Goblin Stories VI

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
There are things goblins are afraid of, just not what you'd expect.

Submitted: January 12, 2015

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Submitted: January 12, 2015

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“This is proof that Monday wants me dead,” Thradly said as he and his fellow goblins snuck through the woods.  “Wednesday wouldn’t do this to me.  It’s laid back.  Friday actually likes me!  But Monday is a bitter, backstabbing treacherous day.”

“Keep it down,” Drivel warned him.  The two were surrounded by ten digger goblins armed with picks and hammers.  Thradly, Drivel and their digger bodyguards watched the woods for any sign of life.  A noise to their left made the entire group drop to the ground and lay silent.  When they saw it was just a deer, they continued on.

“Three times,” Thradly continued.  He wore a beaten up leather jacket, green pants, boots and gloves.  His skin was pale and he had two horns on his head, one half the length of the other.  Some people thought it had broken off in an accident, but the horns had been mismatched since Thradly was born.

“Might end up being four,” Drivel replied.  His fellow goblin wore blue clothes, boots and a welder’s mask that had appeared months ago when the goblins accidentally warped space.  There had been some debate at the time as to who would get it, but Drivel won the prize on the merits of how dangerous his job was.  Drivel also held a steel case, normally empty but today carrying a Horrible Bad.

Thradly nodded to Drivel.  “It might end up being four, or five.”

“We said we were sorry,” a digger said.  “It’s not like we wanted to find it.”

“It happens,” Drivel told the digger.

“It’s happening a lot,” Thradly said.  “We’ve been living here for fifty years, maybe longer.  We should have found every Horrible Bad and gotten rid of them years ago, but they keep turning up.”

A digger raised his hand and asked, “Could someone be bringing them in?”

That stopped Thradly and Drivel in their tracks.  The idea actually made sense, a first for goblins!  Thradly asked, “You think someone found a Horrible Bad and buried it on our land for safekeeping?”

The digger goblin nodded.  “Maybe.”

Drivel shrugged, his expression hidden behind his mask.  “We can do more patrols of our territory to catch people if they’re dumping their problems on us, but that’s tomorrow’s job.  Right now we have to get this out of here before we’re seen.  This Horrible Bad could get everyone killed if it’s found on us.”

The diggers shuddered, and with good cause.  Goblins had been dealing with Horrible Bads for generations.  They were an indirect threat, not attacking the goblins but instead drawing in trouble like magnets drew iron.  They’d seen goblin villages burned down and their owners scattered when even one Horrible Bad appeared.  It was nearly as bad for the other races.  Thradly once saw an entire human city destroyed because of the Horrible Bads hidden there, with not one stone left on another.  He’d heard of elf and dwarf settlements suffering just as much. The fighting would only end when the Horrible Bad was gone or there was no one left alive.  Even worse, the more Horrible Bads there were the worse the danger.  Get too many of them together and kingdoms could be destroyed.

A Horrible Bad was a threat to everyone, and someone had to get rid of it.  That someone was Thradly and Drivel.  They’d volunteered for the job years ago in a most unusual act for a goblin.  Goblins knew that being brave was often a prelude to being dead, so they ran from danger or hid until it passed.  But a Horrible Bad was something you couldn’t run from, and the threat never went away.  You had to get rid of it, and the longer you had it the more danger everyone was in.

Drivel headed for a trail in the woods, moving away from their destination.  Thradly grabbed his arm and said, “Wrong way.”

Drivel pointed at the sun, still hours away from setting.  “It’s still too light out.  We need a distraction in case we’re seen.  I know a performer goblin who can help.”

They followed Drivel through the woods until they found a small mud hut.  A goblin wearing bright clothes was inside practicing on a horn.  He saw the group coming and smiled.  “Hey there, fellas, how’s it going?”

Drivel dropped his steel box, and it landed with a thud!  The diggers looked down in shame.  Drivel patted one of them on the back.  “It happened again.  The guys were digging a house into the side of a hill when they found it.  We’re going to get rid of it and we need your help.”

The performer’s good cheer was unchanged by the dire news.  “Of course you do.”

Thradly and Drivel set out again with the diggers and performer goblin.  They slunk through the woods, careful to avoid trails made by goblins or other races.  It was equally important to avoid houses, even abandoned ones.  They’d learned the hard way that deserted buildings could house thieves, bandits, peddlers and rogue lawyers, all threats when a Horrible Bad was involved.  If even one person saw it, hundreds or thousands of killers would come swarming into goblin lands.

The group stopped in sight of a dirt road in the woods.  It was made by humans and linked a town of two thousand people to a mining camp not far away.  Most of the mines were played out and had been abandoned to the goblins, but there were still enough producing copper that there were plenty of people in the area.  The goblins had to cross the road to get rid of the Horrible Bad.  This was where they’d be in the most danger of being seen.

Thradly pointed both directions down the road.  “Two guys go up, two go down.  Make a bird call if you see anyone coming.”

“What kind of birdcall?” a digger asked.

“It doesn’t matter,” Thradly answered.

The digger asked, “Can I do a scarlet tanager?”

“They’re not indigenous to this part of the world,” said another digger.  “Do a duck call.”

Shocked, the first digger said, “People eat ducks.  I don’t want to get eaten!”

Thradly grabbed two goblins and pushed them down the road, then grabbed two more and sent them the other way.  “We wait five minutes and then move.  You see anything, you warn us!  Do this right or every goblin in a hundred miles is in danger!”

That ended the argument.  Four diggers went out to scout for danger while the others waited in the woods.  There was no warning, so they made a dash for the other side of the road.  They’d gotten to the other side when they heard a chickadee call.

“Hide,” Drivel ordered.  The goblins dove into the woods, slipping under fallen trees or burying themselves in dry leaves.  Goblins could hide like few others, and soon the entire band was gone.

They weren’t a second too soon.  A platoon of elf mercenaries marched down the road for the distant town.  The goblins had seen them before.  The local human king hired them to drive out bandits and kill monsters.  But the elves also tried to evict goblins.  They were a tough bunch, wearing chain armor and armed with spears and shields.  They looked like they’d seen action recently, with fresh scratches on their shields.  The elves spoke in their own language as they approached.  The goblins spoke the local human language and Thradly knew a smattering of dwarf (mostly swear words), so they had no idea what the elves were saying.

Thradly was hiding in a shallow depression under a fallen log, watching the elves as best he could without being seen.  The platoon came closer, and Thradly’s heart beat so hard he thought it was going to come out of his chest.  The elves came closer still, almost near enough to touch, when their leader called them to a halt.

No, Thradly thought.  Keep going!  But the elves held their position.  Their leader sniffed the air before checking the ground.  He said something in elven, then announced, “I know you’re here.  There are fresh tracks and a stink that can only come from goblins, or maybe humans.  Come out quietly and you’ll be escorted out of the kingdom.”

Thradly looked around.  He couldn’t see the other goblins and he dared not make a sound, so there was no way to organize an escape.  He’d have to do this on his own.  Drivel was carrying the Horrible Bad, and that meant he had to be protected at all costs.  Thadly got ready to run out and draw off the elves.  He gulped nervously and pulled a dagger from his belt.

“Woom!  Woom woom!”

The elves spun around and found the performer goblin blowing his horn.  He’d never crossed the road, and bless his tiny little mind, he was trying to get the elves to chase him.  Four elves snarled and marched toward the performer, but they stopped when their leader held up his hand.  The performer kept blowing his horn, and the elf leader tapped his fingers on his shield in time with the music.

“That’s Alia’s Ultimatum from The Crystal Rose of Infinite Beauty,” the elf leader declared.  He noticed his warriors’ confused expressions and said, “You know, where Alia tells her lover that either he marries her or she’ll run him through with a pitchfork.”

“Oh, right,” an elf said.  “I saw the Royal Opera Company present that one a few years ago.  Beautiful performance.”

“Wasn’t your sister in the lead role?” the leader asked.

The other elf shook his head.  “No, someone stole her role by locking her into a steamer trunk and mailing it to another kingdom before the show began.  It’s a pity, but the show must go on.”

The performer goblin stopped playing and stared at the elves.  “What are you talking about?  That’s not opera!  I was inspired to write that piece after spending a night in a barn with farting cows.”

The elf leader nodded.  “It’s a fair description of Alia’s Ultimatum.”

The performer scowled and marched over to the elven leader.  “Look here, you!  I’m not going to let you ruin my reputation by comparing my work to opera!  You take that back right this minute or I’ll spit on your shoes!”

Thradly felt a tug on his arm.  It was Drivel, no longer carrying his steel box.  “Come on.  I got the box out of here and the others are already gone.”

Thradly and Drivel crawled away while the elf mercenaries discussed opera and the performer goblin shouted threats at them.  When an elf asked him if he knew any songs from Of Love and Wombats, the poor performer screamed and swung his horn at the elf’s shins.

“We got away, but the elves are going to throw your friend out of the kingdom,” Thradly said.

Drivel waved his hand dismissively.  “He’s been run off or exiled more times than I can count.  He comes back every time.  Weird thing is that’s not the first time he got a good review.  The poor fella has even been invited to perform at inns, if you can believe that.”

They found the digger goblins hiding in a clearing deep in the woods.  They had the steel box with the Horrible Bad in it, each goblin staring at it in fear.  Drivel looked at Thradly and asked, “Can you carry it for a while?  My arms are getting sore.”

“I got it,” Thradly said.  He picked up the steel box, a credible accomplishment in and of itself.  The Horrible Bad wasn’t large, but it was heavier than anything that size should be.  Each step carrying it was hard work, almost as if the Horrible Bad was trying to slow him down and make sure he was caught.

The goblins continued on as night fell.  They were getting tired, but this was the safest time to move.  The local humans would be asleep and no threat, and the elf mercenaries had taken care of most of the monsters.  It got colder, and the new moon offered little light.  Thradly struggled under the weight of the Horrible Bad, a situation made worse by the poor lighting.

“Good news,” Drivel told him.

“I could use some of that,” Thradly said.

“It’s midnight,” Drivel told him.  “Monday’s over.”

Thradly smiled.  “We made it!  Tuesday’s a quiet day, kind of hung over.  It won’t kick you around.”

They spent the entire night and a good part of the morning scurrying through the woods until they reached their destination.  The woods parted to reveal a farmer’s field well away from the nearest goblin house, hut or hovel.  The farmer was harnessing two oxen to a plow and headed out to till his fields.  The goblins waited until he was far away from his house and barn before they approached.

They were so close, but a mistake even now would be disastrous.  They checked for dogs that might bark at them, chickens that might squawk, geese that might honk.  No animal betrayed their presence and no one saw them, and they finally reached a well on the farmer’s property.

Thradly put down the steel box next to the well.  Drivel took out a key and unlocked the box.  Thradly took a deep breath and opened it while the diggers backed away.  With the lid open they could see the Horrible Bad inside.  It was a sight to terrify any goblin.  The threat to all life was made of solid gold and weighed fifty pounds.  It was formed into a bar with a stamp of a stag on the top.

Thradly struggled to pick it up.  “Awful, isn’t it?  I’ve seen humans, elves, dwarfs, gnomes and ogres fight for gold.  The sight of it makes them turn on each other.  They’ll kill for even a handful of coins.  If they thought we had gold on our land they’d run us off, maybe kill us, then fight each other to get it.”

“It’s got to be worth at least a thousand gold coins, maybe more,” Drivel said.  He grabbed an end and helped Thradly lift it to the edge of the well.  “This is the third one we’ve dumped here.  I can’t help but think we’re putting the farmer’s life in danger leaving it on his land.”

“If we do this right no one will know it’s down there, including him,” Thradly said.  He and Drivel dropped the gold bar into the well.  There was a splash as the gold disappeared, and the goblins threw in rocks to cover the bar in case someone looked in and saw it glitter.  The bar was gone, hidden along with ten thousand gold coins worth of treasure the goblins had dumped there over the years.

Thradly nodded to the others and shook their hands.  “We’re safe now.”


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