A visit to the market
The market at Udachi deals on all sort of wares. These are mostly of the same kind that you would see in any human town, plus and minus some types of foods or drinks that are more or less palatable to orcs or goblins. Slaves, too, on occassion. Much more often is the buying and selling of loot, including, of course, what has been ripped off captives and corpses.
Tinytusks, when he replensihed the warband's rations, had the kindness of buying some gear for my use. I knew this had been owned by some boy, or boys, or perhaps a halfling or two, who had also fallen victim of robbery or worse. I knew I was wearing stolen goods, but I did not go, as, in the stories, nagging my goblin master about the immorality of it all. Instead, I nagged my own heart at every night for many, many nights.
But they had been cleaned and fitted me well: gray breeches with two matching tunics —so there was one to spare— a vest of the kind that shepherd boys use and two changes of underwear, which I sorely needed. To that he also added a canteen and a knife. Yes, a knife, not a huge thing, but I never thought he would trust me with one. Nothing for my feet, though, as it could be expected. Goblin youth do not wear shoes, neither their slaves, except it is winter and your master is kind enough, and then they would be either wooden clogs or moccasins.
With my green skin and the writing on my arm —both of which I had tried to rub off at every chance with utter failure— and my new clothes, I felt shaken by feelings. I was not whom I was, still
There is no much to say on the journey back to our base, except it was the reverse of our going to Udachi. We, of course, avoided Qù and its Lord of the Lash and, instead, camped as far as we could from that den of fwkorkhs. But apart from that, there's nothing to be said: the same rain, wind and rowing.
We landed at our place, I reckon, on the morning of the tenth day of Summer. Much to the retinue's joy and amazement the place had been improved in our absence with a shed for the mule that doubled as a watch tower. Zicky, the goblin I injured in my attempt to defend the posh kids, had proven to be an amazing leader. Furthermore, he welcomed me as warmly as he welcomed the other members of the warband. The day would turned to be lazy and joyful.
That very night our chieftain, following the human custom, promoted Zicky to Sergeant and granted him the right to name our place, which would be known, from then on, as Firstloot.
I also met Brisa, the mule, who promptly guessed who I was, despite my new look. I groomed her, like in the good times. She was to become my first tasks of many. That's the traditional role of the slave goblin: do all the chores that nobody else would bother to.
I cannot complain too much; the others would work too, and have to go on patrols, while I mostly would remain at Firstloot. I ate what the others ate, though as far from the fire as it was possible inside the hut, and slept inside, like goblins do when left to their ways: all together in a mess of feet, arms and heads. Nobody thought of me like a foreigner: I was the last among them, but one of them.
At dawn, the chieftain woke me up and released the rings from my ankles.
This is, he told me,
so you can work faster, not to run away from
us, and his voice was deadly serious about that. I had no intentions
to run away, where? In words that my father could have used, I looked
like a bloody goblin. In a human city I was bound to become a slave,
of the kind that don't see the light of day. I washed myself in the
lake as often as I could, but it didn't help with that.
From now on, let me fade away for a little while. The previous stories had been focused on me, but that was necessary so you could know who is telling you the story of our hero, Tinytusks. But that is done, and the ordinary life of a slave is dull and boring, so let me keep myself in my place.
Five went, four returned
Two days later, so around the 13th day of Summer, another barge came to our shore. These were six orcs, King's warriors, and four prisoners that you know well, Osa, Conda, Erico and Odrián. Their parents had agreed to pay for their ransom, and all that remained was the dangerous issue of the exchange.
Of the orcs, the only one whom I remember well was their leader: a brute of huge tusks known as Red Shield, which, trust me, was not due to paint or ochre.
Trouble did not seem likely as the humans could profit nothing of killing a few orcs and the lifes of their kids were at risk. Even so, Red Shield carried an order from the King, instructing Sir Tinytusks to depart one day in advance, to scout ahead of the guards. I was not included in the scouting retinue, but was kept at home with five other goblins for such exciting adventures as the gathering of fuel and the treatment of mule's excrementa, not to mention caring for both guests and hostages.
Incidentaly, no, my former clients did not figure out whom I was, in part because I tried to keep myself as far from them as possible, thank you. Last thing I wanted was to be seen as I had became, when they were about to recover wealth, family and freedom. Besides, I was sure they hated me.
Sir Tinytusks gathered his best goblins: those who have gone with us to Udachi, plus Zicky and another four. So, to wit, the designated heroes were: Tinytusks, Zicky, Ivmeasec, Ahem, Loglegs, Tuist, Foggy, and Djodjy —whose names you already know— with the addition of Dontpunic, Mannerik, Eldold, and Robsmor. They quickly gathered arms and rations and paddled towards The Witchfingers.
From now on and until I say otherwise, bear in mind that I was not a witness, but I will write only from what I gathered after the fact.
Is that an ambush, I see?
The retinue landed at The Witchfingers, with just enough time to set up camp for the night. The area, if you are unfamiliar with it, is a flooded marsh where wooded isles and cauldrons of stagnant waters are surrounded by the thousands arms of a river that agonizes here before accepting its death at our lake. Mosquitoes and worse maraud the night by the hordes, but goblins are well used to them and don't even notice their bites.
The next day, so the 15th day of Summer, 879 if I'm not off by a day or two, the heroes hid the barge and camped on Mount Rainwall. Still, no casualties, but a slow rabbit who became the main attraction of their stew.
But on the 16th, when they descended from the hills and approached
the river they discovered the odd appeareance of about two dozen orcs,
hidden among the bushes, all waiting for somebody to come. Tinytusks
and his retinue observed them from afar, as well hidden. First, they
noticed the orcs to be quite uneasy, Zicky thinking this has been the
result of a long wait. Then, Tinytusks discovered that their leader
was our awful
Lord of Lashes.
Tinytusks gathered his
Is it not a great
coincidence that these bstrds are right here at this time? All the
heroes agreed with him, but most hesitated to do anything about it.
Attacking them would be almost suicidal and besides, there was the odd
chance that these ones had not come to collect the King's Gold for
themselves. But Tinytusks would have nothing for it.
sure that the Lord of Qù hates us and made inquires about us, but
found about the human pups rescue. They'll kill the humans, make
slaves, get the pups and then get us. All will be blamed on
But still, we cannot fight them.
We can and we will!
We could like tip Red Shield.
And he'll go back to the King, the human soldiers will get
killed, and we'll have to flee to the gods know where and, we will
lose our loot!
Oh… but how?
I'll have a plan, you can bet your eyes I'll have a plan.