Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Depths of Despair Part 1: The Goblin Pit

Fland strode silently between the trees as he surveyed the blighted clearing. The brown leather of his armor and the deep green of his cloak let him blend into the forest so that none of the goblin guards would spot him. That would not be the case if he moved half a dozen paces forward though. The trees became twisted caricatures, those that still lived anyway. Most were dead and lifeless, rotted away husks. The ground of the clearing was not the lush greens of spring, but a blighted waste of twisted weeds and gray mud.

The goblins that Fland surveyed were unbothered by the wasteland around them. Being creatures of corruption they took a perverse pleasure in the despoiled land. No, the only thing that bothered them was light of the noon day sun that they tried to hide from under pathetically crude shade tarps. They were the unlucky dayguard, wishing nothing more than to climb back down into the pit they stood guard over.

Fland took one of his light maces in his left hand while he slowly drew a javalin with the right. With honed skill, he crept to the edge of his forest cover, a nearly invisible wraith. He liked that thought. He was an avenging wraith summoned by the forest to strike back at the parasites knawing at its heart. With a grim smile he burst into motion, exploding into the clearing from the forest. Before the goblins even realized that what had materialized before them was a man, Fland rainned death upon them. He hurled the javalin as he charged, impaling one of the foul creatures. His first strike was for the forest.

The cowardly and slow witted goblins were caught off guard by the attack. Two tried to bolt towards safety, tripping over their own feet. Three of the four that did not immediately flee tried to find their weapons in a blind confussion. They looked about expecting attack from all directions, waving their weapons in the air so that they nearly hit the guards adjacent to them. Only one had the where-with-all to draw its crude sword and face towards the avenging forest wraith that was rushing towards them.

Fland drew his other light mace without missing a stride. He covered the ground in a rush while the goblins became lost in panic. The one goblin that tried to meet his charge died quick. One mace swatted away its weapon while the other cracked its skull. Fland did not slow his momentum. Another stride brought him into the midsts of the goblins. His twin maces drummed against skulls and weapons in rapid succhession as he struck any that he could reach.


Each paired stroke was a drumb beat of battle as he crushed bones and mangled flesh. He rolled the maces with his wrists to strike rapid, repeated blows on the goblins. The goblins that had found their weapons, and a little courage, thrust at him. Unskilled attacks were ineffective against the whirling wall of steel that his maces formed. He batted away their pitted blades then caught the goblins in the face with twin strikes. In less than a minute, he had decimated the small company of guards. They lay on the ground battered and beaten.

All but one.

Fland spied the one goblin that he had not yet reached. Its short legs were pumping rapidly to cary it to the warning bell. A solid strike with its sword would be enough to rouse more goblins from bellow, to warn them that a threat had arrived. Fland could not reach the goblin even as he broke into a sprint. He dropped his right mace, letting it thump to the ground so he could draw a javalin, but even that would not do. The goblin was paces away from bell, ready to strike it in hopes of salvation and Fland could do nothing to stop it.

As the goblin rased its sword to sound the alarm a streak of silvery light burst from the forest. It zig-zagged like silver lightning until it struck the goblin in the back. The goblin could not even manage a scream as it fell dead, smoke belching from its mouth and nostrils, a deep burn obvious on its back.

Fland slowed and turned to the forest to watch the elf walk out of the forest. He called to his companion, "Its about time you finally did something."

The elf's ebon hair flowed down past his shoulders. He wore a long, flowing blue tunic with green trim. Arcane sigils decorated the wrists and collar. The crystalin cane in his hand caught the light, glimmering like an out of place star in the corupt waste land around the hole. It was a straight, solid rod cut to taper to a point. At the top it was carved into faceted sphere that made a good hand hold, or on occasion club.

The elf frowned, a look he was quite practiced at, as he said to Fland, "I told you to be more careful. If it had rung that bell every one of the disgusting little worms would have raced out of that hole and overran us. Well, you at any length, I would have made good an escape while they gave you the ignominus end you so rightly deserve."

"Bah," Fland waved off the elf's castigations as though he were shooing away a bothersome fly, "You're just mad that I took down half-a-dozen of the gobs while you just got the one."

"Two," the elf said with a haughty smirk. He pointed to another goblin laying among the massed fray. The burn on his back undeniable proof of the mage's handywork. "You never saw him. He was laying on the ground asleep before you started your rash attack. When you dashed in and started swinging about like a mad man he woke up and was about to put that crude sword of his into your back."

"Well, good thing I have you along then ain't it Pointy-ears?" Fland returned with a smirk.

The elf fummed, "Elarrolinas! Elarr if you must. I use your name, I expect you to use mine."

Fland ignored Elarr as he moved to the edge of the pit. The earth around it was dark, like a necrotic wound. After examining it he called over his shoulder, "Time to find out what's down there. I'll scout ahead," then jumped down the the forboding shaft without giving his partner time to protest.

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