“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.”