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?”
“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.