Chapter 1b – Onwards & Downwards
Lantern lit, the dwarf led the way. The elf, the rearguard pushed the reluctant gagged
goblin along, a dagger at her throat.
goblin along, a dagger at her throat.
A room ahead and the adrenaline flowed faster through all of them.
“Ready then?” whispered the dwarf and on the elf's nod, she forced open the door and strode in a pace or two.
A cluster of goblins stopped in mid-conversation turned round and looked aghast at the intrusion and the familiar sound of their old enemy's rough accent molesting their ancient tongue -
“Ho! Goblin friends, tell us where you hid the treasure you stole and we'll spare your green hides”
But their hands were forced. Their goblin captive, morale rising on seeing his tribal brethren took his chance and he made a bolt for the room. If he could get past that dwarf he was away.
But the unarmoured and lightly armed Elf was no slouch in martial skill. Although surprised by the breakaway, the elf pounced forward like a cobra striking in time to force his dagger forward and up into the goblin's neck, A spurt of blood later, the bound and gagged prisoner fell to the floor.
Whether this was what started it or not was irrelevant.
A flurry of drawn weapons and the green-skinned band rushed across the hard-tamped floor at the intruders.
“You're soul will rest with your ancestors tonight, short fat one” the leader spat at the dwarf
And in an instant there was the age-old ring of goblin sword and dwarven axe clashing their intentions mid-air. Today may be the latest chapter in an endless line of hatred-fuelled mortal combats, but the tale of goblin versus dwarf had no beginning and was never going to end.
Perhaps I should have dressed for fighting, thought the elf, rather than magic, still, their work to done with a blade here. Forward she strode to back up her comrade, dagger in hand. Four Goblins versus the two of us? This isn't going to be easy.
The dwarf had her axe-blade slicing flesh immediately. Her swing caught the front goblin square in the chest.
“We just want the treasure and we'll let you out alive. Why don't you tell us about the treasure?”
But she wasn't waiting for an answer as her axe flew once again to bite through another goblin's helmet into flesh and bone beneath.
The elf hadn't been too slack either. Her dagger had drawn blood from a pierce through the goblin's bone & leather armour but she rued the lack of length in her steel.
Her goblin adversary didn't lack skill, either and the edge struck home.
The elf didn't take much of a hit but it was enough to ground her and she slumped to the ground.
“Two against one now” laughed the big goblin “time for you to beg for mercy”
But the dwarf knew her only way out of this was with the edge of her axe.
And so it flew again and felled another one.
“You're alone now, green one. Save yourself, where's the treasure you stole?”
“you'll never see it, dwarf, nice taste my steel as I avenge my fallen brothers”
And so it, was.
Time and again strike met parry and axe met shield as the enemies fought toward exhaustion.
It was the goblin that tired first, though. Or maybe just the dwarf was too good.
But fate's wheel of fortune stopped with arrow pointed in favour of the dwarven axe.
After the tumult of battle, the sudden stillness of victory was a sharp contrast.
The dwarf took no time for pride and satisfaction. She gathered her wits and moved over towards the elf. She was unconscious, but still alive.
Next, over to the goblins to ransack their bodies. Now, that felt like satisfaction, some coin to ease her tired limbs, some gold to prove that she was the winner.
She flung the elf over her shoulder, and headed up the stairs and out.
One more effort at getting the other goblin captive to talk of treasure, but nothing forthcame.
And now the choices. If she left the captive, then he would live to fight her another day. She had her hands full carrying the elf, so she couldn't really take the prisoner with her – too risky. And she wasn't the type to readily go slitting prisoners throats. But, then again, that was the best of the bad choice. So, reluctantly, she executed the goblin.
She was tired and the elf was heavy.
She arranged a cure for him and left her a few coins as her share.
The elf complained bitterly at the deal
Well, that's about right for him - bloody elves and their magic.
She turned and walked off into the evening.
Was all this what she'd wanted from adventure?
A satisfying clink from her pouch reassured her.
Yes, a lesson learned there, she thought – gold favours she who favours herself