CHAPTER FOUR: In the Hands of Evil (7)

     “There you are,” another goblin yelled uselessly from the entryway of the closet. It adjusted its vision in time to witness a metallic object smack into his skull. There seemed to be a sudden flash of white light, then the wretch went cross-eyed as it thudded against the ground.

     A beast howled loudly as it reared up, its rider snuggly resting in the saddle while his cape caught the currents of mountain breezes. The animal barreled down the rocky slopes of Redwing Peaks with little effort while Zed Ethdrake directed it toward the vicinity of Snowberry. Just off of the main trail, he noticed an accumulation of goblins encircling a lone cottage. Probably a woodsman’s cottage, he supposed as he approached the scene with obvious irritation.

     “Why are they stopping?” His tones highlighted his outrage the way gray calmness precedes a violent, rampaging storm. “Hogwash!” he beaconed hotly.

     A crowd of goblins pinned their trembling stares onto a figure attempting to hide behind a slowly parting background of repulsive mugs. Soon it was standing amongst open spaces where fellow goblins were, and when it peered from side to side, Hogwash instinctively yelped and stammered nervously. “Eh! Wh-wha-what was the q-question, me lord?” it inquired timidly.

     Zed sighed through his nostrils. “I said . . .” he began quietly, then invoked a spell that turned the goblin nearest Hogwash inside out, (which didn’t hold together very well and collapsed in a snowbank, producing squishy sounds as it melted into a grotesque puddle of outward innards). “Why have they stopped?” he concluded with seething annoyance.

     “Um, well . . . there is a bit of trouble brewing,” then it added after perceiving Zed’s general lack of acceptance of ‘trouble,’ and before it experienced the joys of having a skeleton for skin, “but, but . . . but I sent one of the trolls to take care of it, me lord. All’s well, all’s well!” It ended with an expression of one seeking mercy where none can be found – a sort of grim, hopeless expectance of what’s to come etched itself in the drooping folds of Hogwash’s face.

     It was surprised to find itself unscathed. Zed had every intention of lobbing at the wretch a searing ball of magical fire spawning from an opened palm, but his scorching glare gravitated to a troll lumbering toward the crowd from the cottage. When he saw the dwarf maiden the huge brute was manhandling, (uncomfortably, which would mean by her hair), Zed’s concentration wavered and the fireball dissipated into vapors. “Make the thing bring it to me,” he demanded.

The End

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