The goblin sitting on the throne struck the handle of his hammer on the throne’s arm. Crack. Crack. Crack. “Well, well,” he said. His mouth twisted into what I supposed was meant to be a smile. He rose from his seat and hefted his hammer onto his shoulder. He grimaced as we came to a halt a few dozen feet away from him.
“Now, see,” he said, “there isn’t any need to get violent. You’ve already burnt most of our clan’s homes.” All of these goblins were remarkably well-spoken.
Kaius snorted. “That was just our way of returning a favor.”
The goblins on either side of their leader leveled their spears at Kaius. The would-be goblin king took a step toward us. “I’m sure we can come to an arrangement here. We have plenty of goods that we have come by in our … ventures. If you have no use for supplies, we have plenty of silver.”
“Or,” Lluc interjected, “we could just kill you and take everything.”
“Our clanmates will return soon,” said the goblin. His calm demeanor was showing signs of strain. “You won’t make it far bearing all of this.” He swept his hand to all of the crates, barrels, and piles of things lining the walls of the room.
Lluc shot him a lopsided grin. “Then I guess we’ll have to settle for killing you.” He gave Greg a nod, who responded by sweeping his hand in an arc in front of him. Blue light trailed his hand through the air. One of the two goblins guarding their king slumped to the floor, unconscious. That left two.
Lluc, Kaius, and I charged. Kaius shattered the spear of the remaining guard with a powerful swing of his morning star. The splinters flew clear across the room. The goblin—dumbfounded at his sudden disarmament—held his hands out in front of him in a plea for mercy. Kaius was not in a forgiving mood, though, and a second goblin soon joined his companion on the floor.
Lluc and I traded blows with their leader. We flanked him, and managed to land several blows, but the mail the goblin wore was well-made. It must have been stolen from a lordling or squire. Goblin armor—with its spikes and rusty parts—was built more to intimidate.
“UNDRESS,” Kaius boomed. The Command echoed off the walls, deafening us all. The Sun of Pelor that Kaius wore around his neck had a halo around it.
The goblin had no choice but to obey.
Lluc finished the sleeping goblin while the king removed his armor. After he removed his last boot, the goblin’s blank expression snapped back to pure fury. Kaius wound up and took a two-handed swing that crushed the goblin king’s chest. A loud crack rang out as ribs broke from the impact. Kaius wore a grim expression, his lips pulled into a tight line.
“Kaius,” I said, putting a hand on his shoulder, “remind me to never make you angry.”
A loud thunk came from behind us as a large crate fell off a stack to the floor. We all snapped around and brought up our weapons. Barry stood behind the pile it fell from.
He smiled and took a bite from an apple he had found.
Greg looked horrified. “Are you sure you want to be eating that? Who knows how long it’s been down here.”
“It tastes fine,” Barry said, and took another bite. “I found some silver!” He hurried over to some barrels and crates kept apart from the rest in the room. We found each one filled to the brim with silver coins. Eight crates large enough to fit Lluc in, fully armored, and seven barrels of silver coins. There was no way we were getting them all back through the front door.
“I found this, too,” Barry said. He crossed the room to where a huge bed sat, partially hidden behind a wall of rock that rose halfway up to the ceiling. He started to push from one side, but it barely budged. “Give me a hand, will ya?”
Kaius sighed and joined him. Together, they both pushed it aside, revealing a short, hidden passage that ended in a door behind the oversized headboard.
“When did you find this?” Kaius asked.
“I noticed while I was underneath the bed,” Barry said, then stiffened.
“And why were you under the bed?” Kaius questioned, eyes narrowing.
“No reason. Hey, there’s light coming through that door!”
He was right. A few shafts of light shone through cracks in the door. I opened it up and was greeted with the fresh, green smell of the forest. The sun felt good after our time underground.
“All right,” Lluc said, rubbing his hands together. “We should be able to fit all that silver in the cart. Kio, Greg, can you guys go grab the cart and wheel it around to this door? Kaius and I can start lifting these outside.”
“What about me?” Barry asked.
“Go keep guard by the entrance,” Lluc said. “If you see any goblins, round them up and go running into the forest again.”
We managed to get five of the barrels and one of the crates into the cart before the goblins returned. Barry thought it was a great joke when we left right ahead of the roaring goblin hoard with our loot. We heard their shouting through the door as we pulled it closed. The halfing sat in the back of the cart, inspecting silver pieces while smoking his pipe.
His mood was contagious. That night we all laughed and joked around the campfire. And not a single goblin patrol ruined our sleep.