“Mikulas, we have a bit of a problem,” Lynwood said. Mikulas stood up, and they walked out of earshot of the rest of the group. In a lowered voice, Lynwood said: “We’re in worse conditions now than we were before. There aren’t Orcs this far north, but there are goblins, and goblins are sneaky little buggers.”
Varieties of Orc, Goblin, and other similar humanoids, called Greenskins, can be found anywhere on Terra. These are varied in size, strength, and intelligence. By far the largest are trolls, standing at up to twenty feet tall. Trolls are strong enough to hurl boulders, but aren’t smart enough to know not to eat them. Usually, the way to escape a troll is to ask it a question. About half of the time, it will stand stupefied, allowing one to escape. The rest of the time, it will kill you. Smallest, and second-smartest, are goblins, on average four feet and eighty pounds. They usually stay in groups of ten to a dozen, killing and eating any animal that they can find and overpower. They usually attack by jumping on their prey and stabbing it with their weapons, usually crude bronze armament. The best way to avoid confrontation with goblins is to kill them until the rest in the area leave you alone.
“Goblins, huh? That can’t be good,” Mikulas said. He let out a gust of air and turned to look at the overlooking mountains. There were a few caves and ledges where the goblins were probably looking at them. Lynwood slept lightly that night, constantly listening for the footsteps of goblins.
Lynwood woke up and cooked a large breakfast from the leftover meat he had packed in the snow. Everyone ate well, and everyone was eager to get moving, especially compared to the day before. Lynwood was still uneasy with the goblins watching, knowing that there were hundreds in this part of the mountains, perhaps thousands. He put his hand on his weapon, and kept it there. The sun crept along, the walking tiring not the group’s legs but their minds. Lynwood, Ondrej, and Mikulas kept their eyes on the caves and ledges, looking for the first signs of trouble. Soon enough, they found them.
Ondrej saw the first one hiding behind a rock. He grabbed his bow like it was a flinch, aiming, and called out to the group: “Goblin!” He shot once and the goblin screamed and hissed, crawling to better cover. “Nicked him,” Ondrej said. The goblin shot an arrow from its hiding spot, and the shoddy bronze rod missed the group and bounced off of a rock. Ondrej saw his chance and ran to the rock that the goblin was hiding behind. All that Lynwood heard was the goblin’s scream, cut short by a dagger. The group walked on, uneasy. Lynwood was the first to see the group. They charged, and as soon as Ondrej called out, the unarmed of the group ran back to cover. Ondrej fired an arrow that pierced two, and more archers fired. A line of goblins fell and was trampled by the rest. Lynwood grabbed his sword, the spiraled leather grip locking to his hand. He slashed at one, tripped another, stabbed it, and stabbed one in the throat. The goblins swarmed. Arrows shot past the warriors, and those who made it through were cut down by the Ondrej’s dagger, Lynwood’s sword, and the fighters under Ondrej at the end. Ondrej jumped up, stepped on a goblin’s chest, and hacked at the throat of another goblin. The goblin’s chest was crushed under him. Ondrej stopped one with his forearm and stabbed it in the back. He slit another’s throat, and impaled another on his spiked knee. Mikulas had climbed higher on the mountain, and was firing at the horde. Lynwood hacked off a goblin’s leg, and it shrieked, staggered, and fell. The last was fallen. Lynwood wiped his sword’s blade on a goblin, because the corrosive greenskin blood ruins blades. He sheathed the blade and let go. His hand stuck to the grip with sweat. Lynwood wiped his hand on his pant leg, but it had goblin blood on it. He grabbed a rag from his rucksack and cleaned his hands.
A goblin scream sounded in the distance. Mikulas slid down the mountain and said:
“One ran away. I hit him in the foot, but he kept running. That won’t be the last of them.”
“Then we can’t let down our guard for a second,” Lynwood said. He grabbed his sharpening stone and started to sharpen his warrior’s sword. It had held its edge, so Lynwood put the sword back in its sheath. Ondrej handed Lynwood his dagger.
“Can you sharpen this one?” he asked. The dagger was a Karambit, or a curved dagger with a ring in the handle for a finger to go through. It was made of an alloy of Iron and a kind of magically hardened silver. The metals are naturally not Earth elemental like most metals, but Iron is Dark elemental, and Silver is Light elemental. Since Light and Dark are polar opposites, and perhaps even mortal enemies, that creates what is called ‘Elemental Tension’. Elemental Tension ruins relationships, but in metals (And people, if it’s only one), it adds power. The power ‘echoes’ off of itself and the power is multiplied. A dagger made like Ondrej’s can cut heads off, and magic can be channeled through it to be used to almost any end. It will lose an edge faster than most blades, and is easier to sharpen.
The blade flowed with curving stripes of light and dark that moved not like the flow of water, but like the growing of a tree. The curves and twists changed like running honey constantly. Lynwood held it to his ear, and sound like a tuning fork hummed out of it. He sharpened the Karambit about three swipes of the stone, and its edge had returned. Lynwood went to ask Ondrej about it when he heard the goblin’s cry. He turned towards it and saw a lone archer. An arrow flew past Lynwood’s head. He ran towards the goblin, holding the dagger with the tip touching his wrist, ready for a slash. He flipped the dagger, and stabbed the goblin in the chest—
The goblin’s chest caved in and his heart exploded out of his back in a bloody fireball. The goblin fell to his knees and died. Lynwood stood still, confused and afraid. He turned around and found that everyone was staring at him. Lynwood walked back down to the rest of the group. He flipped the dagger over and gave it back to Ondrej like nothing had happened, since he was confused enough without really thinking about it.
“Just walk, please,” Lynwood said. He started down the road.
The group grabbed their lunches, but didn’t stop this time. The group ate and walked. Ondrej had counted only one loss, but one was far too many. Ondrej never believed in acceptable losses. He would have to fight for the lost soldier as well as himself, or the losses would keep climbing. A goblin screamed to their west. Another was heard to the east. A drum sounded in the north.
“RUN!” Lynwood said, and the group ran to the uncovered south. They passed two mountains before Mikulas realized that goblins are cleverer than that.