Ekanath gracefully took another step towards his prey. No, not gracefully, Goblins are never graceful. They are like Grimm Rippers. Watching, waiting for their next kill. Always silent, always on the hunt for a soul to devour. At lest, that’s how they were described in so many stories by the villagers. He shook his head at the thought, not every goblin is cruel, many are the nicest souls you would ever met. But the humans cannot get past our appearance, our history. His thoughts towards humans had always been bitter, that is why he had yet to take a wife. Goblins of his rank always took human wives since Goblin women didn't bare well. Slowly, he took another step.
He had been stalking a good sized boar, it would feed him and his right hand men for a good week. Not that having enough food would ever stop him from hunting again the next day. The smell of the black woods intoxicated him with it's many aromas, it wasn't often that he was able to get away from his home so he was taking his time and enjoying himself. That week had been a slow week, the war was taking a turn for the best between the goblins and Elves, as disgusting as the girlies were they knew their magic and how to use it for extensive damage. Every one of them were tired of it. Ekanath pushed the images of war out of his mind. He wanted to focus on the hunt ahead of him. He had no idea when he would be able to enjoy himself again, it had been months since the last time. Sucking in the fresh, black air he pulled back his bow and arrow taking aim.
“Ah!” he released early startled by the sudden scream, his bow fell to his side as he turned around to face the way it had came. The soft thud of his arrow hitting it's target sounded behind him, years of war and training didn't count for nothing, he barely had to aim nowadays but it gave him enjoyment to do so.
Soft sobs echoed through the forest, a sure sign of easy prey.
Damn it. . . his feet found a mind of their own, he was already running through the forest towards the girls sobs before he had a plan of what he was going to do once he found her and what was causing them. Subconsciously, he pulled out his blood stained dagger.
“help me!” the girl cried, Ekanath's eyes narrowed at her cry, it had better not one of his men that was scaring her. If it was, that man would have a death sentence. His footfalls made quiet thuds against the dense forest floor as he made his way towards the sobs. The birds overhead flew and screeched as he ran past the trees, it was to be expected, the birds weren't stupid. They knew who he was. “please! Anyone! Help me!” the shrill cry rang out through the forest, Ekanath gritted his teeth frustrated.
Who is this girl? All humans are taught at birth not to enter these woods, and if you do not to bring attention to yourself. They are easy and weak prey compared to the monsters lurking within it. stupid girl, quite your screaming! He quickened his pace.
Hearing her sobs becoming clearer, and louder, he readied himself for the beast that could cause her such harm. He was nearing a rare clearing in the forest when he saw her there. Dagger held firmly in hand, he approached the edge of the treeline and studied the girl withing the clearings light. She was beautiful, for a human. Her hair was a light blond that shimmered in the light like gold, her eyes were as blue as the sea. Her skin seemed to be a pale but he could barely tell she was was so dirty. Shaking his head again he looked her over, she was alone in the middle of the clearing, no monster had attacked her but that did not mean she wasn't injured. Scratches and bruises lined her arms, he felt that the same would be for her legs but her ripped green dress covered them. She was laying on the ground, her feet tangled amongst a group of upturned roots, she looked like she had tripped. Tears fell down her dirty face causing smudged lines, he watched her closely, her breathing pattern and expressions, just like he would do for an injured comrade. He took a half step closer, a twig snapped underneath his foot, he closed his eyes and cursed himself. He had let his guard down.
“h-hello?” the girl asked looking in his direction but not at him, he was a master of the shadow arts, she could be face to face with him and still not see him. “please! Please help!” she begged him, Ekanath sighed. He was not known for his mercy, and he liked it that way. He was not a merciless monster, he was just very powerful and looked up to. He couldn't show mercy to his enemy, he couldn't look soft in front of his men.
But she's not your enemy, she's a helpless human girl. You can always come up with something for saving her. Another sigh escaped him, the thought made sense, but the only thing she could give him was something he didn't want. So you'd rather let her die, alone, helpless rather then make her your mistress? Then how about a servant girl? It has never been unheard of. . . sheathing his dagger, he watched the human girl cringe in pain as she tried to move towards him. She looked in his direction desperately. Ekanath pinched the bridge of his nose thinking.
“please? Please wont you help me?” she sounded to hopeless, so broken. Before he even knew what he was doing, Ekanath spoke.
“you would seek help from a goblin, my dear?” he asked her moving from his spot to another, her eyes fallowed him, an impossible task for most any human, “are help comes at a high price, a price you may not be willing to pay-”
“y-yes! I’m willing to do anything, just save me, please!” Ekanath paused in his stride, she surprised more and more by the second, “please, sir Goblin sir! I- I don't have allot of time left, please! If you don't save me i'll die!”she begged him new tears falling down her pretty face.
“your life was forfeit the moment you stepped inside these woods, I’m surprised your not dead yet with all the beast an-”
“no! No you don't understand! It's my parents-” Ekanath's breath caught in his throat, “- they- they sold me off to some man to pay for their debt! Please, you have to help me get away! the man, the man! He's killed the last five of his wives out of boredom! Please, if I marry him he'll kill me! Please help me escape!” he watched the girl struggle to get free some more, each move she made made her wince from some unseen injury.
“why don't you stand?” he asked, his blood boiled, he was furious at the thought that her parents would sell her off like that, like a mere slave, and to a man like that. Goblins might be known for being ruthless and battle worn but they were close knit, families watched each others backs and treat the children like precious jewels. The thought of a goblin parent selling of their child was as far fetched as a dog suddenly becoming a bird.
“i can't my ankle. . .” the girl looked to her ankle and pulled back her long dress a little to reveal it. Her right ankle was caught in between two roots and was twisted in an unnaturally angle, at best it was broken in two different spots.
“are you sure you want a goblins help?” his voice lowered to a gentle whisper, “in return you must repay me a high price,” the girl nodded glancing between her broken ankle and him. Ekanath sighed, she was so young. “promise you'll repay the debt, what ever I find fit for you to do you must do it. Swear by your life.”
“i swear by my life that I repay my debt in anyway you find fit.” she was dead serious when she swore, her pitched never rising or falling. Ekanath gave her one last look from his hiding place, she was so very young, he almost hated himself for doing this to her. Breaking into a swift glide, he was at her side within a second. She jumped startled by his appearance, he had pulled his cloak hood low over his face so that she wouldn't hurt herself further out of fear. His face was well known among the humans, how, he didn't know. But there was stories about him among them, some twist to the point were the truth was lost, others some wish that it was fake.
“whats your name.” he pulled out his stained dagger startling her further, he was facing her when he demanded this. He didn't turn away until she gave him the answer.
“Caitlin.” the daggers sharp edge cut through the roots easily, gently, tenderly, he took her broken angle in his hands. He slowly placed it on the ground making sure not to joust it to much.
“Caitlin, that’s a pretty name. Means pure, did you know that?” he was trying to distract her, not that she needed it. The girl seemed to be use to pain.
“whats your name?” she asked boldly, Ekanath paused in studying her ankle.
“best you don't know until I’ve fixed you up,” he ran his fingers down her ankle, he would have to set it. That wouldn't be pleasant. “here, bite on this,” he had broken off a smaller root and rapped a piece of cloth around it, he carried strips of rough cotton for times just as these. He handed it to her and repeated his last demand. She placed in her mouth looking at him fearfully. Ekanath was only 24, a very young age, but he had already become a war hero, naturally he knew how to take care of such a occasional injury. The girl seemed to be a little younger then him, maybe 19, 20, she was old enough to know what he was going to do next. “i'm sorry, but it has to be done, alright? Now, on the count of three,” he noticed that she had grabbed clumps of grass in preparation. “One. . Two. . th-”
Muffled screams escaped the girls throat, her teeth gritted the piece of wood tightly. Ekanath knew the pain was intense for her, he wished that he had medical herds on him to give her. In a swift movement he was in the woods chopping off chunks of trees for a brace, before he screams ended he was beside her again. “shh. . . shh. . .” he soothed rapping his other strip of cloth around her ankle before placing the blocks of wood on ether side of it. “i need that back,” he motioned to the bit of wood the girl had been biting on, she took it out of her mouth and handed it to him shakily. He gave her a reassuring nod and smile before unwrapping the cloth then re-wrapping it around the two chunk of wood around her ankle creating a brace. “see, all better,” he whispered leaning forward to rub back the mud on her face, fresh tears of pain had spilled over. He paused for only a second as he considered her, but the doubt soon faded. They had to get moving. “come on, time to go home.” he whispered sweeping her up into his arms, before she could fight he was already running.
“you- you promised!” she yelled over the forest around them, Ekanath looked down at her amused.
“not yours, mine. Your going to be my servant girl from now on Missy.” as strange as it seemed, she actually relaxed in his arms at his statement.
“just don't bring me back. . .” she whispered looking at the bruises on her arms thoughtfully. It began to dawn on him that she might have other reasons for wanting to leave home.
“your parents beat you.” the girl nodded. Suddenly his blood began to boil, he felt protective of the girl already, that was never a good sign.
“thank you,” the girl whispered not meeting his eyes, his heart skipped a beat, she sounded like an angel. “for saving me, I promise to work until I bleed if it pleases you. I won't cheat you out of this deal,” a slow, deep, growl began to escape his throat. Her home must have had been torture if she thought that she could possibly cheat him on the deal.
“i'm Ekanath,” he blurted, he braced himself for her screams. But they never came. “aren't you afraid?” he asked looking down on her, she shook her head smiling softly.
“no,” his heart raced, she wasn't afraid of him, this was a new one, “you saved me. . . I can already tell you wont hurt me. . ." he gritted his teeth, he knew she was right.
"do you know who i am?" he asked at her, if she wasn't afraid of him then it must have meant that she had no idea who he was. but the hope fleeted, she had nodded.
"yes," she whispered looking ar her hands sheepishly, "your the King of the Goblins."
© Copyright 2016 swords edge. All rights reserved.