Goblin Brothers Part 14

Deep in the depths of the mountain, Nyx convulsed with spider venom coursing through his veins. Zyx scrambled and shook his brother to no avail. As Zyx screeched and screamed, holding his brother, he could feel the venom. It turned Zyx’s stomach and caused his muscles to ache. Nyx’s eyes closed and his mouth foamed when he coughed, a putrid stench spewing from his belly. Zyx began to sob, “No! Brother! Brother! Brother! No die!” He drew his brother into his lap and wrapped his arms around him as he rocked back and forth. Tears fell from his face and with his arms clasped across his brother’s chest he felt his heart slowing. Zyx closed his own eyes in absolute despair.

Zyx could feel the venom moving deeper into his brother’s body. He knew it would not be much longer before it had over taken his small form. He focused on the venom and felt as if he could differentiate it from the blood in his brother’s body. Zyx imagined it leaving Nyx’s blood. In his mind, he pictured the venom flowing against the blood stream towards its origin, the puncture holes in his brother’s chest. The mystical whelp felt the poison moving away from Nyx’s organs and out of his tissues, but it turned his stomach and his head began to heat.

The venom was sucked from Nyx’s body and spiritually into his brother’s causing Zyx to flush and feel hot as his vision blurred and he struggled to maintain his focus. Zyx continued to rock back and forth with his brother in his arms but his head was foggy and eyes could not focus. The physical effects only strengthen his spiritual resolve however and he clung tighter with his mind to his brother’s spirit ever willing the poison from him.

Nyx’s color improved from a very pale green to his darker normal shade and his heart rate improved from nearly nothing to its normal rate. Soon his limbs too no longer shook and instead his hands clinched as if ready for a fight. At last he coughed and his eyes flung open. He struggled free from his brother and flailed about wildly for a moment fending off imagined attackers. Nyx soon realized none were there and he looked first to the cave spider, frozen in layers of frost, then to his brother who lay on his back, shaking.

Nyx dashed to him and shook him, not unlike Zyx did to him minutes earlier. He too shouted to his brother and Zyx heard his call and it settled his spirit though he could not respond. Nyx searched the room for anything useful and could not find anything to help the situation except the totem Zyx used to subdue their attacker. He grabbed it and placed it in his brother’s hands. Zyx gripped it and clung to it as though he were clinging to life. It helped Zyx to focus his spirit and a clarity of thought emerged from the fog of venom.

In reality, Zyx was merely in a trance though his body seemed in dire condition. This state was still very unfamiliar to him however and continued to perplex the young whelp. Zyx saw his body and his brothers from outside himself. He watched as his brother tried to lay his body in a more comfortable position and sat over him looking for signs of worsening or improving condition. Zyx saw the concern on his brother’s face and wanted to soothe him.

“I ok brother,” Zyx whispered in his mind. Nyx looked about and then back to his brother, sensing that he heard something but could not make it out. Nor did he see his brother’s mouth move.

“I ok. No worry,” Zyx whispered again. This time Nyx was sure he heard something and equally sure his brother had not spoken. He had enough experience with his brother’s ability to trust that it was real though, so he exhaled and say back.

Zyx, still very unsure about what he could do and how, spent a moment to consider what happened. Already he learned that he could heal others, though he wasn’t sure if it was the founder of the Trickyfoots, Rozukg, who gave him the power or himself. He was casting a frost spell with the help of Nakbor’s totem. Now, he drew poison from his brother. When he performed these things with his spirit it did seem to drain him spiritually and physically, however. He even felt the effects of the poison as he drew it from his brother’s veins. Zyx understood then, that the spiritual connection he could make, also connected them in a deeper way. He could share in the effects of their pain or fear, but he felt it. He wondered what else he could do.

Zyx understood too, for the first time, the nature of his trance. In such a state, he could move around as though he were in physical form, but without physical limitations. He could fly, in a sense, in him mind. He moved from over his own body and that of his brother to the spider he froze with the totem. He felt the creature’s life force still strong beneath the ice and knew it was still alive. He wanted to delve deeper into the spirit of the spider but he could not figure out how. Part of his suspected that he could speak to the beast, but he didn’t know the language. He called to the spider, “Spider! Hear me!” There was no reply. “Spider! I speak you!” Nothing. Zyx gave up and looked about the room further. There was little of interested except that the spider had the remains of former prey in the deep crevice from which he attacked. Goblin corpses. Three of them.

Zyx projected his spirit further and explored the paths around them. He did not get far however before he felt a tug on his spirit as though he were tied to his own body and could not venture further. Besides, he suddenly felt very sleepy. His spiritual walk drained him of his energy and he thought that he would surely fall into a deep sleep if he did not wake promptly. He crawled back to his body and then opened his eyes.

Nyx was still seated next to his brother and squeaked, “Zyx! You live!”

“Yes brother, you too,” Zyx whispered. “Spider live too,” he added. Nyx turned eyes squinted at the spider encased in frost. He looked very closely, not sure whether to believe his brother. Mere inches from the face and fangs of the spider, its eyes blinked. Nyx squawked and then, drawing his dagger high, began to thrust down onto the creature’s head, breaking first through the ice, then the beast’s face. In a moment, Nyx had plunged his dagger through the spider’s brain and slain it. Hardly stopping, Nyx continued in a fury and flurry of blows until covered in goop from the beast. Nyx at last sat back, plopping next to Zyx, breathing deeply and heavily. Each smiled. They were a dangerous team.

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Goblin Brothers Part 13

In the boys’ birth home a huge stirring had settled across the village. Whispers passed from one goblin to the next and before long the boys had become legend. Their acts had been exaggerated to the point where they were said to have slaughtered a dozen soldiers with spells and great feats of physical strength. This all sounds preposterous and glorious to any who doesn’t comprehend the goblin ways but to those who do, they understand that rumor is fact amongst goblins and facts are fleeting. The whole affair had already begun to fade shortly after the party put together to find and destroy them had departed.

The rumors reached the court or the Trickyfoot king, Gnobum. Some of his servant goblins were whispering to each other and it annoyed the king.

“What you whisper about?” The king shouted, pointing his twisted obsidian mace at the pair of gossipers.

“Nothing, my king, forgive stupid goblin, no hurt me,” one stammered in response cowering low and even covering his head as though the mace were already crashing down on him though the king was many feet away atop his throne constructed of bone.

“Tell me!” the king demanded, “Or I crush you skull!”

“Just whelps, king. Some Trickyfoot whelps.”

“What about whelps? What interesting about whelps? Tell me!” The king screeched.

The servant goblin took a few steps backward as if the king’s voice blew him back and continued to cower with the other gossiper hiding behind him trying best not to be seen. “They killed goblins, many goblins, and beat shaman of Sagobr. I hear they strong, one powers has, other mighty, deadly. They run away. Shaman to hunt them now. Call for soldiers.”

“Shaman called for king’s soldiers and no tell king?” Gnobum rose to his feet, much larger and many goblins and an actual imposing figure. The servants cowered and backed away until they thudded against the stone wall behind them. “That make me angry!” The king raised his mace high and swung it around his head as though he battled a group of enemies before leaping from his throne and smashing the mace to the floor in one mighty motion creating a massive blast of stone flying in all directions. All servants in the room ducked to the ground and covered their heads.

He shouted, “Bring me Thux! I need my chief slaver!” Servants scattered in all directions some to try to fulfill the king’s wishes, others to hide but word did reach the Chief Trickyfoot slaver that his king demanded his consol.

Thux was also a larger goblin and strong. He carried a wicked barbed whip, with three separate lashes, that was feared by all in the clan except the mightiest among them and well known to the Trickyfoot slaves. It was a weapon that brought even the strongest and proudest creatures low and forced them to submit. None wished to feel its lashes especially in the hands of its cruel wielder. With confidence, Thux entered the court of his king and upon reaching the throne, he bowed, “You call my king?” he began.

By this time Gnobum had time to calm somewhat and was once again seated on his throne contemplating what to do next. In his meditation, he got the sense that somehow he knew these whelps. He could not understand how but he imagined them reaching out to him for help. More than that though, he sensed their ability and therefor their value to the tribe and as king of the Trickyfoots, he was always looking for ways to strengthen and expand his tribe. Goblins typically dwelled in the dark cold crevices of mountains, but the most successful kings and tribes managed to live and thrive in the open hills or sometimes valleys of the world. A goblin king could dream of such things at least and two powerful whelps could be useful in achieving it.

“Thux! You hear of whelps attacking shaman?” The king asked.

“Yes king. I hear of them.”

“I want them. They seem strong. Trickyfoot need strong goblins. I want raid soon. Orcs threaten us. Strong goblins we need.”

“Where they now?” the slaver asked.

“Not sure. I hear shaman want to find them. This shaman not respect king. I king, not he. He not command my goblins.”

“Of course king.”

“But!” the goblin king paused and twisted his mace in his hands. “Shaman speak to Sagobr Dreaddeath. We not make Dreaddeath angry. Bring shaman too. I judge who live and who die.”

“Yes king. I capture them.”

“Good! No fail me Thux!” the king smiled pleased with his decision and perceived cunning. “Go! Send slavers! Bring them here.”

With a wave of the king’s hand, Thux bowed once again then trotted off to organize a party of slavers.

Thux returned to the slave dungeon where they held their unfortunate prey captive. It was the worst place imaginable. Constant pain, torture, screams and agony were the hallmarks of the goblin dungeons. Most prefer death but goblins were talented at inflicting pain and preventing death. Once there, Thux organized some of his slavers. Five in all. He ordered them to get wolf mounts from their pens, nets bolas whips and barbed ropes to capture their targets. And instructed them on the specifics of the mission. Capture the boys. Do not kill them. Do not let the shaman kill them. Capture the shaman. It was a complicated mission for goblin slavers who were used to raiding and capturing anything they did not kill and there was a significant chance that they would not complete the mission as designed but such was life in the goblin world. With equipment, supplies and weapons prepared, they set off to find the shaman who ordered this mission in the first place and could track the boys.

Before they could set off they had to find the shaman who so strongly desired holding them accountable for their rebellion and violence against him. Nakbor grew angrier and more focused in waiting for an escort and in the meantime, had begun construction on a makeshift totem specific to the mission at hand, capturing and torturing the boys. In typical goblin fashion, it was a macabre collection of body parts, blood and bone mostly from the mother of the boys. Her ears, her tongue, her teeth and her hair were used to decorate her thigh bone all covered in her blood. Already it reeked of death and hate and would not even have appeared as a totem to any but those familiar with the shaman arts. Nakbor even had enough time to enchant the totem quickly with one enchantment.

Once the totem was constructed, the goblin shaman held it in his hands and focused his thoughts on the boys. He pictured them in his mind and chanted hateful words of curse. Specifically, he chanted goblin for “flesh to dust” over and over. The image of the whelps turned blood red then black in his mind as they shrank and wilted away like flowers in bitter sun until they were nothing but dust. The process took more than an hour but once finished Nakbor smiled, anticipating the pain he would inflict with the spell. It was a spell that, as an experienced shaman, he could inflict, but it was easier and faster to cast the spell using the prepared totem.

At last the slaver party reached the shaman. Nakbor didn’t hesitate with more words than he needed and didn’t bother explaining anything to the simple slavers. He merely uttered, “follow me,” and turned to head off after the boys, their spirits still very strong in his mind.

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Goblin Brothers Part 12

The goblin boys were not worried whatsoever about the impending hunt for their hides, they figured no one would care they were gone since no one seemed to care they were there in the first place. Wrong though they may have been, they were very comfortable after their meal and mead. Zyx had a chance to study the totem staff that Nyx grabbed during their dash from their den. Shamans created totems to help them channel their spiritual energy and cast spells. This totem held tremendous power.

It was crafted from a leg bone of an ogre and so it was much longer than many. That fact alone made it powerful as it held within it some of the strength of the creature that died to provide it. The poor ogre slaved away for years in the goblin town before succumbing to neglect and abuse only to have his wretched corpse pillaged and recycled into satchels from his flesh, totems and daggers from his bones, and his teeth and knuckles made into dice or trinkets which goblins valued more than most cultures value gold coins.

Leather strips were wrapped around the staff. All were remnants of Nakbor’s victims, and all contributed energy to the totem. Blood too was smeared and soaked into the leather adding to its aura. Finally, on the top of the totem was the top part of a giant rat skull secured with the sinew of a poor elf who was tragically captured by the goblins some decades ago. Poor soul was tortured for weeks before succumbing to the abuse of his captors. All in all, the totem was very powerful and filled with strong auras and spirits from decades of victims.

Zyx could feel the power in the totem and even hear the sounds of the souls used to build it. Faint cries, screams and moans filled his mind as he held in out in front of him. They confused him for a moment as they seemed to cry for mercy but he knew they were not from the world of the living but rather the spirit world. The young goblin closed his eyes and focused on them. The image of a twisted and deformed ogre came to him along with a giant rat. In a moment, they vanished and a squeal from Nakbor pierced his ears and caused him to shake his head. When he shook enough to escape the screams of the totem’s creator, he focused again on its power. Nyx watched his brother ears up and eyes wide.

“What it do?” Nyx asked.

“Don’t know,” Zyx answered.

“It seem powerful.”

“Me thinks so.”

“Then do something.”

Zyx squinted his eyes and let the totems power flow into him. He felt a variety of sensations. Hot, cold, a suction from a vacuum, screams and howls and even a healing warmth. Zyx focused on one of the more obvious sensations, a flame. It was one that he recognized easily and he tried to separate it from the other auras held in the totem. He pictured a single flame. Suddenly a flame sparked from the top of the totem. It appeared so suddenly that Zyx hopped backwards and almost dropped it. Nyx also scampered away a couple of steps hugging the ground, then broke into a joyous laughter.

“Do more! Do more!” Nyx chanted.

Zyx swung he totem around and the flame remained ever burning from the top of the staff without charring it at all. The boys were very impressed. Zyx dismissed the flame in his mind and it vanished. Closing his eyes once more he searched for an element of the staff he could isolate like the flame. He sifted through the various sensations and came across a cold feeling multiple times. He focused his mind on the cold and it indeed seemed to be a frost sensation. It was cold and felt like it could choke out life itself. It grew stronger in his mind and he held it. Nothing happened though and Nyx grew impatient.

“Why nothing happen? Make it work!” Nyx blurted. When he did Zyx’s mind lost a little concentration and he jolted. In that instance a burst of frozen air flew from the totem and down the cave. Both brothers leaped back and stumbled, squawking as they did. When they fled the frost Zyx dropped the totem, tossing it away from him though it did not hurt him in the least.

The boys looked at each other, eyes wide and mouths open. Wide grins crept across their faces and the hopped up and down together before Zyx slowly inched towards the totem. He snatched it off the ground and held it far from his body. The goblin spiritualist searched again for the cold sensation and it was much easier to find this time. He again focused his energy of the feeling of frost. Zyx held the feeling and then projected it forward and as he did, another burst of cold air launched from the totem away from him.

The boys did not flee so far this time but only flinched a little, then celebrated with more hopping and cheering. Zyx practiced the spell a few more times, blasting frost forward and down the hall. They grew bored with the frost spell however and wanted to up the level of difficulty. Nyx began to toss rocks up and have Zyx blast them with frost. This delighted them for a moment too then they decided to go in search of something else to freeze. They wandered away from their resting place to find a new target.

The cave wound some and narrowed at places and widened at others. Zyx decided to produce the flame from his totem. While Goblins can see in the dark well enough, their vision does not illuminate colors but the flame gave them a better view of their surroundings. The cave walls sparkled in the lights with bits of quartz and crystal scattered about the stone it gave the appearance of stars that neither of them had ever seen but was mesmerizing nonetheless.

They found themselves gazing up at the high roof of the cave. What they failed to see was the cave spider in a nearby crevice. The flame deterred the spider from attacking but all his eyes watched the brothers standing not twenty feet from the webbed corner that he made home. The flame bothered him but cave spiders do not have too many opportunities to feast and two young goblins were perfect prey.

Unwilling to let the succulent meal escape, the spider shot a thick string of web towards Zyx and struck him directly in his torso, breaking his concentration and making the flame extinguish. Nyx jumped backwards away from his brother eyes darting around to try to make sense of what was happening. The spider leaped from his hole and on Nyx web spraying all over the young goblin. The cave spider’s fangs, dripping with venom, tried to pierce the goblin but with swift moves he evaded the attacks as he tried to escape but the webs entangled him and he couldn’t get far from the spider.

Zyx saw his brother under the spider and although he was somewhat restrained from the webbing he reached the totem and without standing he quickly focused his attention on the cold feeling within. Not quick enough however the spider’s fangs found Nyx’s chest and injected their venom deep into his body. Nyx cried out in a primal animalistic scream and could feel the venom slowing his limbs, lungs and heart. He suddenly felt very weary and sleepy.

Zyx shouted “No! Brother!” and as he did he cast frost from the totem and it flew in a great wave and struck the spider sending it toppling over. The spider screeched and tried to regain its footing but he found it difficult to move the legs struck by Zyx’s frost. Zyx pointed the totem at the spider again and sent another blast of frost at their attacker. Another and another blast flew from the young goblin until the spider no longer moved or made noise. Literal frost surrounded and entombed the spider.

Zyx wriggled from the webs that bound him and crawled to his brother. Nyx was a very pale green and his eyes were clouded. He looked dehydrated and he shook uncontrollably. Zyx shouted and gripped his brother and tried to shake and shout him awake but Nyx was non-responsive. The spider’s poison was deep in his blood.

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Goblin Brothers Part 11

Back in the Trickyfoot goblin town, the soldiers scampered their way to near center of the town and word of the skirmish involving the boys followed them like a wind at their backs spreading throughout the dens, homes, slave pens and even to the King’s throne. Goblin society was built on a fragile structure of strength, treachery, deceit and conflict and a pair of whelps resisting and defeating a shaman threatened the order of things. One of two things would have to happen, the shaman would be disgraced and killed or reduced to the lowliest of classes, or the boys would have to be found and subjugated. If nothing was done the entire class system was threatened and any number of whelps and slaves might revolt and destroy the hideous fabric that wove together the goblin world.

Goblin towns were generally organized with the lowest class towards the outside to fend for themselves, the dirties. The dirties class were hardly afforded any privileges in the tribe. They usually had to fend for themselves and find their own food, often by trying to steal it from other goblins. They were forced to do the lowest jobs, when there were no slaves to do them, like cleaning up animal pens or cleaning up after other goblins. Understand that as disgusting as goblins are, being forced to clean up after other goblins would be worse than a death sentence in most cultures. Usually they aspired to move into higher classes and indeed many of them do if they can prove cunning or strength by hacking and slashing their way through society, or some valued talent or ability. Others are shoved to dirties level through failure and ineptitude. It wasn’t a pleasant place to be.

The level just above dirties was the trappers and farmers. This class was largely responsible for feeding the tribe. They set animal traps, foraged for food and cultivated edible fungus for cave goblins and simple crops for hill goblins. It wasn’t glamorous work but was important. Failure to feed the higher classes was dealt with harshly. The cruel whips of slavers and soldiers were quick to punish, or motivate, the trappers and farmers. Goblins were efficient enough at catching prey. Not brave creatures, they were somewhat clever when it came to traps and set them all around their communities. If the goblins were talented at anything, it was at capturing and abusing other creatures or beings.

The third, and first class with any prestige, was the soldier class. The soldiers were responsible for obvious things like defending the village and leading assaults, whether during raids, or attacks on other goblin villages or perhaps even orc strongholds. They were far braver than typical goblins who are known to flee at first sight of a fallen comrade. These have the strength to stand tall in the face of danger and even inspire other goblins around them. In battle, goblins have been known to fight on, far beyond their own spirits would allow through the example of soldiers or perhaps, out of fear of them. Since goblins are not large creatures in the world, they value speed and dexterity over strength. The soldiers carry swords or clubs or any other manner of weapon along with the typical whip. One of the goblin’s favorite tricks is to lash a creature or foe with the whip and even bind their leg or arm and then attack with the deadlier weapon of its choice. In spite of the goblinoid’s reputation of cowardice and weakness, no average being would do well in a tangle with a goblin soldier.

One of the most revered and valued classes in goblin society is the slaver, they are also the cruelest. The whole of the goblin’s world revolves around slavery. Since goblins are limited in their statue and strength, they rely on slaves for most of the physical labor. Slavers are highly skilled with nets, bolas and whips to capture and subdue creatures. The goblin slavers subjugate a variety of creatures and beings. Giant rats and wolves are common among their captives and make up the bulk of animals used for labor but they also fill their towns with slaves from other goblin tribes, orcs, trolls, ogres and if they can manage to capture the higher creatures like dwarves, gnomes, elves or humans, they too are forced to serve the vile needs of goblins. Whether for labor or for abuse, the number and type of slaves that a goblin tribe possesses is its source of prestige in their world. The slavers are responsible for capture and keep of these slaves and so they are highly regarded in their society.

Another prestige class is the shaman or mystic class. The so-called spirit goblins. Goblins are not intelligent creatures in the least, and also lack in patience necessary to study classical magic arts, but goblins, so primal and primitive in nature, often show a surprising innate ability to get in touch with worlds beyond the physical. Like in Zyx, certain goblins are born with this ability and it is difficult to cultivate, but still highly regarded. Most use this power to do harm to others, but many still are able to heal or inspire their comrades in battle or to perform elaborate spells that shock and mystify enemies. Because of their primitive minds, the goblins fear the shaman class more so than the others at times.

The final and royal class of goblins, commonly referred to as the betters, represent the governing class, if there is such a thing in the goblin world. They tended to be the cleverer among the tribe and typically bamboozled or swindled their way to the top, sometimes through violent treachery, sometimes through trickery by way of intelligence. How ever they got there, the betters were as close to royalty as goblins got. They ordered other goblins around and did little for themselves. They did not contribute much to day to day function of the society but did sometimes benefit the tribe through use of their marginally improved reasoning skills to make decisions on matters of governance. They meet in chaotic and loud gatherings to argue over whatever issues face them, usually whether to raid, rape and pillage a poor farming community, and the goblin who won the others over rose in honor and prestige. It was primitive, but functional.

These classes were important in the goblin world and upsetting the balance, like it would in any society, threatened the entire structure. The boys, though they thought they were safe and free, were never in more danger than they were at that moment. Their resistance and flight created a crack in the Trickyfoot foundation that demanded repair. The crack would be mended with their blood.

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Goblin Brothers Part 10

Ten

The boys collapsed after more than an hour of fleeing their retched homeland. They breathed hard but freely in the deep cave air. They ached all over but strangely a pain came from deeper within. It was if their spirits ached. It was a draining feeling that made their limbs heavy and heads sag. Their eyes were getting more difficult to keep open and at last their weariness overtook them and they drifted off to sleep.

In their sleep, strange images and dreams assaulted their minds. Death, bones, corpses, rats and blood circulated around in their heads, causing their bodies to twitch and writhe as they dreamed. The image of their mother arose suddenly. She looked sick and twisted, face ever changing in expression but never one of love or nurture, goblin mothers don’t love or nurture their young no, they were expressions of resentment and disdain. Her image was more disturbing than the others as it was recognizable and detestable. Her face suddenly exploded into flying bits of flesh and bone and through it snapped the face of Nakbor the shaman, teeth jagged and rotten biting at the boys. Both goblins jolted awake, hearts racing and breath coming fast. They looked at each other as if to confirm that they really did just dream what they dreamed. One look was all that was necessary, they knew it was true.
The boys sat up and inspected their surroundings. They were in a cave that had become very unfamiliar. The walls were high, rough with jagged dark stone rising above like death trying to swallow them whole. Though they were by no means experts on life under the earth and the civilizations that carve out the mountains as their homes, it was clear that the area they wandered into was not part of any underground town. It was far too unfinished for that.

Nyx decided to inspect the contents of the satchel he swiped from the shaman as they fled. In it he found meat and goblin mead. He squeaked in excitement and hurriedly unwrapped the meal from a leather wrapping, tore bits and offered them to his brother; very uncharacteristic for a greedy goblin but already the brothers had developed different habits than typical goblins, especially ones of such low class.
The boys gobbled up the meat, which was nothing more than giant rat meat, with glee. Goblin cuisine consisted mostly of the unappetizing foods they could find in the caves of the mountains. Goblins kept many rats and wolves but also collected and even cultivated a variety of mushrooms and other fungus which don’t need sunlight to grow. Then there are the fish that can be caught from the various deep lakes, ponds or streams. Nasty bottom dwellers with thick scales and bulging eyes they are not in the least tasty. Lastly, the goblin menu may contain any of the various insects or arachnids which live in the endless caves and crevices. Disgusting creatures and not appetizing but can be cooked over flame and eaten none the less.

As a result of the poor food choices available in the mountains and holes, goblins prefer to raid farms, villages and camps for tastier foods. It is a glorious feast indeed when goblins make off with beef or pork, chicken or lamb. The cheeses and wines of the world are intense delights for goblins who had nothing but spider legs for a week. When starvation stares a goblin clan in the face, a raid is usually planned if for no other reason than to steal food and simultaneously thin the ranks that need feeding. It isn’t a pleasant reality, but it is theirs.

After swallowing some of the rat meat, Nyx pulled the top off a chitin shell filled with goblin mead and sniffed it curiously. The scent was sour and it burned Nyx’s nostrils. He was completely unfamiliar with its’ scent. Zyx watched his brother ears up and eyes wide sniffing the air and catching only the faintest scent of mead. In spite of the warning from his senses, and because goblins almost entirely lack restraint, Nyx put the shell to his lips and tipped it back. The liquid burned his mouth and throat and Nyx howled in discomfort shaking his head from side to side. The mead warmed his belly as well however, in the most pleasant way. After taking a moment to stare into the shell trying to make sense of what he had just tasted, he tipped it back again and swallowed some more. This time he thrashed about a little less and after a solid mouthful he rolled back rubbing his belly in joy and cackled a little.

“It warms brother! It warms!” Nyx declared.

Zyx scrambled to his brother and grabbed the shell before pouring some of the mead down his own throat. He gripped his neck as the alcohol burned its way down, but he too discovered the warming sensation that began in his belly and crept outward. Nyx snatched the mead from his brother and the two began to drink swig after swig until the shell was empty. Before they had even finished drinking it all the warmth spread throughout their body like an internal sunshine, the likes of which they had no concept. They laughed and giggled as they finished the rat meat. The brothers rolled around on the cave floor wrestling each other and punching each other in a playful celebration.

After a time, the brothers dozed off for a peaceful nap, free from the horrors of their earlier dreams. It didn’t last long but the boys awoke more refreshed than even, what with full bellies and the gentle calming effect of the mead. They smiled, genuinely smiled, for the first time in their short lives and felt happy, though they had no words for the sensation. It was different from the joy goblins receive when they successfully raid a village, kill its citizens and take their provisions. That was more a primal satisfaction than anything else. And even the wealthiest among the goblins, if wealth were such a thing, were not happy as we might think of it, but instead they were ever paranoid that they would be robbed or attacked for their meager possessions and more importantly, their status in the clan. No, goblins were not happy creatures. They were only temporarily not starving or under threat of death. The brothers however, were, for a moment, content. That was much more than most goblins ever achieved.

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Goblin Brothers Part 9

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.

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Goblin Brothers Part 8

The goblin shaman stepped into the den where the boys rested and stood before them quickly studying the pair. Nyx did not hesitate but instead leapt to his feet, blocked the shaman from his brother dagger in hand and waved it around in warning.
“Stay back!” Nyx growled, “I kill you!”

The shaman did not speak but instead focused on the young welp’s aura. It glowed bright and red, full of rage and hate, typical for a goblin born into the conflict and violence of their world. It was strong for one so young however. His physique matched his aura. The shaman was not impressed with such things, but he suspected that Nyx would make a fine warrior for their ever-rotating ranks.

“Clam, I no hurt you,” the shaman whispered to Nyx with no words, but instead with thoughts. It confused him, but rather than enrage him further, Nyx’s heart and breath slowed as he lowered his hand.” Nyx sat down with a plop on his rear.
To Zyx he thought “I feel you welp. You have power.” It confused Zyx but he recognized the words in his head and although Goblins are not known for their problem-solving skills, he put together that the older goblin was speaking to him as he somehow spoke to his brother; with his spirit. Zyx tilted his head.
“You come with me,” the goblin shaman ordered as he pointed a gnarled and curved finger at the young wlep. Zyx stepped back half a step and thought, “I stay with brother.”

The shaman cackled and snorted then with a half smile thought, “Why you think you matter? You nothing. Lowly goblins. Your mother cleaned rat cages. You eat scraps. You worthless.”

“No!” Zyx shouted.

“Yes! You come with me or die.”

“No!” Zyx growled and from his spirit a growl burst forth and pushed the goblin shaman back like a wave of anger cast outward. Dust from the cave walls fell like a fog around the boys and the shaman. Their own mother cowered in the hall before rushing off in search of braver beings than herself. Zyx seemed so much larger for a moment and hardly resembled a goblin. For a brief instant both Nyx and the shaman thought they saw something that appeared more like a bear than a goblin, large and ferocious.

Zyx stood tall as his brother sat beside him clutching his knees to his chest. The shaman hesitated for a moment before he squinted his eyes and gripped his staff, shaft smeared with blood and decorated with strips of leather tied to bones, knuckles of many victims and sacrifices. In both hands the shaman raised his staff high above his head then swung it hard to the floor. Too far from the boys to strike them they did not flinch or brace themselves against an attack but watched listlessly.

The staff cracked the floor of the cave sending a blast of energy in all directions. Dirt and dust whipped up from the floor in a rush and the meager possessions of the lowly goblin family were tossed about is garbage in a storm. The blast struck the boys harder than any blow from a fist or foot they had ever felt. The blast stole the breath from their lungs and cast them against the cold walls of the cave. The shaman began to howl in a pitch that deafened the boys but that was the least of their pain. Huddled on the ground the boys lay next to one another, gasping for air in a room filled with dust and debris, unable to hear a sound beyond the piercing squeal of the shaman. Worse, they felt as though their very will to live were being sucked from them. They felt suddenly weaker like their muscles had been drained after intense and prolonged labor.

Neither welp knew what was happening but Zyx felt compelled to reach out to Nyx in his mind and urge him to hold on. Zyx felt the fear and the pain in his brother, and he felt it too in his own body. He knew they could not endure whatever was happening for long. Nyx felt the pain in his brother as well and as one mind they thought of something. Nyx and Zyx locked eyes momentarily and an understanding flowed between them both. Nyx gripped the dagger and hurled it without raising his eyes in the tornado of dust. The dagger traveled true and struck the shaman in the leg. The goblin spiritualist yelped and the drain on the boys’ spirits halted as their life force returned.

The boys stood shoulder to shoulder eyes fixed on their unwelcome visitor. Zyx searched for the strength to growl again and from deep within, an animalistic growl built and burst from his spirit, once more stunning the shaman and causing him to stumble. This was the opening Nyx was looking for, he lunged forward striking the shaman directly in the nose, breaking it and causing blood to gush forth and spill on his fist and the shaman’s face. Their opponent fell to the ground. Nyx grabbed his dagger, the shaman’s staff and the bags he carried with food and drink and motioned for his brother to follow as he dashed out of the den.
Zyx paused for a moment wide eyed and scanning the scene before him, but quickly gathered his wits and followed his brother’s lead. The boys scampered off into the direction of their earlier adventure into the caves deep in the mountain, away from the goblin town. From behind them they heard screams, yelps, barks and howls. Even though the noise faded behind them they had an unnerving feeling that there was someone in pursuit.

It was nearly an hour before they stopped. The boys did poor to track in which direction they were heading and in all honesty were not concerned about it. Their sole aim was to get as far away from the goblin town as they could. In a very short amount of time the boys learned a very clear lesson about life as a goblin; their lives were in constant danger and they could not count on any to protect them except the pair of them. All who they encountered seemed to be a threat. Such was life as a goblin.

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