Back in the den of the welps the shaman lay, ears ringing and back sore, nose broken and bleeding the metallic taste in his mouth. He licked the corner of his mouth and his own blood helped him focus his thoughts more intently on the tiny, invisible yet alert rat that he sent after the boys. The spiritual rodent tailed the boys to their resting spot and observed the safely but cautiously. Nearly an hour after the attack however and the shaman’s energy was very nearly drained.
He was disturbed further by the return of the boys’ mother with some soldiers she fetched. The term soldier does not apply to goblins in the same way it would humans, elves or dwarves. Even orcs are far more warrior-like than goblins. For goblins however, the term does refer to a class in their society who are far less cowardly than the average goblin and therefor in charge of the lower classes. Only the shamans held respect equal to that of soldiers. The soldiers represented the goblin elite, if such a thing were even sensible. They were characterized by improved diet, equipment and most obvious was their whips, the mainstay of goblin life and the enforcer of their order. From among the soldiers the king arose and they remained his favored at his will.
A pair of soldier approached the den after listening to the wild tales of the mother. They nearly smashed her skull in when she ran up to them, but when she told them that he boys attacked a shaman, they felt it necessary to investigate and likely to discipline someone with their cruel whips, each a collection of strips of leather and shards of bone and rock. Their approach broke the shaman’s concentration and with effort he opened his eyes in the dusty room.
The first soldier to approach squawked “He dead?”
“No, dumb slug, his eyes open.”
The shaman turned his head to cast a glance at the soldiers which said far more to them than any words and they took half a step back, knowing that it was always dangerous to anger a shaman. They could do far more with their spirits than the soldiers could with their whips.
“Who do this?” The first soldier asked. The shaman did not answer, still weak from the attack and concentration of his energy.
“Was it whelps?” The second added, “This woman tells us her boys attack you.”
The shaman jerked his head and rolled to his chest before crawling to his feet. His vision blurred for a moment before the blood could return to his head and focus his eyes. When they did focus he saw the mother of the boys who attacked him. Had he more strength he might have killed her on the spot but his body and spirit were drained.
The shaman locked eyes with the boys’ mother and said, “My name Nakbor. I shaman of Rozukg Dreaddeath. You worthless. Your boys attack me, must now die.” His boney, dry hand lurched out and gripped her throat. She howled in fear and agony. The hand felt physically weak but somehow burned her flesh. As she wailed Nakbor opened his mouthed and inhaled her pain. His grip grew stronger, his eyes rolled back in his head until they looked entirely black. Her screams echoed off the lonely stone walls of her pitiful destroyed den. The den where she once whelped. Where she nursed her young. Where she neglected them and ultimately where she betrayed them. They fled the den where she birthed them and fled from the shaman she brought to enslave them. They escaped with their lives, but she would not any longer.
Nakbor’s hand seemed to reach through her and strangle her spirit, tearing it from her body as he sucked the life from her. While he did, he felt all her pain, her despair, her desperation and it made him stronger. At last there was no spirit left in her and her body fell limp to the floor like a sack of rotten potatoes.
Nakbor stood completely still, eyes closed, enjoying the revitalizing feeling of draining a spirit from another being. He felt stronger, and wiser, more alive than before. Even his physical wounds were healed. The break in his nose no longer throbbed and the blood that trickled from it halted. His aches and pains too were removed.
The pair of soldiers next to him stood dumbstruck, mouths hanging open but eyes alive and darting from the dead goblin and the shaman. It was not often that they saw a shaman perform rituals up close and the event was more than their primitive minds could grasp.
Finally, Nakbor opened his eyes and the soldiers hopped up and down in excitement. They even began to pace about in a primal frenzy. The shaman had no patience for their activities however and scolded them, “Enough! I no have time! We find and kill boys! Get me slavers! I stay here!”
Even though goblins’ speech is simple the shaman spoke too many words for the soldiers to process and so they continued to stare blankly. The shaman was not amused. “Slavers! Now! Or I next kill you!”
This was comprehendible by the simple creatures and they sped off bumping into one another and running pell-mell down the halls.
Nakbor gripped the woman’s heal and dragged her into the filthy den. He felt no spirit in her but was not surprised. He had however absorbed the spiritual connection she had with her boys, weak though it was. The shaman grinned as he sat down, legs crossed beneath him to rest. He could feel the boys’ spirits. He knew he could find them and seek his revenge. Still though, he wondered, how powerful was the young spiritualist? And how brave and deadly was his brother? Could they be assets to the clan? Nakbor shook the thought from his head as soon as it entered. Whether they were an asset or valuable didn’t matter, they injured him and therefor would contribute to the tribe by shrieking in pain for the pleasure of Dreaddeath. The shaman smiled at the thought.