“Excellent. Proceed as planned,” said the hooded man in deeply sinister tones.
“It will be done, me lord,” it bowed submissively. “But what of the, uh . . .” the hideous wretch hazarded, “the, um, women and children?”
Zed Ethdrake, a cruel and calculating human whose brain was hardwired like an autonomous machine, analyzed the inquiry briefly. Finally, he returned an apathetic shrug and replied in a tone as warm as a blizzard, “What of them?” He hadn’t considered these ‘factors’ when balancing his equations, and he wasn’t about to waste time doing so now. “Do what you like with them, Hogwash,” he waved a beringed hand impatiently at the goblin, “I need not know of their fate. Just be sure to leave any dwarf unspoiled . . . Otherwise, consequences will be dire.”
There was something disconcerting about the way Zed emphasized this, yet the true terror was induced by the manner in which his eyes radiated during the intimidatingly vague threat. Sure, Hogwash was familiar with goblin and troll gazes that glow in dark caves and swampy bogs, (perhaps under beds and in closets from time to time as well), but the fashion in which Zed’s flashed was frightening; it was like witnessing the scintilla of an arcane explosion, although without all of the accompanying anatomical displacement or reality distortion. His was a stare that could pierce through a mortal’s soul.
Hogwash bowed again, this time attempting a look more gracious, if not a bit shaky as well, “As you command, me lord.” It secretly beamed with bliss when thinking of all the terrible miseries that were in store for its soon-to-be victims. Would it feed some to Mince? That was possible . . . What was Hogwash thinking? Of course it would feed some to Mince, (that’s its ‘pet,’ as you will see and in case you were wondering). But how many could be rounded up and left intact enough to withstand the infamous Goblin Games? . . . It may be able to wrangle up a few for entertainment’s sake. And then there was always the-
“Hogwash,” Zed glowered at the goblin, which immediately resurged from twisted fantasies and cowered away from the glare, “why are you still in my presence?”
It began scrambling its brains for a worthy excuse before its brains were scrambled over the rocks by Zed’s wickedly curved staff. But if he gave it the staff, Zed would be spoiling the goblin. No, he would definitely cast some nefarious spell upon it. That much was certain. Hogwash searched for a reason before consequences turned from dire to terminal, (for it at least). “Well me lord, you see . . . there’s the matter of, of . . . of . . .”
“Leave – now.”