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.”
“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.