see images through the cloudiness. The image of other goblins from their den came to mind. They snarled and snapped at him threateningly and he fled from them in fear as if he were a bird flying from snakes. Next he saw his mother, haggard and cold she stared at him blankly offering no help. Zyx flew past her and past many other goblins he encountered in his world. At last he came before Gnobum Clan Trickyfoot king. Zyx felt the strength of Gnobum’s spirit. He felt his essence, his power, his command but more than the essence emanating from the king, the mace, Skull Masher glowed with a power Zyx had not noticed before. In physical form, Zyx had not ever sensed any power from the mace, but in a spiritual form he could see the weapon’s power shooting from it like beams of light. Zyx even shielded his eyes at first out of reaction to bright light though it was not even physical. The mace contained great power, great energy.
Zyx was still lost and beginning to panic as he felt the pain his brother experienced intensify like waves crashing into his spirit yet felt his brother’s energy faltering. In his mind, Zyx scrambled to Gnobum who didn’t seem to notice him and grasped the mace. At once bolts of electric energy shot through his body and made him shake even though he could not release the mace.
Another face appeared to him, projected by the mace. Zyx did not recognize the figure but it was a strong and powerful looking goblin with the mace in his hand and a crown of bone on his head. Somehow Zyx knew it was Rozukg the Mighty, king of all Trickyfoots. Rozukg gazed at the goblin whelp with dark eyes, deep and still which peered into his soul. Zyx’s heart raced and his breathing accelerated. He felt Nix’s essence slip further from his grasp.
In a desperate effort Zyx fell at the feet of the great Rozukg. “Please!” he begged, “Please help my brother! He’s dying!”
Rozukg continued to stare at the wiry whelp on his hands and knees begging before him.
Again Zyx begged, “Please! Please save my brother!” The young goblin’s voice was high pitched and cracked. His lip quivered and his body shook.
The regal king answered, “I’ve never seen a whelp so young with so much spiritual strength. How did you reach me?”
“I don’t know! My brother is dying! I am desperate to save him!”
“Save your brother?” the King squinted his eyes at the groveling goblin.
“Yes! Yes please! I want to save him!” Zyx screamed.
“What will you give me in return for this favor?”
“What do you want? I’ll give you anything!”
The King considered the offer. “I want a life. If I spare your brother’s life I want a life in return.”
Zyx picked his head up in a quick motion and stared eyes wide and mouth open. “You want me to kill someone?”
The king laughed. “Yes you stupid whelp! If I grant you the energy to save your brother, I want a life in return. I am king of all Trickyfoots!” Rozukg raised his mace high above his head. “Living or dead! So if one is allowed to live another must die! You must kill one for me if I save your brother.” The king lowered his mace and pointed it at Zyx.
“Yes! Yes! I’ll do it!” he screeched.
“Excellent!” bellowed the king, and he waved his mace at Zyx with a wave of energy splashing his face then flowing through his body and into Nix’s which was nearly spent of life.
Nix opened his eyes and bolted straight up, gripping his side and looking for the wound. His blood was still wet, covering his abdomen and puddled on the ground. He looked around the den with darting motions. The two goblins who remained stared widely at the pair of brothers, arms hanging limp at their sides and mouths dropped low.
Zyx fell to his back. His body was limp and his eyes half open but glossy and unfocused. Nix shook him harshly but Zyx didn’t respond. Nix scooped him up and propped him against the wall. He scrambled around the room searching for something to give him, some sort of beverage. He found his mother’s water skin, filled with a fermented drink and poured some into Zyx’s mouth. The pungent repugnant fluid roused him and after choking and coughing a few times he seemed more alert, though still weary.
“What happened?” Nix gasped. Zyx searched for the answer through the fog of his mind and the exhaustion of his body. Nix examined his side and found only a scar where the spear pierced him, already faint as though aged many years.
Finally Zyx answered, “I asked Rozukg to save you.”
“You what?” Nix questioned.
“I asked Rozukg to save you,” the young goblin whispered.
Nix fell to the ground besides his brother and put his head in his hands. “How?”
“I don’t know. I was floating and saw a lot of goblins. Then I saw Gnobum and grabbed the mace. It was glowing. When I did I saw Rozukg and I asked him to help you. He said he would if I did something for him.”
Nix jumped to his feet again, feeling as good as ever, and bursting with energy. “What do you have to do for him?”
Zyx paused. He felt a pinch at his side and reached for it. When he did he discovered that he too had a faint scar, matching the one Nix had. His brother saw it too. Nix remembered feeling his brother’s spirit, and how his brother eased the burden of pain. He remembered the feeling of energy flowing through his brother and to him. He would never forget it.
Zyx winced and said, “I have to kill someone.”
Nix’s eyes sharpened, “Did he say who?”
Zyx shook his head, “No, he said a life for a life.”
Nix tightened his fists, “I know just the one brother. I will take care of it for you. Rest.”
Before Zyx could protest, his brother sprinted off into the darkness of the goblin world. Zyx tried to rise but too tired, and too slow anyways to catch his brother, he reclined. The pair of goblin witnesses frozen in bewilderment watched still, then after a moment to regain their wits, also rushed off.