Zyx and Nix strolled back to the goblin caves with full bellies and high spirits. The meal was the best they had in their lives though it was merely dried meat and bread. Goblins often eat little besides rotten meat and mainly from rats or bats. They also tend to eat mushrooms and other funguses. The dwarf’s snack was more akin to a goblin feast. The goblin boys beamed as they neared their home, unfortunately home was not as pleased to receive them as they were to return.
As they neared the den of clan Trickyfoot they at first heard the typical rumble that echoed through the rock of the mountain. Growls, grumbles, snarls and sneers were common ways in which goblins communicated and they carried far warning any who approach to stay clear. Bones too began to mark the path to their home. Bones of animals devoured but also goblins slain, either by their own kind or perhaps ones who were cast out of the clan to starve to death alone in the dark. Regardless, the ground was littered with them and the boy’s crunched upon them as they traveled.
The clan’s den itself was a maze of caves and catacombs winding through the rock of the mountain. Only the larger openings were well lit with torches. In the center was indeed a large cave representing the heart of the clan with those strongest and bravest residing there and the weaker less significant pushed outward. From the largest cave was an upward sloping path that lead outside and provided the clan with some air and also a way in which to exit in order to hunt or gather food. The strongest goblins controlled this of course including the chief, Gnobum Trickyfoot.
Gnobum was a large and dexterous goblin standing over four feet high and possessing impressively quick reflexes. He was credited with slaughtering dozens of elves and humans and led the clan in raids and hunts. He appeared every bit a goblin king. Aside from being tall he was strong and his body was fit and full unlike most of the emaciated goblins of his clan. He wore a steel breastplate which was nearly unheard of for goblins as most wore leather protection at best and most barely covered their genitals with cloth let alone their bodies with armor. A steel helmet protected his head, pointy in the front like the beak of a crow. It equipped him with an even more menacing appearance than normal but wasn’t even the item that represented his dominance over the clan.
Gnobum wielded a terrifying mace. It was said to have been carved from the leg of dragon and enhanced with iron blades. The weapon was called Skull Masher and was fabled to have been captured by the first King of the Trickyfoot clan Rozukg the Mighty. The legend goes that Rozukg and his clan were cast from their homes by a clan of orcs. He and his warriors returned and challenged the orcs, whose leader carried Skull Masher. Rozukg was so violent and strong that the orcs were unable to defeat him. At last the orc chief attacked him and after Rozukg slayed him he took his mace and drove the rest of the orcs out of their home. From then on whoever held the Skull Masher was the king of Clan Trickyfoot.
Goblin clans were a brutal bunch of mischievous, disheveled, rowdy, violent citizens whose main motivations were eating, stealing and fighting. The strong survived. All others perished. It was not an easy existence by any stretch of the imagination, but it was the only one Zyx and Nix knew.
The brothers made their way at last to their home, which was really just an area somewhat near the very edge of the clan’s territory which was marked by red foot prints on the ground and cave walls, created by covering a foot in blood then pressing it to the surface.
When they arrived to their den they were greeted by several other young goblins, though all of them somewhat older than they. Immediately there was a chaos about the den as they swarmed the brothers and inspected them for food to steal. One particularly hideous goblin with uneven eyes and mangled teeth snatched the leather sack from Nix’s hand. Instinctually Nix drew his bone dagger from his belt and threatened the goblin thief but the older creature slapped his face with the back of his hand while he sniffed the empty pouch. Nix toppled to the ground and for just a moment lay there stunned. As his eye refocused a rage overtook them.
Nix grabbed his small handmade bone dagger in both hands and leapt into the air like a frog leaping for a fly and as he came down hard he bore the dagger down into his foes shoulder. The wounded goblin shrieked and bucked in searing pain while clawing at Nix and trying to fling the whelp from his back. Nix held on with great skill however and rode the older goblin as if he were a wild beast of burden.
All others in the den shrieked as well and soon it was filled with the deafening, yet common, sound of goblins fighting one another. The pair was like a greyish whirlwind of destruction, overturning weapons, kicking over mud pots, falling into the fire at one point and crashing into the walls. The pandemonium was brief but violent.
Nix showed no signed of releasing his offender but another goblin speared him which loosened his grip and at last the stabbed goblin was able to toss Nix from his back. Nix fell to the corner of the den in a heap, holding his side where the spear pierced him. Dark blood oozed from the cut and he whimpered as he held it.
The goblin Nix stabbed sprinted from the room with the bone dagger still in his neck shrieking down the paths of their goblin town. Some of the other followed him mostly in amusement but some were interested in finishing him off so they could possess the dagger and whatever other meager belonging he owned.
A couple other goblins remained in the den and eyed the wounded Nix carefully. The whelp owned nothing now that his dagger was gone and the pouch they stole from the dwarf with it, but if he died they could eat him after all and the drive for food was never fully satisfied in a goblin.
One other goblin was still present in the den. It was an older female goblin, in fact she was the boys’ mother, though they hardly had any concept of mother and had little to no filial piety towards her. She was wrinkled and ragged with hanging breasts, wide hips connecting crooked legs, gnarled fingers and hands, balding head with long matted hair.
The goblin mother approached her wounded son. She sniffed at him and studied his wound for a moment. The brother watched carefully, knowing instinctively that this moment was important. This would teach them much about their world and their way of life. How a mother treats her son is fundamental to the child’s development and this was a moment that would shape Nix’s life more than any could know.
The goblin mother sniffed a couple more times, spat, and waddled away offering no help to her son. Such was the goblin way.